Review: Berghain resident Patrick Graeser returns as part of the Ostgut Ton family, with his second full length opus. Much like his 2014 debut Code, Graeser has honed a hybrid musical approach that stands out in a world of uniform 4/4 techno - as heard over the years on MDR, Music Man and of course his own Answer Code Request imprint. Gens is a diverse yet cohesive affair, between the more straight-ahead tracks like "Knbn2", "Cicadae" or the particularly seething "Sphera" (which are breakbeat driven, bass-heavy and UK inspired), there are some mentalist IDM journeys ("Ab Intus/Audax") and even breathtaking ambient moments like "Orarum" and "Mora". Brilliant stuff.
Review: Both Ike Release and John Barera have been buzzing in the underground community for some time now. Ike with releases on Mister Saturday Night, Finale Sessions, Skudge and MOS and John with releases on Argot, Just Jack and Zakim. Now they turn to Ike's Episodes imprint to supply more of their upfront and dancefloor ready cuts. Starting out on the A side with the new wave acid sensibilities of "Looking Ahead" and the ferocious retro jack of "Lights Out" which are sure to set the night on fire. On the flip, the neon lit aesthetic continues with "Cosmic Divide" and "Winding Up" respectively, which conjure the ghosts from those dusty analogue machines to stunning effect.
Review: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
Review: It would be fair to say that Population One's "Temporary Insanity", and its' accompanying B-side, "Multiple Choice", received mixed reviews when the 12" dropped earlier this year. Undeterred, Out Er has decided to get the best out of both of these Terrence Dixon-produced tracks remixed. There are some notable versions, not least Voiski's punchy mix of "Temporary Insanity", which manages to retain some of Dixon's restless energy, whilst adding a few more melodic touches. Elsewhere, Cosmin TRG's version of "Multiple Choice" is a wonky, minimal-goes-acid affair, while Pangea's booming, bass-heavy interpretation of the same track is a shuffling, broken techno treat.
Review: The sheer volume of New York maverick DJ Spider's back catalogue is as intimidating as the picture of the man himself holding a machete in the studio, but it's a rich and unpredictable treasure trove of leftfield techno. He makes an appearance on Thema with a record typically diverse in its make up. The opening track "Throwing Hairs" is a masterful trip through atmospheric, organic soundscapes with submerged ecosystems of sound rippling around deathly simple kick n hi hat pattern. His own rework of "Extropy" features similar smudged textures underneath, but the sweet nature of the chords makes for a killer foil to the murk. "The Final Revolution" gets into a tougher frame of mind, placing plenty of emphasis on the low end and letting fly with some seriously dishevelled percussion. "Distress Signal" is oppressive in its sense of desolation, all icy winds blowing into a kick propelled nothingness.
Review: A promise is a manifestation of intent to act or refrain from acting in a specified way at some point in the future. It's communicated by one party, to at least one additional party, to signify a commitment has been made. The person manifesting intent is the Promisor. The person to whom the manifestation is addressed is the Promisee.
Review: The mysterious Dream Weapons came through earlier this year with the Holger label's third outing, an EP which contained the lovely "Moonland" cut - a moody, lo-fi house cut for the thinkers. This time around, Holger have cherry-picked a couple of remixers to remould the tune into something totally different, starting with man of the moment Barnt (Comeme, Hinge Finger) who proceeds to inject some of his weirdness into the tune...a hypnotic bundle of synths is wound over apocalyptic strings and a steady kick drum. Jens Uwe Beyer, on the other hand, gets rid of all forms normality and chucks a 4/4 beat underneath what is basically a doom metal track - droning guitars and twisted vocals all the way!
Review: Italian expats Yoshi and Sbri run the Libertine imprint out of Berlin and the party of the same name, held down at the iconic Jannowitzbrucke district. Their label brings a renewed focus to often overlooked or even forgotten producers of the vintage techno realm, having previously shone the spotlight on legends such as Justin Morgan aka Ruseden, Ann Arbor's Andy Crosby aka Spesimen of (Infocalypse Records) and Miami electro-bass underdog Gosub. Their attention now focuses on one Scott Edward Hodgson, a London based producer highly active throughout the '90's on his on Beau Monde imprint, in addition to running Out Of Orbit: a sublabel of the legendary Roman imprint ACV, which was operated by the legendary Leo Anibaldi and Robert Armani. Expressive rhythm patterns, otherworldly synth textures plus certain suspense and a distinct aesthetic overall: which is absolutely timeless.
