Review: Remixes by 30Hz & DJ Quest. "Robots Ready From Mars" is tackled by Quest who gives the track a heavier, clubby breakbeat mix. Fits nicely next to tracks from the likes of The Stanton Warriors or Tayo.
Review: The shady, provocative artist who goes by the name of 99Letters is back with a selection of mesmerising techno-not-techno tracks for the young and audacious Dalmata Daniel label. As with the rest of this producer's music, these jittery, improvisational outsider tunes have got the sound of the cassette hiss very much at the forefront of the mix, and you can almost hear the cogs of those reel-to-reels turning gloriously. "Neo Life" is a pallid, dreamy stratosphere of beats and pads, but the lead tune "Untold Future" is where we really begin to hear 99Letters' style, that dubby, hazy kind of techno that travels on the borders of dance music and electronica. "Cooper" is similarly washed-out, except that here the beat arrangement has got more in common with electro than tech, while "Neo Life (TRP dub)" is a solid, acid-ridden squelcher with a magnificent layer of distortion and analogue funk.
Review: Smile & Wave appears from out of nowhere with two unknown names heading up the first release. There's no indication of who is behind A Houseband or Russian Hackers, but both of them have done a damn fine job of bringing two sure fire killers to wax. The first is "Another Love Another Happiness", which as the title candidly suggests is yet another version of the oft-sampled "Love & Happiness", this time framed in a bubbling, dubby deep house context for the mellow heads to soak up. By way of contrast Russian Hackers get busy with "303", bringing some forthright jack to the table.
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
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 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: As one of the foremost energies in Rome's electronic music scene, Adiel's productions on her own Danza Tribale label have communicated her take on minimalist, rhythmically inventive techno to the wider world. On this fourth installment, Adiel pays tribute to the Japanese capital with the snaking immersion and insistent propulsion of "Tokyo". On the flip, she truly opens up the filters of possibility with the kinetic, hyper-detailed percussive ripples of "Jungle". In an eerie, cavernous space, these needlepoint drum lines interlock and drive the listener deeper into a well of meditation, delivering the intended outcome of submission and transcendence that Adiel's music is engineered for.
Review: Adiel is resident at Goa Club in Rome, and over the past couple of years she's quietly issued 12"s that complement her DJ style with angular, experimental electronic variations. While the ingredients (drum machines, errant synths) may be familiar, the patterns and shapes are not. An icy dread lingers over the likes of "Vibra" with its uneasy reverb space and subtly unsettling undertones, but this is also utterly seductive dance music too. "Ritmo" in particular has a truly meditative quality to it that strikes even deeper thanks to the tense, percussion-led atmosphere. "Melodica" pours a little more techno propulsion into the mix, highlighting the compatability Adiel's creations have with more linear forms of drum machine science.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Review: You can always count on Afrikan Sciences to flip the script with what you think soulful electronic music should sound like. Tearing the grid up and pinging off on a cosmic voyage in between the notes, this is futuristic, jazz-minded machine music of the highest order. "Reciprocess" is a shuddering, but surprisingly focused exercise in cracking open the house music structure, while "Hullman Z" gets into a brilliantly futuristic boogie. "Just In Case I Do" takes a more laid back approach without eschewing the essential dose of freakiness, and "Son Shine" takes things in an explicitly broken beat direction with spellbinding results.
Review: Alex Puddu's Afro Soul Prophecy project continues to blaze into the year with pure molten lava grooves. "Daddy's Groove" is a perfect summer heater with its laid back horns that ooze over the wah wah licks and strutting rim-shots. "Let Me Be Your Lover" takes more of a Latin approach with its upbeat rhythm and bossa tendencies. Listen out for those cosmic guitars in the background... Dreamy business.
Review: Swedish producer Albion Venables has been building up a formidable bank of oddball disco, boogie, wave and other groove-oriented delights on labels like Ambassador's Reception, Macadam Mambo and People Must Jam. After first appearing on the ever-excellent Bahnsteig 23 in 2016, he's back on the label with some more head-spinning obscurities from the outside tracks of synth music. "Poupee Mecanique" is a jovial French bopper, while "Balearo" cuts a more organic, reclining figure with its chugging bass plucks, laconic guitar and dreamy keys. "In Coherence" channels some funky AOR sass, and "OVNI" heads into heavy prog funk territory, rounding out a veritable wild card of a record.
Review: The Bahnsteig 23 crew are flying towards the end of the year with a salvo of essential wares from their established crew and new faces alike. Sweden's Albion Venables has been doing the business on labels such as Ambassador's Reception and Macadam Mambo for the past seven years, and his first turn on Bahnsteig doesn't disappoint. In a flurry of eclecticism, the mood veers from the bubbling kosmische tones of "En Trance" through to the schlocky funk of "Schwarzen Mer", mixing live band dynamics with quirky electronics and keeping the groove delightfully authentic. The diversity maintains on the flip as "City People" taps up a moody New York flavour and "Die Marinette Der Zeit" strikes a more classic funk note.
Review: Underlying Form is a new vinyl only label run by Northern Irish DJ/Promoter Darren Allen. The first release, a debut for Darren, sets the tone for the labels future with 4 tracks of deep and abstract minimal techno on the 'Invisible Landscape EP'.
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: Following it's recent reactivation and releases from JC & Kastil and D_Func, Ben Sims' Symbolism imprint sets out it's autumn stall with a blistering four tracker from Alphadrum. Rigourously roadtested by Sims himself over the past six months, this is an essential release from young italian producer, Alphadrum.
Review: Mark Ambrose doubles up on his appearance on Was/Is with this strident bout of deep end dwellers, kicking off in style with the charged up strut and punchy mono bass of "Makossa (mix 1)," making a point of stepping into a more peak time sound. "Makossa (mix 2)" takes things in a more bugging direction, but there's still plenty of pressure to be felt in the wriggling low end mess and nagging hi hats. The Teakup mix of "Makossa" is a devilish broken beat track, and then "Wagamama" slips in a loopy melodic hook and lets a firm but freaky slice of techno roll out underneath.