by Irina Kotik
June is upon us! We have rewarded the underground electronic music world with amazing releases, stunning albums, and impressive remixes coming from Ripperton, KOnduku and Forest Drive West, G. Markus and queniv, Sophia Saze, Lawrence and Carsten Jost, John Talabot, Leif, Louf, Livity Sound and Ondo Fudd released via ESP Institute, Nous’klaer Audio, OOSSHA, Dial Records, Dial Records, Hivern Discs, Valby Rotary, Livity Sound, White’s and The Trilogy Tapes. As always, we compiled the racks in no particular order.
Tom Ford’s highly respected UK techno imprint Livity Sound coming into 2019 with a gorgeous jungle-saturated release from Toma Kami. The “Negative Extasy” EP, his second outing on the label, sees the Paris-based artist delivering a versatile quartet of irresistible rhythms and deep jungle vibes.
The opening “E-ache” is soaked in layers of kaleidoscopic groove that absorbs the genres of funk and jungle.
Love Is Not Enough
After delving into the depth of the ambient realm of electronic music on his 2018 “Sight Seeing” album, Swiss house maestro Raphaël Ripperton returns to Los Angeles-based ESP Institute once more with his rich, introspective instrumental experience. “Contrails” is a fourteen track exceptionally beautiful amalgamation of the reflective and intricate sounds painted with beautiful electronic synth-waves and meditative atmospheres.
Album is described by the record label as “ These expansive 73 minutes are punctuated midway by a poignant solitary confession— “I’m afraid of what I might ﬁnd, but I’m even more afraid of not facing this fear. I love you. I love you more than my life.”—in accordance with the fundamentals of Minimalism, the vast negative space bookending these words undoubtedly ampliﬁes their signiﬁcance. “I’m afraid of what I might ﬁnd…” Communication comes easy for some artists; the tools are obvious, logical and tangible, the dialogue is palatable and their art is often inoﬀensive. For others, there may be conﬂict, trauma or fear that result in pragmatic challenges—the tools feel foreign, deep complexities give way to creative paralysis, and communication struggles to ﬁnd its form and emerge—the art becomes as much a therapeutic confessional as is a formal exercise. “…But I’m even more afraid of not facing this fear…” Within the residue of the artist’s emotional labor, full of nuance, reservation and vulnerability, is potent code that can neither be taught nor learned, an elusive unknown whose shadows some spend a lifetime chasing, trying in vain to articulate or translate, often at their own peril. “…I love you. I love you more than my life.”
Transition (Carsten Jost Remix)
Veteran electronic music producer and musician Peter Kersten, better known as Lawrence, revisits his “Illusion” album with a collection of remixes released via his own Dial Records. After a great success of an outstanding “Illusions” album which was released last year, Dial Records takes one step further by breathing a new life into the four original album tracks with remixes provided by the Dial co-founder Carsten Jost, label affiliate Tracey, Intacto label boss Shinedoe and Trux.
Carsten Jost, the Hamburg’s Dial Records co-owner, stamping his signature minimalistic vibe on the original radiating the minimal pallet of ambient textures and techno sensibilities.
UK-based producer Leif Knowles, better known as Leif, summoned up his musical powers and created “Loom Dream”, his third album released via Nick Tasker’s Whites. The new mini-album is scouring enchanted realms of magical sounds over the course of six tracks, each named after the Welsh producer’s favorite flora.
Whites describes the release as the mini-album which is “Made up of six tracks but presented as two ~17-minute pieces, the record meanders through warm chordscapes, glistening synths and loose live percussion, weaved together with field recordings and ambiance. ”
True to that aesthetic, “Pteridium” draws inspiration from intricate and elegant structures found in the natural world. Lief beautifully blends atmospheric soundscapes and delicately textured ambient layers into the field recordings to give its listeners an organic edge.
The Trilogy Tapes
June sees the latest impressive avant-garde adventures from Call Super/Joe Seaton, under his alias Ondo Fudd.
Having joined The Trilogy Tapes imprint in 2014 with the “Coup d’Etat” EP, following 2016’s “Blue Dot”, the UK producer returns to the London label with the final installment of a must-have trilogy injecting a twist into the abstract techno-leaning sounds.
