Cosmin Nicolae – Semnal [OPAL116]

Over the last decade the work of Cosmin Nicolae has been a cresting force of forward thinking electronic music. His TRG alias formed the inaugurate release on the peerless Hessle Audio. In essence he forms an important part of the story of the cross pollination of UK bass’ music with techno and his hard work and craft has seen him maintain his fixture as a sought after talent, both producing and as a DJ. One element which always amplified his work beyond that of many other peers is Cosmin’s dedication to crafting interesting sound from scratch, a process which precedes his production and has it roots in home-brewed experimentation with instruments, electro-acoustic process and improvisation. With this debut release under his actual name, Opal Tapes has provided a space for Cosmin to have free reign to display another, looser and more experimental side of his repertoire. In many ways, an impossible album to classify, it feels as if it’s creating itself a points. The ideas therein are the genesis of so many fully functional’ songs but hearing them like this brings us so much closer to someone else’s mind and fingertips.

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Cosmin Nicolae – Semnal [OPAL116]

Xosar – BOP004 [BOP004]

Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes’ occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It’s perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes – see the wonky industrial IDM of “Prophylaxis” and the beatless synth madness of “Gnome Circle” – but it’s the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense “Hades Gates”) that really stand out.

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Xosar – BOP004 [BOP004]

Masks – Food Plus Drug (II) [OPAL055]

In addition to his solo work as Patricia, Brooklyn-based Max Ravitz also spends his time in several collaborative projects. There is Inhalants with Jahiliyya Fields, the superbly punned Patreke with Terekke and Masks with Alexis ‘Arp’ Georgopoulos. As Arp, Georgopoulos has been responsible for some wonderful releases on Smalltown Supersound and RVNG, though as you’d expect Masks finds the artist deviating much closer to the dancefloor. The Food Plus Drug (II) 12″ for Opal Tapes will appeal to fans of hazy, smoked out techno (think Huerco S) with “Zebra” the sort of track that will bend minds on the dancefloor.

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Masks – Food Plus Drug (II) [OPAL055]

Ñaka Ñaka – Mundo Harsh [BOP003]

The third release in the Black Opal series see’s Mexico City 2 Brooklyn expat Jeronimo Jimenez at his finest. The ghostly syncopations of his Opal Tapes debut are revisited again but this time the beats come charged with a new weight. 6 tracks of haunting techno, flickering metals and doomed synth set to probe into your skull.

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Ñaka Ñaka – Mundo Harsh [BOP003]