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: Following the excellent instalment from DJ Skull, Mentha continues to gather pace as a house and techno label of note with this sublime offering from Hakim Murphy. While the Chicago native may be known for some bruising hardware house and techno a lot of the time, he's showing his more sensitive side on this release with delicate tracks that head into deep techno waters. The title of the EP says it all, as nimble, expressive beats merge with soothing, aqueous pad tones for a most satisfying of listening experiences. Fans of early deep techno a la B12 and Stasis will find much to enjoy here.
Review: Edward's graceful take on modern house and techno is a perfect fit for Trelik, and the German producer sounds comfortable as he unfurls swooning threads of otherworldly music for the tripped out dancefloor. The "Ogermania Mx" of "Mikko" is a hazy, string soaked affair pitched somewhere warm and dreamlike, but there's plenty of energy churning away in the lower register. "Lottery" is a more twitchy affair for darker times, all moody bass bounce and looming drones around a shuffling set of percussion. "Groaning Ghosts" is the techiest of the bunch, and there's a whole lot of freaked out sound design swirling around in the mix as well. This is simply stunning, highly advanced dance music from a modern day maestro.
Review: Baby Ford's minimal minded label is back in action with some psyched-out goodness from Alex Celler. The long-serving Greek producer has many strings to his bow, but this release finds him tapping into his foundational sound as a steady ticking groove carries a richly produced bed of chimes and tones for the deepest moments in the dance. Where "Feudade" is a lilting, soothing trip, "Vis A Vis" heads into a more mysterious headspace peppered with nagging rhythmic trysts, crafty licks and fulsome bass to get the synapses popping. It's exactly how stripped down house music should be done, inventive to the last and yet utterly danceable.
Review: The SlapFunk crew have been enjoying plenty of attention lately, and quite rightly. Their pumped up house sound is hard to refute, taking the heads down trippiness of minimal house and beefing it up with classic jacking sounds for an infectious party mixture. Samuel Deep gets the message, bringing just the right kind of swing to "MOOV!" to get bodies popping all over the joint, while "Keek Iz" rides the same beat but in a lower register. "42915 Beatz" is just as drum led, but there's a little more fidgety sonic interplay popping off around the drums. Ingi Visions pops up on the B2 for the distinctly more eerie "Tekniq", placing an icy string synth refrain at the heart of the track with chilling results.
Review: From Body Parts and Sleep Is Commercial through to Suruba and Uzvar, Ludovic Vendi has proven himself to be a leading light in the experimental corners of the minimal techno scene. He steps up to London label Hoxton with a diverse three-tracker that takes in atmospheric downtempo sound design on "Horizons" before heading into more propulsive broken beat territory on "Lost In Sequences". On the B side "Chymere" strikes a more familiar shuffling 4/4 note as it winds through all manner of tripped out sound effects, providing the most dancefloor friendly jam on the record.
David Borden - "The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint" (part 9)
STL - "Dark Energy"
Percussions - "Percussions One"
C++ - "Angie's Fucked"
Burial - "Street Halo"
KMA - "Cape Fear"
WK7 - "Higher Power"
Ricardo Villalobos - "Sieso"
Four Tet - "Pyramid"
Red Rack'Em - "How I Program"
Active Minds - "Hobson's Choice (Tune For Da Man Dem)"
Armando Gallop & Steve Poindexter - "Blackholes"
Four Tet - "Locked"
Review: The Fabriclive series maintains its fine run of form with Four Tet's eagerly anticipated inclusion into the canon. Stitching together field recordings of the club itself, ambient tracks from Michel Redolfi and David Borden, a selection of lost, dusty UK garage from the likes of Persian and Crazy Bald Heads and recent productions from Burial and Floating Points, it's not so much a DJ set as an impressionistic rendition of Hebden's own memories of clubbing itself. Considering the fact that Hebden's own productions are usually so saturated in melody, it's a relatively dark mix, dominated by murky bass tones and sharp, brittle beats, with a constantly shifting sense of urgency that encourages rapt attention throughout. The stellar mix is capped off with two brand new Four Tet tracks, "Pyramid" and "Locked", which only seek to highlight his growing ability to produce devastating club tracks.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After years of staggering second hand prices, London's Silverlining is addressing the demand for some of his early work by issuing a series of 12"s with some of the finest tracks from his mid '90s era. This time around the tracks come from releases on Wiggle and Wrong, and they sound like they haven't aged one bit. "Pleasures & Treasures" is an upfront burner steeped in 909 drums and hubby synth tones, while "Ni-Cd Deluxe" works up a nagging line in emotive electro. "Spannered In Dub" may well be the track that gets the most airings with its minimal disposition, strong rhythm section and utterly addictive groove.
