Juju & Jordash - Clean-Cut (Dekmantel)
Juju & Jordash’s last album, Techno Primitivism
, was one of the most densely-packed albums of recent memory, with 15 deep and woozy exercises in techno experimentation almost too much to digest in one sitting. Though the duo make no compromises in terms of the intricate construction of their tracks across their follow up Clean-Cut
, the muggy feel of their previous album is lifted across these nine tracks. Lighter in tone and filled with more colourful melodies, it’s a dance floor-focused album, but one still light years ahead of what most of their peers in the world of techno and house are doing elsewhere.
Delroy Edwards - Can U Get With (Gene’s Liquor)
L.A. Club Resource boss Delroy Edwards has confounded his audience at every turn this year, releasing an album of unheard tracks from his youth on The Death of Rave, making several mixtapes of Slowed Down Funk
and exploring noise as DJ Punisher. This 12” for his Gene’s Liquor label sees him return to the kind of irresistible good-time house music he made his name with on L.I.E.S., complete with funk-infused rhythms and classic piano lines. If Edwards’ wayward direction hasn’t been doing it for you recently, he’s at his most straightforward here, and it makes for one of his best moments in a while.
Afrikan Sciences - Circuitous (PAN)
Bill Kouligas’ PAN label has been on its finest form yet this year, with great albums from Objekt, Lee Gamble and Valerio Tricoli all complementing a strong run of singles and EPs. Despite it being December, the label has managed to sneak out one more LP, from Deepblak affiliate Afrikan Sciences. If you’ve indulged in his blend of techno and Afrofuturism previously you’ll know what to expect, but if not then this really is essential listening. If you could imagine the sound of Jamal Moss jamming with the Sun Ra Arkestra, then you’ve pretty much got the sound of Circuitous
James Blake - 200 Press (1-800 Dinosaur)
It’s fair to say the music James Blake makes when he’s in full-on heartfelt croon mode can prove divisive. When he turns his attention back to making club music however, he’s still as enjoyably weird as he was when he started out on Hessle Audio and Hemlock all those years ago. This package contains a 12” with two such tracks: the muffled Moodymann-gone-R&B house of “200 Press” and the scratchy, abstract beatwork of “200 Pressure”. The accompanying 7” sees him retreat to a more downtempo place, mixing lounge vocals and spoken word among considerably more experimental sounds than you’d find on his last album.
Shifted - Arrangements In Monochrome Parts 1 and 2 (Avian)
The Arrangements In Monochrome
EPs are two of the best bodies of work Shifted has released in some time, providing eight tracks of rock solid techno that range from gloomy ambient to machismo beats suitable for a club like Berghain minus the boredom. The sounds here are similar to Shifted’s earlier works on Avian and Mote-Evolver that contributed to the fanfare surrounding his emergence mixed with the less visceral, industrial sonics of his Alexander Lewis alias. Two slabs of concrete techno signed, sealed and delivered just before the year’s end.
Black Sites - Unit 2669 (PAN)
The second PAN release of the week is also our most anticipated of the year by some way. Despite being announced way back in February, the second 12” from Helena Hauff and F#X’s Black Sites collaboration has only just found its way into our hands, and thankfully, it’s been worth the wait. “Unit 2669” is a grizzled analogue constructions with a grotty squat techno vibe much like the tracks on their last release, but “Mockba” takes things in a more experimental direction, as delayed bleeps float through a soupy fog of alien textures.
Various - The Deviant Octopus (трип)
As big as her profile is, filling whatever room she plays, Nina Kraviz knows her way around the hardcore underground. This first record for her newly minted Trip label sees her productions sit pretty next to killer cuts from Terrence Dixon as Population One, early Probe alumnus and Proper N.Y.C. honcho Steve Stoll and new artist Parrish Smith with his Nation-worthy production "1.0/8.0 Africa Genocide". For the Icelandic dub techno heads there’s “Nuclear Guard" by Exos – one she’s been rinsing in her DJ sets – and for a gluttonous cut of ‘dirty’ techno there’s Bjarki’s earworm "Polygon Pink Toast". Mix this with Population One’s vocal mix of "Out Of Control” and you’ll receive the same adulation Kraviz does week in week out.
Privacy - Hypertext EP (Lobster Theremin)
Lobster Theremin has been nothing if not prolific this year, making a name for itself as an operation specialising in unearthing new artists, providing those like Privacy a platform to be noticed. Across its four tracks this Hypertext
EP combines old school melodies reminiscent of Metroplex together with Hieroglyphic Being-style sonic distortion and the empty sound of analogue reverb you’d expect to hear from a producer like Chevel. It’s stripped-back electro for the dance floor and tuneful techno for the head, and the A-side’s “Always On” is piping hot.
Acronym - Yggdrasil (Semantica)
If you find yourself an emerging techno artist, the best stamp of approval you could hope for is a release on Semantica. For rising talent the label this year alone has helped cultivate artists like Stanislav Tolkachev and Yves Dey Mey, to Marco Shuttle, Israel Vines and Eric Cloutier via the Nonnative Series. Now Acronym, a name familiar to Northern Electronics, joins the throng of Swedish producers to surface on Semantica in 2014 alongside Varg, S100, Pär Grindvik and Andreas Tilliander’s new project Svaag. This Yggdrasil
EP sees Acronym supply four darkly brooding cuts of reverberant, industrial and streamlined techno on a similar tip to Xhin’s recent Claw Eyes
EP with the resulting release a four-track run of deep-heavy sounds for a booming DJ set.
Tuff Sherm/Dro Carey - Scope (Templar Sound)
Although it’s been active since 2011, the Sydney-based Templar Sound label still feels fresh as ever. This split EP between Eugene Ward’s two prominent production aliases, Dro Carey and Tuff Sherm, supplies the label with its toughest record this year. It’s the label’s third release in 12 months and follows two debuts Templar Sound granted in 2014. One of these was DJ Vague with the Thomas Bangalter-sounding Porsche Trax 12” and here the Helix alias supplies this record’s best cut with a Kyle Hall-like remix of Dro Carey’s shuffling “Human Parcel”. For some roaring, ghetto techno fun check out Tuff Sherm’s “Scope”.