Paris, so the cliche goes, is a city blessed with innate style.

Listening to The Geek and VRV cross swords, though, we can well believe it. Two producers with their own unique take on dance culture, the pair criss-cross the borders of house and techno, with a little hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

Set to dominate the summer with their new release 'Origami', The Geek x VRV aren't about to be ignored.

To coincide, the pair have sculpted a new DJ mix especially for your delectation. Featuring guest appearances from Taylor McFerrin, Anderson .Paak, and more, it's a broad yet completely on-point selection.

Tune in now.

Tracklisting:
Coming Up Feat Kellylee Evans & Atom – The Geek x Vrv
Laputa – Hiatus Kayote (feat. Anderson .Paak) (Taylor McFerrin Remix)
Na Hora – Sango (feat. Faktiss & Chris MC Clenney)
Brazilian Blowjob – Mr. Carmack
Lust – starRo
Touch Down, Pt. I (feat. 20syl & Mr. J. Medeiros) – AllttA
Voices Feat Rita J – 20Syl
Mr Heartbreak – Delegation (The Geek x Vrv remix)
ID – The Geek x Vrv
Origami – The Geek x Vrv

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The Verve are set to give their opening two studio albums the expansive treatment.

'A Storm In Heaven' was released in 1993, and finds the band's sky-rocketing ambition taking them in some outstanding new directions.

Follow up 'A Northern Soul' was every bit as outrageous, prompting Noel Gallagher to herald the "genius" of Richard Ashcroft.

Both remastered by Chris Potter at Metropolis studios, the re-issue project features a plethora of rare and unheard material spread across triple disc packages.

Both albums will come with extensive booklets, featuring rare photography and fresh insight into the band's history, while 'A Storm In Heaven' features a bonus DVD.

'A Storm In Heaven' and 'A Northern Soul' will be re-issued on September 9th.

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Japan still retains the power to impact an incredible hold on the imagination.

Magical Mistakes knows this, and found himself drawn to Shiba-san, one of Japan’s most rural villages, to focus on his music.

Contemplative electronics with a crisp, emotional edge, his work can stand alongside Four Tet, Pantha Du Prince, or even fellow Japan convert Gold Panda.

New album 'Peaking In The Pitch Black' arrives on July 8th released on Playground Records (pre-order LINK), with the producer explaining:

"These tracks were made over a two month period hopping around between Osaka, Tokyo, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. I've never felt at home with a specific genre or scene, which is a curse and a blessing. Perhaps the change in geography is evident in the malleable genres of the tracks themselves. Post-rock, techno, drone, IDM; snippets of what's influenced me musically throughout my life."

Clash is able to premiere the title track, and it builds beautifully, effortlessly, towards an intense, evocative conclusion. Shattered techno mingles with small snippets of vocals, the broken down machines allied to broken down humans.

Check it out now.

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What’s most remarkable about the progression of Swedish trio, Peter, Bjorn And John, is their dedication to balance. On every release, the group tweak their tried-and-true songwriting style with a distinct twist: the flavour of the month in ‘Breakin’ Point’ is heavily synth-led. Not a far cry from 2011’s culinary themed record, ‘Gimme Some’.

This new release is a flashdance in the dark as themes of ego, darkness and keeling over one’s own fulcrum are wrestled. The coloured charisma of frontman Peter Morén illuminates tracks like ‘Do Si Do’, which features a baroque skitter grounded beyond typical indie-pop whimsy. Quips like “got it from whisky like any loser can” from the title track, tacitly evoke this part-Hunter S Thompson, part-Brian Wilson persona of our man Pete.

Conceptually, Peter, Bjorn And John blossom in the production department. Tastes of pan pipes and jittery leitmotifs on tracks like ‘What You Talking About’ and climactic ballad ‘A Long Goodbye’ bolster some of the group’s most expansive and ambitious work to date.

The pace of the record shuffles without urgency, solidifying the band’s flag planted in the legacy and sentimentality that’s kept them adorned for over a decade. ‘Breakin’ Point’ is a technicolour blur worth your time.

8/10

Words: Will Butler

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Delaire's rise has been gradual but, ultimately, entirely natural.

Each song has found its place online, with each sparkling synth pop nugget winning more and more fans to her cause.

New cut 'Hey You' airs first on Clash, and those blissful vocals can't quite hide lyrics that speak of smouldering heartbreak.

Delaire explains: “I wrote it about the breakdown of ‘can’t live with you, can’t live without you’ relationship. It’s about the feeling of only being complete with that one person by your side.”

Check it out now.

