ASC: The Outer Limits (2LP, Auxiliary, December 2018)

This is simple but beautifully effective. There are four generous slices of, basically, ambient techno (clocking in at 53 minutes in total). It’s a little bit dubby in places, a little bit bassy in places, a little bit Artificial Intelligence in places — actually, to my ear, it’s quite a lot Artificial Intelligence in places, but I don’t mind that. All in all, a laid back and thoroughly delightful trip into deep space.

I bought this from Norman Records. They call it Electronic / Electro / IDM / EBM and Techno / Dub Techno / Experimental House.

Aphex Twin: Collapse EP (12″, Warp, September 2018)

First impressions can be deceiving. Having been underwhelmed Aphex’s two releases in 2015 and, I’ll admit, having largely forgotten about the 2016 one, I was prepared to be hurt again with this. And the first two minutes of the lead track, T69 Collapse, seemed to confirm my fears: it’s kind of a skittering drill’n’bass number with a bit of an acid bassline and it’s nice enough but it’s all a bit polite in this day and age (this sound is, by my estimate, about 23 years old now). Then  suddenly it all, well, collapses, into a much more intense pummelling of drums and wailing of synths. The final third reverts to the more polite mode, but suddenly there’s more going on and everything is far more interesting. And the next four tracks are also varied and complex and really pretty good. 1st 44 has some nice sparse moments with almost a dancehall sound, complete with distorted toasting. MT1 t29r9 has some of the most dancy moments, but also some of the floatiest. abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909] has sounds that reach back into the early-90s ambient techno days, complete with sci-fi-ish vocal samples, although some of the beats are more breaksy. And pthex is a good example of Analord-era woozy breakbeat acid. On the whole… sure, he’s not breaking much new ground here, but this has to be his strongest release since 2014’s Syro, and a nice reminder of why we love the great man despite all our scepticism.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Electronic.

Dorisburg: Irrbloss (2xLP, Hivern Discs, February 2016)

The opening track here is a lovely bit of deep house with what sounds like maybe a bass clarinet noodling over it, which is obviously going to make me prick up my ears. Elsewhere, there’s are tracks reminiscent of Selected Ambient Works, others reminiscent of Artificial Intelligence, one fantastic shuffling melodic techy housey number which really reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on, and one which really reminds me of the fluid tribal-sounding rhythms of Gabriel Ananda’s Bambusbeats. So, yeah, I guess none of this stuff has been cutting edge for almost a decade. But I don’t really care, because this all just sounds bloody great. Albums which take in this many different styles can be hard to pull off, but somehow this really hangs together. There are catchy hooks and satisfying beats, it has a lovely smooth vibe without ever sounding cold or over-produced… This record makes this old man very happy.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Deep House.