Review: Prolific L.I.E.S. cohort Gunnar Haslam inaugurates the Kavalanic Languages label with some of his sinewy, head-twisting hardware techno machinations, showing us just how to make militant techno as thrilling as possible and leaving ample room for experimental weirdness as well. Opening track "Sostanze" is a taut and wiry beast that will lay waste to mild-mannered crowds, clubs and DJs, while "Atayalic" ramps up the industrial influences for a scary-in-a-good-way romp through evilest techno. "Ururu" is less malevolent but no less kinetically charged, firing off a wealth of pinging percussive synth tones that sound rather modular in nature. Beatless experiment "Ialysas" is no slouch either, pinging out unsettling tones of a discordant nature and creating something quite compelling in the process.
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: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.
Review: Zurich outfit Les Points have previously impressed by developing a distinctively lo-fi, do-it-yourself style of tech-house. That style comes to the fore on this Eklo-released 12", with each of the five tracks bristling with the sounds of outboard hardware and spontaneous sound processing. They begin with the acid-flecked, electro/techno fusion of "ProjectErzame", before showcasing the crunchy drum machine handclaps, chiming melodies and bustling acid bass of "IDM778". Elsewhere, they successfully go deeper and woozier via the head-nodding hum of "Projektsektork", pay a whirlwind visit to the Motor City on the unpronounceable "Projektjezmueschlueggend" (think early Model 500 dragged through a hedge backwards), and reach for the stars on EP highlight "Hescdolby".
Review: The Opal Tapes off-shoot Black Opal has certainly delivered the goods thus far, having put out EP's by Cloudface, Xosar and J.Albert, among others. Life's Track, the Italian duo made up of Dukwa and the always on-point Herva, appear on one of three inaugural releases to introduce the Black Opal White Label. These are five rugged, gritty and ready-to-use floor tracks for the more versatile of DJs, and here are our top three: "Harmonizer" for its tripping, speedy bombardment of steely percussion, "The Drumjazz Leader" because it reminds us of late '90s Metalheadz gone utterly wrong, and "Consequence" for its nutty, distorted feel. Hotly tipped!!
Review: Moon Temple is the new project of Gabriel Andruzzi and if the name sounds vaguely familiar; you probably know him from his involvement in a popular punk-funk band that was active in the mid noughties. This nine track album is Andruzzi's first release under this alias and follows up Moon Temple I, also released this week. According to WT, the album is a collection of "delicate interludes, acid stompers and weirdo spastic mechanical marches." Starting out with the early nineties, Plastikman sounding hardware techno jam "The Short Dance", there's the pounding and stripped hard techno of "Ocean Of Storms" (which calls to mind locals like Shawn O'Sullivan) and the deep and drifting hypnotism of "Lake Of Forgetfulnes".
Review: Mudkid is a pseudonym for German producer Franklin de Costa and this is his third 10-inch release under this name for house label Greta Cottage Workshop. While he initially gained recognition during the minimal boom of the mid-00s, this release resounds to a different sound. Both tracks are robust and rolling, underpinned by tough tribal drums and system-levelling basslines. However, it's what De Costa adds to these basic arrangements that really make this release stand out. Swirling textures, outer-space bleeps and sonic whooshes that glide in like airplane on their final descent over a housing estate towards the flight path, all make this a most unusual house record.
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!
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Floorz Hop" (6:14)
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Again Agin" (6:48)
NC 17 - "Gasoline Or Dettol" (6:46)
Mezigue & Christopher Rau - "Honk For Peace" (3:08)
Review: In support of the joys of teamwork, Smallville regular Christopher Rau has launched Totally Together, a new label committed to releasing collaborations between producers. He handles the first 12" himself, joining forces with a succession of artists across four fine tracks. The A-side boasts two hook-ups with Chicago's Hakim Murphy; the sweaty, jackin' drum machine beats and wayward electronics of "Floorz Hop", and the bass-heavy deep house wooziness of "Again Agin" [sic]. On the flip, Rau joins forces with Nathan Jonson as NC 17, delivering the ghetto-house influenced Chi-town bump of "Gasoline or Dettol" (think winding synth horns, crunchy drum machine handclaps and throbbing sub-bass), before laying down the ultra-deep, ultra-melodious "Carrier" alongside Mezigue.
Review: Back once again on Hungary's singular Tape Hiss imprint, RDMA cuts a mysterious figure as per usual and, of course, bashes out some puristic techno waves like few others at the moment. Driven by a rugged and wholesome techno sound that owes much to the Detroit school of thought, tunes like "Passion Dance" and "To A Wild Rose, which dominate the EP's A-side, bounce and pounce with a forward mentality; the sound is dubby and dark, the only mission being to get people up and nodding their heads the blistering 4/4 showers. There's three more bangers on the flip, from the watery and disparate paths of "Blue In Green", to the minimal flex of "Arboretum", and the mechanical movements of "Arise & Shine". If you like you're techno raw and unfiltered, then you've hit the jackpot.