A Mountain Of One – Black Apple Pink Apple (Ricardo Villalobos Version) [Amore]
Starting with perhaps my track of the year (so far) we have the inimitable Ricardo Villalobos remixing A Mountain Of One. The original track is a disco-come-indie banger which is a hit in its own right, but what Villalobos does with it is nothing short of spectacular. As we know, the devil is in the details, and by god, does Ricardo get into detail. From the painfully tasteful call and response vocoded vocals to the intricate drum programming, every bar is a feast for the ears. In true Villalobos fashion, the track takes all of 10 minutes to unfold and reveal it’s beautiful corners. A guitar pluck higher here, a hat in the left channel there. Take your time and enjoy this expertly guided tour of what a roller can be.
downstairs J – Soft Tissue [Incienso]
For me, Anthony Naples used to mean hip deep house. His current label couldn’t be further from that. Championing DJ Python and other incredible downbeat artists have set his label far from the norm, and I, for one, have been taking notice. This effort from downstairs J is no exception. I implore you to listen to the whole release, but if there’s one track you listen to, let “Soft Tissue” be it. Dystopian soundscapes set against dub-wise rhythms are a formula for success. Pair that with some gated synth lines that take things to the next level.
J. Albert – three [J. Albert Productions]
Next up is J. Albert with “three,” a melancholy drifter for the ages. Littered with metallic percussion and abrasive sounds, it’s surprising the softness and tenderness that comes from the track. Sparking keys loop in the background while wind-like synths come in and out of focus.
Carmen Villain – Carmen Villain (Actress Remix) [Smalltown Supersound]
Firstly, please check out Carmen Villain if you don’t know her work. It’s a heady mix of field recordings, woody percussion, and wistful synths that reminds one of Jan Jelinek and Moritz von Oswald Trio. Getting Actress to remix her self-titled (and currently unreleased) track only furthers that heady feeling. Slowly progressing, we’re treated to more layers of washy ambiance and lush samples that are pinned down with a somewhat driving bass. Music to get lost to.
Nala Sinephro – Space 1 [Warp Records]
Is it Jazz? Is it ambient? Both? Does it matter? Absolutely not when it’s this good. Considering this is her first album, let alone release, can only mean the future is bright for Nala. The opening track, selected here, is a pastoral morning translated into music. Birds chirping, a harp riff, and phasing synths all set you up for a lovely day. Make sure to listen to the album in one sitting, it’s worth it.
ovïd – beauty is fragile [Captured Visions]
Clicky, IDM-esque bliss here from a new artist, ovïd. Sounding like Pub and Remote_ in the best ways possible, “beauty is fragile” has all the dubby elements you want set to micro beats. The rest of the EP is fantastic, too. An artist to watch!
Planetary Assault Systems – Even Tide (Barker Remix) [Token]
Rounding off the selections for this week is Barker’s version of “Even Tide.” A looped percussion and synthline works its way into your brain over the course of the track while Barker adds choral flourishes, piano chords and sparse bass to make this an absolute monster of an eyes-closed journey. Highly recommended.