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DARKSTAR
‘GOLD’
(from NORTH, HYPERDUB LP)

“Darkstar’s James Young, Aiden Whalley and vocalist James Buttery channel a new century’s angst into compelling sounds that flirt with ‘80s techno-pop without succumbing to its sonic clichés or outdated clothing. Taken from their Hyperdub album North, ‘Gold’ is a cover of a Human League B-side that gently updates the forgotten gem. Whalley and Young frame Buttery’s voice with drifting synth backdrops punctuated by proper lead piano signatures and a subtle, skittering backing rhythm, while Buttery’s reserved delivery fits the song’s poetic mood to a tee.”


DJ ROC
‘ONE BLOOD’
(from CRACK CAPONE, PLANET MU LP)

Listen here

Flying Lotus recently covered – with live band – ‘One Blood’, the call to arms opener of juke stalwart DJ Roc’s recent Crack Capone full-length, but no version can match the original’s tunnel vision intensity, which sets the pace perfectly for one of the most satisfying full-lengths of the last month.


ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE
‘SHACKS BUILT FROM PLYBOARD’
(from PSYCHICAL, NOT NOT FUN LP)

Listen here

“Next-level LA psychedelia that doesn’t hide behind a veil of lo-fi. Its primordial analogue drones are reminiscent of Demdike Stare, Oneohtrix Point Never and (at root) John Carpenter, and its clustered ethno percussion wouldn’t sound out of place on a Shackleton or Szare production. Only in 2010.”


GIRL UNIT
‘WUT’
(NIGHT SLUGS 12″)

“What might be called “house” music rarely owes this much to hip-hop, juke, and dubstep, and even going by the Slugs’ track record it’s a stunning feat of chemistry. I’m not sure if I’m ready to call it single of the year, but it’s damn close.” – full review


JAMIE WOON
‘NIGHT AIR’ (RAMADANMAN REFIX)
(CANDENT SOUNDS 12″)

“Jamie Woon featured on the flip of Ramadanman’s ‘Good Feelin’ back in 2007, and the producer returns the favour with this masterful remix, using brilliantly constructed percussion layers to a delicate, smoky foundation for the Woon’s vocal to begin its heart-rending ascent.” – full review

JOHN ROBERTS
‘NAVY BLUE’
(from GLASS EIGHTS, DIAL LP)

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“Backwards strings and pianos provide a hypnotic plateau on ‘Navy Blue’, the bubbling house beat a lovely counterpoint to this experimental instrumentation. On these and many of the other songs [on Glass Eights], there is a marked contrast in temperature, with the melodies feeling glacial and cool, and the beats filled with a warm hum.” – full review


JULIO BASHMORE
‘FOOTSTEPPIN’
(TEN THOUSAND YEN 10″)

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“‘Footsteppin’ first grabbed my attention on Deadboy’s FACT mix earlier this year, sampling Jazzanova’s classic renumber of Ian Pooley’s ‘What’s Your Name’ and whisking you back to memories of hot and hazy summer evenings within seconds. Piano chords are spread throughout the record, merging effortlessly into the drum track, soothing synthline and soulful, almost UK garage-esque vocal, and making for wonderfully produced deep house.” – full review


NICKI MINAJ feat. EMINEM
‘ROMAN’S REVENGE’
(from PINK FRIDAY, YOUNG MONEY LP)

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“‘Roman’s Revenge’, from Nicki Minaj’s much-hyped forthcoming solo debut, Pink Friday, leaked, and it’s great. Swizz Beatz gets ultra-harsh on the production, building up layers of snapping snares until the track’s practically suffocating under them, while Nicki gives one of her all-time belting vocal performances, (allegedly) taking shots at Lil Kim and doing the angry and insane thing way better than Eminem has in years.” 


PINCH
‘CROYDON HOUSE’
(SWAMP81 12″)

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“‘Croydon House’ is built at a solid house tempo, but comes over like more sophisticated take on early noughties grime, driven by rude, rolling sub-low bass and crisp, almost punitive snap-claps. But it’s the extraneous features that make it all the more unusual and absorbing: dense clouds of static and reverb that bring to mind the stark white horizons of Thomas Koner and Echospace, tightly coiled congas that recall Loefah’s own early work on DMZ…It’s the sound of a producer shedding his shackles, and roaming free.” – full review


T. WILLIAMS feat. TERRI WALKER
‘HEARTBEAT’ (MOSCA REMIX)
(LOCAL ACTION 12″)

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The best kind of 12″s are the ones where you don’t know which side is best, and the new Local Action single is a perfect example: Deep Teknologi’s T. Williams helming the A with a deep, throbbing house epic, while on the flip Mosca’s remix channels lounge piano, jazz hands and Todd Edwards into one of the second half of the year’s bonafide anthems.

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