Review: This steadfastly experimental three-tracker has its origins in a Hamburg instillation by F#X and Nika Son. That installation was created utilizing a battery of tape machines, broken synthesizers, cheap drum machines and their own manipulated vocals. The resultant tracks are dark, woozy, atmospheric, densely layered sonically, and devilishly hard to pin down. So while nine-minute A-side "Geroll" revolves around a manipulated, hip-hop style breakbeat, it's the ghostly electronics and curious effects that catch your ear. Flipside "Diptongues", seemingly created from densely layering up reversed vocal samples and creepy electronics, is even more impressive, even if it may inspire nightmares amongst the squeamish. Bizarre music concrete cut "Tenno" completes a fine package.
Review: Helena Hauff's label is back, this time presenting a various artists 12" that heralds the start of the No Return series. The release starts on a mystical bent with the Eastern-tinged death electro of "El Carmel", sounding ripe for a Hague-friendly warm-up session. Neud Photo then take over with a dystopian trip through rich synth tones coloured in dark hues for the bleakest of robotic fantasies. Antoni Maiovvi fills the B-side with the slow grinding bombast of "The Dig", bleeding out a noirish take on coldwave for the darkest hearts to swoon to.
Review: Musical (and real life) couple Local Suicide has been in fine form of late, delivering a series of solid collaborations with the likes of Curses, Franz Matthews and Theus Mago. Here they go solo once more via a first outing on Lumiere Noire. Title track "Leopard Gum" is dark, woozy and feverish, with the pair wrapping curiously off-kilter vocals, intoxicating electronics and ghostly chords around a slow, sparse, bass-heavy groove. It's given a throbbing, darkwave inspired makeover by regular studio buddies Smagghe & Cross, before Local Suicide serves up the clandestine and atmospheric new wave chug of "Already There". In typical fashion, synthesizer fetishist Phillip Lauer offers up an Italo-disco influenced interpretation that turns the track into a cheery chunk of Balearic disco goodness.
Space Afrika - "After They Entered It Was Only Evident" (3:59)
Review: "Shared Meanings" has been one of Mumdance's most ambitious and explorative projects to date; pulling together the four corners of the hardcore continuum and tying them in a tight bow, his mix has drawn elements and parallels between all genres and laced them in a narrative that mirrors and reflects throughout. Now, for limited time only, we have five of the 32 tracks he included in the mix ranging from his and Logos' totem track "Teachers" which pays homage to the UK's forefathers, to the pulverising thumpy bumpy techno of Nkisi's "Kinenga" via stasis sensation ambience from Space Afrika in the form of "After They Entered It Was Only Evident". Coordinates don't come much broader or deeper, "Shared Meanings" is Mumdance in full on explorer mode. Long may his meaningful trips continue.
Review: The first release on One Instrument saw artists like Korridor, Serena Butler and Yair Elazar Glotman demonstrating new experimental sides to their studio practice. The second release comes from Italian master Neel, who presents two distinct demonstrations of his unique touch and deep gear knowledge. The A side is a lingering ambient piece captured from the tail end of a session using the E340 Cloud Generator oscillator, while the B side focuses on the Roland SH-01A, itself an update of the iconic SH-101. The results of these two intriguing, limitation oriented excursions are as compelling as you would expect.
Review: Nitzer Ebb and Mute aside, if you're looking for some high-class EBM-style music then The Neon Judment should be your first port of call. Davo Da Davo and TB Frank made some utterly timeless music back in the 80s and early 90s, but what we really love about their style is that they effortlessly glided between synth-pop and odd, inimitably obscure strains of industrial tones. Cockerill-Sombre was originally released in 1983 and, of course, Dark Entries are here to reissue the gem in the finest of styles. The opener "Please Release Me, Let Me Go-Go" is the best post-punk nugget that's been reissued thus far in 2017; the tune is a bizarre blend of hip-hop vocalism rapped through a fuzzy, electro-like filter that has been playing on our turntable since Monday morning, while "Too Cold To Breathe" sprays a shuddery sequence of vocals over a nervy techno, 4/4 drum machine. "The Fashion Party" bubbles its wavy bassline over incessant analogue drums, and makes for a fine proto-techno joint, leaving "1 Jump Ahead" to provide us with a fast, tribal post-punk bullet that leaves us yearning for more TNJ material.
Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
Review: In late 2016, Lobster Theremin launched their new sub-label: the ambient, drone and experimental electronics offshoot Lobster Sleep Sequence. After label head Jimmy Asquith came across Thet Liturgiske Owasendet's immense ambient epic "Catalina" on Soundcloud, it soon became 'a staple cure to a bout of recent prolonged sleeplessness and mild insomnia that he'd been unable to shake via any other means.' For the label's second release we have Richard Vergez's Night Foundation project, which launched in 2016. Already part of the Lobster network as graphic designer for Raw MT and Hedge Maze's releases, it wasn't long before Asquith soon came across Vergez's new project and decided to release it. Formed of three separate parts, Memory Bells is a mesmerising and evocative body of work.
