Features
13.02.2012, Words by Ruth Saxelby

Albums of the week

Album of the week // Ital – ‘Hive Mind’ [Planet Mu]

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There’s no easing into Ital’s ‘Hive Mind’: Gaga’s all up in your face from the split-second get-go of opening track Doesn’t Matter If You Love Him, her urgent reassurance bordering on the paranoid. The titular sample is taken from the 21st century icon’s Born This Way, and just before she self-combusts through the friction of repetition, Ital cheekily cuts through Gaga’s chatter with the crystal clear call of the 20th century’s most tragic diva: Whitney, may she rest in peace. In two sharply prescient samples, the NY based producer juxtaposes a myriad of ideas from either side of the millennium – from gender relations to pop power play – to make one of the most under-your-skin intense dance tracks of the moment. Following that headiest of duels, Floridian Void is exactly that: a chasm that forces contemplation of the howling truth of mortality. It’s almost a palate cleanser in a way, clearing the path to ‘Hive Mind’s trio of 10-minute pillars: Privacy Settings, Israel and First Wave. All three play with classically opposing themes – light and dark, intangible and visceral, humanity and technology – but what Ital recognises (that sharpness, again) is that today more than ever all opposites are composites of one another. And it’s that friction that makes ‘Hive Mind’ such an uncomfortably thrilling listen. [RS]
Buy Ital ‘Hive Mind’ [Planet Mu]

Loops Of Your Heart – ‘And Never Ending Nights’ [Magazine]
I’ve been banging on about Cologne label / creative group (and Kompakt imprint) Magazine to anyone who would listen since stumbling across Drums Off Chaos last summer. You can grab our mix from the gang here, which showcases their ability to distill the best bits of german electronic music’s past, remove any trace of soggy nostalgia. They also, for what it’s worth, package it on great vinyl with lovely artwork. So this record, by Axel Wilner of the Field, one of the founders of the label, was naturally right up my street. It’s a good listen, and sounds more like free jamming, tone poetry or experimentation that the new-trance of The Field. It lacks the thrilling rigour of the label’s best releases, but it’s still an emotive, absorbing ride. [CRJ]
Stream and buy Loops Of Your Heart – ‘And Never Ending Nights’

Various – ‘We Are The Works In Progress’ [Kizuna]
‘We Are The Works In Progress’ is a charity record for the people of Japan, devastated after the earthquake. The tracklist features a pretty fantastic set of left-leaning (if fittingly gloomy) artists, from Terry Riley to Fever Ray / The Knife’s Karin Andersson to Four Tet to Liars. As is often the case, however, it’s the smaller acts who contribute the best tracks, with John Roberts making a sparkling, immersive take on classical techno, and Blonde Redhead’s pretty Penny Sparkle. Interpol’s closer, Song Seven is quite lovely too. [CRJ]
Buy ‘We Are The Works In Progress’ [Kizuna]

Speech Debelle – ‘Freedom Of Speech’ [Ninja Tune]
Speech Debelle’s returns after her 2009 Mercury win, which became famous for her very unspectacular album sales and fury at her record company for a perceived failure to prepare for a win. All this meant that ‘Speech Therapy’ went down in history as a failure. Which was a bit unfair – it’s not a terrible record, and would have probably been remembered far fonder without the spotlight. ‘Freedom Of Speech’ has some great productions, thanks to Kwes, but, unfortunately, Speech’s rapping isn’t up to the job. The London MC has always been fond of a odd non-sequitur, but here, her rapping is too clunky to match the imagination of the beats and often sounds dominated by their delicate thumps. [CRJ]
Stream Speech Debelle – ‘Freedom Of Speech’ [Ninja Tune]

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