With WaqWaq Kingdom reduced to a duo, DJ Scotch Egg & Kiki Hitomi (ex-King Midas Sound) are synthesising some of their most direct and outright fun music to date. WaqWaq Kingdom’s mashup of genres takes dancehall bump, chip-tune bloops and polyrhythmic drums, and weaves them all into wild avant-pop tunes somewhere between The Knife at their rawest and Boredoms at their most tuneful. Recent single ‘Doggy Bag’ is a fierce banger taking aim at tackling food waste. “Nan demo IIkedo Doggy Bag!”, whispers Kiki Hitomi atop distorted handclaps and eight-bit bloops — “We shouldn’t waste food, and get doggy bag!”
Ben Vince & Jacob Samuel
Having collaborated with the synthetically adventurous likes of Mica Levi, Klein and Joy Orbison, this pairing choose here to go back to basics and improvise raw piano and sax duets. The results, as heard on ‘Fig 1’, are surprisingly soulful, and less jagged than expected. Samuel’s piano ushers Vince’s parps away from atonal squeaks and towards a dramatic and evocative, almost romantic sensibility.
Mark Nelson's Pan American drifts away from the dub electronics that have populated his career, and leans into the roots of pure Americana and wistful folksy guitar music on ‘Memphis Helena’: ”expansive but intimate” states Kranky, correctly. Nelson’s more sonically innovative work is naturally missed, but the naked emotional purity of this guitar and vocal tune has always been at the heart of his music. A haunting experience.
Broken Spine Productions
Prolific Berlin-based Torontonian Aidan Baker cuts the crap on the opening track of his ambitious, recent multifaceted self-release, 'The Forever Tapes'. ‘Night Drive’ is a propulsive kraut-influenced jammer, with Baker’s rollicking bass and hypnotic drum loop rumbling on in a brooding manner that could well work indefinitely. In fact, Baker’s taken the measure of concurrently dropping hour-long remixes of all the tracks on 'The Forever Tapes', pushing repetition to inane limits.
Taken from the soundtrack to a multimedia show using dance, sound and visuals to explore a "sense of transition", this track wonderfully allots space to tense processed strings, warped, wordless alien voices and post-rave kick drum thuds. London-based producer Piksel does well to capture the space between the angst of tension and the beauty of relief, and she always offers up rhythmic dancefloor possibilities inside a greyscale mire.
Avon Terror Corps
In the midst of a brilliantly messy new compilation of tracks from Bristol’s Avon Terror Corps, ‘The Poison’ by Salac is an especially brilliant trip into distorted industrial braindance. Screeching feedback curls around the edges of a punishing drum machine, while fuzzy ambience creeps in and out between verses of bewitched ceremonial singspeak. The entire compilation is full of rough and distorted bangers from unknown names worth getting to know.
'Touch (w/ Holly Waxwing & Giant Claw)'
Hyper-realism gets even more hyper on this track from Galen Tipton, put together with contemporaries/DAW sparring partners/mentors Holly Waxwing and Giant Claw. OTT sampling and delicately faked digital instrumentation fire out constantly, bouncing between more pop production tricks per minute than it’s possible for the human brain to keep up with. Synth strings and fractured R&B vocal snippets slither inside a collapsing digital cave, reaching truly ecstatic highs.
The title of this track by Rome-based artist Alessandro Tedeschi (aka Netherworld), comes from the Latin name for polar bear. Created entirely on a Roland VP-9000 connected to a multi-effect rack, and while cradling his baby daughter, this majestic excursion into arctic ambience lives up to its title. Icy cold soundscapes hover in stasis, while bass rumbles and a clustered rhythmic sample stumble on like a gentle giant trudging through deep snow.