Review: The first of two promised Darkhaus volumes from veteran Sheffield trio The Black Dog arrives on Ostgut Ton's Unterton imprint, and predictably, it's something of a belter. "Council Flat Emptiness" is a rolling piece of analogue techno funk bathed in a wash of cascading dystopian synth textures; its preceded by the "Stripped" version which pulls all the decorative elements back to just a simple combination of raw bass and lysergic stabs. Luke Slater makes a welcome return to his LB Dub Corp alias with his remix; giving it an industrial overhaul with mammoth kick drums, it puts everything except the juggernaut bassline into a digital blender, slowly building up to a crescendo of whirring bitcrushed noise which mingles with a surprisingly funky melody. In a landscape full of increasingly dry techno, The Black Dog are a consistent breath of fresh air.
Review: Ukranian hypnotic techno merchant and rising star Etapp Kyle is back, this time on Ostgut Ton sister label Unterton. "Opto" is cyclical, functional and bleepy. This track works well and is no doubt honed by his experience releasing for Klockworks in recent years. Second track "Ahora" is the one that really nails it though, with it's doubled up kicks and rapid fire claps doing most of the work beneath some immersive and lush chords. On the flip "Continuum" is definitely the highest-octane track on here for peak time use; this one is thunderous! Finally "Limb" keeps on with the intensity on this reduced yet muscular cut with steely rhythms and grinding synth programming calling to mind classic Steve Rachmad.
Review: Three releases deep and Ostgut sister label Unterton remains consistently surprising in their output; launching with remixes of tobias, the label subsequently secured the first original output from Lauer and Gerd 'the word' Janson's Tuff City Kids project. That latter 12" was prime Panorama Bar material and a favourite of the Juno office and now they present something wholly different in the form of Manhooker. Comprised of producer Guiddo and vocalist Mavin, Manhooker's music presents a lighter side to the stern techno associated with the Ostgut Ton empire, inviting you into a "merry world of post-disco and proto-house, mirror ball fantasies, baby powder dreams and rays of sunshine".
Review: Its debut release time for Nitam as the Retold 12" surfaces on Ostgut-Ton's intermittent sublabel concern Unterton. It's certainly the kind of friendly, melodic stuff that the Berlin label gravitates more readily towards, with a healthy amount of techno powering the machines. "Retold" strides forth with big room intent but not at the expense of the depth of the track, for it is indeed a hypnotic experience to behold. "Neotyp" meanwhile edges in a touch more groove to make for a gentler overall mood, before the muscular pump of "Value Time" brings in some sturdy bass, edgy strings and swooping synth tones. "Exiam" finishes the EP off with a drum-led workout that will have plenty of DJs swooning with mixable delight.
Review: Gerd and Phil land their first set of original Tuff City Kids tracks in style, taking the controls for the second release on Unterton, the newly established offshoot of Ost Gut Ton. The Bobby Tacker EP has Janson and Lauer crafting three tracks of beefcake house with one clear purpose in mind, and executed with the skills they've honed over countless excellent remixes under the Tuff City Kids banner over the years. Lead track "SFS" wastes no time in playing its trump card; a glossy, thick synth line that pulses all the way through the track while the bottom end comes on all rugged and antsy. Meanwhile "Bias" exercises an air of restraint, letting a simple beat unfold while a tense string edges in from the side hinting at the fearsome techno line that growls in the lower register, imbued with the DNA of dub but twisted to a malevolent intent. Finally "Begger" kicks off on some booming Chicago drums slowed down to a modern cruise, but once again it's a powerful lead synth that rules the day.