Top Five Releases || September
Skee Mask - Routine [Ilian Tape]
Following on from the success of the anonymous producer’s 2012 EP, Ilian Tape’s Skee Series continues with another four-tracker, this time in the form of rave-inspired, broken techno workouts. As has been the case with the majority of Skee Mask’s output, the quality is outstanding, and with this EP he potentially even surpasses any of his previous efforts. All four tracks stand equally on their own, but the pick for me, lying on the flip, is ‘Routine’, a sparse, beautifully-crafted composition of swirling breakbeats. Warm and uplifting, the track pays homage to rave-era breakbeat house and provides the perfect soundtrack for those early mornings.
Listen to the full EP
Matt Karmil - Can't Find It (The House Sound) [Smalltown Supersound]
With previous releases on Studio Barnhus and Idle Hands, Smalltown Supersound welcome Matt Karmil for his debut. A man of many talents whose sound takes him around the block touching techno, disco and ambient. His musical career was really based around working as a producer-engineer in London, Paris, Stockholm and Berlin with bits of djing and record collecting on the side. Eventually after settling in Cologne he was convinced by mates to release some of his productions. Now his productions have hit the mainstream with his 12” on Yumé Records premiering on Boiler Room debuts. His most recent track ‘Can’t Find It (The House Sound)’ has got a really soothing feel to it with its early morning reverie playing to his ambient roots.
Axefield - Pressure Drop [Atomnation]
The Amsterdam based label Atomnation is at it again with their 49th outing. This label is notorious for releasing music from prolific producers such as Gidge, Sau Poler and Applescal. Joining the labels long line of celebrated artists is Willem Bijeveld, a.k.a Axefield. Axefield has been going from strength to strength in the last couple of years. Firstly with the creation of his own imprint Who’s Susan in 2016 and then in 2017 he contributed to Dream Raw Recordings 6th release with ‘Sleep On My Menu’. However, those accomplishments were just a taste of his brilliance. His debut release, ‘Pressure Drop’ is where he has truly shone and expressed his true talent. The record consists of four blissfully produced tracks that each reveal a different element to his eclectic style of production.
‘Ostrich Ride To Other’ kicks of the record, and wow what an introduction! Initially unassuming with its slow tantric nature, but as it progresses so does that delicious acid. What Axefield does best is the way he can place great emphasis on a trudging rhythm with squelchy synths and still make it sound alluringly melodic. ‘Walk Under the Falls’ follows a similar form to the opener with its thick bassline and penetrating acid, however it carries a more dreamlike sensation. The whispering samples and the distorted sounds are what separate it from the first track, but by no means do they diminish its inventiveness (one for the Lo-Fi heads). Track three takes us straight into the jungle with the echoing chirps from exotic birds accompanied by sporadic bongos. As you delve deeper into the jungle Axefield hits right back with a sticky synthy shower and reminds you that it wouldn’t be his sound if there were no acid put into play. The finale of the journey is ‘Power of Resonance’. This is the club ready track of the record with its pounding energy, electrifying piano and mischievous cow bell making it sound like it originated from Manchester in the 90’s.
A wonderful debut release from the incredibly gifted Axefield. He is definitely an artist you will be seeing more and more of very soon. He has also been kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about ‘Pressure Drop’, so keep your eyes peeled on the YO website.
FYI Chris - House Dog [Church]
Jehovah-Jiareh, The Lord Provider – The Chris boys have finally blessed us with 'House Dog'. Having incessantly teased us on just about every single one of their Balamii Radio shows over the past year – FYI Chris have swept down from Peckham heaven and graced us with the feel-good track of the year. Nearly 8 minutes of rip-roaring unadulterated fun. Crackling trumpet, floating keys, stripped-back bass, drums and melody; all garnished with a killer vocal – they just make it seem so damn easy.
Returning to release on label hombres Church, the entire ‘Home Alone’ EP was always going to be something special; summed up perfectly by the label’s line that “the whole thing started to really move with these guys.” Drip-feeding us with a string of releases throughout 2017, the continual production talents of these two know no bounds. Enshrined in their Solid Steel show back in May that comprised entirely of their own handiwork, it’s clear they just love making music, in their own words, “pretty much every week.”
I think we may well have some Dogggs in the house. Keep ‘em coming Chris’.
Listen to the full EP
Chekov - Rotlicht [Peach Discs]
The third release on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs imprint sees the debut release from Leeds-based producer, Chekov. Not much can be said about the artist; yet from the completely fresh feel of each track of the EP and from his monstrous ‘Stasis 113’ track, which has had plays from Lena Willikens, Call Super and the legendary hometown Hessle crew. Chekov is obviously a gifted sonic-architect who’s spent his time shaping a very unique signature from a multitude of influences.
‘Bierce’ is a jaggered, downtempo industrial cut. There’s a definite element of hysteria in the track that’ll have your head twisting in this subtly-building subdued chaos. Listeners and dancers alike won’t avoid succumbing to the trudging rhythm and rippeling bass. ‘Rotlicht’ is focused around EBM style kicks and agitated percussion elements, yet has an irresistibly slow funky force to it. It keeps you swirling around with continually added surprises, like the fun dubby-electro drops. Overall, it’s a neat composition of dichotomized elements. Another slow-burner, ‘Tooththru’ has a groovier rhythm with a smooth swing to it, yet it still remains as odd as the others. Broken beats keep it mildly neurotic. Be sure to keep your ears open for new releases from Chekov as he steps up amongst the current UK techno producers.
Listen to the full EP
Words by Tom G, Jack A, Max J, Marcus P & Fred D