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andrew thomas / fearsome jewel / kompakt

Kompakt's latest installment features New Zealand resident Andrew Thomas with a breezy 35-minute mini-album that leans more on the ambient than the pop side of things. While he may be somewhat distant from the Cologne based label geographically speaking, Thomas is obviously well in tune with the label's aesthetic. Most of the pieces on "Fearsome Jewel" are based around micro-melodic piano loops supplemented by warm washes of synth strings and the obligatory digital clicks and pops. Thomas uses these ingredients well, focusing more on creating a general sound rather then trying to get too caught up in details. The loopy, ambient nature of Thomas' album of miniatures reminds me a bit of Novisad's "Seleya" or some of the more calm installments of the Kreisel 7" series from a few years ago. An extremely pleasant overall atmosphere that would make a wonderful soundtrack for daydreaming.
listen: andrew thomas/7

villalobos / alcachofa / playhouse

Recent minimal house releases have been more "yawn" than "Yeah!!", But I have to say, when I walked into the OM office while this was playing I had to stop in my tracks and say "WHAT is this?! Is this the new Villalobos?!" Ever since "What You Say (Is More Than I Can Say)", this man is single-handedly reinventing the use of the vocoder for psychedelic stimulation. No ironic robot vocal delivery here, just pure wooziness that sounds like an intoxicated person talking to himself. All tracks segue nicely into each other for an uninterrupted listening session. All the sharp, dry funkiness that this man has been refining for the last five years has culminated in "Alcachofa," his finest recording yet. Deep, dry, funky, sharp, and pumping as ever, but these tracks have a new found sense of focus that is unwavering. Villalobos is no longer satisfied with finding a sick, deep, ultra-stoned loop and drawing it out. Now he seems to hack at it with machetes, thrash it about and turn it inside out. These tracks dig deep into you and rewire your psyche. Sick. Guaranteed to be as influential as Akufen's "My Way", but personally, I like this one better. Another thing: Before he sounded like a German-born Chilean, but now he sounds like a hot-blooded Chilean-born German. Guess what? RECOMMENDED.
listen: villalobos/dexter