Review: Fresh from delivering the "Dance Music" trilogy of 12" singles, NYC native Levon Vincent returns to action with an EP of untitled tracks. It's an impressively melodious and ear-pleasing affair, with the Berlin-based producer's no-nonsense house and techno drums being smothered in a variety of tuneful synthesizer lines, fuzzy but futuristic electronics and warm basslines. Picking highlights is tough, but we'd suggest starting with the bubbly analogue bliss of "Track 1" before moving on to the chunky goodness of "Track 3", where cheery lead lines dance above non-stop bass and crispy machine drums. Elsewhere, "Track 4" sounds like a tribute to the soundtrack to forgotten early '90s Commodore Amiga game "Fire and Ice" and "Track 2" is a heartwarming rush of luscious lo-fi lead lines and unfussy drums.
Review: In the face of all those Clone reissue compilations, Tresor are doing the right thing and digging into their own archive of seminal aquatic machine funk from Detroit electro legends Drexciya, and stepping up with the Hydro Doorways EP is the kind of power move that most labels can only dream of being able to make. From the cinematic drama of "Quantum Hydrodynamics" to the textbook boogie down synth abandon of "Polymono Plexusgel", not forgetting the heavy-on-the-one throwdown of "Lost Vessel" or the alien gurgles and peppy pace of "Species On The Pod", or the... oh you know the drill. This is timeless, essential business for anyone that takes electronic music seriously.
Review: Somewhat poetically, Anthony Naples describes his third album, "Fog FM", as a "house music transmission filtered through fluorescent static, from a station out of place and time". You'll certainly find some blasts of evocative radio static dotted around the album - see the drowsy wooziness of ambient numbers "Channel 2" and "Channel 3", not to mention the pops and crackles wrapped around sub-heavy, stripped back peak-time workout "Unhygenix" - but the lasting impression is of a smartly-produced set of mostly club-ready cuts that subtly doff a cap to many sub-genres of house and techno. It's a superb set, too, with highlights including the wayward techno intensity of "Benefit", the "Brown Album"-era Orbital heaviness of "Purple Iris" and the tough, dubbed-out deep house headiness of "Lucys".
Review: Platform 23's celebration of Exquisite Corpse wraps up with this fourth installment of visionary proto trance bubblers from the dream team of Robbert Henyen, Debbie Jones and Tim Freeman. As with the previous installments, they've picked choice tracks from across the spectrum of the PWOG-affiliated project's output, kicking off with a transmission from the debut release, "Honeymoon". Throughout the mood is loose and wigged-out, with a pleasant stew of New Beat, acid, house, trance and dub among the core ingredients flavouring this thoroughly early 90s dish. This is psychedelic dance music crafted before the genre boundaries were established to ruin everyone's fun - savour the vibe as we return to more freewheeling times once more.
Review: LFT has already made a sizable impact on his gnarly, muscular brand of weathered electro and techno, and now he's been snapped up by Zement to deliver another four rowdy roundhousers. "Nucleon" channels the best of minimal wave and gives it a deadly dose of modern acid revelry that will incite fevered responses on the floor, while "Wounds" takes things in a spookier B-movie direction without shaking off those powerful 303 demons. "The Cure For My Kind" manifests as a kind of nightmarish electro, and "Hypno Haniwa" takes another route into machine funk for malevolent souls, with stunning results.
Review: (180g Axis Audiophile Series / color label/ black generic jacket) Including audio commentary by Jeff Mills himself. "Looking back in hindsight to the activity and accomplishments of Axis is with much pride - to witness the relationship between the music and listener evolving to this point. The Director's Cut reissue project is about manicuring detail. It's about a rare opportunity to enhance what we've done so that the relationship strengthens for the long term" - Jeff Mills
Electro Music Union - "Electroshock Mountain" (5:55)
Sinoesin - "Static Bodies" (4:57)
Sinoesin - "Angels Of Altitude" (part 2) (7:55)
Electro Music Union - "Immortal Cities" (4:30)
Review: For a brief period in 1993 and 1994, British imprint Metatone released some seriously good electronic music. The label was the work of former Jack Trax man Damon D'Cruz and J.M.Atkins, who wrote and produced almost all of the releases under aliases including Electro Music Union, Sinoesin and Xonox. This fine compilation from Cold Blow and AVA. Records showcases the best of this work, drifting between deep and intergalactic workouts (see the spacey ambient influences and pitched-down grooves of "Angels of Altitude (Part 1)"), blissful ambient techno ("Structures 1"), rush-inducing dancefloor positivity (the overwhelmingly good "Structures 3"), spacey ambient ("Descent") and heavyweight, post-bleep brilliance ("Electroshock Mountain").
