Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pet Shop Boys – 10 of the best

Beneath the bright pop surface, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s long career of anthemic dance music fizzes with personal reflections, political ideas and cultural references

A dining room in Blackpool witnessed the birth of Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe didn’t meet there: that happened in a Chelsea electronics shop, where an idle chat about dance music and synthesisers began a lifelong friendship and musical partnership. That friendship also inspired the lyrics to the first song they wrote together, for which Chris Lowe composed the melody on a piano in the dining room of his parents’ house in Blackpool.

Related: Pet Shop Boys: cab drivers ask us if we've retired

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by Jude Rogers via Electronic music | The Guardian

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DJ Octo Octa on coming out as transgender: 'Everyone was confused, then it was OK'

Maya Bouldry-Morrison’s first album since publicly transitioning presents her confident self to the world – and the new tracks mirror her progression from past anxiety to upbeat present

For the cover shot of Octo Octa’s new album, the Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Maya Bouldry-Morrison is kneeling on a bed in a San Francisco hotel room wearing a $25 dress and stockings. Glasses on, her face is set in a goofy version of the Mona Lisa smile. Deciphering it is fun; there’s a playful pop-chart sultriness, a hint of pride, and perhaps a sense that she would rather get the shoot over and done with.

However reluctant she looks, the decision for Bouldry-Morrison to put her image at the forefront of the release – something rare to see in electronic music, in which even the most conventional, dominant-male acts don masks to perform – goes deeper than simple aesthetics. It’s the first album she’s produced since coming out as transgender, a work she describes as “emotional content”.

Everyone I knew was in punk and hardcore bands. I had no idea how to release this stuff

Not all clubs everywhere have an inviting community of people inside

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by Will Coldwell via Electronic music | The Guardian

Barclay Crenshaw built an empire from nothing. Is he the next unlikely hip-hop star?

Claude VonStroke came from obscurity to win Best DJ over the Chainsmokers. Can he pull off the same trick in a new genre with a new stage name?

Blood is running down a guy’s arm. He shoves his way across the patio of the Airliner in Los Angeles, a soggy cocktail napkin blooming red under his nose, and bumps into a girl bending over the ledge with a cigarette dangling off her lip. Another girl hands out Jell-O shots to her friends. There are always too many people at Low End Theory, the weekly, world-renowned Wednesday night gathering where beat devotees come to bob their heads and get their minds blown by producers, DJs and rappers. But on this frigid, winter evening, the club is swollen more than normal, and with lots of newbies. They’re here to see one of their favorite house producers, Claude VonStroke.

Related: Claude VonStroke's favourite tracks

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by Rebecca Haithcoat via Electronic music | The Guardian

Monday, March 27, 2017

New band of the week: Phoenix and the Flower Girl (No 145)

The last ever New Band of the Week brings an appropriately phantasmagoric end to the column’s 11-year run

Hometown: Tokyo and London.

The lineup: Phoenix Troy (music), Flower (artistic director).

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by Paul Lester via Electronic music | The Guardian

Friday, March 24, 2017

Soulwax: From Deewee review – impressive, seamless art experiment

(Play It Again Sam)

Hearing that Soulwax’s latest was recorded in one take – a process that must, then, have taken them a whopping 49 minutes and 5 seconds – makes you wonder what took them so long. It has been more than a decade since the last Soulwax studio album (2005’s Nite Versions). Then again, the Belgian duo – with their 2manydjs DJ sets, remix duties and various alter-ego bands – are no slouches, and so it transpires that the one-take rule was installed as a means to push themselves into uncharted territory rather than just because they wanted to play more Candy Crush. Three drummers were used, for instance, helping them ramp up the rhythmic energy on tracks such as Trespassers. As an art experiment, From Deewee – named after their studio in Ghent – is impressive: you would never guess the precise Kraftwerkian twinkles of Conditions of a Shared Belief were recorded without painstaking layering. But the songs themselves can fail to grab you as the whole thing whizzes seamlessly by.

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by Tim Jonze via Electronic music | The Guardian

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Moonlandingz: Interplanetary Class Classics review – gleefully untamed pop


As an increasingly homogenised pop landscape reaches peak Sheeran, this collaboration between part of the Fat White Family and Sheffield electronic oddballs Eccentronic Research Council adopts a gleefully untamed, bull-in-a-record-shop approach. It’s an inspired mish-mash of Glitter Band tribal drumming, a howling wolf, tuneless saxophone squawking, heavy breathing and at least one narrative about castration; a sort of Cramps-meet-B-52s Hammer horror-rock monster. Guests range from a wailing Yoko Ono to the cowboy from the Village People (on schlock stomper Glory Hole). It should be an unholy mess, but songs as diverse as The Strangle of Anna (an outsider ballad sung by Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor), Black Hanz (motorik electro psych) and I.D.S. (about Iain Duncan Smith, with the chorus “40,000 years of Job Club”) are held together by really sharp songwriting, and laden with pop hooks. There will be more considered and crafted albums released this year, but few that are so much fun.

