electronica album reviews

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Cabaret Voltaire: Shadow of Fear review – a fittingly dystopian fantasy from Sheffield’s industrial pioneers

MuteThe first Cabaret Voltaire album in more than two decades feels oddly of the moment, their grim presentiments about disinformation, curfews and crackdowns fulfilled Between 1974 and 1994, Cabaret Voltaire made a career out of being slightly ahead of the curve. They may well have been the world’s first industrial band. Throbbing Gristle coined the …

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Sun Ra Arkestra: Swirling review – out of this world

(Strut)The Arkestra’s first album in 20 years is an intoxicating, cosmic tribute to Sun Ra For much of his long, prolific career, the late Sun Ra (born plain Herman Blount) found his music marginalised. Though rooted in jazz tradition, its atonal tunings and proto-electronica, along with its space-age themes and gaudy costumes, were too way …

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Ela Minus: Acts of Rebellion review – techno-pop for dancing, thinking and resisting

(Domino)Making her debut album alone on analogue machines, Minus has come up with an inspiring manifesto for 2020 As acts of rebellion go, Ela Minus’s is an intimate yet powerful one. On her debut album, the Colombia-born, Brooklyn-based artist makes personal-is-political statements amid alternately soothing and rousing electronic soundscapes, all of which she crafted alone …

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Autechre: Sign review

(Warp)A surprisingly melodic proper album is welcome from the electronic pioneers, but its dystopian soundworld is now in a crowded market As the devastating and the downright uncanny both become normalised, few things still have the power to surprise in 2020. That said, few would have expected Autechre to conjure up an album-length album, actually …

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Róisín Murphy: Róisín Machine review – still inventing new moves

(Skint/BMG)Pop outsider and lockdown living-room star Murphy distils her disco expertise and musical idiosyncrasies in songs pulsing with dancefloor power The first thing you hear on Róisín Murphy’s fifth album is a snatch of spoken word, an extract from a monologue that appears in full later. “I feel my story is still untold,” she says, …

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Sault: Untitled (Rise) review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

(Forever Living Originals)Just 12 weeks after their previous double album, the British group dance from sorrow to resistance, mixing fearless lyrics with house, funk and disco Over the last two years, Sault’s music has arrived out of the blue: no interviews, no photos, no videos, no live appearances, no Wikipedia entry, a perfunctory and entirely …

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Duma: Duma review – extreme Kenyan metalheads bring doom to the dancefloor

(Nyege Nyege Tapes)From Nairobi’s metal scene, Martin Kanja and Sam Karugu add techno to doom-laden guitars and distorted vocals on this exciting album Alongside the burgeoning experimental electronic scene in east Africa is a small but committed underground of metal bands, based in Nairobi. These groups are breathing life into a field hampered by a …

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Arca: Kick I review – dissonance meets overground ambitions

(XL)The Venezuelan electronic innovator adds guests and party tunes to her trademark glitchy sounds The Venezuela-born, Barcelona-based electronic innovator Arca has long made a feature of colliding sound-worlds and destabilising identities. Across three albums (four, if you’re counting the 62-minute track @@@@@) of mercurial productions, chaos and beauty have intertwined. Hand in hand with Arca’s …

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Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be

(XL) Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie Time, from Arca’s fourth album KiCk i, reduces a booming, bass-heavy 4/4 kick drum to a whisper that oscillates around Alejandra Ghersi’s blurry, anaesthetised words. “It’s time to let it out …

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Kevin Figes Quartet: Changing Times review – constantly fascinating

(Pig Records)The multi-instrumentalist’s latest quartet recording is a mind-expanding feast for the ears I didn’t think I was going to like this album at first, when greeted by the strains of an electronic sequencer. But this faded into a beautifully played flute solo. Then came some wordless chanting by two mysterious voices, leading to a …

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