nobuka - You Looked Like An Angel, She Said
Dutch artist nobuka made this record after his mother died last March. It's a tender but aloof piece of sound art that reflects the complexity of grief, and all the contradictory, layered emotions it evokes. Pieces like the droning "Wake / Woken" or the more discrete instrumentation of "Atrophic" are dense but obscured, with a wealth of detail buried underneath grainy surfaces.
Swoozy Dolphin - oddities 3
Swoozy Dolphin describes their work as "urban surf music from Detroit." It sounds like cloud rap, the ethereal, wispy and ambient-leaning hip-hop production style that was big around ten years ago. oddities 3 is a mixed bag of downtempo beats, plush synths and humble melodies that envelop you like sweet perfume. There's boom-bap, though it's hardly booming. This is delicate, beautiful stuff.
Saadaan - Karachi Knights 001
Karachi Knights is a new series from Coventry producer Saadaan meant to highlight the musical legacy of Pakistan and combine it with vital dance music. The first EP delivers two tracks in the vein of future garage (in a good way), with skippy beats that would have made a splash in the post-dubstep days. The sounds are bright and cheery, and the Pakistani touches—like the bobbing hand drums and occasional string instrumentation—are subtle and nuanced. Even putting the neat concept aside, Karachi Knights makes Saadaan a producer worth watching.
Jabu & Daniela Dyson - Jabu & Daniela Dyson
Ethereal pop meets trip-hop on this inspired team-up between the Bristol group and the poet Daniela Dyson. The introductory A-side suite is the highlight, landing in a similar sonic universe as Liz Fraser's collaboration with Massive Attack.
Perila - tracking stones within four walls/ air of spring in lungs
The Russian's artist's releases for the likes of Sferic and Motion Ward have had an uncanny, time-warping effect, a feeling she leans into on her new audiobook, an eight-track album that mixes ambient and spoken word. It's not so much an aid for stay-at-home relaxation as a vivid tour of imagined landscapes ("non-existent lands i like to visit" and "fake room of people") and a comment on the poetic potential of everyday space ("long dizzying air through a balcony" and "carpet bubble bath"). Dive in.
My Cruelty - The Secret Weapon
This album from Russian producer My Cruelty is 40 minutes of shifting garage beats with eerie, almost inhuman piano. Imagine Mark Fell crossed with "Avril 14th" and you're not far off. But in spite of the generative feel of the composition, it never feels academic or stuffy, instead lilting, inviting and a bit mischievous. It's a great example of the inventive club music that crucial Czech label Genot Centre has been pumping out lately.
Chippy Nonstop & Skins - Approachable
Rapper and producer Chippy Nonstop hits a new standard with her latest single, laying down a heavy, warping bassline that cuts through her frantic drum breaks. With an earworm vocal hook that straddles between bratty and unattainable—"I don't want to be approachable," she snarls—"Approachable" touches on drum & bass with hints of Chippy’s global style. In line with the big noise of last month's "Straight To Hell," the track brings her closer to establishing a sound that's all her own.
Whirling Hall Of Knives - WHOK Lab Emissions Vol. II
Irish duo Whirling Hall Of Knives—The Last Sound and Magnetize—usually make techno tempests, loading their tracks up with torrents of distortion and what sounds like roaring electric guitars (or some other kind of scuzzy, serrated instrument). The Lab Emissions series lets them sprawl out a bit, and number two is a sequence of studies in distortion, phasing, delay and panning, which feels as much like experimental metal as it does electronic music. The 23-minute "Rave Fists" has tones so low you could mistake them for a Sunn O))) tune. (Bonus: They also just released a 30 minute track.)
Donald Dust - Mouth Feel
The centrepiece of Mouth Feel is "I'm Bobby Orlando," a tribute to the hi-NRG pioneer of the same name. A lot of the Donald Dust's work is built around '80s-influenced sounds and ideas, but he's never sounded this vital. What might have started out as a transparent pastiche becomes the Scottish producer's best track yet, a true-to-life tribute with at least three different hooks to get stuck in your head. (Bonus points for the excellent remix from Mood Hut's Local Artist.)
INVT & Jonny From Space - 303 Water
This one's just a single track, but what a track: rolling, rumbling space-age drum & bass-adjacent rhythms with a wobbly bassline to die for. It feels huge, spacious and nimble all at once, a three-way collaboration from Miami duo INVT and Jonny From Space that leaves us hankering for much more.
Gideon Greene - Tick
A new label from Melbourne called Branch Points launches with this unusual EP that veers between techno, house and UK-inspired beat science. "Tick" is a staggered monster built around mechanical sound effects and a punishing bassline, while "Blockage," with its lithe stop-start style, could be a Timedance track. The key tune is "Knock," whose off-centre swing reminds us of classic Peverelist, right down to the delay-drenched snares.
Assafrão - Post Rave Effects
In the midst of a pandemic, the title of this EP hits closer to home than intended. The debut release from Lisbon-based Assafrão is filled with easygoing, nostalgic breaks that soundtrack a 6 AM party departure. Rádio Quântica has always been a community-first platform and Post Rave Effects shows how the young producers in the region are making music that moves a dance floor and heals the dancers.
Cucina Povera & Haron - Plafond 6
The vocal experiments of Glasgow's Cucina Povera and Dutch producer Haron's minimalist tones fit together in an unexpected way on Plafond 6, encompassing hair-raising electroacoustic compositions and airy vocals. It opens with an organ's deep hum accompanied by the amplified click of its keys, drawing you in with rich organic textures. Then in "Riffittelyä II" we hear droplets falling on hard ground, spraying cool mists of sound as they land. Throughout, field recordings of radios and birds add theatrical weight, like seconds of a movie flickering in when you thought you were only listening to the score.
Scott Grooves Presents The Human Voice EP (For Those Without Tables)
Big up Scott Grooves, who started making beautiful Detroit house music in the early '90s and hasn't let up. His Bandcamp page is a key resource for house heads, full of low-key gems like his Natural Midi series and the just-uploaded EP, The Human Voice. The otherwise out-of-print 2018 12-inch contains three tracks of deep, spacious, vocal house heavy on groove and melody.
Shireen Ramezani, Matt McDermott, Maya-Roisin Slater, Andrew Ryce 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