Review: La Rioja in Spain may not be thought of as a hotbed of avant garde techno and electronica, but Psychoskunk has been quietly issuing an uncompromising salvo of proudly underground releases since as far back as 2004. Error Etica, an alias from label boss Victor Martinez, is at the controls for this tenth vinyl release on the label, and he's sounding as proudly left of centre as ever. "Diatonic Scale" locks into an insistent groove, but the real magic of the track lies in the grubby notes punching their way around the drums, capped off with artful distortion that gives a wonderful bite to the production. "Tetratonic Scale" keeps things fuzzy but blows the rhythms wide open for a more poised, patient kind of techno incantation. R2pi's remix of the track meanwhile clamps it back in order with a stern beat and a slow-release minimalism guiding the evolution of the track.
Review: Following on from a sterling bout by Luminer, Torino label We Play The Music We Love drop this bombshell from a hitherto unknown producer from their inner circle, Tomlin. The vibe is pumped up and acidic, with healthy notes of Italo and wave threaded into the mixture for good measure. "Rainy Dog" is bold and voluptuous while there's a nervy, brittle energy around "The Mugs Game" that should satisfy spinners looking for the freaky stuff. "Running With Foxes" is laden with playful arpeggios atop stripped back beats, while "Talk Fast" makes great use of some nifty vocoder work to create a reflective slice of braindance magic.
Review: Tabernacle aren't as known for their reissue work, but here they've made an exception to shine a light on a truly astounding hidden gem lost in the dry ice haze of the early 90s. Phuture Classical Appendix A originally came out on cassette in 1992 on Drome Tapes in the Netherlands, showcasing a low key selection of artists exploring the limits of deep, dark techno and house. Now spread across three 12" releases, these treasured curios now get the widespread release they deserve, leading in with the haunting self-titled track from Paradize Disowned before the gritty techno throb of "Gee Lee" by DJ Zero One. Considered in their execution and immensely evocative of the underbelly of early rave culture, these releases are ones that discerning old-skool heads will not want to miss.
Review: OK EG appears from out of nowhere in a haze of the mellowest ambient techno and downtempo delights for your mind to melt into. "Creek" is a smooth but strident route in, the tidal lilt of the pads dissected by a finely paced beat loop that should find a comfortable home amongst deepest house heads. "Colours" does away with the drums and uses a plaintive sprinkling of keys and delays to create an evocative backdrop for fragile females vocals. "Reef I & II" is the clubbier cut, rolling out over the B side with a looming monosynth bassline and some dub techno inflections making it a smart choice for warm up scenarios especially.
Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner - "Vulbitch Bazaar"
Review: Minuendo keep things interesting on this latest various artists 12", primarily focusing on Owen Jay and Brian James on the A side for two tracks of adventurous experimentation on the wild frontier of minimal house music. The wobbly synth running through "Niko's Groove" is a real head turner, while "Imagery" nudges the grand tradition of dub house into a new pocket of ambience that draws you in immediately. There's a lovely, classic deep house joint from Untitled called "Seafood", and then Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner completely flip the script on the B2 with rowdy acid burner "Vulbitch Bazaar".
Review: After bringing Kangaroo Skull and Cale Sexton to light on previous releases, Temporal Cast once again provides a platform for lesser known talent with this, their third release. Born in Italy and based in Australia, Chiara Kickdrum has only had one digi-only EP out in her name previously, so this release marks a big milestone for her. "Pulsar" is a subtle and refined opening gambit, using a reduced set of cyclical rhythms and draping distant pad notes over the top of it for a perfect exercise in techno elegance. "Moebius" is at the other end of the spectrum, all bloated drums and cavernous reverb decays creating a monolithic atmosphere. "Anomaly" meanwhile maximises on negative space, using a dry drum palette and keeping things firmly submerged - the whole EP is a masterclass of restraint and control.
Review: Damon Wild dons his Mistaken Identity guise for the latest 12" on his resurgent Synewave label, and it finds the US techno maestro burrowing into the deeper realms of his sound to create a truly hypnotic kind of boss-level techno. "Mindset" is all low-end pulse that will feel incredible hitting your bones from a proper system, while "Varity" takes a lighter approach that focuses on the upper frequencies. "Scalene" gets lost in an endless loop with a soupcon of disco woven in, and "Backdoor" has a metallic, dubbed out central hook that sounds perfect reverberating over the stern, stripped back rhythms.
