Review: Phil Gerus is a rising talent that fits right into the (Emotional) Especial mould with his sharply realised 80s bombast and dynamic electro funk production style. Treating body-popping club tracks as a vessel for heartfelt expression, these tracks have it all from Linn Drum boogie to fully capable instrumental chops, all shot through with Gerus' choice new wave vocals. Lauer hops on board for a seductive remix of "Still Blind" that ups the sensual intensity of the track while keeping the club foremost in his mind, before Jamie Paton steps up on the flip with a couple of freakier turns that dub the original out into deadly, spooky jams for more adventurous party people to get loose to.
Review: More from the seemingly endless deep archives of Andy Panayi and Alec Stone's long-running A2 production partnership, which first tickled our senses way back in 1997. There's much to admire throughout, with nine-minute A-side cut "Seriously" - an acid-flecked fusion of bustling breakbeats, alien melodies, woozy chords and post-electro electronics - offering a brilliantly club-ready opening. They begin the flipside with what sounds like a turn of the millennium club electro workout (think punchy beats, pulsating analogue bass and moody chords), before adding a little UK garage flavour to their basslines and beats on the deep space bounce of "Feel The Rhythm".
Review: Frits Caroe, AKA Popmix, unleashes some fascinating sounds on his debut release, which should score with discerning listeners looking for those tracks that standout without making a scene. Occupying somewhere between deep house, IDM, slo-mo and techno, there's mass appeal here but with niche noises. 'Funtema' has one of those wasp-in-jar synth lines that threaten to drive you crazy, or at least send the dancefloor into a frenzy, but avoids all intensity, balancing things out with playful keyboards and expansive refrains. 'Klub Frimis' is more of a plodder, its stabbing low end and twisted glockenspiel chords inviting everyone to get stuck in. Closing out on 'Teenage Club Fantasy', a sparse, low tempo acid-inflected epic that never veers from the course it's sets out on, you can have a lot of fun with what's here.
Review: The latest record from Georgia's Bassiani label comes from L.I.E.S. veteran Voiski. True to the label (and club)'s style, it's a release that celebrates interesting, bold expressions within the realm of techno. "Chasing Shadows" is certainly a track with the kind of freaked out atmosphere that you also heard on the recent HVL album, admittedly with an extra dose of edgy synth working its way through the core. Whether it's high speed tripping or dubby incantations, Voiski brings vitality and character to the well-worn realm of deep techno.
Review: Two years after making his debut on Blank State with the superb "Cherry Unit EP", Porco Rosso returns to the German imprint to showcase his "Pork Power" (snigger). He hits the spot from the word go, brilliantly wrapping echoing deep space melodies and starry synth chords atop funk-fuelled acid bass and snappy drum machine beats on four-to-the-floor opener "Cesar". Rosso indulges his love of sweatier, more bustling beats on all-action flipside opener "Iku Base Dance" - a fitting title, given the funkiness of the Syclops style bassline that propels the whole thing forwards - before offering up a chunk of weird-but-brilliant electro/IDM fusion ("Chiefmodus") to round off a brilliant EP.
Review: Latvia's Blind Allies continues its series of crucial various artist trips into the underbelly of ravey electro, with another cast of underground operators on the buttons. RNBWS brings a hefty dose of old-skool bleep magic to "Engage", before stripping things back for the cool and deadly "Backtrack". Caprithy's "Smoky Sunday" has a seductively sinister side to it, while CYBEREIGN's "Accelerate" keeps things tuff and taut. RNBWS returns on the tripped out "Little Things Important", and Universo completes the set with the vintage tape-warped tones of "Mercury Retrograde".
Review: Casa Voyager's second release comes courtesy of Kosh, a producer who debuted on the label's previous, compilation style 12". The '80s electro revivalist kicks things off with "Catch the Train", where ghostly, Kraftwerk style synth melodies and punchy vocal samples cluster around a Drexciya style rhythm track, before wrapping spacey, Motor City style electronics in crunchy breakbeats on "Null 212". B-side opener "Electronic Setups" is a drifting, intergalactic and evocative shuffle through deep electro pastures, while "Bug in the System" combines snappy electro beats and squeezable acid bass with the kind of beguiling, almost melancholic chords more often found in early '90s ambient records.
Review: British legend Carl Finlow has always explored the darker, deeply charged realms of electro as Silicon Scally and he's feeling more dystopian than ever on this fierce four tracker for Sheffield's Central Processing Unit. Following up last years' terrific Projections EP, prepare to go deep underground on the brooding and cinematic drama of "Cobalt Blue", only to resurface once more on a serene note on the charming Kraftwerk influence of "Scintillation". On the flip, he's back to the program on the booming electro bass epic "Asynchronous" while the futuristic tension and suspense of "Protocol 2" closes out another fine effort by the genre's finest producers.
