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01: PANTHA DU PRINCE
‘STICK TO MY SIDE’
(from BLACK NOISE, ROUGH TRADE)

Most talk about Hamburg’s Pantha du Prince revolves around the highs of his sound – those frequently beautiful chime-driven melodies to be precise – but Pantha excels just as effectively with the lows; the highlights of his classic This Bliss album in particular driven by tunneling basslines. The same is true of ‘Stick to my Side’, a growling highlight of new Pantha album Black Noise that features a selfless vocal performance by Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, Panda slipping into the track’s groove and being looped along with it.


02: MOSCA
‘NIKE’
(NIGHT SLUGS 12”)

“At 10 minutes, lengthy flipside track ‘Nike’ verges on becoming a full blown musical voyage. Its gradual metamorphosis from rambling pitch-bent Gameboy-step to delay-drenched house is so natural and staggered that it barely registers. A moderately peaceable track, ‘Nike’ is easy to become immersed in, but even though on the surface it’s a simple amalgamation of standard elements, its ethereal delay and eerie vocal snatches render it strangely removed from the familiar.” – full review here


03: DVA
‘GANJA’
(HYPERDUB  12”)

“Better, though less experimental, is ‘Ganja’ which follows a 4/4 pulse more closely, adding a weird key lick, cascading astral FX, echoey house stabs ‘n’ claps, and “ganjaman” vocal samples. A versatile dancefloor weapon that recalls South Africa’s kwaito as much as it does sounds more readily associated with London and Europe, Scratcha’s splicing of the house genome is taking the genre into brave new territories.” – full review here


04: LINEAR MOVEMENT
‘WAY OUT OF LIVING’
(from THE MINIMAL WAVE TAPES, STONES THROW LP)

You probably think that ‘cold wave’ music is just bored Eastern Bloc existentialists doing bad impressions of Joy Division over primitive Casio beats. And generally speaking you’d be right. But this strange, retrospectively formed genre – celebrated on Stones Throw’s brilliant Minimal Wave Tapes compilation – occasionally throws up the odd sky-scraping pop number. One such is Linear Movement’s sublimely funky, utterly infectious ‘Way Out Of Living’, the work of cult synth wizard Peter Bonne and guesting vocalist Lieve Van Steerteghem. It’s an absolute belter.


05: PANGAEA
‘SUNSET YELLOW’
(HESSLE AUDIO 12”)


(skip to 2.15)

“Even better is ‘Sunset Yellow’, the climax of which, with its rave divas crammed together into a demonic, wailing ghost-song just takes me over, each and every time. Vocals are critical here, lurking in the background, then jabbing out in frenzied grunts like Trez Demented lost in the tunnels somewhere below Berghain.” – full review here

06: HOT CHIP
‘ONE LIFE STAND’
(EMI / THE VINYL FACTORY 12″)

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“A genius melody, robust but office disco-friendly ryhthm and guitars that remind us of Chris Rea’s ‘Josephine’ – Hot Chip’s latest isn’t going to win over their detractors, but those enchanted by music that’s universally accessible without being ball-shrinkingly boring will be be plenty impressed.” – full review here


07: VAMPIRE WEEKEND
‘CALIFORNIA ENGLISH’
(from CONTRA, XL RECORDINGS)

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(Live)

We still can’t get over how little the world cared about the terrific debut album by Discovery, the AutoTune-happy side-project of Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmnglij. But we’re trying. The influence of that group weighs heavy on ‘California English’, for us Contra‘s most ravishing and uplifting track: Ezra Koenig’s vocal acrobatics subtly robotized and made to ride a galloping rhythm, sun-dried high-life guitars and swooping, scooping cello parts. All hail the new college pop. – Contra review here


08: SULLY
‘SOME PATTERN’
(KEYSOUND 12”)

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Sully really is a talent. There’s no shortage of syrup-thick, synth-led dubstep about right now, but on this new single for Keysound the man they call the King of Swing sets foundations for those ubiquitous purple soundwaves with heavily swung (duh) garage beats that stack, scaffold-esque until the whole thing gives way to a 90s hardcore-recalling breakdown.


09: MR FINGERS
‘STARS’
(from SLAM DANCE EP, ALLEVIATED 12″)

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One of Larry Heard – not to mention house music’s – crowning achievements, this heavenly, synthed-out number was produced in eighty-fucking-seven. Twenty-three years later it still sounds future-primed and unimprovable, maybe even more so thanks to a loving remaster and repress job by Clone Records.


10: THE XX
‘VCR’ (MATTHEW DEAR REMIX)
(THE VINYL FACTORY 12″)

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The xx’s none-more-breathy ‘VCR’ is beefed up and butched out by Matthew Dear, with centre-stage given over to a sleazy, straight-to-video bassline and jabbing synthetic horn stabs (like those ones from MIA’s ‘Bucky Done Gun’, but way less lairy). Makes the Jamie and Romy sound surlier than we ever thought possible, and has us eagerly anticipating some new original material from Dear.

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