Our final fall preview is also our largest. It’s clear that we haven’t lost our desire to dance; if anything, the desire has increased during lockdown. With over 100 releases to choose from in this post alone, it’s safe to say that this will be a season of beats. A couple items worth note: first, the bulk of our fall music slate will be out in September and October. September 25 looks to be the largest release date for instrumental music in recent memory. Are you ready to buy 75 albums in a day? We’re not either! This is clearly an exploding industry, the only downside being the paralysis of choice. And this is only the music we learned about before the end of August. More albums are announced every day, and we’ll continue to add them to our Upcoming Releases page as they roll in. And now, let’s get to those beeps and beats!
Mute Records is on a tear this season. On September 18, the label will release HAAi‘s EP Put Your Head Above the Parakeets, which was preceded by a single featuring the first half earlier this summer. Her uplifting beats are a direct response to the dour nature of the pandemic. Then in November, two veteran artists return. Pole follows the 1 2 3 reissue with the brand new project Fading, recently introduced with the gentle single Röschen. The project revolves around the concept of memory (November 6). Two weeks later, Cabaret Voltaire (now sole member Richard H Kirk) reemerges with the project’s first album in over two decades. Vasto is the first single from Shadows of Fear, a propulsive throwback and a statement of strength (November 20).
Life Is Good
Botany has been through a number of styles throughout his career. End the Summertime F(or)ever is (mostly) instrumental, sample-laden hip-hop, surprisingly cheerful given the presence of titles such as “Once We Die.” The album also incorporates disco and the space age; Aquarians will be happy (Western Vinyl, September 25). Hologram Teen‘s Pizza Conspiracy is an endearing set, marked by amusing track titles such as “Toast, Marmite and Crack.” Her collaged surfaces make the set seem like a mixtape (Ransom Note, September 4). Lazerbeak‘s Penelope draws on hip-hop to produce a laid-back tone, enhanced with vocal samples. Treetops is the first taste of the set, due October 2 on Doomtree.
In the season of nostalgia, trip-hop is back. Kruder and Dorfmeister return carrying the banner, none the worse for wear. The appropriately titled 1995 is released October 30 on G-Stone Recordings, preceded by the contagious single Johnson. Khotin‘s Finds You Well takes on both implications of the famous phrase, resting more on the downtempo side, giving the speaker the benefit of the doubt (Ghostly, September 25). As befits its title and cover, Sunplus‘s More Colour is perky and playful, incorporating samples of birds, bats and rain. The EP is fun from start to end, nary a frown in sight (Algebra, September 4).
WaqWaq Kingdom follows last year’s Essaka Hoisa with the positive vibes of Dokkoisho. The title implies “the sigh after a long day of work.” A world music influence permeates the globe-trotting collection (Phantom Limb, September 18). In like fashion, Maarja Nuut & Ruum‘s World Inverted draws a line back to Dead Can Dance, with an emphasis on the dance; it’s the perfect unifying choice for its 9/11 release date (Õunaviks). Later in the season, Maarja Nuut collaborates with Sun Araw for an across-the-border celebration of unity. Fantasias for Violin and Guitar is out October 10 on MIDA. Nubo‘s Nu Vision seems slated for inclusion on a Buddha Bar album, if the choral harmonies of its title track are any indication (Western Vinyl, October 9).
Bass and groove feature strongly on Josiah Steinbrick‘s Liquid / Devotion & Tongue Street Blue, which sounds like a single but is actually a full-length album, due September 18 on Hands in the Dark. Keys, drums and bass (not drum ‘n’ bass) combine on the slightly psychedelic Overstand, an improvised album that sounds composed. This is the first album from the newly united quartet Apifera, and would also fit comfortably in our Jazz category (Stones Throw, October 30).
Camila Fuchs returns with the bright and semi-vocal Kids Talk Sun, which shimmers and percolates along its journey. Available on lovely sun vinyl for a limited time only! (Felte, November 13). (Richard) Spaven v. Sandunes is half-jazz, half electronics, and all uplifting, especially the lead track “Tree of Life” (!K7, September 11).
We liked Polynation‘s Wildeburg / Coral so much that we’ve already reviewed it. The 12″ extends the energy of last year’s Igneous and creates a warm feeling as it rolls along. T-shirts and art prints are also available (Atomnation, September 11). Indian Wells, now signed to Max Cooper’s Mesh label, returns with a diverse EP that mourns the current state of affairs while offering a sense of hope. New Ruins is out October 22, and will include two video collaborations. Prog house is the hallmark of Human Stranger, a catchy, vocal-tinged set from Ambassadeurs. The set rose from deep loss, but the concluding tone is one of reluctant transcendence: an affirmation of life in the presence of death (Phases, September 18).