Review: When a white label launches from an artist called MPX with single letters for track titles, you know there's some serious techno incoming. This four track EP is brimming with rugged, street-tough energy; from the slapping drum jack and throbbing b-line pulse of opener "G" to the crunchy strut of "J." There's plenty of psychoactive flair to match the classic drum machine flourishes though - "L" has a wicked arp coursing through its veins, while "K" takes the same rhythm section and boils it down to a hypnotising whirl of techno perfection.
Review: Longstanding house peer Watson comes correct with this breathtaking outing on Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm. Taking off where he left us on his own Everysoul Audio last year, it's another lavish, unhurried and timeless composition that tips nods to all eras with its velvet pads and Julien Jabre style pianos. The words 'Epic Intro mix' say it all, as does the 13 minute length; Watson's timing ahead of the summer couldn't be better. Daydreamy, liquid in its development and soulful to the very core... If you're playing so much as one al fresco event this season - even your nan's BBQ - you need to pack this.
Review: West Midlands techno legend Surgeon is said to have produced the material on the Raw Trax series at Amsterdam Dance Event last year, with only a PIN Electronics Portabella synth and a TR-909 drum machine. Road tested extensively during his live show over the last several months, this series is "a return to the pure essence of techno" - and that statement rings true throughout this 12". In this second volume you'll hear familiar sounds from Anthony Child that throws back to the seminal days of his eponymous EP, Pet 2000 or the Basictonalvocabulary LP: all conceived during his legendary House Of God residency back in the early 90s. From the fierce and strobed-out adrenaline of "Raw Trax 10" and "Raw Trax 5", to the brutalist overdriven thud of "Raw Trax 7" with its grinding acid bassline, and the hypnotic minimalism of closer "Raw Trax 6", this 12" is packed with proper purified Techno bangers by one of the genre's very best.
Review: While Robert Hood's Floorplan records have always been exciting and on-point, they have somehow got even better since his daughter Lyric joined him in the studio in 2015. The pair's latest gospel-sampling release is particularly potent, with both cuts sounding like peak-time anthems in waiting. We're particularly excited by A-side 'So Glad", a killer mixture of thumping techno grooves, dreamy deep house pads, looped piano snippets and brilliantly cut-up gospel vocals. That's not to say that the B-side is much weaker, though; in fact, with rasping preacher vocals, bustling Chicago house beats, mind-mangling organs and insatiable drum fills, it's arguably even bigger.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: After launching last year with Who, Get Your Copy returns to the fray with a little help from Italian powerhouse Steve Murphy. The producer gets plenty of action on labels like Hot Haus, Chiwax, Lobster Theremin and more besides, so you know you're going to get a solid dose of tuff house business delivered with that gutsy Roman attitude. "Everything U Know" channels an abundance of 90s vibes, from the nagging chord stab to the understated speech sample, while "Infiltrator" takes a tribal direction without losing the old-skool flavour. Both cuts are perfectly shaped for the dance, whether you want to hit a peak time note or take the crowd deep into the groove.
Review: Melbourne's Short Black label has been relatively sporadic with its releases up until now, having started back in 2013 with Matt Kennedy's Together At 2am EP and dropping the third release on the label back in 2016, Rustal's Privilege. Hopefully this excellent new transmission from newcomer Tristan Kino will be the start of more productivity from the crew. The EP starts off in fine style with the nervy, reduced acid twitch of "Yggdrassil", while at the other end of the record "Niddhog" presents a tougher, darker throwdown crafted for seedy techno dancefloors. Johannes Volk has been snapped up for remix duties, and does a sterling service with the metallic clang of his version of "Niddhog".
