Review: Gird yourselves; starting from this month and running through until December, Dutch institution Dekmantel are celebrating a decade in the game with a series of monthly 12"s featuring a seriously all-star cast from Tony Allen to Villalobos. It starts right here as legendary innovative composer Gigi Masin opens with the lilting, delicate "Maja", Vakula brings us down from the clouds and back to the future with the body-jacking ghetto bump of "Robot Fuck The System" while Flugel blows the finale horn with the swampy Amazonian harmonic trip-out "Mice On Stick". This is the start of something very special.
Tipping Point (AnD Tipped Over The Edge & Back Again remix)
Blood On The Controls (Whok mix #1)
Blood On The Controls (Whok mix #2)
Review: For those who don't know, Trensmat is not a rip-off of Detroit's Transmat, but rather, Ireland's answer to labels such as Blackest Ever Black and Hospital Productions. If you check their discography, there's plenty of hidden gems to uncover. On this record, the enigmatic Valved receives a furious remix treatment from two Juno HQ favourites. "Tipping Point" is downright disfigured by the incorrigible AnD duo - not once but twice: the first remix offers a cascade of fuzzy, distorted kicks and incessant drone loops, while the second removes all traces of a beat and delves deep into the cogs of the machines. On the flip, "Blood On The Controls" is rewired twice by Whirling House of Knives. The first is a chest-bursting monster from the depths of the drum machines, while the second is a slice sparse and experimental neo-funk with an otherworldly succession of popping kicks and crystal-like background atmospherics. TIP!
Review: After years spent supporting the underground IDM scene digitally, Glasgow label Ambidextrous makes the leap to vinyl with this killer compilation of ear-catching deep techno and electronica. Christ brings a bubbling range of synth tones to "Rom" before Norken and Nyquist drop some brooding electro tones over rolling beats on"Od Detot". Solipsism has a more sassy house sound to impart, while Nyquist goes into full electro mode on his own. On the flip, Analogue Audio Association have some edgy acid to throw down, Cyan341 brings a touch of boogie flex to the record and Mich Chillage rounds the record off with emotive outboard electronics of a reflective nature.
Review: Acid Waxa drew plenty of positive heat for carrying Roy Of The Ravers amongst many other respected braindancers, but now Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones is getting the remix treatment on the label for her Pillow Person project, with some wild results. It's great to see Bogdan Raczynski back in action and bringing some gently wonked, emotional acid meanderings to "On Your Way", while Lechuga Zafiro makes an art out of aping footwork, and more specifically "Footcrab" while making it sound like someone just stubbed their toe and got stuck in a loop. IYDES however turns "In My Game" into a deconstructed but utterly bloated pop beast, and then Oliver Coates whips "Go Ahead" into a woozy, highly strung daze with billowing synths underneath Jones' vocal.
Review: London based producer Jules Venturini is up next for Whities, following up great releases by Avalon Emerson and Lanark Artefax. On the label's 14th edition, Venturini follows up some sludgy lo-fi techno/house derivatives on Polish label Brutaz with some more similarly rusty and dust covered aesthetics. Beginning with the 12 minute epic "Flying Kites" which channels early '90s British bleep IDM, until that fast hitting groove hits at just the right time towards the end. Lush ambient piece "Keep Me Close" works as an effective intermission of sorts on this grainy and saturated dream state captured to VHS. Finally, Venturini displays a more aggressive side as seen on his previous release with the gnarly and slow burning industrial electronics of "Trace Of Smoke".
Review: Crimes Of The Future is the kind of label you can trust, no matter who is at the controls. The same could be said for Giallo Disco, and certainly the two labels orbit a similar space for lurid soundtrack-inspired hardware jams from the Italo age. Vercetti Technicolor is one half of the Giallo team alongside Antoni Maiovvi, and here steps out with a perfectly bombastic range of compositions that revel in B-movie brilliance. "Golden Taurus" is the perfect slow-burner, those mono bass notes warming like no soft synth ever could, while "Topaz Fear" brings a more action-driven sequence into the mix. "Death Wish" too opts for a pumped up club scenario, while Heinrich Dressel smokes out "Golden Taurus" into a seedy slow-jam.
Review: Label co-founder Gianni Vercetti Balopitas aka Vercetti Technicolor returns to Giallo Disco after the Black September LP. Here he presents the soundtrack to 'the psychedelic neon-soaked slasher short' Hard Pill. Directed by Daniel Freedman, Balopitas' Fulci meets Digweed score takes you from Mainetti to Martinez. Drugged out club hits and tense shadowed corridor atmospherics. The title track's dark romance is epic suspense and moodlighting reminiscent of the great John Carpenter while B side electro cut "Voice Of Darkness" goes down the same gothic brooding path as Visonia. It all comes to a thrilling climax on the slow burning closer "She Does" full on rich vintage synth flar, ricocheting Linn drums drenched in gated reverb and the most razor sharp arpeggios you'll ever hear. Alongside Timothy J Fairplay's LP on Charlois, we'd rate this as one of the 2017's finest offerings for new wave Italo fiends and retroverts.
Review: Having released over fifty records since their foundation back in 2009, Dark Entries use the widened exposure afforded by that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation released in the last quarter of 2013 as a springboard to launch a new dedicated 12" series. Retaining their archival approach, the first release focuses on the short-lived Italian act Victrola; formed as a four piece combo in Messina, Victrola slimmed down to the synthesizer and guitar-based duo Antonio "Eze" Cuscina and Carlo Smeriglio and moved to the fertile music scene growing in early 80s Florence. In 1983, the pair issued their one record-shaped contribution to the early 80s Italian synth scene in the shape of Maritime Tatami, a two-track 12? issued on the Electric Eye label. Recorded using the Roland TR303 and TR606 at a time when these models had only been made available, so this reissue of Maritime Tatami from Dark Entries offers a chance for people to assess a slice of analogue experimentation at its most nascent.
Review: Initially a duo responsible for a sole 7" release on Blind Prophet, Void Vision re-emerges here as the sole project of Shari Vari on this sublime 12" for the excellent Mannequin Records. The three track Sour precedes a debut Void Vision LP for the Berlin-based operation which is apparently due later this year and we cannot wait based on the sounds explored here. Lead track "Sour" is a ripe and muscular Italo track which is profoundly danceable and wholly erotic, whilst the accompanying remix from Bordello A Parigi pair Vanzetti & Sacco does a splendid job in magnifying more dancier elements of Void Vision's production. The full throttle instrumental thrust of closing track "20/20" will please fans of Void Vision's earlier work though we are more focused on what she's going to do next!
Zombies Under Stress - "Maan Zal Zijn" (Svengalisghost remix)
Mark Forshaw - "Submission"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.