Review: Jaunt Records' 10 year celebrations are spanning a series of 12"s that feature a broad spectrum of artists searching for the ultimate deep techno fix. The four contenders that occupy this Sea release all have their own agenda, but they sit together perfectly. Hiver weaves illustrious pads in between nimble electro drums and bubbling acid bass, while Artefakt creates eerie, fractured acid meanderings to send a shiver down your spine. Hinode does some deft break choppage to create a dreamy trip for the up all night crew, and then Region rolls the record out on an emotive tip while keeping the rhythm section pumped up for the floor.
Review: Over the course of his career, Max Graef has proved to be rather adaptable, variously turning his hand to dusty deep house, revivalist jazz-funk, drowsy hip-hop beats and nu-jazz. On this EP he touches on many of those styles, but it's the angular, techno-influenced analogue electronics, Motor City chords and shuffling beats of opener "Thrillhouse & Bonus Beat" that really sets the pulse racing. Graef's obsession with raw, lo-fi sounds is further explored on "2 Cool 4 U", which sounds like a cross between tropical house, early UK bleep and wayward techno, while closer "Bunds" sees him wrap deep space electronics around a sparse, pitched-up, high-register drum machine beat. As for the rest of the EP, it's deep, dusty, jazzy and really rather good.
Review: Delivery is the work of Greg Shin, who has previously appeared on LA Club Resource and Smashing Tape Records. Now he appears on Torn Hawk's Valcron Video with a wonderfully diverse set of leftfield machine workouts, kicking off with the tempestuous drum twitches of "Brain Drained". "Technology Transplant" is a polar opposite, focusing on calm drifts of ambient synth with a mournful tinge. The B2 is worth digging for, as "Four Two Nine" seems to balance the two other tracks and make for the most club-ready piece on the 12".
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Following choice wares from tape_hiss and Pascal Viscardi, Love Notes stride into winter with a fulsome offering from lesser-known artist Subtenant, who packs just the right balance of classic acid and modernist techno into the three original tracks on this 12". "Evergreen Soul" looks set to turn heads in the club with its playful organ flex hopping around the punchy 303 notes, while "Artisanal Acid" brings some homespun hardware handiwork to the table. "Know How It Feels" drops in at a slower tempo, but it's D'Marc Cantu who steals the show with a dynamic remix of the title track loaded with detail and shot through with dub.
Review: Having first surfaced last year with their first various artists release featuring the dearly departed Andreas Gehm, the Stealth Mission label is back with another four-strong salvo of no-nonsense acid, electro and techno. Naked Eye People kicks off proceedings with the punishing jacker "Short Distance" before Barrow Boy whips up a perfect slice of malevolent 303 mischief on "BTB (Demo Mix)". On the B side there's space for a little more reflection with the spacious pings of Bobby Durst's "Shape Shifting" before Mike Storm turns the heat back up on the delightfully unhinged "Dark Sight (Sims JFF Edit)".
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
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: Presenting the fourth vinyl release, Los Angeles imprint Reinhardt welcomes Romanian sonic explorer Akim# to the fold. Culminating in four tracks crossing genres and themes, pulling from influences and experiences throughout a history crafting his art within the Bucharest electronic music scene.
Taking elements of ambient, electronica and techno, channeled through a dream-state lens. The Phosphene EP is created for the dance floor with a soundscape sensibility, making for an unmapped odyssey.
Review: The man behind the track that Move D proclaimed "owned the dome at freerotation" , returns with 3 new tracks of deep machine grooves, his first release since 2013's Analogue Mapping. "Frey'd" is built around a synth patch stumbled upon whilst conducting a test on one of bovill's machines with rennouned Synth engineer Frey Smith. Opening with playful ,bubbling analogue tones and nostelgic pads, before characteristic basslines, percussion and 303 lines join in, ending on a spaced out contemplative groove . " L.A.T. " is a more stripped down track, which ebbs and flows around subtle builds, tweeks, and delays, perfect for the deeper late night dancefloor. Closing the ep is Golden burn, the deepest and most dubbed out of the 3 tracks, sprinkled with emotive keys, and underpinned by distinctive bass lines.
