Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
Get Up To Get Down (feat Erik Rico - Art Of Tones remix)
The Love Is Gone
The Dub Is Gone
Review: That Hudd Traxx powerhouse keeps on pumping out the jams, with regular Hudd hood Goshawk back in the saddle with some of his most assured beats to date. "Get Up To Get Down" channels a limber, Prince indebted funk, straps it to a simmering house beat and then drafts Erik Rico in for a killer vocal that takes you right back to the best of '90s vocal house. Then Art Of Tones jumps on for a remix that beefs the original up with some more big room elements, as one might well expect from the French titan. "The Love Is Gone" gets into a spaced out disco house frame of mind, which "The Dub Is Gone" then shuffles up into a slinky little groover.
Review: Neil 'Nail' Tolliday's 89:Ghost label continues to deliver the goods, this time reaching out to Scandinavia and the considerable talents of Vesa-Matti Kivioja. The Finnish producer has been producing high-end electronic music for many years, not least in the ambient field, but here he's mining a particularly inventive style of dub techno that draws parallels with the mighty Porter Ricks in terms of sound design. Across all four tracks the drums act as a subtle counterpoint to dense thickets of texture and tone writhing with organic intent around the groove. As dancefloor friendly as it is brain-teasing, this is a seriously classy slice of dub techno immersion.
Review: Following the excellent OHM compilation, Glasgow's Ambidextrous label continues its forays into vinyl editions with this sterling EP from label regular Solipsism, aka Craig Murphy. With an energised, dynamic sound that positively bursts out of the speakers, Murphy is flying the flag for leftfield electronica coming out of Scotland. "Error Hash Mirror Mountain" has the kind of overloaded yet melodic sound that you might expect from early Nathan Fake, although the wooziness is replaced by a rabid punch that shakes your cerebellum. "Sea Dweller" by way of stark contrast dives into a low-slung trip hop vibe, and the smoked out mood continues with "Hypnagogo" on the flip. "Fast Rubber Taxis" is equally slow, but it sports a sassy rhythmic strut that sets it apart from the other two downtempo tracks.
Review: Minuendo calls upon Vincent Inc and Danijel Kevic to kick off their latest single, and they do so in fine style with the luxurious sweeping chords of "Space". Twinkling pianos, speech samples and a carefully measured set of deep house drums make this the consummate slice of pool-side dance music for those who can still find some sun at this time of year. Lola Allen steps up to the B side with something a little more sassy in the shape of "Afrofusion Jazz". As the title might suggest, there's a mixture of influences tumbling into this track, most notably with some wildly filtered jazz organ and funk licks stewing in the pot, and just when you think it's going to break it swerves off into submerged Moodymann territory. This is unpredictable house music at its finest.
Review: Ukranian producer SE62 has been ducking in and out of the limelight since 2009, notching up impressive releases on labels like My Love Is Underground and Home Taping Is Killing Music. Now he returns to deliver the second release on Rhythm N Vibe, and does so in style. There's a tripped-out, heady atmosphere to "Secret Garden" that would sound incredible on a Sunday session at Panoramabar, while "Together" is a much rawer proposition. "Endorphins" is a curveball of a track, all uptempo stomp and off the wall samples, and "Insomnia" finishes the EP off with another switch up. The crafty breakstep flex of the drums and sparse atmosphere make for a cool and deadly variation to the rest of the EP.
Review: The Olympos series continues its exploration of godly themes and adventurous techno with a third instalment, this time calling on Demetra, the goddess of the harvest and agriculture. There's a consistently deep tone to all four of the tracks on offer here, employing swooping pads and undulating bleep lines to conjure up a warm, early 90s feel that would sound right at home on an early B12 single. "Pump It" is especially deep, using the barest of ingredients to take you on a dreamy, machine-powered trip.
