V/A - HKH Cryosphere
London-based collective Chinabot focuses on weird music from lesser-known producers from all around Asia. HKH Cryosphere takes its name from the Hindu Kush Himalayas, a region considered the icy third pole of the planet. Listening to this release feels like watching the full cycle of melting and freezing, best exemplified in the steady ice-breaking drumline and watery, haunting vocals on "extinct imposters" by the Vietnamese producer Ly Trang. But every track on here, from haunting ambient to experimental club, maps out a unique path to navigating the political and ecological tension in the mountain range.
felt body - Music For Autumn Walks
Melbourne artist felt body makes music inspired by "psychic geographies," which, in her words, is the "idea that we are shaped to an infinite degree by our surroundings." Music For Autumn Walks invites our surroundings in. They're plaintive piano pieces touched by birdsong and other close mic'd-recordings. This is the kind of ambient music that makes you hear what's going on around you as you try to focus on its humble sounds.
Asheville, North Carolina collective Copyright420 just uploaded all their releases to Bandcamp, and it's definitely the strangest electronic music you'll hear this week, maybe even all year. With a post-post-vaporwave aesthetic (don't let Jar Jar Binks or Marie Kondo scare you away) and a bona fide sound art bent, this music is high-brow and low-brow at the same time, with ASMR-inducing tingles, samples of internet detritus pulverized into dust and odd spoken word screeds. It's captivating, and there's nothing else quite like it.
Troy No - Streams Of Memories
Ottawa's Troy No makes brooding, cinematic ambient music—mostly strings, or modulars made to sound like strings—but what sets him apart is the boom-bap drums he subtly introduces, like araabMUZIK gone baroque. The drums jump, the basslines surge, the melodies alternately soar and float for an emotive EP that punches above its short running time.
Chrissy - Plus Two
smartbar resident Chrissy is an unofficial dance music historian, so it's always fun to hear him tackle a different retro sound. This time, it's good old-fashioned house music: "Depeche Moines" sounds like sped-up Larry Heard, while "Can't You Feel It" throws a breakbeat spin on the '80s Chicago house sound. Soundbwoy Killah throws a mean UK spin on the latter, and Denham Audio gives "Depeche Moines" a classic techno makeover.
FFT - BRUK1
BRUK is the latest label to bring modern techno, dubstep, drum & bass and more together into one mean sound. The first two releases come from FFT, and our pick is this all-killer-no-filler EP, full of rude basslines, twitching drums and the occasional wobble. If you're into labels like SPE:C or artists like Denham Audio, you'll want to check out BRUK.
Andrea Taeggi - Mycorrhiza
Andrea Taeggi, one half of experimental electronic group Lumisokea, made Mycorrhiza while tripping on mushrooms, and he wants you to know that. But this release is more than a gimmick: it was made at the Willem-Twee studio in the Netherlands, which is modeled after the Studio di Fonologia RAI from Milan in the '50s. Using a grip of rare historic hardware, the album recalls early electronic experiments but with a distinctly psychedelic approach—a must for synth nerds or anyone with more than a passing interest in the kind of weird sounds you can make with them.
RNBWS - Autonomy
Jelly Bean Farm is an underrated Los Angeles outpost for leftfield techno and UK-style club music, and this release from Moscow's RNBWS is one of their best yet, a sprightly trip through breakbeat techno, spiky electro and drum & bass-inspired fusions.
Developer - Sangre Por Oro
A little over a decade ago, shortly after Adrian Sandoval launched the Developer project, the LA native arrived in Berlin, took a trip to Berghain and was surprised to hear his tracks playing through the towering system. He's released hundreds since, but Developer's sound is still perfectly suited for the world's best clubs. On his second album, Sandoval's vision is hyper-functional yet remarkably fleet-footed, with influences spanning original Detroit minimalism to broken techno to synth pop. It'll be a while before most of us enter a dark, cavernous room with a few thousand degenerates. Sangre Por Oro is a good bet in the meantime.
Corell - Optimism
Beautiful techno and ambient (think beatless excursions by Donato Dozzy or Peter Van Hoesen) from Russia's Corell, who makes the genre feel meditative and boundless. The dubby waves of "Anything Worthless" are a highlight, but the whole EP impresses in how it takes the metallic tones of techno and attaches them to dynamic, unpredictable structures.
Bay B Kane - Coronavirus Relief Pack
22 tracks of bold remixes and audacious edits from a modern jungle king, Bay B Kane's pay-what-you-want release is worth its weight in salt, gold or, yes, money for any junglist or drum & bass head in need of new beats. He's got a classic touch, but it never gets tiring, a reminder that jungle never really went away.
Bungalovv - Donde Hubo Fuego
Pablo Betas is a founding member of TRRUENO, an experimental platform based in his hometown of Bueno Aires. The artists on the imprint are often unflinching in the face of darkness, engaging with subjects like historical trauma, violence and destruction across punishing tracks. Under his new alias, Bungalovv, Betas seems equally comfortable in the shadows. Donde Hubo Fuego, on pioneering Mexican label Infinite Machine, incorporates traditional instrumentation and a dembow swing, transforming them with hard drums, exciting club rhythms and horror-movie style suspense.
borderland state_the best kisser in l.a. - silicon overseer
This duo (from London, not Los Angeles) debuted on Exit earlier this year with an EP that blended smooth Autonomic drum & bass with twitchy IDM. Their follow-up, a two-track morsel on buy-on-sight label TT, is even stronger. You can hear drum & bass in its broken techno bones, but the duo's layered processing and penchant for gitch makes it a whole lot trippier, especially when Anna B's vocals are wafting through the B-side.
Andrew Ryce, Matt McDermott, Mikayla Cowley and Kiana Mickles 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
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