Review: The mythical Transdance from UK duo Night Moves is given a much needed official repress by Domestica Records and the Barcelona label have spared no expense. A limited pressing of 400 10"s come housed in hand screen printed sleeves accompanied by a leaflet with complete biography of the band. Despite the paucity of Night Moves discography, it's clear the duo of Michael Guihen and John Davis have had an everlasting effect on the canon of synth music with their much admired debut. Transdance was originally released as a limited 12" white label in 1981, finding favour on the dance floors of Europe and New York City yet never really gained the wider exposure it richly deserved. Original copies of the GC1 pressing of Transdance still command slightly ridiculous prices on Discogs so kudos to Domestica for this rather special presentation which features a previously unreleased demo cut "Life Up" on the flip.
Review: A seminal 81/83 record that epitomised so many sounds and melting pots: synth wave, Italo, New Romantic, electro, proto house... The list of worlds this groundbreaking song traversed is remarkable. Here Dark Entries compile the four versions that were cut during its two key release phases on GC Recordings in 1981 and 1983 in all their remastered glory. Smouldering, moody and still relevant to so much going on musically, this is true piece of history.
Review: Lucerne based Prasens Editionen was founded in 2011 to give home to Zweikommasieben Magazin. Ever since, a bunch of magazines, books, zines, records, tapes and oddities have been published. After digging deep into their vast archive, they found two gems that are particularly striking: a live recording from a collaborative project (on Side A) in the form of the the textural industrial/noise journey by Nilbog entitled "Liverecording 02/11/16". On the flip Mr Pena's "TMC" (The Markt Chronicles) is a three minute gabba onslught. Mr. Pena lets loose, aiming at hardcore dancefloors while balancing between fight-or-flight terror and pacifying joy. Edition of 300.
Review: Niv Ast only has one other release to their name, a self-released album that landed no less than five years ago. Now Snap, Crackle & Pop have tapped up the mysterious producer for a striking record that matches modern 4/4 styles with new wave grit, leading in with the seriously moody "Quebec / Makolet". "Disco Monroe" has a slower tempo to appeal to the chugger crowd, with a seductive French vocal hovering over the top of the steady trucking rhythm section. Khidja tackles "Quebec / Makolet" on the flip, injecting some spaced out processing into the original to create an otherworldly version that does a great service to the source material. Mr TC then pings "Disco Monroe" out into a heavily dubbed hinterland, where the delay feedback and reverb decays rain down heavy over a slow, fractured beat.
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
Review: Manni Dee might be best known for his upfront techno tackle on Perc Trax and the like, but he's also been quietly building up a separate identity as Nuances, and it's a world away from his dancefloor output. Following on from some choice album appearances on Bastakiya Tapes, it's up to Tabernacle to give the project its first outing on wax. While Tabernacle can have some range in their sound, this finds the label plunging wholeheartedly into ambient climes. Heavily processed textures and delicate chimes all feed into a truly evocative atmosphere loaded with significance. Ignore the familiar name behind the music - this is an album deserving attention all on its own.
Review: Fresh from delivering a fine album of experimental electronics for Further Records (the ambient leaning Hyperboreal), Manuel Fogliata pops up Parisian imprint Latency with a pleasingly varied four-tracker. As if to emphasize his techno roots, he begins with something big and heavy - the pulsating rhythm, fluttering deep space electronics and hypnotic dancefloor intensity of "OK Face". Fogliata further proves his techno credentials with the rather brilliant "Morning Loving", a decidedly picturesque chunk of ambient techno that's both danceable, and aesthetically pleasing. Elsewhere, he pauses for a breather via the delay-laden beauty of ambient cut "Aphrobite", and wanders into trippy modular synthesizer territory on the beat-less "M_Animal".
Nocturnal Emissions - "Even The Good Times Are Bad (1983)" (4:33)
Innyster - "Todis" (6:08)
Review: Contort Yourself reaches its sixth installment with yet another era spanning gathering of post-punk and industrial oddities for the most deviant of dancefloors to digest. In the contemporary corner we have Penelope's Fiance, a promising industrial artist from Greece. Meanwhile on the B-side, Nigel Ayers as Nocturnal Emissions takes us back to 1983 with the utterly chilling "Demon Circuits Bloodbath" and "Even The Good Times Are Bad". L.I.E.S boss Ron Morelli steps up as U202 to remix "Even The Good Times Are Bad" as a death march of malevolent percussion.