2023 Spring Music Preview ~ Electronic

Our Electronic music preview contains twice as much music as every other category.  Sub-genres continue to shift, but the overall categories remain the same, from ambient-electronic to industrial.  This is a good time to point out that most of the nearly 300 releases in our Spring Music Preview will be released in the next five weeks: over 50 releases a week announced before the season has even started!  As the weather warms, the windows are opened, the parks are visited and the festival announcements begin to appear, this will be our soundtrack; even so, it’s only just the beginning!

Do your eyes deceive you?  They do not!  Our cover image shows a physical puzzle available as part of a package with Fire-Toolz’ I am upset because I see something that is not there., covered below!

Ambient Electronic

We begin with an album that not only sounds, but tastes like spring.  Tony Rolando‘s Absent from the Void is a pink LP in the Ceremony of Seasons equinox series and is paired with a California Chardonnay from VISUAL Wine’s Ritual of Senses series.  This is the only time we are allowed to drink on the job, so we’re looking forward to the uncorking (March 20)!   First The Black EP and the White EP, and now The Grey Album: The Black Dog is completing a trilogy on the outskirts of color.  Going back to their roots, the Sheffield artists lugged their equipment around town, recorded in warehouses, and in so doing recaptured the spirit of the early electronic scene (May 12).

Seven years away have not hurt The Album Leaf at all; instead, the artist has come back stronger than ever.  Future Falling offers a nod to classic works of the past, while pushing into new territories.  The majority is instrumental, although guest turns from artists including Bat for Lashes flesh out the already immersive experience (Nettwerk, May 5, pictured above right).  A bucolic component is created with two guitars and analogue electronics on II, album two from Virke (Rickard Javerling, Billie Lindahl, Henrik von Euler) (Flora & Fauna, March 30).


Lagoss will be releasing two albums this spring, beginning with a split release with Banha de Cobra.  Archipelagos Vol. 1: Atlántico builds from last year’s anthology Aquapelago, and offers a variety of textures inspired by the Atlantic Ocean (Keroxen, March 31).  The second, Imaginary Island Music Vol.2: Ascension, may begin with the sounds of the sea, but continues with bongos, synth and an adventurous, tribal approach (Keroxen, April 21).  The label is also preparing their annual compilation of Canary Island music, Radar Keroxen Vol. 4, featuring an array of artists and approaches and art from Pura Márquez (June 2).  Dedicated to anthropologist Yosihiko H. Sinoto, Wave Temples‘ Panama Shift incorporates birds, streams and more, creating what the label calls “mythopoetic exotica” (Not Not Fun, May 5).


Visited by Strangers marks a departure of sorts for Bungalovv: a shift to a lower gear,  half vocal and half instrumental (Genome 6.6Mbp, March 31).  µ-Ziq remembers 1977, though his new album is older in title than in tone; these sounds are reminiscent of the early nineties, with subdued beats and a welcome sense of drift (Balmat, April 7).

Secret Circuits‘ double album Green Mirror is half electronic, half ambient, with one prevailing timbre on each record.  The 21-track album is heavy on synth and even heavier on nostalgia (Invisible, Inc., April 10).  Sometimes one really cannot judge a book by its cover, although Michael Hamilton does get points for using a cute puppy to draw attention to A Language Forever.  The album is comfortable and laid back, like an old electronic friend (Monotreme, April 14). We like the idea of a “new day dawning,” a tone Survey Channel attempts to capture on Canvas Doubles: a fine album to begin a bright morning (Werra Foxma, March 31).  Shifting slightly from drone to trip-hop, Civilistjävel! enlists the aid of Cucina Povera on “Louhivesi,” the lead track from EP Fyra Platser (FELT, April 7).


Organic-Electronic Blends

John Matthias & Jay Auborn‘s Ghost Notes explores “human-robot collaboration,” in which violin is joined by a wired up “robot drummer” whose signals are fed into a real drum kit.  The end result is thrilling, and fortunately the duo has discovered that it can be replicated live – if the robot is in a good mood that day! (Cognitive Shift Recordings, April 7).  Mark‘s So You Betrayed The Creative Process For Your Own Personal Ends is a two-part “study of rhythm,” with live percussion and electronics writing a treatise of their own (A Colourful Storm, March 31).


