1 – Nooit Meer Naar Huis – Working Title;, Nooit Meer Naar Huis
The new compilation by the Belgian crew Nooit Meer Naar Huis is an interesting experiment. In order to broaden the scope of what a single curator can do, they chose fourteen different collectives/labels/individuals (Soul Feeder as well with “Beastcore” by our own DJ GHEPARD) for a joint curatorship, where each one curated a single artist with the only requirement to represent a “change” in their production while keeping it heavy. The result is a collection of hardcore, gabba bangers from all over the scene, from Fausto Mercier to Oblinof and EPIPHAGI.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
2 – Space Afrika – Reflection, Dais
The high expectations set by last year’s hybtwibt? have now been more than satisfied: Space Afrika’s latest effort, Honest Labour, sees them refining their instant-trademark sound. Built upon field recordings, speeches, ambient, slo-mo rhythm, and voices provided by various guests, Honest Labour is sheer psychogeographic bliss, audio cards straight outta Manchester. Heading somewhere between contemplative and elegiac, it’s that British greyscale mood at its most romantic(ized). If ‘urban ambient’ will ever be a thing, this album could be recognized as its most accomplished example.
3 – silént phil – Endless, Soul Feeder
If in our little scene talking about world-building music is such a cliché, we can say that with their latest EP, Endless, released by Soul Feeder, silént phil expresses their own tone and depth, like a new color floating between darkness and light coming straight from Japanese futurism. Four killer tracks that show love for both emotional melodies and terror kicks, with killer guests such as EPIPHAGI, Pleural and Cel Genesis.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
4 – Lingua Ignota – SINNER GET READY, Sargent House
Kristin Hayter’s new album brings her dramatis persona to new heights. On SINNER GET READY, Lingua Ignota gets closer than ever to the form of sacred music. Beware, though; no saints nor angels are to be found here. Instead, Lingua Ignota takes us on a lucid dream – ehm, nightmare – through the deepest and darkest recesses of the human psyche. Less noisy than its predecessors, SINNER GET READY is perhaps Hayter’s most effective album precisely because of its baroque-and-coral yet terrifying beauty.
5 – The Bug – Fire, Ninja Tune
After so many digressions as Kevin Richard Martin that surprised us even with lightweight music, the king of pressure sound, The Bug, is back to his weapons after seven years, with a title that leaves no room for doubt. Fire is one of the best albums of the year so far, a pure, incendiary concentration of bass, of course, but also another proof of Kevin’s abilities in making some of the deepest physical yet cerebral music ever.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
6 – SexSafariSex – Inmamiro, VNTISTVNDVRD RECS
Sprang as a visceral response to the physical isolation we were forced to experience in the last year, Inmamiro is a ritual-like record that wants to liberate the body through heated rhythms and chants. If the ambiance of SexSafariSex’s homeland, Apulia, are drawn by the folkish shouts and drumming, the coarse texture, the haunting melodies and the aggressive approach to both production and sound design completely distort this Mediterranean picture, almost a cathartic projection of the malaise we felt during the past months.
7 – ELCA – Pace / Silence, katharsis
In five tracks, ELCA draws an emotional and intense trip, characterized by heartbreaking synth, hectic textures and magistrally spaced drum hits. Another excellent and moving release by katharsis that solidifies their name as one of the most interesting labels in the post-club music scene.
8 – NTsKi – Orca オルカ, Orange Milk / EM Records
NTsKi‘s new album is a wonderful, nine-track love letter to 80’s and early 90’s Japanese electro-pop and new age ambient, reinterpreted and expanded with modern taste. Keeping intact the strong musicality and accessibility of the pop song formula, the Kyoto-based singer, composer, and producer manages to add her own experimental touch with unique grace and subtlety, making Orca オルカ a record that would satisfy both the pop and avant-garde enthusiasts.
9 – MUTANTS – MUTANTS VOL. 5: FREE, 1000000
Consistency and coherence seem to be the greatest challenge for compilations in our music scene. With the proliferation of VA releases, it’s always hard to stand out and get attention but it’s exactly what the MUTANTS series has been able to do thanks to its impressive participation, great causes, and amazingly high standards. The great number of tracks of their releases doesn’t end up feeling chaotic at all, on the contrary, it offers a comprehensive glimpse into the heart of our scene and a unique opportunity for discovering many new and often underrated upcoming artists.
10 – Lila – Paredes & Pudores, nodo label
An EP that works like a trailer for a movie in its noblest sense. Four highly cinematic tracks built around tear-inducing pads and gorgeous vocals, make the listener hungry for more of its extremely pure and fascinating imagery. We can’t wait to see more of this from Lila and Nodo Label in the near future.