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by Dave Simpson via Electronic music | The Guardian

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

10 of the best clubs in Amsterdam – chosen by the experts

Amsterdam’s nightlife is thriving, with three major new clubs adding to the existing scene. We asked local DJs, producers and music writers to name their favourite party venues

De Marktkantine has been around for about two years. For me, it’s the most unappreciated club in the city even though the programming is high-quality, and varied. There are other clubs in Amsterdam that are trying hard to trademark a certain style but Marktkantine is more relaxed about who can come in. You can still see the balconies and booths from when it was a theatre. The balcony is particularly large and gives a great view down onto the stage. Then, behind the stage there are stairs up to another level with a small bar. They just started a new series of nights, curated by DJ and producer duo Red Axes, with shows every couple of months. The first edition was a success and musically it was amazing.
Jan van Galenstraat 6, marktkantine.nl
Nicky Elisabeth, DJ, http://ift.tt/1EDhGHQ

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by Interviews by Will Coldwell via Electronic music | The Guardian

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dele Sosimi at Farmfest on 29/07

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Dele Sosimi at Afrobeat Vibration (The Forge) on 27.05

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Dele Sosimi at Afrobeat Vibration (The Forge) on 27.05

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Soothsayers Irish Tour on July 20th-24th

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Soothsayers at Bournemouth Jazz Festival on 17/06

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Soothsayers at Mondomix Festival (Isle of Wight) on 02/06

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Soothsayers EP launch at Battersea Art Centre on 17/05

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Dom Servini and Scrimshire at Queen of Hoxton on 23/04

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Dom Servini Bussey Building (Peckham) on 29/04

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Dom Servini plays Wedding Soul (Berlin) on 22/04

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Tove Lo review – pop's queen of candour bares more than just her soul

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
The Swedish singer sets herself apart from the Scandipop rank and file with a set of hazy hedonism and brooding minor-chords

Tove Lo is winding up her show when a red bra, launched from a few rows back, lands on the stage. Depositing it on the drum platform, she tersely addresses the fan who lobbed it: “I don’t wear bras.” That much we already knew: 15 minutes earlier, during the boisterous singalong Talking Body, the song’s explicit carnality had impelled her to lift her cropped T-shirt just long enough for the crowd to register that she wore nothing underneath, and respond with an intake of breath. Showing her chest has become a regular part of the Swedish singer’s sets, as both a nod to her home country’s relaxed attitude to bare skin and a flick of the finger to prurience.

Related: One to watch: Tove Lo

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by Caroline Sullivan via Electronic music | The Guardian

Dom Servini plays Soul City at Jazz Cafe on 21/04

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Dom Servini at Merchant’s Tavern on 20/04

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Size Doesn’t Matter with Dom Servini at Westbank Art on 15/04

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Dom Servini at Jazz Cafe on 14/04

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Dom Servini at Jazz Cafe on 07/04

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Yasmine Hamdan: Al Jamilat review – dreamy Arabic electronica from an underground hero

(Crammed Discs)

Once a member of the Beirut duo Soapkills, Yasmine Hamdan enjoys cult status in the Middle East, thanks to her cool, electropop songs with Arabic lyrics. In the west she is less well known, despite her contribution to the Jim Jarmusch film, Only Lovers Left Alive. But that could change with this intriguing second album. The obvious comparison is with Algeria’s Souad Massi, and opening track Douss starts off like a Massi favourite, with its blend of gently melodic acoustic guitar and languid, husky vocals. Then the electronica and other instrumentation eases in, helped by subtle production work from Luke Smith and Leo Abrahams. There is a dreamlike quality to songs such as Balad and Assi, and a Middle Eastern edge to the title track, based on a work by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, or the atmospheric Cafe, the best track on this adventurous set.

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by Robin Denselow via Electronic music | The Guardian

Maggie Rogers on the song that left Pharrell speechless: ‘It tumbled out in 15 minutes’

Last year, an earnest student raised on the banjo stunned Pharrell Williams. The video of the encounter went viral, and now her striking folk-electronica is making waves too

Maggie Rogers has been asked so many times to describe the encounter with Pharrell Williams that propelled her to fame that she has got an answer memorised. “I just looked at my feet,” she tells interviewers, “and tried not to throw up.” But that’s just a line. The truth is, she can’t remember anything about it.

