Another month, another record bag chock full of fine booty-shakers and bum-scratchers.
Another long month comes to an end, bills start to roll in and right on cue once again the LEM beatwagon rolls into town with a batch of new bangers in tow.
It's kind of a special event this time because at some point recently, Low End Movements celebrated its first birthday. I don't know if it was actually this month or last month because I can't remember exactly when this column started, but any excuse for a party really. To mark the occasion, I'll be awarding a small prize to whoever sends me the best and most original new release recommendation for next month's edition- anything that's released or set for release between September 1st and October 1st will be considered, and on top of sorting a prize I'll of course make sure to include a mention of it next time around. Just drop an email to email@example.com or hit me via @invisiondnb on Twitter.
Anyway, fun stuff out the way, let's get down to business.
Bule / Hunab - Hera EP (Out now on Apparent Horizon)
The best pure techno release I've heard personally for quite some time, and it's great to be able to say that about a label's debut release, namely Berlin's (where else?) Apparent Horizon. Every cut here is veritable club killer material, yet the pounding rhythms belie subtle ambient leanings buried deeply within, perhaps no better than on Hunab's icy "Ixtab". It's beyond clichéd to describe electronic music as being "equally suited to the dancefloor as a pair of headphones", but I just did it anyway. Lots to be excited about for the future of this young imprint.
Dave Hoax / Scale - Hidden Hawaii Ltd. 9 (Out now on Hidden Hawaii)
While we're sort of on the topic of clichés, one of my favourites that gets thrown about pretty recklessly in drum & bass circles is that word "vibe", and to my ears, Dave Hoax's "Variations On A Theme" exactly captures its meaning. Blissed out, old-school drumfunk; music liable to conjure nostalgic yearning for time spent indulging in the most innocent forms of hedonism, and a soundtrack for lazy Summer weekends. Flip side "Prism" is no slouch either, in fact it's a paradigmatic modernisation of golden era Metalheadz, a template which Hidden Hawaii have safely established as something of a trademark.
Consequence- Etcht EP 001
The eagerly-anticipated first release for Consequence's brand new "Etcht" imprint doesn't disappoint. For a producer whose career progression is perhaps best defined through the evolutionary nature of his sound, it's yet another departure from anything we've heard from the man previously, deeply indebted to and blending the intelligent dance sounds of the '90s, from early Aphex Twin to jungle, but with a modern twist. Each of these experimental compositions is curiously brief, and compared to much of his work elsewhere Consequence seems less interested in gradually building up and fleshing out his ideas than he does simply cramming as many of them in as short a space a time as possible. It's a precarious tact, but playing out almost like a mini IDM take on Dilla's "Donuts", it makes for a refreshing listen.
Troy Gunner & Synkro / Troy Gunner & Rowl - Communicate EP Part 1 (Out September on Voyager)
During the last LEM outing, we gave a nod to the eclecticism of The Crescent's music policy; "pigeon-holing themselves neither according to tempo nor explicitly to any set of stylistic or aesthetic qualities". Through their sister imprint Voyager and this first part of Troy Gunner's "Communicate" EP, they're now going one better and putting out music that somewhat defies notions of genre altogether. Opening with a full 4 minutes of ambience before sparse rhythmic elements even begin to appear, Synkro colab "Is this" may leave the obsessive genre taggers scratching their heads; "Is this garage?" "Is this ambient?" A better question to ask would be "is this important?" In these exciting times where boundaries between styles appear fluid as ever, absolutely not.
No audio for this one as yet, sorry! Keep an eye out for it.
Michael Red - MM002 (Out now on Modern Math)
Yet more music which I neither feel confident nor care to categorise by genre, and another name that was previously unfamiliar to me in Michael Red's new EP for Canadian imprint Modern Math. Release artworks can sometimes be a giveaway, as it is here; the watery greyscale depiction adorning the sleeve a fitting precursor to the dystopian and isolatory soundscapes contained within.
Red's primary instrument is repetition. Every sonic element is given a rhythmic purpose and then made to serve it unrelentingly, leaving the listener submerged, wave after wave. It's an uncomfortable experience at times, but as most good music of this nature is, ultimately it's a cathartic one given proper attention.
Stumbleine - Tales From The Night Sky (Out now; self-released)
As August turns to September, there's a certain poignancy to the end of Summer. Heady and bittersweet, the latest shoegaze-inspired tearjerkers from Bristol's Stumbleine (one-third of the post-dubstep trio Swarms) make an appropriate soundtrack to the fading light and perfectly distill that sobering feeling of something very good about to come to an end.
Kindly, Stumbline has taken the bandcamp "name your price" style self-release approach, but while that does mean that this pair of tunes can be yours for free, I would urge you to dig deep and fork out a couple of quid for them if you can so that music of this rare and lovely sort continues to get put out.
ASC - Programme 01 EP (Out now on Auxiliary Music)
At some point we might have an LEM month where ASC has a bit of a wobbler, but it's certainly not this one. The latest addition to the Auxiliary catalogue (and surprisingly ASC's first solo outing on his own label since 2011), the "Programme 01" EP arrived in the inbox alongside the bold claim of being James Clements' "best yet". While such artist self-endorsements are usually best taken with a pinch of salt, there might be something to this one. "Solemnity" is the personal highlight, starting out as a straightforward 85bpm technoid stomper but evolving into a piece of real depth and complexity through the introduction of breathtaking synth elements over its breakdown. Have a listen below and make up your own mind about where it ranks among the ASC back cat.
Agree with my selections this month? Anything I've missed, or anything that I should be checking out for next? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me at @invisiondnb on Twitter.