Short Circuits 14 - By Volume

Got our poster on her wall so every boy that she brings back will see my best side. Johnny Foreigner - Stop Talking About Ghosts
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Short Circuits 14

All the electronic investigation you'll ever need (today) -- it's Tayyab "Gumshoe" Amin with Short Circuits 14. Author: on January 15, 2014
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Minor ScienceHapless (The Trilogy Tapes, 2014)

The Trilogy Tapes, ever the versatile label, kick off their 2014 with names both legendary and unknown; Theo Parrish’s unexpected entry to the imprint sold out in record timing (geddit?) with some characteristically moving Detroit house, followed by something more left field from Minor Science. Minor Science is Angus Finlayson, renowned for words more than sounds but if the rest of his Noble Gas EP sounds like “Hapless”, that could soon change. Most of the track is spent playing around with the staggered, “Nova”-like stabs much like Plastikman did with “Spastik”, oscillating around the smooth vocal cut, “What am I supposed to do now?” It’s a patient debut, Finlayson’s house circling in the dizzy fashion suggested by the sample, wandering and worming its way around before that skipped-beat drop that subtly shakes listeners awake ahead of that final, unwinding third.

Francis Harris - You Can Always Leave (Curtains) (DJ Sprinkles Remix) (Scissor and Thread, 2013)

Reading the spate of interviews that surfaced last year, which I very much recommend you do (after reading this of course), I’m convinced DJ Sprinkles is one of the most interesting, insightful and inspiring figures around in electronic music. She just gives and gives, and her remix of Francis Harris slipped by her compilation last year. It’s the kind of track that encourages you to make yourself at home in its hospitality right from its bubbly beginning. Sprinkles avoids letting the vocal reverberations drift center stage and that saxophone off in the distance feels sublime. It’s amazing how much space there is considering all the different elements that amble their way into the song — bass turns up, the claps come through, and steel drums tip-toe the beat and as whirring analogue croons above it all, the tune feels no more crowded than it did at inception (they don’t call her Sprinkles for nothin’ huh?!) Those freewheeling elements wind down the proceedings on another wonderful, delightful treat from the house connoisseur.

AnDThe Jellyfish (Electric Deluxe, 2014)

It had gotten late, and it took me some time to notice the dark through all the smoke she’d left behind. I couldn’t take my mind off it — the grisly aftermath that had the boys down at the precinct stumped, and myself to boot. Jack wasn’t any help, not tonight, so I pushed the bottle to the back of the cupboard, just as it sat in back of my mind. Once again I found myself picturing the body at the scene, still throbbing, convulsing, unrelenting. It bared some semblance to things I’d seen before – no – just heard of, rumours, Chinese whispers, all just talk.

There was something that just didn’t feel right — all this, right after these AnD troublemakers moved to town, Manchester wasn’t safe anymore. It was like the heartbeat of the streets had grown faster, thumping with this Brutalist, primal kick to it, fuzzy with electrostatic as the city infrastructure was eroded by the mean nights. I took one look through the blinds, out into the fog as the woman in the dress vanished behind her trail of smoke. She’d come to tip me off on a potential lead but lost me halfway between her rambling about Kundalini — this awakening of spiritual energy and life-force — and the traces of lipstick on her cigarette. I don’t know what the dame was smoking, or how she could smoke so much, but she did say there was only one thing that could have shocked a body into overload like that, millions of synapses catalysed by a single trigger. I leaned back on my desk and glanced at the top of the tracklist she gave me: “The Jellyfish”.

CirculaDeep Data (unreleased, 2013)

Circula unleashes an unabashed gem of a dubstep-house hybrid after releasing on Discos Dead, keeping this weapon rare — and speaking of, check that DOOM sample! It’s not often you get vocals like the villain’s on tracks like these in place of patois or UK MCs, and it works so well due to the arrogant nonchalance and his tone that matches the clouded atmosphere. Circula uses off-kilter impulsiveness to keep the balance fluctuating, dabbling with the alarm synths and tech-house stabs but layering the sub-frequencies with a different approach. In spite of that hook, everything about “Deep Data” screams UK, and it sure as hell signals weighty impact.

Steve MurphyRelax (Lobster Theremin, 2014)

Of all the new labels that sprang up in 2013, Lobster Theremin had one of the strongest openers in the form of the Equation EP wherein Palms Trax set himself up as a revelation of Deus Ex-style retro-funk house. Steve Murphy is the one carrying the baton into the new year with his Relax EP, which comes with a title track that feels mislabeled; It kicks off with whistling chimes and Afro-drums, focusing on the percussion aspects more than the sweeping synths as the claps bust in and the loaded snares shout back at the keys. It feels simple, even rudimentary in its unshaven coarseness and as it embraces its nature, it’ll eventually shove you out of inertia.

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