With a great last month for releases Summer sadly comes to a close, but never fear as there's also lots of great music for us to get excited about heading into September.
Fis - Duckdive EP (Out 03/09/12 on Samurai Horo)
You can tell a Fis track from a mile off. And it's not because all his music sounds the same, rather it's because there is nobody else making music anywhere near like him at the moment- the Duckdive EP contains without doubt four of the most original productions that I've heard for some time. This is that rare form of music that manages to be somehow Incredibly dense, organic and satisfying texturally yet at the same time preserves a sense of space and tension. Comparisons have been made to Burial, but these are probably fitting more in approximating the extent to which Fis stands out on his own as an artist and ultimately could prove to influence electronic music as opposed to describing his sound with much accuracy.
The only catch? Some will inevitably be upset that this release will be available on vinyl only and in strictly limited quantities but for those of us who have got their pre orders in early it makes it all the more exciting. And besides, it's refreshing to see a label try something as daring as a vinyl-only release given the increasing digitisation of release formats on the whole as Samurai has done through its Horo series; even moreso when done with this level of conviction.
Synth Sense - Tomorrow's World (Out now on Auxiliary Music)
"Warm, expansive and beautiful" is how fellow Organic journo Nathan Chadwick described Synth Sense's debut album and I couldn't really have put it any better myself; it's another excellent release from one of the very few "buy on sight" labels at the moment. Have a read of Nathan's interview with the Kent duo here. I haven't picked a standout track because it's one of those albums that really deserves to be listened to in full without interruption to properly appreciate, partly thanks to the seamless transitions and interludes between tracks, a trend which pleasingly a few producers of 170bpm bass music have made use of on recent albums.
Elusive Elements & Silent Mind - Immortal (Out now on Urban Poetry)
A pair of producers new to my ears, Elusive Elements and Silent Mind come straight out of Russia with a solid take on the more melodic end of the now well-defined Autonomic sound. Clearly influenced by the likes of ASC, Synkro and some of Instra:mental's excursions circa 2009 it's perhaps nothing groundbreaking, but then again music doesn't always have to be, does it?
For some reason unknown to us, this track has been set so it cannot be embedded... So check it out here:
Silent Dust - Martyrs (Out 10/09/12 on None60)
In my humble opinion, Silent Dust are proving themselves to be not only a couple of the most consistent producers around at the moment but also great songwriters. On Martyrs, the recognisable motifs which made last year's self-titled debut LP so memorable- the dusty tape hiss, sparse, airy percussion and warm bass tones- all feature here, but even if the production were only basic this would still be a beautiful bit of music thanks to the sheer moody sense of loneliness that it's minor key chord progression manages to evoke.
Daat - Orange Line/ Deep Blue Remix (Out now on Offshore/ Organic)
The Organic bossmen made it very clear that I'd be out the door if I didn't give this one a plug; thankfully it's a very strong pair of tunes that fit equally nicely into the extensive Offshore back catalogue and in line with what Organic stands for as a progressive musical brand. On the A-side, new names Daat make a strong statement of intent on their debut release with a lovely little synth driven number, rich in warm analogue sounding pads and some great percussion sounds underpinning it all. It's a deceptively catchy bit of music and if Daat carry on like this you'll be certain to hear plenty more from them.
The flip offers something pretty special as Deep Blue of late 90s Moving Shadow and "The Helicopter Tune" fame comes out of retirement to give Orange Line a reworking with a shot of his distinctive techno-influenced dancefloor style, and to great effect, capturing plenty of the groovy "je ne sais quoi" that is perhaps more commonly associated with music of the era in which Deep Blue made his name and is rather lost from a lot of modern productions. A wonderfully balanced release on the whole; two very different sides of a particularly shiny coin.
Oak - Escapist/ Firebird (Out 03/09/12 on Space Cadets)
More Russian goodness, this time from Oak on Space Cadets, a label which despite being relatively new I'm always excited to hear music from. Both tunes conjure vivid senses of imagery, Escapist in particular with its jazzy synth lead could be perceived to portray a sonic description of some alien landscape as viewed from a passing craft, to my mind anyway. There's a touch of Boards Of Canada about this 12" and if genre tags have to be applied it would definitely be more fitting to describe it as downtempo than minimal drum & bass- you're certainly more likely to want to listen to either of these tunes at home on headphones or on a late night walk than in a club anytime soon. Obviously it's a good thing that there is 85/170bpm electronic music getting released where this is the case.
Holy Other - Held (Out now on Tri Angle Records)
Something a little bit different to what you might usually expect to read about in this column, but this release is outstanding. Blending the pitched vocals popularised by current garage, the melancholy of dark R&B and the airiness of Clams Casino-esque instrumental hip hop, through debut album "Held" Holy Other has created one of my favourite albums of the year thus far. It's music that defies genre, but the beauty of this album is that if you listen through the dense and intricate atmospherics you'll uncover wonderfully simple ideas and structures- "we all love pop music", as Tri Angle Records themselves have conceded.