Morgan Packard
Dark Party

Vieo Abiungo
Enrico Coniglio
Corrugated Tunnel
Gareth Dickson
Lugano Fell
Benjamin Finger
Fond of Tigers
Giardini di Mirò
Gibson & Rose
Gareth Hardwick
Marc Houle
I'm Not A Gun
Rafael Anton Irisarri
Library Tapes
Markus Mehr
Minamo and English
Yann Novak
M. Ostermeier
Morgan Packard
Benoit Pioulard
Hein Schoer
Seaworthy and Rösner
Sketches For Albinos
Slow Dancing Society
Solo Andata
Antonio Trinchera
Zazie V. E. Anderen Stern

Compilations / Mixes
Lost Tribe Sound: One
Ninja Tune XX

Morning Factory
Novak + Manning
rANdOMoiDz / NoseTek

Bogdan: Human Thermodynamics
Local Records

Minus: 95
Local Records

Very little information about the artists themselves appears on these EPs' digi-packs, though we do learn a fair amount about Local Records, the Romanian label responsible for releasing them and for being an enthusiastic outlet for the Romanian electronic music community in general. And needless to say, there's no connection between Minus the artist and M_nus the label associated with Richie Hawtin, Magda, and others. Minus (the man) has been a fixture on the Romanian scene for five years and issued three EPs on the Romanian net-label Arhiva 7 before 95. So how's it sound? Pretty great, actually, with Minus stuffing an album's worth of ideas and imagination into eighteen minutes of hook-heavy material. Vibrant and effervescent, the five tracks cover a number of bases, including electro-pop, hip-hop, and dub—there's even a makeover of “The Power of Love,” for those with stomachs strong enough to hear it again. That Minus references the song is telling, as his music often draws upon vintage sounds of past eras while freshening them up for today. “23 Estival” gets us started with a jubilant carousel of maximal synthetic swirls and woozy horns, the equally dizzying “Soveja” brings bass thunder to its hip-hop swing, and “Hasdeu” tackles electro-pop that's both gleefully sing-song and rhythmically hard-hitting. “Teatrul De Vara (As Soon As)” powers its skanky electro-dub with echoing snares before the coup de grace, “Neptun (Heading For Something)” appears in an electrified power ballad treatment where ‘80s drum machine beats thunder and Jennifer Rush's lyrics (“Cos I am your lady / and you are my man”) are mangled into a stutter and threaded into the tune's anthemic vibe.

Though stylistically different, Human Thermodynamics—Local Records' premiere release, in fact—turns out to be as solid an outing as 95. The work of Romanian producer Bogdan (one of Local Records' founders), Human Thermodynamics is ostensibly an EP featuring four originals, but the inclusion of a bonus, forty-nine-minute mix recorded live at the Rokolectiv Festival in 2009 pushes the release towards full-length status. In simplest terms, the style is blissed-out cosmic disco, and all of the material rewards one's attention. Opener “Pressure Correlation” locks into position with a tight 4/4 techno groove that Bogdan rolls out at a deliciously smooth 90 BPM. The cut oozes a warm, Balearic vibe that carries over into “Phase Transition,” a slinky seven-minute set-piece that finds Bogdan nudging the material into a cidy cosmic disco. “Aerospace Race” likewise settles into its deep space-disco pulse with determination, before a thudding bass drum pattern introduces the spiraling synth patterns that inflame “Transport Phenomena” and send it pulsating heavenwards. If anything, the radiant mix is even more serenading than the originals, with the set sparkling as brightly as a rainbow shining through mist on a warm summer morn. It's easy to visualize festival attendees swooning to the mix's dreamy cascades of chiming keyboard patterns and gently chugging beats, and the ride is so luscious and the landscape views so intoxicating one would like the mix to never end.

October 2010