We normally don’t cover singles, but when a label releases 35 singles in 35 days, we take notice ~ especially when the roster includes some of our favorite artists. Exhibition #100 opened on September 1 and will continue to unfold over the course of the next month: a great way for Audiobulb to celebrate its 100th release. After this, the label will proceed with Matthias Grübel‘s Version of Stability, a reworked version of the artist’s Matters of Stability. In like fashion, Kennebec‘s laid-back Departure Remixed provides a new entry point to the artist’s album from pre-pandemic 2020 (Night Time Stories, October 9).
The Global Underground series continues with Joris Voorn, who mixes over 100 tracks into his Rotterdam installment. Now at #43, the series is seeing new attention, just as the label is impressing home dancers with its newer Adapt and Select series (October 30). Hot Chip is the latest artist to deliver a mix for Late Night Tales. As with prior sets, the eclecticism is the draw. The mix includes pieces from Nils Frahm, Christina Vantzou and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, among others (October 2).
Avalon Emerson is keeping the energy going at DJ Kicks, featuring many of her own tracks and remixes. The 72nd installment in the series drops September 18 on !K7. Meanwhile, Lifesaver 4 Compilation – 21 – Dedicated to Andrew Weatherall celebrates the 21st anniversary of the Robert Johnson Club while mourning the loss of a beloved figure in electronic music. High marks for the packaging of this 5LP box set (October 9).
Electronic music meets modern composition on Borealis, the new album from John Hayes & Maxy Dutcher. Moderna Records thrives in this liminal realm, and this is a perfect extension of their roster’s sound (September 25). Give Me Monaco follows suit on From the Coral to the Grey, based on the concept of regeneration. Satin is the first single, with the album to follow September 4. Strings contribute an air of the sublime to Kit Grill‘s Ride, a tour guide of timbres (Primary Colours, November 6). Percussionist Chiminyo makes his debut with the half-instrumental I Am Panda, which includes multiple timbres ranging from shoegaze to jazz and surprise instruments such as the suling and kavel (Gearbox, September 25). Paul K.‘s piano-driven electronics form the basis of Anandamide, which addresses themes of fragility, sprirituality and post-pandemic existence (Basilica Music, November 20).
The release of Sam Prekop‘s Comma may have been delayed, but this afforded the artist the opportunity to switch from one seasonal single (“Summer Places”) to the next (“September Remember”). The more ambient entries will remind listeners of Prekop’s The Sea and Cake (Thrill Jockey, September 11).
Despite the title Political Songs, the new set from scene stalwart Styrofoam is instrumental, giving shout-outs to everyone from Brian Eno to James Baldwin. It’s a comfort to hear him again (Silent Fade, September 4). The video game has been out for a while, but on September 25, Mondo will finally release Asy Saavedra‘s playful score to the video game Trover Saves the Universe. Retro and voice-enhanced, the music yields its own brand of charm.
There’s a really cool picture disc available for Richard Norris‘s Elements, but make no mistake: the melodic, sequenced synth is the main attraction (Group Mind, September 4). Sometimes the whole explanation is in the title: Suzanne Ciani‘s A Sonic Womb: Live Buchla Performance at Lapsus says it all (Lapsus, September 18). Ciani will also receive a forty-year retrospective for Record Store Day on Earth Libraries, under the evocative title A Life In Waves (September 26). Brett Naucke injects another shot of Buchla on EMS Hallucinations, a pulsating ride that originated at a residency and has produced hypnotic results (American Dreams, September 11). As the first artist in residence at the Swiss Museum for Electronic Music Instruments, Legowelt was given full access to the Playroom. Unconditional Contours is his star-struck response (SMEM+OUS, October 2). Gorgeous synth textures are the hallmark of Blink a Few Times to Clear Your Eyes, highlighted by the return of the Yamaha DX-7. Grand River‘s album is out September 4 on Editions Mego.
