- Nous made a big impression in 2015. The Berlin-based label started out three years ago, releasing variations of heady, analogue house, but it has since found a darker side. Over the years, a split personality has developed that's as striking as the artwork on their recent two-part compilation. The first installment, #3 White, was released this past summer, featuring balmy jams from label affiliates and newcomers. Now, #3 Black moves into the shadows, finding all manner of coy grooves and miscreant sounds.
Juniper provides a sprightly warm up with "Movement From The Fade," but then #3 Black jumps into the void. Like Fetnat's excellent Swahili EP, his track "Marbrahh" is rousing and noisy, with clicks, industrial clatter and grunts forming its quasi-tribal techno. After his debut earlier this year, Dreams returns with the tough and grinding "Headhunter," which flickers like a strobe and is full of jagged edges. Ayln's "Wet Dreams" wonderfully mixes soggy, squelchy beats and diamond-hard sounds, while Mauvais Art's "Antigravity" experiments with drum & bass. Slow broken beats are dropped into a bed of twinkling pads, and the drums sink like a stone as the ambient textures rise.
Copenhagen-based Anastasia Kristensen and Swedish artist Moon Wheel deliver Black's best moments. The former's "Spring Ballade" is Detroit-indebted techno, all futuristic and functional with a backbone of somber drone. The psychedelic and spacey sound design is like machines gibbering in excitement. Moon Wheel's murky "H.K. 185 D.R." takes his usual contemplative cassette music into the club, and is further proof that Nous's taste for the obscure is still its best asset.
A1 Juniper - Movement From The Fade
A2 Anastasia Kristensen - Spring Ballade
A3 Fetnat - Marbrahh
B1 Moon Wheel - H.K. 185 D.R.
B2 Dreams - Headhunter
B3 Ayln - Wet Dreams
B4 Mauvais Art - Antigravity