Review: Style Upon Styles sister label Bangers & Ash is fired up once again to encourage a select artist to indulge both their ambient and dancefloor sides, and on this occasion it's US producer Contakt who has been asked to split his musical personality across two sides of wax. It's actually the mellower 'Ash' side that leads in first, with the dub techno meditation of "Second Shift" followed up by the star-gazing machine soul of "Detritus." Then on the flip the heat gets turned up with the rolling drums and punchy chord stabs of "Shut Off Notice" and the distinctly Motor City flavoured thump of "NDO."
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: Swedish techno-punk pranksters Frak have been at it since 1987 and still going strong as staples of the notorious Borft imprint. Jackmaster's Ultimate Hits label scores this crucial double pack from Frak which sees the trio throw down some gnarly and snarling acid jams. The grinding and tunnelling "Travel" is the kind of jam you'd hear rocking the Golden Pudel at peak time on a Friday night. "No Adventure" is some nice boompty acid for good measure while "Peace Ticket, Return" is some gutsy proper acid nastiness for even better results. The short two minute interludes throughout the album of improvised modular magic are fascinating, as is the emotive deep house journey "Bus To Abyss" which was quite a surprising highlight.
Review: Antonio Marini aka Healing Force Project is back with the Tranhumanism EP on Ambiwa. Starting out with the ever mysterious "Methodical Ear", it's more of the same later on "Sinapsi Sonora" which like the previously mentioned track sounds like the dusty and emotive deepness of early Sound Signature via the tough and rusty swing of fellow Italians Relative; a nice touch indeed. He then gives us the brooding and hypnotic "Shadow Manipulation Of The Mind" awash in delay drenched organs and skeletal vintage drum machine flair. But the fierce yet restrained functionalism of "State Of Induced Hibernation" with its near tribal moments supported by a series of exotic and mindbending drones is pure bliss. We'll say it again: Marini is undoubtedly one of the most underrated producers in techno at the moment!
Review: Starting to make diversions from his beloved $tinkworx moniker, JT Stewart makes his second outing under his own name for Greece's Echovolt label, dealing in sumptuous analogue synthesis in a strange vein somewhere between house and techno, although certainly not tech house. It's richly melodic stuff, but also detuned just enough to add some excitement and mystery to the mix. "Vandaleur" struts along with a sci-fi-horror tone, while "Forgotten Hauler" gets a bit rougher in the percussion department while the synths pound out a Detroit manifesto. "Ophelia" on the B-Side takes a more relaxed affair as the groove skips playfully and light piano and string pads define the atmosphere.
Review: Romania's newest source of experimental minimalist, Listen2Me, digs up a new talent by the name of MGCH, and shoots him - or her - onto our shelves with this small marvel of an EP. "87" is a delightful tune, a glitchy minimal groove that travels between house, noise and electro with utter ease and pure elegance, a sound that is matured further via the rhythmic sway of the moodier, dubbier folds and clicks of "Is This It". There's a trio of leftfield charmers on the flipside, spear-headed by the warm and placid glow of the near beatless "What For", evolved into something of a lounge house mood on "How You See", and tied off by a dubwise reinterpretation of "87" by Serb. TIP!!
Review: Moon Temple is Gabriel Andruzzi, who some of you may know as the former bass player/saxophonist and engineer from New York City (via San Diego) outfit The Rapture. This nine track album is Andruzzi's first release under this alias and comes in two volumes. According to Willie Burns WT Records, the album is a collection of "delicate interludes, acid stompers and weirdo spastic mechanical marches." Starting out with the chilling dark ambient intro "Approaching The Inner Temple", he then gets stuck into the deep acid techno jam "Sea Of Crisis" (which brings to mind the sounds of Tin Man) while "Bay Of Rainbows" goes for the jugular on this adrenalised 303 thriller.
Review: The raw jackin' antics of early Chicago merges with the sludgy new school attitude of outsider house (can you still call it that?) of the second instalment on Northern Powerhouse. It's quite fitting then to discover that the project is comprised of Alex Handley (who has been producing since the mid '90s in projects such as Primordial Soup) and accomplished producer Nigel Rogers aka Perseus Traxx. Featured on this edition is some rusty and decayed machine soul on the bouncy "Slapdash Bass" while the flip features some decent electro on the gnarly clang and clatter of "Philantropy 101"
Review: SH2000, a mystery artist whose been busy keeping himself under the radar, returns to Volking Music with another EP (check the guy's Ethereal Sound release for a true lesson in deepness!) and it's two tracks of utter symphonic beauty. "Track 1" releases a steady, driving kick beneath airy, delayed sonics and dreamy melodies, while on the flip, "Track 2" heads into total abstraction thanks to a starry landscape of atmospherics gliding left, right and centre without the help of any beat or bassline. Breathtaking excursions into the ether.
Review: It's been some two years since Society Of Silence, aka Parisian pair Benoît 'BNY' Legrain and Poni Hoaxer Nicolas 'Tite' Villebrun released a record through their own eponymous label, in which time they've not exactly been prolific but have graced Versatile with a clutch of fine 12"s. This Chroma slab is a welcome return for Society Of Silence on Society Of Silence then, and finds the French duo presenting a diverse three track doctrine of their production palette. The title track is an intricately produced exercise is deep, dubby techno, whilst "Tunnel" ramps up the tempo exponentially, whilst "Tacam Dub" is reminiscent of a Claro Intellecto track cut to lo-fi tape and subjected to all manner of stretching.
Review: Clear Edition: If you've seen the Modular synth documentary I Dream of Wires, you'll have been suitably impressed with the soundtrack provided courtesy of Suction Records boss Solvent. Whilst there was a double LP edition of the soundtrack, it didn't feature all the music Solvent had recorded for the documentary. That has now been remedied as Suction lay out this limited addendum 12" (available in three different colours of vinyl) consisting of previously digital only cuts and some fresh remixes. The DJs out there will be happy to see techno cut "Hadron" make the 12" upgrade, whilst the remix of "King Vincent" from Wrangler (featuring Cabaret Voltaire founder Stephen Mallinder) is equally floor-focused. Do check the other remix, of "Sender", which sees Todd Sines adopting his Interval alias for some unsettling modular sonics!!