The sounds heard on Höhn‘s self-titled album are made entirely from nature: rocks, streams, even mosquitos.  The illusion is so convincing, we had to read the press release again to be sure (March 31).  Material + Object‘s Telepath is called a “creative dismemberment” of a violin session, in which the instrument is sampled, layered, looped, chopped and reassembled with love (Editions Mego, March 24).  Neil Cowley‘s Battery Life is about 51% electronic, 49% modern composition, with piano and a powerful rhythmic presence.  We can imagine it having an across-the-board appeal (Mote, March 24).

ECHT! offers the excitement of a live band along with its electronic tinge.  The band’s name means “true” or “real,” even if the sound may fool the ears.  Sink-Along is released May 5 on Sdban Ultra, preceded by the sci-fi single VAULT-A.  Peruvian musicians Ale Hop & Laura Robles team up for Agua Dulce, mixing cajón, electric guitar and electronics, paying homage to native cultures and vibrant dances including Landó, Zamacueca, Festejo, Alcatraz, Lamento and Son de los diablos (Buh, April 7).



Craven Faults‘ travel through Northern British history and topography continues on Standers, a double LP with extensive tracks conveying a feeling of car, rail or even horseback.  Various options are available, including patch and photobook (Leaf, May 12).  Reid Willis‘ Sediment is incredibly varied: restrained to aggressive, ambient to percussive, vocal to instrumental, sometimes within a single track.  The dynamic contrast alone should make an impact on a wide variety of listeners; the lead video has already caught mainstream attention (Mesh, May 11).

Romain Frequency would love to score your next film, but in the meantime he’s written his own.  Soundtrack of Time is released April 7 on Rock Machine.  Magray‘s ambitious Collapse covers the entire history of a universe, from birth to dissolution, dancing from beginning to end.  But will music survive the death of time? (Les Yeux Orange, April 13).  The compilation Utopia or Oblivion asks similar questions, proceeding from an essay by R. Buckminster Fuller.  Artists include Robert Lippok, Tujiko Noriko, and the team of Richard Skelton and Corey Fuller (Constructive, April 14).



With deference to the famous film, Wacław Zimpel‘s Train Spotter does include trains, and may remind some of the music in the closing scene of another famous film featuring a very young Tom Cruise.  The album is a love letter to Warsaw, and incorporates field recordings from throughout the city (the state51 Conspiracy, March 31).  Arabic synth is the raison d’être of Songs from the Aftermath, an otherworldly album from Marc Codsi that stretches beyond the material plane (Discrepant, April 7).  Suki Sou goes entirely analogue on her debut album Notes on Listening, producing a warm sound that relates to its elemental themes.  We’re jealous of her home studio, which looks incredible (Curious Music, April 7).


DREAM_MEGA‘s Last Glacial Maximum shares its title with a Richard Skelton album, but the similarities end there.  The album is psychedelic and vocal-tinged, with vocoder and a synth that imitates bagpipes.  It may look like winter music, but it’s more like melting than freezing (Post Present Medium, April 21). Scotch Rolex and Shackleton combine forces for Death by Tickling, which claims dub and psychedelic influences; even the cover marks it as an outlier (March 31).  Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities is a groovy set from James Holden, weaving a dreamy new age soundscape (Border Community Recordings, March 31).


Congratulations to the Dark Entries label, who celebrates its 300th release with a triple LP from the Creative Technology Consortium.  The 25-track Panoramic Colorsound is a welcome throwback, influenced by 90s TV and film scores (April 14).  Satoshi has been recording long enough to release a retrospective; Ambivalent (Selected Works 1994-2022) looks back on a previous century while celebrating the current one (soundofspeed, March 24).  Domotic has been gracing our turntables for years, and keeps evolving.  Palazzo is an album-length piece described as “the final level of a video game.”  Play on! (Un Je-Ne-Sais Quoi, March 24).

