Nautiluss – Kodama (2016)

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Reflections is the Spectral Sound debut of Nautiluss, the primary project from Toronto’s Graham Bertie. His career began, as many do, with practicing mixing records in his bedroom before cutting his teeth in warehouse raves in Montreal. After many collaborations and heavy touring early in his career, he has chosen to stay in more than go out, leading to a new direction in his music. Don’t let this lead you to believe he’s a slouch in the live department – he has performed live at the influential MUTEK Festival and Panorama Bar in Berlin, showcasing his flexibility and expertise with all manner of instrumentation – analog and digital, hard and soft, improvised and structured. He has been found spinning at iconic clubs such as Trouw, Panorama Bar, Dance Tunnel and his favourite local grotto, Toronto’s Bambi’s, performing alongside talent such as Mike Servito, Octo Octa, and Galcher Lustwerk.

The tracks from the Reflections EP emphasize this dichotomy – tracks which are equally suited for the dancefloor and headphones. EP opener “Odyssey” begins with eerie chords and shuffling drums, constantly shifting underneath a layer of analog hiss and twinkling piano vamps. “Kodama” is darker and moodier, with deep chords, square wave basslines, and clenched hi-hats. “Alphaville” is acid by ways of the Nostromo of Ridley Scott’s Alien – hisses, clangs, and yelps cavort amongst a lone triangle, laser sounds, and high-speed flybys. “Lonely Planet” closes out the EP with radar pings and classic deep Rhodes chords.

Seahawks – Escape Hatch (2016)

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Seahawks return with their deepest album to date. A masterful blend of Berlin-School electronics and post ECM New Age fusion. Finis Africae meets Harold Budd downtown. ‘Escape Hatch’ is the fourth studio album by Seahawks, recorded over the last 18 months and drawing inspiration from Innovative Communications Berlin School electronics, ECM and Windham Hill releases by the likes of Mark Isham, Jan Garbarek and Interior and the New Age synth sounds of Iasos, Deuter and William Aura. The album opens with sheets of soft white noise, which give way to Budd like treated piano and fretless bass before super saturated saxophone tones and rippling sequences cascade over the listener like a summer downpour. Seahawks trademark tropical vibes continue throughout the album but there’s a constantly changing panorama of moods and tones, from the deeply emotive Missed with its widescreen synth and sax interplay that recall Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack to the epic scope of White Horses with it’s almost Popul Vuh like mantric outro and Starways it’s distorted flugel horn like a ghost from Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden. At the very end of the album there’s another twist. A cover of the obscure Balearic hit ‘Valparaiso’ by Paula Moore, with a Nassau groove, surprise guest vocal and a twinkle in its eye, it provides a suitably eclectic yet ethereal ending. Once again Seahawks have created a world to get lost in, an ‘Escape Hatch’ – if you need it, come get it, here it is.

Jeff Mills – The Hunter (2016)

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The inimitable man from outer space delivers us the 9th instalment in his The Sleeper Wakes series, and it follows on from where such contemporary classic techno long-players as Emerging Crystal Universe and Jungle Planet left off. Described by Axis as ” a science fiction story about the structure, preservation, limits of the human species and existence, the assumed realm of other intelligent life forms, the other dimensional worlds and realities beyond the horizon of our imagination,”, Free Fall Galaxy is sure to be high on concept, fidelity and drama. You know this will be special.