Review: Biochip are a new duo making the right start on the mighty CPU. Julian Kochanowski and Melissa Speirs have no previous to speak of, but their deft take on electro speaks to years of research and immersion in the language of sequencers and synthesisers. There's an emotional weight to the music they've charged this debut EP with, where billowing pads and soaring Detroit leads meet with some crafty sound design and canny programming. At times things get intense, as on the rowdy "Acid Billy", not to mention seriously funky on "Tone Forest", but there's always an otherworldly shroud hovering over the music that makes it Biochip's own.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: Gabriel Reyes Whittaker is The Abstract Eye: an L.A.-based producer also known as GB (Gifted & Blessed) and Frankie Reyes. Regarding the dynamic pace of the music industry, he asks the question, what's real anymore? For him, it comes down to the feelings this music evokes. Last year saw the much needed reissue of his underrated 2011 opus Cool Warm Divine on Holland's Rush Hour, and this new record is another emotive release which explores classic electro and techno sounds - borrowing from the best of the genre's recent past but reinterpreting it in his own distinct way. From the old school deep techno bounce of "Land, Sky & Sea" to the chill groove of "What's Real Anymore?" or the mellow electro of "Butterfly Patterns" - thia is as real as it gets.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
Review: With this sequel to December's brilliant, compilation style "The Orbitant" EP, FU ME boss George K is spoiling us. With a high quality threshold and five varied cuts to enjoy, it offers excellent value for money for clued-up electro DJs. Heinrich Dressel sets the scene via some wonderfully spacey, widescreen ambient electronica ("Sem Intro"), before Galaxian wraps 1990 style Yorkshire bleeps and fizzing, minor key electronics around a booming bassline and ghetto-tech style drums on "Source Reality". Foreign Sequence's throbbing, acid-laden "Negative Vibe" sits somewhere between surging Italo-disco and pulsating electro, while Lake Haze's "System Glitch" combines creepy, deep space electronics and ragged acid lines with a rolling electro groove. Arguably best of all though is the mutant funk overload that is Jenson Interceptor's techno/electro fusion workout "Faceless".
Review: If it's authentically 80s-sounding electro tackle you're after, then allow us to point you in the direction of Furious Frank's '2 Frank 2 Furious', which opens what's only the second-ever release from Melbourne, Australia-based label Global Skywatch. Arthur Miles' 'Native Way', which follows, is a more current-sounding affair that could easily slide into melodic/progressive sets, while on the flip, 48V's 'In Place' is a sparse, steppy number - think a slo-mo take on footwork and you're somewhere in the ball park! - before the same artist's 'Prospecting' closes out the EP with nine minutes of cinematic ambience.
Review: The III Rivers crew have put out some serious heat since first transmitting out of the Manchester underground back in 2013. Kvetch X, also known as Voiceless and Ekeko, has been spotted on labels like UntilMyHeartStops before, so you know this chap knows his chops in the studio. Here he's in full deviant machine mode, swerving from the swinging, strafing thrust of "Tool Box" to bugged out boxy techno workout "Purge The Urge" before landing on the wave-riding arp beast "Blue Eyes" that courses through the B side like a noirish B-movie soundtrack joint on uppers, downers, laughers and screamers.
Review: Fresh from another killer collaboration with regular studio sparring partner E-GZR on Wania, Laura "LNS" Sparrow goes solo and offers up the second volume in her ongoing "Recons" series. It's another confident and hugely entertaining affair, with Sparrow flitting between electro-influenced space funk ("Recon Two"), deep and dubbed out breakbeat shufflers ("Ecumene"), sunrise ready analogue deep house warmth ("Prahvist"), bleep and bass influenced machine techno ("Lehkist") and spacey ambient beauty ("To Be Continued"). Old pal DJ Sotofett is also on hand to remix "37th Degree" in a typically warm and woozy dubbed-out manner.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.
Review: Russian label Mosaique has thus far carried some serious heat from artists like JASSS, Caron and Savage Grounds, and now they're shifting their nightmarish electro tendencies back to the various artists format of their Universe series. Umwelt leads the charge on this second installment with the eerie machine snarl of "Fallen Empire", followed up by two versions of the devilish "Sleep When You Die" by Moralez & The Horrorist. Alessandro Adriani is first up on the B side with the driving, noirish techno pulse of "Cosmic Transmissions," and then Morah rounds things off with the squelchy, spiky workout "Track 5".
Review: Florin Buechel aka Contra Communem Opinionem first appeared on our radar a few years back with some killer EPs on Swiss electro imprint Lux Rec - in particular the collaboration with label boss Daniele Cosmo as Savage Grounds in 2016. Here he presents new Berlin label Omega Men's third installment, serving up yet more gritty analogue machine exploits on "The Transformation Problem". Hear that legendary Roland silver box hard at work throughout the four-tracker: we're loving the soaring resonance and glide of frantic opener "Dead Labor", the dystopian noir vibe of electro jam "Necessary Labor" and our pick of the bunch that is neon-lit exhilarator "Living Labor". Tip!