German Techno duo Âme are still inspired by the Detroit house vibe that engrossed so many and catapulted dance music forward in the early ‘90s. Rather than choosing to produce dance floor belters to lift them to commercial success, Âme have stuck to the hard-edged Detroit style whilst pushing the genre’s boundaries with flourishes of Electro reminiscent of Kraftwerk or Daft Punk. Thus, Âme’s music has a vitality and vintage rare in modern dance music. Check out the scintillating ‘Rej’ for a sample of how this formula plays out. There are also ebullient treats such as a remix of Underworld’s ‘Crocodile’ that make this an essential release for the beat connoisseur.
Artist: Damon Albarn
Album: Dr Dee
Damon Albarn can be criticised for many things. A lack of creativity is not one of them. Since the demise of Blur, Albarn has provided the creative energy behind Gorillaz, the Good, the Bad and the Queen and Rocket Juice & the Moon. Dr Dee is a collaborative effort recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. It is an operatic ode to an Elizabethan mathematician with an unshakable belief in the supernatural. Clearly it is an interesting, if unusual subject for an album. Albarn manages to deliver a warm, tentative and distinctly melancholy tribute to an individual that somehow got under his skin. It is however difficult to see how the subject matter will have broad appeal and those unwilling to dig into Dee’s background will be disengaged.
Squarepusher has long represented the festishisation of Drum & Bass. Existing at the far-side of the genre’s broad spectrum, teetering outside of it, or redefining it altogether, Tom Jenkinson has made a career of music at its most fantastical. But after all these years of sonic exploration where has Jenkinson left to travel? The answer appears to lie in the packaging rather than the music. Special vinyl editions of this album appear in glow-in-the-dark box sets, with hologramatic art-work whilst the musical flesh and bones differs little from Jenkinson’s recent outputs. Squarepusher does however maintain flair and a virtuosity of deliverance that should be cherished.