Review: Turkish producer Mutlu San steps up to Lessizmore as yet another example of the Belgian label being incredibly on-point when it comes to signings. The emergent talent from Istanbul has a luxurious sound that taps into the minimal vein while offering a richer spread of textures and moods than your average micro roller. "Deep Sea Mosaics" is certainly a highlight, and it's left to Tolga Fidan to do the reducing on his remix of the track. "Phylum" sees San team up with his production partner in Bartaub for a more linear beat track, but with "Subglacial Funk" he nudges a little more of that unpredictable magic into the mix without losing the dancefloor essence of the track.
Autarkic - "Screaming (To Be With You)" (feat The White Screen)
JD Twitch - "Dalbouka"
Sneaker - "I Looked For You"
Die Orangen - "Rattling Ghosts"
Review: After teaming up to release the scintillating works of C Cat Trance in their original 80s form on Screaming Ghosts, Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti join forces once again to deliver a ludicrously talented roster of remixers who catapult John Rees Lewis' cult group into thrilling new spatial and temporal zones. Autarkic decides to go for the full-tilt cover version on "Screaming (To Be With You)", with ample help from The White Screen, while JD Twitch roughs up "Dalbouka" into a quintessential slab of ethno-motorik body music. Sneaker's take on "I Looked For You" emphasizes the atmospheric tension in the original, giving the track a cinematic scope, and Die Orangen's "Rattling Ghosts" finishes the record on an appropriately ominous, subtly industrial tone.
Review: After equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.
Review: Having cut their teeth on crucial releases for Lux Rec, Pinkman, Broken Dreams and more, Savage Grounds come to Mosaique with more of their dark, spiky industrial and minimal wave deviations. The pair are more than qualified, with Daniele Cosmo being the Lux Rec boss and CCO being a veteran of the punky underground techno scene. This latest release matches up to what they've achieved so far, with "Schnell Ausser Kontrolle" especially standing out with its chunky, forward-thrusting synth hooks matching edginess with catchiness in a most artful of ways. There's plenty of lo-fi experimentation going on, not least on the dystopian gurgle of "Parasomnia", to keep all denizens of the night shocking out under the moon.
Review: Super Tuff is a relatively new concern hailing from Brooklyn, committed to presenting a broad range of talent from the more curious corners of the house spectrum. On this third release we're introduced to the delightful sound of DJ Heure, who unfurls wonderful pattering percussion, jazzy notes and a mellow, ambient finish to pull at the heartstrings. There's a slightly more forthright thump to Hot Coffee's "On The Verge", but it's still a dusky twist on the typical deep house formula. Label boss M. Vaughan brings things a little more upfront on "Man 2 Man", and top-drawer German producer Tilman weaves a rich and invigorating tale with his swooning "A Day To Remember".
Review: Eddie Fowlkes is one of Detroit's finest, still working doggedly to push his own distinct spin on the Motor City sound. He's taking no prisoners on this latest 12" on his own Detroit Wax label, bringing a tough and righteous rhythm to the foreground on "Give It Up For My DJ" with some of those head-spinning melodic flourishes that are his trademark. "Love Works" is a crooked groover that piles the bass on generously and keeps the swing up high - if this one doesn't get bodies jerking then nothing will. No-one does it quite like Fowlkes, and he's on impeccable form here.
Review: The latest release on DJ Bone's Subject Detroit label is a split 12" featuring Esteban Adame and Santiago Salazar. This is how they do techno, Californian style, and you can tell it from the off. The beats are tough as hell, but there's a sun-kissed vibrancy to the synth work that positively leaps out of the speakers and shakes your cerebellum. Adame leads on the A side with "Guaguanco", an effervescent stomper that takes a turn for the deep when Frequencia jumps on board for a remix. Salazar is in a housey frame of mind on "October 17", letting smooth pads lead the way without losing that all-important impact. The "Dub mix" of the track actually beefs things up with a grinding lead synth pitched at big room scenarios while maintaining a steady tempo.
