Review: It's been three long years since Vaal's last 12", a collaboration with Italian tech-house types Tale of Us. "Wander To Hell" is an intriguing proposition. For starters, it's a song, with bittersweet vocals stretching out over sustained chords, woozy melodies, bubbly electronics and a tactile, soft touch groove. It's undeniably atmospheric, and arguably suitable for club plays despite its home listening roots. The accompanying remixes drag it further towards dancefloor territory. The Locked Groove Mix is darker, woozier and altogether more metronomic, while the Baikal Remix reinvents the original as a paranoid chunk of thrusting, late night techno.
Review: Tale of Us launch their Afterlife label in style with the Realm of Consciousness compilation. Bringing together some of the best-known names in contemporary techno as well as a group of newcomers, it moves effortlessly between esoteric moods. Tale of Us contribute the ambient intro, while Monoloc and Woo York are both in more mellow form than usual on the melodic "Phoenix" and "Poseidon" respectively. Meanwhile, Recondite contributes the sad melodies and throbbing bass of "Murphy's Law" and Locked Groove balances supernaturally beautiful hooks with powerful bass pulses on "Emeralds". Even more dance floor-focused tracks, like Obscure Shape & SHDW's "Die Wiederkehr", are filled with trancey melancholia.