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Top 10 releases: February 2015

Producers emerge bleary-eyed from winter studio hibernation and the great new tunes roll out with them.

Maxxi Soundsystem feat. Name One 'Medicine' / Culprit / 2nd February

The powerful Medicine by Maxxi Soundsystem is the 50th release from established LA based label Culprit. Teaming up once more with talented vocalist Name One, the result is a dark and deliberate tech cut, the relaxed pace a false lead away from the more intense themes of the lyrics.

Lonely Boy 'I Like Disco' EP / Futureboogie / 9th February

Cause who doesn't, right? Californian born producer Lonely Boy has created a sophisticated disco EP which merits several listens. Warm analogue walking bass lines and soft treble keys of the opener and Justice-esque distortian in the remix makes for a richly textured EP. Follower Subtle Frenzy is as smooth and forward pushing as Take Your Time is deliberate and held back.

Jozef K, MZ Sunday Love, Winter Son 'Loveless Vessel' / Rebirth / 16th February

Dreamy swirling synth layers give way to a steady build, as a beat kicks in and string pads are gradually introduced. It's the soulful alto female vocal sample that really turn this track into something incredible. Plaintive and slow, with a haunting vibrato waver, her voice is the perfect accompaniment above the cyclic piano progressions.

Heems feat. Dev Hynes 'Home' / Megaforce / 19th February

Xylophones clanking about an echoey room, soft yet staccatto vocal snippets, slow, off-centre beats... this has Blood Orange AKA Dev Hynes' paws all over it. Talented Queens (NY) rapper Heems has teamed up with the multi-faceted producer/filmmaker/composer/singer/fashionista to create a piece of music that is smooth, relaxed and a little off the beaten track.

Little Dragon 'Pretty Girls' Nehruvian remix / self released / 4th February

Is there anyone decent left who hasn't collaborated with Little Dragon? Bishop Nehru joins the illustrious list with this subtle rework of Pretty Girls in which he also throws down a few lines. Nehru can do no wrong in my eyes, since he impressed me as support act for Nas at Ibiza Rocks last year. He's also the nicest rapper ever - just listen to the lyrics.

Andhim 'Spayce' / Get Physical / 9th February

The prolific German duo Andhim have released a progressive techno track which is very easy on the ears. Better still, Spayce is accompanied by an animated music video that is a fantastic visual story of intergallactic battles, smashing rocks and what not.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 'Ballad of the Mighty' (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve rework) / Sour Mash / 14th February

Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve (Erol Alkan and Richard Norris) do great things for music, re-imagining popular and forgotten tracks alike as richer, longer psychedlic rock trips. Noel Gallagher has always professed a love of this genre, and unsurprisingly the High Flying Birds release takes extremely well to the hypnotic BTWS touch.

Robert Capuano 'Never Stop' / Truesoul / 22nd February

Back to the dance floor with a bang with the latest release from the Naples native Robert Capuano. Italians like their techno dark and crisp, and Never Stop is just that. Swinging hi-hats and snippets of echoey house-friendly vocals give a groovy edge to an otherwise stright up-and-down techno banger.

Bottin 'Parody' / Bearfunk / 23rd February

This funky, rolling edit is one half of the latest EP on Bearfunk by Bottin - also hailing from Italy, but this time clearly nestled deep in the Italo disco scene. This is merely a snippet of an epic 13 minute plus cut, which works in catchy keyboard riffs and soothing subterranean basslines over playful percussion to dish up a track with groove.

John Bence 'Disquiet EP' / Other People / 23rd February

And now for something altogether different. Whilst we're all hanging out for new music from Nicholas Jaar, we can be appeased in the meantime by this latest release on his label Other People by 19 year old awesome-sort, John Bence. This sometimes light and lovely, sometimes dark and ominous, sometimes dissonant EP is a sign of what to expect from the label this year; that is, in the words of Jaar, "nudity and patience".

WORDS | Jordan Smith


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