by Irina Kotik
June has already established a fresh and sunny summer vibe in the underground electronic music scene with stunning releases by Cleveland, Love Over Entropy, Human Space Machine, Lord Of The Isles, Red Axes, Afriqua, Dorisburg & Fabian Bruhn, Toto Chiavetta, Supreems and Pional.
We selected the top 10 tracks for you to listen to and enjoy. Tracks are listed in no particular order.
XME (A Quiet Ceremony Mix)
Pional hit the mark on his newest release Phonica Records. The multi-talented Spanish producer musician and singer Pional teamed up with the London-based label to break the dance floor with an utterly gorgeous debut called ‘XME’. For over a decade, he has developed a pretty remarkable discography with numerous EPs and remixes released on Freerange, Agave, Delusions of Grandeur, Gerd Janson’s Running Back Records, and Poker Flat Recordings.
“XME/One Night Stand” EP features two versions of the two beautiful tracks “XME” and “One Night Stand”. On the A-side, ‘XME (A Quiet Ceremony Mix)’ is a colorful summer anthem where the term “endless” seems appropriate. A beautifully evocative melody, bright synth and mesmerizing groove make this an absolutely gorgeous gem of a track.
Close Your Eyes (& Feel)
Belgian’s exciting fast-rising producer Supreems makes a triumphant return to Lobster Theremin with the new “Close Your Eyes (& Feel)” EP, a sonic exploration of a deep and vibrant musical pallet tinged with emotion. After appearing on the label with a 2017 debut ‘Us Together’ EP and a remix of Hammer’s ‘Man Ray’ on Loft Records’, the mesmerizing four-track record will further bolster his already impressive reputation.
The eponymous title track “Close Your Eyes (& Feel)” takes the listener on a breakbeat-driven nostalgic voyage through melting Twin Peaks-esque pads laced with melancholia, brooding undertones, subdued tribal drum arrangements, and seductive chopped vocal phrases elevating its soulful vibe.
Dorisburg and Fabian Bruhn
The first chapter of the Swedish producer Dorisburg and Aniara Recordings label boss Fabian Bruhn’s collaborative catalog brings together a well-crafted fusion of buoyant dub techno and groovy house with “Miru” EP. The title track opens the package with percussive foundation build upon skipping high-hats, eerie echoing, decaying chords and hazy ambiance. “Miru” has a hypnotic vibe gradually transports the listener into dub-techno realms.
Where We Were (Lord Of The Isles Remix)
Following on from his still-excellent 2017 debut “Star Dust” EP on Biologic Records, the talented Dutch producer, a member of the Native Response record label and a newly formed De Lichting collective, Nathan Surreal returns to the prominent imprint with another outstanding record. Entitled ’A Change Of Heart’, the two-track package is an impressive display of superb musicianship and creative vision. It also comes with a remix of the “Where We Were” by Lord Of The Isles.
The Scottish producer Neil McDonald, better known as Lord Of The Isles, steps up for an utterly gorgeous re-imagination of “Where We Were”. With lush pads, elegant breakbeat arrangement, evocative jazzy piano melody and floaty summer vibe, he crafts a breathtaking journey into new worlds of a summer dream.
R & S records
Afriqua’s sonic journey continues with the new “Vice/Principle” EP on the respected R&S Records. It’s another imaginative and emotionally sophisticated package that delivers a rich and beautiful listening experience.
Here is what the label said about this release: “Recorded in the summer of 2017, Vice/Principle began as one of Afriqua’s seasonal music packs, a quarterly offering of original tracks shared privately with a small cohort of friends and collaborators. R&S quickly picked up the collection, which expands on the melodicism and textural depth explored on his previous release for the label, Aleph. The extended EP sees Parker veering into psychedelic territory, inspired by the cosmic departures of ‘70s krautrock and jazz. The title, Vice/Principle, more a coy bit of humor than a philosophical statement, reflects a wittiness that Parker often embeds into even the brawniest of his productions. This offbeatness is active in the music as well, which makes use of his voice, and edges past familiar four-on-the-floor patterns with interwoven polyrhythms and modality. Vice/Principle is confident in its curiosity, harnessing a wealth of artistic threads into a tightly knit, futuristic vision.”
Hailing from Luxembourg and now residing in Belgium, Cleveland has been quietly constructing a catalogue of vibrant, intricate and sophisticated productions released via Hivern Discs, Permanent Vacation, White, ESP Institute.
This May, the talented producer returns to ESP Institute with his sophomore EP, “Cleveland Is Forever In Search Of The Brown Paper”. Painting with his unusually diverse palette of beautifully abstract analog sounds, striking rhythms and unrelenting energy, Cleveland continues to show his astounding musical prowess.
The EP opens with the “Tusk”, setting the mood with smooth waves of modulating timbres, immersive rhythmic textures, and lilting harmonic frequencies. This mind-bending voyage is described by the label as a “beautiful paradox—rhythm programs that churn like the inner workings of a grandfather clock, unmistakably mechanical, yet fashioned through muted analog instrumentation that paints a deceptively organic picture.”
Love Over Entropy
Love Over Entropy shines bright with his brand new ‘Marka’ EP on the Lossless imprint. The Dutch craftsman has carved out his own niche in the underground electronic music realm, earning worldwide acclaim for his mesmerizing live sets and uniquely creative approach to music production. The multifaceted four-track “Marka” is yet another testament for his incredible talent and attention to detail.
The title track “Marka” is a beautiful soul-reaching tune with deeply piercing and breezy melody that will make every moment on the dance floor absolutely magical and serene.
Human Space Machine
One of the most anticipated compilations of the summer has finally arrived via Berlin-based Maeve imprint. Entitled “Heavy Rotations Vol1.”, the 11-track collection features an ensemble of artists representing a wide range of the labels sophisticated sound - from label founders Mano Le Tough and The Drifters to label associates Isolée, Ed Davenport, Oliver Deutschmann, Aera, Human Space Machine and more. “Releasing a compilation has long been an ambition of the label,” admits the label, however time was the key component in producing a record we could all be proud of. The best-laid plans can often fall by the wayside, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve with a record like this changes constantly as you collect pieces of the puzzle and try fit them together in a way that makes sense.”
Human Space Machine’s mighty “Mitochondria” brings enchanting, multi-dimensional techno with a subtle melody splinters under the rhythmic pulsation and hissy, white noise-infused high-hats.
Higher Than A Bird
The evolution of Toto Chiavetta’s artistry continues with his latest release on Mule Musique. The “Magnus” EP is his first outing on established Japanese imprint, following releases on Innervisions and Yoruba. The opening “Higher Than A Bird” washes over the listener with positivity and elation. The soft, flue-like sounds, rich textures, and irresistible groove collide in this tropical infused musical adventure.
Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound imprint returns with yet another unmissable 12” package. This time the well-established Israeli duo Red Axes step forward with their second release on the label, ‘Sipoor’ EP, after releasing their remix version of Cowboy Rhythmbox’s “Tanz Exotique” earlier this year. Red Axes brings a peak-time vibe with three tracks masterfully blending hypnotic house and intense tunneling techno.
An irresistible groove lies at the heart of ’Sipoor’. It starts out the EP with a raw energy edging towards a trippy stand of techno embracing a dark and mysterious atmosphere. It slowly builds intensity with a throbbing baseline and robotic male voice that demands trancy house and techno through the pulsating synth with a mantra-like effect.