Review: In his funk-informed, edit-rich guise for Daphni/Caribou's Jiaolong imprint, Chaz 'Toro Y Moi' Bundick drops another sublime two-tracker of impeccably informed groove for sharp dancers and fearless romancers. "Grind" wastes no time in getting down with a sublime roll of drums, sleek bass and perfect touches of boogie synth, leaving space for some spaced out vocoder vocal over the top. "Prelims" heads off into more experimental territory with a low riding beat and droning, detuned melodies aimed squarely at creating a future-soul hybrid for the open-minded heads to tap into. There are serious legs to Bundick's project and this record serves to build on those pins with plenty of grace and oodles of style.
Review: Leading minimal label The Untold Stories are at it again, and after their star turn from STL recently they've now invited down another legend in the shape of Franco Cinelli. The original is classic Cinelli, pivoting around crisp, clean percussive lines and the bare essential atmospherics. Nektar Agu steps up for a remix that continues the minimalist theme, but adds some looming bass tones into the mix that pushes the track into a dubbier headspace. It's another slab of refined, stripped down tackle for the reductionist dancefloor, as you would expect from The Untold Stories.
Review: While he may have been operating in the underground for some time, Darren Allen's music is only just coming to light through his own Underlying Form label now. There's a range of styles on offer across this EP, kicking off with the subtle pulse of "Feel" before moving on to a distinctly French-flavoured micro house groove on "Inmost Cave" that wouldn't sound out of place on Telegraph Records. On the B side, "Routine Kills Inspiration" switches the mood up with a rougher sound palette, even if the arrangement is still a minimally-minded affair. Then it's left to Vid Vai to drop a complex reworking of "MD Habitat" loaded with intricate textures.
Review: DJ Spider, DJ Qu and Joey Anderson collaborator Dakini9 is back on New York's Plan B Recordings with a hot solo EP, and the girl means business. Four tracks of raw, gritty house music from the street: "Find Myself" features Danny Watts on the vocals and a wavey, dubbed-out collection of sounds; "Wali" is similarly contorted and grey-scaled albeit for the lonesome piano keys travelling across the arrangement. Over on the B-side there's the head-nodder that is "Potentiation", a punchy and direct dub-house chugger, and the stumbling groove of "Strawman", the oddest and most daring of the four cuts.
Review: "The Einhorn EP" with Dario Zenker marks the come back of Bruno Pronsato on Telegraph. The release includes 2 marathon tracks between live and production. After living in Wasserburg, Dario Zenker comes back to Munich. He began his DJ career at the Ultraschall club alongside the likes of Acid Mario or Vitalic vs The Hacker & Hometrainer. 2006 is the year of his first productions on Balcon, Num and Telegraph. Bruno Pronsato (aka Steven Ford) has been subverting expectations within techno's upper echelons since 2003 but the Seattle producer took a circuitous path to reach his current lofty status. After his acclaimed releases on Orac, Musique Risquée, Milnormodern and Telegraph, 2006 would be the year of his consecration!
Review: Subtil is run by Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz. The latter teams up with label stalwart Martin Glowacz for the Berlin label's twelfth release, following up some great ones by Romanian tech house heroes Piktor and Vlad Arapasu. The A side features the slinky and hypnotic groove of "Frankonia", followed by the rolling and esoteric sorcery of "Lower". The flip belongs to an epic 13 minute long remix of "Frankonia" by Paul Agripa - of the trio Sahau with Dan Andrei and Serban Goanta. The Bucharest based producer's trippy daydream of a rendition is pure magic and exactly the kind of thing we could have imagined the crowd at Sunwaves 23 trancing out to last week.
Review: To date Ion Dumitrescu's Utopus project has only appeared on compilations, but now it scores the space in which to roam free across a whole EP that shines a light on this most promising of Romanian talents. P-Balans is the perfect place to house such wares, carrying the country's minimal love affair into intriguing new creative realms that deal in broken beat, electro and more outwardly experimental fare. "Southology" is a particularly fractured jam peppered with playful synths and tumbling drums, while "The Vision" takes on a shamanic techno stance. If you're craving propulsive tracks loaded with personality then hit up Utopus and you won't be disappointed.
