Review: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
Review: Unstoppable electro machine Carl Finlow (aka Silicon Scally) lands on Orson with more of that impeccable robo-funk he's so revered for. "Elastic Collisions" leads the charge with a tough and teasing workout that works around a heavy low end and plenty of sparkling sound design up top. "Octodecillion" keeps things on a dystopian tip, where a bleak future sounds as funky as it does ominous. "Probabilities" heads into a less floor-focused space where thick layers of buffed and polished synth wriggles collide in high-definition. "Mechanomics" completes the set with another taut belter geared towards the heads down section of the party.
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Review: Assembler Code & Jensen Interceptor are one of electro's most devastating duos right now. Mechatronica welcome them for four more hard hitting jams after their "Vapour Waves" EP on this label got plenty of people talking. These are tunes with an old school feel that will blow up your bass bins and tear apart your tweeters with their mix of low end heaviness and bright melodic patterns. Superbly urgent drum programming sweeps you off your feet and races you through astral skies on "Noise Theory", "Otherwise" has a raggedy-ass broken beat and "Day 1" has a blistering bassline of the highest order.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: Sushitech's sub label Pariter has already released timeless records from the likes of Delano Smith, Steve O'Sullivan, Baby Ford and Norm Talley to name a few and this new release of the Romanian group Lisiere Collectif is no exception!
Unknown Credentials is a project of 5 tracks released on 2 single records. A sides on both parts are absolutely massive, acid lines and hypnotic chords peak time tracks that will shake any proper sound system with some serious bass extension! B sides are deeper and have more modern, fresh electroish vibe that we love!
Fans of Ricardo Villalobos & Craig Richards b2b sets are going to find it gold! Don't sleep!!
Review: Not An Animal regulars Ess O Ess are back with an effervescent 12" that spans starry-eyed electro and pastoral electronica. "Voice Inside" comes in French and English versions, depending on what flavour you want from the sultry spoken word turn on the top of the plush harmonics of the production. As well as the killer original track, there's choice remixes on offer too from The Backwoods and Craig Richards. The former takes a cosmic, trippy approach to the track, but keeps the focus sharp thanks to a snapping 4/4 beat. Craig Richards meanwhile takes things far away from the original with a brilliant slice of discordant electro weirdness for the after hours crowd.
Review: Given that Fantastic Man's last outing on Kitjen, 2016's "Galactic Ecstasy", was one of his more interesting and on-point releases to date, hopes are high for this belated return to the German label. First up in "Solar Surfing", a spacey affair built around stuttering machine drums, intergalactic electronics and a thickset bassline. Acid-fired workout "Native Power" follows, with psychedelic TB-303 lines and minimalist bleeps riding a flowing electro groove, before closing cut "Avocado Conception" sees the Australian combine Balearic-minded synthesizer flourishes and bubbly acid lines with a slower groove. Like the rest of the EP, it's ear pleasing but surprisingly off-kilter.
Review: Unlike some in the growing electro scene, Datassette has been serving up far-sighted electronic music - both club electro and what some call "IDM" - since the dawn of the century. This, though, marks his first appearance on C.P. Smith's incomparable Central Processing Unit label. It's a pleasingly varied affair, with the British producer storming between club electro/early Autechre fusion ("Kestrel Manoeuvres In The Dark"), acid-tinged, beat-free electronic symphonies ("To The Scullery!"), hard-edged and suitably intergalactic Drexciya style workouts ("Stoatle Excelsior") and sparse, glitchy electro minimalism (wonky EP highlight "Polyhedron Navigator"). Even by CPU's infamously high standards, this is a particularly fine EP.
Review: The Advent made for a perfect addition to the formidable Thema catalogue, and now he's back with the second volume of his "Dorian Blue" series. There are plentiful loops to get creative with, but the fully-formed tracks have their own cyclical qualities to inspire technically-minded DJs. "Structures" is an urgent, tightly wound piledriver, while "Interactive Loop" and "Digitize" cuts both take a sprightly, Motor City-styled approach to electro. With loops derived from these classy tracks and more besides, there's a lot to get the creative juices flowing as well as bodies popping.
Review: After launching the Gudu label with a superb EP of her own productions, Peggy Gou has recruited Ed Upton AKA DMX Krew - one of the most reliable producers in the house and techno scene - to handle release number two. Upton is in fine form from the off, sprinting his way through the atmospheric late night chords, garage style organ motifs, bustling acid lines and jacking drums of opener "CJ Vibe". He moves further towards vintage Motor City techno territory on the lusciously melodious but percussively punchy peak-time skip of "DXIOO", before reaching for the boogie synths and proto-house drums on futurist electrofunk number "Don't You Wanna Play?". To round things off, Upton brilliantly dips the tempo and layers up spacey melodies over classic analogue bass on "110 Series".