Review: Naura Records presents the third release of the Bleak series.
'Relics' is a full oriented dance floor track, twisted and static in all directions.
'Black Ice' reveals itself as a cataclysmic and intelligent analog tool with pulsating baselines and profound deepness.
Review: The recent news that the Jealous God label is planning to wind down was slightly softened by the impressive selection of releases that will appear before it does. Chief amongst those was this EP from Champagne Mirrors, an alias of Blackest Ever Black contributor Alex Barnett. Extended Communication Techniques is as dark, unsettling and creepy as you'd expect, with occasional shards of light - a headline melody here and there, with similarly rare slivers of woozy electronic positivity - helping to balance out Barnett's dystopian tendencies. It's one of those sets that benefits from repeated listens, with each successive play revealing additional layers of moody detail.
Review: As Until My Heart Stops turns 10, we head back across the Atlantic , this time to Boston and a stunning ep from the still hugely under rated DeViere.DeViere is a music producer and radio disc jockey (Progressive Black, 90.3 FM WZBC Newton) based in Boston, Massachusetts. He first came to our attention with the Transcendental Numbers ep on Jamal Moss' Mathematics label in 2012 and we've waited on each release ever since, including last year's huge Future Shock Disco ep (a collaboration with Jamal himself). Here DeViere presents 3 beautiful examples of his deep, soulful craft and a fitting way for UMHS to hit double figures.
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: "HYDRAFUNK is an exciting Detroit Techno inspired collaboration between Immigrant Records owner and label manager Robin Porter and US analogue synth guru Mike Carr. The duo first collaborated back in 2002 releasing the 'Mental Stealth EP' on Immigrant, featuring the bassline and synth heavy 'Fathernature', a track that found it's way on 'Evil' Eddie Richard's Fabric 16 mix CD. Their debut three track EP, Beasts From Below, fuses the analogue aptitude of Mike Carr and Robin Porter's attention to sound frequency, arrangement detail and understanding of the dance floor, delivering an intoxicating peak time package of delight. "Underworld" is a deep journey of melodic synth work and chugging groove that travels into dark territories, complimented by uplifting percussion that builds into a peak time beast from the deep. On the flip, "Immortal Melody" delves even further into moody territory delivering a tantalising array of dreamy synths and jackin' old school percussion, that submerges into an abyss of texture before rising up into a dance floor banger. Closer "Hydra's Dance" is definitely not a token bonus track and is the most dance floor friendly cut; featuring Robin's knack for creating powerful basslines, unique vocals and Mike's ability to create depth and texture with his analogue synth programming."
Review: For the debut of New York's anticipated Purple Trax label, a new formation of key players in Brooklyn's underground debuts with an EP sure to entrance fans of L.I.E.S., White Material, and other established NYC labels. Composed of Terekke, local DJ/producer Jan Woo, and Erez Avissar, label head and founder of the respected Weird Magic parties, Wabi Sabi's dusky and diverse sound comes from its origin in loft jams, but tracks like the closing 'Rx' with its powerful dub techno framework show the work of seasoned talents. Patricia's cameo on 'Casper' is the record's strangest sound, a propulsive house groove with explosions of crackling texture and a bassline deeply buried in fog, while 'Babi' stutters along between the drum pulse and its disappearances into deep wells of delayed vocal samples and gentle melodies. Vibes are saved for the opener 'Moon River Membrane', where Terreke's characteristic cosmic haze comes out more heavily, complemented by the genre-bending psychedelic tendencies of Avissar's programming and Woo's weighty low-end.