Review: The oh-so ironically named Super Tuff are back in business with the first solo artist release on the label, welcoming Local Talk champ and all round wunderkind producer Marcel Lune. The musicality is spilling out of this 12" at every turn, from the Floating Points-esque synth orchestrations of "Moon Sequence" to the motivational rush of piano playing and cosmic FX sweeping on "You Can Do It!". "Unknownz" is a more mystical affair that drafts in seagulls and crashing waves to help spell out another effervescent, bouncy house trip. "Sun" brings some seriously deft drum / handclap programming to the table, but still those ascendant lead lines are the star of the show.
Review: Berlin-based Miami man David Gtronic has been busy these past few years, working closely with Randall M, Chad Andrew, Dudley Strangeways and many more besides. He's going it alone with this inaugural release for Black Wood, relishing the opportunity to explore his craft across three original productions. "Ardl Dub" is a dense, shuffling minimal house production primed for working into a long and flowing set, while "Lexiwedin" showcases a more reflective side to the producer with sweeping synth tones and a whisper of electro worked into the rhythms. "Sequence" takes the minimal vibe to the next level, folding dubby subtleties into the mix to great effect. Dan Farserelli then steps up with a remix that injects a little boompty bass into the track for a wholly different, dancefloor friendly kind of jam.
Review: Bobby Pleasure's Needs label continues to gather steam behind a message of togetherness, raising money for worth causes and trying to help those less fortunate in society. On this third instalment Lord Of The Isles leads the way with a typically romantic swoon of analogue bass and gorgeous 80s synth strings, while Mehmet Aslan lays down an earthly prowler powered by organic instrumentation. "Trust The Mountain" introduces Petwo Evans with a daring strain of broken electronica heavy on the crackling signal processing. Bartellow's "1001 (Skrillex Theme)" is a craft machine disco workout, and then N-Gynn takes things tropical with the exotic tones and bold drum machine hits of "Jumanji".
Review: Bruno E has plenty of history in the field of future jazz and downtempo, and now he's been snapped up by D3 to deliver some of that cold-chilling lounge business with some interesting remixers on board. Pat Van Dyke is up first, creating a blissful version of "Ventos De Outono" that feels as cosy as a warm fire and a glass of whisky on an autumn evening. The original version of the track is actually a peppier affair with a broken beat lilt that wouldn't sound out of place alongside the Dego and Kaidi Tatham crew. Kirk Degiorgio is a natural fit for another remix given his jazzy roots, and his swirling techno treatment is the perfection lotion to pour over Bruno E's excellent original ingredients.
Review: Needs (not-for-profit) is a new label that aims to raise awareness about different issues within society with each release. Their first offering highlights the importance of mental wellbeing, with all profits being donated to mental health charity Mind, and calls upon a strong cast of deep house producers to impart the kind of Smallville-friendly sounds that discerning heads should snap up in a heartbeat. Hubie Davison's "I Know" is a melancholic affair with heart-nagging strings, while Johannes Albert injects a little spice into proceedings with a choice breakbeat and some excellent bird song on "Vigilia". DJ Swagger's "21st Century Slow Jam" is a peppy little shuffler with warm acidic bass and a kick ass swing in the beat, and then Bobby Pleasure finishes the record off with the wistful but tech-edged "Cloudspotting".
Review: The Cyclist fires up his Tape Throb label for a sixth instalment of grubby, wayward sonics that pivot around a danceable axis while reaching to a higher plain of musical expression. There are plenty of psyched-out overtones bursting out of "Requite", and there's a rugged groove cutting its way through the dense thicket of ferric noise. "Chime" has a more tender approach in some regards, sporting a tropical lilt and sparser arrangement, but there's still plenty of space for artful distortion. "Brave New Wave" is a brilliant mish mash of peppy electro, early synth pop weirdness and that overall Cyclist sound that only he can conjure up. "Mackabee" goes in on that particular quality to finish the EP off in an evocative ambient lick sending out an SOS across a shoreline of grubby, tidal dub washes.