Review: New label Nuances de Nuit kick off in fine style with a various artists 12" that draws on some emergent names to lay out a vision of cross-style dance music that favours the deeper end of the pool. Things get going with an organ-rich house bumper from DJ Steaw that pumps in all the right places, before Armless Kid switches things up with an untitled slice of dynamic, richly layered electro. T. Jacques thumps out a crafty, swinging cut with techy inclinations and oodles of groove, and E. Wan takes things in a more linear, deep techno direction laden with gorgeous synth work and plenty of artful effects processing.
Review: When you use words like "prickly", "abrasive" and "uncompromising" it's rarely flattering. Consider Kim Gordon's exceptional powerhouse long form one of the exceptions. As far removed from music for the masses as you could hope for, it takes a particular talent to deliver work like "No Record Home". Labels such as punk certainly apply, but it's less about mouths gushing spittle amid the deafening screams of guitars and raucous vocals, and more about overall attitude. No change there for this co-founder of the mighty Sonic Youth then. Loud and intelligent, forthright and yet heartfelt and tender in its own unforgiving way, it's as far removed from wall of sound discordance as it is anything you could describe as remotely over-explored. Marrying the bloody-lipped electro of Peaches and body blow lows of EBM with gritty rock 'n' roll chords, those looking for originality that oozes repeatability should consider their hunt over, for now at least.
Review: More majestic electro workouts from Chris "214" Roman, a producer who has been serving up slabs of tightly wound machine funk since the dawn of the decade. He opens his first Frustrated Funk outing for three years with the bittersweet deep electro shuffle of "Growing Old Together" before breaking up the beats, ratcheting up the bleeps and cranking out the crackles on alien funk throb-job "Last Dance". Over on the flip, "Dislocated" is a high-tempo slab of end of days electro full of growling noises and creepy chords, while "Voice Check" is picturesque, dreamy and life affirming: a triumphantly positive and melodious conclusion to another stunning collection of cuts.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
What Doesn't Kill You Doesn't Make You Anything (4:09)
Darkly Down The Cellar Steps Again (5:02)
Review: John Heckle last released an album on Tabernacle three years ago, but he's been far from quiet since then with his Head Front Panel project diverting his attention towards blistering hard techno. Tone To Voice then represents a return to more melodic pastures with a more diverse selection of tempos and moods to choose from, but still Heckle's innate gift for expressive, dynamic machine music shines through. "Sonic Spectrometer" is a joyous slice of techno-jazz, while "Potential Life" whips up stunning cascading synth lines and pattering hats. At times, there's no need for a kick, and with ample ambient excursions woven into the mix this stands as one of Heckle's most accomplished releases yet.
Review: Is this pop? Is this experimental? These are the thoughts that will have crossed many minds when encountering the kind of baffle Jai Paul offers. A guy who seems intent on creating curveball works of art, "BTSTU" in many ways is minimalist stuff, save for the concepts behind the sounds. Or at least its structures give the illusion of minimalism. From the first waterfall of synth to the way in which vocals are allowed to (quite literally) speak for themselves - a multitude of characters with one voice - it's at once bound for the charts and your bookshelf of classic works.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: After debuting his Pakzad moniker on Infiltrate last year, Justin Pak makes the leap to Burnski's Constant Sound with this assured set of electro workouts built for the modern age. "Timeless" is a snappy, vibrant cut with a serious amount of techno propulsion to match the crooked funk of the beats. "Clutch" has a more trippy, melodic twist, while "Correlation" hunkers down into a more backroom vibe as detailed as it is freaky. This is seriously executed electro from a fast-rising talent - nab a copy, drop it into a set and watch the bodies writhe.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Exzakt continues to forge one of the purest totems of classic electro with his Monotone label, and indeed his own output. The latest release is a various artists EP which perfectly sums up everything Monotone is about. The Advent leads the way with the dark, melodic "Eye's Of Envy," produced alongside Zein, before Exzakt himself drops a taut and wiry dancefloor bomb in the shape of "Kreep." 214 fires up the B side with the edgy, minimalist thrust of "Crouch & Turn," before EggFooYoung makes a surprise return to the fray with the more Miami-flavoured stylings of "Bass2Large," a slower, dirtier jam with low end frequencies to get the whole club freaking.
