Albums

$12.99

Electronic/Dance - Released January 18, 2019 | Polydor Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
James Blake has come a long way! Things have changed a lot since the beginning of the decade when he was playing around with post-dubstep beats. Although he’s now one of the most popular producers of mainstream music (having worked with Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak), the sound of James Blake is still unmistakeable both for the magnificent melancholy of each one of his songs and his ability to express emotion through music. This new album is certainly no exception. It starts off simply with piano arabesques and the vocals from the title track and then come two tracks with Metro Boomin, the most highly rated producer of US hip-hop who is also a songwriter and DJ. Travis Scott on the mic is a hit on Mile High, while Moses Sumney proves why there’s so much hype around his name on Tell Them, which is proof of the saying less is more. Another great track is Barefoot in the Park featuring the Catalan Rosalía, the singer and songwriter behind the hit Malamente. Her vocals are as delicate as ever as she sings in unison with Blake for this lovely chorus with the faint sound of velvety-smooth piano chords playing in the back. But the real highlight of the album is the feature with Andre 3000 from Outkast who bursts in with all guns blazing on Where’s the Catch?, a track with instrumentals that are both heavy and delicate at the same time, a musical oxymoron that only James Blake would be capable of. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
$10.49

Electronic/Dance - Released February 2, 2018 | Concord Loma Vista

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
An androgynous voice reminiscent of Anohni’s of Antony and the Johnsons. A very 80s hushed groove comparable to Everything But The Girl and Sade and an outline worthy of The XX. Rhye’s first album, Woman, released in 2013, came as a real surprise. The improbable LA-based duo, made up of Canadian Mike Milosh and Danish Robin Hannibal, unfolded their R&B with insane sensuality (sexuality?). Five years later, Blood also comes through as a troubling and erotic urban soundtrack. A weightless soul based on the principle of less is more. Unfortunately Hannibal left the project in 2017, leaving Milosh alone aboard this beautiful vessel. As a result, Rhye’s music became more organic, less sophisticated and, in a way, more real. Moreover the falsetto voice of the man in charge is a powerful magnet for the ears. A voice even more beautifully showcased than in Woman, making Blood the apex of refined groove. © MD/Qobuz
Ash

Electronic/Dance - Released September 29, 2017 | XL Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Everyone knows the English language. Fewer people are familiar with Yoruba… Thanks to Ibeyi’s first eponymous album released at the beginning of 2015, most people have been able to discover or rediscover this African language imported into Cuba in the 17th Century by slaves coming from the country that is now Nigeria. Ibeyi is the name of this duo led by two French Cuban twins of Venezuelan descent who shape a beautiful soul music, both driven and spiritual. Therefore they sing in Yoruba, but also in English and in Spanish. After offering large sections of melancholy that they sometimes transform into percussive hymns, Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz continue with Ash to mix music from their Afro-Cuban heritage (their father was none other than Anga Diaz, the drummer from the band Irakere) and from their own time, from electro to rap to pop. It’s a blending that they also apply to instruments, whether acoustic, electric or even electronic. Ibeyi even has some fun with Auto-Tune here! Finally, it’s worth noting that this second album is also a confluence of people with good taste, as we cross paths with the atypical Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales, the furious Californian saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the bass player Meshell Ndegeocello and the Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez. © MD/Qobuz
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Electronic/Dance - Released September 1, 2017 | DFA Records - Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
LCD isn't dead! After having solemnly interred his group at a farewell concert in April 2011 in Madison Square Garden in his native New York, James Murphy has reawakened the beast, six years later, with American Dream. Dressed up like a twenty-first century David Byrne (striking on Other Voices, whose chorus sounds like classic-era Talking Heads), the leader and his motley crew have brought out a fourth album organised around blends of rock, punk, funk and electro. This album is LCD Soundsystem through and through, with more classic songs (Call the Police, an interesting meeting of David Bowie and U2), and fewer purely dancefloor numbers (Other Voices will get you up and dancing all the same) Talking Heads, then, as ever: but also Berlin-era Bowie (Change Yr Mind and Black Screen), as James Murphy's other major influence. A whisker off a half-century old, he didn't need to reinvent LCD Soundsystem - but rather, to bring their unique sound into bloom: to enshrine this music which he has sculpted since the mid-2000s, blending punk swagger, electro sounds, new wave gloom, the hedonism of dance, and the weight of the political context of the moment. © MD/Qobuz
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Electronic/Dance - Released May 19, 2017 | Ahead Of Our Time

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The clash of the titans! The show-down between the two big names of dub and electro! In one corner, Jonathan More and Matt Black alias Coldcut, founders of the label Ninja Tune. In the other, Adrian Sherwood, boss of the On-U Sound stable. Our protagonists fuse their pretty different approaches for a furious futurist dub orgy which sees such participants as Doug Wimbish and Skip McDonald, old accomplices of Sherwood, but also Roots Manuva, Chezidek, Ce'Cile and even Junior Reid. A great mash-up of dub, reggae, rap, world music and electro which is hard to resist. © CM/Qobuz
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 6, 2017 | InFiné

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Electronic/Dance - Released November 11, 2016 | Ninja Tune

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Electronic/Dance - Released June 10, 2016 | Circus company

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Electronic/Dance - Released May 6, 2016 | Polydor Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
$11.49

Electronic/Dance - Released March 18, 2016 | Smith Hyde Productions

Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Electronic/Dance - Released February 23, 2015 | Ninja Tune

