AS1 – Unpredictable Tomorrow

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A song that, on the face of it, shouldn’t work. Melancholic, almost housey piano riffs on top of an acid line, all within the broken frame of an electro track. AS1 have really managed to meld together an incredibly interesting track that, although experimental, would most certainly not be out of place in a club. The minimal drums allow the morphing melody and bassline to come to steal the show. Sparse claps, programmed in a different place every time and with varying amounts of reverb/delay pierce the track, adding an old-school feel. Definitely check out the whole album if you want to explore electro that blurs the line between experimental and functional.

~IV

Japan Blues – Half Dead Pulse

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The second part of the Berceuse Heroique edits comes from masked man of mystery Howard Williams AKA Japan Blues following releases from Jamal Moss and Duster Valentine. My favourite track on the EP has to be Half Dead Pulse – a techno-influenced edit of Coloured Music’s Heartbeat, featuring a divine choral evensong coupled with whacky synth lines, creating a completely obscure and unique breed of edit that we haven’t seen before from the Berceuse Heroique camp, beautifully complimenting their dynamism as a label.

~JM

 

 

 

Zvukbroda – KSE ZO

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In 2004, Zvukbroda – a minimal duo from Zagreb, Croatia – released this, now horrendously expensive record (don’t even bother peeping the ‘cogs). A clipped groover with a shuffling rhythm that is very much in the vein of classic Perlon releases (think Horror Inc – The Vanishing but less glitched out), what sets this record apart is the breakdown where a ghetto house-esque vocal is pitch shifted to sound almost ethereal. The vocal works with the floating pads, hats and claps before fading out. There’s something so satisfying hearing such a heavily layered and well-built minimal track bounce along so effortlessly.

~AW

Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares – Pilentze Pee

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Pilentze Pee is just one of the immensely moving and powerful pieces by the Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir, best known for their contributions to the “Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares” a series of LPs released by Swiss Organist Marcel Cellier from 1975 onwards. Since its release and then reissue in 1987, the Choir’s music has become a popular complement for a wide range of artistic endeavours including film soundtracks, commercials, modern dance choreography. The allure of the group’s work is central to the beauty of their sound and the character of their music. Their artistic director Dora Hristova touched upon the incredible skill set required to achieve such a unique sound saying “It is a natural, piercing sound for the outdoors to carry across the fields or from hilltop to hilltop. The sound is created in the larynx, it resonates in the chest. It requires great pressure of the breath to create the sound and you must be very strong to sing in this fashion”. This glimmering LP comes highly recommended, and holds a very special place in record collections far and wide.

~JM

Andrea – Floating

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It has been a busy year for the guys over at Illian Tape having released Skee Mask’s stellar debut LP in February and following it with six more records from the likes of co-owner Marco Zenker and veteran producer Roger 23. Although, one of our favourite EPs they have put out comes from Turin-based Illian Tape heavyweight Andrea, which hit the shelves in t October. Andrea’s work perfectly in keeps with the Illian aesthetic, and is magnificently demonstrated with these four cuts. Floating is a beautifully immersive ambient piece – a vast, peaceful landscape of soft, warming pads that sooth the soul and paint a picture of glimmering dream-like utopia. I also highly recommend checking out 22:22, all-out highly dynamic techno, throwing nods to old school jungle patterns. This is quite simply a killer EP!

~JM

Ruff Sqwad – Anna (Instrumental)

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Grime instrumentals haven’t been something that we usually post here at The Make Believe Ballroom, but the we couldn’t go without paying homage to the incredibly forward-thinking work of Rapid and Dirty Danger the masterminds behind the Ruff Sqwad sound. After gaining a reputation as grime’s greatest ever crew, Ruff Sqwad re-released 50 of their “white label classics” on one record, meaning grime fans nationwide could finally get all of their anthems in full quality. The melodic Anna is the opening cut on the album, a raw-to-the-bone, stripped down animal, crafted by Rapid and Dirty Danger using fruity loops before they even finished secondary school. Anna is just one of the instrumentals that Ruff Sqwad put out that sounds light years ahead of its time, and even to this day their work should be hailed as a prestigious and timeless landmark on the UK dance music landscape.

~JM

Khidja – Mustafa (Timothy J Fairplay Remix)

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Khidja blends playful arab melodies with chuggy, delayed drums in an exotically styled EP. The rolling bassline hums away in the background creating a real intensity that doesn’t abate throughout the song. Great to see a Romanian artist fusing influences from east and west in such an adventurous manner!

~IV

Music People – Always On (Club Mix)

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Behold! More Mood Hut gold has graced the shelves, and this time  from formidable lineup – Music People. Always on was forged back in Spring of 2015 in the Mood Hut chalet when Beautiful Swimmers frontman and Future Times Head Max D flew over to join House of Doors, Hasman DeeJay and Pender Street Steppers in the studio, and the result is a club friendly track that truly warms the soul. The club mix has to be my favourite cut on the record, Max D provides a typically vibrant swinging drum loop, serenaded by EVELYN’s rich and soothing vocals drifting in and out of the foreground. Lots more of this please!

~JM

The Maghreban – Wrong Move

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One of my favourite tracks of the year that really should have been posted a long time ago, Wrong Move from none other than The Maghreban. Ayman Rostom’s influences of UK hardcore glimmer throughout his work, fusing percussive breakbeats with grungy guitar-like samples looping in the depths, whilst delayed synth samples set off like an alarm. The breakdown is my favourite segment of the record, the driving force of the breakbeats hide away, substituted with a eerie atmospheric fog. The grungy loops that we have now grown to love come trudging into the foreground, dragging with it the momentum of the syncopated drum beats on a leash. Wrong Move is a beautifully dark and brilliantly danceable piece , with its roots and influences lying deep UK dance music history,  and has not left my record bag since its release – highly recommended! Also, I must give a massive shout out to Patch Keyes, gracing the Black Acre aesthetic with his wonderful illustrations.

~JM

NHK yx Koyxen – 845

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Japanese techno heavyweight Kouhei Matsunaga has been producing dance floor heat since 1992 under a range of alias’ but is most commonly known as NHK’Koyxen. Matsunaga’s ‘Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbst’ followed his trio of ‘Dance Classics’ for PAN, which were hugely experimental with texture and melody across a dense breed of techno, falling hand in with the Diagonal aesthetic (run by Jaime Williams and Powell). 845 is a particular highlight on the EP, an 11 minute full blown relentless sea of crashing acidic waves, a fine high rolling piece of techno that is surely one of the standout tracks on the label to date. Oliver Fay also known as XiX also features on other tracks on the EP, throwing parties in London under the DJ name Xenoglossy, keep your eyes peeled for them!

~JM