M. Sage merges clicks ‘n’ synth (perhaps a new sub-genre?) on Paradise Crick, a nature-infused set on RVNG Intl., with wonderfully springlike cover art (May 26).  With titles like “Active Shooter” and “Dying in a Rented Bed,” and the moniker Sermons by the Devil, one might expect metal music, or at least something incredibly dark.  But while the artist has a political bent, pointing out hypocrisy in politics and religion, his music remains entirely accessible and against all odds, even positive – Pro-Life, but in the broader sense of the term (March 23).



How many albums can you order that come in one’s choice of three formats, along with (if desired): a stress ball, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a beanie, flip-flops, a tote bag, a puzzle, and a dress?  There’s only one: Fire-Toolz‘ absolutely bonkers I am upset because I see something that is not there.  She continues to carve a unique niche and expand an already extensive empire (Hausu Mountain, April 7).  Ethiopian music is spotlighted on the self-titled album from dragonchild, which falls between categories due to the 20-minute saxophone solo sitting in the middle of the beats.  After all the dancing, some will be happy to enter a different sort of trance (FPE, April 21).

Bendu‘s Portalling is positive, spiritual and fun, a smile-inducing record that comes with a stick of incense to complete the sensory journey (Werra Foxma, March 25).  A love for nature inspired Pépe to record Reclaim, although this particular future is post-human: a time for the fields and forests to rejuvenate in glorious green splendor (Lapsus, March 31).  Blutch‘s EP Condate is filled with club-friendly breakbeats, its lead single and title track reminiscent of an updated Deep Forest (Astropolis, March 24).  Chewlie calls Diagon an EP, but with four tracks per side, we’re calling it a short album.  Each piece brings the beats, and the music has a sci-fi tinge (BRUK, March 31).


Playful Musik

Carmen Jaci not only plays children’s toys; she wears giant objects that look like childen’s toys.  Her playful approach makes Happy Child a wonderful collection of tiny treasures, like a multi-flavored package of Pez in a unicorn dispenser (Noumental Loom, March 30).  How about some “cosmic bucolic electronica, with barefooted women dancing around a living maypole?  Welcome to the delightful world of Orbury Common, whose Devil Gurning EP is released April 21 on PRAH.  Have you ever thought about dancing to water?  Now you can, thanks to Eomac, who has constructed Water Tracks from samples of drip, splash, bubble and flow ~ also the name of the opening track (April 28).  And how fun is this ~ nostalgic for X-Mix and DJ KicksGlenn Astro decided to record a tribute, using fictional names to provide the impression of a compilation.  Glenn Astro Presents Nothing Is Real is out May 4 on Tartelet ~ but we really want to experience in on VHS.

Proc Fiskal‘s Rt Hon EP offers a reflection on pixelated society, led by the sample, “Is there any more pics of you?”  The lighthearted approach belies a darker undercurrent (Hyperdub, April 14).  The sample-happy Recluse recalls happy house, although it’s not quite that fast; Darkitecture‘s EP is an immediate call to the dance floor (Tripalium, April 19).  brokencandys‘ electro rock yields a throwback flavor, especially on Moby-esque single B-A-M-B-O-O, an early taste of the album The Future Was Better (March 31).  51beats celebrates its 15th anniversary with Gravity and Quantum Mechanics 3, a wide-ranging set that mixes in melancholy, but gets happier as it goes (March 24).

House, Techno, IDM

Oval is not only still going strong, but may be making the best music of his career.  Romantiq is laden with pulses and bells, and exudes a maturity that can only come with experience; the visual angle is just as important, and provides the impression of an artist forever young at heart (Thrill Jockey, May 12).  VIDEO  Ital Tek returns with Timeproof, addressing time distortion in areas as diverse as studio recording and pandemic lockdown (Planet Mu, April 21).

Voice may be the prime ingredient of High Season, but the duo uses their gifts in unusual ways.  On The Call, tone is more important than word, body movement the ultimate goal (Permanent Vacation, April 7).  Detroit music from Osaka?  Kiji Suedo‘s Hosek offers variations on a theme, suited for international dance floors (Hobbes Music, April 7).  Wallace‘s Ripples boasts a heavy dose of percussion and yelps, verging on the tribal (Rhythm Section International, April 14).