The five-track “Eyes Glide Through The Oxite” EP was announced via Joe Seaton’s Instagram account and described as:
“Music as a hope machine. Ondo Fudd part three. Three warped genres. Midsummer night. Swollen in a broken climate. The first two tracks are damaged Xerox’s of one another. Likewise, the next two tracks. Then somewhere beyond it ends, 42 minutes later, going nowhere. The artists finally merged. My identity lost, replaced by a smudge of this and a smudge of that. Ondo and CS. Thanks to Will, TJ, Shanti, David, Ben, Dwayne and everyone else who seems to care about Mr. Fudd. I love you and making these records gives me life”.
The “ Eyes Glide Through The Oxite“ EP culminates with a beautiful “Fluenka’s Song” leaving the future-infused edge on the kaleidoscopic breakbeat and leftfield synth patterns woven from abstract textures and futuristic atmospheres.
The fourth installment of the UK label Valby Rotary comes from the label co-founder Louf. Equally focused on the intricately woven rhythms and delicate melodic structure, Louf’s new six-track “Infinity Room” EP fuses elements of left-field introspection, , and microhouse.
The title track is a densely-layered tapestry of watery ambiance that is propelled by the left-field oriented house groove.
Georgian artist Sophia Saze has shown off her musical talent on the outstanding debut album “Seft”. Released via Francis Harris’s Kingdoms imprint, the two-part album takes influences from her upbringing as a child of political refugees. It’s a “memoir” of “the many different places lived during her journey”, including Georgia, Russia, France, Canada, and USA. “ The record embodies my story of duality within the context of identity,” describes Saze in the press release, “insomuch of the idea that every person has a deeper layer we don’t show on the surface.”
“Maintaining a sonically raw feel throughout, ‘Self’ draws the analogy of analog to modern day digital culture whilst also taking a stance against perfection, whether integrating the distance crackle of her machines or intentional off-beat piano notes in minor. Part One was conceived, for the most part, during a sleepless yet inspired 48-hour studio session. Processed field recordings accompany samples from her childhood, such as Soviet cartoons and intimate VHS recordings of her family. The result is a well-seasoned and personal story portrayed in fourteen tracks mixed together. ”
Gunes (Forest Drive West Remix)
Rotterdam-based record label Nous’klaer Audio continues their hot streak with a makeover package of Kunduku’s last year “Kiran” album. The label invited Nous’klaer‘s artists and their friends to remix a selection of the LP’s signature tracks. “Gunes”, “Yesil Agac”, “Pembe Alan” and “Kizilirmak” received an impressive remix treatment from Forest Drive Weet, DB1, upsammy, and Tammo Hasselink, breathing fresh life into the stunning album.
East London artist Forest Drive West works his magic on “Gunes” adding an elegant twist to the beautifully complex polymorphic rhythms and percussive intricacies.
Immediate Crash Alert
Hivern Dicsc’s vinyl-only split series hits its next chapter in bringing together Hivern’s label boss John Talabot and Bucharest-based duo Khidja.
“The Hivern split series”, describes the label,” was born as a platform for those club tracks that don't need of a broader ecosystem to fully express themselves. But also as a way of generating a sort of unplanned dialogue between artists in the label's orbit, connecting the dots amid them in spontaneous and almost unconscious ways.”
Entitled “Immediate Crash Alert / Maquinas Maravillosas”, the two-track package is a “prime examples that there is space for functional tracks away from the most obvious path.”
Known how his eclectic style and ability to intertwine a wide range of genres into one track, Spanish sound sculptor John Talabot crafts a slow-burning “Immediate Crash Alert” navigating the intricacies of lush grooves, tension building atmosphere, and shape-shifting arrangements.
Sleepless Moon (Queniv Remix)
OOSSHA, a newly fledged platform of the SoHaSo imprint with a focus on a warmer landscape, welcomes UK producer G. Markus to their family with an impressive “Warning” EP. Featuring two musically rich originals and a pair of stunning remixes by the Dutch producers queniv and Roger Gerressen, the package masterfully fuses 90’s jungle influences with driving old-school house, delicate ambient tones and twisted lo-fi funk.
Amsterdam-based talented producer queniv comes on board with a breakbeat-flavored reworking of the “Sleepless Moon”, lightly sprinkled with elements of ambient textures and atmospheres. Queniv’s penchant for twisted complex rhythms, breakbeat dynamics, and intricate widescreen harmonies add his own unique artistic touch which makes the remix a hypnotic listening, specifically in the context of a dance floor.