To dance is to forget one’s problems and to underline the vibrant nature of life. Our Electronic Preview points in the direction of the club, but even if one can’t get out there in public, there’s always the living room, the lawn, the car. Let’s say you were a robot beached on a distant island. Wouldn’t you still have a locked groove in your electronic heart? We know we would! The best beats of the season are waiting to be discovered in the largest of our five fall previews.
Our cover image is taken from Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot, one of the finest YA books in recent memory. A sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes, will be published next spring. For more on Brown and the Wild Robot series, visit his website here.
Rich’s Pick: Jilk ~ Joy in the End (Project Mooncircle, 1 September)
We’ve waited a long time since the scheduled release date of 9 June, but finally the new Jilk album is here, and it’s a modern classic. The album, available as a series of postcards plus digital code, is yet another expression of hope in troubled times. Elie Weisel’s quote says it all: Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. On this album, the quartet travels from “The End of Joy” to “Joy in the End”, touching on many other emotions along the way. Through it all, the music conveys a sense of deep engagement, operating as a panacea for the heart. The label will follow this release with another four days later, as Submerse‘s Are You Anywhere waits in the on-deck circle.
Earlier this year, Drew Sullivan (Slow Dancing Society) announced that his newest album would be released in a creative manner ~ one EP at a time until the project was complete. The final installment is due in September and will be followed by a compilation (including b-sides) in October. Check out the first three installments here. Similarly creative in its presentation is the upcoming Mnestic Pressure from Lee Gamble, which includes a web page of randomly generated images and sound (Hyperdub, 15 September). On the same label we’ll also be introduced to the synthetic sounds of Mana (not to be confused with MAPA below) via the Creature EP (8 September), and catch up with the rolling grooves of Cooly G via Magnetic (16 September).
The Tin Box is already streaming the album mix of Invisible Kin in full, so listeners can grow accustomed to its warm, music box-toned sounds in advance of its release on Audiobulb 27 September. 36 is back under the electronic guise of Syne, unveiling his self-titled album on 11 September. The video for “Voices” may be ambient, but the whole of Indian Wells’ Where the World Ends is gentle, free-flowing techno, the chimes of the title track offering an early highlight (Friends of Friends, 8 September). Similarly warm is the upcoming album from Warning Light, which is packed with guest stars and inviting beats. At the End of the Road is out 27 October on Stickfigure. Boomkat may have knocked the self-titled album from Bicep by recommending it to those who miss Chicane and Global Underground, but the world needs upbeat vibes now more than ever (Ninja Tune, 1 September). Happy beats and chords are all over the ebullient Neō Wax Bloom, the rapid-fire new set from Iglooghost on Brainfeeder (29 September). A sense of fun permeates Siriusmo‘s Comic, designed to reflect the colors of a comic strip (Monkeytown, 15 September). The flavor pairs well with that of Fractals, whose tongue-in-cheek set $$$TAG$$$ is released the same day on Seagrave. Want more happy beats? Check out the playful EP from Hayato Takeuchi, formerly known as Bubbly Folks. The circus-like “Mr Henderson No Ai To Replica” is particularly chirpy (Bearsuit, 23 September).
Those who enjoy hip-hop spices are pointed to the new set from Nosaj Thing; Parallels includes a few vocals and a whole lot of beats (Innovative Leisure, 8 September). Hip-hop and jazz are prominent on the new set from Shigeto, whose album The New Monday is out 6 October on Ghostly. “London funk” and jazz are the distinguishing marks of 2020‘s The Colours That Rise, which has one foot in each of two centuries (Breaker Breaker, 12 September).
The synth/shoegaze rock of UUUU is apparent on their self-titled album, due 6 October on Editions Mego. On the same label we find the arhythmic Shit and Shine; the lurching Some People Really Know How to Live will challenge traditional dance floors (8 September). While she continues to move toward songwriting on A flame my love, a frequency, we remain enamored with Colleen. The album drops 20 October, preceded by the difficult-to-resist single “Separating” (Thrill Jockey). A few instrumental tracks are present as well. We hold similar feelings for Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, whose pop-inverting The Kid should vault her into the mainstream. Of course we’ll brag that we knew her when (Western Vinyl, 6 October). And while Patti may not be pleased that somebody took her name, there’s little of “Lady Marmalade” in Labelle‘s univers-île, an electronic/world blend starring numerous guests (Infine, 8 September).
Kompakt‘s annual compilation looks back on the prior year while adding eight exclusives; Total 17 is due 1 September. 20 years of Klockworks are celebrated in the album of the same name, due at the end of September from Ben Klock and preceded by a new video from Photon that highlights the interplay between sight and sound. Special Request‘s 4LP Belief System draws on a quarter century of tape archives, and is ready to set techno floors on fire (Houndstooth, 13 October). The/Das bring techno beats and a sense of exploration to Exit Strategies (Life and Death, 8 September). Those who like techno with a little bit of house and soul are directed to Proceed to the Root from John Berera and Wil Martin (22 September). Micro/techno sounds can be found on DMX Crew‘s Strange Directions, due 1 September on Hypercolour, while Steffi‘s World of the Waking State is rhythmic and kind (Ostgut Ton, 22 September). Phaeleh dips a toe into ambience with the percolating Lost Time (8 September); Christian Löffler calls on a host of artists to remix last year’s Mare, corralling the ambience within fences of beats (Ki, 8 September). And the latest installment of DJ Kicks comes from Lone, who mixes Radiohead and Boards of Canada with his own works (29 September).
