Review: Outlaw founder Matthew Oh has always taken a pragmatic approach to releasing music, pressing up 12-inch singles only when he feels like he has something to offer to the paying public. Happily, he's reached that moment again, some 18 months on from his previous Outlaw excursion. Many will no doubt enjoy title track "Lacuna", a hushed and hugely atmospheric early morning techno shuffler full of dubbed-out electronic riffs, crackling aural textures, ultra-deep breakdowns and hypnotic, locked-in beats. "Black Rainbow" offers a bolder and slightly tougher take on spacey, Detroit influenced dub techno, while "Intro" is a gloriously atmospheric blend of fuzzy field recordings and gentle ambient chords.
Review: Bemasked Snuff Crew man Snuffo comes through with his debut album, the rather strikingly-named Live Free or Die, which doubles up as the first LP release on the Berlin label's In The Dark Again subsidiary. Apparently recorded after a trip to New Hampshire in the US - whose state motto inspires the title - the ten tracks offer an insight into Snuffo's darker sensibilities and bring out some of his EBM and industrial flavours. Amidst the oodles of spectral synths that characterise the album, what really comes through is Snuffo's mastery of drum machine rhythms making Live Free or Die an album full of tracks suited for the dancefloor.
Review: Throughout his short but productive career to date, Keita Sano has managed to keep buyers guessing, delivering both rugged, L.I.E.S style machine workouts (see his release on Mr Saturday Night, for starters), and more intriguing, hard-to-pigeonhole fare (the Afrobeat-influenced deep house dustiness of Sweet Bitter Love on Spring Theory). Here, he pops up on Greece's Lower Parts with a selection of heavy, apocalyptic jams. There's a dash of rugged acid ("All God's Chillun Got Rhythm"), some crazed techno-wonk ("Marine California"), a spooky, stripped-back box jam ("Chaotic Death Strike"), and even a trip into drowsy, dubbed-out hypnotism ("7am").
Review: At the moment, little to nothing is nothing about either Visballa or Umummu Records other than the fact that both artist and label are associated with Berlin's Atelier crew. As a gentle reminder, they are the badboys making the dopest music around, under the Adopo moniker - friends of Sotofett, Dynamo Dreesen, SVN et al! Coming through in LP form, Mud HZ is probably the best piece of experimental work that we have heard this year - no lie! Through an odd and off-kilter approach to merging different aspects of the industrial realm under one roof, Visballa has hit the nail on the head when it comes to quirkiness. In fact, there is not much like this on our charts at the moment, both in and out of the leftfield game; it makes all the rest of the 'outsider' field seem stale by comparison. Highly recommended!
Music Is My Life (feat Tominori Hosoya - Hiroshi Watanabe aka Kaito remix) (8:22)
Autumn (Kiki remix) (7:37)
Review: Tominori Hosoya is a producer from Tokyo. His trademark sound makes use of intricate melodies and quality production techniques. Through his experience as a DJ, he became influenced by progressive sounds that led him to try his hand at producing. In 2008, he debuted on Dublin's Nice & Nasty records and has kept on going since, with tracks on Suspected, Medium and his own TC White. Now he appears for Offenbach am Main based Gabcat for their ninth edition on wax. On the A side of the brilliant Music Is My Life EP, we have the dark yet slinky tech house of the title track. With its reverb drenched elements facing off with tribal drums and tunnelling melodies, it's impressive. Up next is the rather evocative remix by Kaito: progressive house at its absolute finest! On the flip, there's the rather sublime "Autumn" in its original form, but it's all about Berlin's Kiki giving it the dark journey treatment: optimised for proper dancefloor drama. Life & Death eat your heart out!
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: 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: Hailing from Hong Kong and more commonly found recording as S.Y., this release is the first music the producer has put out as Dopamine Rider, and it's certainly a record that thrives on unpredictable rushes of chemicals to the brain, making it a perfect fit on Discos Capablanca. "$ LFO" sports a techno framework of sorts, but it's really a vessel for strange ripples of FX and one-shot tones, but then "Personal FX" ramps up the freakiness with some atonal machine whirring that sounds like it's been wrenched from an errant modular system. "John Cage Is My Homeboy" is positively delicate in comparison, but it's by no means straight laced, and "Sai Ying Pun" finishes this adventurous EP off with a strange drum track that adds a little spice to the DJ tool format.
Review: Proof of the rude health of the Australian underground abounds with this new label from Phile, who step out with a self-titled debut EP that tells you all you need to know. This is searing, brutalist techno crafted with invention and imagination - the dense crackle of the beats and scorched peals of synth on "Found In Blood" are a visceral force to behold. "Marauder" is mellow by comparison, furnishing a minimal beat with live bass, dramatic string licks and steadily building atmospherics. The analogue dirt of "Abhor" is positively evil, and that's before Karina Utomo's none-scarier vocals come into play. Brimming with personality and demanding of your attention, Phile made themselves a duo to watch in one fell swoop.
Review: Adiel is resident at Goa Club in Rome, and over the past couple of years she's quietly issued 12"s that complement her DJ style with angular, experimental electronic variations. While the ingredients (drum machines, errant synths) may be familiar, the patterns and shapes are not. An icy dread lingers over the likes of "Vibra" with its uneasy reverb space and subtly unsettling undertones, but this is also utterly seductive dance music too. "Ritmo" in particular has a truly meditative quality to it that strikes even deeper thanks to the tense, percussion-led atmosphere. "Melodica" pours a little more techno propulsion into the mix, highlighting the compatability Adiel's creations have with more linear forms of drum machine science.