If you're reading this it's not too late – revisit February's finest from Drake, Future Brown and Purity Ring
APHEX TWIN – COMPUTER CONTROLLED ACOUSTIC INSTURMENTS PT2
Whilst AT’s last album SYRO arrived as the pot of gold at the end of a brilliantly nonsensical promotional campaign, his latest EP has slipped in rather more quietly. This 13-track collection shines just as brightly, though. In a whir of delicate piano melodies, looping intergalactic patterns and spacey rhythms, Richard D. James-controlled robots produce instrumentation that is mechanical yet playful, occasionally inaccessible but always engaging.
DRAKE – IF YOU'RE READING THIS IT'S TOO LATE
Drake took us all by surprise last week when he dropped this mixtape out of the sky and into our headphones. The 17-track release is like a late-night smoke out of the window: all woozy, spectral beats and mood-pacifying piano loops. But the ethereal production is underpinned with some carefully-aimed, shade-throwing flows: “It’s so childish calling my name on the world stage/you need to act your age and not your girls age,” Drake spits in "6PM in New York", in a thinly veiled diss to rapper Tyga. He also takes aim at Diddy, Kendrick Lamar and his label Cash Money. Why bitch individually when you can collate it all onto one mammoth mixtape?
ROMARE – PROJECTIONS
It’s not hard to see why electronic audiophile Romare takes his name from Romare Bearden – the African American collagist – in this cut and pasted, sonic patchwork of a debut. Whilst he revels in a multitude of influences (garage, house, 70s disco, swinging jazz, gospel) he is careful not to be defined by them, instead taking old textures and crafting them into pulsating, club-ready grooves.
FUTURE BROWN – FUTURE BROWN
“We’re taking our shit back – the look and the music,” Maluca, a collaborator of avant-club innovators Future Brown told Dazed in our Spring 2015 issue (look out for it online soon). “This music is the future.” It’s pretty hard to disagree with her when you hear the sticky, trapped-out beats of "Room 302 ft Tink", the sweet, glossy waves of "Dangerzone ft Kelela and Ian Isiah" or the slinky Spanish hooks of "Vernaculo ft Maluca". It’s an album that rests on the unexpected, and thrills with a seductive, post-millennial vision.
VISION FORTUNE – COUNTRY MUSIC
London experimentalists Vision Fortune have released their second album in the shape of “Country Music” which is about as far from country music as you could get, in an immersive blend of circular, drone-soaked guitar riffs and reverb-heavy keyboard lines. Want to know exactly how to listen to it? According to what they told the Fader: "In your living room, on a large speaker system, late at night, feeling apprehensive, possibly naked, the heating cranked to max, drinking a White Russian, Carlito's Way playing on the TV (on mute), squatting in a paddling pool filled with lukewarm water. Otherwise a decent pair of headphones will do."
CLARENCE CLARITY – NO NOW
No Now, and its hyper-saturated, tumblr-ready cover, is like a music lesson in digital chemistry; layers upon layers of sleazy funk warped synth lines, clattering glitch patterns and contorted vocals collide to create a kaleidoscopic web of sound. That many elements should really sound chaotic, but instead the London artist creates something like popping candy for the ears.
PURITY RING – ANOTHER ETERNITY
Way back in 2013, Megan James of electro-pop duo Purity Ring told us: “Everything I do has a tinge of violence. Like, my entire life. I'm always a little bit visceral.” Two years later, and this inner conflict, makes Purity Ring burn even brighter on their second album. “You sweat and you bled, I couldn't look cause your body would shake, you feared a lonely death”, Megan sings over sweetly synthetic melodies in "Bodyache", a stand out on this dazzling effort.
GHOSTFACE KILLAH/BADBADNOTGOOD – SOUR SOUL
Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Toronto psych-jazz trio BadBadNotGood have teamed up for Sour Soul, an album that could easily take its name from their unique blend of genres – cold and grimy rap flows spread over smoky, soul-imbued instrumentation. Speaking about the album to Fasterlouder, BadBadNotGood commented, “The album has taken almost three years to complete because we’ve discovered so many records that we’ve fallen in love with. The list had grown so big.”
THEESATISFACTION – EARTHEE
In EarthEE, THEEsatisfaction serve up a rich melting pot of influences, from the gliding house grooves of "No GMO" to the lush electronic soundscapes of "Sir Come Navigate" and the space-y Hip Hop vibes of "Nature’s Candy". Unlike their mainstream counterparts, they call for authenticity and respect, taking aim at the cultural appropriation of black genres in "Blandland": "they take jazz, take soul, take hip hop, and blame the n*gger every inch and every drip drop." It’s a fiercely poetic second album from Sub Pop’s most dynamic duo.
FUTURE – BEAST MODE
Look’s like Atlanta rapper Future got over Ciara for enough time to craft his hard-hitting, cathartic mixtape Beast Mode, a collision of whirring synth lines and pulsing beats, all tied together with the relentless, auto-tuned shapes of his vocals. The turnt production comes from Zaytoven (Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy) whose expertise lies in catchy, 808-laden jams to crank up to 100.