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Yes you read it correct, the game that has had people the world over frantically smashing their thumbs into a bit of plastic and shouting HADOUKEN! with a few extra !!!'s has finally had its soundtrack made available in all its glory - Street Fighter II. Now while we all know and love the original game, when taken out of the context of it the music created by Yoko Shimomura takes on an entirely new life that wouldn't sound out of place within the confines of some of the more esoteric releases of the Finders Keepers releases (we're thinking Khyber Mail and Gençlik Ile Elele for starters) the sounds within showcase an entirely unique talent for melody and like the Streets Of Rage reissue, touch on gabba, grime, hip-hop and house. But regardless of this it's still without a doubt pure Street Fighter II and it's absolutely sick.
LuckyMe issue the first solo EP from Lunice since 2011’s One Hunned EP. The 180 EP features four golden tracks unearthed from 2011 and 2012, produced between his excellent One Hunned EP and his gamechanging TNGHT EP with Hudson Mohawke. While these tracks were all created a few years ago, there’s nothing that sounds dated here: the 180 EP shows just how far ahead of the game Lunice’s club-rap hybrid was, blurring the lines between hip hop and electronic music at a time when these divisions were more closely guarded.
Arca drops his second album almost exactly one year after his well-beloved debut, Xen. It arrives at a time when the Venezuelan experimental musician/producer has never been more in demand, thanks in no small part to a hefty co-production credit on Björk’s acclaimed ninth album Vulnicura. Whereas Arca’s production work with other vocalists and musicians allows him to bring a touch of strangeness to traditional songwriting forms, his albums have always presented an opportunity for him to follow his instinct, arriving at something that often sounds more personal and more delicate as a result. Mutant is a more extroverted album than Xen, placing a larger emphasis on scorching melodies and twisted beats than his debut: just listen to the gunfire rhythms of ‘Sinner’ or the Autechre-esque flavours of ‘Front Load’ for proof. But remnants of Xen’s emotional expressiveness remain intact elsewhere. ‘Else’ is a piano composition that sounds stark and forlorn, while ‘Snakes’ captures the same feelings of abstract isolation that an artist like Visionist manages to articulate so well. Otherwise, Arca’s considerable talents as a producer have never been on clearer display, with tracks like ‘Gratitud’ containing a miniature universe of sound that will reveal itself to attentive listeners.
Having spent the run up to Garden Of Delete regaling us with an array of clues as to the album's content from various points online that ranged from a PDF letter of cryptic quality addressed to his fans and an interview with an unidentified "alien collaborator named Ezra" and a website we now know as ( ;- ) for fictional 90's "hypergrunge" band Kaoss Edge the lead up to Garden Of Delete was in many ways a PR campaign that matches the music found within the LP, complex, mischievous and cutting edge in all the right places. Wearing the album's influences of cybermetal and rock music on his sleeve, it's on Garden Of Delete that Oneohtrix has crafted out what is no doubt a sure stand out and possibly the most certified vision of his music to date. Opening with the aptly titled Intro we are treated to a soundbite of complexly spannered YouTube compression field recordings before swiftly cutting into Ezra which sparkles with electronic beauty on a stop/start motion before the rock influence breaks out and he goes for an R Plus 7 recalling piece of lush electronica that most producers would take a life time to produce but feels to be executed with ease. This gives way to a full on burst of hypercolour lazer swords and female vocals that has the fingerprints and DNA influence of sometime collaborator Hudson Mohawke running through its veins. The sounds spin between 80's referencing huge prog-tronica and a more RNB style flex. Next up is the interlude led ECCOJAMC1 before we are thrown back into the psychedelic airy pads that dive straight into an avant-pop number Sticky Drama that's so sweet you can taste it. The rest of the LP treads the same path from the melancholic reversed pianos of SDFK (which could almost be lifted from the recent Helm LP) while Mutant Standard starts off with a militant industrial techno skeleton throwing the everyday sci-fi samples in to break up the track to disorientating effect before the whole thing flips and twists itself through various motions of pop and trance like a break-dancing Rubik's cube edition of Gescom's mini disc stuck on repeat shuffle. Child of Rage starts up the second half with more movement between floating