PLEASURE MODEL “KENDO DYNAMICS” CS (SILK090) $7
Bristol giallo disco meta-morphist Antoni Maiovvi flexes a fresh facet of his production arsenal as Pleasure Model, mapping leaner schematics of vintage cybernetic dread through stark drum machinery and cold fluorescent synthwork. Kendo Dynamics is his debut under this divergent replicant guise; it presents a persuasive world of fiber optic paranoia and technoid effacement. The album’s eight tracks trace various nuanced parallels of brooding arpeggiator jack (“Calmstone On Sea,” “Bealichtbach”), voidist new wave (“Mounnrocc,” “Dreams Of Crystal”), and blasted sci-fi body music (“Eat Itself,” “Abandonment Issues”), coaxing a mood of melancholic circuitry and souls on the brink. Data is DNA; every self, a subdivision. Slit the skin and count the pixels. One of Maiovvi’s finest futurist hours. Recorded at Mantueffelstr, Berlin, in Fall 2015. Edition of 100.
BUZ LUDZHA “BASSLINES FOR LIFE” 12″ (SILK086) $10
Buz Ludzha belongs to the “tape throb” lineage Andrew Morrison more prominently pioneers as The Cyclist, but filtered through an even more blasted, resinous speaker cone. His 2014 debut single on All City, Love Repetitive Rhythmics, traced the template but this newest EP, Basslines For Life, delivers on its title, going harder and stretching further into his unique splinter mode of wrecked EQ’s: grainy drum machinery, gain-streaked synths, decayed soul samples, motorik dancefloor manoeuvres in the dark. All four tracks are mixed hot and humid, swarming cassette textures churning over conveyor belts of blown-out bass, warehouse rhythm, and salvaged voice, jacking through body masses towards quaking systems you feel as much as hear. Communion demands desire; believe or be leaving. Black vinyl 12 inches with center labels designed by John Michael. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 188.
HUBERT CLARKE JR “AL DENTE” 12″ (SILK083) $10
Impressionistic dub-house devotee Hubert Clarke Jr. fluctuates through several deviations of Sydney afterhours circuit specialties on his debut, Al Dente. Alternately wired and unwound, classic and contempo, vibed soul and lean house, the EP threads soft-focus funk into longform live voyages, naturalist emotion, dance as relaxed delirium. The vocal samples (“I’m not into this to be traveling around the world / I’m not into this to impress anybody”) evoke a mood of reflective idealism, spirits undiminished, hope in spite of it all. Dusted with memories and reveries of Heavenly, Picnic, and Mad Racket parties, hallucinated Omar-S demos, newer Sex Tags sides, and various nations under a groove, HJC’s 4 originals (plus a remix by Adelaide vibe squad MBM) feel like a beginning, a submerged energy swelling to the surface. Black vinyl 12 inches in stickered sleeves designed by Peta Farago with smiley meatball illustrations by John-Henry Pajak and Geordie Cargill. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 175.
NEWBODY “EMOTIONAL” 12″ (HOS004) $8
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LA/Detroit two-steppers Newbody (aka Roberto Ramone and Jonathan Roshad) keep the faith on their latest single. “Emotional” and the flip “Wut U Do” share the duo’s brisk vocal house signature: cooled garage energy, uptown piano, bass calisthenics, satin shirt soul. The remixes flex different tendons of the tracks: Emotion II Emotion pumps a Jack City vibe, piano stabs and discotheque horns over a lewd bounce, while Cromie & Sage Caswell go more stereoscopic, dizzying up an abstract sunrise awakening. Also includes a radio edit of “Emotional,” to bait the Top 40 DJs on the fence. Mastered by Mark Pistel. Center label design by Trevor Tarczynski.