Review: Jaunt Records is celebrating 10 years of active service in fine style with this series of various artist 12"s. The Air installment features four beat scientists presenting diverse musings on deep diving techno, kicking off with the hypnotic, cyclical "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan. JC meanwhile spices things up with the breakbeat roughness of "The Jaunt Track" before Basic Soul Unit lays the smack down with the bruising broken techno of "Escape Velocity". Blackhall & Bookless finish the EP off with the big room dub-out of "Spirit", a churning beast of a techno track that still maintains the meditative qualities of the other tracks.
Review: Newcomer Tom Dicicco aka Veyg presents an ear snagging selection of leftfield beatdowns here for adventurous spinners on the fringes of the party. "Mutual Romance" is a quivering, shimmering trip through crooked house beats and crunchy yet dubby synth flourishes to delight the mind. "Virgo Love Affair" has a sweeter lilt, but it's no less wayward in its execution, but then "Filling Pieces" heads into more explicit deep house territory with some blissed out melodic content riding atop a deep diving US-flavoured rhythm section. "How We Live" ramps up the meandering dub processing, with tripped out filter sweeps and panning lending a psychedelic edge to this smoked out joint.
Review: From World Unknown, Magic Feet and Tusk Wax and now on to Kinfolk, Tim Rivers is marking out a place in that world of mystical grooves where acid, kosmische, new age, Balearic and wyrd pagan dance can all jam to the same beat. The title track on The Mirage is a gorgeous slice of motorik smoothness, letting sustained guitar nights ring out over a tender throb of bass. "Suni Aki" is a more dramatic piece with a healthy dose of 80s bombast poured over its loins, and then Soft Rocks grapples the B side for a remix of "The Mirage" that cuts the tow line and drifts off in the direction of the sunset.
Review: The fourth release on Black Rox finds the Africa-loving label looking to a fine pair of suitors to do the business on a fine pair of edits. Soft Rocks is up first, channelling all the sun of the source material into a track called "Date With The Rain". It's a sweet natured jam layered with gorgeous vocals, perfect Afro guitar licks and a bubbling organ line. Roots Unit takes over on the B side with the more tricky-to--pin-down affair that puts snaking percussion at the front of the mix and loops up some mantras and chants for a truly head-spinning end result.
Review: Dubbyman is on a roll with his releases at the moment, not least thanks to his incredible Deep Is Dead album landing recently on Deep Explorer. This time the Spanish deep house maestro is helping launch First Floor with an original jam that revels in a blanket of fog. "So Far" is the deepest of house jams, rolling along slowly and smoky without losing its presence, thanks in no small part to the soulful croon of the unnamed vocalist. Leo Gunn then steps up for the B-side, remixing "So Far" into a sprightly terrace anthem replete with snappy piano chords to warm your cockles, but fear not because that all-encompassing Dubbyman vibe persists throughout this release.
Review: John Wilcox has been slowly disseminating crusty hardware jams for some six years now, in which time he's appeared as Cyclonix on Horn Wax, and now he nips over to Tusk Wax for more robo-charged antics in the curious corner of grubby, electro tinged house music the label orbits. "Telemachus" is a dreamy opening number that keeps the spook level up to maximum and the reverb voluminous throughout. "Synth Run" has a bit more bite, but not at the expense of atmosphere. Whatever/Whatever get hold of "Telemachus" and strip it down to a sparse skeleton of a track, and then Wilcox rounds the record off with the steppy ambient excursion "Ronin Love (dub)".
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: Commonly found rocking out on Unison Wax, Constant Sound and Pleasure Zone, Diego Krause is a certified mover and shaker in the minimal house scene, and he's on fire with this latest round of missives for Blind Box. "Malice" leads the charge with a plethora of eerie synth textures flexing organically round the sturdy beat, while "Monolith" slips into a slinkier groove while keeping the tripped out tone tweaking at the forefront of our minds. "Return" brings a tougher, fist-pumping rhythm section with a snaking syn-cussion tones trickling throughout, providing Blind Box with plenty of material to sink their gnashers into on the remix.
