Review: The ever-busy Rod Modell has a new album due on Soma later this month. Ahead of that set - his fourth for Slam's long-running label - he's decided to put out this taster 12". Curiously, though Atmospherica Volume 1 doesn't contain any tracks from that album, instead serving up three new treats. 12-minute A-side "Fargo" is undoubtedly the star attraction, offering a chunkier-than-usual take on his weed-enhanced dub techno grooves, paranoid textures and loopy electronics. "CMOS Therapy" is even more up-tempo in feel, with urgent rhythms, surging motifs and notably fizzing cymbals. Finally, "Night Song" sees Modell trek deep into the jungle for inspiration, returning with a muddy chunk of dub techno humidity.
Review: As usual, prolific dub techno producer Rod Modell has spent much of the last year collaborating with long-term studio buddy Stephen Hitchell under the Echospace alias. Even so, he's still somehow found time to ready another solo album for Soma (his fifth in total for the esteemed Glasgow imprint). This CD version is presented as a continuous audio journey, with tracks seamlessly segueing into each other to create a hazy and hypnotic sound soup. As you'd expect, it's a hugely atmospheric and attractive affair that dozily drifts between meditative ambience and texture-laden dub techno. Pleasingly, much of the material is more melodious and positive in feel than some of Modell's work, which can often tend towards the dense and claustrophobic.
Review: It's been six years since Lewis Fautzi debuted on Soma, and since then he's become a real techno powerhouse. His latest shows yet more evolution in his sound across four streamlined and hypnotic "Extinction" cuts. "F01" is alluringly low key as drums roll over a frosty and frozen tundra, then "F02" ups the ante with steel plated kicks and sonar-like pulses that burrow deep. After the warped synths of "F03" comes closer "F04", the most heady of the lot thanks to its MIllsian minimalism and infinite melodic loops.
Review: It seems that Slam boys Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle are mellowing with age. Their latest studio album - the long-serving Glaswegian duo's sixth in total - dispels with the raging rhythms and full-throttle peak-time anthems in total, instead serving up a range of cuts that all hover around the 101 BPM mark. It's a successful switch, too, with the pair mining their love of deep techno, the sci-fi fuelled melodious futurism of early Motor City techno, and the beat box-powered punch of electro. Throw in some ambient techno headiness and nods towards turn-of-the-90s IDM and you have a sparkling set that suits serious home listening much more than their previous, dancefloor-centric LPs.
Review: Soma regular SLV is the epitome of techno cool; a producer who eschews press coverage and instead just serves up regular musical missives from his East Berlin studio. "Berlin: A Portrait In Music" is the shadowy producer's second full-length outing following last year's largely club-focused "Origin of Light" on Virgo. It has a very different feel to its predecessor, with SLV offering up a series of atmospheric ambient cuts built around evocative field recordings, gentle melodies, ghostly chords, crackling aural textures and occasional delay-laden percussion hits. While there is some contemplative positivity - see the impeccable sound design of "Forest Voices" and Jonny Nash style bliss of "Mirage" - the majority of the album is surprisingly poignant and melancholic, with SLV embracing the solitude and loneliness sometimes associated with living in a major European city.