For Rogers and her classmates at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, it was supposed to be just another day at college. They were told they would have to prepare a song for a homework assignment and bring it to class, but not that Williams would be there, listening to and critiquing those songs. The video of the masterclass that followed is on YouTube“I would try stacking that lead vocal on the chorus,” he tells the first pair of starstruck students, “and do a vocal line.” To the next, he advises, “I would edit the second verse, and think about harmonies on the chorus.” Then comes Maggie Rogers – she appears at 18:15.

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by Alexandra Pollard via Electronic music | The Guardian

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prawn sex … and other future sounds of Russia

Bankrolled by an oligarch and staged in a derelict power station near Red Square, the Geometry of Now festival aims to bring Russia back to the heart of the avant-garde – with neon raves, black-robed gurus and bone-chilling industrial noise

Leonid Mikhelson, the richest man in Russia, stands on a balcony overlooking the main hall of GES-2, a disused power station, as Moscow’s art crowd mill around him. It’s the opening night of Geometry of Now, a festival of sound art and club culture staged by his foundation, VAC. Curated by British artist and electronic musician Mark Fell, the four-day festival’s attractions include a man playing one note on a cello for an hour; a lecture on gender, politics and sound by the transgender musician Terre Thaemlitz, and a late-night DJ set by Detroit techno legend Anthony Shakir – along with 15 sound-based installations around the building, one of which is a vastly amplified recording of prawns having sex. So – given that Mikhelson paid for it all – which is his favourite artwork?

“My daughter,” Mikhelson tells the Guardian through an interpreter. Victoria Mikhelson is the “V” in VAC (somewhat improbably, the foundation’s full name is Victoria, the Art of Being Contemporary). A 23-year-old art history graduate who studied at New York University and the Courtauld Institute in London, she is one of the prime movers behind Geometry of Now. Her father, meanwhile, is the boss and major shareholder of Novatek, the Russian gas company. Forbes currently estimates him to be worth $18.2bn (£15bn). As the overhead heaters roast an audience preparing itself for the doom-rock sonic assault of Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley and Muscovite underground artist Alexey Tegin, the suited Leonid may look a little out of place, but he’s taking the event in his stride. Is he looking forward to O’Malley and Tegin’s bone-chilling mixture of Buddhist chanting, industrial crashing sounds and howling guitar?

People had never seen an original work by Warhol

Usually 'no budget' means there's no money. This time 'no budget' means there's no limit

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by Alex Needham via Electronic music | The Guardian

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nathan Fake: Providence review – vast, shifting soundscapes

(Ninja Tune)

Throughout his fourth album, Nathan Fake deploys sounds that might cause some listeners to worry their audio equipment is about to self-destruct. Harsh, rubbery synths loop to vaguely maddening effect. Tortured, flanging synths on SmallCityLights recall a Prince CD skipping in the machine. One nagging effect on Radio Spiritworld sounds worryingly akin to bagpipes. Fortunately, Fake, who hails from Norfolk and has been exploring the pastoral fringes of electronic music for a decade and a half, does interesting things with these noises, weaving intricate figures amid the vast, shifting soundscapes he conjures up. His influences – Orbital, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada – surface at various points, but he pays off the debts with thoughtfulness and skill.

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by Killian Fox via Electronic music | The Guardian

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

[NEWS] Soul Clap Tapped For Funk Filled fabric93 Mix

Property of Gotta Dance Dirty

FABRIC 93-packshot

With a decade of original productions under their belt, including multiple renditions of the famed DJ Kicks series, and a host of LP’s and EP’s released across esteemed House labels (including their own), this Boston duo have been steadily preparing for this seminal moment. Locked and loaded for the 93rd edition of the fabric live mix series, the two span across an unconventional mix of house, funk, disco, and hip-hop, blending genres the way they’ve so famously become known for. In paradoxical form, Soul Clap harness high energy selections but keep the reigns tight making for an exhilarating journey clocking in at just over one hour. Soul Clap will be playing alongside No Regular Play, Scott Grooves, Terry Francis, Egyptian Lover + MORE on Saturday April 13th at fabric London to celebrate fabric93. You can purchase Soul Clap’s fabric93 mix HERE! Read below on what this mix means to the duo in their own words:

“It’s a huge honor to do a fabric mix and we wanted to make it special, and paint a picture of our eclectic musical world, but stay rooted in house music. We have so many memories at fabric and this mix represents the music that we play there, faster tempo, more electronic drums, deep and trippy sounds. But we still believe that mixes should be appropriate to listen to at home, on your headphones, or at an afterparty getting silly with friends; energetic, but always gentle.”

