RECORD BAG #1
DEAR DIARY EP
LOBSTER THEREMIN, 2021
Narciss' first record on Lobster Theremin is a collection of middling trance tunes that seem to want to build towards something but never seem to get there. These tracks, especially "Tall People," sound an awful lot like keygen music without the anime girl graphics.
Listen: "It Gets Easier"
NIGHTFLIGHT RECORDS, 2021
"Ancient Love," a 9 minute track that's not quite deep house and not quite techno, is one of my favorites of 2021; I love how it casually floats along underneath a vague Dm7-C#maj7-G#6-G#m7 chord progression and dripping acid line. The trancey, cosmic 303 opener and two electro tracks at the end are pretty good, but it's "Ancient Love" that really makes this EP.
Listen: "Ancient Love"
DEEP JUNGLE, 2021
Out of all the modern jungle producers, Phineus II's sound is closest to the source; Amiga computers, Protracker .mod files, the swirls and wooshes of resampled ROMpler pads, the lo-fi crunch of old samplers and DACs, old DATs that sat in a musty closet for decades. His tracks have always been kind of awkward and don't really "roll," which is a quirk that has grown on me. This new release is another solid entry in his discography and one of his better records to date. Check out his Youtube channel too, though unfortunately he seems to have deleted a bunch of his old videos.
Listen: "Boomerang Ragga"
LUNAR DISKO RECORDS, 2021
The way Lerosa mixes electro, italo-disco, and techno here reminds me a lot of Legowelt. "Background Check" is an incessant electro banger that wouldn't be out of play on a UR record and "Ummon" sounds like soundtrack music from an obscure 80s cop movie on VHS. Unfortunately, a blatantly out of tune bassline ruins the otherwise fun "Grey Velvet." No idea wtf he was thinking there.
LITTLE FLOWER EP
Little Flower EP is pretty standard dub/ambient techno. You know, the kind of stuff you'd hear in timelapse video of stars or something. But two tracks stand out: "Sleepyhead," which applies dub techno's palette to a dancehall beat, and "Bite Soft," a halftime track in which skittering percussion orbits a pulsating one note bassline—almost bordering on dubstep.
Listen: "Bite Soft"
DEEP JUNGLE, 2021
At this point I'm convinced that Tim Reaper is incapable of missing. I don't think people really appreciate that one of the best jungle producers of all time is currently in his prime and regularly putting out records. The first two tracks especially, "Eastern Temple" and "Troposphere," are absolute corkers that people would lose their minds over if they came out in '94.
U DRINK, U PAY EP
Three tracks with weak, dinky drums that sound like they were created by someone who learned to make music entirely from youtube tutorials. Chintzy imitations of prog house and UK garage.
OMAR-S FEATURING JOHN FM
FOR HOT BABES ONLY!
FXHE RECORDS, 2021
This came out back in April but I didn't find out about it until I started writing this article. Anyway, "Cadilliacs & Dinosaurs" starts off beatless, with fluttering Basic Channel style chords. When some distorted drums appear halfway through they completely kill the momentum of the track. B-side "Ain't No Real Pimps Anymore" is much better—a futuristic ghettotech banger with call-and-response vocals a la Detroit in Effect's "R U Married." It comes with an acapella so I might have to cook up a remix someday. :)
Listen: "Ain't No Real Pimps Anymore"
CASA VOYAGER, 2021
The first track on Oltremare, the breezy "Volo Magico," seamlessly blends electro, dnb and funk, with a smooth-as-butter bassline and warm electric piano. Pseudo-footwork meets 80s jazz fusion piano soloing on "Sarmoung Pt.2" and "Woodland Hills 1984" caps off the record with some nice DMX Krew style acid-funk.
Listen: "Volo Magico"