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.
South East Of The Mountain (Sam Kidel remix) (4:37)
Skeletal (Osvmvsm remix) (3:25)
Bloom (Helm remix) (6:38)
Review: Berceuse Heroique's Ancient Monarchy adds to the Parris story with three beautiful remixes that add and enhance the mysterious London artist's unique vibe all the more. Sam Kidel condenses the vast spacious valleys on "South Side Of The Mountain" with more of a rolling, hardened feel to the drums. Osvmvsm, meanwhile, pays respect to the kick-free "Skeletal" but turbo charges the glock melody with much more of a militant focus and energy. Finally Helm strips "Bloom" right back to its key atmosphere then rebuilds with an ambient, heavily textured and sensory experience.
Review: Following on from last year's God Is Change cassette on Opal Tapes, Butler delivers a dance floor EP of sorts for the Black sub-label. "The Chill" is a droning techno track with a difference; underpinned by chattering percussion and mysterious chimes, it also features the sound of iron bars dropping on a concrete floor, looped to infinity. The melancholic synth riffs that soars through the arrangement has some resemblance of Detroit techno, but it is rooted in too much fuzzy abstraction to sound like a retro copy. The mood changes on "Unrepentant"; there, Butler seeks to relive Chicago's glory days, albeit channelled through a degraded Nation filter. Who knows what he'll get up to next?
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: 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: Journeyed producer Brendon Moeller shows no sign of slowing down, despite a production career that stretches back to the mid 1990s. It's quite a surprise to find that Stimulation marks Moeller's first outing on Plan B Recordings, particularly since he's friends with label co-founder DJ Spider. Predictably, he hits the ground running with "Turbulence", a restless, late night techno throb-job built around a particularly druggy, mind-altering arpeggio line. DJ Spider somehow manages to up the tempo and intensity further on his typically dark and dense remix, before Moeller dusts down his TB-303 and goes crazy on the techno-jack of "Psychoacoustics". Plan B regular Phil Moffa provides the obligatory remix of that track, delivering a version that feels more metallic and otherworldly, not to mention addictively moody.
Review: Personable, who goes by the passport name of M. Geddes Gengras, and also the alias of Fantastic Ego, lands on California's Peak Oil after a bunch of enticing escapades on the always excellent Opal Tapes. He brings yet more peripherally-minded house this time around, starting with the broken, jagged groove that is "Bushi", followed by the odd, molecular house sway of "New Balance". Flip to the B-side, and you'll find the coarse techno shock of "Cris Rose" - a masterfully performed bit of cognitive dissonance between sweet melodics and nasty drums - and the tamer, more cerebral flutters of "New Lines". All in all, a smokin' bunch of outsider joints.
Review: Having already released more material in the past year than producers manage in five, it seems appropriate to remove the "rising" tag from the Detroit-based teenager Generation Next's description, especially when confronted by the quality of the productions on Medication. Adopting a tougher stance than on the deeper sounds of his previous issues on 7 Days Entertainment, the EP explores a number of acidic permutations; "Sum Light" sees a finely tuned 303 line hopping amidst crisp drum machine rhythms, while "Acid Alcohol" sees a livelier variation on the same theme augmented by brisk 808s. However, it's "Generic Current" that offers the most impressive cut, a heady combination of droning bass and sci-fi lead that sounds like it should be soundtracking a malevolent cyborg stalking the streets of Detroit.
Review: Escape The Matrix sees the return of NYC sewer dweller Gut Nose, back on the Styles Upon Styles label that issued his superb 2014 album Filthy City. "Ten 18" is a noisy, loopy roller with a chopped up vocal thrown into the mix. It also has a punky undercurrent. Such rough and ready elements are pervasive elsewhere on Escape The Matrix. "Moon Lasers" revolves around a loose rhythm, dubbed out drums and atmospheric textures, while "Drifting to Parts Unknown" follows a similar approach, albeit to a faster tempo and noisier soundscapes. Gut Nose is also adept at making more musical tracks, and on "Enjoy Thy Flesh" even embraces jazzy keys, but he's primarily interested in noisy, at the fringes techno, as the fuzzy, frazzled live drums on "Crafty Gambit" demonstrate.
Review: The second part of Nigel "Perseus Traxx" Rogers' Ellis De Havilland double-header (his first since 2013's similarly formatted Born Out Of Cheapness & Frustration) continues where its' predecessor left off, with the producer showcasing more "straight to tape" hardware compositions. The seven tracks vary in tone, tempo and texture, from the druggy throb of "Track 1", and fierce-but-weird "Track 2", to the clicking, outer-space hypnotism of "Track 4", and Jamal Moss style acid onslaught "Track 6". They're all subtle variations on a theme, created with a relatively sparse selection of old drum machines, synths and samplers, but there's enough variety to keep things fresh and interesting.