Review: DJ Deep and Roman Poncet first launched their collaborative project Sergie Rezza back in 2015 on Desire Records, and now the project makes a welcome return with another dose of utterly stellar deep house concoctions that go beyond the average while maintaining a sense of classicism about them. "Envole" is a sumptuous blend of snaking rhythm, spacious pads and cosy keys, all draped in exotic garms that make this a transcendental house cut to treasure. There are also more adventurous trips into percussive territory on the focused and deadly "Le Reveil," crafty jazz diversions to be soaked up on "Max" and poised ambient pieces "Eclipse" and "Procession" to seal the deal.
Review: Ste Roberts steps up with the second instalment on his self-titled label, once again burrowing into the more mysterious corners of the house and techno spectrum to deliver distinctive dancefloor gold for those who like their beats a little different. "The Circle" is a nocturnal affair that matches dark techno atmospherics with a rigorous housey bump, and the results are stellar. "AC" is equally tough, although in this instance the main ingredient is a rattling conga sample that has a raw, live and in the room quality that contrasts the unrelenting kick drum perfectly.
Review: Ali Renault's techno bludgeon instrument Vivod gets another notch in its handlebar with this appearance from new Glaswegian venture UNI.OMNI. It's rasping, rabid stuff with distortion and noise in abundance, but these wild elements are actually wielded with a firm grip on opening beast "Acceptance Resistance". "Metaphysical Lives" meanwhile channels some wave influences while keeping up the sense of foreboding, "Sequential Self" gets into a death disco spiral complete with beyond the grave vocals and "Viral Dread" goes even further into the graveyard while keeping the stiff dancefloor pressure dial turned up to 11.
Review: It's been a hot minute since we heard something new from Och, but he's back on Autoreply with a double 12" of high-grade, stripped back tech house shot through with oodles of imagination. "Panamax" is the consummate dubby house track, a true immersion chamber of a track, while "The Sadness" brings a shuffling groove and some peppy key stabs to the table. "The Healer" is a more overtly minimal affair that would sound at home on PAL SL, while "Linear Response Function" keeps things tight and focused with a sturdy rhythmic framework and some spartan piano notes. "Incompressible Flow" has a submerged jazzy undercurrent to it, and "Lovers Roll" gets into that freaky house bounce heard on "The Sadness". Overall, it's another sterling grip of refined tracks from a seasoned pro.
Review: Kaspar has been busy slinging out high grade house jams with a hefty side serving of funk for many years now, landing in all the right places like 4 Lux, Clone, Housewax and Midnight Shift. Further cementing the Portugese producer's credentials, this release on Finale Sessions brings a spread of styles to the table, showing off his diversity in the studio. "Everybody Jump" is impossible to ignore with its heavy bass lick and fresh take on tough, looped up disco house, while "Coastal Soaring" takes a more ethereal approach seasoned with clattering percussion, jazz funk bass and wistful pads. "Higher Fire" strikes an uplifting peak time house tip, and "Cid's Thump" gets slow and nasty with some particularly psyched-out FX swells.
Review: Horton Jupiter has been skirting around various cosmically-inclined outfits for many years now, but this release marks his first outright solo venture, and where better for it to blast off from than the celestial circus sideshow of Bahnsteig 23? The record launches in a fit of kosmische bravado, all nagging arpeggios, warbling leads, sustained guitars and a healthy dose of drama. "Eclectic Day" is certainly a fitting title. "Smokin' The Roach" is an equally bombastic affair, although with a chirpier disposition and some Italian-sounding vocals, and then "The Box" finishes the EP off with a grungy trip through bongo beatdowns and fuzz guitar for those who like their psych music with a vintage twist.
Review: We're not sure who's behind the mysterious AC-EXP project, but the shadowy figure returns with more of that strange, submerged house music he's been tickling discerning DJs with over the past few years. After taking last year off, "1A" is a fine place to start things up again with a strutting jack track carrying acidic synth pulses that flirt with measured delay processing. It's a jam that sounds steamy and sinister all at once. "1B" maintains this restrained but seductive vibe with the slightly trancey throb of the lead synths pivoting around the snappy drums to great effect.
