WORKSHOP 20. Kassem Mosse’s Workshop 19 LP was such a game changing record that it was pretty difficult envisioning a follow up on the ever-important Berlin techno imprint. Every aspect of the label emanates class, from the impeccable curation to the brilliantly minimal art direction to the unassuming untitled tracks. That leads us to this sleek new release by Workshop co-boss Lowtec (aka Jens Kuhn), his third release for the label, following Workshop 01 and 06.
Three uncompromising, lateral cuts of hybrid techno comprise this new 12”. B1 might be the most direct, with its saturated lumbering kick drum and wandering IDM leads. This record is available now.
H. S. - B1
PRB006. NYC via Kansas City artist Huerco S makes his return to Anthony Naples’ Proibito imprint, following the melted dance of last years killer Royal Crown of Sweden record. The A Verdigris Reader EP and its four untitled tracks come on the heels of a pair of compelling efforts for the label from Austin Cesear and Hank Jackson.
The obtusely anthemic ‘B1’ is vaguely reminiscent of the tense funk of 'Cercy', off Huerco S.’s Future Times 12”. The track gallops along in its own roundabout way amid searing synth lines, with silky strings entering to take it home. The menacing, alien bassline sounds on the verge of collapsing in on itself, and gives this one an atmosphere that is purely Huerco S.
Stunning new track from recent Ninja Tune signees Evy Jane, the duo consisting of Vancouver artists Evelyn Jane Mason and Jeremiah Klein. Evy Jane’s sound tends to occupy brighter frequencies than likeminded contemporary groups such as HTRK. ‘Worry Heart’ highlights Mason’s airy vocals and Klein’s spacious and unorthodox production style. Together they make for a wonderfully compelling listen.
Also worth revisiting is the duo’s breakthrough single from 2012 'Sayso'. Big things are sure to come from these two under the wing of Ninja Tune.
Project Pablo - Instant Coffee
HYB016. Rough n tumble, acid-inflected dance anthem from Vancouver artist Project Pablo (aka Patrick Holland). ‘Instant Coffee’ is driven by an immense kick and a killer repetitive hook, gaining momentum with stylish breakdowns. Previously 8prn, the producer has opted for his current moniker to pursue a more dance oriented path. ‘Instant Coffee’ is the B side cut from the 'Utensils' 12”, out August 7 on Hybridity Music. Lead tracks ‘Blender’ and ‘Fork’ explore brighter, more soulful directions. This release follows the digital only 'Basic' EP.
BOP002. On the heels of Patricia’s already canonized ‘Body Issues’ LP comes the second vinyl release on the vaunted Opal Tapes. Next turning to Vancouver hardware don Cloudface (née David Reynolds) Black Opal have made a stunning choice. Affiliated with Mood Hut, Reynolds has released two perfectly realized records in the past year— the Devonian Garden and Wyre Drive EPs, put out on Mood Hut and Going Good, respectively. Both releases highlighted the artist’s beautifully nuanced and detail oriented dance music, with a deep attachment to melody.
Seven wonderfully cohesive tracks span 'Untitled'. The slow house of opening track ‘Coffee’ sets the tone in style. The airy stasis jam ‘Bobok’ follows, with its subtle acid stabs accenting hypnotic lo-fi pads. Other highlights include the emotive trance of ‘Let Gone’ and the weightless, oscillating groove of ‘On None’. All in all ‘Untitled’ fits remarkably well into the Opal Tapes fold, alongside label artists HOLOVR, Huerco S. and 1991. The vinyl is beautifully packaged, and can be purchased here. Opal Tapes has recently announced a pivot towards vinyl, so be on the lookout for more forthcoming Black Opal releases. : )
MM004. In the wake of impressive releases from West Coast artists Sanctums, Michael Red and Monolithium, Modern Math breaks into the vinyl realm in style with this killer 12” from Vancouver artist and Undone neighbour ;) Taal Mala. Uniquely bold, ‘White Label Renegade’ perfectly harnesses the frenetic energy present in his varied DJ sets. Raucous pitched vocals cut through punishing kick drums while a slowed bass rhythm grounds the track beautifully. Classification is pretty unimportant here, and Taal Mala is completely at home on his own plane of dance music, much like artists such as Tessela. Overall, ‘White Label Renegade’ is a nicely focused, immediate statement, lending much excitement to Taal Mala’s trajectory. Grenier on the remix here too, so make sure you grab the vinyl. Limited copies!
Mood Hut sets their sights on the Vancouver summer with these three warm, classy cuts from Jack J, 0.5 of the Pender Street Steppers. Highly appropriate for July beach soirées, these tracks should garner some nice rotation this summer. The relaxed disco of ‘Looking Forward to You’ launches the record forward in celebratory fashion with balmy guitars and soft ascending bassline. ‘Take It to the Edge’ moves things deeper with chiming female vocals and classic sampling.
B Side ‘Something (On My Mind)’ is the tour de force here though, with its gauzy melody that cuts straight to your corazón. Matched with a beautifully floating bassline, the track is memorable even before the tear inducing sax melts in. This track has been hugely anticipated since it premiered on the Mood Hut Boiler Room session from earlier this year. Jack J might have provided the labels most immediate release so far, and it’s probably the record of the summer.
