Review: Roy Of The Ravers returns to his Acid Waxa stomping ground with a much needed vinyl pressing of last year's insanely good "Who Are Ya??" album. Keeping tracks these potent trapped on cassette would have been a crime, but fear not as they've been cut in all their squelchy, 303-baiting glory. There's a particular snappy appeal to Roy's style that makes it some of the most refreshing acid we've heard in some time, whether it's the proper naughty "Roy Shat Over Ref" or the slow-creeping acid of "All Aboard !!!" The vibe is raw and nasty throughout, just like how proper acid should be.
Review: Midnight Shift continues its fine run of form via a mini-album of bleak intensity from renowned modular electro/analogue rave fusionist Umwelt, an artist whose distinctive releases are always worth a listen. The French producer sets his stall out via title track "Superior Life Forms", an undeniably heavy and distinctively dystopian chunk of broken electro fuzziness, before reaching for even grimier electronics and gut-punching bass on "Computer Controlled". "Latent Existence" is a moody, beat-free soundtrack for urban decay, "Fragment" and closer "The Windfall" are teak-tough industrial techno stompers, while "Shadow Entity" is a suitably psychedelic slab of trippy acid electro. Not for those of a fragile disposition, but impressively intense and forthright nonetheless.
Review: Almost five years has passed since now legendary Japanese producer Susumu Yokota passed away. Lo Recordings, who worked with the experimental electronica, techno and ambient artist over a number of years, have decided to mark the occasion by releasing a posthumous album made up of recently discovered - and previously unreleased - Yokota recordings made around the same time as 2002 set "The Boy and the Tree". While there has been a little post-production work by label founder Jon Tye, those familiar with Yokota's work wouldn't be able to tell. Otherworldly, imaginative and hugely emotional in tone, the ten included tracks flit between neo-classical inspired Japanese minimalism, pastoral soundscapes, gentle new age aural dreams and the kind of hushed, life-affirming ambient works that were once Yokota's trademark.
Review: Russia's Gost Zvuk label has long been a firm favourite here in the Juno office. Their glitchy, mysterious, futuristic music always makes for intriguing listening and now they celebrate five fantastic years with a compilation featuring a host of closely associated talents old and new. The bumper triple vinyl collection features paranoid experimental ambient that draws to mind covert spying operations, mangled machine music like INFX's "Damaged +dn", haunting modulated synth soundscapes from OL and skeletal techno rhythms that rewire your brain like Erofeev's "11bng". It all makes for a genuinely fresh and original collection of hugely provocative music.
Review: Under the Special Request alias, Paul Woolford has released some stellar music this year. Astonishingly, "Offworld" is his third album of 2019; it could well be the best, too. It explores different sonic territory too, drawing heavily on electro, futurist Detroit techno, Boards of Canada style IDM and the slick 1980s productions of Jam and Lewis. The result is a stunningly beautiful, spacey and far-sighted set that contains some of Woolford's most emotion-rich work to date - and that's saying something. It also finishes in stunning style with an impeccable remix/re-make of the Grid's "Floatation" that sounds like the best early 90s Orb remix you've never heard.
Review: Perpetual Rhythms continue to offer up fresh variations on the deep house formula with this classy new drop from Taelue. Crooked electro experiment "The 4th Dimension" opens the record up to any number of possibilities, before the forthright pump of "Twin Flame" locks things into a haunting workout. "Rage Against Oppression" takes things in an angrier direction, all ragged and snarling production values with an acid-techno leaning. "A Bleak Moment" provides more space for exploration away from the floor, and then "The Sunken Place" sinks into sinister soundwaves driven by a nervy arpeggio. "Reflections" finishes the EP off with a trip into slow, spaced-out, acidic ambience.
Review: Having built up his self titled label alongside his sterling work as part of Oscillat, Lazare Hoche and Will & Ink, the one and only Malin Genie delivers his debut solo album. Moving beyond the pure club focus of his singles and EPs, the Genie has seized this opportunity to present a widescreen panorama of his sound, leading in with the subliminal ambience of "You" as a springboard to explore breaks, electro, techno, and especially IDM. There are so many ideas swirling round Anthropomorphic Sympathy, it's hard to know where to begin describing it. A true headphone commute for the deep listener to burrow into.
