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TUNEAGE – MARCH

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Route 8
This Raw Feeling
Lobster Theremin
26 February
4/5

Hungarian producer Route 8 returns to London’s based Lobster Theremin for the release of his four-track white label. The boutique imprint has been responsible for so much good music lately that it’s hard to imagine the producer would really want to go anywhere else. This Raw Feeling is a beautiful, dream like release that marks new territory for the Budapest native. The opening lick “The Sunrise in Her Eyes” grows as it progresses, with pulsating synths and some neat drum programming. The EP’s next track, “This Raw Feeling”, takes a more direct approach, but still holds on to that beauty. These tracks are fit. The flip side of the record sees Route 8 dabble in electro and drum breaks (“It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”), before wrapping it up with the sublime “Ash Dub”.

Skepta
Konnichiwa
Boy Better Know
March
5/5

When Skepta nearly dropped “That’s Not Me” nearly a year ago, a debate erupted over the resurgence of grime. The certified banger sparked endless YouTube comment threads, an all-star remix and the MOBO winning £70 video. Whether or not grime is “back” or has never really gone away is besides the point. The pressure is on the Boy Better Know boss man to put out an album that lived up to the hype, something the Norf London native has not always been able to do. Konnichiwa does more than that. It represents a new generation of grime, though not in the same way that someone like Stormzy does as one of the first kids solely raised on the genre. Rather, Skepta continues to represent the ability of grime to evolve and mature as a genre.

Portico
Living Fields
Ninja Tune
6 April
5/5

Portico may be comprised of three-quarters of the Mercury nominated Portico Quartet, but with this release, under the shortened Portico moniker, the band has moved into fresh territory. From the production end, the album is defined by the group’s masterfully crisp drum programming. When surrounded around glistening synth lines and sweltering bass notes, it’s the drums that serve as the lifeblood. And then there’s the vocalists. Jono McCleery, Joe Newman (Alt-J) and Jamie Woon feature on a total of eight of the nine tracks. The singers are not merely used as additional instruments, but add a level of depth to each song. Each of the talented vocalist has certainly left his mark.

Hollis Parker
Looking Back EP
SoSure Music
6 April
5/5

Selecting tracks for review can be quite a strange task. You often want to review releases that are either widely anticipated or stand out amongst the vast sea of promos. Because of that, a lot of music, some of it very good, gets cast aside simply because it doesn’t stand out in a thirty second preview. Hollis Parker’s Looking Back EP doesn’t really stand out on an initial rip through, but there’s something about it that just grabs you. Some could attribute that attraction to the London based producer’s majestic strings or a sultry vocal sample, but a lot of promos have clever instrumentation and better vocals. It’s something more than that. The three tracks on the EP give you that same feeling that crate diggers often site as the cause of their obsession. That initial spin of a dusty, unknown record, that first spin where you just know “this is the one”. Take my money please.

Detroit Swindle
The Punch Drunk EP
Heist Recordings
23 February
4/5

The dutch duo, Lars Dales & Maarten Smeets aka Detroit Swindle, are back on their own imprint for their first release in about a year. The pair spent much of the last few years touring constantly and receiving some pretty esteemed accolades in the process. The EP opens up with “Alright (We’ll Be)” and it’s clear from the get go that that is what Detroit Swindle are all about. Retro-future, big filtered vocals and and all the other shit that gets you moving in your seat. The second track, “Pursuit”, is a more jacking number with smooth pads and a bouncy low-end. The release is rounded off by “Heads Down”, a more techno inspired track with a clever vocal chop and throw back synths.

New York Transit Authority
NYTA EP
Lobster Boy
2 March
4/5

Bristol bass genius Mensah Anderson aka New York Transit Authority has been releasing music under his geographically misleading alias for just over a year now. His unapologetic blend of bass music and throw back vocals, as in “Watching Feat. Harper Lake”, has seen his tunes turn up in a vast variety of sets. NYTA has a gift for creating upbeat bass-driven house music that is never in danger of sounding cheesy (think Dirty Bird, but instead add a breath of fresh air to sets that have long become monotonous.) On “Brooklyn Underground”, Anderson defines and redefines his own sound in only a few minutes’ time. Pick it up, give it a play and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about.

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