‘Olafur Arnalds fans will be overjoyed by the return of Kiasmos, as hints of modern composition appear throughout the Blurred EP (Erased Tapes, 6 October). The same adornments are found on four of the tracks on Kölsch‘s 1989, as Gregor Schwellenbach & The Heritage Orchestra join him on his autobiographical journey (Kompakt, 22 September). But synthesizer auteur Hannah Peel tops both with a 29-piece brass orchestra on Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, bridging the electronic and analogue divide (My Own Pleasure, 22 September).
Le Cabanon is preparing two releases for the last day of September. We’re happy to see those cute little critters return on the cover of Othello Aubern‘s bubbling Two Way Switch EP (seen right), while Cluster Lizard brings the sci-fi beats to Edge of the Universe. Strange abstractions can also be heard (and seen) on Sugai Ken‘s UkabazUmorezU; Wochikaeri to Uzume ends with a ticking clock and a tiny orchestra (RVNG, 20 October). And as heard below, creative beats and sonic exploration are the hallmarks of Blubber Tottum, the unusual new album from Cru Servers (12th Isle, 26 September).
What do you get when you add electronics to a percussion duo? The answer is found on Vida Eterna, from Ninos du Brasil (Hospital and La Tempesta, 15 September). Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante returns as Trickfinger with a second round of decade-old electronic tracks; a left-field turn that worked the first time around (Acid Test, 8 September). Sandro Perri’s Off World project returns with 2, part world music and part other-worldly (Constellation, 6 October). Krikor Kuchian uses the font from Apocalyse Now to advertise Pacific Alley, but it’s not as dark as the cover image might imply (L.I.E.S., 2 October). Field of Containment is the first release on Christian Carrière‘s artist-founded Funktionslust Recordings, and mixes pulse and drone with a little bit of voice (29 September). At the intersection of drone, beat and fashion we find beat.imprint, whose Permanent Winter is constructed as an interactive experience (19 September). low.poly.exception gets rhythmic on Nodal Point Gang, pushing the BPMs to the upper limit on “Disposable Tanto” (22 September).
Minimalistic synthesizers are the hallmark of the ironically titled No Automata, the latest effort from veteran duo MAPA. The album drops 1 September on Gusstaff, and should appeal to fans of classic new wave. Moody modular synths dominate Bacchus, Where Are You, the Mirt and Ter collaboration on Monotype (8 September). Byron Westbrook mixes ambient, drone and electronics on the creative Body Consonance, due 13 October on Hands in the Dark, while dark beats and Iranian music samples permeate Shadow World, the latest effort from VVV (Holodeck, 6 October). There are apparently a few artists named Kcin, but the best one can be found on Hospital Hill, offering a blend of beats and distortion on the moody EP Onset (8 September). Antwood offers “cyborg pop” on Sponsored Content, a harsh indictment of the advertising industry featuring embedded ads (Planet Mu, 8 September), while Beastie Respond tackles the overuse of media on the eclectic yet fast-paced Information City (Foul-Up, 1 September). Brokenchord plasters hard, visceral beats on Endless Transmission (Black Acre, 29 September), and Hausu Mountain splits the difference with a pair of complementary releases: World War‘s hard-edged, percussive Soundsystem and Black Hat‘s rounded, percolating Impossible World (both 22 September).
In the industrial department we find Weightless, the debut album from DJ/composer JASSS. After making a splash at the Atonal Festival, the artist is ready to explode in a big way with uncompromising anthems such as “Oral Couture” and the title track (iDEAL, 18 September). Another new artist, Ziúr, makes a huge impact on Planet Mu with the aggressive sound of U Feel Anything? (6 October). Incorporating dark ambient and drone, Dubit peppers Vitriol with chains, clanks and other harsh textures (Backwards Records, 1 September). Scald Process is a collaborative effort among a large host of producers, instrumentalists and vocalists. Their timbres are thick and distorted, highlighted by the incredible Metalogue remix of “Rain of Ash” (Holotone, 18 September). Four days later, AnD drops a triple 12″ of hard beats; Social Decay is out 22 September on Electric Deluxe, preceded by a short but energetic teaser.
Lo-fi stormers can be found on Autumns’ Suffocating Brothers, a purposeful throwback to an earlier era (Clan Destine, 23 September, pictured right), while Phase Fatale channels Front 242 on the pulsating Redeemer (Hospital, 13 October). Mick Harris returns as FRET with the pummeling Over Depth, dropping 13 October on Karlrecords. Lakker‘s Eris Harmonia EP extends the cerebral approach of Struggle and Emerge (Eotrax, 13 October), while Stave‘s percussive Black Hills EP continues to convince us that there’s a resurgence occurring in the genre (Standards & Practices, 4 September). Our most anticipated industrial release comes from veteran act Mentallo and the Fixer. Arrange the Molecule is available in both regular and deluxe editions (the latter featuring twice as much music), and is said to be even more intricate and hard-hitting than its predecessor (Alfa Matrix, 13 October).