LT006. Hungarian sound artist Imre Kiss elevates from the patchwork passages of his beautifully textured Midnight Wave cassette tape on Farbwechsel to land within the Lobster Theremin camp for his first vinyl release. The Raw Energy EP delivers an inspired versatility characteristic of truly memorable records. ’Stellar 0102’ launches the journey in a wash of ambience before a saturated, disjointed kick gets things going. The frenetic, maximal euphoria of electro inflected tracks like ‘Non’ and ‘Raw Energy (ARPOS Session)’ would be completely at home on labels such as Pinkman or Forbidden Planet. In contrast, 'Spellbound' strides through confidently, a low lying mid-weighted house jam. 'Belief' leads out the release, coaxing the listener into a gentle stasis with a haunting looped vocal. Hopefully this record gets shipped out soon so we aren’t left hanging with these previews. ; )
Manuel Gonzales & Ramon Ramirez - Blowout
BH011. Killer new release forthcoming on shadowy UK imprint Berceuse Heroique. Specializing in limited run 12”s, the label has amassed an impressive string of raw techno records in the past year from the likes of and Gesloten Cirkel and Breaker 1 2. Here Detroit artist Manuel Gonzales (aka MGUN) opts to go by his given name alongside newcomer(?) Ramon Ramirez. The tense and oddly soothing ‘Blowout’ centres around a beautiful weighty kick amid elegant strings. The recent NGLY white label on LIES comes to mind here. Don’t sleep on this one.
Video by Dro Carey.
Khotin - Why Don’t We Talk
Enhance your day with these rich, colourful sounds from Edmonton artist Khotin, whose 'Hello World' cassette tape dropped this week on 1080p. Eight beautifully structured house tracks line the deeply melodic album, striking in its profound honesty. The delirious, immediately gratifying melody present in closing track ‘Why Don’t We Talk’ will no doubt remain in your consciousness long after listening. Now time to flip the tape.
Khotin (Dylan Khotin-Foote in real life) also runs the Normals Welcome label where he put out the outstanding 'Vitebsk'.
Talaboman - Sideral
Aptly named, Talaboman is a exciting collaborative project between John Talabot & Alex Boman . Just announced, the release of their debut 12” Sideral is due out August 11th and includes a remix from Matt Karmil. The record pays tribute to the legendary DJ Aleix “Sideral” Vergés, who ruled over Barcelona’s underground discotecas during the turn of the millennium and sadly passed away in 2006. The single which first premiered in John Talabots DJ kicks mix of last year, exudes desert dance floor vibes. Pulsing bass juxtaposing organic percussive beats, you can feel the groove taking hold before the the sun sets and the dust settles, and main synth line takes you into the night. Sticking with the true 50/50 collabrative theme the name implies, the album will be Released simultaneously on both Talabots label, Hivern Discs and Boman’s label, Studio Barnhus.
Head High - Megatrap (Mix Mix)
PH505. Oh wow. Shed all of a sudden drops a new record under his Head High moniker and we lose our shit. Released with no warning last week on the artists own Power House label, the Megatrap EP brings nine new cuts of raw, percussive dance music. The wonderfully titled ‘(Mix Mix)’ of the title track is a definite highlight with its powerful kick and classic vocal flip. Things really get going after poignant ambience enters before a riveting breakdown. Shed, through his respect for tradition and beautiful production, shows his true artistry once again.
Shanghai Den - The Sun
RS1407. Immense new record from secretive newcomer Shanghai Den, forthcoming on R&S. ‘The Sun’ is a beastly roller of a track, with its punishing low end and tense synth work. Effortlessly incorporating techno, dubstep and grime, its an enthralling piece of music. Also be sure to check out the equally engaging B side 'Vale W. Group Bench'. The hugely influential R&S is on a major roll of late, with killer recent releases from the likes of DBridge, Tessela, Lakker and Lone.
'The Sun / Vale W. Group' will be released June 30.
D. Tiffany - Chains
From the self-titled cassette by Nelson, BC artist D. Tiffany, released last week on Vancouver label 1080p. Steeped in a warm, inviting glow, the tape effortlessly maneuvers between wonderfully charming compositions.Gentle acid textures, and sublime falsetto vocal chops line ‘Chains’, amid a swirling, flexy lead synth pattern and a beautiful soft kick. The albums uplifting opening track, 'Tranq Moon' is another highlight. 1080p’s consistency is remarkable, especially considering its almost biweekly release rate.
Sully - Simple Things
LDN046. Killer revivalist jungle on London powerhouse Keysound Recordings. Sully’s 'Carrier' LP was a highlight album from 2011, with its rich, genre blending flavour. Now the artist returns, upping the tempo with the refreshing ‘Blue’ EP. Youthful exuberance pervades the record, conjuring faded memories of jungle legends Source Direct and Dillinja at their most melodic and lush.
The ‘Blue’ EP is produced with jarring precision, showcasing tight, delay-laden percussion amid patient colourful pads. Logos also contributes a killer slowed rework of the EP’s heavy title track. Overall the EP is another notch in the vaunted labels influential catalogue and a welcome return for this talented producer.