Articles By: Eric Sorenson

Earthen Sea :: An Act of Love (Kranky)

Rather than just relying on echoed synth stabs or reverb-drenched reggae samples, the Earthen Sea variety of dub builds from a foundation of sustained, morphing drones and swells. I was at work, fighting back the email threatening to take over my life like electronic kudzu, when the promo pack for Jacob Long’s next release as […]

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Chris Randall :: Oscillator Breach (Detroit Underground)

What should we expect from this stylistic chameleon? Heavy bass, for starters. More of those delicious dub/dub-techno chord changes and beats. Six original tacks, then four more which receive loving treatment from a cast of remixers including Proem and the inimitable Baseck. Chris Randall, according to his twitter bio, is a “Musician, Writer, User Interface […]

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Legiac :: The Voynich Manuscript (Dronarivm)

Legiac leave behind their beat-driven past and evolve into pure ambience. Legiac have put together a lovely release on the Russian Dronarivm label, which finds Roel Funcken and Cor Bolten leaving behind both one Funcken brother and all trace of the crunchy, glitchy beatwork which characterized earlier releases. This new edition, named after “an early […]

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Displacer :: Curse of the Black Vinyl (Hymen / Crime League)

The sounds on offer here are rooted in dark drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat but defy strict categorization as they push into uncharted territory of mutant hybrids. Michael Morton. Known aliases: Displacer. Musician, prolific remixer, owner of the Crime League record label. Friend to Igloo, provider of this hour-long journey. Something like 7 full-length and […]

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Legiac :: The Faex Has Decimated (Tympanik Audio)

It hits so hard and sounds so ear-ticklingly right… There was a time when it seemed like the Funcken brothers released a new album monthly. Under one of their many aliases (Quench, Funckarma, Cane), singly or as collaborations with other artists (Dif:use, Shadow Huntaz), then between 2001 and somewhere around 2006 the joints dropped fast […]

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MKFN :: This Divide EP (Touchin’ Bass)

Though it’s superficially rooted in techno, the trans-national trio known as MKFN push the boundaries of sound design and rhythmic complexity. Though it’s superficially rooted in techno, the trans-national trio known as MKFN push the boundaries of sound design and rhythmic complexity on their new release. “Terrain” opens the This Divide EP with a swelling […]

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Twerk :: Otter EP (Erotus)

Hopefully the playful-yet-meticulous process that served Twerk so well on Otter continues to produce adorable results. So I’d written this long and probably bullshit summary of the early days of the San Francisco glitch scene — tracing the evolution of artists like Kit Clayton, Safety Scissors and, directly related to this review, Twerk. Drawing what […]

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Boc Scadet :: Nightfall in Gentle Waters (Sun Sea Sky)

An exercise in what could have been—in a sense, perhaps a fitting conclusion to the Boc Scadet project itself. Boc Scadet is Lawrence Grover’s best-known alias, under which he released two previous albums and two EP’s through the mid-2000s. Nightfall in Gentle Waters, the third and final entry in Boc Scadet’s arc, was previously only available […]

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Dronelock and Ontal :: Continuum (Shadow Story)

The “double duo” continue to explore the darker shades of techno’s sonic spectrum. Dronelock operate out of West Yorkshire and Ontal from Serbia, but their shared vision is resulting in productive collaboration. In addition to 4 Razors, an EP on Duality Records, they’ve started operating their own label, Shadow Story. Continuum is its second release, and […]

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V/A :: Emerging Organisms Vol. 5 (Tympanik Audio)

The selection here follows previous editions’ time-tested mixture of big names and newcomers, blending originals with remixes and collaborations to take the listener on a diverse journey through the state of the world in edgy IDM. Seems like just yesterday I was reviewing a giant Tympanik Audio compilation, but in fact it was 2012 and […]

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UNDERWORLD :: Dubnobasswithmyheadman 20-year reissue (Universal)

Dubnobasswithmyheadman (Super Deluxe Edition) —A massive undertaking … Undeniably expansive … absolutely ecstatic. I first heard Underworld in Brighton, UK, in 1996. My brother and I were on a trust-a-farian holiday, making our way through Europe on Eurail passes and the kindness of strangers. I speak passable German and his French could fool native speakers, so […]

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Soothsayer :: The Future Presence of the Past EP (The Crime League)

Densely produced electronica with some interesting sonic flair. Let it never be said that IDM isn’t a global endeavor. In this three-track EP, Toronto-based Crime League releases a collaboration between Rentip from Prague and Romanian-Canadian Dan Handrabur. The result is densely produced electronica with some interesting sonic flair. The opener “Fortune Free” moves through several […]

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Chase Dobson :: Parallel Lines (The Crime League)

Are you less concerned with musical genre and formula than with emotion and compositional skill? Is it dark outside? Are you sitting comfortably? Are your speakers and amplifier capable of reproducing audio waveforms with enough energy that you can feel their vibrations on your skin? Are you less concerned with musical genre and formula than […]

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Dryft :: The Blur Vent (n5MD)

Cadoo turns in some of his most breathtaking work, which masterfully delivers that sublime admixture of beauty and harshness. This is a tough review to write. It’s not so much the musical content of The Blur Vent, but the emotional context surrounding it. I’d assert that no other artist is as closely associated with Igloo […]

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Vittoria Fleet :: Acht (n5MD)

If the concept of mid-period Clark, with the noisier glitch-fests reined in and balanced with delicate female vocals appeals to you in the slightest, you need to investigate Vittoria Fleet. Combining ethereal vocals with complex and often hard-hitting electronics, Vittoria Fleet provide one of the most engaging releases of 2014. From the opening pulse of […]

