Oren Ambarchi – Hubris

oren-ambarchi-hubris

I’ll tell you a very short story about how quickly Oren Ambarchi’s latest album became one of my favorites of 2016. My first listen to Hubris resulted in the below note, found scribbled on a note pad at my desk the next morning:

“Giant stupid grin inducing fusion of New Music minimalism and krautrock groove.”

That jumbled run-on was all that I could muster after having my mind blown by surprise, early one December evening. What follows is my attempt at organizing that electric feeling into something more digestible.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day // DJ Sprinkles’ Mountain of Despair

martin-luther-king-jr-mountaintop

I don’t often take note of federal holidays, especially when I’m not let off work, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day is perhaps the most important one in American history. It’s a modern holiday celebrating the life of a man whose passion for justice and equality changed the shape of our country undeniably for the better.

Unlike our other named holidays, nodding to historical figures with dubious or downright depressing impacts – can we end Columbus day already? – this one is an unquestionably good thing. King is one of the truest heroes my nation has ever produced. Recent world-shaking events have shown how vital his lessons continue to be.

Because this is a music site, I feel like sharing my favorite song that samples King’s words. This tune takes the fiery energy from his final speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” and wrings every ounce of suffering from it. This is a harrowing but strangely soothing epic. It’s called Motorik Life (DJ Sprinkles’ Mountain of Despair):

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Demdike Stare – Wonderland

demdike-stare-wonderland

Demdike Stare have returned with a full length release over four years after their last with a quietly radical shift in sound. After exploring all the hidden spaces beneath the world of techno, they seem to have finally let some light in.

Wonderland is a revelation from any direction, surprising longtime fans and cracking open unexplored depths for the uninitiated. The timing couldn’t be better: this album hits an apocalyptic fever pitch right as 2016 winds to its dystopian end.

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Lunaria – All Is Dream

lunaria-all-is-dream

I love finding an album that can be experienced like a hot bath. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of discovering a new piece of music that I know I’ll be luxuriating inside for the next few weeks.

Lunaria has made one of the finest examples of this type of album that I’ve ever heard. Naturally, I had to ask all about it.

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Dino Sabatini – Omonimo

Dino Sabatini - Omonimo

When you’ve been deeply lost in the world of techno for years, it takes something really special to capture your imagination, hooking you for days, even weeks on end. Omonimo is one of those rare creations, a unified set of tunes that immediately leapt into the pantheon of great techno albums.

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Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald – Transport

juan-atkins-moritz-von-oswald-transport-tresor285-artwork

When Juan Atkins and Moritz Von Oswald hooked up for a joint album in 2013, it seemed like a weird dream, the answer to an unasked question. These two legends seemed so far apart, physically and musically, yet somehow produced low-key dub techno magic.

Now they’re back with a followup that seems to strike an even better balance of their respective styles. It’s called Transport.

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Steve Hauschildt – Strands

Steve Hauschildt - Strands

I say this with no reservation: Steve Hauschildt is one of the most creatively generous artists working in electronic music today. His work is utterly timeless, unmoored from trends and familiar signposts alike. On his latest album, Strands, he seamlessly blends the entire spectrum of dreamy synthesizer music into a breathless futuristic rush.

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