JAMES BOOTH “HUMAN RITES” 12″ (SILK084) $10
Mancunian producer James Booth holed up in various Hulme flats and half-studios with nothing but an old iMac to craft the six lushly overcast house designs comprising his vinyl debut, Human Rites. And, as is sometimes the case, the limitations were liberating: “With all of my gear in storage I downloaded a couple of plugins and tried to breath some life into them… with none of my old dusty buttons and keys I ended up focusing more deeply on the melodies and sound of each instrument.” Building on the misty-lensed techniques of his 2013 SILK cassette, Reunion, Booth’s new set of tracks feel even more nuanced and rain-streaked, streetlights dissolving through night bus windows, suburbs and moors glowing grey in the motorway’s false dawn. Structurally these songs swirl more than peak – synth lines spiral woozily, rhythms flex and fade, emotions come in and out of focus. He sees it similarly, describing Rites as “music for processes and passages; time elapses and we change.” Personal music for an impersonal world. 33 RPM black vinyl 12 inches in SILK label jackets designed by Roland Tings. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
CHERUSHII “FAR AWAY SO CLOSE” 12″ (SILK081) $10
San Fran rave loyalist Chelsea Faith aka Cherushii centered her 2nd EP around its title track, which evokes some Balearic brunch dream sequence coasting in the ether off a Mediterranean isle – swooping shorelines, seagulls, liquid sky sax (courtesy of jazz multi-instrumentalist Marcia Miget), sex surfer acid. Escape as experience. The record’s other three cuts stake her map across varied terrains, from maximalist catwalk (“Set You Free”) to sensual moonlight (“Nightsteps”) to fogged up DJ booths (“Sweet Spot”). Far Away So Close finds Faith at her most focused and free, glitter in her eyes and the dancefloor in her fingers. Music for bodies in motion, no matter the ocean. In SILK label sleeves designed by Spencer Longo. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
SILK: THE FILM – DIGITAL RENTAL & PURCHASE
(via VHX) $1.99 / $6.99 / $7.99
SILK, the 100% Silk documentary and dance film, is available through VHX and Amazon Instant Video. Shot over two years, the film follows four acts from the label – LA Vampires, Ital, Magic Touch and Maria Minerva – across a lengthy 2012 tour of the UK, Europe and Russia. SILK chronicles the performances, environments, and scenes they passed through: congested underground Parisian clubs, motorcycle showrooms in Bristol, abandoned industrial lots in Moscow, afterhours Berlin compounds, re-purposed World War II gun towers in Hamburg, plus large international festivals (Distortion in Copenhagen, Sonar in Barcelona). The film is punctuated by staged dance sequences conceived, choreographed, and performed by Mecca Vazie Andrews and the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. SILK premiered in 2013 at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen and subsequently screened at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, as well as la Gaîte Lyrique in Paris. SILK was an official selection at the 2014 Amsterdam Dance Event, Melbourne International Film Festival, and Planete + Doc Film Festival in Poland. The SILK: DELUXE package includes the film as well as four exclusive live sets from the tour by each of the featured acts.
ROCHE “STILLHOPE” 12″ (SILK062) $9
San Fran synth sensei Ben Winans aka Roche ventures further into his arcane hardware labyrinths on Stillhope, his second slab of mind-wired Pacific house for 100% Silk. As always with his work there’s a great sense of spaciousness and flow, coastal fog billowing around Alcatraz and over Land’s End, invisible currents taking control. “Stillhope” and “The Medicine” skew more towards the hazed and zen, cliffside smoke seances rendered via samplers and circuitry, percussion patterns ghosting through hidden lunar cycles, while “Change” brings back the bass, riding an acid-funked electric slide into a chorus of street soul chanting. Closer “Theme For Ikaros” leaves the bay (and earth) behind, a techno spy theme for hijacking a distant moon base, filtered arpeggios ramping the suspense against a steady stalker’s pulse until it all dissolves in dubby echoes, a stark clap, and a sample whispering about “the essence of life.” Even in deepest space, there’s Stillhope. Black vinyl 12 inches in SILK label sleeves designed by Luke Brown. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
BOBBY DRAINO “BRAIN DRAIN” 12″ (SILK057) $9
Before birthing his blasted acid house identity Bobby Draino drummed for various synth-punked groups around Vancouver, and some of that scorched earth live energy bleeds through the five primordial bangers comprising his vinyl debut, Brain Drain. Tracked live through one channel of a space echo straight to his computer, Draino’s MO is overdriven drum machines saturated with gritty fried acid, bass damage, and blown-tone sequencer patterns, fused into a radical and weird debased mutant house. The EP’s five tracks are the cumulation of two years of demo workshopping, TR-606 and 303 autodidacticism, warehouse party spelunks, etc; all savvy tactics for developing a shredding, progressively singular style, which BD has in spades. One of the most awesomely wrecked and raw SILK slabs to date. A West Coast wrecker worth watching. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
CHERUSHII “QUEEN OF CUPS” 12″ (SILK056) $8
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Bay Area native Chelsea Faith’s debut as Cherushii – a name she’s been recording under since her first teenage techno Tascam experiments more than a decade ago – spills over with loves and lessons gleaned from a lifer voyage through the city’s expansive rave underworlds. Though she trained as a classical pianist at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music, the rigidity of the culture disillusioned her, so she dove headfirst into the Bay’s electronic warehouse scene, both as a promoter and performer. For her 19th birthday she received a Yamaha RS7000 sequencer, thus birthing an obsession with live PA sets, which she’s never deviated from. Recorded mostly in SF (with the exception of one track cut in Berlin), and mixed by Matthew Zipkin, Queen Of Cupstakes the expansive blueprint of slow-burn deep house but threads it through with waves of synth wash, acid flash, and simmering strobe glow, for a loose yet composed suite of 21st-century free-spirit pulse generation. Mastered by Eric Hanson. In SILK label sleeves designed by Bobby Houlihan.