Review: The latest dusted down archival dig from Emotional Rescue is by Politrio, a short-lived new wave / post punk band from Italy who released one album in the mid 80s. The focus of this release is their cover of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," which originally appeared on the Amnesty International P.E.A.C.E Benefit Compilation in 1987. It's a wild take full of rampant guitar wailing and limber slap bass that teeters towards the 80s funk rock of Faith No More et al, and that's no bad thing at all. On the B side of this 7" Double Wave gets busy in the edit, offering up a stripped back version for the spinners.
Review: After an excellent first release featuring Freerotation lynchpin Steevio, Russ Gabriel's Rivers Of Groove label returns with a pair of excursions into lush, bubbling techno from Gabriel on his own. As a first generation UK techno stalwart, it's little wonder that he can turn out productions as accomplished as these, but there's no sense that he's treading water. "Ambulate" bears the hallmarks of modular production, all twinkling, morphing synth tones chiming around a delicate beat, while "Dover Calling" favours a snappier electro palette, but both stand out from the crowd for the sheer quality in the production, the warmth in the composition and the needlepoint focus given to every shred of detail in this crucial cuts.
Review: After popping up on a various artists release last year, Ugly Frankie makes good on his connection to the Vinyl Only label with a full fat EP of chunked up, funked out house business for sunny climes. There's a dusty, rolling tone to the tracks on offer here - the crafty edits, nimble sample treatment and inventive layering creates a vibe you can lose yourself in all day. These aren't just straight up dancefloor rollers either - "Cow Boogie" bumps and slides with a low slung swagger that will have you popping at a slower tempo - but they're all prime for the get down. For some dusty, soul-laced cuts produced with flair, look no further.
Review: New York-based Evan Michael has been spotted on some respectable labels in the past, from Drumpoet Community to AirDrop, most recently appearing alongside Marco Passarani on a split 12" for Cin Cin. He makes his first appearance on the ever-prolific Hudd Trax with this diverse grip of deep house jams, leading in with the emotive tones of "Duende". "PCH Passing" is a fluttering affair laden with sweet natured synths, but it also knows when to rain the cascading melodies in to let the groove take the lead. "Machine Pepper" builds up around an on-point bassline and powerful brass stabs, and then "Rainmaker" finishes the EP off with some tricksy delay use and a crooked beat.
Back Home (original Hip House instrumental mix) (7:17)
Back Home (alternative mix) (7:50)
Back Home (bonus beats) (4:28)
Review: A pioneer for the hip house scene in Chicago back in the 80s, Tyree is still at it thirty years later and sounding as vital as ever. This collaboration with Pure God is a thoroughly different concern to the jacking acid of the early days, bringing a live drum sound, funk bass and even a stirring string lilt into the mix on "Back Home". Whether you plump for the full vocal mix or the stripped back instrumental, it's an anthemic party starting beast of a jam for peak time maneuvers. The "Alternative Mix" of "Back Home" on the B-side is a more classic, throbbing slice of mechanical minimalism for the traditional Chicago jackers out there, and there's some "Bonus Beats" thrown in for good measure too!
Review: Fragrant Harbour once again dig out a cult gem from the seemingly endless vaults of 90s dance music, picking up on a rare and precious gem from a seminal Laurent Garnier mix and giving it the remaster and reissue it deserves. The artists responsible, Broccoli Brothers vs Righteous Men, hailed from Germany and were trying to emulate Mike Dunn. "Catch It (Calm Manoeuvre)" is a spaced out deep house track with all the gritty impact of a classic jam, while "Catch It (Jam)" gets decidedly rowdy with its hefty kick, jacked up swing and wonky bassline. On the B side "Ruhrschnellweg (Last Exit Stahlhausen Mix)" brings a little Detroit flavour into the mix with spectacular, uplifting results.
Review: The low-key but long-serving D2B steps up on a self-manned label to deliver two surefire club smashers for those who appreciate the grit and soul of proper Detroit techno. "My Love" on the A side is the friendlier cut, its taut machine rhythms embellished with dextrous synth work from pulsing chords to simmering strings, all shot through with a smoky after hours haze. On the flip side, D2B gets a little rawer with the component parts of the track, jacking up the drums and spacing out the arrangement for a more intense workout that should satisfy anyone who wants techno with personality that still smacks hard.