Catch Delaire at the following shows:

July
1 Blissfields Festival
29 Lee Fest

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Zomby will release new album 'Ultra' through Hyperdub on September 2nd.

The producer has been active of late, releasing two EPs of largely hardcore-oriented material through XL Recordings.

Working with Hyperdub, Zomby will release full length album 'Ultra' on September 2nd. The material features a handful of guests, including Darkstar (on the near-mythic cut 'Quandary'), Banshee, Rezzett, and Burial.

The Zomby x Burial collaboration 'Sweetz' will gain a standalone release – the one sided 10 inch single drops on July 29th.

Check out the tracklisting below:

1. REFLECTION
2. BURST
3. FLY 2 [ ZOMBY & BANSHEE ]
4. E.S.P.
5. I
6. GLASS
7. SWEETZ [ ZOMBY & BURIAL ]
8. HER
9. QUANDARY [ ZOMBY & DARKSTAR ]
10. FREEZE
11. YETI
12. S.D.Y.F. [ ZOMBY & REZZETT ]
13. THAW

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In resisting a zeitgeist-orientated growth, Metronomy has shrugged off the temptation of crowd-pleasing, the allure of fleeting trends and even modern day technology.

Although an initial record did not arrive until 2006, you may be surprised to learn that Metronomy has been in the making since the last century – a teenage Joseph Mount could be found concocting debut album-bound material as early as the late-1990’s. The bedroom-produced hobby then steadily grew into a festival headlining pop machine over the course of four unique records.

After the arrival of the scintillating ‘Old Skool’ and in preparation for the impending ‘Summer 08’, it would be fitting to take a look back at the trajectory of Mount’s brainchild.

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‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’ (2006)

Whilst it’s common for artists to be defined by their debut album, this introduction (discounting the rare, Spanish shoe company dedicated ‘Wonders’ EP) is relatively neglected. Very few of its tracks are performed live (just one cut reaching post-2009 set lists) and its sickly-sweet eccentricity may have been a sugar-rush one too many for the masses.

For instance, the Aphex Twin-esque melodies in ‘Peter’s Pan’ are unapologetically inaccessible and the impressive glitchy IDM of the ear-scrapingly abrasive ‘The 3rd’ resembles an irritatingly haywire R2-D2.

However, typical of Metronomy, perseverance reaps great rewards. The woozily frenetic polk-tronica of ‘Black Eye/Burnt Thumb’ forms the album climax, whilst the nostalgic saxophones of ‘Love Song For Dog’ smother lashings of ice cream-van melody and schizophrenic drums; proving there is beauty to be found amongst this fidgety Nintendo electro.

‘Pip Paine…’ lacks any cohesion, but that’s not the aim of its game. It’s a blissfully unrestricted expression of a producer yet to find his feet, himself or even what dimension he lives in.

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‘Nights Out’ (2008)

It’s 2008 – the NME coined ‘new-rave’ scene is taking indie fans and their MySpace accounts by storm. New kids on the block Foals, Klaxons and The Late of The Pier are celebrating feral drunkenness with trashy guitars and fuzzy keyboard tones. And although Metronomy’s sophomore release boasts a comparable sonic presence, its introverted concept “about going out and having a crap time” could not be further from the pre-economic crash spirit.

With dance moves and flashing pound shop push-lights to boot, new recruits Oscar Cash and Gabriel Stebbing turned ‘him’ into a ‘they’ as the exuberance of ‘Nights Out’ was brought to the live arena. Bookending the helium frenzy ‘My Heart Rate Rapid’, the twanging guitars and creaky-door samples prominent in ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ are initially laughable enough to warrant a second play; but after the third they form your new favourite indie hits.

The record then treads on darker territory after the gurgling instrumental ‘Side 2’ leads into the angst-ridden drunkenness of Holiday – sang as if mid-way though a dental examination. In culminating this sentiment, the grotesque lead synth of ‘On Dancefloors’ reaches a sobering moment – capturing perfectly the tedium of being surrounded by intoxicated clubbers, when all you want is your bed.

This cult classic saw Joe Mount discover his sound, direction and, most importantly, his swag.

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‘The English Riviera’ (2011)

Skip three years and Metronomy have morphed into an almost unrecognisable entity. Now supported by Anna Prior (drums) and Gbenga Adelekan (bass -replacing Stebbing), Metronomy 2.0 has gone from bargain-bucket synthpop to sleek, fleshed-out pop rock seemingly overnight.

The salty air of ‘The English Riviera’ is the direct antidote to, and perfect hangover cure for, the dizzying ‘Nights Out’. After the squawking seagulls of its opener fade, the sleek hooks, wavy analogues and warm tones of We Broke Free emerge – a song encapsulating Metronomy’s seismic shift.