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Going by the absence of levity in the way he presents himself and his work, Archie Fairhurst evidently has an angle on appropriation that is less crass than that of countless European dance music producers (the misleadingly named Amsterdam duo Detroit Swindle, for two). Indeed, Fairhurst studied African-American visual culture and boldly, or perhaps crazily, took the name Romare -- after the exceptional artist, author, and songwriter Romare Bearden -- as a way to pay tribute and signify his own collagist method. EPs released on Black Acre in 2012 and 2013 were packaged in sleeves featuring predominantly black casts of figures like Malcolm X, Miles Davis, Pam Grier, and -- huh! -- James Ingram. One of them was titled Meditations on Afrocentrism, while another featured a track titled "Jimi & Faye, Pt. 1" that contained an interview segment from Faye Pridgeon, partner of Jimi Hendrix. Fairhurst dodged scrutiny with vital, sample-laced juke- and house-inspired productions admired by BBC DJs Gilles Peterson and Benji B, among others. Projections, Fairhurst's first album, designed more for home listening than for dancefloors, is relatively listless, sometimes torpid, and often sounds more like a project than a form of expression. Tracks like "Lover Man," "The Drifter," and "La Petite Mort," filled with obvious and obscure samples, exhaust one idea within seconds, offer little variation, and do little more than putter. As for the more active content, one of the more noteworthy tracks is "Rainbow," where some lines from a teenaged Aretha Franklin (from a session with Ray Bryant) are incompatibly placed over flimsy and tinny disco-funk. It's fitting that the album's best tracks, "Prison Blues" and "Roots," when heard from a certain distance, could be mistaken for the work of Theo Parrish and Moodymann -- producers whose commonalities with Romare Bearden are not limited to a method. ~ Andy Kellman
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Trip Hop - Released September 8, 2014 | False Idols

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Electronic/Dance - Released January 27, 2014 | Werkdiscs - Ninja Tune

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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When the January 2014 release date and track list of Darren Cunningham's fourth Actress album was announced, the artist wrote some accompanying words that could be summarized as a resigned "whatever," or as an emoticon signifying a sigh, or as a rant ghost-written by Jaden Smith. Cunningham referred to the "conclusion of the Actress image" and, like a micro-blogger who just witnessed a miscue from a professional athlete, signed off with "R.I.P Music 2014." Whether the missive was deadly serious or not, there's no way to listen to Ghettoville without hearing disintegration and dread. It's even bleaker, more industrial and decayed, than 2012's R.I.P. There are more moments of forward motion here than on that previous album. They're all captivating on some level. The trudging "Rims" resembles a Neptunes instrumental -- Kelis' "Young, Fresh n' New," for instance -- mangled and pitched into a tub of liquid acid. "Birdcage" scrapes and tumbles with weaponized hi-hats and decayed kick drums as one of the album's funkiest and most straightforward moments. Another, "Gaze," despite being deeply corroded, bangs as hard as any other Actress track, while the lean "Skyline" jacks with a deep bassline, seemingly piped through a wind tunnel. Toward the end, the mood softens and even lifts a bit. "Rap" makes a saxophone slow jam slower, with the refrain "Wrap yourself around me" repeated to part-comic/part-alluring effect. Finale "Rule" is light-hearted hip-house as only Cunningham could make it -- a clumpy shuffle as a beat, chipper synthesized organ notes bent into blips, an emphatic MC transformed into a syrup-addled Mushmouth. If this is the end of Actress, it ties up a near-perfect discography of experimental electronic music. ~ Andy Kellman
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Electronic/Dance - Released May 17, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles Rock and Folk - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
$7.49

Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2013 | Polydor Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
With his 2011 debut full-length, dubstep-via-fractured R&B producer James Blake delivered on the promise of his earlier singles while at the same time overhauling his sound, moving away somewhat from the sample-heavy dubstep of those tracks to a sparser atmosphere. The album focused more on Blake's equally haunted piano and vocal lines, submerged elements of implied rhythms, dubstep's subsonic bass resonance, and ghostly samples to create a picture of restraint and contained emotional upheaval. The album felt not so much like the calm before the storm, but like silently watching a hurricane slowly and soundlessly move closer from the distance. Sophomore album Overgrown offers a similar feeling, but Blake approaches the songs here with even more restraint and a subtly deconstructed take on pop. Subtlety is perhaps Blake's greatest attribute on Overgrown, with what could even be the album's heaviest moments blurring into a pleasantly melancholy whole through deft production choices. Take for instance "Take a Fall for Me," a partially rhythm-less track featuring Wu-Tang's RZA in an extended set of rhymes over a looping sample of static and processed backing vocals, and samples that recall Tricky's earliest work. The jagged edges of a track like this could render it awkward with more obvious production, but Blake's touch pushes even RZA's toughest verses into a rainy, lamenting place. The skeletal piano of the debut returns on tracks like "DLM" or the gorgeous album-closer "Our Love Comes Back," which has the faintest hints of Chet Baker's springtime loneliness buried in Blake's mumbling blue-eyed R&B vocals. Brian Eno even shows up to collaborate on the sputtering rhythms of "Digital Lion," perhaps the most hyperactive track here, though only in relative terms. Somewhere between the vacant echoes of dub and trip-hop, dubstep's sample-slicing production, and the contained heartbreak of a singer/songwriter playing piano to himself in an empty room, Blake has crafted Overgrown. It's understated to the point of invisibility at times, with Blake subtracting even himself from the songs, allowing the lead vocals or hooks to be consumed by the song at large. Though the stormy textures and somber reflections are pretty specific to a particular mood, Overgrown finds and fits that mood perfectly. While it might take listeners a few spins to find the right head space for the album, once they get there, it's an easy place to get lost in. ~ Fred Thomas