The Dream Catalogue label may call its specialty genre “dreampunk,” but we’re hearing a lot more of the former syllable on Remember‘s Four Shots of Green Stone (September 1). Experimental synth and “slow house” meet as Whettman Chelmets and qualchan. split the sides of the cassette Theme∞Variations: it’s like riding 5 mph through a funhouse (Strategic Tape Reserve, September 4). Mana draws on the Italian classical and film music of the 70s and 80s to produce the surprisingly modern album Asa Nisi Masa, which seems ripe for a modern dance troupe (Hyperdub, September 11). Not to be outdone, Giacomelli releases a 35-track triple album; Cosmic Order is packed with ambient sci-fi (Somewherecold, October 9).
CYCLE I is the debut album from Standard, who inject ambience, breakbeats and “Walk On By” into their playful structures (October 30). More breakbeats, along with some house structures, spark reminiscence on Anaphora, the prismatic new offering from Wisdom Water (Endorphin.es Production, September 4). While we’re digging the synesthetic cover of Polygrim‘s Colorspacious, the music is not as grim as the name implies. The artist uses synth to produce a purposely organic sound (September 18). The always eclectic Chinabot label has a pair of oddities lined up for autumn. Pai Hwang Dan‘s A Length of Line, written by Ee Yeoro is an experimental audiobook with ever-changing textures beneath the dialogue; we’re hoping an instrumental version will surface as well (September 4). Arexibo‘s 카운터! (Counter!) moves from ambience to video game tones without batting an eye (October 2). Video game beats and breaths surface again on Java Scripts, the new EP from Jung Deejay, formerly known as Beer on the Rug. The four tracks are followed by four remixes, on Artetetra (September 1).
Fire-Toolz goes instrumental as Nonlocal Forecast, a happy, 80s-influenced set on Hausu Mountain. Her trademark playfulness remains intact, exposing the excess of the era with track titles such as “The Bubbling Up Of Duality On An Autumn Night By A Forest Stream” and album title Holographic Universe(s?)!(October 30). Dystopian sci-fi synth possesses the soul of мхи и лишайники‘s Нассатьна мир, which stands in stark contrast to two ambient tapes released by Not Not Fun on the same day (September 4). We’re hesitatant to share the name Dangerwank, and readers can make up their own minds about the title Hot Desk Solutions and the dripping cover. Your Card Has Been Declined is out September 25 on Salmon Universe.
Electro / IDM resurfaces on Jauzas the Shining‘s The Discovery of the Senses. Retro lighters are also available for 1.5 euros (Tripalium Corp., September 23). (“What’s a lighter?” the kids ask.) The melodic glitch of The End of Tel Aviv Redux is a throwback to simpler times. Faction‘s rework removes some tracks and substitutes others from the same era (False Industries, September 11).
The timely sample that launches The Twilite Tone‘s “Do It Properly” (no relation to the famed house track) is a reminder of how far we have yet to travel. The Clearing is the artist’s debut album, mingling instrumental hip-hop, jazz and funk (Stone’s Throw, October 9). In contrast to its cheerful title, the Heaven Inc. EP was prompted by the confusion of humanity. Half of Shlohmo‘s apocalyptic EP is also available as a limited edition 7″, so let’s hope it’s the half you like! (Friends of Friends, September 4). We cringed when we saw the title of Cressida‘s Sambo, but as the artist is Black we’ll hope it’s meant as political commentary. The beats are fast and furious, and there’s even some “Al Gore Riddim” (Voitax, September 7).
Nathan Moody‘s de/still is “a musical score for photography,” informed by the paintings of TJ Morris. The paintings are colorful and abstract, well-matched by the diverse music, which embraces musique concrete (Flag Day Recordings, September 2). “Abstracted techno” occupies Natali Kruger‘s 83% Invisible, a deep excursion in which sound design is as important as beats and voices play a textural role (Les Anges Noirs De L’Utopie, September 23).
Kindohm offers live sequencing on a drum machine, but don’t expect to be able to dance to Deserted / Reclaimed; it’s an entirely abstract and “algowave” affair (Gin&Platonic, September 10). Cologne’s Acephale is releasing a set to honor its participants and friends; Documents 01 is the first offering in a planned series (September 7). Maloya and the sounds of Reunion Island decorate PANGAR‘s extremely percussive 1, which resurrects maloya music for a new generation (InFine, September 18). A strong video component introduces Out of Place Artefacts, a collaboration between Rødhåd and VRIL. Shades of sci-fi lurk in the dark beats and drones (WSNWG, October 20). Portugal’s bouncy Blacksea Não Maya investigates tribal dance on Máquina de Venus, weaving a multi-cultural web (Principe, September 4).
