‘Man On Mountain’
Don’t Be Afraid
Returning with her first new music since 2017’s incredible ‘Rembo’ LP, Karen Gwyer’s ‘Man On Mountain’ EP is yet another collection of razor-sharp, kinetic techno and ensnaring electronics. Stepping up once again on the ever-consistent Don’t Be Afraid, Gwyer fuses jolting, rapid rhythms with hyper-emotive melodies and bass grooves to carve an atmosphere that is simultaneously liberated and melancholic, shadowy and alert. Unmistakable, urgent and nuanced, Gwyer uses her enviable analogue setup to joyfully manipulate the conventions of house and techno on tracks like ‘Faces On Ankles’ and ‘Cherries On Shoulders’, while ‘Ian On Fire’ and ‘Ribbon On Neck’ showcase her knack for introspective experimentalism and sound design. The release of ‘Man On Mountain’ comes in perfect tandem with Gwyer’s new split EP with Swedish producer Johanna Knutsson on Oscillate Tracks. With two more cuts of kaleidoscopic melody and irresistible rhythm on offer there, this summer marks a triumphant return for a truly singular artist whose inimitable approach never fails to captivate.
Dissect, Sicknote & J.Bionic
‘Celestial (Spirit Remix)’
Prior to his passing in August last year, the Paws Recordings crew asked Duncan Busto, aka revered drum & bass producer Spirit, for a remix to close out their short-lived label. What he delivered was a classic example of Spirit raucousness. Stripping back the dense percussion in favour of a clean step, the track rolls out for a full three minutes before revealing Busto’s dastardly plan: hammering breaks, roaring bass and gnarly stabs erupting into a wall of noise. Another little reminder of why he’s so sorely missed.
Laurent Garnier & Chambray
The French techno maestro hasn’t put any music out for well over two years, so this is a much-anticipated return — and it doesn’t disappoint. Teaming up with Berlin-based Chambray on the original, metronomic beats are soon joined by a muted cowbell and a synapse-burrowing, rasping b-line until exultant keys join the fray. But these aren’t cheesy keys: think ‘Strings Of Life’ or Layo & Bushwacka’s ‘Love Story’, as the slightly melancholic chords power it to a close. Rekids boss Radio Slave chimes in with two revamps.
Originally from New Jersey but based in Philadelphia, DJ Haram’s sets blend Jersey, Philly, and Baltimore club music with blistering effect. On her latest EP she combines these influences, while paying homage to her Middle Eastern roots. A charged collection of percussive club music, the Darbuka rhythm and war drums across 'No Idol' and 'Gemini Rising' are highlights. An album on Hyperdub from Haram's project with Moor Mother, 700 Bliss, is also in the pipeline, and on the basis of ‘Grace’, we can’t wait.
‘Naked Fuse’/’Divide & Rule’/’Knuckle Duster’
Amit returns to Headz for the first time since 2012, delivering three typically obsidian cuts. Each heads down the brooding dub route, sparse drums making way for heaps of chugging low-end, punctured by the odd delay-heavy sample on ‘Naked Fuse’ and ‘Divide & Rule’. It’s closer ‘Knuckle Duster’ that commands the spotlight, however. Unleashing a synth line that sounds like firing coarse aggregate through a machine gun, Amit offers brief moments of relief with playful filtering, but never allows the track to be anything short an absolute weapon.
‘Time 2 Time’
Moot Tapes founder Peter Lawlor, aka Polytunnel, makes his Childsplay debut with his most accomplished release to date, ‘Time 2 Time’. Over the course of four tracks, the Kilkenny-based producer crafts an atmosphere that is at once dazzling and gritty, dancefloor-ready and dreamlike. ‘Hypersex’, with its sharp breaks and heaving bass, launches into the off-kilter rhythm and melodic bleeps of ‘Stargate’. ‘Stellavista’ is a mesmerising, sci-fi invoking trip, while the title track closes proceedings off with a touch of luxurious acid.
Desert Sound Colony
Touch From A Distance
Nick Höppner's imprint is on it's fifth outing and already a home for must-have records. Desert Sound Colony returns after providing the label's inaugural EP. The A1 is a ruffed-up, bumpy excursion while the A2 takes minimal blips and UK garage rhythms into the stratosphere with cosmic pads, and a highly familiar vocal clip. Ever-changing claps on the B1 keep it swinging, chunky drums and talking basslines providing the glue for other straying sounds, while the B2 steadily rolls into 2-step. A touch of London.