Qualm has a duality that Helena Hauff enjoys – The German word translates as fumes or smoke, whilst the English meaning refers to an uneasy feeling of doubt, worry, or fear, especially about one’s own conduct. True to form, the record is unapologetically raw and finds Helena returning to her original modus operandi – jamming on her machines, trying to create something powerful without using too many instruments and layers. By design, the 12 tracks are raw, distorted and lo-fi, with Hauff peppering heavyweight, redlined drum machine beats – think wayward Chicago jack, laidback electro and nails techno – with a mixture of razor-sharp acid lines, moody industrial textures and drowsy chords. The clattering intensity of the album’s dancefloor moments is in sharp contrast to the creepy and evocative, soundtrack style electronic soundscapes showcased elsewhere on the album. These – ambient in ethos, but more experimental in tone – are frequently amongst the set’s most inspired moments.
It’s amazing to think that Jay Daniel is still only 25. Since making his debut five years ago, the producer has been responsible for some of the finest house music to emerge from Detroit in recent times. Interestingly, he’s slightly modified his woozy and gently soul-flecked blueprint on this hotly anticipated debut album. For starters, many of the tracks – standouts “Paradise Valley” and “Knowledge of Selfie” included – feature live drums, played and recorded in his mother’s basement. This rhythmic adjustment gives Broken Knowz a far looser and warmer feel than his previous work, in the process elevating his deliciously rich and musical deep house to a whole new level. In other words, it’s an impressively assured and entertaining debut album.
Seriously strong Jamal Moss LP under his Hieroglyphic Being moniker. “The Disco’s Of Imhotep is about creating Frequencies and Vibrations for the Listener that are conducive for him or her to Heal The Mind and Body and Enrich the Soul by creating Hemi-Synced Harmonies and music that contains embedded Binaural Beats. We have been made to believe that electronic sounds are just for Movement, Enlightenment, Primal Afflictions and Entertainment purposes, but it’s much more… It’s Sound Healing, but the ancestors would call it Frequency Medicine. Medicine is Healing and this project is dedicated to one of Earth’s first Healers: High Priest Imhotep. The One who comes in Peace, is with Peace.”
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.
Golden Pudel’s DJ-turned-producer, Helena Hauff, returns to Actress’s Werkdiscs with her debut LP. Compared to her last effort for the label and her banger of an EP on Lux, Discreet Desires spans across much vaster landscapes, and while we knew that she was heavily into Detroit electro, the album is heavily focused on fast, broken beats brimming with synths. “Spur” and “Funereal Morality”, for example, are a pair of Drexcyian bombshells, while “Piece Of Pleasure” clearly takes inspiration from Kraftwerk and the resulting synth pop wave. Instead, “Silver Sands & Boxes Of Mould” showcases her more experimental side thanks to its cinematic soundscapes and sparse beats, along with the beatless sway of “Dreams In Color”. A fine debut LP that cements Hauff’s position at the vanguard of current electronics.