Lavoura – [2019] Ayizan

Exotic future jazz fusion with groovy inserts left and right.

This release is exceptional in that it differs quite a bit from the typical roster one would expect to find in netlabel Bump Foot’s roster. But to be fair, a Brazillian future jazz ensemble would stick out in just about any artist listing. What a pity that this release is only two tracks long. Dont’t dare to miss any of those, though. Influences from Brazil and Africa, mixed with contemporary fusion jazz, these standards deserve a place in your playlist:

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King Shi – [2018] Red (LP)

Expertly produced fusion of instrumental hip hop and trip hop. Groovy, yet downtempo goodness.

Netlabel Dusted Wax manages to stick close to its signature sound, which sometimes can become boring for a treasure hunter like me, always curious for a new sound experience. This release is such an experience: familiar flavour, but new spices added left and right, and the result is all the better for it: delicious beats, served with specially recorded instrument tracks, and electronic effects on top.

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Alex Mason – [2020] Dark

Rich field recording soundscapes combined with creepily dark ambient drones.

Content warning: this album could be the soundtrack to a yet to be released dark pyscho thriller playing in the woods Norway or Canada. Suspense, excellent use of string instruments from bass to violin make this an experience to behold. Best served with headphones late at night. Shivers guaranteed! And the obligatory reminder: if you like what they give away for free, consider supporting the artist financially (e.g. via Bandcamp).

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Chico Correa & Electronic Band – [2006] Chico Correa & Electronic Band

Unique blend of latin flavour and electronic sound. Great vocals on top make this a rare find.

For this review, I had to stick on plenty of genre tags. Both jazz fusion and electronic IDM seem fitting descriptions. Then there’s a downtempo or chillout influence. And finally the world and latin tags to locate the music style geographically. And all that back in 2006, released on notoriously good (and still active) netlabel Bump Foot. And if you want to check out more recent stuff by the artist, find them on Bandcamp (latest release from 2020).

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Code Therapy – [2018] Scape From Reality EP

Icy tech house with beats and style. Monotonic bass lines included. Bring headphones or subwoofers.

When listening to tech house, I am always drawn between two opposite judgments: cool music, but boring structure. No harmonies to speak of, no tempo changes, simplest rhythms, only beats, bass, buildup, some more, wait, DROP, and once again. Why does this even work?

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Various Artists – [2006] An Hour Of EMCradio

Sour popsicle assortment of fruity music ranging from dance to weird.

Wow, this one’s old. And good. A treasure trove straight from the (now) good old age of netaudio. Leaning into the eclectic and slightly experimental, this compilation gathers a colourful ensemble of unique styles, from accessible and groovy to outright bizarre. Yet all tracks remain digestible to the uninitiated ear. If you are in for a one hour of very creative yet edgy music, give this release a go.

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Various Artists – [2018] Spirare

Massive electronica and acoustic compilation from acoustic ambient to noisy industrial. Sad it’s over.

The final (as in: last) release by Breathe, a decade long experiment in delivering free compilations, albums and live recordings, based in Mexico. This 29 track collection exhibits the full breadth the label has to offer. And makes my job to only pick 2 tracks all the harder…

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Waterplea – [2011] Dream Catcher

Relaxing long-form electronica trip. A 40 minute journey between music and soundscapes.

Although these tracks have been released not only once, but twice, they seem to have kept a low profile online: Formerly released as a 4-track album on now defunct netlabel Mixgalaxy, later re-released as part of a longer 11-track album called Rudimentary Oscillations via Bandcamp, these sounds have yet to find a broader audience. If you like what you hear, consider supporting the artists.

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Tuatha – [2019] Connecting Environments

Unusual ambient techno with atmospheric synths and laid back beats, akin to Delirium.

Dark ambient sounds give way to regular beats. Dance music like made for clubbing (or rather lounging) just before dawn. Production quality is excellent. Chilean netlabel Cian Orbe specialises in various darker electronic experimental genres, for which this is a more approachable example of.

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Various Artists – [2018] Netlabel Day 2018: netlabel essentials 4

Annual anthology of selected delikatessen, ranging from July 2017 to 2018.

This essential compilation is brought to you by essential netlabel and podcast outlet netwaves from Belgium, produced for essential annual free music celebration day. If you want to get all 10 tracks of this compilation in one solid mix, look for one hour long track 11, which makes for decent coding backdrop.

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