Articles By: James Knapman

Leandro Fresco & Rafael Anton Irisarri :: La Equidistancia (A Strangely Isolated Place)

La Equidistancia somehow manages to attain an ambient purity you rarely find these days, the material tuned to individual temperament regardless of what that may be. This emotional neutrality is paired with a breathtaking immediacy achieved within a strikingly economic timescale, this being a racy forty-two minute excursion pressed on a single, snowy-marbled vinyl LP. […]

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Geotic :: Abysma (Ghostly International)

There’s never a dull moment on Abysma, and casting it as “passive listening” does it a bit of a disservice, in fairness. It’s a magical work, and a perfect soundtrack to all those hours spent at home during the transition from frosty spring into the glowing summer months. One of the refreshing things about Will […]

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Esem :: Enveloped – Remaster (Digital Edition)

Enveloped was a thing of beauty back in 2002, but be under no illusions: this new remastered edition is a revelation. The deFocus imprint launched way back in the year 2000 with a small compilation titled Do You See? It then set about releasing a bevvy of ambitious and creatively fertile releases from the likes […]

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The Caretaker :: Everywhere At The End Of Time (HAFTW)

In September 2016, The Caretaker was diagnosed with early onset dementia, beginning an inevitably finite journey into the realms of degenerative memory loss. This journey is set to be cataloged in six separate reports, a historic document of loss, progression and disintegration, with Stage One documented immediately. Here we experience the first signs of memory […]

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Lusine :: Sensorimotor (Ghostly International)

The whimsical mix of avant-garde pop and playful electronic listening music should not be confused with it being frivolous or lightweight, however, as McIlwain’s ingenious, hyper-modern sound design and arrangements are still present in spades. It’s been four years since Jeff McIlwain’s last album The Waiting Room, but the long overdue appointment has finally been […]

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Artefakt :: Kinship (Delsin)

Artefakt’s output is all so exceptionally well balanced that it’s just as capable of driving the headphones listener into a spinning state of hypnosis as it is at filling and driving the dance floor. Since 2014, Dutch producers Nick Lapien and Robin Koek have been released a handful of EP’s as Artefakt on the Delsin, […]

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Lav & Purl :: A State of Becoming (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Through A State of Becoming, Lav & Purl are trying to express the interconnectedness of all things, a strong concept reflected in its thematic, melodic and compositional consistency. One can easily get lost in the album. With the sheer volume of of new music vying for our weekly—if not daily—attention, it feels like the age […]

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Autechre :: Incunabula, Amber, Tri-Repetae (Warp)

As cynical one might feel about reissues, however, they can sometimes be nothing short of stellar, absolutely warranted, and in the case of much out of print early Autechre, long overdue. For the longest time there’s been something incongruous about the idea of listening to Autechre on vinyl, a medium whose inherent limitations Booth and […]

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cv313 :: The Path To Dimensional Space (Part 6: Arrival)

Introduction Q & A – Part 6 Dimensional Space [Original 2CD Edition] :: Review Digital Bonus Content :: Review Vinyl Remaster :: Review Alchemy CD Edition :: Review Debarcation Read Part 5: Transference Introduction It appears that the rule of thumb with cv313 is: expect the unexpected. When it transpired that Dimensional Space consisted of […]

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Yagya :: Stars and Dust (Delsin)

I don’t know what’s happened to Guðmundsson in the last few years, but Stars and Dust is shot through with the heady euphoria that only romance and nostalgia can trigger. This is at least partially achieved through the skillful blending of classical instrumentation, most prominently and touchingly, the piano, together with some of his warmest, […]

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36 :: The Infinity Room (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Featuring ten new tracks of rigorously and restrictively composed, atmospheric, minimal and synth-worshiping ambient electronica. Ryan Griffin’s A Strangely Isolated Place follows up Merrin Karras’ rigorously and restrictively composed, atmospheric, minimal and synth-worshiping album Apex with The Infinity Room by ambient veteran Dennis Huddleston’s 36, featuring ten new tracks of rigorously and restrictively composed, atmospheric, […]

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The 7th Plain :: Chronicles I (A-TON)

Chronicles I is a far more concise experience than the lengthy 7th Plain albums it sources from but it never feels insubstantial. The unreleased material is easily on a par with everything that has gone before it, which raises a lingering question that we’ll probably have to wait until 2017 to have at least partially […]

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Wolfgang Voigt & Deepchord present :: Peter Michael Hame’s Colours Of Time Re-Interpreted (Astral Industries)

Peter Michael Hamel’s Colors of Time Re-Interpreted features two artists on a split EP re-interpreting an obscure, multi-part kosmische synth epic from 1980. Since reviewing Astral Industries’ debut release, Deepchord’s now highly sought-after Lanterns, the label has gone on to release some decidedly strange, esoteric and surprising things, and in recent months, at a greatly accelerated […]

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Hyboid :: Terrör of the Üniverse (Astro Chicken)

Hyboid always works best best when going for bombast and epic scale, and Terrör of the Üniverse opens impressively in exactly this style, with a sweeping synth epic filled with neon harmonics and glittering fanfares. Remember Astro Chicken? You know… that sadly short-lived label from 2010-11 with a penchant for obscure eighties computer game and […]

