Takuma Watanabe: Delay x Takuma (Constructive, Single)
Yeah, whatever. The label is being coy but these two tracks totally have Vladislav Delay written all over them. ‘Clouds Fall x Tacile’ sounds like an abstracted Luomo jam. All the components are there: the snippets of disembodied filmic dialogue, stuttered percussion and a widescreen aesthetic. All that’s missing is a sexy 4/4 kick to make it complete. But he brings the rhythm to the much darker ‘Text x Bruges’ where a jackhammer beat threatens to engulf everything at the start. But over its generous running time this slowly and elegantly disintegrates, making way for some inventive vocal splicing. Fresh!
venoztks: light breaker (Venoztks, Single)
Recorded on a balcony in Los Angeles so therefore I’d like to reimagine this as the alternative soundtrack to Michael Mann’s 1995 classic movie ‘Heat’. The analogy might work! A single near-hour long piece of shortwave band frequency manipulation. Too engaging to have it on as background company, the fluctuating crackle’n hum seem to represent air particle movement. Changes in atmospheric pressure are signalled by radical shifts in mood and timbre as we edge closer into space. Pzzzzzzzzt.
WAVE∞FORM: Waveform01 (LoveOD Communications, Album)
OK, so if you take in the title, the cover art (by noise merchant Lasse Marhaug) and the fact that WAVE∞FORM is Per Martinsen aka Mental Overdrive. Then the whole thing screams out the word “Cold” and I expect to be submerged into a frozen tundra of Norwegian despair. But surprisingly, it’s a lot more cheerful than that. There are even some unexpected moments of warmth and beauty amongst the 13 tracks. ‘Wave_04’ broadcasts a satisfying urgent arpeggio, orchestral manoeuvres (yes, in the dark) on ‘Wave_06’ and — my favourite — the deep bleep workout of ‘Wave_09’. But it flits between styles relatively confidently whilst retaining an austere aesthetic. File under Ambient not Ambient.
Bendik Giske: Cruising Laurel Halo Remixes (Smalltown Supersound, Single)
I’ll admit it was the Laurel Halo bit that attracted me more than the Bendik bit. But he seems to have lots going on. Looking at his Discogs he’s released three albums in two years. All nicely presented in that seductive / reductive graphic design vibe. Shows off his nipple on his website and he’s also been remixed elsewhere by Deathprod and Rezzett (who fucking rule by the way). Clearly keeping good company. So here, Laurel seems to have fun stretching and contorting Giske’s saxophone into impossible shapes. The A-side fuses slowed-up dub techno with jazz smarts whilst the flip wigs out and dispenses with the beats altogether. Jettison it into more interesting spaces.
Al Wootton — Sirzad / Fellaheen (Self released, Single)
Basically, these are two decent workouts for your sub. ‘Sirzad’ stylistically edges to the rack marked dubstep but don’t let that put you off. It wrong-footed me and I could hear strains of ominous techno and filtered dub in there somewhere. ‘Fellaheen’ on the other hand commits wholly and successfully to the movement known as dub. All the comfortably familiar motifs are there, tightly delivered with ruthless precision. Jah!