Friday, March 18, 2011

Burial, Four Tet & Thom Yorke – Ego / Mirror

A. Ego
B. Mirror

Here it is, the one you've all been waiting for since, errrr, it was announced on tuesday! Thom Yorke, Four Tet and Burial have collaborated on two tracks, 'Ego' and 'Mirror' for Kieran Hebden's Text label. It's the second time Hebden aka Four Tet has appeared with Burial, again on a black-on-black vinyl/centre label/sleeve combo, and actually the 2nd time Burial has appeared with Mr Yorke, following his remix of 'It Rained All Night' a few years back. At a guess we'd say Mr Hebden had a larger hand in 'Ego', judging from the tinkled marimbas and purring beat, while Burial's influence is clearly apparent on the defined 2-step pivot and emotive impact of 'Mirror'

Monday, March 7, 2011

Egyptrixx – Bible Eyes

01 Start From The Beginning
02 Bible Eyes
03 Chrysalis Records (feat. Trust)
04 Liberation Front
05 Naples
06 Rooks Theme
07 Recital (A Version)
08 Fuji Club (feat. Trust)
09 Barely
10 Recital (B Version)

The reputation of David Psutka's Egyptrixx among beat music cognoscenti was quickly cemented last year by tracks like "Battle for North America" and "The Only Way Up", the latter being one of the brightest cuts to come out of a packed-with-hits Night Slugs camp. His willingness to take the basis of UK funky into techier, more austere turf meant he could stake a potential claim as a progressive-minded genre-tweaker. Still, all through his previous peaks, you could hear his music stretching, testing itself, reaching for something ahead even as it planted a couple solid feet directly in the midst of a spotlit movement.

Bible Eyes is what those earlier singles were reaching for, and as a full-length debut it's a bit of a shock-- the familiarization process of a compelling new artist sped up into a rapid succession of surprising revelations. Earlier singles hinted at clean minimalism and deep rhythmic space, but that sound is significantly starker here. The rhythmic underpinnings feel more in line with Kompakt-brewed minimal house rather than a label that stormed the gates on the back of Girl Unit's colossal "Wut". Most basslines are pared down into pure percussion, pulsing like kickdrums instead of dubstep wobbles or electro throbs, but their deepness and intricacy playing off the snares and claps provides the momentum.

In those terms, you get songs like "Naples" or the title track-- cuts that seem both propulsively rich and structurally airy. The louder you turn it up, the bigger the spaces between the beats seem, the larger the drums loom, the more negative space to pit your steps against. And in evoking other stylistic side roads that don't slot as neatly into his post-funky precedent-- the Kris Menace-simpatico electro synths in the pop-friendly "Chrysalis Records", the straight-up tech house nod of "Recital (A Version)", the brooding dubstep of "Fuji Club"-- he gives those wide-open beats a lot of contexts to sink into your medulla and filter down your backbone.

But maybe the most surprising revelation is how willing Psutka is to use disorienting, inside-out melodies as a front-and-center element. Think of the current vogue for warped and faded tape-jam sonics freed from its nostalgic VHS trappings, made both crisper and noisier. At their most accessible, the fluttering, woozy chords from singles like "Drive You Crazy" and "Everybody Bleeding" are pushed just a bit further out; the shaky-kneed hook that cuts in halfway through "Liberation Front" has the tactile sensation of an aluminum-rubber alloy, all metallic sheen and resilient elasticity. At its most extreme end, you get "Barely", which foregrounds a squelching hook so dissonant and queasy-- yet so gravitational-- that it redraws the parameters of what it's possible to make anthemic.

And yet it all falls together in that calculated way bass music albums do when they're simultaneously engineered for headphones and dancefloors. This is an album that sounds invigoratingly abrasive when you're moving and pins you to your seat when you're not, a study in pushing the limits of distortion that works as just plain good club music. And it's eclectic enough to anticipate a half-dozen directions for Egyptrixx to go from here-- odds are he's not out of surprises

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Of Montreal - The Controller Sphere EP

01. Black Lion Massacre
02. Flunkt Sass vs the Root Plume
03. Holiday Call
04. L’age D’or
05. Slave Translator

According to Barnes, the EP represents the final part of an ongoing trilogy that he first envisioned in 2007 and which was later realized in 2008′s Skeletal Lamping and the forthcoming False Priest. The songs on The Controller Sphere were written at the same time as the material on False Priest, and at least one came from the same sessions with producer Jon Brion.

“There’s three songs that we were initially going to put on False Priest that we decided to cut at the last second,” Barnes said. “I haven’t decided which I want to put on there but there’s a lot of material to choose from.”

Africa HiTech - Out In The Streets

01. Out In The Streets

Mark Pritchard (Harmonic 313) and Steve White (Spacek) herald the much-anticipated Africa HiTech album with the Jukin' ruffige of 'Out In The Streets' on a one-off download tip. Evidently, Mssrs Pritchard and White have soaked up and assimilated Chicago southside sound in killer style, stepping off where DJ Roc's 'One Blood' started and cooking up a mad fusion of soundsystem flavour and forceful Footowork

Pangaea - Inna Daze / Won't Hurt

1. Inna Daze
2. Wont Hurt

Pangaea, lad, what are you doing to us?!?! Over a year after his eponymous Hessle EP, Kevin McAuley augments his sound to a 130bpm (or thereabouts) style of deep Technoid ruffige compatible with label brethren Elgato or more recent 2562 beats. Squaring up to 'Inna Daze' we're faced with a rugged rollers figure, broad, shoulder swinging bass with a Monolake-esque finish synched to hip-tucking, fake-out drum programming pecked with feverish diva yelps and siren stabs. On the flip, 'Won't Hurt' starts out pensive but soon enough brings the bass weight like some 2005 DMZ classic, only at 130bpm and with hair-raising Detroit techno strings delivered like a true badman. Don't f**k about. This is essential!