It's a welcome return for DJ Plead as he follows his highly rated EP 'Get In Circle' on Decisions last year. The Australian/Lebanese producer's latest effort lands on TSVI's Nervous Horizon imprint. Much like the label founder, DJ Plead also draws upon traditional and historical influences from his heritage to unique effect. The live-sounding congas and looped flutes on lead track ‘Baharat’ glide into disarray, with a ten-tonne sub-bass designed to shake speaker stacks up to the rafters. 'Salt and Pepper' features spaced-out drum hits that keep it effortlessly rolling, while 'Ruby' engages vocals and traditional instruments inspired by Plead’s Middle-Eastern background with thumping percussion that draws it into the here and now. 'Liquify' focuses on fast-paced and intricate drum patterns, spacious congas and tight-knit shakers that command the lead. 'Crush And Burn' almost takes the shape of dancehall rhythms with its offset claps, and evolving melodies that filter into each other seamlessly. This is production that packs a serious punch.
Anastasia Kristensen’s rise to prominence has been meteoric — and deservedly so. The Moscow-born, Copenhagen-based artist has proven her adeptness at blending thundering techno, slick electro and ruffneck breaks time and time again in the DJ booth, while her productions have a unique, wonky edge that demands attention. Her debut for Warp offshoot Arcola is packed with off-kilter, glitchy urgency (‘LXR Jam’, ‘Donni’), while the title-track is a sombre roller, and comes with a heavyweight breaks edit to crank up the energy level. Superb.
Berlin-based Brit Cressida sidesteps from his usual jackhammer techno to explore sparser, yet no less brutal, terrain. ‘No Luv Ting’ goes from clunky brute into sugar-plum fairy; ‘SansF’ is steelwork hip-hop and ‘What Are You Like’ journeys through various punchy percussion before collapsing into noise and delay. The name of the game is very much Screwball Scramble — class A mind-fuckery throughout. The straightest effort here is the ominous, homage-to-grime half-stepper ‘Borneo Function’, which earns double marks for the Peep Show reference.
Maya Bouldry-Morrison, aka Octo Octa, has been going from strength to strength and her latest outing for Ninja Tune subsidiary Technicolour is no exception. 'I Need You' is nine minutes of ethereal harmonies and ever-changing filtered vocals, drums that crescendo into full-on breaks, and swirling synths and spoken word amidst the breakdown. 'Bodies Meld Together' focuses on percussion, encompassing 808 kicks and 909 hats, before deep house vocal stabs and chords take it into deeper territories. Finally, 'Loops For Healing' follows suit with glorious washed-out piano.
‘From The Cave To The World’
Uganda’s Nyege Nyege festival has become THE place to find fresh, forward-thinking talent from East Africa, and spin-off label Hakuna Kulala is a treasure trove for cutting-edge, genre-crossing releases from associated, local artists. Studio manager for Boutiq Studios (owned and operated by Nyege Nyege), Don Zilla showcases the label aesthetic perfectly with a heavy payload club bomb built on jagged low-end, footwork energy and subtle polyrhythms. Check the flip for a 13-minute journey.
‘Hold The Line’
Mani Festo has established himself as one of the most exciting talents amongst the current crop of rave revivalists, never simply copying the past, but always adding his own spin. His debut for Mantra and Double O’s Rupture offers four varied cuts all built to do heavy damage on the dancefloor. Opening with a gnarled steppa, there’s a serious nod to grime from the title-track, while our favourites — a hard choice rest assured — are hyperactive junglist workout ‘Awake’ and psychedelic hardcore cut ‘Warehouse Theory’.