Review: Second instalment from Belgian electro-label ZwaarteKracht, once again assembling a dream team of international producers to bring together this extraordinary selection of dancefloor tracks with dark sci-fi moods. All dynamically mastered by Karel De Backer to keep those subs moving like they should. Features Arsonist Recorder with the hard hitting retro futurism of "Brain Mode",
Deemphasis going deep on "In My Mind" with its underwater acid, Datawave served up our favourite on the darkly dystopian electro bass of "Quadrant" while Francois Dillinger's "Moon Prison" provides the abstract and minimal vibes.
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: 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: 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: For the latest release on her admirable Planet Euphorique imprint, Sophie Sweetland has gathered together a quartet of box-fresh club cuts from up-and-coming artists. As you'd expect, much of the material is psychedelic and intoxicating, reprocessing a range of vintage influences in a myriad of ways. Killer DJ's kick things off via the epic trip that is "Track 1", a saucer-eyed fusion of tropical house drums, ambient techno electronics and humid samples. Dj Donini raises the temperature further via the retro-futurist techno trip of "Donini's Dream", before CCL and Flora FM join forces on the bassbin-bothering tribal shuffle of "Liquify Interference". SMP rounds things off in fine style with "Natty Bop", a similarly bass-heavy fusion of skipping, post two-step beats, spacey sounds and low-end power.
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!
Review: Although Emile Facey has been producing as Plant 43 for roughly six years, the UK producer appears to be in a rich vein of form right now. Having debuted in impressive fashion on Dutch label Frustrated funk earlier this year, Plant 43 resurfaces on Semantica with this equally worthy five track 12" The Sentient City Awakens. No stranger to Svreca's label having first graced Semantica last year, this record will please Plant 43 fans no end, with "Inward Stream" and "Hydro Subway" showing equal reverence to melody and booming percussion that few other current electro practitioners can match. Concluding production "Frond Of Stars" is beautifully epic.
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: Following outings on Echovolt, Further Electronix, Nerang, X-Kalay and Of Paradise, Gennadiy Manzhos brings his Low Tape project to Private Persons for the very first time. "The Next Summer of Love EP" is an expansive and universally impressive affair, with the Russian producer brilliantly charging between sun-kissed deep electro (melodious opener "Euphoria" and the similarly summery "No Acid For You"), raw and heavy jack-tracks ("Chicago Blues"), skittish but spacey electrofunk (the high tempo thrills of "Detroit Love"), bittersweet brilliance (the melancholic chords, non-stop machine beats and acid-style electronics of "Never Not Known You") and bass-heavy ghetto-house/ambient techno fusion ("Winter Acid Waltz").
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: 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: 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: It's now been two decades since Gallic producer Joan-Mael Peneau first donned the Maelstrom alias for the very first time. He's been in particularly fine form of late, offering up essential EPs on Cultivated Electronics, Central Processing Unit and Private Persons. Here he makes his debut on Craigie Knowes' hard-wired techno and electro offshoot C-Know-Evil with a formidably tough two-track offering. A-side "Spasm" is a riotous fusion of metallic percussion hits, high-octane electro drums, doom-laden acid lines and bass so raw and intense it was probably made in Scotland from girders. He opts for an even more doom-laden techno sound on fizzing flipside "Turbulence", wrapping increasingly intense electronic motifs around a surging rhythm track.
Review: Soundscape Versions delivers its third edition of the various artists series and offers four effective cuts between subtle house breaks, acid house, electro and atmospheric techno. Featuring Kintaro 89, Faune, Arian Alexander and Douala.
Review: Amsterdam-based lo-fi expert Swiere Westveen aka Betonkunst takes time out from working with good buddy Palmbomen II and flies solo here for French imprint Nocta Numerica. The Sent Items EP features four edgy and gritty cuts that are well fit for retroverts: from the unholy mixture of coldwave, EBM and acid on "Fentanyl", to the neon-lit dystopia of electro bass thumper "Because I Want To Fit In" and the dreamy B side cut that is the title track going for a slo-mo almost pop feel. We're pretty sure you'll be all over this grainy/all analogue affair from this rising Dutch artist. Comes as a limited edition of 300 copies.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.