Review: It's been a hot minute since Timothy J. Fairplay slipped on his Junior Fairplay guise, but he's done just that for this bleep-tastic new 12" on (Emotional) Especial. "End Of Love" is unabashed in its embrace of early Yorkshire techno tones, making a fine job of resurrecting the bleep spectre and letting it shake up the dance once more. Roy Of The Ravers is a smart choice of remixer, and he brings an off-kilter acid rub to the table in his idiosyncratic, braindance-inflected style. The B-side is equal laden with purposefully dusty dance grooves transplanted from the late 80s / early 90s, with "Faxes From The Future" hitting a particularly sharp point in its lazy breakbeat roll and the clanging harmonies of the stabs.
Review: Robin Ball has been on a roll of late, flaunting his wares on the Memory Box label amongst others. He makes a second outing on Groovepressure with four tracks of dynamic, inventive machine jams touching on synthwave influences and a healthy dose of electro. There's atmosphere loaded into each of these forthright, roughly hewn workouts, not least on the eerie, trancey synth strings on "Mr Mumble". The B side features the steadiest material in the shape of two versions of "Satin" that tap into the housier end of Ball's output.
Henry Hyde - "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim" (6:18)
Review: The ever-charitable Needs project continues apace with another stunning cast of characters offering up their dancefloor creations to help a good cause - the environmentally-focused Cool Earth NGO. On this 12", Eris Drew delivers the uplifting breakbeat celebration of "See You In Snow", while Edward takes things deeper with the tripped out minimal house groove of "Mind Loop". D. Tiffany brings a particularly crafty approach to her own drum funk science on "Sun Trip" and Henry Hyde cools things down with the mellow, new age 2 step stylings of "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim."
Review: After first teaming up with Uzuri back in 2016, Italian producer Giorgio Luceri finally makes a return with a second part of his Space Fire Truth series. There seems to be a concept lingering in the presentation of the music, but let's focus on the sounds themselves. "Collinder 69 Funk" is an effervescent burst of uplifting energy with a groove that feels housey underneath plush Detroit techno synths. "The Early Morning Ouroboros" switches things up with a pacey, chopped up broken beat trip peppered with soulful vocals and instrumentation. "Kepler 16b" is a moodier affair that lets the techno side of Luceri's sound bleed through, and then "Tu Sei Il Maestro Dell'Eterno Ritorno" finishes the record off on a stirring, romantic tip with swooning strings aplenty.
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.
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: Dan Piu's long-running Moto Music welcomes a new project into the mix in the shape of Parallaks, which is formed by Maltese producers Owen Jay and Ed Blank. It's a new direction, certainly for Jay, who shirks his sleeker tech house fare for some rugged experimentation on the outer limits of hardware techno, reportedly fuelled by a modular-focused approach. The results are fantastic, placing the emphasis on intriguing synth shapes and machine-led progression that veers from the gritty beatdown "Palo Verde" to the beautiful, expressive experimentation of "Browns Ferry." It's a consistently interesting and brilliantly executed experiment from two gifted producers.
Review: Ricardo Medina has popped up intermittently through the years as a wielder of hefty deep house, and so it goes on this new 12" for Wonder Stories. Take snappily titled "Mcoolaid", where the synths ping out bright and bold while the acidic bass and slamming drums keep the pressure at a constant peak, or the dark and nasty throb of "Fuego". Medina means business, and he's unabashed in his aim towards the big room peak time tech house crowd. "Techmoreno" keeps up the intensity, which gives Alejandro Paz the necessary ingredients for an equally smoking remix for the crafty jackers out there on the floor.
