Forever a label willing to revisit previous tape-only wares if the demand is there, Sam Willis and Ale Natalizia’s Ecstatic turn their gaze to one of the latter’s earliest Not Waving documents. Originally issued on highly limited, gold cassette way back in 2012, Redacted was produced during Walls downtime by Natalizia and expanded on the “classified” themes of his Remote Viewing-inspired debut LP Umwelt. Fans of the most recent Diagonal-released Not Waving LP, Animals, should be thrilled to see how far Natalizia’s project has developed in just four years with the prevailing mood on Redacted a sort of murky and brutish EBM that is wholly satisfying.
While Jack Hamill’s Space Dimension Controller project is best known for mixing colourful electrofunk synths with intergalactic ambient, techno and hypnotic house influences, his earliest musical output trod a slightly different path. His long forgotten, digital-only debut album, 2009’s Unidentified Flying Oscillator, explored IDM and woozy electronica, and it’s these styles that come to the fore on Orange Melamine. Like that debut album, this set – his first for Ninja Tune – was recorded in his bedroom, aged 18, with a collection of “cheap, lo-fi” and “battered” kit. It largely takes its’ cues from the likes of Boards of Canada and ambient-era Aphex Twin, but retains that distinctive vibe and attention to detail that’s always marked out Hamill’s work.
Almost a year after his last outing, London-based Vester Koza is making a welcome return to the fray with a new EP entitled OTR. Featuring four atmospheric cuts, for the first time it finds him step away from his own Maslo label to join Houndstooth. Fusing elements of dub, ambient and IDM into moody sound worlds with you right at the centre, he has a subtle but seductive touch that has always marked him out. An on-going interest in security, technology and privacy characterizes his work, as does a passion for the vintage and modern gear he uses when producing. All of that is evident here in his most cerebral and conceptual release yet.
Benedikt Frey crafts a musical aesthetic that might only be seen in its true form from a birds-eye view—a whole greater than the sum of its parts. His playful indifference to genre specifics and pre-prescribed instrumentation or production techniques makes for a loose and refreshing collection of work, and this debut for the ESP Institute, The Lobbyist, serves up an incongruous three tracks so bewildering and narcotic we’re already impatiently fiending for more.
In interviews, Alessio Natalazia has freely stated his next album would be “very different” and “very intense”. That album, his first for Powell’s Diagonal stable, has finally arrived, and it’s as ballsy, robust and full-throttle as he promised. While it contains nods to the woozy, shoegaze and ambient influenced soundscapes that have been a feature of his previous full-length excursions, these are well hidden behind clandestine fusions of techno and industrial, surging EBM-influenced workouts, post punk-goes-post rock explorations and atmospheric analogue electronics. For those well versed in his back catalogue, Animals makes for arresting listening.