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Anklebiter :: Weight of a Pronoun (The Crime League)

Portland, Oregon based Tanner Volz, aka Anklebiter, wants you to know that without his collaborators, Weight of a Pronoun wouldn’t have happened. “I doubt I would have made another album without those guys,” he said, referring to the half-dozen musicians who make guest appearances on the album, his fifth full-length outing and first on Toronto’s […]

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Machinedrum :: Vapor City (Ninja Tune)

Vapor City keeps an eye over its shoulder as it relentlessly pushes forward. Examined closely, (Travis) Stewart seems to have absorbed a huge range of influences, run them through a filter comprised of his own skills, taste and experience, and synthesized them into something uniquely his: a whole greater than the sum of its parts. […]

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Iuengliss :: Down Cosm (Plastic Sound Supply)

The main body of Down Cosm considered as a six-track snapshot of the state of Iuengliss’ art presents an impressively skilled and diverse picture. As an taste of what Iuengliss has in store for the future, it’s even more tantalizing. I first encountered Iuengliss in the course of reviewing 2013’s Plastic Sound Supply Compilation Ultrasoft […]

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V/A :: Ultrasoft! Anthems 33 (Plastic Sound Supply)

A well-rounded mix of familiar names and new-to-me artists whose entries on this compilation inspired me to dive into their back catalogs… Despite the unusually-punctuated title and playful promo site, styled like a 1980s late-night TV ad, there’s nothing cheesy about Ultrasoft! Anthems 33, Plastic Sound Supply‘s 20th release. Instead of the pan-flute serenades the […]

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Totakeke & Disharmony :: Double review (Tympanik Audio)

Totakeke’s latest release Digital Exorcist, his fifth on the label, resting squarely at your eleven-o-clock, and Disharmony’s sophomore album Room 78 so far over to the right you have to crane your neck against the bulky Virtual Light goggles to take it completely in. Imagine sitting in a dingy Seoul internet cafe as the rain […]

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Melorman :: Waves (Sun Sea Sky)

Waves should bubble to the top of your playlist if you need a late-night soundtrack for your candle-lit gathering of Instagramming friends or spend long hours with headphones on and require an inoffensive, continuous soundtrack of trip-hoppy beats and euphonious melodies. Continuing my relationship with the Illinois-based record Label SunSeaSky, which began with a review […]

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Northcape :: Exploration and Ascent (Sun Sea Sky)

Northcape raised his sights beyond the realm of cultural plundering so there are no Tibetan/Nepalese samples or “world music” modal influences in evidence. Instead, the tracks aspire to capture timeless characteristics of the Himalayas and high, mountainous, (strangely?) isolated places more generally. Since 1999, Charleston Illinois-based Sun Sea Sky Productions has been quietly releasing independent […]

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Terminal 11 :: Double review (Hymen / Phthalo)

Michael Castaneda, late of Tempe, Arizona, drops a frenetic yet disciplined album entitled Self Exorcism on Hymen Records. Shortly after its release, an EP on Phthalo Records consisting of two extra tracks and remixes from the likes of Jason Forrest and Xanopticon surfaces on Soundcloud. Michael Castaneda (aka Terminal 11), late of Tempe, Arizona, drops a […]

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V/A :: Accretion (Tympanik Audio, 5-year Anniversary Compilation)

For fifteen dollars, the price of cappuccinos and pastry for two, you get half a gigabyte of high-quality MP3s, which amount to nearly four hours of music if you played them end to end. [Release page] The first thing you should know about Tympanik Audio’s massive 42-track-long compilation celebrating their five year anniversary is that […]

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Tineidae :: Lights (Tympanik Audio)

Listened to start to finish, through headphones and at volume on speakers, there’s not a track out of place, nor, to Tineidae’s credit, is there filler that ought to have been relegated to a remix EP. [Release page] I should, in fairness, begin this review by stating up front that Lights, the first full-length release […]

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r.roo :: mgnovenie (Tympanik Audio)

The dominant emotion on display in the album is a contemplative moodiness—most tracks are led by acoustic piano melodies, which often interweave with subtly manipulated violin and cello arrangements. [Release page] r.roo has constructed a lovely world on mgnovenie, which comes to us courtesy of Tympanik Audio. The dominant emotion on display in the album […]

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Nothing But Noise :: Not Bleeding Red (Future Noise Music)

Without ever dropping a drumbeat over its hour-and-forty-minute runtime, Not Bleeding Red still keeps the listener engaged and entranced. Analog synth, Berlin-school ambient from the founders of Front 242? Sign me up. Nothing But Noise is the name of this new project, put together by Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen, the latter of whom left […]

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Sean Byrd :: Always Was (Plastic Sound Supply)

The emotional swells and transitions Byrd builds into his tracks sometimes lead to moments of pure transcendence, too, as on the album’s aptly-titled closer “Something That Pulls,” where a buzzing, churning bass tone fights, counters, and ultimately yields to a high, harp-like melody. The announcement for Sean Byrd‘s new album Always Was immediately caught my […]

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Kingbastard :: Lost Property (Herb)

Crackling static, digitally manipulated field recordings of birds, lovely chord progressions played on guitar and piano, and pastoral atmospheres await the Lost Property listener. I reviewed Kingbastard’s Brainfunk EP on Herb Recordings back in September 2011, so it seemed a natural thing to investigate his latest release on Herb, Lost Property. Initially, I was quite […]

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