Review: We're always keen to hear from Berlin label Vortex Traks. This 11th offering sees them eschew their recent run of Various Artists EPs to instead focus on five cuts from Datawave. The Belgian artist's sound operates in some distant galaxy, watched over by his forebearers such as Dopplereffekt and Drexciya. Crashing hits open "Implant" before a serrated lead signals ready for takeoff. The intensity only ramps up through the warp speed synths of "Immune Compound" and corrugated bass rumbles of "Hybrid Structure". "Proceed" is the most alien of the lot, and "Thin Line" closes out on a mysterious vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Review: Biochip are a new duo making the right start on the mighty CPU. Julian Kochanowski and Melissa Speirs have no previous to speak of, but their deft take on electro speaks to years of research and immersion in the language of sequencers and synthesisers. There's an emotional weight to the music they've charged this debut EP with, where billowing pads and soaring Detroit leads meet with some crafty sound design and canny programming. At times things get intense, as on the rowdy "Acid Billy", not to mention seriously funky on "Tone Forest", but there's always an otherworldly shroud hovering over the music that makes it Biochip's own.
Review: Over the course of her three year solo career, London-based Australian Carla Dal Forno has steadily moved from a dark, stylish and bleak all-electronic sound to something a little warmer and more organic in tone. On "Look Up Sharp", her third album, she continues this trend, complimenting her usual lo-fi drum machines and synths with low-slung post-punk bass and the kind of pastoral, traditional instrumentation more often associated with folk music (think flutes, recorders, clarinet etc.). It's a curious blend, but one that works wonderfully well throughout the album, and especially on those songs to which she adds evocative, often melancholic vocals.
Review: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Arctic Monkeys - "Leave Before The Lights Come On"
The Newell Octet - "Baby I'm Yours"
Review: A brand new studio recording of the now live smash "Leave Before The Lights Come On" shows Alex Turner and gang further honing their songwriting craft with a track which could well turn out to be one of their finest.
Review: Electronic Leatherette continue their trips into the ethereal and seductive world of minimal wave with this new single from label founders Dmitry Distant and Arnaud Lazlaud. "De Ton Absence" is an artfully sculpted synth ballad bathed in reverb and Lazlaud's dreamy vocals - the end result is something both yearning and sinister, like the best minimal wave should be. On the flip, the balladry gets a shot of pure adrenaline as Timothy J Fairplay creates a taut, feisty electro belter out of the raw ingredients for a remix that should find favour with more uptempo dancefloors.
Review: Rather unhelpfully, there's little info about the Superlux label available, other than the fact that it's run by the shadowy artists of the same name. They handle side A of this split EP, with Mike Gill's "Noisey Rework" of "White Noise" - a pulsating, otherworldly chunk of electro rich in trippy noises and elastic synth-bass - followed by the raw, foreboding, mid-tempo electro throb of "Chupa Track". Sometime Pleasure Club man Nick Glynn takes over on side two, first delivering the deep space club electro of EP standout "Take One", before inviting Dawl to re-invent it as a mind-mangling slab of electro/Yorkshire bleep fusion (minus the colossal sub-bass associated with that particular vintage style).
Review: Chris Romans has been rolling out crucial electro jams for a number of highly regarded labels since the early 00s. Amongst them are Touchin' Bass, Shipwrec, Frustrated Funk and Central Processing Unit, so that tells you everything you need to know about the level he's operating at as 214. Now he comes to 20/20 Vision with some body-poppin' jams of the highest order, broadening the tech house label's remit to embrace the thriving electro scene with one of its most vital practitioners. "Potential Events" is a brooding, atmospheric affair while "Windeye" draws on a more playful, Detroit indebted palette of sounds. Radioactive Man remixes "Windeye" with a steady, finely detailed approach, and then "Back To Sine" finishes the record off with another snappy salvo of funky drums and bubbling synths.
Review: The best thing since the Klaxons or Bloc Party have arrived. black midi! The student art rock band are bringing a new youthful energy and slight of malice back to the arena of post-indie inspired alternative guitar and synth music. They make this overtly known from the start with the supercharged opener that is "953", introducing an album that is said to have laid down eight of the record's nine tracks in just five days. Drums are fast and skittering, rhythms are dancey and guitars keep it Madchester jangley. "Speedway" (is that a wry Prodigy reference?) is among the album's highlights alongside the punk-funky "bmbmbm" and the short but trippy "Years Ago". With a 100 per cent backing by UK music institution Rough Trade: meet this generation's newest sensation.
Review: Distorted Sensory Perception is a new label emerging out of the Bristol underground to represent the deeper end of the techno and electro scene. The first release is a various artists affair that kicks off with the bold and expressive sound of rising talent Gilbert, last spotted on two excellent Innate releases. Mindless Evolving Objects takes a similar approach laden with harmonious pads and twinkling arps, while Datawave takes things in a darker direction without losing that melodic nous. Label founder Zobol has an emotive bent in his track "Scatterbrain," and Nikolay Sunak completes the set with the illustrious "Dance & Cry Baby."