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Album Reviews

empress of me

Empress Of ‘Me’ – Album Review

XL (2015)

Formerly of Brooklyn art rockers Celestial Shore, Honduras-American talent Lorely Rodriguez, aka Empress Of, now cements her transition into full-blown synth-pop songstress with her first full-length solo effort, Me. As its simple title suggests, the self-produced ten-track collection is a highly autobiographical affair which deals with everything from the financial difficulties of living in a gentrified city (“Standard”) to Rodriguez’s carnal desires (“How Do You Do It?”) in a manner […]

dam funk invite the light

DāM-FunK ‘Invite the Light’ – Album Review

Stone's Throw (2015)

Continuing his quest to revive the synth-funk sound of the 80s, Los Angeles producer Damon Riddick, aka DāM-FunK, has roped in an intriguing array of guest artists to provide assistance on third solo album, Invite the Light. Having previously recorded joint albums with Steve Arrington and Snoop Dogg (the latter of whom also shows up here on the low-slung G-funk of “Just Ease Your Mind From All Negativity”) 44-year-old Riddick […]

the black dog neither neither

The Black Dog ‘Neither/Neither’ – Album Review

Dust Science Recordings (2015)

Continuing their prolific streak, the fourth incarnation of IDM stalwarts The Black Dog use Neither/Neither, their seventh album in a decade, to address the dangers of political systems, propaganda and social media. The fact that a garbled sample of Adam Curtis, the acclaimed documentarian renowned for his work on media manipulation, is the only dialogue heard makes the efforts of Martin and Richard Dust and founding member Ken Downie all […]

fka twigs M3LL155X

FKA twigs ‘M3LL155X’ – E.P. Review

Young Turks (2015)

The release out of nowhere, the accompanying videos for nearly all of its tracks, the recruitment of producer Boots – FKA twigs’ surprise E.P., M3LL155X, may share several things in common with Beyoncé’s self-titled opus, but its five tracks show that sonically, the two stars remain poles apart. Named after her “personal female energy,” (pronounced Melissa), the more imaginatively-titled follow-up to 2013’s EP2 certainly won’t spawn any radio or chart […]

teen daze morning world

Teen Daze ‘Morning World’ – Album Review

Paper Bag (2015)

Having pioneered the chillwave movement with a prolific run of four albums in three years, Vancouver producer Jamison, aka Teen Daze, takes a new tack for his fifth studio effort, Morning World. Indeed, the ambient electronica that defined the likes of 2013 predecessor Glacier has been all but abandoned, and in its place is a more organic, if equally hazy, guitar-led sound co-produced by San Francisco journeyman John Vanderslice (Spoon, […]

Health Death Magic

Health ‘Death Magic’ – Album Review

Loma Vista (2015)

Six years on from their last proper studio effort, Los Angeles noise-makers Health finally return to the fold with Death Magic, a record apparently inspired by artists as diverse as Depeche Mode and Rihanna. The mention of the Barbadian superstar may ring alarm bells for those who prefer the electro-punks firmly in aggressive/confrontational mode. But although the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Get Color occasionally veers into surprisingly poppy territory, there’s […]

paul kalkbrenner 7

Paul Kalkbrenner ‘7’ – Album Review

His first release since signing a major deal with Sony Records, German techno maestro Paul Kalkbrenner‘s album 7 raids the label’s vaults for a “life-embracing” affair, suggesting that elusive mainstream breakthrough in America may be just around the corner. Indeed, with its sample of Luther Vandross’ 80s classic “A Thousand Kisses,” “A Million Days” could well follow in the chart-topping footsteps of Robin Schulz’s similar tropical house makeovers, while the […]

mas ysa seraph

Mas Ysa ‘Seraph’ – Album Review

Downtown Records (2015)

Three years after making the leap from the fields of modern dance composition and visual art to the land of indietronica under the guise of Mas Ysa, multi-talented Canadian Thomas Arsenault now unveils his debut album, Seraph. As one might expect from a man with such an artistic background, the follow-up to last year’s Worth E.P. has a touch of the avant-garde about it, particularly exemplified by the 31-year-old’s distinctive […]

ratatat magnifique

Ratatat ‘Magnifique’ – Album Review

XL (2015)

Returning after a five-year absence, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast, a.k.a. Brooklyn electronic rock duo Ratatat, only heightened expectations when it was revealed that they had named their fifth studio effort Magnifique. The long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s LP4 doesn’t quite live up to its boastful title, but there are enough flashes of inspiration amongst its 14 instrumentals to justify the pair’s apparent unwavering confidence. “Drift” is an intriguingly spooky slice […]

little black book groove armada

Groove Armada ‘Little Black Book’ – Album Review

Moda Black (2015)

Part studio effort, part remix album and part compilation, the hodgepodge new release from Andy Cato and Tom Findlay, a.k.a. British electronic duo Groove Armada, sounds like a curious affair on paper; but sadly Little Black Book is far less intriguing in reality. Indeed, following on from British DJ Hot Since ‘82’s debut, the second installment of the Moda Black series is likely to test the patience of even the […]

chemical brothers born in the echoes

The Chemical Brothers ‘Born in the Echoes’ – Album Review

Virgin (2015)

Fresh from their triumphant laser-firing headline set at Glastonbury, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, a.k.a. big beat pioneers The Chemical Brothers, now return with their first studio effort in five years, Born in the Echoes. For a duo renowned for pushing the boundaries of the electronic world, it’s a little surprising to hear that the first half of their long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Further appears so safe and overly-familiar. The […]

Years and Years Communion

Years and Years ‘Communion’ – Album Review

Polydor (2015)

Crowned the winners of the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2015 poll, Years and Years may be fronted by a rising star of the British film scene, but their debut album, Communion, suggests that Hollywood may have to wait. Of course, Olly Alexander, whose list of acting credits includes Great Expectations, God Help the Girl and The Riot Club, has already proven himself a majestic vocalist, with his gossamer falsetto on […]

the orb moonbuilding

The Orb ‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’ – Album Review

After a series of collaborative albums with the likes of dub legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour, ambient electronica pioneers Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann, aka The Orb, now embark on a cosmic mission entirely unaccompanied for their 13th studio effort, Moonbuilding 2703 AD. Returning to their natural home, Kompakt Records, the duo’s first guest-free album since 2009’s Baghdad Batteries (Orbsessions Volume III) could almost be […]

hudson mowhawke lantern

Hudson Mohawke ‘Lantern’ – Album Review

Warp (2015)

Six years on from his debut album, Kanye West favorite, TNGHT co-founder and beatmaker extraordinaire Ross Birchard, aka Hudson Mohawke, finally returns to the solo fray with the intention of “making a classic” on his sophomore release, Lantern. The follow-up to 2009’s Butter doesn’t quite fulfil the Glaswegian’s rather lofty ambitions, but alongside recent releases from the likes of Rustie and Lockah, it’s another sign that the Scottish electronica scene […]

morgan page dc to light

Morgan Page ‘DC To Light’ – Album Review

Nettwerk (2015)

Vermont DJ/producer Morgan Page recently revealed to MTV that his fourth studio effort was recorded using electricity harnessed by solar panels at his home studio. This environmentally-friendly approach also appears to have extended to the album’s actual material, as DC To Light is little more than a recycling of the 34-year-old’s former glories. Indeed, despite an almost entirely new line-up of guest performers, including Britt Dailey and The Oddictions, Polina, […]