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Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman (Super Deluxe Reissue Edition)

October 15th, 2014
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30,000 Feet Above the Competition

In electronica’s rise through the 1990s, we discovered prolific recluse Aphex Twin, French revolutionaries Daft Punk and really good drugs from The Chemical Brothers. Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy brought anger to the table, while Moby’s and Fatboy Slim’s music and mixes were as ubiquitous as furniture. The London group Underworld reached their brief yet highest peak with the 1996 use of non-album cut “Born Slippy .NUXX” in Trainspotting. While that track left an indelible mark on both dance and movie music, those in the know probably felt that Underworld and their 1994 LP Dubnobasswithmyheadman had been lost in the shuffle. So what better time to nail down the album’s true place in techno canon than on its 20th anniversary? Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Daedelus – The Light Brigade

October 3rd, 2014
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His Story Repeats Itself

After multiple handfuls of albums and singles across some of the great electronica labels of the 21st century, one thing’s for sure about Los Angeles beatmaker Daedelus; nothing about his music feels accidental, especially not the cultural references peppered throughout it. From his pseudonym of Greek myth to his dandy onstage couture, his work suggests anthropomorphic library shelves coming together to form like Voltron and step into the studio. For the second time in his career Daedelus has chosen to base a complete release on a pivotal world event, The Light Brigade being inspired by the Crimean War of 1853–56. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Aphex Twin – Syro

September 26th, 2014
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We Care Because He Does

Much has been made this year of the strength of music released 20 years ago. In 1994 we saw many legendary “alternative” albums released, yet hidden from nostalgia for the likes of Dookie and Superunknown is acknowledgment of just how important the year was for beats. These were the first days of Nas and Biggie, of Portishead and Outkast. Beck announced his presence with three albums, anchored by the slacker grooves of Mellow Gold and “Loser.” Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor rose from the depths with The Downward Spiral, Natural Born Killers, and a memorably muddy set at Woodstock’s 25th anniversary. But 1994’s real winner may have been English electronica madman Richard D. James: He produced two EPs under lesser aliases, made the recently unshelved Caustic Window LP, put together a compilation of early singles and, most importantly, released the groundbreaking Selected Ambient Works Volume II as Aphex Twin. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Tricky – Adrian Thaws

September 17th, 2014
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Say My Name, Say My Name

The titling of Tricky’s 11th album with his birth name, Adrian Thaws, is a move loaded with meaning. He’s been here since the beginning of trip-hop, yet he remains as complex and mysterious as the music he makes in (and based on) that genre. And the name on the marquee isn’t the only prominent thing here that’s somehow a combination of the new, the familiar, and the sublimely interesting. He told the Consequence of Sound website that this album contained his takes on club music and hip-hop. This undersells most of the work on here, suggesting Tricky is merely aping strains of Top 40 music with urban leanings from Kanye to Nicki to even Lorde. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

The Bug – Angels & Devils

August 29th, 2014
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Chrysalis Record

Your author hasn’t had much luck with releases from The Bug. The experimental bass music, aggro rap and dancehall backed by Londoner Kevin Martin has long felt too dense to unravel, too relentlessly angry to merely enjoy. Restraint and deliberate action color The Bug’s proper fourth album, Angels & Devils, and for at least half of it there’s the sense a sea change is at hand. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

FaltyDL – In the Wild

August 17th, 2014
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Thirtysomething Mutant Ninja Twiddler

Four albums into his catalog, it sounds like New York beatmaker Drew Lustman—the “DL” in FaltyDL—remains vehemently uncommitted to any one electronic subgenre. Rare is the artist who can pull that off and make a cohesive release, and to this point FaltyDL hasn’t been the guy to do it. His latest album, In the Wild, hits closer to that mark, but it switches out listeners’ frustration with an absolute absence of focus for a forced game of hopscotch to try to hit a few more defined points of it. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Plastikman – EX

July 28th, 2014
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Art for Art’s Sake

Plastikman albums helped define acid techno’s minimal core until Richie Hawtin, the legendary DJ/producer behind the curtain, retired the moniker after the dark, abstract 2003 album Closer. A 2013 multimedia installation was one of a scant few live dates using that name since then, and the only one meriting enough new music to fill an LP. Despite going into the performance claiming this work wasn’t meant for a new album—well, here’s EX. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

Cabaret Voltaire – #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985)

July 6th, 2014
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Sensoria Overload

Last year saw the release and our review of Killing Joke’s singles compilation, an awesome volume distilling the band’s influence and skill across multiple genres. Now another foundation act with a hydra-like legacy—Sheffield electronic group Cabaret Voltaire—is out to put a nice little bow on things for their diehards and neophytes alike, collecting singles and favorites on #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985). Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews , ,

The Soft Pink Truth – Why Do the Heathen Rage?

July 2nd, 2014
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Rage Inside the Machine

There are theme bands, there are theme albums, then there are theme albums by theme bands. The Soft Pink Truth is the alter ego of Matmos programmer Drew Daniel, who formed it to answer Matthew Herbert’s challenge to try to make a proper house album. After a debut full of originals and a sophomore release of electronic covers of hardcore and punk, Daniel’s gone back and deeper into the tribute well on Why Do the Heathen Rage?. It uses a clutch of 1980s and 1990s sounds to pay homage to others from the then-nascent genre of black metal. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews , ,

Plaid – Reachy Prints

May 23rd, 2014
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EDM, IDM, We All DM

Andy Samberg’s short comedic film for the May 17th episode of Saturday Night Live properly skewered mainstream electronic music, showing why it’s regarded as monotonous and headache-inducing. With live-event fakery, quickly tiresome arrangements and a fanbase that couldn’t care less about the results as long as they get their dance, their date and their molly, “When Will the Bass Drop?” made it obvious there’s no “I” in “EDM” but there’s sure a truckload of “ME.” Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews