The Best Electronic Music on Bandcamp, September 2023


BEST ELECTRONIC
The Best Electronic Music on Bandcamp, September 2023

By

Joe Muggs

·
October 05, 2023

Two separate slabs of purist-irking German rave-rap, a gothic voyage to post-humanism and back, some “Sacred Geometry,” Quebecois-South-African electronic soul, space dub galore, the best drum & bass ever made—and that’s just for starters! It’s another fertile month in the electronic music space, so don’t delay: Dive in.

KaySoul
Blind (Fred Everything Remixes)



Before amapiano, before gqom, even before kwaito, South Africa was a house nation. Regardless of what other international or local sounds and hybrids may arise, real-deal, deep, soulful house has been ominpresent in the country for decades. Katlego Matseke, aka KaySoul, is reflective of that, with a rich catalog and deep links to the international house underground—hence this hookup with Quebecois deep house legend Fred Everything. Featuring the vocals of Georgian Kristina Sheli, this is a slow-burn bittersweet dream of a track, designed for the kind of connoisseur’s party where there is no warm-up or peak-time—just a constant flow of pleasure.

Woodleigh Research Facility
Apparently Solo Volume 5



Yet more from the vast archive of Nina Walsh’s tracks dating from her time running a studio with the late Andrew Weatherall. These are deep, dark, dubby, and life-affirming in equal measure. They’re also heavy on the sample library that Walsh and Weatherall regularly raided, built from recordings made by the late eccentric genius Erick LeGrand, and featuring heart-tugging string melodies, rusty clockwork rhythms, acid squelch, and more. There’s immense variety in just 22 minutes, and an unshakeable sense of an endless creative wellspring still bubbling.

Alinka
I’m Your Ghost



House? Techno? Rave? Who cares! This EP from Ukraine via Chicago and Berlin producer Alinka is music for a dark, smoky warehouse that sits on the edge of reality and somewhere outside of time. We could go into detail about the rawness of the drum machines, the piercing funkiness of the sampled brass stabs. All you need to know is that these are functional bangers of the best kind. Don’t overthink, just dance.

Krust
Irrational Numbers Vol. 2



Bristol DJ/producer Krust is not one to look backward, as the huge ambition of his recent work makes absolutely clear. But we should be glad he occasionally does: No superlatives can do justice to these collections of his classic jungle and drum’n’bass from the ‘90s. The big draws on this volume are obviously the brutally hypnotic rigidity of the anthem for the ages “Warhead” and the long, heartstring-tugging cinematic journey of “True Stories.” But every track is a gem, each different in its fusion of vintage jazz funk, techno futurism, and vast soundsystem impact.

Purelink
Signs



Chicago trio Purelink deals in music that floats free in its own vast space. The core of it is techno-dub with hints of Basic Channel, Echospace, Pole, Biosphere in its huge reverb, and a bit of the early ‘90s chillout room magic of Global Communication and Pete Namlook. But there’s an earthy, organic richness to its textures, and a totality to its world-building that makes any sense of influence dissipate into the air, just like its tones do. For a gravity-rearranged holiday for the mind, this is just the ticket.

Various Artists
Mondo Organico



Glasgow label Invisible Inc is really delivering the deep and immersive grooves this year—and they’ve got not one but two outstanding compilations this month. One of them is jam-packed with electronic-leaning stuff, but this one is even more intriguing, with more woody, organic sounds and a Fourth World sense of the exotic to each of the six tracks. Each artist is operating in their own distinct style, but they somehow all sound like they’re playing at the same bazaar on the same alien planet.

David Harrow
Rare Earth Technology



Another month, another slab of modular magic from the LA-based journeyman David Harrow. His last couple of releases for Mighty Force and his own Workhouse Digital have been built around a kind of sluggish acid house/techno blueprint. This one builds outwards from that, using more fractured dub and dancehall rhythms and a broader sound palette. It’s still got granite-hard impact on a club system, but it feels more playful and exploratory. It’s extraordinary that someone 40 years deep in electronic music is still so hungry for the new.

Bae Blade
Mixed Feelings



The sugar-sweet pop vocal and vintage trance pumping of “Busy Overthinking” will turn off over-serious snobs, but there’s a whole lot more to this EP. “I Like” is pure heads-down strobe-lit breakbeat techno pounding with a hint of electroclash; “Bossed Up” is an equally fist-pumping stomper with a bit of booty bass groove; and maybe best of all, “Schneller Als Die Scuderia” is a baroque electro laser battle with German rapping. Fun fun fun all the way.