PARADISE 100 “THE LOIN KING” 12″ (SILK055) $9
Scotland-born Parisian Paradise 100 aka Graham/Africa has been percolating stripped-back, bouncy-castle house constructs onto the web for a couple years but never locked them in wax till now. High time. Following his minimalist dictum that “any more than three tracks on a song is just indulgence,” his debut EP’s four cuts share a sleek, spare design, jigsawing slinky bass, classic keys, lean drum programming, and flashes of synth mirage into fluid, aerodynamic patterns. Touches of melodic acid and crossover new wave color the mood an exotic, hedonistic hue (further evinced by titles like “The Loin King” and “French Kissing In The House Of Love”). His own vision of the project is appropriately fantastical: “The image in my mind is of tropical forests at night, torchlight, distant sounds of tribal ritual dance and ghosts.” Regal music for pleasure domes. Black vinyl 45 RPM 12 inches, mastered by Eric Hanson.
LES LEVEL “HOUSE OF NEED” 12″ (SILK054) $9
Melbournian multi-hyphenate Luke Brown has his hands in a lot of pots, from his defunct DJ duo with Ricardo Ramos, Leslie Salvador, as well as his ongoing death-disco/dark-synth revisionist twosome, Negativ Magick. But the past few years have found him exploring more classic, scruffed-up analog house terrain via his latest alias Les Level, and his debut, House Of Need, is 6 uncut bars of funky souled club gold. Bookended by a pair of of mixes of the stellar neo-Chicago anthem “House Of Need” (a “cheese mix” and a “dirty dub”), the rest of the tracks prowl through a host of suave, shuffling, Strictly Rhythmic variations, from the After Hours-ish 3 AM skyline seducer, “Smooth Sailing,” to the pumping, jazzy jack-groove, “Working Nights.” An expert assemblage by a nuanced craftsman with style to burn. Black vinyl LPs, 33 RPM, mastered by Eric Hanson in Los Angeles.
POLYSICK “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” 12″ (SILK049) $8
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Roman hyperrealist Polysick is one the most inspirationally omnivorous electronic futurists in the biz right now. From the miasmic sci-fi terrariums of his 2012 opus Digital Native to his scrambled alien radio hijack tape Flow FM to his recent new age metropolis techno-fantasy Daydream, he traverses every sphere with a masterfully warped, expansive, and maximalist touch. Under Construction finds him fracking into fresh dancefloor terrains: breezy rooftop acid stretched into animal balloons, degenerated house dubs refracted through 80′s video arcade ambience, jazzy champagne-spritzed 303-dosed loft funk, screwed Barry White samples echoing across the chill out lounge. Four instant time-travel crate-dug classics by one of today’s most clued-in constructionists.
