After well-received lectures by top electronic artists at the Red Bull Music Academy in Madrid, Chris Parkin hails a vibrant scene.
With Andrew Weatherall, Chicago’s footwork chaps DJ Rashad and DJ Spin, and Chile’s finest purveyor of psychedelic house Matias Aguayo all getting props for their recent RBMA lectures, it’s a prescient time to take the pulse of electronic music. Safe to say, it’s fair banging away.
Here are just a few of the finest electronic releases to see the light of day recently. Not just the warehouse-filling sort either, but also the mind-bending strand that twists melons and makes grown men cry…
Space Dimension Controller – Pathway to Tiraquon 6 (R&S)
Belfast lad Jack Hamill’s current guise comes with a backstory set in a galaxy far, far away, where the Space Dimension Controller shoots between illegal moon raves in a post-apocalyptic universe. Hamill, who took part in RBMA 2010, has a sound to match it too: a rave-y galactic funk pieced together from rambling Kosmische music, Detroit techno and disco. This debut album is crackers – a swirling morass of effects, loops, pulsing and phasing, and tough rhythms.
Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica (Software)
Following last year’s acclaimed Returnal album and the smooth 80s-inspired record he released earlier this year with Joel Ford, Canada’s ambient Moog whiz is back with another soothing salve for electronica fans. Daniel Lopatin’s latest Oneohtrix album is rather more ghostly and fragile than his previous efforts. Wreathed in wispy vapour trails and autumnal keys, it’s hypnotic till the very last.
Rustie – Glass Swords (Warp)
The first chaotic EP from Glasgow synth loon Rustie was lost on a lot of people. It was almost too bold to bear. But his debut album, inspired by old school electro and hip-hop as much as it is by Jean Michel Jarre, prog and acid house, turns his towering, glassy synth sound into fantastical pop with enough grubby undertow for the club. He certainly did the trick at RBMA’s Culture Clash in Toronto recently.
Mungolian Jetset – Schlungs (Smalltown Supersound)
This Norwegian duo are, as you’d expect of anyone who welcomes you to their website with the legend ‘the Official Epicenter of a Pre-Apocalyptic Happening’, pretty out there. Their latest (second) album continues in this madcap vein but works their Funkadelic-inspired nuttiness into a cosmic disco maelstrom that shuffles groovily and then shoots into the ether with whooshing samples from outer-space films, choirs and tribal breakdowns.
King Midas Sound – Without You (Hyperdub)
Hyperdub are rolling out terrific records like a well-oiled conveyor belt at the moment. Singles from Cooly G and Terror Danjah have both raised the standard but neither comes close to Scratcha DVA’s bleepy, grime-y techno track Polyphonic Dreams, or the latest album from Kevin Martin’s heavy-dub explorers King Midas Sound. Without You sees old tracks transformed into completely new ones by Hype Williams, Flying Lotus, Gang Gang Dance and, most inspired of all, Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside.
Coseph Jonrad – FIAT Million Hits
This final choice was a toss up between Kompakt duo Walls’ sublime Coracle album – an underwater minimal techno epic to get lost in – and Bass Clef’s latest as Coseph Jonrad. The latter wins because of the concept. Trombone-wielding producer Ralph Cumbers takes for his inspiration a cassette of pop hits given away free with his family’s first car. The result, which you can download here, is a dizzying, warped, chopped-and-screwed ride through 80s pop, from The Ghostbusters theme to You Spin Me Round.
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