This week: dubstep distortions, folk warmth, boom-bap and rumba

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty and Becky Rogers, alongside contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Everything But The Girl


(Buzzin’ Fly)


Emerging from a 24-year-long hiatus, legendary Yorkshire duo Everything But The Girl return with a hauntingly evocative record, full of jittering electronics and melancholic lyricism. From the distorted dubstep baseline and 2-step garage swing of standout opener “Nothing Left to Lose”, EBTG establish Fuse as a record shaped from shadows of contemporary dance music. Whilst the rest of the record doesn’t quite live up to this bold opening, Tracey Thorn’s distinctive delivery and Ben Watt’s intricate arrangements mark an inspired come-back for the pair.–AVD

AMAL ft. The Khan & Nappynappa

A New Dance

(Future Times)


Future Times is a label pushing forward the diverse and exciting sounds of the DC underground. With artists such as Model Home, Dreamcast and, label founder, Max D’s project Beautiful Swimmers, it presents to the world some exciting and fresh talent. Joining the acclaimed fold is AMAL, one third of the legendary Washington collective, Black Rave Culture. An exclusive 7 inch pressed as part of a limited edition 300 unit run, it provides a sneak peek into AMAL’s forthcoming LP, through an instrumental and vocal version of the track “A New Dance”. One for contemporary jungle heads looking for a fresh spin on an iconic genre.–EH

Alfa Mist




London composer Alfa Mist returns for his second release on Anti-. Variables is an exceedingly warm collection that rests upon a throughline of jazz across a variety of genres and styles. Containing a sense of astral experimentation yet lifting from accessible boom-bap aesthetics, Variables is jazz for the masses without selling out its ambition. The second track “Borderline”, which features Alfa Mist on MC duties, is a particular stand-out. More MCing please, Mr Mist!–KD



(Howlin’ Banana)


Cathedrale’s fourth album Words/Silence is a neat display of proto-punk rough and readiness. Chaotic at most, the Toulouse group jostle with flute spits, overdriven tirades and vocal snarls, finding borderline harmony in the upheaval. These testing battle cries are in no way apathetic, with Words/Silence pulling from the fluidity of Matisse and splicing techniques seen in Burroughs and Gysin’s “The Spoken Word”, resulting in a rounded, yet playful, trip into lo-fi garage-punk experimentation.–BR



(Bureau B)


Gegenwelt is the explosive second album by CEL—the experimental duo formed of German electronic pioneer Felix Kubin and Polish drummer and composer, Hubert Zemler.  Combining driving motorik rhythms and pulsating Neue Deustche Welle sequencer loops, Gegenwelt reimagines 20th century German underground sounds with contemporary flair and intensity.–AVD


Darling The Dawn



ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT is a new project from long-time friends and collaborators Ariel Eagle (Broken Social Scene) and Efrim Manuel Menuck (Godspeed! You Black Emperor). Centred around Eagle’s vocals and Menuck’s modular synth work, Darling The Dawn is an expansive, roaming release that marries cold, harsh synth manipulation with a more human folksy warmth. It’s daring yet cohesive with a strong underpinning of darkness and it sounds absolutely massive. Darling The Dawn is like a score for an Ari Aster movie that is yet to be made and is a perfect listen for those seeking full-body immersion –KD

DJ Finale

Millie Morceau

(Nyege Nyege Tapes)


Branching out from his role in Congolese Afrofuturist band Fulu Miziki, DJ Finale’s first solo LP plays out as a freewheeling exploration of Kinshasa’s contemporary and traditional sounds. Where “Pitshcu Debou” places rumba and soukous traditions at the forefront, it’s the track’s club-ready undercurrent that takes over the body of this LP for a broad mix of tempos and intriguing sounds.–JH

Dafne Vicente-Sandoval / Lars Petter Hagen

Minos Circuit / Transfiguration 4

(Portraits GRM)


Portraits GRM continue their split series vinyl with this suitably adventurous one-two punch from Dafne Vicente-Sandoval and Lars Petter Hagen. Taking the acoustic spaces of the bassoon as a starting point, Dafne Vicente-Sandoval utilises feedback to explore the instrument, leaving it as a spectral presence among the threshold interplay of feedback swells. On the flipside, Lars Petter Hagen looks to “musical ruins” and Richard Strauss’ “Metamorphosen” as the starting points for “Transfiguration 4”. Working with the violas, violins and cellos that appear in Strauss’ affecting work, here the idea of “musical ruins” looks to fragmented sounds and avoidance of resolution as means of provoking deeper listening.–JH

Scotch Rolex & Shackleton

Death By Tickling

(Silver Triplet)


Shackleton is a name synonymous with exceptionally created club music. Pair Shackleton with Scotch Rolex, aka Shigeru Ishihara, and you are on to ominous club quakers with intention to cause a serious ruckus. Death By Tickling is a cosmic adventure into the various dimensions of all things dub-like, rattling weighty percussion pairs with eerie metallic frequencies to create what can only be described as earth shaking club sonics. Across ten tracks they capture the ideal essence of leftfield dance music, forgoing an exciting path into all things experimental. This will hopefully be heard on dancefloors very soon.–EH

Silver Moth

Black Bay

(Bella Union)


Born out of Twitter exchanges that resulted in a four-day recording session at Black Bay Studios on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, Silver Moth’s first full-length release is an immersion into atmospheric richness. The group, formed by Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Elisabeth Elektra, Evi Vine, Steven Hill, and members of Abrasive Trees, Burning House and Prosthetic Head, journey through 15-minute-long guitar-led breakdowns, improvised serenity and an overwhelming sense of trust. Black Bay is a mesmerising listen, showing that chance meetings and a drive to challenge can bring the best collaborations.–BR