With apologies to Joy Division, Gravity Will Keep Us Apart. It’s the first single from Linn Elisabet‘s melancholic and sonorous Linn Elisabet Fac ut Ardeat / Made to Burn (Acts of Rebellion, September 25). Sangam‘s We Surrender in the Grey borders on morose, but encourages people to keep dancing through the darkness (Forgot Imprint, September 19). Avbvrn warns listeners to reflect rather than to react on return to …, noting that nostalgia can often be a double-edged sword (PH17, September 11). Occulting Light splits the difference between dark ambient and electronic on The Lone Border, an esoteric set that also embraces melody (September 25). Dungeon synth rears its fiery head on Offermose‘s Stilhedens Tarn, due October 16 on Third Coming. The genre is made for the darker nights ahead. Graham Reynolds‘ The Lodger is the third in Fire Records’ series of reimagined soundtracks; a sense of suspense descends early, and never lets up. We almost put it in our Modern Composition category, save for the copious swaths of percussion (October 2). Luke Abbott‘s Translate has a dark undercurrent, as felt in the opening track, Kagen Sound. The artist admits having been inspired by Hellraiser, so it’s only fitting this album is released a day before Halloween (Border Community).
Breakbeat, House and Techno
We’re not sure if Morning Rituals Vol. 1 fits the bill as “music to be heard in the calm of the early morning;” after a night of techno, it might be too early in the day to hear more beats. The compilation does rest on the gentler side, but you may want a cup of coffee first (aurora., September 17). Dub techno and more can be found on Tuomo Väänänen’s Topics, released on the Ljudverket label co-founded by the Finnish artist (October 5). Hiro Ama‘s Uncertainty is a sonic diary of pandemic times, in which the drummer reflects on a long, strange journey (PRAH, September 4).
House and techno mingle on Haarlem, a tribute to Ron Elliot‘s new city after leaving Dublin (Shall Not Fade, September 11). We don’t need a press release to guess that Sabrina Bellaouel‘s We Don’t Need to Be Enemies takes a militant stance; we need only look at the cover. The EP removes most of the words from the equation, leaving only snippets and a sense of empowerment (InFiné, September 4). Video game composer Lena Raine sees her album Unknowing remixed by Ziúr and six other electronic artists under the rebranded Reknowing (Local Action, September 9). Straight-up techno is offered by Tim Engelhardt on Idiosynkrasia, preceded by the bouncy single Shine (Stil Vor Talent, September 25).
After seven years, ten albums and a hundred tracks, Tuomas Rantanen will draw his Prehistoric Series to a close with the release of Late Cretaceous Part Two. Part One appeared earlier this year. These heavy dinosaur beats will be available on Citywall September 11. IDM and Detroit techno are not old enough to be dinosaurs, but you wouldn’t know it from the cover of Julian Muller‘s LP. Playing With The Devil is released September 25 on Lobster Theremin. Also on Lobster Theremin: Tom Jarney‘s less caffeinated Amber Glass, with guest appearances by Ed Hodge (September 11).
We used the cover art of Kölsch‘s Now Here No Where as today’s featured image. The title may invert Mono’s Nowhere Now Here, but the sound is entirely different: brilliant techno with strings and a sense of largesse. An early 12″ featuring the title track and one other has already been released (Kompakt, September 25). Death Qualia presents “ultra techno” on Fanged Contradiction, which has a scary cover and an even scarier sound (October 9). It’s one of three new albums from Ohm Resistance, the others being Dadub‘s darkly percussive Hypersynchron (October 23) and Artik‘s sample-laden, sci-fi The Robots at Dawn (October 30).
Code Walk continues its spanned release of 15 techno-breakbeat tracks over three EPs with Guide, due September 28 on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion. Breakbeats also populate In Memorium, courtesy of Translucid and the first release for the Myriad label (September 17). SW returns after a long absence and continues the 90s resurgence with the breakbeat house of TRUElips (Acid Test, September 25). At what point can we declare that a sound has returned? How about if we add Balearic breakbeat to the techno of Jupiter Jax on the altogether catchy No Such Thing (100% Silk, September 18)?
