Octo Octa: Resonant Body (2LP, T4T LUV NRG, September 2019)

Aw, now, this is just deliriously good stuff. It’s acidy housey breaksy rave and, well, I’m not sure whether she was even born in ’92, but Maya Bouldry-Morrison knows her stuff. There’s all the right bloops and squelches, there’s Korg piano, there’s even a motherflipping hoover. Best of all, there are dangerously infectious vocal samples, cut up just the right amount. No, best of all is the production, which is absolutely note-perfect and just soooo damned pleasing. (Check out the way that Spin Girl, Let’s Activate! just goes ahead and slows everything down halfway through, and then brings it back up to speed. It’s utterly outrageous, but somehow here it makes total sense.)

I tried to list my highlights, and ended up with more that half of the tracks here. Move Your Body vies with the aforementioned Spin Girl, Let’s Activate! for the crown of absolute giddy banger. The breakbeat workout of Ecstatic Beat is impeccably rendered. Can You See Me? is perhaps the most straightforwardly delightful. And then there’s the ridiculous yet highly lovable album closers Power To The People, which somehow reminds me of Ricardo Villalobos’s remix of Señor Coconut’s Electrolatino, except way less minimal, obviously. Only one doesn’t quite “land” for me (the ambient My Body Is Powerful just seems a bit unnecessary). That’s a pretty impressive hit rate, especially given the range of material.

Actually, I’ve changed my mind: what’s best about this record is that, despite the obvious danger, this is very far from a cheap retro pastiche: this is a record with genuine depth and warmth. It’s a giddy head-rush in places, but it leaves me feeling satisfied, and you can’t say fairer than that.

I bought this from Rough Trade. They call it Techno.

Rian Treanor: Ataxia (2LP, Planet Mu, March 2019)

This is pretty exciting. The sound palette is heavily rave-inspired, but the methodology is all glitch. The drums are glitchy; the punchy little synth melodies are mostly glitchy; on the handful of tracks that have synthesized or sampled vocals, they are glitchy. (One minor quibble I have with this record is that, if the title is a reference to the experience of trying to dance to it, I think it’s in slightly poor taste.) This is the sort of thing that can become pretty grating pretty quickly if it’s not executed well, but here it is done excellently. To pick a random highlight, I love the aggressively cut-up vocal part on track B2, and the way it counterpoints with the drum line is just spot on… there are many moments like this. Like the brilliantly fractured hardcore of D1, complete with Juno-esque chord stabs and squeaky bat-fart noises. Superb stuff.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Experimental / Electronic.