As the winds of March have blown through to April’s showers my indoor studio time winds down. Before I depart to embrace the sunlight of spring I wanted to share and pay due to the uptempo and downtempo releases that have been audio company for the last few weeks.

First on the list is LOVE SONGS PART ONE from Romare. Covering a wide expanse of sonic ground, Romare merges analog samples and shifting rhythms into a spacious and rhythmically surreal soundscape. The recombination of sample and sound feels fresh in Romare’s hands. Blues vocals and hip hop samples cut into jungly rhythms that dust-up or sink into chowder thick dub. Playing like a turntable overture, cohesive but you’re never entirely sure where you’re going to go, the EP has crate digging flavours from its opening to end.

Second worthy mention are siblings Lysann and Gunnar Zander, aka Stereofysh who create WANNADO’s meandering groove from tight, dry and evolving rhythms. On the Self-title EP the pop-centric groove shuffles, pops and glitches itself into the land between electro and house. Lysann’s sometimes sultry sometimes humdrum vocals work most effectively as a vocal cushion, making easy way for distorted piano loops and sax samples while keeping the beat on the frontline.

On the techno front fellow Canadian Berlin resident and now Juno nominee Noah Pred released his second LP THIRD CULTURE. You can tell Pred listens astutely to his label’s first rate roster, taking the best of what he hears, spinning his own groove and adding the extremely palatable Pred polish. Sonic shades of hip hop and broken beat are funnelled through the Pred techno filter showcasing Pred’s digital craftsmanship and undeniable musical sensibility that makes easy moves to the outer-edges of the tech-house bubble. THIRD CULTURE is bright, percussive and on a tech house bedrock that stays the course for Thoughtless’s thick and clean sound.

Moving towards even more deep and minimal territory “EXCURSION A” EP by Alan Backdrop is lush, super atmospheric and drives from the get go. D9U0B9 strikes a classic dub-tech tone coming into its own in the minimal to NOT swell of Pdst’s surprisingly uplifting climax. Masterfully built in lush and measured layers, EXCURSION A moves from dub to psy-techno, unfolding gracefully over driving beats and ethereal swells, exiting on the creamy synth-pad bubble bath of Sephora’s haunting psycho-nautic ambiance.

Atmospheric if slightly experimental Marcel Fengler‘s FOKUS goes where others have feared to tread. Deep into the discordant bubble and gristle of Berlin techno, the shifting soundscape of FOKUS is lush and as front and centre as the beats. The well padded and sometimes frenetic soundscape is both uncomfortable and intriguing.This is a man who does not back away from using gunshots as rhythm devices. It isn’t until 4 tracks in, four to the floor rolls smoothly out from the hiss and fizz of the Berlin back-alley glitch and gas-fitting rhythms. Continued in the the ambient electro shaker and round tones of Distant Episode, the smoother beats lead into the cemented groove of Jaz. The rest of the album unfolds like a surreal synth-capade gliding, drifting floating and at times percolating over broken beats. It ends perfectly in the ambient kiss at twilight mood of Liquid Torso.
Marcel Fengler | Fokus | ostgutcd27/lp13 by Ostgut Ton