Review: Arapu is very much one of the key Romanian artists of the moment. Of course, like his revered countrymen, that means techno that is elegant, minimal, and delicately detailed. His own take on the style is often littered with curious little motifs and trippy loops that also characterise this new one on heavyweight vinyl for Liniar. "Over" is a brilliant opener with languid Balearic guitar riffs echoing over supple drum work which will hook you in and encourage your mind to wander, whereas "A Gain" is a more direct, driving minimal techno cut with warped synths peeling off an urgent groove. "I" closes out with a funky undercarriage and dub house overtones that will get any basement popping off.
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 1) (6:35)
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 2) (13:39)
Review: The Mandar dream team of Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and S.A.M revisit "Poisoned Words" with a double dose of remixes from none other than Ricardo Villalobos. The minimal overlord lives up to expectations on both flips of the original track, needling into the tiniest sonic details and holding down an insistent groove that will sit beautifully in the mix. The A side features a simmering version that revels in wriggling sound design with ample space to flex and mutate, while the B side stretches out into a quintessential Villalobos wormhole of a remix. Unmissable sonics from one of the scene's true legends.
Albert Luxus - "In Den Arm Bitte!" (Julian Stetter mix)
Tom Demac - "Serenade"
Jurgen Paape - "Abstrusia"
Reinhard Voigt - "Der Amnn, Der Nie Nach Deutz Kam"
Rex The Dog - "Vortex"
Justus Kohncke - "Mindless Sex Track"
Voigt & Voigt - "Der Schwarm"
Anii - "Ride The Tiger"
Clarian - "Early Life"
Extrawelt - "Pink Panzer"
DJ Balduin - "EWBA"
Anna - "Remembrance" (main mix)
Fahrland - "Yesterday" (Night version)
Patrice Baumel - "Grace"
La Fleur - "Tears"
John Monkman & James Monro - "Pesto Punk"
Blackrachas - "Rotary"
Raxon - "Dark Light"
Yotam Avni - "Track For Agoria"
Jonathan Kaspar - "Renard"
Gui Boratto - "618" (Kolsch mix)
Review: Cologne powerhouse Kompakt may not be talked about as much as it once was, but the label continues to put out high quality electronic music with its own distinctive vibe. For proof, check the 19th annual edition of their now legendary compilation series, "Total". There's much to set the pulse racing amongst the 25 tracks scattered across two CDs, from the shoegaze-influenced haziness of Weval's "Are You Even Real" and the picturesque, piano-sporting dancefloor deepness of Tom Demac's "Serenade", to the neo-trance throb of Rex The Dog, the twisted techno intensity of Voigt & Voigt, and the intergalactic electro/rave fusion of Raxon's strobe lit "Raxon".
Review: Hoarder continues to impress here with another classy collection of serious club heat. It comes from Italian born, New York based artist Fr!sky Buziness and marks his best work to date. All four tracks deal in proper, original tech house with a superbly smooth and seductive sense of late night funk. "Grey Goo Romance" has a gooey groove with sci-fi motifs that race along, while "Bananafish" channels early Terry Francis with its clipped and slick drums and swirling cosmic pads. "Skyhook" is awash with alien lifeforms and brain cleansing synth tones that are shiny and reflective, then finally "Aurora" pumps the party with perfectly pressurised drum loops and a whole ecosystem of spaced out sound effects. This is high grade dance floor weaponry from start to finish.
Review: More from single-sided specialists EEE, a shadowy crew that specializes in sneaky contemporary club reworks of well-known tracks (many of which are, in their original form, about as dancefloor focused as your average miserable indie band or veteran cabaret crooner). What's on offer this time round is a heavily electronic tech-house groove - all Romanian style beats and bubbling, mind-altering synth notes - onto which is laid cut-up snippets from a famous old blues cut that's previously been sampled on a club cut to great effect. While the vocal does sit slightly awkwardly at times, there's no denying the heaviness or effectiveness of EEE's track. In other words, it's another winner from tech-house's most shadowy crew.
Jon Da Silva & Jozef K - "Maresme" (Da Silva mix) (5:44)
Review: Sasha has done well to re-establish himself with the next generation, and its largely because of the work he puts into his Last Night On Earth label. A haven for producers who like emotionally stripping, melodic sounds, this latest VA package delves into the previously digital-only archives. The boss himself kicks things off with a collab with La Fleur built on a wavy baseline and crisp house rhythm. Fur Coat keep things more mysterious with "Babel" while Hunter/Game keep you in suspense throughout the many melodic and harmonica layers of "Canyons". Jon Da Silva & Jozef K close things down in more purposeful fashion.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.