electronica album reviews

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Sophia Kennedy: Monsters review – showtunes and sub-bass from sonic shapeshifter

(City Slang)Unable to categorise the Baltimore-born, Hamburg-bred artist, you are thrown into her disarming, disorientating but oddly relaxing emotional world For the modern musician, genre-fickleness is no longer the exception but the rule. Switching styles and blending sounds doesn’t simply cater to listeners with depleted attention spans – it can also be a way of …

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Leon Vynehall: Rare, Forever review – warped, intense, cerebral

(Ninja Tune)The DJ-producer’s introspective, genre-defying second album rewards engaged listening Leon Vynehall’s 2018 album Nothing Is Still was a sleepy sensation. Although the house DJ had produced a couple of track compilations and entrancing singles, such as Midnight on Rainbow Road and It’s Just (House of Dupree), he took a giant step forward with his …

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Gazelle Twin & NYX: Deep England review | John Lewis’s contemporary album of the month

(NYX Collective Records)A dramatic reworking of Gazelle Twin’s techno-folk Pastoral album with the NYX choir adds layers of hair-raising chills Gazelle Twin is the alter ego of Elizabeth Bernholz, a composer, producer and singer who creates unsettling, terrifying and occasional hilarious electronic music. Her stage costume resembles a Morris-dancing Leigh Bowery in Adidas trainers impersonating …

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Guedra Guedra: Vexillology review | Ammar Kalia’s global album of the month

(On the Corner)Abdellah M Hassak integrates the rhythms of north African folk music with a bassline-heavy electronic pulse From the spiritual polyrhythms of gnawa to the looping vocalisations of Sufism and the percussive tessellations of Berber folk, the world of north African cultures meet in the music of Morocco. Producer Abdellah M Hassak, AKA Guedra …

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Blanck Mass: In Ferneaux review – the very definition of niche

(Sacred Bones)Travel the world as Benjamin John Power mines a decade’s worth of field recordings on his gratifyingly singular fifth album In Ferneaux represents something of a departure for electronica auteur Benjamin John Power. After the euphoric and abrasive maximalism of 2019’s Animated Violence Mild, and his work as half of Fuck Buttons, Power’s fifth …

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Sal Dulu: Xompulse review – boom-bap dreamscapes

(Duluoz)Jazz, ambient and soul harmonise in the Dublin-based producer’s gently daze-inducing debut Dublin-based producer and instrumentalist Sal Dulu makes calm, expansive beats that swim with the cinematic possibilities of the night-time. Xompulse is his debut album, and comprises a subtly enticing collection of tracks that marry everything from boom-bap, classical, jazz, ambient, warm licks of …

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Pauline Anna Strom: Angel Tears in Sunlight review | John Lewis’s contemporary album of the month

(RVNG)Strom’s first album in 30 years – and last, following her death in December – is a quiet riot of digitally manipulated drones and noise The music of the San Francisco-based composer Pauline Anna Strom, who died just before Christmas, aged 74, might be described as new age – a mystical, trance-like synthesised babble that …

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Madlib: Sound Ancestors review – hip-hop visionary tells wondrous stories in sound

(Madlib Invasion)Arranged by Four Tet, the producer’s stunning album is poignant and sincere, combining beats, jazz, reggae toasts and vocal snippets into a kind of folklore There are more ways to fall in love with Madlib’s myriad music projects than not. For many it’ll be his charismatic beats for the late, great MF Doom, his …

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Bicep: Isles review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

(Ninja Tune)The Northern Irish bloggers-turned-DJs-turned-producers kick over the dinner-party table with an album that matches the scope and ambition of 90s dance artists The progression from record collector to DJ to artist is a common one in dance music: the difference with Northern Irish duo Bicep is they have done it all in public. They …

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Four Tet: 871/Parallel review – chaotic ambition with bells on

(Bandcamp/Text)Veering from squalling howls to symphonic loveliness, Keiran Hebden’s two new albums are equally rewarding In recent weeks, producer Kieran Hebden’s Four Tet has released two new songs with Thom Yorke and Burial, alongside these two new albums. Each track on 871 and Parallel is prosaically numbered in sequence, which hints these are end-of-year data …

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