Review: Astonishingly, 12 years have passed since Jochem Peteri cemented his status as one of techno's rising stars via his so far only album as Newworldaquarium, "The Dead Bears". Here he offers up a new, highly limited re-issue, which stretches the set over three slabs of wax (the initial pressing was a double album) and includes three tracks previously only available on the digital edition. It's a largely warm and opaque affair full of hazy melodies, tactile autumnal grooves, Motor City style sci-fi sounds, ambient textures and languid, meandering beats. There are occasional pleasant diversions - see the disco-tinged cut-up loop jam "The Tide You Can't Feel" and tipsy slow jam "The Dead Bears" - but for the most part it's an electronic muscle soak; Radox for the ears, if you will.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (with Simon Topping
Sly Is Watching
(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games (with Josh Caffe
Review: When it comes to jackin' Chicago style acid house revivalism, few can hold a candle to Paranoid London. As this long-awaited second album proves, the duo is the undisputed masters of sweaty, TB-303 driven jack-tracks and - as recent single "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" and LP opener "Starting Fights" prove - classic-sounding vocal cuts that recall the glory years of Fingers, Inc in the mid-to-late 1980s. Interestingly, "PL" boasts far more collaborations than we've seen from Paranoid London before, including a string of ragged club cuts blessed with evocative spoken word vocals, a thrusting acid throb-job with lead vocals by Simon Topping and a suitably twisted, machine-driven hook up with Arthur Baker and Alan Vega (the raw and weighty "Angel Of Hell").
You Hung - "The Truth Was Different" (live) (5:04)
Fret - "Helicopter Rig" (4:51)
Concrete Fench - "Track 5" (2:46)
Simon Shreeve - "The Space Between Cultures" (4:50)
Obelus - "Scale Reference" (4:29)
Layne - "Raising Up, Removal" (4:22)
Khrone & Mjolsness - "5th Recording 7" (5:43)
DVA Damas - "People Say I'm Cool"
Review: This fine compilation from Regis' Downwards label has been trailed as a kind of "family portrait" of where the imprint stands in 2019, offering a slew of exclusive tracks including a heap of cross-generational collaborations. There is plenty to set the pulse racing throughout the collection. "EBM supergroup" You Hung impresses via the moody and clanking, mid-80s industrial vibes of "The Truth Was Different (Live)", while Obelus' "Scale Reference" sounds like Richard D James after a particularly potent bong hit. Simon Shreeve's "The Space Between Cultures" is a creepy slab of ambient/noise fusion, Layne's "Raising Up, Removal" is a delightfully out there journey into metallic electro headiness and DVA Damas' sub-heavy cut "People Say I'm Cool" is as stylish and, let's face it, cool as the title suggests.
Review: Mancunian legends Graham Massey and Andy Barker reunite for the first 808 State album in 17 years. They recorded the new opus "Transmission Suite" in the Granada studios (where they once performed live on television 30 years ago) and looked to their hometown's club scene as their main source of influence - along with the timeless aesthetic of Detroit which has always influenced their style. Across this collection of "sonic landscapes" (as described by Massey) you'll hear the booming acid electro of first single "Tokyo Tokyo" and "The Ludwig Question", through to off-kilter jams like "Westland", futurist house grooves of "Ujala" and a modern reboot of classic "Angol Argol".
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix) (8:25)
Deniro - "Epirus" (6:34)
Psyche - "Crackdown" (5:59)
Hiver - "Paert" (7:04)
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn" (4:46)
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica, throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism, main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro, classic breakbeat hardcore, post-dubstep, dark tribal drum jams and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Review: Tribe Of Colin have done a good job of keeping their identity unknown despite plenty of well received releases. Honest Jon's gets a fourth album from the enigmatic artist(s) that deals in sludgy techno, dubby steppers and pulsing electronic music that harks back to the streets of Detroit as much as hinting at a future London landscape long after humans have long gone. Twisted synths, shimmering percussion, dark chords and complex rhythms are interwoven with gritty textures and field recordings from around the world to make it a spellbinding listen. Fans of Actress and Andy Stott will love.
Review: Barely six weeks after dropping her debut single on River Rapid, Henrietta Smith-Rolla pops up on Skam with a surprise debut album. As first full length excursions go, "Break Before Make" is undeniably impressive. Beginning with the spooky, minor key electronics and angular IDM rhythms of "Day Turner", the 14 track set sees Smith-Rolla successfully turn her hand to bittersweet synth-wave ("And!"), dystopian pitched-down electronica ("Guess What"), spacey electro ("Work It", "Wtfwtfwtf"), clandestine electronic soundscapes (the panicked shuffle of "Blanket Ban") and grandiose sci-fi soundtrack fare ("The Middle Middle"). Throughout, the Manchester-based producer consistently delivers otherworldly musical melancholia with a panache not associated with a producer of her relative inexperience.
Review: Militant Detroit techno crew Scan 7 have learned much from their association with Underground Resistance, not least the benefits of myth-making and mystery. This is one of the reasons that "Between Worlds" is fast becoming one of techno's most talked about releases of 2019. Of course, the fact that it's also the seven-piece crew's first album since 2002 has added to the hype, too. So is it any good? Oh yes. Variously deep, spacey, futuristic and foreboding, the album's 13 cuts range from pitch-black acid-fired techno ("I'm Covered") and fizzing techno-funk ("Trackmasta Hoop"), to percussion-laden deep house melancholia ("Deep Roots") and punchy club electro ("It's Time"). For the most part, though, what you get is uplifting, emotion rich techno in the style of their fellow Detroit greats.
