Review: The shady, provocative artist who goes by the name of 99Letters is back with a selection of mesmerising techno-not-techno tracks for the young and audacious Dalmata Daniel label. As with the rest of this producer's music, these jittery, improvisational outsider tunes have got the sound of the cassette hiss very much at the forefront of the mix, and you can almost hear the cogs of those reel-to-reels turning gloriously. "Neo Life" is a pallid, dreamy stratosphere of beats and pads, but the lead tune "Untold Future" is where we really begin to hear 99Letters' style, that dubby, hazy kind of techno that travels on the borders of dance music and electronica. "Cooper" is similarly washed-out, except that here the beat arrangement has got more in common with electro than tech, while "Neo Life (TRP dub)" is a solid, acid-ridden squelcher with a magnificent layer of distortion and analogue funk.
Review: The third release on Verdant frames AOS and Sonitus Eco opposite each other for an original production and a corresponding remix, plumbing the depths of submerged techno to dazzling effect. "Hubble" is a soothing lullaby of machine soul, which then receives a shot of adrenaline for the snappier "Red Shift" version. "Supernova" has a tougher framework, but the synths continue to reach for the stars with uplifting results. Then the "Blue Shift" version of "Supernova" taps up a melancholic house approach that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Kompakt release.
Review: Area returns to his Kimochi label to deliver a rich musing on ambient approaches from a techno mindset, and he's brought some esteemed friends along for the ride. "Through The Wall" is a magnificent slice of melancholy that leads the A-side in a cloud of billowing chords that undulate through modulation, while "Everything Thrown Away" takes a more intimate approach with quietly drifting synth tones and subtle FX processing. Donato Dozzy's "Genesis Chamber" mix of "Entireless" is a more extravagant affair with layers of noise and feedback working into the beatless space, and Eltron John's guest spot on "Pop Life" adds further aquatic shapes to the fluid tones contained within.
Review: Green Village has already proven itself to be a trusted outpost for all kinds of adventurous souls in the US house and techno game. Transmitting out of Jersey City, the label now invites Ali Asker to serve up a mixed bag of treats. "Standards" heads into classic electro territory, while "Concatenate" swerves into strange, fractured lands somewhere between deepest techno and outright tropical ambience. "Ascent" is a celestial soarer, all achingly beautiful arpeggios and sub bass pressure, which DJ Spider then drags into one of his knotted grooves. Patrice Scott's version is understandably lighter, favouring his trademark strain of soul-stirring deep house as a framework for whispers of the original to dart around.
Review: The second volume of Bushwick Is Melting features original unreleased material by Brooklyn-based producers Black Meteoric Star, Lorna Dune, and J. Slusher. Gavin Russom apparently has a new Black Meteoric Start LP on the way and we can't wait based on the epic, sweeping grandness that is the 18 minute A-side hogger "Unearthed Arcana" which is quite hypnotic when in full flight. The B-side finds Lorna Dune putting her experiments with the piano to one side to focus on some celestial house moves with "Reflux" which will appeal to fans of Legowelt's more star gazing moments whilst the wonderfully named J. Slusher closes out the record with the face melting techno cut "Night Train".
Review: Braiden's material has been slow to come out since he first landed with a bang on Doldrums back in 2010. A turn on Rush Hour confirmed his status as a producer in command of the chops necessary to get a dancefloor shaking, but this year's X Years In London OST cassette was a chance for him to expand into more experimental pastures. Not so on this new 12" for his Off Out label, which finds Braiden turning up the heat with some fiercely modern tech house workouts. "V.O.L.A.T" has the same kind of dangerous earworm armour that made Paul Woolford's "Erotic Discourse" so potent all those years ago. "Hydroplane" meanwhile takes some of the crisp but playful tropes of Pearson Sound et al and straps them to a thrumming motorik beat.
Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
Review: Nigel "Perseus Traxx" Rogers last used the Ellis De Havilland alias back in 2013, simultaneously releasing a pair of EPs to launch the Bunker 4000 series. Three years on, he's set to do the same. This first EP (of two) contains a sextet of straight-to-tape machine jams that variously pay tribute to early acid house, wild and experimental jack-tracks, Larry Heard, Jamal Moss, and mind-bending industrial techno. The beats variously swing and bang, the acid lines spurt from the speakers at odd intervals, and tape hiss rises and falls in volume from track to track. Each of the six tracks is eminently playable; taken as a whole, 1 is a pleasingly forthright collection.
Review: Italy's Antonio Marini last came through on Wicked Bass in 2016, and this new EP for his own On Board Music marks the artist's first release of 2017. We'd been waiting impatiently. Like he often does, Marini appears alongside and strange and wonderful blend of mystical sonics that seem to possess to tangible source and, by that, we mean that the sounds seem to have been made by Mother Earth herself. For example, the subtly acidic harmonies of "Abduction" breathe life into the rest of the sparse beat formula that surrounds them, with the following "Harmony Of The Spheres" similarly crafting a wonderful bed of organic melodies which come together into one glorious bundle of sound. On the B-side, "Alternative Currents" forms a majestic wave of improvised percussion knots and blurry cosmic rays, while "Persec City" jazzes up the mood with some very 'free' movements, and "Seven Transmutations" ties the EP to a close with a distant, opaque cocktail of classic Healing Force vibes. Wonderful stuff, as always.
Review: Brit in Melbourne Kloke follows up previous releases on this impressive NYC label (and sterling effort in 2014 on Sub Squared) with something different. The intense Latin percussion workout of "PHONE" sounds like Sergio Mendes on steroids in this relentless epic, while "Rhythm #1" is more restrained in its exotic execution. Jamal Moss does an impressive job as ever on the remix. His analogue hardware jam turning the track into something else completely.
Revolution (Marcellus Pittman Sexual Pulse remix) (9:56)
Review: Bologna's NAS1 lands on his hometown's Sorry For This label, coming through with four magnificent house experiments that enter the scene from left of field. "Vino Cheenese" hardly boasts any beats except for a hazy blur of percussion, while "Ag Pini" sounds like a deep house cut that's been diluted in heavy amounts of aqueous FX, and "The Springer" comes in hard with a stomping blockade of harsh acid distortions. Surprise remix action from Detroit's mighty Marcellus Pittman features on the flip, with the veteran house solider dropping a remix of "Revolution", ending up with a convoluted house tune that manages to bring out the funk amid the darkness in its path. Recommended!
Review: Bristol's finest Jules Smith aka October is back with more reduced EBM mutations following up the dusty and rusted experiments ts as heard on his great Death Drums cassette on No Corner just last year, not to mention 2015's wicked Black Body Radiation. It's the second edition of his new eponymous imprint here. On the A side we have "Repentant (version)" a grotty acid slow burner that squeals away menacingly above the seething dirt of vintage drum computers. On the flip "Judgement Dub" goes for an early Chicago vibe somewhere between Jamie Principle and K. Alexi with its haunting pads and funk bass supported by spitfire rhythm patterns and morose atmosphere that's geared for the early morning hours of a sweaty Berlin basement party.