Reviews - | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Compilations - Issue 609

V/A

Alterity

Houndstooth
8.5
Since it was set up in 2013, Rob Booth and Rob Butterworth’s Houndstooth label has earned a big following for its adventurous and leftfield electronic music output. It’s released straight-up club material by Special Request and Anastasia Kristensen, the off-world experimentalism of Aïsha Devi and the gothic pop of Penelope Trappes. Its latest compilation, ‘Alterity’, falls somewhere in between, with a selection of futuristic beats from around the world that could equally power the sets of the most fearless DJs, or inspire essays about what the tunes might possibly mean. The word alterity, meaning a state of otherness, is apt to describe these decidedly unconventional creations. Drawing together producers from China, Kenya, Tunisia, Uruguay, Portugal, the US and UK, what the artists on this compilation share is a club music approach, taking ideas from multiple genres and worldwide musical traditions and meshing them into fresh hybrids. On ‘We’ve All Been There’, Shanghai’s Gooooose conjures beats that skirt the edges of gqom and two-step, throwing in a glistening Detroit techno-jazz riff to mesmeric effect. Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed employs the lolloping percussion of North Africa on ‘Abbrejiyeytar’, combining it with creeping synth. On ‘Shogai’, Kenya’s Slikback suggests grime, trap and footwork, and adds eerie drones, sounding like exhalations of steam from some strange machine. AMAZONDOTCOM & Siete Catorce offer a frantic scramble of beats on ‘Absent City’ that connote kuduro, dubstep and minimal techno, but end up as something shockingly new. Debit’s ‘Primal Use Of Wind’ is all weird tintinnabulations and uncanny machine burrs. One misstep is DRVGジラ’s ‘Funeral Flowers’, which sounds like a dodgy trance DJ having a bad day. ‘Alterity’ manages to define the nebulous club music sound — demonstrating how internet connectivity and a divergent approach have helped produce a thrillingly unconstrained worldwide movement. BEN MURPHY
Ben Murphy

V/A

Door To The Cosmos

On The Corner

Afrofuturist-inspired jazz, house
7.5
London label On The Corner draws from the Afrofuturist influence of Sun Ra to create an intercontinental, intergalactic collection, charting the spaces between jazz, dub, techno and house. Over 24 tracks, hybrids abound, as organic percussion and brass merge with frenetic club beats inspired by the sounds of Detroit, London, Niger, New York, New Orleans and beyond. Cuban-Iranian quartet Ariwo fuse modular synths and freewheeling jazz brass with organic Latin rhythms, all with a dub undercurrent, on ‘Flameback Dance’. There are three appearances from Peruvian cumbia futurists Dengue Dengue Dengue, with remixes from Nicola Cruz and Quixosis. Optimo’s J.D. Twitch creates humid trip-hop on ‘Agyapong’, while Brooklyn’s Afrikan Sciences’ remix of Collocutor’s ‘Lost & Found’ takes us right to the door of the cosmos. EOIN MURRAY
Eoin Murray

V/A

The Remixes

Unchained Recordings

Unrestricted D&B
7.0
Unchained has spent the past four years persuading the club kids of Hong Kong and Shenzhen that D&B is their new best friend. The strategy of its founders — using the crossover between hip-hop and halftime to introduce audiences to more ‘traditional’ D&B structures and sounds — has worked wonders, and is clear to see on this compilation of remixes from label regulars and newbies alike. Growling, neuro-esque b-lines and hard-stepping rhythms reign supreme, though perhaps at the expense of some of the variety shown elsewhere in the label’s catalogue. Highlights come from Kabuki’s Kavinsky-esque rework of ‘Sirens’, Rohaan’s reverse-drop remix of ‘Unreal’, Royalston’s jittering spin on ‘Fakeworld’, Sinistarr’s stripped ‘n’ savage take on ‘VOTPW’, and HØST’s brain-melting closer. Special mention also goes to Berlin-based Yoofee, whose tearing footwork-jungle version of ‘Backwitda’ secured its spot via competition. Bravo! BEN HINDLE
Ben Hindle

V/A

Worst Behavior Vol.3

Worst Behavior

High-speed weaponry
8.5
Bell Curve and Anna Morgan’s Worst Behavior has put out just five releases in two years, but has positioned itself as an essential outlet for hybridised rave music. Its longest compilation to date, ‘Vol. 3’ is a tale of two halves. The first, dreamy footwork and footwork-jungle concoctions, like Nikki Nair’s delicate ‘Pah’, the ritualistic ‘DarkWhite’ by Mars Kasei & Deeplinkin, and transportive bleeps of Yazzus’ ‘Dreamwalker’ and DJ FLP’s ‘Tunnel’. The second ruptures the peace with peak-time boisterousness, as with the thunderous chug of DJ Girl’s ‘Psychosis’, Stranjah’s imposing, halftime ‘Fortress’, and the unabashed ‘Slurpee’ by bastiengoat — a raucous turbo cut that leans towards happy hardcore. Tied off by a jungle deconstruction by Bell Curve, those whose sets hover around 160-170bpm will find this an indispensable collection. BEN HINDLE
Ben Hindle