Review: Amid whispers of a new album from Unirhythm boss and Three Chairs stalwart Marcellus Pittman, two tracks from his excellent debut LP Pieces finally get committed to wax. It's a shame Pieces never got a vinyl release, but the chance to grip "Sneak Attack" and "Random Acts Of Insanity" on 12" should not be passed up. This 12" was actually released in 'blink and you'll miss it' white label format in 2014, but finally gets a proper issue! For those that don't have the LP, "Sneak Attack" is a curious concoction, with Syclops style electronics occasionally flowering over deep, dusty, intricately programmed rhythms. "Random Acts Of Insanity" feels a little bolder in approach, though its' rich chords and odd, off-kilter rhythm track are contrasted with some notably bonkers electronic touches.
Review: Coup d'etat is a collaborative project from Kane Ikin and Harvey Sutherland. Working from their respective fringes of electronic music and produced in moments of respite between extensive touring and recording commitments, the project offers a glimpse into the pair's mutual influences and inspirations; part Maurizio, part Moroder. Kane Ikin, a meticulous producer of abstract forms and polyrhythms, weaves percussive static and drone amongst Sutherland's considered syntheziser work - a leftfield turn from Harvey's brighter moments. Ikin also traverses new rhythmic territory and signals a departure from earlier ambient works. The inaugural release for new imprint CDT, the 12" was mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy and features full sleeve artwork from Traianos Pakioufakis.
Review: For Finitude Music's 5th release, label owner Marcel Heese and Alexander Kowalski aka d_func. share their visions on ""Thought Control"".
Both tracks on the EP harbour the same intent, but each of them approaches it in a different way. d_func.'s take revolves around Sahko-like bleeps - if you are into early Mika Vainio or Sleeparchive - look no further! But instead of being loopy, it's definitely a builder. Its original trance track-like structure is sure to rock many an underground dancefloor.
Marcel's vision is slower and less straight-forward but creates and maintains a high tension. Based on dense a bassline and intricate soundscapes, it builds up slowly, only to explode halfway through. An extra payoff also comes at the very end of a track - its noise/ambient outro making a perfect way to wrap up an amazing party at 8AM somewhere deep in the heart of Berlin.
Review: "Following up on the excellent 'Stabbed in Konya' EP for Peur Bleue, SORN welcomes Gohan to the fold. Three tracks of dystopian techno for the heads, plus a Boddika-esque remix from newcomers Ikpathua & Paterson. Recommended."
Review: Modeselektor are clearly keen to make 50 Weapons' last few releases as strong as possible. For this 12", they've turned to Berlin techno titan Shed, who - somewhat predictably - more than delivers the goods. "Dark Planet" is a thick, tough and driving beast, with chopped-up, manipulated vocal snippets forming a quirky melody line above a thumping rhythm that neatly combines pounding kick-drums and hissing cymbals. This is no-nonsense, floor-friendly techno that comes laden with sly funk. Modeselektor themselves have a go at remixing it on the flip, delivering a far weirder, wilder, stranger and - bizarrely - more melodious 'broken techno' interpretation.
Review: REPRESS: The second release from the Hlanganani label lives up to it's MO to provide a platform for talented producers from South Africa to shine, focusing here on Deep Sixty, aka young and fast-rising producer Johannesburg producer Thabiso Mamogwa. Back in 2010, the producer made it to London to take part in the Red Bull Music Academy, which is when the HLANG team first heard the tracks that make up the Mme Hayo EP whilst some studio time on the same trip with Todd 'Soundmurderer' Osborn resulted in the "Thursday Nights" track which Mamogwa previously self-released. In addition to Deep Sixty's own 'Deep Terror' mix of "Mme Hayo", the label have coaxed some fine remixes out of Esa and William Kouam Djoko.
Review: After a pair of superb 12"s from Duckett, Untilmyheartstops turn their attentions to across the Atlantic with the label debut of Zachary Lubin. Fans of the Kimochi label will recognise Lubin from the two wonderful 12"s he's committed to the cause over the past three years, and this four-track Future Laboratories record is a fine addition to his small discography. "Flooring Operations" opens proceedings on a dizzying techno tip, a kaleidoscope of sound billowing up around the taut bass drums, whilst "Mediation Garden" will please those who like some sonic grit in the mix. By contrast, the excellently titled "Ambivalent Robot" veers off into insouciant, glistening techno and is quite life-affirming. "Chloroform" rounds out the 12" on a similarly warm tip.