Review: After first appearing on the label back in 2016, Florence-based Italo house stalwarts Minimono return to Vibraphone with another selection of illustrious dancefloor gems for subtler moments in the dance. "Oldest Friend" is an airy, dreamlike track laden with upper register chords, tones and FX pinging around in a reverie of deep house delight, while "Questions" gets locked into a loose, swinging groove with some mysterious pads swirling around the middle distance for added atmosphere. "Some Day" is a more rugged affair that bumps and wriggles in all the right places, while "Eleven Days" explores broken beat territory without losing the hazy atmosphere that permeates the EP.
Review: Transparent Sound label boss Orson Bramley steps up to his long-standing imprint with a new guise, Empty Orchestra, which showcases yet more of his crafty, delicately executed take on electro. "Nervouse Smile" is an impeccable study of the style, loaded with intricate machine funk elements from twitchy drum programming to ethereal pads, and of course a healthy dose of funk for good measure. As well as the original version, there are additional remixes courtesy of rising stars Acidulant and Alero May, the latter of which has an especially infectious bassline ripple and some smart key change moments for a dynamic end result.
Review: Resurgent Welsh techno wizard DJ Guy launches his own label with a fresh batch of deep diving jams that put the soul back in the machine. From the twinkling, starry-eyed delights of "Music Is Life" to the horizontal meditation of "Interplanetary," this is immaculately executed electronica in the fine tradition of UK trailblazers like B12 that sounds as fresh as it did in the 90s. "Warmth In Rhythm" sports a nagging house groove to suck you in with ease, while "Propulsion State" fires off a dazzling arpeggio that heads skywards with a twitchy electro backbone for company. Top shelf tackle from a seriously talented cat.
Review: Swedish producer Albion Venables has been building up a formidable bank of oddball disco, boogie, wave and other groove-oriented delights on labels like Ambassador's Reception, Macadam Mambo and People Must Jam. After first appearing on the ever-excellent Bahnsteig 23 in 2016, he's back on the label with some more head-spinning obscurities from the outside tracks of synth music. "Poupee Mecanique" is a jovial French bopper, while "Balearo" cuts a more organic, reclining figure with its chugging bass plucks, laconic guitar and dreamy keys. "In Coherence" channels some funky AOR sass, and "OVNI" heads into heavy prog funk territory, rounding out a veritable wild card of a record.
Review: With previous releases from some of the top heads of the electronic spectrum, including Leif, Steevio, Arnaldo and more, the imprint UntilMyHeartStops returns with its latest release, this time for mysterious producer Ekeko. Rich analog tape waves sit nicely beside thick 909 rhythmic elements throughout this killer three tracker. The title track "Beyond Good & Evil" starts things of with strong spirit, taking pulsations of warping synths and balancing them with hazy club driven patterns. This theme continues through "FM Joy" and "Eye Ache" but with a wider focus on the dubbier elements of the electro and house spectrum.
Italian deep house producer Reekee returns to his own Wrong Notes label with another trip through beautifully rendered, highly musical soulful house. It's little wonder he has been snapped up by labels like Uzuri in the past. "It's Alright" is a track with huge crossover appeal, tapping into the kind of expressive keys that should sit right with soul heads as much as house devotees. The vocals add to the soaring melodic content, making this a life-affirming jam perfect for creating unforgettable, unifying dancefloor moments. Otwo gets busy with the track on the B-side, turning out a daring remix that spaces the core ingredients out with more than a little guidance from the Theo Parrish school of deep-rooted experimentation.
Review: Aubrey's Don Gardon alias was a one-shot decoy deployed in 1997 with the now highly sought-after "Textures" 12" on Aubrey's own Textures label. While the provenance of these new tracks is a little foggy at this stage, what you can be sure of is the grade of techno we're dealing with here. Aubrey's illustrious career speaks for itself, and so do these tracks in the first Textures release since 2001. "The Phase" is an effervescent, funk laced race to the stars, while "Vari Tube" takes a more intimate route through dusty house that wouldn't sound out of place in the Workshop stratosphere. "Slam Dunk" is a cheeky, jazzy affair while "Dons Slide" gets a little more freaky and far out in the finest tradition of B2 tracks.
