Here we are at the fat end of 2017 with an entire year of new music to assail us, thrill us and more than likely annoy us a little bit too. I’ll be honest: On the whole I thought 2016 was a little bit on the dull side when it came to represses, although there were a few crackers and surprises buried under the piles of more obvious re-releases.
Now, I don’t know exactly what’s in store for 2017, but for those of us who enjoy a bit of electro nonsense it looks like we might be well served with a 2LP retrospective of Detroit’s excellent Le Car coming very soon, and a reissue of Drexciya’s final LP, Grava 4 coming in March. Even better, We will be finally getting a vinyl reissue of Other People Places Lifestyles Of The Laptop Cafe. For many this is something of a holy grail, representing – aside from the great music – the last work of Drexciyan hero James Stinson. Beyond electro, Derrick May’s seminal Transmat label is gearing up for a wee run of represses, which looks like including the label’s best ever release – the Ikon/Kao-tic Harmony doubler. I’m hoping if they do well Mr May might be tempted to start shunting out some of the Fragile back catalogue too. Also, following a press release from Submerge on the subjecet of increased issues with pressing and distribution, we are soon to get the Underground Resistance and Red Planet catalogue released as remastered digital files via Bandcamp. Lovely. All we need are for Metroplex to put out more of their classic records and we can all go to bed happy.
Ultradyne – Antarctica (Exterminador Records)
Anyone with a nervous disposition can look away now, for Detroit’s Ultradyne are not an outfit which caters for shrinking violets. Even by the once fierce standards of Detroit’s more militant acts, the music Ultradyne offer is fast, furious and hard. This is a reissue of their one and only album, originally available on their own Pi Gao Movement label all the way back in 1999, and it still feels tight with the nervous energy which characterised the last days of the second millennium. Even in its quieter, subtler, moments the tunes play host to riotous, seething bursts of sound which disorient and pound. It’s in the faster tunes that everything comes together though. Whether its breakneck, swirling techno, razor-sharp electroid hunter/killers, or rogue industrialized slabs of funk which defy such easy categorization, Antarctica is a singular vision, a snap shot of electronic music taken right on the very edge of sanity. Much, much recommended. Listen and learn.
The Exaltics – 10 Million Light Years (Solar One)
Solar One had a very good year last year, with some truly special records encompassing work from the likes of E.R.P, Gerald Donald and The Exaltics themselves, to say nothing of a pair of splendid samplers which included off-kilter hits of acid, techno and electro from a host of class acts. 10 Million Light Years is a special 10th anniversary reissue of the labels first ever release, and comes on splendidly weird dye injected coloured vinyl which goes a long way to offsetting the fact it’s a creepy 10″ (and yes, 10″ records are creepy. You know I’m right on this so don’t argue.) Encapsulating Drexciyan overtones, and blending them with something more overtly European 10 Million Light Years shifts its electro skeleton on its axis until it becomes a far more esoteric beast. Haunting rather than deep, stalking rather than either frosty or pounding, but never losing sight of the grooves which underpin it, the record remains a surprisingly accessible burst of sleek and future-proof funk powered by machines with alien DNA.
V/A – Stilleben 045 (Stilleben Records)
OK, so this is a bit of a cheat on my part. Originally out in 2014 as a digital only release, the vinyl version finally landed late last year and was promptly buried somewhere in my stack until I remembered it over the Christmas period. Apologies if you can no longer find it anywhere other than Discogs. Still, it’s certainly worth tracking down, even if it’s just to get you acquainted with a label which is slowly moving back into gear after a couple of quiet years. Various Artist samplers are, of course, all the rage just now in electro, but even by current standards this is something of an all-star release featuring two tracks from Swedish electro pioneer and Stilleben head honcho Luke Eargoggle (one with Weltwirtschaft), an absolutely fine, free funking groover from E.R.P and a storming, Detroit wired, midnight rambler from -=UHU=-. Each track digs into a different vibe and shows how wide open the genre can be.