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 Synthetic Gold story continues to unfold in the most curious nooks and crannies of the minimal techno scene, as this third volume welcomes in tracks selected by Anestie Gomez. Khan is in a looped up, insistent cycle loaded with alien synth tones and a focused rhythmic hiccup of a beat, truly aiming for the psych-out end of the night. Eloi Brunelle makes things a touch funkier on "Neneh", deploying choice splashes of dubbed out colour in between the sharp strut of the drums. Andres Garcia then spreads himself across the B-side with the loping funk of "Invisivel", working all manner of freaky sounds around the scuffed sway of the beats.
Review: Arno E Mathieu has been a part of the enlarged house movement since 2005. Yes, that's 12 years in service, which means that he's kind of a veteran by now. This, however, is no surprise; the producer's work is carefully crafted and, whether he's making progressive or tech, he has a clear ability to catch the dancer's attention with some pretty seductive grooves. He's back on his favoured Clima label after a few years dipping and diving into other imprints, but it's like he's never been away. "Circumstances Of Chaos" is a wide-eyed, big-room kind of tune that stabs its large drums to a raucous tempo, while "7 Janvier 2015" breaks the predictable 4/4 groove into a sparse nu-jazz sort of lick for the deeper ends of the DJ set, and "Together?" ties the EP off to a close with the help of a steely house structure accompanied by warm waves of dubbiness . A magnetic outing from this reliable producer.
Review: Having previously appeared on TINK! Music back in 2015, Portugese producer Gatupreto returns to the label for their second release with the powerful, vocal led "I Became Me". There's a loose, tribal lilt to the percussion on this lead track, while the wobbly bass gives everything a gnarly swagger that offsets the impassioned vocal in style. Philou Louzolo takes to remix duties with a perfect compliment to the original, edging the wild elements into a focused yet natural kind of Afro house. On the flip, "Afrowerk" brings a distinctive vintage soundtrack approach to the table, and "Gatu Di Noti" features heavily syncopated drums tumbling over even more darkside monosynth action.
Review: Dahlback again in effect on his new second home, K2 out of Cologne. "Hearki" envelops you in a rotund bass drum, splashed with effects, nagging groove and delicately spotted with small percussive effects, deadly in the details. Watch out for the obliterated middle section as well, like a shoot out in an arcade, real horror show man. "Raido" flies a little too close to the big sun called preset for our tastes, but the choogling "Sailjo" rounds up and offers a necessary dry aftertaste to the aural palette, very new-Balearic, very good. Usual big stuff from Dahlback.
Arsy vs The Ferrari Orgy Death Crashs - "Sheep" (5:48)
Review: There is little about this second release from schaukel sublabel Laubenpiepers Finest that doesn't immediately capture your attention. The humorous artist name (Arsy), the odd EP title (I Deleted The Mach Kernel File Completely) and the King Kong riffing art work (if you indulged in LAUF 001 you may be noticing a theme) will separately or collectively draw the inquisitive minds out there to investigate further. If you are one of those, you will be rewarded with some wonderfully warm machine music that changes in tone from calm and relaxed to bouncy and insouciant from track to track. Final track "Sheep", a collaboration between Arsy and The Ferrari Orgy Death Crashs (a superb name) will delight those of a dubbier persuasion.
Review: Ema Remedi's story is, up to this point, quite a mystery to us here at HQ. Firstly, she's only released a handful of tunes up to this point - out through a collaborative comp which surfaced back in 2013 - and her debut label, Piros, also makes its first appearance on the dance scene. Both entities launch with "Remind Me", a compelling and almost meditative minimal sketch boosted by a lovely balearic swing; "The Last Tango" heads even further down the dub path thanks to a hazy procession of liquid-like atmospherics, and Ernesto Ferreyra's remix of it gives the track a whole new type of tech-swing.
Review: New label Pointillisme Music return after some great releases by Disuasiv (Andi Parlogea & Dragosh) and the always impressive Ukrainian KiRiK. It's now over to Esoteric Workshop, who has released previously on Sensual and 87 Records and rest assured that the Zern EP certainly follows in suit. Starting out with the deeply hypnotic subtlety of "Travers" featuring a gentle broken beat, emotive pads and tripped out atmospherics: this one ticks all the right boxes. The remix of said track up next by Anestie Gomez stays faithful to the original, but gets dubbier by injecting more tempo and shuffle into the rhythm complete with a rolling bassline which works even better. On the flip, the mysterious producer experiments further with broken beats, like on is the classic Chicago deep house sounds of "Loren" and then back to four/four with the tough, electro-infused analogue driven groove of "Sera".