‘She Wants’ and ‘The Bay’ also characterise this transformation, mainly due to vocals that are sung with such confident execution – something alien to previous material. The album’s hazy and retro-futurist production depicts the dream of scorched British beaches. ‘Some Written’ and ‘The Look’, for example, drift in and out of the record like the dissident bleeping of inland amusements from the perspective of dozy beach-bathers.

Polished – yet original, accessible whilst still very much on Mount’s terms – this Mercury nominated offering revolutionised Metronomy, liberating insular production across infinite coastlines.

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‘Love Letters’ (2014)

Following the phantasmal future-tech of ‘Pip Paine…’, the 80’s wonk-rave of ‘Nights Out’ and the 70’s pop-rock of ‘The English Riviera’, Metronomy’s fourth record was a (you got it) 60s-infused extension to Mount’s regressive musical voyage.

In authenticating this approach, the producer’s affinity with technology was parked in favour of computer-free analogue production. Anyone expecting a sequel to its predecessor was to be sorely disappointed – ‘Love Letters’ vintage brand of lounge-pop clouds The English Riviera’s utopiansim with a sense of longing and reflection.

Standout track ‘I’m Aquarius’ is caught up in these emotions and features smooth and chocolately bass, rippling alongside Mount’s yearnful rap. Singles ‘The Upsetter’ and ‘Reservoir’ offer similar chunky drum machines, only to be coupled with thin layers of shy melody.

The record’s introverted and sometimes under-whelmingly sparse approach was a bold direction that took the fandom some getting used to. However the heartfelt tunes soon grow in stature, and by the time you digest the satire of, say, ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’, its obvious that Mount’s complete lack of narcissism is still intact. Like or loathe this edition, the big risk-taking and refusal to rest on laurels kept the fans hooked.

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There’s a clear chronology in this backward-moving yet forward-thinking journey, however Metronomy’s next addition revisits the fan favourite synth-mania of 'Nights Out' – only now with unprecedented confidence. In becoming the antidote to its predecessor, ‘Summer 08’ will see Mount come full circle in what promises to be his most ingenious release yet.

Words: Jordan Foster

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‘The Spinhead Sessions’ is an unearthed album of instrumental tracks by Sonic Youth recorded between ‘Evol’ and ‘Sister’, originally intended to be the soundtrack for Ken Friedman’s ‘Made In The USA’ road movie. The tracks documented here were recorded at LA’s Spinhead Studios and bear no resemblance to what the band were doing on the studio albums that bookended it; the sessions here were demos that presaged further development at another Hollywood studio before Friedman decided not to use any of the group’s music at all.

These tracks are most similar to the group’s first album for the Blast First label, ‘Bad Moon Rising’. That album found Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and soon-to-depart drummer Bob Bert sloughing off some of the embellishments that had placed them at the centre of New York’s No Wave post-punk scene and set them on a course that would ultimately take them to major label fodder and a creative nadir.

‘Bad Moon Rising’ was spooky as hell, and not just because of the pumpkin-headed scarecrow that adorned its sleeve. A dour, textural album, it had a deflated / defeated feeling and a distinct sense of foreboding; it was as if Sonic Youth were channelling the creepy atmospheres of every low-budget horror movie that Hollywood churned out in the early 1980s while simultaneously using that vibe to pass oblique comment on the state of American society, suggesting, it seemed, that a predilection for imaginary violent deaths was a testament to how morally bankrupt the US had become.

These pieces take the harrowing themes of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and reduce them to what is now an imaginary soundtrack. With few exceptions, the seven tracks here are all deep explorations of a root fear, using repeated refrains and slowly-developing layers as motifs to create pulse-quickening tension. This is Sonic Youth at its most meditative and considered – something that would be fully realised much later in their major label career, on the extended coda to ‘The Diamond Sea’ from 1995’s ‘Washing Machine’. Feedback is carefully controlled and there's a reliance on heavy reverb, churning bass tones from Kim Gordon and chiming guitar melodies throughout; the signature guitar horn-locking of Moore and Ranaldo – best exemplified by ‘Xpressway To Yr Skull’ from ‘Evol’ – is nowhere to be seen, and neither are the Krautrock rolling drums of Steve Shelley, whose kitwork here is mostly deployed to simulate an angsty pulse.

The unused final material that Sonic Youth delivered for Friedman’s movie was released in 1994, and is an altogether inferior product compared to these newly-unearthed sessions. The relocation to another studio found the band working with a production team that didn't quite ‘get’ the band, and the results suffered as a consequence. What you have here is what Sonic Youth always did best – sculpting original shapes out of traditional rock instruments and building their own noisy road as they went along. That they were able to deliver such a comprehensively other proposition, at such a formative time in the band’s development, is a testament to the dexterity of early Sonic Youth.

