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August: 18 albums you need to hear this month

Month-long listening sorted

  • Mixmag crew
  • 4 August 2017
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Bjørn Torske & Prins Thomas 'Square One'

If you’ve caught Norwegian Disco Lights, the hugely entertaining documentary about Norway’s dance music scene, you’ll be aware of the hurdles its protagonists overcame: dislocation, prejudice, even weather. As Bjørn Torske says: “We were trying to escape the dull reality of living in Norway.” Luckily, it’s resulted in some of the funkiest, most experimental dance music of recent times, as proven by this hook-up between Torske and fellow Nordic legend Prins Thomas. The cuíca-driven balearica of ‘K16 del 1’ and avant-disco drive of ‘On U’ are standouts on an album of psychedelic grooves and tribal rhythms that unfurl with shimmering intensity. S Worthy

Toro Y Moi 'Boo Boo'

It’s been eight years since a musical movement characterised by lo-fi keys, gauzy beats and a summery sensibility started to swell over in the US. Its name, chillwave, started to take on negative connotations, albeit not before chief protagonists such as Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick built reputations for combining 80s synth pop smarts, alt-electronica and chillout. ‘Boo Boo’ is Toro Y Moi’s fifth album – evidence enough that Bundick’s music isn’t transitory – and winds its way through brittle alt-r’n’b (‘Windows’), shimmering cruising tunes (‘Girl Like You’) and Phoenix-style MOR synth-rock (‘Labyrinth’). Bundick says the LP was born out of a growing discomfort with fame. If so, he masks it well – listening to its gorgeous, woozy pop is like lying in a Radox bath. S Worthy


Karl Hyde & Matthew Herbert 'Fatherland (Original Music From The Stage Play)'

This is a strange one. A companion piece to a play written by Hyde with Simon Stevens and Scott Graham, it’s a set of lyrics created from interviews with people about their lives and experiences with fatherhood in the 21st century, sung by Hyde and set to a typically dense electronic backing by Herbert. If that sounds like hard work, then yes: it’s by turns bleak, odd and troubling, and the track structures are unorthodox to say the least. Yet in Hyde’s voice, it makes a strange sense, and Herbert is uniquely sensitive to the personality and meaning of a track. It can be tough going, but it’s really worth getting your teeth into. Joe Muggs


Washed Out 'Mister Mellow'

Calling his third album ‘Mister Mellow’ suggests it’s business as usual for Washed Out’s chillwave pioneer Ernest Greene. Instead, it’s something of a watershed release. Firstly, it’s a fully audiovisual record, with Greene commissioning animators to make films for each of its 12 tracks. And then there’s the musical direction: a languid mood pervades the LP, but Greene uses a variety of approaches – from musique concrete to samples from YouTube vlogs – to inject more energy. Perhaps its most appealing aspect is a red thread of summery deep house, headed up by the Dubtribe Soundsystem-style cosmic jam ‘Get Lost’. Our only gripe is with its brevity – 29 minutes is too short. S Worthy


Riddim Commission 'Riddim. Bass. Life.'

This isn’t exactly cutting edge. On the surface, its blend of commercial house beats, bashy garage basslines and dubbed-out rappers sounds like five years ago, when shufflers and nitrous still felt like a novelty. But though the bass tones are very 2010s, it’s also a throwback to much longer ago: the late 90s, when every man and his dog wanted to be Basement Jaxx or Groove Armada (in ‘Superstylin’’ mode), and created pretty much the base-level festival soundtrack sound (at least until electro-swing turned up. anyway). But that’s OK; now, as then, it works because every element is instant and infectious, and at no point does it do anything but pump hard. Sometimes, that’s all you need. J Muggs


Marcel Dettmann 'Selectors'

Depending on your inclination, you’ll probably either love or hate this selection, as techno pioneer Marcel Dettmann presents some new wave, synth-pop and industrial inspirations from his childhood in the GDR. Raised on the red side of the Berlin wall, Dettmann’s “pre-techno compilation” represents the emancipating power of old-school EBM and dance-punk. There are the iconic artists of the early electronic music era (Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242), as well as rare gems, re-edits and reworkings. Highlights include a previously unreleased track by US industrial metal band Ministry, and the breathy aspiration of ‘Happy Life’, a minimal dance number by Sweden’s Twice A Man. Steph Kretowicz


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