pads and new age calmness while Animals revisits the big room technological pop with extra helpings of inside out electro-oddness. Recent fan fav I Bite Through It goes a way to sum up the chaotic feel of the recordings in a way that makes total sense, it could be seen as a comment on our internet-dominated existence with the nonstop flashing of screens and information switching between different sights sounds and swagger at an alarming rate - a social commentary that is neither negative or positive but just observes the world around it. The last three tracks are possibly the best example of the album's sound yet, they expertly walk the line between the classic OPN sound of tight electronic structures perfectly executed with a level of futurism outweighing others in his league. Blending the everyday inner-city amazement of James Ferraro and drawing lines between contemporary underground experimental producers reaching for bigger things such as the PC Music collective to the underground throw in all your influences instrumental grime scene. Fellow internet futurist William Gibson said the future is already here it's just not evenly distributed but hearing Garden Of Delete with its almost EDM approach to more traditional dancefloor and mainstream pop sounds it digests so many different styles and returns them in a complex but highly rewarding body of work sculpted to include sounds distributed from a vast array of worlds. Sure to stand the test of time as one of the absolute highlights of Warp's catalogue of records such as Windowlicker Garden Of Delete is a textbook example of a true pioneer of a hypnotic groove flirting with troubled pop structures and giving results so far ahead of everything else in the game it will stay fresh for years to come while the rest of the world catches up.
Long awaited and highly anticipated debut album from Floating Points bringing to the table the culmination of his various takes on house, jazz and electronica with a scientific grounding and talent for production. Having started life in 2009 with four vastly unique singles that dabbled in a variety of different styles that were at once distant but all tied together with a slick sound and talent that vastly outweighed his discography, Floating Points showed he was a dab hand at hip-hop laden electronica as showcased on J&W Beat, disco laced funk as explored on Love Me Like This, beats from the Ninja Tune school of cold-cuts i.e. For You and a galaxy's worth of sparkling house as on Vacuum Boogie. Having gone on to produce a series of stunning and varied 12" singles since then it's not until now that he has finally opted to give us a proper full length in the form of Elaenia. Realised with an entire ensemble of musicians Elaenia is a varied and hugely strong album that sees Floating Points explore sounds previously unheard in his music while supplying a fresh and fully transformed vision of his music to date. Opening with a subtle synth melody that's more radiophonic workshop than Moodymann deep house Nespole slowly unfolds on itself with subtle piano keys and synth lines slowly shining through but with a restraint of tease that can't quite hold itself back, especially when the bass line bubbles underneath around the two and a half minute mark. The track carefully rolls along never giving away too much but building anticipation throughout. Silhouettes (I, II, III) follows suit with jazz-lead licks and soft drums across its three part body transitioning between library-lead jazz jamming and live instrumentation before the string section comes through giving nod to The Cinematic Orchestra and the finest soundtrack work of Egisto Macchi, an absolutely stunning track and a real culmination of everything he has produced to date. This is followed by the album's title track Elaenia which explores more darker territories of a one note drone and bass tone that expertly updates Eno's Thursday Afternoon. Argente goes back to the library influence with its cascading synth melody oscillating around before it suddenly disappears in a cloud of smoke dropping effortlessly into the robotic clockwork of Thin Air, its fast action shuffling percussion and half heard keys creating a quiet moment of experimentation that's both tense and exhilarating. The album caps off with two of the finest tracks Floating Points has ever put his name to in the form of the late night dreamlike For Marmish whose smooth notes sail through the reverb drenched definition which flourish in its melancholic glow while Peroration Six starts off on a hip-hop lead axis before breaking out into a stunning chord progressive number with atmospherics of a serious nature hiding underneath but as ever expertly engineered to ensure repeated listens. Ending the album and bringing the curtain down on whats sure to be one of the highlights of the year regardless of what you're in to.