Highlights of 2017: EP's
Mark - Here Comes A Fucking Startup Campus Campus [A Colourful Storm]
One of the last year’s most forward-thinking records from Mark’s first outing for A Colourful Storm. The result is an exquisitely-derived concoction of nervous percussive rattles, shimmering static and fraught low frequencies that, together, provides one of 2017’s most intriguing and beguiling sonic experiences. Almost impossible to be definitively categorised, the record combines drum and bass with a contemporary presentation of musique-concrète, and could easily be placed amongst the back-catalogue of Blackest Ever Black, or alongside the recent Vtgnike LP on Gost Zvuk. In any case, it’s one to behold and fascinate with.
Pablo Color - Viajando [Ish Records]
‘Viajando’ is a beautiful release brimming with spacey Downtempo magic. The four-track EP, released on Ish Records, was Pablo Color’s debut and it was an impressive one to say the least. The Zurich based Swiss producer takes us on a blissful journey with his echo-laden guitar on the three originals which are complimented at the end by Kejeblos’s take on the title track - an equally charming production. Since this release Pablo has not released anything, but he has promised new music soon so we look forward to it.
Alek Lee- SFAROT [Antinote]
Alek Lee’s 'Sfarot', released in March, is a strange little EP. Off the Parisian label Antinote, the EP features the title track, a dub mix of the track, and a tune called 'Harabait'. The record is bizarre and wonderful, it has a Middle Eastern sound to it, and seems to somewhat transcend musical key. It is, however, undeniably one to groove to. Both tracks have a very slow chuggy rhythm, with wicked little melodies that are alluring in their strangeness. Interspersed with some unearthly samples and exotic instruments, this EP is sure to bring a little freshness to your ear.
Bullion – Blue Pedro [The Trilogy Tapes]
This is some serious serious fun from Deek Recordings co-founder Bullion. Title track 'Blue Pedro' quite rightly stole the headlines – a hearty sun soaked voyage laced with an unbelievably uplifting melody and enough bounce to stick with you for the rest of the week. The B-side is supplied with two more-than-worthy adversaries - 'Spin2Glory' elicits shades of Todd Terje at his cosmic best and 'Muy Quimedas' is filled to the brim with some exceptional sampling. Keep your eyes firmly on Bullion.
Ferdi - Little River/Befreit [Claremont 56]
Following the amazing Claremont 56 10 Year Anniversary box set release, the label ended the year with an exquisite two-track EP. Augsburg based, German producer Ferdi Schuster submitted his debut release to one of his favourite labels, Claremont 56, and label founder Paul "Mudd" Murphy was 'astonished by what he heard' and to no surprise snapped them up; he went on further to say he 'believes the two tracks showcased on this 12” are amongst the best things the label has released for some time' - we couldn't agree more! These two delicate downtempo originals showcase Ferdi's compositional, playing and production skills in a light beyond his current youthful discography.
Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference [Young Turks]
Last year Kamasi Washington yet again delivered with his unsurmountable genius as composer, band leader and saxophonist, with an ambitious yet completely magnificent EP. 'Harmony of Difference', although stretched across the constraints of a 12” EP, takes on the role of a triumphant album. Not only does it explore exciting harmonic and melodic complexities but hits on a slightly more symbolic note of where his music stands politically and socially.
Through this six track performance, we are blessed with many of the simple rudiments of jazz, with every one of the compositions hitting uniquely on a different style. From speedy big band style swing, to dragged out broken-beat grooves, Washington explores the sheer scale and range of his incredible talents. The final track ‘Truth’, is a 13-minute cinematic masterpiece, an orchestral journey that perfectly completes such an epic display of ambition and prowess. ‘Harmony of Difference’ is arguably some of Washington’s best work yet.
Listen to the full release
Various Artists Vol 1 [Vinyl Only]
The seventh release from Ugly Frankie’s, Vinyl Only label was a fresh range of sounds and lesser known producers who are slowly crawling their way onto the scene. With releases from old-timers like YSE Saint Laur’ant and Ugly Frankie himself, the seventh edition makes way for the likes of Bubbadog, Minus The Majors and Alex Zuiev. The EP itself is a rich burst of funk, woozy house and jazz with an exotic twist brought by Alex Zuiev’s ‘Down By The River’. All in all your getting a real range of music for all moods and occasions, whilst the EP still manages to stick to a house based theme. A very worthy release to support a talented bunch of up and coming producers.
LOFT - Three Settlements Four Ways [Wisdom Teeth]
The second 12” EP from Manchester’s rising-star, LOFT, is a mind-blowing display of truly original, teeth grinding and heart pumping electronic artistry. As with the rest of LOFT’s output, the focus is on deconstructing club-music as it has become set in conventions over the last few decades. Each track on the EP is offering something new – a re-contextualization of classical motifs, restructuring of sonic progressions; there’s heaps of collage work, unconventional sound designs, poly-rhythms, agitated moods – whilst all working towards a truly mind-altering listening experience. ‘Funemployed’ is the standout track with it machine-gun grittiness and its fun mix ‘n’ match of individual sonic elements, all crafted in a wonderful jittery club track that lies somewhere between an Objekt club banger and a psychedelic cut from M.E.S.H.’s output.
Real J – WOLF 040 [Wolf Music]
Last February we highlighted Real J’s ‘Stuck in the Realness’ EP as one of the top releases of the month, out on Waxtefacts. Since then he featured on the same line ups as Brighton’s Wolf Music boys on the infamous IBoat in his home town of Bordeaux. Much was talked about over red wine and cheese and another member of the ‘pack’ was born. David Cabanne has since joined them on Peckham’s Balamii radio station and released this sandy 4-track double sided disc via the label.
WOLF EP 040 is littered with wistful vocal samples; nonchalant, airy drops and beautiful piano keys. Accompanied with some unhurried, shuffling drums that edge each track along perfectly, they make for a truly romantic energy. ‘Here I Am’ and ‘Freshly Squeezed’ set the tone on the A-side while on the B, ‘One Way Ticket’ comes at a slightly quicker pace but the idle synths and cuddly pads still make it quite possible to lose your head in dreamland. It’s disco for a lazy, hazy Sunday afternoon dance. Paw to the floor indeed, hopefully we will see more of Real J on our shores in the months to come.
Corporation Mindfuck - The Mindfuck [Hard Beach Entertainment]
It’s always difficult to choose a single EP, over the course of a year, that stands above the rest. So- Ploy’s ‘Intrigued By The Drum’ was an unexpected atmospheric, almost tropical rumbler on a great label. Good Plus continued their world edit, obscurity moon mission with the ‘Togosava' EP and Tito Wun gave his feel good ‘Special Edits’ a much needed wider release.
Randomer returned to L.I.E.S. with the typically hard hitting ‘Smokin’, complete with a ridiculous title track. The enigmatic S.O.N.S continued their exploration of Tokyonese suburbs with the short but excellent ‘Shimokitazawa One Night’. As well as having a hand in the closest thing to my top EP of 2017: Corporation Mindfuck’s brilliant premiere electro record- ‘The Mindufck' EP. Obergman’s ‘Quantum Eraser’ was similarly superlative in the same genre.