Retreat (Felix K) - Nine Forms Of Relaxation
Berlin beat scientist Felix Krone debuts a new label, Patience, with a new alias called Retreat. As the title hints, Nine Forms Of Relaxation is about chilling out—Krone himself advises to "combine with calming breathing techniques and meditation." The tracks are unique in his catalogue, a blend of his electroacoustic compositions and techno/drum & bass fusions, with gentle melodies and careful rhythms that rumble in all the right places.
bergsonist - ق / ك
The subject matter on bergsonist's latest two self-released EPs is both topical ("COVID-19") and hard-hitting ("Killed By AIDS," "Mass Incarceration Rate") and the music is both heavy and dejected to match. Several tracks feature bergsonist singing in a hushed voice that sounds like she's whispering furtively in her home studio, while the beats feel low-key even when they're distorted and brash ("BioTerrorism"). Best of all is the usual bergsonist funk that shows up in odd places, like "Killed By AIDS," which is groovier than you'd expect from the title, more than a little like Coil's early '90s output with a New York techno thump.
AshTreJinkins - Get Over It
AshTreJinkins' warm yet wonky house music comes straight out of Compton, but on "Too Much," the B-side of his new EP for Point Records, the famed South Los Angeles neighborhood feels more than a little bit like Detroit. He's quietly established himself as an LA producer to watch—his 2019 12-inch for Motion Ward, Run Me That Soul, was a memorable ambient techno trip.
Omformer - SINE01
They had us at "hour-long trance track." Sinensis is a new ambient-leaning sub-label from Norwegian outfit Ute, and the first release lays out an appealing recipe for the sound with this track-two effort by Omformer. The first track is somewhere between ambient and techno: it goes on and on, creating a hypnotic effect that feels unique—it's rare to hear anyone take the tantric repetition of trance this far. Sit down, zone out, and do whatever else makes you comfortable.
Jordan Reyes - Closer
Chicago-based synth head Jordan Reyes discovered some old files while stuck in quarantine at his family's house in Florida. Some of them came from the same sessions as last year's Close album, but Closer hardly feels like a collection of outtakes. It's a six-track journey through the extremes of modular synthesis, from rough, sandpapery textures in the first half to softer, more calming pieces, especially the gorgeous closer "Stumbling Home."
Maayan Nidam - HELL002
It's hard to find Maayan Nidam on any digital service outside YouTube, which makes her Hellium label's new Bandcamp profile a real blessing. The most recent release comes from Nidam herself, an exploration of the unique techno style she landed on with 2018's Sea Of Thee. These are three extended, subtle techno workouts with incredible attention to detail and an almost surreal sense of arrangement that rewards close, focused listening.
Various Artists - NAAFI X
The pioneering Mexican label is turning ten with something simple and satisfying: a ten-track compilation featuring some of its best producers. NAAFI X shows the crew maturing into a less confrontational and more slinky sound, with highlights including Tayhana's rhythmic gymnastics, Debit's undeniable musicality and a killer three-track run from Lyo XS, Wasted Fates and Imaabs that pair big club sounds with more delicate arrangements.
Uun - Ego Death 005
The prolific but overlooked Detroit techno producer Uun returns with the fifth release on his Ego Death label, with four more cuts hard but atmospheric techno perfectly pitched between American and European strains of the genre. This one comes with a leftist bent, particularly on "Raw Materials," which features a speech by a labour organizer in the same way you'd hear a sermon from a real preacher on some classic house and techno tracks. The voiceovers from the '70s are a depressing reminder that not much has changed over the last few decades, but incendiary tracks like "Silence Is Death" might just get you fired up about it.
Bored Lord - in case we never get to rave again
Hearing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at the warehouse party sounds like a pipe dream, but leave it to Bored Lord, who chops up the signature guitar riff and Kurt Cobain's growls into a jaunty house track. Listening to her intimate breakbeat take on "All Around Me," meanwhile, feels like a sin—its original form is a tense emo-adjacent song from Flyleaf, whose lead singer renounced her homosexuality in the name of God. For those unfamiliar with Bored Lord's work in nu-metal edits and pop tools, this is a great starter kit. Intended to be listened as one mix, in case we never get to rave again makes you hope for dance floors to come back so we can listen to rowdy hits like these once more.
Dolo Percussion - Dolo & The Birds
"This is where I recorded and mixed the album and all the gear I used," went the Tweet that became a meme. A similar post from Beautiful Swimmers' member Max D would have put most producers to shame. For his latest Dolo Percussion jam, he banged on a porch, chairs and a table with birds and farm machinery out in the distance. It's not the tools, it's the carpenter.
Fatherhood - Big Boy
Fatherhood is the duo of New York DJs Physical Therapy and Michael Magnan, who approach house music with the flamboyant swagger of their city in the '90s. There are three versions of the title track here—standouts include the vocal-heavy "Extra Serving" and Physical Therapy's "Ketogenic Dub," which introduces a little Kerri Chandler flavour. And for the real '90s heads, there's "Food," a dubby disco house track with a vocal chop and a string section that you could have found on a Strictly Rhythm B-side back in the day.
Bokeh Allstars - Mutual Aid 2020
Bokeh Allstar's Mutual Aid 2020 kicks off with King Midas Sound's Roger Robinson toasting over a zonked version of King Tubby's immortal "Tempo Riddim," which gives you a feel for what's in store. Bristol's Bokeh Versions is a crucial node for outer-limits dub exploration, and this compilation gathers key material from the likes of Low Jack, I Jahbar and Jay Glass Dubs, to name a few. On top of that, the £5 suggested donation goes directly to the artists as part of Bokeh's Mutal Aid Programme. 17 first-class dubs for a good cause.
Bonus Beats: I Love Acid catalogue
Posthuman has made a majority of the vinyl-only I Love Acid catalogue available digitally for the first time, including killer squelchy cuts from the likes of Luke Vibert, Jerome Hill, Cardopusher and more.
Andrew Ryce, Matt McDermott and Mikayla Cowley contributed to this roundup.
The coronavirus and electronic music /
Save Our Scene
Save Our Scene: An Open Letter
How To Set Up A Livestream
Self-Isolation 101: Artists Tips For Spending Time At Home
The Coronavirus And Electronic Music: Perspectives From The Scene
Guide: Offer and receive help
Guide: Attend virtual events
Guide: Buy music and merch