South Beach Recycling
&JUST&NIGE&MARK&G (Justin Harris remix)



Straight out of Bournemouth on the English south coast, South Beach Recycling dropped a gem of an album full of rich, analog house for the legendary label AtJazz at the end of last year. His songs have been remixed by Martin AtJazz himself, Craig Smith and, on this release, Justin Harris of Freaks fame. All are gleaming with quality, but this one is the pick of the bunch because… well… it’s pure acid house with an archetypal piano riff of total euphoria and the kind of whooshing momentum that makes you feel airborne even listening at home on a wet Wednesday. Job done.

Levon Vincent
Sacred Geometry



NYC-raised, Berlin resident electronic house producer Levon Vincent has always made the most with the least, but here, he’s really pushing the mesmeric repetitions. Occasionally it’s reminiscent of minimal techno past, as on “Sacred Geometry One” and “Sacred Geometry Nine” which hints at classic Minimal Nation era Robert Hood. But more often there’s something unique going on here, a fullness despite the deliberately limited elements, the fizz and fuzz around sounds expanding to sweep you away. These are brutally effective dance tracks as ever from Vincent, but equally potent as headphone adventures.

JLSXND7RS
Kepela Batu



The impact of South African sounds on international bass music continues to run deep, as it does on these tracks from Dutch grime veteran JLSXND7RS on Scratcha DVA’s imprint DRMTRK. Bringing influence from both the near-industrial gqom sound and the more hypnotic amapiano, these tunes range from brusque DJ tools to fully-formed epics, but are never less than sledgehammer heavy and totally immediate. The best is saved for the end with Ikonika’s ebullient, pitch-bend-happy remix of “Amaskengman” followed by JLSXND7RS own super-trippy, seasick, techno-adjacent remake of “Red Hots” by Splurt Diablo (the production alias of second wave UK grime MC Merky Ace).

Ana Quiroga
Azabache



This stupendously dark, gothic-electronic album by Ana Quiroga—a multimedia artist from Asturias, Northern Spain and now based in London—is quite a journey. For large sections, it’s deeply inhuman—or perhaps post-human: there’s a sense of vast empty landscapes with inexplicable, implacable mechanisms operating themselves, and the feeling that civilization—if it still exists—is very, very far away. But there are stirrings of something softer in there, and in the final quarter something like human voices start emerging from the shadows, first repeating abstract sounds then something song-like. It’s all pretty mystical.

Mathis Ruffing & Tamila
Sternzeichen Domina



This record will turn off serious house/techno “heads”—which just makes it all the more fun. It engages in the tremendously sacrilegious act of blurring Drexciya-type electro with trance and pop-house at hardcore tempo, with haughty German vocals giving it a kind of Kraftwerk camp to boot. And, of course, there’s a breakcore-donk remix from someone called DJ Fucks, because of course there is. Silly, discombobulating, mad as a box of frogs.

Sync Mode
Grind



Excessively insinuating, spindly, twinkly electro grooves from Toronto here, coming in slow, slower and super-sleazily slow. With its muttered and moaned vocals, detuned tones, and subtle hip-wiggling funk, this is one for night crawlers, neon lovers, and bleak romantics. By the time you get to the last track, “Grind – Slow Mix,” there’s an alarming sense of being at a really, really weird party that had no beginning and has no end.

Sons Of Ken
Duck & Cover



Remember when Bootsy Collins collaborated with Fatboy Slim? Sons Of Ken certainly do. Where their previous releases have been quite disco-fied in a Daft Punk manner, these two chunky tracks are a fat injection of p-funk into the big beat template (or is it the other way around?). On the title track, cheeky spoken samples are cut and scratched through the squelch; “Don’t Go to the Disco” also has fun voiceovers, but a lot more repetition and vocoder. Both are party central.

Low End Activist
Gossip is the Devil’s Radio



Low End Activist has been mining the dystopian sides of UK bass for a while, and his dancehall film noir fragments are getting progressively tighter and sharper with each release. These four tracks have a bit less distortion and jaggedness than previous work, a little more glide. But there’s a powerful unease and overwhelming nocturnal vibe and sense of scale. They feel like driving in the depths of night around some colossal, forbidden construction project.