Peverilist returns with four club cuts on the Pulse EP, the sound justifying the title (Livity Sound, April 7).  House and disco influence Our Times, a club-friendly EP from Lis Sarroca (Shall Not Fade, March 31).  Also on the label: Robbie Doherty may say he’s Sick n’ Tired, but he sounds energized on his new EP (April 7); and Suki celebrates the generative power of the season with breaks and trance on the Phonosynthesis EP (April 14).

Akasha System’s other guise is DJ Panthr.  Jade District is the producer’s latest release, a foray into dub, house and acid (100% Silk, April 7).  There may be something contagious at the label, as The Cyclist will release an album the same day as Indopan.  Yupana also shifts from genre to genre to keep the interest high.  He returns to his old name on Phytopia (May 12).  Also on the label: Cport Cistema‘s sample and break happy Say It, released May 5.

Jako Jako returns with the four-track Verve, techno stylings intact.  Lead single Auris sets the pace (Mute, March 24).  J. Albert‘s Config incorporates multiple styles, with an impressionistic cover (Couldn’t Care More, March 24, art pictured above right).  Nathan Fake‘s Crystal Vision is an instant pleaser, warm and pounding at the same time, as demonstrated on lead single “The Grass” (Cambria Instruments, April 7).  Vocal samples permeate Overmono‘s Good Lies, the debut LP building on the success of numerous 12″s and an award as Britain’s best live act.  The buzz is high (XL Recordings, May 12).


A percussion collection is a wonderful thing to have, but it’s even better to share.  This is what Coen does on Slop, Drop & Roll, which makes use of the massive library and punches the tempo as high as 166 bpm (Malola, March 21).  Massive loops and blasting beats populate EL irreal Veintiuno‘s Irrealidades, which shines a spotlight on the Mexican rave scene, daring Quetzalcóatl to move (Infinite Machine, March 31).

Upsammy integrates her voice into intricate lattices of beats on Germ in a Population of Buildings.  But there’s also an ambient tinge to the album, which deepens the patina (PAN, May 5).  As the world was falling apart, Cameron Graham set out to make “the most joyful and celebratory music I could.”  The results can be heard on the Go Out EP, which sounds like a blast of pure hope (Phantom Limb, March 24).  


Andy Loebs‘ Hyperlink Anamorphosis is a blend of jazz, pop and experimental IDM, a machine in constant flux (Jolt Music, March 24).  Fast and footwork-filled, Dillian‘s (Bmfr) Beam Former is like a video game gone awry.  The music will be a challenge to dancers, unless they choose to move to every other beat or enter the club caffeinated (Artetetra, March 31).  And Berlin’s Tresor imprint celebrates its 350th release with a creative compilation titled yet, concentrating on artists who fall outside or between electronic-based genres.  The compilation was announced this morning with a wild teaser video, as seen below (April 28).

Hard Beats and Industrial Timbres

绿帽 Green Hat is an investigation of masculinity in all its guises, from male inadequacy to toxic masculinity, concentrating on gender definitions in China.  Tzusing‘s treatise doesn’t hold back, making it all the more appealing (PAN, March 31).  Tangent‘s Presence Returns to Absence is darker than previous efforts, a new foreboding atmosphere creating the feel of an interplanetary excursion.  While a few ambient passages pop in, the spotlight is on the rhythmic programming (n5md, April 14).  CZiGO is “a minor character in Dune who gets killed off easily in a short scene.”  He’s also an electronic composer, and has brought the futuristic tinge of Frank Herbert’s novels into his music.  Aishroo is robotic and intricate, but with heart (Machine Records, March 24).


Plaster‘s Obscura is many things: an investigation of the feminine, a spotlight on Iranian protests, and an industrial album with poetry at its roots (Textvra, March 23).  Isabassi makes a powerful impression with Speaking Things, with aggressive beats and varying tempos (Super Hexagon, March 24).  Blush Response offers classic EBM, with hard beats and distorted vocals, in the vein of classic Front Line Assembly.  NEUROSCIENCE includes a guest appearance from Nitzer Ebb’s Bon Harris (Megastructure_, April 4).  It doesn’t get much more industrial than the video for “LOGOS,” taken from the self-titled album by UZHUR; gears shift, explosives detonate and the apocalypse seems nigh (NAHAL, March 24).

Richard Allen

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