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Merrin Karras :: Apex (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Apex (also) spans a myriad of other styles and genres, often referencing current peers similarly inspired by John Carpenter or the Radiophonic Workshop. Brendan Gregoriy has been recording and releasing house and techno under the alias Chymera for over fifteen years, taking in labels like Delsin, NRK Sound Division and Connaisseur to name just a few. […]

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Autechre :: elseq 1–5 (Warp)

By taking their programmed music to the next level, what Autechre have presented here is a snapshot of what Brian Eno has been perfecting all these years: generative and constantly shifting music that could effectively just run forever, with every moment unique as a snowflake. You could run most of the tracks on elseq 1-5 […]

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Plaid :: The Digging Remedy (Warp)

Firmly back where they belong: luring us in with quirky, brightly colored and accessible melodies, then trapping us in their dizzying maze of surprise, delight and hidden depths. Keep digging. There’s never been a dull moment in the near twenty-five years spent exploring the plaid-wallpapered, carpeted, upholstered, veneered and lacquered dwellings architected by the inimitable […]

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Carbinax :: Snowglobe Citizen (Self-Released)

What’s amazing about Snowglobe Citizen is the sheer number of ideas Chris M manages to pack into any one track. With an average running time of over five minutes, this is needed but also afforded by the source material. That focus on melody means that Carbinax can take the elements of one track and use them […]

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Mark Pritchard :: Under The Sun (Warp)

It may take a while to really click, but when it does you’ll find Under The Sun really gets under the skin. It’s a potent mix of styles expertly ordered and meticulously produced by Pritchard, and one of the best things to come out on Warp in some time. The musical career of the indefatigable […]

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2 8 1 4 :: 新しい日の誕生 (Dream Catalogue)

新しい日の誕生 (Birth of a New Day) isn’t an album that begins, it’s one you arrive at, as if slowly waking from a fever dream in the back of a car approaching that purple, neon-tinged city pictured on the cover. Don’t you just hate being late to the party? All the good music has already been […]

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Choir Of Young Believers :: Grasque (Ghostly International)

One thing Grasque most definitely isn’t is immediate, but it’s so deliciously different, referential and fresh that it rewards repeated listens in spades. I’ll wager you won’t find a more inventive, infectious and all-out blissful pop record this side of Pet Shop Boys’ forthcoming Super in 2016. If you’ve come across Choir of Young Believers […]

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Arovane & Hior Chronik :: In-between Remixes (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Fantastic source material, a stellar cast of artists on remix duty and a 53-minute run-time make In-between Remixes a release you can’t afford to miss. Barring two excellent various artist compilation albums (check out Europe and Uncharted Places) Arovane & Hior Chronik’s debut collaboration In-between was the first vinyl album release on Ryan Griffin’s A […]

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B12 :: Orbiting Souls (Delsin)

Orbiting Souls vividly recalls that mid-nineties period when B12 were in their element whilst also sounding classically timeless, perhaps even more so than some of their earlier work. There’s no denying the pivotal role Mike Golding and Steve Rutter’s B12 label and moniker played in the development of the UK’s early electronica, techno and IDM […]

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Underworld :: Second Toughest In The Infants – Remaster (Universal)

So is the super-deluxe set just for fans? Well, perhaps not. Again, the price is going to be a barrier to entry for some, but even if you’re just an Underworld album owner there’s never been an easier or better sounding way to quickly extend your collection with some truly fantastic material. Roll on the […]

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Markus Guentner :: Theia (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Theia sees Markus Guentner taking his immersive ambient soundscaping to another level, creating a work that is grandiose but somehow never overblown. Ryan Griffin’s A Strangely Isolated Place music community and label draws notable comparisons to Huw Roberts’ UK based Serein label. Both started as digital-only purveyors of free music, and later graduated into full […]

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The Silicon Scientist :: Outside the Night (Anna Logue)

Anna Logue released one of the year’s best synth-pop albums in 2014 with Twins Natalia’s spellbinding The Destiny Room and with the late 2015 release of Outside the Night they’ve done it again. If you long to add more retro to your catalog, allow The Silicon Scientist to join the ranks of your favorite artists […]

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Aroy Dee :: Sketches (M>O>S Recordings)

Sketches is an album possessed of a refinement, restraint and nuance rarely found these days, and contains some of the finest and most evocative music about cities released in a good long while. Where has Sketches been all my life, and why has it been eleven years between the release of Aroy Dee’s debut EP […]

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Function / Vatican Shadow :: Games Have Rules (Hospital Productions)

With Games Have Fules, Function and Vatican Shadow have worked together to create a breathtakingly atmospheric and surprisingly ambient electronic album unique in both their catalogs. Despite Dominick Fernow’s latest Vatican Shadow release—the mammoth six cassette/digital-only release Death Is Unity With God—being a strangely strangled and muted affair, it was difficult to predict the content […]

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Yagya :: Sleepygirls (Delsin)

A record that works exceptionally well as soothing background music, Sleepygirls is a propulsive, repetitive work characterized by the occasional burst of jazz and Japanese vocals. Having a signature sound and a loyal following can often leave an artist in something of a quandary: keep plugging away in a similar vein to satisfy an existing […]

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