Review: Some 20 years after "If" first hit stores, Jeff Mills has decided to get his old pal Terrence Parker to remix it. He's done a rather good job, with both versions making great use of Mills' ghostly original chord sequences and two different variations on the mesmerizing, seemingly drifting scat-style vocals that was arguably the track's most memorable feature. The A-side "Vox Soul Mix" includes new vocals in the original style by Marachka, whose haunting but soulful improvisations brilliantly rise above metronomic techno drums, spacey effects and those now famous chords. The similar sounding "Original Remix" is a little tougher and weightier, with tooled-up percussion (check the restless hi-hats) underpinning Anna F's original scat vocal and Mills' ethereal, ambient style chords.
Freakenstein - "Feakin' Time (+ Freak-A-Pella)" (7:24)
Review: Leeds-born session Hearlucinate makes the leap to wax with a special series of 12"s that correspond to line-ups for parties in London, spearheaded by resident Tristan da Cunha. On this first release, Dawl shores up on the A side and sets the bar very high indeed with the killer bleep techno stylings of "Energy Overdrive" and the tough, punchy electro of "Cyborg". Da Cunha himself follows up on the B side with the equally tough and thumping "Move (Let Me See U)", a seedy and sensual peak timer if we ever heard one. Freakenstein completes the set with a rabble-rousing booty bass beat down that will appeal to those who likes their electro fast and nasty.
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: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
Das Ding - "Life Is A Tool In The Hands Of Strangers" (4:04)
DJ Overdose - "I See No Stars At Night" (4:16)
DJ Overdose - "Potje Freaken" (4:55)
Review: The Go Finger label has been digging into the undergrowth of synthwave sounds and deviant electro for a few years now, more recently graduating from the tape scene to put out EPs of leftfield electronic adventures on wax. This EP in particular is quite something, calling on the vintage talents of Das Ding in all their eerie, warped, pulsing, analogue refinement. "Conun Drum" is a curiously playful trip through noirish cityscapes by way of strobing lead lines and militaristic machine beats, while "Life Is A Tool In The Hands Of Strangers" takes a more uptempo approach without losing the bombast of their melodic arrangements. Dutch electro champ DJ Overdose steps up for the B side, dropping the overcast and creeping "I See No Stars At Night" and the dishevelled robot beatdown "Potje Freaken".
Review: Having kicked off his Etheric label with the Origins EP earlier this year, Leonardo is back with more adventurous machine music for the spiritually inclined dancefloor. "The Offering" has a dark and moody tone thanks to the snaking synth line wriggling its way through the track, perfect for eyes-down submission as the strobe blinks slowly. "Symmetry" is a more open affair, all soft top chimes and vapour blasts pinging around an easy electro beat, while "The Afterlife" strikes somewhere in the middle with a tougher, club-minded sound that still favours a sunnier sound palette. "Droplets" is the consummate B2, shrugging off the dancefloor rules of the previous tracks to trip out in a dubwise atmosphere that further strengthens the quality of what Leonardo is up to.
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: Having made a strong impression with the first two releases on BROMUR, Bogdan steps over to Not An Animal to flex his discoid pecs once again. He leads in with the understated Italo thrum of "Parovoznikov," riding a stuttering arpeggio and leaving plenty of room for the punchy drums and fluttering synth touches. Justin Van Der Volgen does a sensitive job of the remix, embellishing the core of the track with delicate chime refrains that add a tenderness to this muscular club jam. "Listopad" is a more mellow affair, but there's no shortage of fuzzy, vintage lead lines to bathe your ears in. Kito Jempere does a more drastic reinterpretation with his version of "Listopad," injecting a little acid and proto house bite into the track.
Review: After Gunnar Haslam inaugurated Kalvanic Languages with his deep-minded techno styles, now it's up to supposed newcomer Bill Westerby to follow up with another round of elevated machine learning. "K-Stream" was a smart choice for the lead track, bubbling along on a warm acid line and shuffling a wealth of dubby processing around in the middle distance. "Down A Back Alley In Cholon" is a slightly more wound up affair with a bleepy lead and a firmer jack powering the drums, but the end results are actually more meditative than that description might have you believe. "Caye De Crabe" is a more overtly tripped out affair with polyrhythmic phrases weaving in and out of each other while Westerby lets rip on the parameter tweaks in a fine display of machine wielding prowess.