The Best EPs Of August, According To Playground

Our monthly selection of 12”s and extended plays

Ten new EPs we feel stand out from the rest of the crop in August. Discover them in descending order. Who's at the top?

Like every month, we're giving you an overview of what we feel to be the ten best singles and EPs of the past couple of weeks. Music on an extended play format which, however, has the same impact as an LP. Here are our favourite EPs, from 10 to 1.

10. Untold: “Change In A Dynamic Environment pt. 3” (Hemlock)

Untold closes his “techno” trilogy with two more cuts, thus bringing his “Scubisation” process to completion: tense bass lines over cold, precise beats, in what can be seen as the educated and purified vision of dark club music by the old heralds of dubstep who got tired of house. “Kane” strikes like a hammer and dives into an open grave at the end, whilst “Overdrive” seems to follow the movement of a steam locomotive. Two very useful weapons for DJs.


9. Bronze Age: “Antiquated Futurism” (Bed Of Nails)

Until recently, it was customary that a techno producer with a preference for industrial would produce evil tracks smeared with a thick layer of dirt. But lately, and especially since Dominik Fernow (Prurient), Carlos Giffoni (No Fun) and others discovered the 4x4 and acid (the latest scream, quite literally, in savage techno), it's noise, industrial and similar styles making dance music, with Pete Swanson at the forefront. Bed Of Nails is the label Dominik Fernow set up to release techno, and after a first title by himself as Vatican Shadow, he's invited his mate Bronze Age (alias Kris Lapke, who also serves in Christian Cosmos, Furisubi and other atrocities) to “do a Surgeon”: “ Surviving Cultural Impedance” is drenched in industrial acid and strikes like a whip. “ Coupling Symbols” sounds like a screwed and chopped Blackest Ever Black release, and “ Modal Ingenuity” has the sound of an old Hardfloor title (charming).


8. Koreless: “Lost In Tokyo” (Vase)

Jacques Greene is on fire, not only because of this EP: we're talking about Vase, which signed the likeable and indie-friendly Koreless, who delivered a “Lost In Tokyo” full of evocative melodies and elusive beats, to which Greene adds a remix where the beat comes in rather late, but on which all the pleasures of new-generation deep-house come together. Tasty, yes sir.


7. Pachanga Boys: “Christine” (Hippie Dance)

Rebolledo and Superpitcher repeat the hit formula of “Time” (stable progression, with sheets of synthesisers underneath, until the riotous crescendo) and “Thundercat” (especially in the tribal vocals); “Legs” is the perfect combination of both angles, though without such devastating effects. “The Untold Legend of Mysterious Ondo” is nice, too ( “respira hondo, hondo, cachondo”, “take a deep, deep breath, funny guy” in Spanish: great lyrics), but the hit here is “Poem For The Youth”, with its eleven-minute search for ecstasy. They don't find it, but they come close.


6. Team Doyobi: “Digital Music vol. 1” (Skam)

“Digital Music Vol. 1” sounds like a joke in one respect (they've always been a “digital” duo, in the sense that their weapon of choice is an old Atari computer); but it's actually a change in the textures, effectively more digital (newer) in these eight tracks, on which there is undeniably more coherence, cadence and regularity. They continue on their path of fragmented IDM, like the extension of Super_Collider's breaks and glitches in an ultra geeky universe, but more orderly when it comes to arranging the electro-acoustic landscapes, the breakbeats, and the mad-house melodies.


5. Sensate Focus: “Sensate Focus 3.333333333333333” (Sensate Focus)

To Mark Fell, Sensate Focus is the extended experience of an intermittent vision of an ultra-intelligent brand of club house, a way to make club music recovering the spirit of the micro-house of labels like Perlon or Force Tracks and renewing it the same way other champions of complex sounds, like Frank Bretschneider, or Alva Noto, have done with techno.


4. Rrose: “Preretinal” (Eaux)

On Rrose's second title on his own Eaux label, he continues to explore the dark side of techno, and the two tracks go straight for the jugular: “23 Lashes” and “Prism Guard” sound like the most mental Jeff Mills tracks (there is blood, though no festering wounds, just deep bruises), with which our man proves he also knows how to keep his cool and not behave like a hooligan.


3. Joy Orbison, Boddika & Pearson Sound: “Faint / Nil (Reece) / Moist” (SunkLo)

Boddika is buddy-buddy with Joy Orbison, with whom he's already released four singles (including this one) on such serious labels as Swamp81 ( “Swims”, the start of it all) and the label the two of them set up, SunkLo. On their own platform, they have all the freedom in the world to reconfigure modern house as they please and create pieces on which the influences are clear, but which sound completely original and different from anything else out there.


2. Traxman: “Heat” (Sewage Tapes)

The temptation of saying that Traxman makes “intelligent footwork” is so strong that the term itself becomes nauseating. But the truth is that the Chicago producer is offering the most visionary and elaborate beats in juke these days, clearly setting himself apart from the techniques most frequently used by his fellow Windy City citizens. Here are five more bangers by the Trax God, playing with song patterns from soul ( “Da World Around Us”), calypso and rave ( “Mirrors - Footwerk”), manic melodic spirals ( “Da Family”), hair-rock ( “Iron Man”) and be-bop ( “Alotta Funny Stuff Going Down”). If you don't bow down before him, you're not worthy of this music.


1. Blanck Mass: “White Math / Polymorph” (Software)

Benjamin John Power has been busy with Blanck Mass, his solo side-project. Initially beatless (his self-titled album on Rock Action last year), he is now making his debut on Software, Oneohtrix Point Never's label, with this 12” featuring two long, cosmic jams. It boasts disco arrangements evolving into a kind of liquid trance ( “White Math”), asymmetric beats, acid sparks ( “Polymorph”) and that glorious frustration you feel when you're waiting for the crescendo - the climax, total mayhem - and none of that happens, because its 20 minutes are like a plateau, high and flat, to close your eyes on the dance floor and lose yourself in epic stagnation.


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