8/10

Words: Mat Smith / @mjasmith

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Watch out guys and girls, MSTRKRFT are back to spoil your trip. After a seven-year hiatus in which Jesse F. Keeler has reformed his aggro-dance punk duo Death From Above 1979 and Al-P has done… well, whatever Al-P does when he’s not in MSTRKRFT, the Canadian duo decided to hook back up in 2013 after they each acquired a newborn baby apiece. Not that fatherhood has mellowed them out. In fact, new album ‘OPERATOR’ boasts by far the most aggressive, noise-ridden collection of tracks the pair have ever managed to grind out. If the robots from Daft Punk had come to earth looking for love and found a twelve-pack of White Lightning instead, this is the music they would probably be making.

It should come as no surprise that a duo who met while recording ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ would have form when it comes to harnessing the violent side of electronic music. But while ‘Fist of God’ masked their abrasive synth attack with the good time vibes of chart-bothering hits like ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Bounce’, ‘OPERATOR’ shrugs off this sheep’s clothing and goes straight for the jugular.

The record starts with the vomit-flecked techno of ‘Wrong Glass Sir’ and only increases in grotesqueness as it progresses. There’s the pulsating throb of ‘Priceless’, which features hardcore legend Sonny Kay from Angel Hair doing his best impression of Jesse’s DFA 1979 bandmate Sebastian Grainger, while on ‘Death In Gulf Stream’ they seem to have sampled a single stab from Bernard Hermann’s shrieking Psycho theme and logically extrapolated the rest of the track from there. Make sure to tell your mate who’s eternally commandeering your speakers to blare out house, more house and nothing but house to give ‘World Peace’ a chance, then smile manically as his brain turns to mush and he falls into a coma from which he may never wake up.

The closest thing to a straight dancefloor banger comes midway through the album with Justice-indebted single ‘Party Line’, and even here the schizophrenic mumblings of Nation of Ulysses’ Ian Svenonius will prevent it from ever making it onto all but the most challenging of DJs’ flash drive. But that’s all good, MSTRKRFT have already nailed French-style house and EDM on both ‘The Looks’ and ‘Fist of God’ respectively. ‘OPERATOR’ isn’t for the club. It’s for the Laser Quest arena. As its ‘Meat Is Murder’-aping cover might suggest, this is an album to take with you into battle and play at ear-splitting volume across the conflict zone. You know that well-muscled goon who takes his own gear to paintball, descends into some primal, bezerk rage the moment the game starts and then tries to single-handedly contravene every point on the Geneva Convention? This is the shit playing in that dude’s head all the time.

There’s something commendably cyberpunk about MSTRKRFT’s output. Their analogue attack channels William Gibson via Mr Oizo by injecting a measure of furious anarchism into their sci-fi sound aesthetic. Is future disco brutalism a genre? Because this is that. When Converge’s Jacob Banner lets rip on ‘Go On Without Me’ it sounds for all the world like the inhuman scream of a computer virus howling and throwing itself against the bars of its McAfee prison: a digital howl that echoes through its surrounding mainframe. It’s great if you like that sort of thing, unlistenable if you don’t.

The only artists of a similar ilk that challenge MSTRKRFT on the pure vehemence stakes are their bemasked peers The Bloody Beetroots and Danger. MSTRKRFT themselves have quit trying to mask anything about their sound or approach, electing instead to deliver the turbo-aggressive noise record they’ve always threatened to make. Whether this qualifies as a good or bad thing in your eyes depends entirely upon your disposition. Do you feel like waving your hands in the air and getting some good time party vibes going? I’d give this a miss. Do you feel like stamping your feet just to kick the world in the face? Well, this is probably for you.

8/10

Words: Josh Gray

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Venetian Snares has approached every project that bears his name with an astonishing level of detail and clarity.

So when the producer agrees to release something on his own Timesig label – without even getting involved – you know that it reaches a high standard.

But then, high standards are what Datach'i is all about. New record 'System' arrives in August, and it's a fascinating way to end a 10 year period of silence.

Recorded entirely on a custom built Eurorack Modular Synth, anyone who pre-orders the record will receive a bonus 19 track CD.

Furthermore, every one who completes a pre-order is entered into a competition to win a Modular synth starter pack from TipTop Audio. Tasty!

Clash is able to premiere the video for new cut 'Margin Of Error', and it's a fascinating journey through the outskirts of the electronic realm.

Tune in now.

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