electronica album reviews

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Jayda G: Significant Changes review – inclusive manifesto for dancefloors – and oceans

(Ninja Tune) Berlin is famous for its vast nightclubbing landscape, with destination venues existing alongside an endless supply of spots for house-music enthusiasts, just off the beaten track. Yet it also harbours a reputation for having drained the genre of all colour, sometime during the course of a transatlantic cultural dialogue that would reshape the …

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Stephen Malkmus: Groove Denied review – stark, forbidding soundscapes

(Domino) With a couple of honourable exceptions – specifically his self-titled 2001 solo debut and last year’s excellent Sparkle Hard – Stephen Malkmus has too often during his post-Pavement career found himself bogged down in amorphous, sub-Grateful Dead jams. Indeed, Frank Black aside, it’s hard to think of a solo canon that’s been quite so …

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The Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe review – heartbreakingly brilliant

(Ninja Tune) I’ve always found the Cinematic Orchestra too pretentious, too austere, a band whose ambitions outran their abilities. With this fourth album, 12 years after their last, that austerity is over. To Believe is heartbreakingly brilliant: a collection of exquisitely assembled songs that appear delicate from a distance before revealing a close-quarters core strength. …

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Teeth of the Sea: Wraith review – sonic dystopians explore ambient brass

(Rocket Recordings) The trumpets that permeate Teeth of the Sea’s fifth album act like the prophetic horns of Jericho. Laid thick with reverb, they herald the dystopian landscape the London-based trio create through nine tracks of scattering electronic percussion, earthy bass lines and eerie ambience. Largely instrumental, Wraith plays more like a slab of techno …

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Sleaford Mods: Eton Alive review – damning details of life on a frayed isle

(Extreme Eating)Always recognisable and always evolving, Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson’s barked social snapshots turn melodic Sleaford Mods’ frontman Jason Williamson recently revealed that lately he’s been listening to Alexander O’Neal, Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross, although the Nottinghamshire duo haven’t suddenly gone soul or R&B. However, Andrew Fearn’s backing tracks are forever evolving and …

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Toro Y Moi: Outer Peace review – chillwave maven finds focused future funk

(Carpark Records) It’s 10 years since the dawn of chillwave, the music scene that looked at synthpop, soft rock, reggae and more through a rose-tinted kaleidoscope while contemplating the day’s first craft IPA. Was its supremely unbothered demeanour the product of a time of relative harmony, or the only reasonable reaction to a banking crisis …

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James Blake: Assume Form review – lovestruck producer turns dark into light | Alexis Petridis’ album of the week

Blake is clearly in a good place, unexpectedly embedded at the centre of pop culture, and his new album adds bright colours to his sound It feels strange now to recall a time when James Blake’s elevation from underground post-dubstep auteur to hotly-tipped mainstream artist seemed like the result of a clerical error. It was …

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Richard Youngs: Memory Ain’t No Decay review – into the edgelands with a musical gem

(Wayside & Woodland) As many musicians fret, vacillate and self-medicate their way out of actually writing their next record, Richard Youngs just gets on with it. The Scotland-based singer-songwriter, operating since the early 90s, has released 17 albums in the last two years alone (not including collaborations such as the brilliant Scottish disco supergroup Amor) …

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Rezzett: Rezzett review – distressed dancefloor classics

The Trilogy Tapes A bit like a pair of jeans that come pre-distressed with frays and scuffs, the debut full-length from dance duo Rezzett sounds like a once-pristine master recording that has been sun-baked, waterlogged, sandpapered and worse. And like the jeans, some might see this as a pointless pose: why resist high fidelity? But …

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Marie Davidson: Working Class Woman review – tormented techno subverted by humour

(Ninja Tune) As anyone who sat through The Handmaid’s Tale knows, dystopian art can become self-inflicted punishment. There has been plenty of grindingly bleak music released recently, much of it impressively hostile if not exactly the stuff of repeat listens. Two recent albums have demonstrated how to reflect contemporary horror more effectively: Low’s Double Negative …

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