Review: The fifth instalment of the Hoxton Records story turns to Alan Castro, who has already had a busy year appearing on the likes of For Club, STAMP and Soundterasse. The vibe is stripped down and unhinged on this record, with lead track "El Avion De La Mentira" unfurling in a strange tapestry of samples, found sounds and off kilter synth rubs strapped to a crafty set of drums. Modebaku delivers a more streamlined version of the track that keeps things freaky, but much more linear than the wayward original. "Sequela" on the flip is no slouch in the adventurous department either, with swathes of modulating tones and wild sonic matter flinging around a funky shuffle, which Ted Amber then dutifully bolsters with a rubbery b-line on his more functional but still daring version.
Review: Orson Bramley has a long-standing legacy in UK electro history as part of the Transparent Sound production crew, and he's been recently aligned with Robin Ball's Memory Box parties in London where he's been able to display his years of experience whipping machines into funky configurations in a live environment. This release speaks to that experience, with the various versions of "Then Again" punching out an irresistible sermon of crafty synth lines, swooping strings and crisp beats. Ball steps up for two remixes on the flip that equally reside in the electro realm, but come at the component parts from a different rhythmic angle. One refined idea done five ways - what more do you need to know?
Review: Russian producer Kirill Sergeev has been setting light to the likes of Hell Yeah, Bordello A Parigi and Bahnsteig 23 in the past under his Kito Jempere alias, and now it's the turn of Pleasure Unit to get his unique treatment. "House Track" may seem like an innocuous title but don't be fooled, it's far from a conventional house jam. Loose, 80s tinted production vibes abound across the record, not least with the party heaters on the A side. "Never Been To Ibiza Beaches 1997" is a more laid back jam, but still sizzling with inventive energy, and "Jungle Mantra" explores tribal percussion with a fresh slant that will call out to the tropical spinners.
Review: Ikeaboy is the intermittent project from Damian Tubbritt, who first debuted the moniker more than ten years ago. It's been a long while since any fresh material from this deep cover curio of oddball techno hit wax, but now Wicked Bass have done the honourable thing and gathered up this excellent trio of tracks. "Shape Memory" plies a funky line in squelchy bass and jangling delay trills, while "Living In The Future" opts for a more mysterious, pad soaked trip into spooked out electro. On the B-side "Dayna" sports some forthright drum machine beats and epic sweeps of synths that only serve to confound any expectations you might have about the sound of Ikeaboy.
Review: P-Balans continues to shed light on the more unusual underbelly of the Romanian scene, taking a few cues from the dominant minimal scene but adding plenty of analogue weirdness into the mix to provide a genuine alternative for those who like a little more spice in their sauce. On this release Khidja and Delusion Men team up for some off-kilter trips into subversive danceability, starting with the subtle, wavey acid of "Strayed" before cartwheeling into the spooky delights of "Recurrent Weakness". The ghoulish theme gets ramped up to 11 on "Ghost Caravan", where a deathly slow beat carries all kinds of undead synth work, and then Borusiade takes "Recurrent Weakness" to task with a pinging, plunging remix for the end of days.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: AntiDEEPressant is here to bring some positivity to your life by way of subliminal house music from the outer reaches. Vincent Inc is just the ticket to help deliver the good news, and his Abstract Life EP is loaded with soul-enriching vibes to get you through times of hardship. "Panic In Cosmos" is a fluttering, meditative melter that will coat your ears in honey on the way down, while "Rayskoye Mesto" takes an equally submerged approach that drifts further away from conventional beats into a beautifully executed, heavy-lidded excursion. "Mechta" sports a few more conventional house tropes, but keeps things varied and interesting just the same, and then "Jazz Night" rounds the EP off with some cracked piano lilt and soul infusions to cradle you on the way to the run out groove.