LEECH “TUSKS” 12″ (SILK040) $8
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Multi-scene main man and Kranky konfidante Brian Foote bounced from Chicago to Portland to L.A. before birthing Leech, his diagonal dub endeavor. Foote has helmed the mixing board and production duties for scores of innerspace artists, from Zola Jesus to LA Vampires to Grouper and beyond, but as Leech he masterminds a hybridized mode occasionally termed Chrono Dance, a non-time all-at-once synthesis of hardware rhythms, siphoned techno, and double-helix structures. Funked and freaked, rich and rare-brained.
ROCHE “A NIGHT AT THE HAÇ” 12″ (SILK036) $8
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Bay Area Balearic burner Ben Winans aka Roche designs long tranced nights with no sign of morning. Opener “A Night At The Haç” kicks loose an epic dialogue of classic house thematics while “Insider Outsider” is all acid/alien gears-turning progression. Side B’s “CG Vision” refracts a fish-eye lens while closer “Psycho Zombie Dreams” tunnels through a sphere of modulated raunch – seductive, intoxicating, mind-eating.
JMII “NUEVA YORK” 12″ (SILK033) $8
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Barcelona-to-Berliner Jami Bassols aka JMII makes his SILK debut with Nueva York, a sensuadelic 5 a.m. slab of primo Gold Coast acid. Psychedelic, textural, and fluid, his compositions unfold and dissolve according to some sea-breezed continental logic. His side project Aster has dropped releases on Hieroglyphic Being’s Mathematics label; JMII’s poised to loft even farther afield. Ciento por ciento seda.
SIR STEPHEN “HOUSE OF REGALIA” LP (SILK032) $8
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This homme of homage creates a time-tripped, style-slashed virtual reality of cooltempo rare grooves, Black Box jack, fashion struts, slippy UK house, acid jazz lounge trance, and cut-loose electro-soul. Music for dancers, pure n’ sample. X-scaped sleeve artwork by digital age meme sensei Spencer Longo.
STRATEGY “BOXY MUSIC” 12″ (SILK021) $10
Prince of Portland Paul Dickow converts his form-flowing Nudge-sludge into revved-up, tech-house arousal as Strategy. The moniker has found Dickow checking out hooks in Community Library, dubbing deep on Kranky, and shapeshifting across a host of European, Japanese, and American labels. For his SILK statement he separates into reverbed dancehall, piano-jacked class-act house, swirling vamp funk, Arabic woodwinds, and sizzling clatter data. In lipstick-pink typewriter pop art jackets designed by the artist.
MI AMI “DECADE” LP (SILK020) $8
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The transformative duo of Damon “Magic Touch” Palermo and Daniel “Ital” Martin-McCormick have created a hardcore soft-serve swirl of afro-punk, disco-dance freakout, and primitive techno along their half-decade journey toward Decade’s fine exploratory house. The yin of Damon’s deep focus rhythm, an endless horizon-riding beat, powers the yang of Daniel’s DC anarchic tension. “Time Of Love” is soul on the move: cymbal-crash symbolism, flanger fingerplay, drum roll triggers. “Free Of Life” shoots across reverbed pad stabs and synth-shred sweeps, before giving way to the final cut, “Bells,” a kiss of guitar shrapnel, walls closing in, beats pumping into the tree of life. Decade is a chemistry test, a steady study, a link of love. Ten-fingers-to-touch-you sleeve art by the one and only Bobby Houlihan. Comes with an 11×17 poster/insert.
BODY DOUBLE “MY LIFE (WHAT YOU NEED)” 12″ (SILK019) $8
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Butch, bossy, industrial, and immediate, Body Double conjures KLF’s cult convictions with the same stadium strength and flamboyant fire-technics. Shifted deep down vocals, deconstruction factory fetishes, and bang-the-barrel-slowly tom fills build “My Life” to religious heights, while “Be Strong” takes another avenue to mournful masculinity and strapping sweat gospel house. Rounded out with a 5-hour energy-boost remix from Sir Stephen.
POLONAISE “TROCADERO” 12″ (SILK018) $8
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Scott Goodwin has pursued diligent electronics as Bonus and live-band techno as Operative but when teamed up with Avalon Kalin (aka Finesse) as the duo Polonaise they’ve uncovered a vibrant new patch of analog piano trance. Named in honor of the famed San Francisco den of disco oblivion, Trocadero sucks you into its fluid analog spectacle, mechanized and mesmerizing.