Sunday, 2 May 2010

Reviewing Kontext

Russian producer Kontext's new album 'Dissociate' for Immerse builds on the promise of his early releases for the same label and delivers some inspiring and dark techno/dubstep material. Consisting of six new and four previously released tracks, the album is underpinned by a uniquely atmospheric sound seemingly inspired by Kontext's St Petersburg hometown.
Album opener 'Impossible Being' sounds like Nathan Fake or James Holden jamming with Martyn; blippy, squelching, with swirling clouds of synths underpinned by stuttering broken beats. 'Bilingualism' and 'Aerial Monarch Attacks' explore the edges of dubstep and techno; in the first, spoken word combines with dripping sounds, layers of atmosphere are added before a simple melodic line reaches out. The scurrying 'Clinch' and the previously released 'Hometown Swamp' up the pace, before the blissful 'Searching for the Transcendental' wraps the listener in waves of cotton wool synths. Further on into the album is 'Plumes', a track underpinned by a lethargic and bass laden 4/4 beat, drawing from the classic experimental techno of Basic Channel. Final track 'On the Bottom of the Glass' is a beatless piece of electronica that uses discovered sounds and liquid textures to create a spacious and ethereal final piece.
Kontext's 'Dissociate' cements his place as one of the most exciting exponents of dark, experimental dubstep that fans of T++, Monolake or Shackleton should keep an eye on. This album sees Kontext exploring techno, dubstep, drum and bass and electronica within the boundaries of his densely atmospheric sound, combining rolling techno influences with syncopated rhythmic experimentation. For anyone who enjoyed this album, Kontext has recently released two mixes that are well worth a listen; firstly is a mix for that includes Fluxion, Plastikman, BVDub and Pole, and a second pure dubstep mix for Electronic Explorations.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Sneaking around with Cool House

Cool House's recent Birthday bash review with DJ Sneak is online on RA, check it out here.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Spring Oblique Mix 2010

From new to old to new. Peter Van Hosen to Robert Hood.

Track-list to follow.

march mix 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Robert Hood - Alpha / Omega (End Times), M-Plant

As the mist gathers density outside my window, the resolution of the world is reduced to a few essences of form. It seems somehow fitting that at this present moment, when I think I ought to have written something new for the Angle, that this visual reduction coincides with a remembrance of what minimal means to dance music. It's not bleeps, clicks and hisses repeated and looped in an endless layering of tired repetition. It's something more machinic. More reduced, yet so much more expanded.

Robert Hood's latest release on M-Plant Alpha launches into a unremittingly tough four-four beat. It holds this just slightly too long before snapping the synaptic response into gear with a tough clap and a gradually emerging, tightly looped, stuttering and analogue sounding clipped snare. Then it comes. The simplest, most basic high-hat cascades down on the beat and envelopes everything in a euphoric moment that is the sound of Ford's demise. The sound of the Motor City gone wrong. And this - this is the reduction.

The mist grows thicker. It's fog now and all I can see are the spherical glows of the street lamps. The form of light and technology. The minimalism of the city at night - reduced to it's essential format: Electricity, material and space. This is techno. This is minimal. 8 minutes 42 seconds. This is Robert Hood.

Omega (End Times) is destructive. A futurist-dystopian vision of decaying production lines and the repo-man. Toxic-debt amassing and Devil's Night hallucinations - Omega sounds like the hymn for a post-post-industrial, neo-apocalyptic city scape of empty chances and departed dreams. Equally, if not more, relentless in its pursuit of the absolute zero of Detroit-minimalism than Alpha, the cataclysm that is predicted in this track is epically dark. Spartan, stunningly-repetive and with a palette limited to four distinct sounds that are gradually modified and machined to a self-destructive peak, this piece of entropic programming goes nowhere. There's no redemption, only an onward march of unstoppable technology replicating itself ad-infinitum, resisted only through the homeopathic application of the same to cure the ill.


Saturday, 13 March 2010

Pre-album teasers

2010 is going to see albums released by two of the most exciting techno talents to have emerged in the past few years. Between them, Peter Van Hoesen and Marcel Dettmann have shaped their own unique sounds: One Berlin, one Belgium. One cavernous dynamics, one reverberant, burbling basslines. Both looking backwards for inspiration while driving forward, forging their own take on classic sounds.

Dettmann's album taster, 'Dettmann Remixed', consists of four tracks from the depths of the Dettmann archives, dusted down and remixed by Bergain resident Norman Nodge and new talent Wincent Kunth. Nodge's stark remixes of 'Shift' and 'Unrest' combine his instantly recognisable raw industrial sound with Dettmann's drive. Meanwhile, the debut of the Swiss Wincent Kunth adds a lush depth and hint of melody that I find lacking in Dettmann's releases; on Vertigo, a wandering baseline dissolves into Detroit styles synths, while 'Wound Up', the more potent of the two tracks, wouldn't sound out of place as an EQD release. This brave move by Ostgut to introduce a new talent of such a high profile release pays dividends, introducing a new and highly successful take on Dettmann's trademark sound.

Van Hoesen has had a busy year to date, providing mnml ssgs with a sublime session for their 50th mix, releasing a free EP of remixes and album taster 'Entropic Minus Six'. The latter has recently been reviewed positively by Richard Brophy on RA, while the free 'Variable Parts' EP is for me the more intriguing of the two releases. Reworking two album tracks, the devastating 'Face of Smoke' and new ambient track 'Second Law', this release shows a more experimental side to Van Hoesen's sound. The Casual Reconstruction of 'Face of Smoke' drops the tempo of the original and produces a deeply atmospheric version with a similar sound to Prologue Records or some of Donato Dozzy's releases. The original's synthline struggles to emerge from foggy, heaving soundscapes, before being overcome and sinking without trace.

Album tracks 'Strip It Boost It' and 'Terminal' get reworked in a similar style. The Markov Layout of 'Terminal' converts the dettmann-esque orignal into a less insistent but more layered composition, again building a strong sense of atmosphere throughout. 'Strip It Boost It' Entropic Dub stays true to the original but removes the riff to create a driving percussive rework. Final track 'Second Skin' creates a melancholy and haunting soundscape that could be a lost Mika Vainio number, layering scratching, hissing white noise with hints of life surfacing from the gloom.

So all in all two excellent EP's that are a mouthwatering taster for the albums dropping soon. For a taster of PVH's 'Entropic City', previews are online at the Entropic City mini-site, with the album due to drop on the 22nd, while the self-titled 'Dettmann' will be launched at Berghain on 24th April with Shed and Ben Klock providing support.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Reviewing in the Big Smoke

Sorry for the lack of blog action recently, we're both a little busy with work/study at the moment. As I've got a few minutes, i thought I'd post a couple of links to RA reviews Ed wrote following a recent outing to Londontown. First up, a review of Ben Klock, Steffi, Lee Curtiss, Jamie Jones @ Fabric, read it here. Following that almighty knees up, our intrepid reviewer dashed to Cable to catch Konrad Black, Geddes, Ali Kuru and Rossko play at Found afterhours- read about that here.