Another month passes us by engrossed in experimental bass music and our metaphorical finger on of pulse Mick Muttley lets us in on his pick of the best...
Tycho - Awake
Out now from drip.fm
Punchy drums, an addictive-without-the-E-numbers electric guitar line, delightful squiggles of synth ornamenting the sound montage, and precision bass to die for - that about sums up Tycho's new single for Ghostly International, first from his follow-up to 2011's "Dive". It follows the trajectory of Boards Of Canada's more driving electronica, filtered through Plaid's glossy synthetic drawl before they went big on gamelans and took the electronic project live. The music sounds new, full of vitality and poise toward a wider horizon. The timbre is greatly polished like a diamond in a cabinet display. And for all the drawbacks that escape the sterility of production, Tycho has echoed class from his peers of downtempo push-and-shove. I'd choose to wake up to this as an early Christmas present at any time of the year.
Synkro - Lost Here
Release date: 2nd December 2013
Robert Manos' vocal contributions on Synkro's follow-up music to his excellent "Acceptance" EP strike a chord with the fixated strands of melody, turning to melancholy texture that Joe Synkro so regularly serves up to his audiences, crossing the borderline (take the ASC collaboration of the same name) amidst dubstep, bass music and drum & bass. The 85 BPM modulations of the first two pieces on this EP stride a dovetailed coathook from Wax Doctor to Detroit techno's Lawrence; from Raster-Noton clicks 'n' glitch electronica to ambient meandering with a solid, airy groove to underpin it. There's a driving sense of space, feelings of philosophical platitudes just around the corner from Manos, whose earlier work peaked with "Every Man For Himself" on contemporary jungle label Bassbin. Where criticism like "there's not an awful lot going on, it's too minimal" could stub out the waxiness of Synkro's way with an arrangement, the compliments to the chef including the manner he perfects such a sparing course of elements for each tune is to be admired, just as it is appreciated.
ASC - Confined Spaces (Programme 2 EP, 2013)
A very absorbing deep techno track on ASC's Auxiliary label here, the closest to his earlier Intex Systems (later phased out) alias work from the mid to late 2000s. James Clements, aka ASC changed this cornerstone to Mindspan in 2008 and while that pseudonym also rarely sees productivity publically, he has maintained a steady stream of release-worthy material that crosses over to the main ASC name. Full of pumping syncopated rhythms, subtle shifts in timbre of drum, bass and pad sounds and having a keen ear for harmony, Clements breaks bread with forced metre (the bass gradations that enter after a minute signify an incline into a more Detroit sound) but makes it seem effortless, as if it is part of a bigger picture, angled across a railway line in the city where humans fill the ambience with a tangible grit. This is without doubt my favourite work from the "Programme" EPs, now discontinued, whereby the other tracks are full of wonders as well. Very strong material fit for Berlin and London etc.
Various Artists - Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Rights For Russia Now! Compilation
The grand design of this long-form compilation is to scale the BPM between 80 and 150, transplanting aesthetics from leftfield techno and dubstep into an electronic cannon that's neat enough on its own merits. Piece 6, "Roath" by Truss approaches Nubian Mindz' hypnotic groove-techno, while Just So Nah's "Six O' House" is fittingly all Frankie Knuckles loop eddies and The Human League synth shimmers in the arpeggio pattern. Highlight "Gay Pride" by De Tuinen titularly outlines the impetus behind the compilation - to crush President Putin's horrid regime of prejudice against gay or transgender people. Seeing as the Russian Olympics is coming up next year any funds from this fun, over-an-hour collection of name-your-price bass music would be very much appreciated by the charity this goes to. Mark my words, if leftfield techno of any kind is your thing, you're going to at least like this.
Soramimi - Square Esteem (END009)
Pure hybrid styles on this experimental and dub techno made electronica from the End Fence label, holding close artists who've made some real headway on the free Mp3 scene - just check the website for evidence that "there's no fence at the end", as aptly describes their genre crossing patch-work. "Wonderworm" is a healthily contaminating stir fry mix of mushy pads and scattergun 85 BPM rhythms. But it's the "Your Move's Infinite Tide" mix of "A Lake Is Just An Upside Down Sky" that impresses most. Dubstep in a deep techno-augmented vein with lights-down synthesisers and whacked out percussion teeters the release close to natural bass music, but there's enough grit, invention and detail in all of this female producer's tracks to warrant a place on your hard drive for years to come. Depth with a real retaliation, unconscious or not, of brostep and big room dubstep obviousness, this installment is high and dry with some of that manna and light you'll need this winter.
Adamant - Avatism
"There is something hidden in this" - they're not far wrong. An amiable upholstery where transluscence is favoured. This upholstery - tied to an alternative techno chassis - suspends time with beats that idiosyncratically call and response with their bar markers. "Behind The Hourglass" pursues what good techiness in music really pours, while remaining hardwired to the kind of hypnotic dance-offs Andy Stott at Dutch club night IChiOne was renowned for. It's see-sawing the genre contradistinction between house and techno while staying true to a rigorous pulse at core. But these tracks, rich in their compositional fervour and precision, are effortlessly as much at home in the late night sleep environment as they are in a more thoughtful club night. DJs with taste - make haste to drop this LP's cream of the crop on the floor! Favourite track: "Bitter Reminiscence feat. Clockwork" for that neat bass synth weave.
Agree with my selections this month? Anything I've missed, or anything that I should be checking out for next? Get in touch via email@example.com or hit me at @MuttleySV on Twitter.