Top Five Releases || January
Sorcerer - Jungle Hideout [Real Balearic]
Following on from last summers album Video Magic on Ibiza/London based label Real Balearic, Sorcerer returns with more sun-soaked sounds. Jungle Hideout is an easy listening, blissful and beautiful Balearic LP. From start to finish the album is a delight but highlights are ‘Afro-Heaven’, ‘Secret Agent’ and ‘Watercolour Jungle’.
The San Francisco based American Dan Judd (aka Sorcerer) kicked off his career as the founding member of hometown band Call And Response and after previously released under the Windsurf alias with friend Sam Grawe of Hatchback. Jungle Hideout, the third Sorcerer album to date, is packed full of goods and a suitbaly bright and colourful sleeve for the vinyl heads - go grab it!
Various Artists - Contemporary Dance [Opal Tapes]
Opal Tapes run by Stephen Bishop (AKA Basic House) has sprung into the New Year with a fresh compilation packed full of murky and gruelling sounds. There’s both a return of the label’s familiar names and a handful of newcomers, with them all contributing diverse tracks that are satisfyingly rough around the edges and evoke the imagination in absurd ways.
The comp starts of with a mix of dramatic downtempo and ambient tracks that set a somber tone as if luring one into some dark unavoidable dreamscape. Happa & Pete Martell’s ‘NR OFF’ plunges you right in, toying your sanity with a manic sense of dread conjured through scratchy hi-hats, unpredictable distortion and off-key drones. Perfume Advert’s delivers a contrastingly sooth new-age melody, and Lyubocha’s provides a hazy dubbed-out house track.
The compilation gradually gets darker and weirder after Patrica’s droney yet mellow ‘Static Scene’. The ghostly vocal on ‘Black Jungle For Geometrist’ really twists things into headier realm. Manse’s minimalist stuttering drum sequencing is another weird trip that escalates into a cantering frenzy. The pace is then gathered further with a sequence of hefty abrasive techno. From dubstep bass blended with hypnotic bleeps on ‘Cue Two’, to stereotypically gritty industrial from Clouds and the jacking lo-fi cut, ‘Begin Harassment’, the faces behind these tracks reveal the fun to be had when cultivating weird and dirty techno.
Playgroup - Previously unreleased EP 2 [Yes Wave]
Big fan of this one from the second edition of Trevor Jackson’s Playgroup Series, an alias of his that dates back to the early ‘00’s. Back in last summer Mr Jackson treated us to nine unreleased EP’s over nine consecutive weeks. EP 2 has just been repressed and it comes as no surprise as its the real winner out of them. Particularly the first track ‘Doin It Right’, that is a low-slung disco wobbler which I have had on repeat all day. On the other side there is ‘Flyte Mode’ which is again quite slow, but it incorporates some cosmic influences. ‘Live at the Funhouse’ again follows in the footsteps of the others being a slow cosmic fizz.
Mindex - From East To West [Time Resonance]
Mindex is one of those rare multi-genre wizards who can effortlessly combine sound inspirations such as Jazz , Funk, Electro, Classical, Glitch and Psy into his groovey wonky beats.
He founded the label Time Resonance, based out of Moscow and in its own words, cooking up, “music for flexible bodies and demanding minds.“ The label more than lives up to the intriguing bio, bringing slinky, glitchy bits of funky sound design to the listeners ear.
'From East to West' is an incredible piece. Starting off with a thump, the groove soon becomes apparent, evolving with mischievous synth jabs, bleeps and twonks that can't help but bring a grin - enjoy!
Pete Callard – No Show [Nein Records]
Starting the year with an excellent 4-track EP on Nein Records is cosmic artist Pete Callard. Soaring throughout the tracks are a strong sense of ‘here we go’. Strong bass lines and the delicate tici taci of various drum machines come together with simple but catchy melodies to assert that solid groove. The three original tracks can stand alone as A-sides all by themselves. Two of them coming in at eight minutes, excellent tools for any DJs record bag who’s aim is to slowly shift his set up a gear. The Bizzeea! Remix is my personal highlight endorsing break beat and industrial sounding EBM resulting in a more atmospheric tune that can set the tone for change in a set. These records feel like they were built with DJing in mind, which in any case makes them a whole lot of fun. No filler here!
Words by Ben C, Fred, Jack, Giles & Ben S