Review: After the success of the last outing on Rawax, A5 returns to throw down some more of that refined and thoroughly deep analogue house business. While there are plenty of pads and minor chord tones fussing around the EP, it's the punchiness that actually makes this record stand out. On "Track 2" there's a three-note bass line that comes in every four bars that pulls all those wispy elements to the floor with devastating accuracy, while on "Track 3" the whipcrack snares and claps that come firing in from jaunty angles perfectly spice up the direct arpeggios of what could otherwise be a standard deep house tune. "Track 4" raises the bar more overtly with a staggered groove of the most curious construction, but still manages to keep everything holding together, as wild drums and flapping synths get sharpened down to the point of an arrow.
Review: Rawax drop another stunner of a reissue and it's by none other than Uwe Schmidt aka Atom Heart! The Milagro EP was originally released in 1994 on Our Choice as a CD and on London's Rough Trade as a 12". However, the German imprint has done us the favour of saving a L100 price tag on the black market, and have even remastered the tracks from the original tapes. Gorgeous, deep house swelters from start to finish, each track sounding as fresh today as it did over twenty years ago in a sweaty basement club. We're particularly fond of "Opcaity" and its cavernous bassline - a truly cutting-edge affair!
Review: Romanian minimal hero Barac Nicolae is back, so get excited! This hero of Bucharest's new guard follows up the tremendous Theory EP (with Vincentiulian) last year which inaugurated his own Theory imprint but this time he appears for Frankfurt's Rawax for the fourth instalment of their Aira series. On the first side "Echoes" is dubby and atmospheric featuring Nicolae's always immaculate production standards with cerebral and hypnotic elements. On the flip "Surrounding Desert" is more intense but still ploughs away in reductionist fashion with some completely mindbending and tripped out sound design on top of his tightly crafted groove.
Review: Despite a sizeable armoury of material for some excellent labels over the years (Clone, Creme, Frustrated Funk, Abstract Forms) Scottish producer Marco Bernardi remains one of the unsung talents currently in operation. Perhaps being under the radar is what Bernardi prefers - it certainly grants him the artistic freedom to go wherever his creative impulses take him, and on this excellent debut release for the flourishing Rawax operation, it's two tracks of experimental if eminently rewarding fare. Lead track "Cyber" draws on themes of technological paranoia amidst a backdrop of dystopian electro characterised by distinct elements of sonic despair. In contrast "Secret Surprise" takes a more positive slant on the Detroitian electro sound, with sparse drum programming cascading around the spaces between the thick analogue bass line and incandescent synth lines.
Review: Continuing his foray into 4/4 after his very recent turn on Futureboogie, this time Marco Bernadi has linked up with the Rawax crew for some more of that gutsy, full-bodied groove business. The synths on "The Garden Of Secrets" once again reveal Bernadi's electro roots, while the crisp and bumping beat stays slow and seductive. "Don't Bother" gets into a more twitchy frame of mind, opting for a more dystopian sci-fi kind of demeanour that leans towards techno drum patterns and interlocking melodies. Things remain decidedly freaky for the deadly "Synthetic Squyrs", albeit in a simmering under the surface fashion, and "Marching Ants" rounds things off with some dusty beat science and plenty of atmospherics.
Review: Kit Clayton isn't immediately associated to techno and minimal dance music, but the San Francisco resident has been on that wave since the late 1990s. While being relatively overlooked, the heads have always been aware of his contributions, and Germany's Rawax have masterfully reissued one of his rarer works, his debut album from 1999 entitled Nek Sanalet. Originally out on the scape imprint, the eight tunes are a wonderfully dense and dubbed-out blend of electronics and quasi beats. "Purpakana" is a perfect example of Clayton's way of moulding liquid-like modular sounds into more concrete shapes, whereas "Kalu" is a beautiful slice of broken, dubby abstraction. We're totally infused with the closing tune, "IInapiseptili", for its thick, luscious blur of dubwise sonics, and pseudo noise. It will fit well into your Chain Reaction of Rhythm & Sound collections; nuff said.
Review: Rawax's latest electro outing comes from one of the Godfathers of the Detroit electro scene, former Aux88 associate DJ Di'jital. Given his pedigree, it's no surprise to find that Final Frontier of Electro is pretty darn good. Across the six tracks he touches on numerous electro variants - ghetto-tech, Miami bass, the Kraftwerk-inspired early New York style and Drexciyan intensity - combining them into thrilling new hybrid shapes. It's rare to find an EP with this many high-grade club tracks, making picking highlights tricky. That said, we're particularly enjoying the thrusting, all out assault of "Injection Star" and the intergalactic, techno-influenced hustle of the forthright title track.
Review: Rawax's Aira Series, in which esteemed producers are asked to create a spate of new tracks specifically using Roland's Aira-branded hardware, has previously delivered impressive outings from Ricardo Villalobos and Ron Trent. Here, it's the turn of Fred P to showcase the "new, but sounds old" possibilities of Roland's production kit. Three of the four tracks are heavily influenced by the twisted, intoxicating world of acid house, with "Dream World" - arguably the pick - also containing some deliciously starry and far-sighted synthesizer motifs. The slow-acid wonkiness of "Slow Euphoria" is potent, too - think Timothy J Fairplay goes to Detroit - while "Common Ground" is a deep, melodious, dub-influenced, intergalactic delight.
Review: Fresh from fine outings on Sukhumvit and Blind Box, Diego Krause serves up a record for Rawax that is, quite literally pale blue (and helpfully titled "Pale Blue", in case you're colour-blind). The vibe is warm, groovy and intoxicating throughout, with Krause wrapping springy and tactile techno grooves with a variety of warm and futuristic melodic elements. This attractive formula is arguably most potent on opener "Artefacts" and the shimmering "Pale Blues", though the funkier and - whisper it - disco-flecked "Heritage" is also rather impressive. Fundamentally, all four tracks strike the right balance between low-end dancefloor grunt and heady, life-affirming melodic bliss.
Review: Last summer, long-serving techno/house fusionist Diego Krause made his first appearance on Rawax. Here he returns to the well-loved imprint with the first EP in a series he's calling "State Of Flow". Opener "Stumblers" is wonky and intoxicating, with Krause wrapping glitch-fired beats and rumbling sub-bass in metallic noises and trippy, outer-space motifs. Over on side B, "Human Spirit" offers a deeper but no less percussively punchy dancefloor workout, while "Operate" is an exercise in smooth sub-bass, bouncy drums, hypnotic tech-house electronics and mind-altering effects. All three tracks are rather tasty, suggesting that Krause's "State Of Flow" series will be one to watch over the months ahead.
Review: Everyone's favourite wonky techno maestro may be in a more housey frame of mind these days, but he's no less disjointed and it makes for some of the rudest 4/4 throwdowns you're likely to hear all year. On this selection for Rawax you can hear the fun Landstrumm is having as the cheery wobble of "Touch My Swiss Cheese" belts out, while "Sweet Style" drops some of that bleep-era darkness into a steady beat with plenty of rave signifiers woven in. "The Wickerman" switches up for a snappy electro turn that calls to mind the recent Doubleheart ventures, proving that the Scottish champ isn't completely sworn over to slower tones.