Sunday’s Best Pt. XXXIX

The story goes that Abul Mogard is an ex-factory worker from Belgrade, who only took up making and recording music after his retirement. Given drone’s propensity for crafting the enigmatic and mysterious, you’d be forgiven for being sceptical about such a backstory. But while the jury might be out with regards to Mogard’s history, there’s no doubt the music that goes along with it is pretty special. Works is a collection of new material as well as previously released tracks on VCO Recordings and Ecstatic. Most prominently, it draws influence from the muted intensity of Tim Hecker and the saturation of Alessandro Cortini. “Drooping OFF” is absorbing and hypnotic. It doesn’t sound a million miles away from the grinding machines Mogard claims to have worked on for decades. It sits comfortably alongside the more subdued “Airless Linger” and “Desires Are Reminiscences By Now”, which feel like offshoots of Harmony In Ultraviolet and Sonno respectively – a testament to how deftly Works has been compiled. “Staring At The Sweeps Of Darkness” rounds off the record in the most emotionally evocative way. Drones and organs marry to create an underlying uneasiness to the consonance, mirroring mass-scale industrial machinery. As far as oddly comforting sounds go, Mogard’s are among the finest we’ve heard lately.

Deadboy’s artistry is hard to define. His wide-ranging DJ sets join the dots between PC Music pop, new-age ambient and mixtape rap, along with house, garage and grime’s myriad of subgenres that have characterised the majority of his production output. Despite the difficulty to place his work in any single box, certain themes are present throughout his music. His latest EP, the self-released Carbon Crush Versions, has the most important trait in spades: a sense of fun that places him well ahead of the rest. An irreverent approach sees him team lo-fi house production techniques, 2-step garage swing and hip-hop vocal samples to create a contemporary pastiche of the short-lived ‘future garage’ from the turn of the decade. After his infallible rework of “Fireworks”, Deadboy is no stranger to remixing Drake. His edit of “Much Closer” doesn’t disappoint, using Drizzy’s heartbroken vocals as the centrepiece of a swelling, melancholic slice of sadboy house. While “Much Closer” is undoubtedly the highlight, his hard-hitting edit of Young Thug’s “Best Friend” and the sugar-rush crescendo of final track “Future” round off another excellent release from Deadboy.

Discwoman co-founder and Bossa Nova Civic Club resident DJ, UMFANG, returns to 1080p for her vinyl debut, Riffs, through which she brings a slightly different energy than on other releases. While her signature use of forceful percussion and dancefloor rhythms are still present, they are contrasted with more imaginative, otherworldly sounds to create a heightened, spiritual experience. The opener and title track “Riffs” has a cinematic quality about it, with its swells and enveloping pads. Drifting on the wind, it picks up indistinguishable radio transmissions as a helicopter whirs overhead. “Force” has a similarly floating quality, but with a more aggressive edge to its sound. Sharp and cutting, it shapes itself into a club beat with the introduction of booming bass and a snapping snare. “Ecstatic Layer” features distorted haze wafting over a pounding kick, propelling it towards delirium. In its wake, “Spaces on Spaces” feels like the desolate and airy aftermath of a storm, with raindrop synths falling over wet shingles. Lastly, “Entrada” explores some strange world where footsteps echo off cavern walls as something unknown glimmers in the distance. With an instinctive talent for creating powerful storms of sound, UMFANG displays another dimension on Riffs, constructing complex tracks that reflect both the evocative spirit of Discwoman and unique approach embraced by 1080p.

Quavius is a rapper/producer who’s been dropping tracks on Bandcamp and SoundCloud for a few years, and his first physical release is a 12″ for Lustwerk Music. To say he flits between rap and house would be a misnomer – rather, he weaves the two together indiscriminately. Nowhere is this more evident than in the record’s opener, “Love The Way”, with Q’s simple, repeated verse drifting over crisp, bouncing beats and a straightforward two-bar phrase. “Magic Man” moves into rolling hip-hop territory, its sultry samples matching his rhymes, which are somehow both slurred and spitfire. The instrumental “R n’V” takes the best from both moods, starting with bombastic swelling before moving towards a coda of its Galcher-esque synths and half-time finale. “M320” is a barrage of “Think” breaks and West Coast chords and horns. It’s a truly joyous number that deserves the longest running time of any track here. With the majority of tracks on the release running around the two-minutes-something mark, they can harbour the feeling of an unfinished project, particularly closing tracks “Adiddas” and “Can I Be”. But the result is a breezy, life-affirming collection nonetheless.

Words by Antoin Lindsay, John Hardy, Taylor Trostle and Aidan Hanratty.

Previous editions of Sunday’s Best here.