Review: Lustwerk Music presents a mysterious new entity known simply as The Fock. With little to no background information, this record stakes its own claim within the Galcher-verse by offering up a range of mixes of "Shat Pop." The "Saldes Mix" is a proper immersion heater of cerebral techno, while the nervy, stomping "Flood1 Remix" is credited to White Material regular Young Male. The "Electro Mix" has a squelchy, boogie-inflected palette offset by woozy atmospherics, and the "Ambient Mix" unsurprisingly does away with the drums and drifts in limbo with a disembodied tannoy announcement for company.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After launching Brush & Broom with two solo releases, maverick German producer Kalbata keeps his followers guessing yet again with this collaborative release with the equally unpredictable Maayan Nidam. "The Town" is a surefire party starter made up of catchy bleep lines, quivering rhythmic flashes and lots of shimmering FX sends that suggest this was a live jam from two talented producers locked in the groove. "Chrome Moon" takes a deeper, more meditative approach without losing those heavy echo chamber washes, where the spring reverb and buckwild delay feedback rein supreme. Wonderful, free-tripping results from an unexpected meeting of minds.
Review: A four-track acid EP by veteran producer Warlock, out on Kalbata's Brush & Broom label. Ex-amount of jaw-grind action from the London underground legend. "Violent Rays" and "Swearings" are both straight-up warehouse workouts, comfortably placed next to reflective after-hour gushers "Run DC" and "Cave Tone". Once again, Warlock demonstrates stunning crisp production, touched by old-school heritage, dating back to pre-94 legislation times. Essential.
Review: Thus far all we know about Wilson Phoenix is pressed into the previous two records the anonymous operator has released so far in 2018. That should be enough for techno heads with their ears to the ground - this is rough and ready hardware business for those who like it nasty. While not perhaps as willfully unhinged as Neil Landstrumm, it's very much in that sonic ballpark, not least on relentless acidic opener "Between Mars." Things get a little freakier with the pinging electro delights of "Moon Machine" before the rowdy rave beast "Exo Planet" levels the landscape with some brutal synth stabs that would sound at home on an early The Prodigy record.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Oceans Of My Mind (Simina Grigoriu & Moe Danger) (7:19)
Review: House Music With Love makes a welcome return to the fray with a fresh new 12" from Kaldera and Lazarusman, who team up to present the swirling, thought-provoking "Oceans Of My Mind." Between Kaldera's brooding production and Lazarusman's off-centre poetry, it's the kind of track that will suit a lot of different environments and always stand out. As well as the original, there's a strong run of remixes on offer here, from Urmet K's softer, smoother deep house approach to SURAJ's infectiously funky version, wrapping up with the more epic peak time thrust of Simina Grigoriu & Moe Danger's take on the distinctive source material.
Review: Grooveboxx is a new label launched from the Parisian underground with a focus on fresh, invigorating rhythms with an outernational focus. The label's leading lady Myako opens this first 12" up with the dynamic, dusty adventure of "Salvia Cosmica", which makes for the perfect scene setter before Aleqs Notal throws down a tougher set of tumbling tribal drums. Myako then returns with "La Danza De La Risa", another subtle, poised and tantalizing rhythm track, before Geena trips things out on the heavy effects bliss out of "Selva Spirit". Myako's closing statement, "La Jungla Encantada", is a spaced out affair marked by Spanish speech and fragmented rhythmic hiccups - a cinematic end to an evocative release.
Review: Leipzig producer Lootbeg has been spotted in the past flaunting his cosmic, melodically enchanting emo-techno on labels like Crow Castle Cuts and Tieffrequent. Now he comes to the burgeoning Sensu label with some of his most powerful productions to date, leading in with the euphoric, sky-scraping "The Travel To Planet Trance". "Cydonia Mensae" follows close behind with some equally lofty tones that position Lootbeg squarely in the stratosphere, while "Eupen" changes tact for a more introverted but no less harmonically rich composition that pushes the rhythm section to the foreground. A collaboration with Blinds, "Relate" edges closer to a deep house outlook with its warm lead lines and dusty jacking beats.
Review: Can anyone nail a slender, cheeky groove like Lil'Mark? Judging by his track record on Classic, Apollo and more, we'd argue surely not, and this EP on Nicetraxuk is further fuel for the fire. "Inevtiable" kicks things off with a catchy, bouncy bassline and tightly shuffled drums that tell you you're in vintage Lil'Mark territory, while "Be Afraid" gets into a slightly spookier headspace without losing that infectious funk. "F_ It" has all kinds of playful rubbery horn sounds pinging around the minimal beat, and then "Itaapella" gives you the heavily processed vocals from the track to get creative with.
Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.