Zum Goldenen Schwarm - Aufgang (Forum)
Zum Goldenen Schwarm is a project that’s only reared its head on several occasions, the first being its debut on Giegling’s Staub series, while a remix turned on up Vril’s Semantica release, Flux
, back in 2012. Giegling’s secret collaboration injects a fresh dose of booming techno back into the label after a string of softer hitting releases from Edward, Kettenkarussell, Ateq and Traumprinz, and it’s the third release of the Forum sub-label following albums by Vril and Prince Of Denmark. For the big stuff check out parts one, two and three of “Aufgang”, while soft beds of crackle, white nose and emotional atmospheres wash over you in the album’s serene intros and outros “Windung” and "Ubergang". If you thought the fanfare surrounding Giegling was going at tipping point – think again.
Djrum - Plantain (Samurai Red Seal)
Geoff Presha created his Samurai Red Seal sub-label as a means to release what he describes as a deeper drum and bass sound to what’s heard on parent label Samurai. Red Seal, however, doesn’t venture as far off the genre-map as the experimentally wild Samurai Horo, but it is heading in that direction. Felix Manuel, aka, Djrum, is a London-based producer known for his extensive output on 2nd Drop, and bar his debut record, this is Manuel’s first effort outside of the label. Both tracks are shrouded in misty atmospheres, broken beats and skittering percussion with hints of Burial influences imbued throughout, and should you find yourself above the clouds staring out of an aeroplane’s window around dusk, let this be your soundtrack of self reflection.
Pearson Sound - Pearson Sound (Hessle Audio)
After eight years of twisting techno music into new shapes, Hessle Audio release their first artist album and it comes from David Kennedy’s somewhat hushed Pearson Sound project. The last record he released under that name was the modestly indulgent beatless 7” Raindrops
, and perhaps some of the reason behind Kennedy’s lack out output since 2013 is because the producer's been locked away crafting a debut, self-titled LP. Summed up quite accurately today by Juno Plus editor Tony Poland as "not for listening on headphones," it’s clear Pearson Sound
is made to be experienced in the club, and our favourites include the woozy bleeps and Kraftwerk cyclist vocals of “Crank Call”, the irregular rhythm of “Swill” and rave tent opener “Asphalt Sparkle”.
Siegel - Carmine (Fit)
Out there doing his own thing is Aaron ‘FIT’ Siegel, and whether it be reissuing forgotten Walt J material, heading up a distribution company feeding us the music of labels like FXHE, Sex Tags and Future Times, to releasing his own music, everything Siegel touches seemingly goes from strength to strength. This Carmine
12” is his third to date following his 2012 debut, and this record gives his Fit label a second impressive release. Combine a snappy, snare happy Kyle Hall beat with a Tin Man acid line and you’ll have some idea of what makes “Carmine” so great, while “First Round” is a high-pitched percussive Detroit styled shuffler that skirts on the edges of lo-fi Theo Parrish house and Svreca-esque techno. Sounds well Fit, obviously.
Vatican Shadow - Death Is Unity With God (Modern Love)
Rare is it that Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow alias finds a home outside of his own Hospital Productions, however in 2012 the American’s warmongering alias did appear on Modern Love with the Ornamated Walls
LP. Two albums and numerous cassette releases later (inclusive of last year’s joint effort with Function) he returns to the legendary Mancunian label (one of the few imprints with the bottle to release Vatican Shadow material) with another LP, this time inspired in parts by Timothy McVeigh and the events surrounding 1995’s horrific Oklahoma City bombing. Always provocative, Death Is Unity WIth God
was originally released last year as a set of six cassettes, with 12 of the original 20 tracks making their way to green and transparent yellow coloured vinyl. By and large Death Is Unity With God
is a meditative (albeit visceral) listen, however there are productions suitable for the techno club such as the scraping “Koresh Lamb” and “Texarkana Resistance”, while our pick is “Small Explosives & Blasting Caps Inside The Pages Of A Phonebook”.
Slug Bug - Russian Torrent Versions 17 (Russian Torrent Versions)
It’s never been officially confirmed but there are obviously close links between LIES Records and the perennially amusingly named Russian Torrent Versions, and it’s interesting how some artists appear out of nowhere with records on both labels in quick succession. The latest is DJ Slugbug, unknown before Ron Morelli included a track in a mix CD for Tsugi late last year, and responsible for a killer LIES White label that dropped last month. The supposed Cape Verde resident makes his CCCP bow and opens with an incendiary electro track, but DJ Slugbug veers into darker territory on the following three tracks. “Virginal” is a particular highlight, with unsettling, barely audible vocal lending the track a foreboding edge which brings to mind a dishevelled and paranoid Liasions Dangereuses.
Herva - HTMYO (All City)
You might think Herva gets a lot of coverage on Juno Plus
and that’s because records from the Italian producer always feel so refreshing and full of strange ideas. His Kontra-Musik effort with fellow Italian Massprod remains our favourite (how could it not with track titles like “Mike Vs Speak & Overdub as a Weapon against Modern Laptop Wanking”) but repeat listens to this record for Dublin’s All City suggests it may have competition. The brashly titled "How To Mind Your Own" commences in mind bending fashion with the ghost of a woman trapped in twirling mists of Delia Derbyshire sonics which then proceed to veer off down so many stylistic paths it’s quite futile to attempt any sort of succinct description. Killer artwork from the All City crew too!
The Automatics Group - Summer Mix (The Death Of Rave)
There seems to be plenty of interesting things planned for The Death of Rave this year, and the Mancunian label does everyone a great service with this double vinyl reissue of Summer Mix
from Theo Burt’s The Automatics Group project. It’s not hyperbole to call this album one of the most intriguing sonic experiments you are likely to hear, with Burt essentially transforming the sonic DNA of a multitude of commercial dance hits from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s using a complex mathematical process known as a discrete Fourier transform. Slip over to the Entracte site
for more details on that process, but in terms of music the results are an engrossing, delay laden ride through Chain Reaction style minimal electronics that you can really lose yourself in.
Portion Control - I Staggered Mentally (Dark Entries)
What we love about Dark Entries is their unerring desire to draw up truly interesting music from previous decades for fresher ears to appreciate. Of course the more clued up music appreciators out there will no doubt be thankful for the chance to grip favourites in newly remastered form - and at a favourable price. The latest reissue to surface from Dark Entries HQ shines a light on the self styled Hard Rhythmic Electronics of prolific ‘80s South London group Portion Control, specifically their album I Staggered Mentally
. Brandishing the most distinctive cover art you will see this week, I Staggered Mentally
is a quite enlightening document on the ways bands from that period brutalised their hardware, in this case a ton of Roland gear, in the name of industrial experimentation. Tracks like "All Present & Correct" sound like Skinny Puppy doing acid house and overall it’s a enriching listen for anyone that maintains an interest in the UK underground.
Various - Mogul 3 (Themes For Great Cities)
When it comes to labels who take their name from the Simple Minds discography, none are better than Themes For Great Cities. The Düsseldorf label has been slipping out strange and wonderful music from an assortment of local talent since 2009, and it’s slowly gained a cult following along the way – we have Young Marco to thank for alerting us to the greatness of Themes. A new year brings about a third edition of their Mogul series featuring productions from Harmonious Thelonious and other Düsseldorfers and it’s the sort of 12” more adventurous selectors will cherish. Brushing up against the supple, enveloping Balearica of unknown AI is some Frak style nastiness from Lucas Croon & Carsten Dambkes, whilst Harmonious Thelonious goes deep on the percussion and processed accordion with the quite unique “Cheap Thrills”.