Don’t be fooled by Julia Bondar‘s trance-like single Fire, as Industrial Symphony is mostly instrumental; it’s never bad to try for one hit (Endorphin es Production, September 16). We haven’t heard psychedelic trance for a while, but the compilation Door to the Cosmos satisfies our longing. Multiple psychedelic styles meet across four slices of vinyl (On the Corner, September 18). In the nearly discarded format of happy house we find UFO95, who pay homage to the year they incorporate in their moniker. Popularity is overrated is out September 25 on Mama told ya. Perc‘s Fire in Negative is as loud and pounding as it gets, with only brief breakdowns; the EP is unveiled September 4 on Perc TRAX. The pummeling techno of Dax J‘s Pulse Wave exists in sharp contrast to the sheep on the cover; one can imagine the animals being terrified by these sounds (Monnom Black, October 2).
Dub, Electro, Industrial and More
Bassist John Eckhardt returns as Fatwires to present an album of foreboding dub. The wicked Path is definitely haunted house music, and will be released just in time (October 1). Sherwood dub and beats resurface on Tolouse Low Trax‘s Jumping Dead Leafs?, which seems to sample Herb Alpert’s “Keep Your Eye on Me.” The beat-happy set is out September 11 on Tapete. Dub, synth and prog meet on the eclectic Minor Planets, which completes a “cosmically-themed trilogy” by Twinkle3 (Marionette, September 18). Dub and destruction can be found on Only Now & Orogen‘s occasionally caustic Avuls, a diversion into darker territories (Sucata, October 16). More traditional dub can be found on Schlammpeitziger‘s supremely danceable Ein Weltleck in der Echokammer, already the tenth album in a storied career (Bureau B, September 25).
Techno-electro female artists Nene H and Poly Chain split duties on a hard and fast split, the first release on new imprint Standard Deviation (September 25). Seeing the name Moloch Horridus, we knew the music would be far from ambient; we just didn’t know how far. The Self-Guard EP is fast paced techno-electro; even its slow parts are fast (Amniote Editions, October 2). The techno-industrial sound of Blakk Harbor is an open invitation to the dance floor; A Modern Dialect is out September 18, and incorporates a healthy dose of drone. Kamixlo teases out the connections between Japanese wrestling, Limp Bizkit and cloud rap on his industrial-minded debut Cicatriz. It’s one of the season’s most uncompromising releases (PAN, October 30).
One of the season’s darkest releases is the politically-minded Persian Pillars of the Gasoline Era, equally provoked by censorship and the fall of Iran. Coming from Vatican Shadow, it’s no surprise; the surprise is that the music draws listeners in instead of pushing them away. 20 Buck Spin will release the album September 18 on tape, CD and smoke gold and silver vinyl (the trifecta!). Beats, guitars and distortion fill the sonic void on Incentive‘s industrial-minded Presence, released October 2 on Submarine Broadcasting Co. Drone, electro and industrial combine to create a menacing sheen on Isolating‘s Huxley-inspired Perennial, an album whose bleakness is conveyed by its blurred cover (4GN3S, September 11). Slowing it down a bit, Osserman‘s DREAM rediscovers the lost link between industrial and ambient music, although the cover screams the former (American Dreams, September 18). stereo_IMG aims at the dance floor and nails it with Generation of Gods, a fast-paced, propulsive industrial EP that still finds room for (light) introspection (North of Nowhere, September 25).
We’re always interested in new music from Autechre, and apparently Sign is just one of at least two albums the influential IDMers have in store for us. This one is out October 16 on Warp. Bass and breaks obscure the fact that TMUX is a not-so-secret moniker for Yair Etziony; State of Exception calls him back to his 20th century IDM roots (False Industries, September 25). “Disorientation and social claustrophobia” are behind the intricate sounds of aircode‘s debut EP. We suspect the title Effortless is intended to be tongue-in-cheek (Alien Jams, September 25). Dancehall, glitch and singeli make Rian Treanor‘s File Under U.K. Metaplasm sound completely distinct. This rapid-fire, neon yellow record will be out October 2 on Planet Mu.
John Frusciate resurrects hardcore jungle on Maya, dedicated to a deceased cat. This does make us wonder what kind of music the cat enjoyed (Timesig, October 23). An industrial-junglist sensibility permeates Nerve Deposit, the upcoming EP from Identified Patient. Aimed straight at the dance floor, the 12″ is out September 25 on Dekmantel. Synth and gabber join hands on Young Girl‘s The Night Mayor, although we’re not too sure about some of those track titles (TruthTable, September 16).
This wraps up our Fall Music Preview. Featuring 415 releases in total, this became our largest preview ever. Thank you for reading! No matter what may occur this season ~ freedom or lockdown, work or unemployment, sports or no sports, school in person or online ~ we’ll have some incredible music to accompany us. We wish you health, happiness and the pursuit of great tunes!