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017


  1. Oddisee – The Iceberg (Mellow Music Group DL)
  2. Thundercat – Drunk (Brainfeeder LP)
  3. Bongo Entp. – Debut (Music for Dreams 12)
  4. Johnny Lytle – Selim (BGP 7)
  5. Medlar – Shake it, Make it, Take it, Break it (For Discos Only 12)
  6. Various – Three Oh Five Life (Soul Clap Promo DL)
  7. Al Tone Edits – Vol 8+9 (Al Tone Edits 2 x 12)
  8. Various – Spiritual Jazz 7: Islam (Jazzman Promo DL)
  9. Jamie Lidell – When I Come Back Round (Live Version) (Matthew Herbert’s Long Night Dub) (Accidental Jnr)
  10. Calibre – Grow (The Nothing Special 12)

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai review – an exhilarating second album


Fronted by British-Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, the eight-piece band deliver a bold, exhilarating follow-up to their self-titled debut album. Lyrics are sung in part-English, part-Nigerian language Ibibio over a high-spirited mix of afrobeat, electro, rock, funk and disco. Overall the blend of styles is refreshing and well balanced, although on Joy the mishmash of synths and guitar solos sounds crowded. The vibrant Williams holds her own in busy arrangements, but her voice is at its most sonorous when accompanied by few instruments on the stripped-back Quiet. An exciting listen, but the group’s uplifting energy and brilliant instrumentalists (including renowned Ghanaian guitarist Alfred Bannerman) are probably best experienced live.

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by Isa Jaward via Electronic music | The Guardian

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blanck Mass: World Eater review – brutal noise with frequent sweet spots

(Sacred Bones)

Fuck Buttons’s Ben Power certainly doesn’t appear to think that what the world needs now is love, sweet love. His third album as Blanck Mass, we learn, is intended to represent “a previous year teeming with anger, violence, confusion and frustration”, and as the nine minutes of Rhesus Negative unfold hyperkinetically, a treated voice somewhere very deep in the mix conveying some nameless dread, it does feel as if one is being smacked repeatedly around the head with an analogue synth, albeit in a good way. Thrilling though it is, it’s genuinely a relief that it’s followed by Please, which turns the treadmill back to walking pace and introduces more recognisably human elements (and is perhaps one of the expressions of love Power says the record contains – though you’d be ill-advised to go courting with it as your theme tune). World Eater is a brutal record, but there’s humanity in it, because Power is drawn to melodies: even at its most pummelling it offers sweet spots and moments of instant gratification. Even without those, its unrelenting nature gives it a hypnotic power.

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by Michael Hann via Electronic music | The Guardian

Vermont: II review – vintage synths in a candlelit mancave


As Motor City Drum Ensemble, Danilo Plessow plays euphoric house and disco DJ sets that prompt strangers to write their numbers on each other in sweaty eyebrow pencil; Marcus Worgull, meanwhile, produces perkily melodic techno. But for their collaborative project, Vermont, they retreat from the dancefloor to a candlelit mancave full of vintage synths, where they indulge in a spot of ruminative ambience. Almost devoid of percussion, it’s pared back to just a few elements: gruff bass notes padding about in their socks, warm mid-tones rubbing your temples, plucked Göttsching-esque strings emerging from a hammock. It is music seemingly designed to retreat into the background, and as such feels a bit inconsequential – the sort of thing you’d be vaguely aware of while shopping for Scandinavian furniture or legal highs; imagine if the kind of dub techno released by Rhythm and Sound had the “rhythm” bit removed. Still, aside from some tracks that veer into nothingness, much of it wafts around pleasantly enough, given the right beanbag.

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Depeche Mode – 10 of the best

Last week, they were forced to deny being the official band of the alt-right. In fact, from synthpop to sleaze rock, Depeche Mode are a vital band

In 1980, Daniel Miller created a virtual electropop band called Silicon Teens, featuring four fictionalised teenagers whose sound derived entirely from synthesisers. The following year, the real thing arrived. Miller, who was running Mute Records, came across Depeche Mode, a quartet of teenagers – and one 20-year-old in the shape of songwriter Vince Clarke – from Basildon, Essex. “They were kids, and kids weren’t doing electronic music at the time,” said Miller. “It was people who’d been to art school mainly, but Depeche Mode weren’t processed by that aesthetic at all.” Stevo Pearce of the Some Bizarre label had also noticed the group (as had a few majors, who had to be repulsed), and Miller licensed Depeche Mode’s first track, Photographic, to Pearce for Some Bizarre’s Futurism compilation. Photographic was the standout track on the collection, and received much of the critical attention. The band rerecorded it for their debut album Speak & Spell, though the Some Bizarre version is more naively charming, bolshy and brutalistic. It tears along with clean synth lines bleeding into the red, marrying Numanoid keyboard monoliths with dispassionate Kraftwerkian sprechgesang, with an added touch of voyeuristic perviness about it. From the off, Depeche Mode were showing tremendous promise.

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by Jeremy Allen via Electronic music | The Guardian
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