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: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Circling Vultures - "Frothing Over The Fruit Of Original Sin" (7:30)
Israfil - "Psy ~ K" (5:56)
Locked In Blue - "Say God" (4:17)
Years Of Denial - "You Should Worry" (5:38)
Joshua Cordova & Sam De La Rosa - "El Gusano Pendejito" (4:34)
Raum-Zeit - "Toni Fahrt Motorrad" (3:46)
Champagne Mirrors - "Evelyn's Doll" (4:02)
Review: With a true curation of artists, this double LP marks the eclectic and passionate works from Public System. The latest in the synth-heavy sludgedown from the ever impressive imprint, invites a new cast of characters into the dungeon dance. The common theme throughout this collection, seems to be wide, slowed down melancholy. Some tracks take a floor-focused jump, while others demand the attentive consumption of a more serene setting. These two discs are packed with dynamic, chugging, and forward thinking jams that make you mesh all things the imprint is clearly passionate for.
Review: For the latest volume in their essential reissue series, Tresor has decided to offer up a brand new edition of Robert Hood's celebrated 1994 debut album, "Internal Empire". A quarter of a century after Hood first committed it to wax, it remains one of the Motor City maestro's most potent and inspired works. It effectively defined his throbbing, minimalist style, with heavy and hypnotic cuts such as the bleeping "Minus" and deep and wonky "Within" perfectly encapsulating the stripped-back genius of Hood's production. If you've yet to acquire a copy, we'd recommending grabbing one of these: in truth, no techno collection is complete without it.
Review: Having established their Ilian Tape label over a wealth of 12" releases these past few years, the brothers Zenker have expanded its remit to include artist albums in the most thrilling of fashions. Their own Immersion LP set the tone early last year, and now it's the turn of fellow Munich-based DJ and producer Skee Mask with the superb Shred. This 12-track set follows a couple of Ilian Tape singles from Skee Mask which marked him out as a producer of real potential but he's really outdone himself on Shred. There is a faint concept for those that want one, an expansion on his interest in snow and glacier caps, but it's easy enough to plunge headfirst and enjoy this LP on the merits of the music alone. Ambient pieces slide into thunderous techno productions and thrilling sideways turns into broken junglist cuts and vintage IDM sounding diversions.
Review: Fans of stripped-back, minimalist techno - particularly the Eastern European variant focused around Romania's thriving scene - will happily tell you that every release from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project (AKA SIT) is worth checking. This, a double-pack containing half of the tracks from their new album (a second part is also available) is certainly noteworthy. It features a quintet of trippy, low-slung late night workouts seemingly designed to operate in the cracks between tech-house and minimal techno. There are naturally subtle variations throughout - a nod to dub techno here, a psychedelic acid line or dreamy deep house texture there - but throughout, their focus remains firmly on wonky early morning workouts.
Review: Shadowy Swedish duo SHXCXCHCXSH are back with another full length on Shifted esteemed Avian imprint, with SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs. Always the pranksters, their cryptic language pushes the threshold yet again with the LP's 15 tracks (most come in at around three minutes) taking on increasing variations of lower and upper case. Dark and challenging freeform techno that turns the usual conventions of techno on its head, featuring harsh and textural power electronics plus the blatant abuse of looping, tape delays and excessive overdrive. Deconstructed rave aesthetics drowned in field recordings and surface noise throughout: heavy!
Review: Closely affiliated with Nina Kraviz's trip label, Icelandic maverick Bjarki has managed to carve out a unique identity for himself in the hustle and bustle of contemporary electronic music. Following three full-length releases back in 2016, he now appears on !K7 with a new album that shows off the depth and breadth of his idiosyncratic vision. From curious ambient excursions peppered with rich sound design to spooked out boogie and deconstructed techno, sometimes within the same track, Bjarki has ably cemented his reputation as one of the scene's most intriguing operatives. Just take a trip on the fractured breaks and looming pads of "AN6912" and marvel at the originality.
Review: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: If timeless warehouse music and bass-heavy rave revivalism is your thing, there's a fair chance you already own some Soundbwoy Killah records. Whether you do or not, we'd heartily recommend checking the shadowy producer's debut album, "Halcyon Daze". It's little less than a breathless, saucer-eyed romp through heady fusions of dreamy UK garage, melodious jazzy jungle, loved-up breakbeat hardcore, African-influenced tribal percussion and gargantuan low-end pressure. It's all arguably a little more relaxed and sunrise-ready than some of his 12" singles - this is an album, after all - but that's not a criticism: in fact, the album's sporadic ambient moments are uniformly excellent, sounding like long lost early 90s classics.
USM1A1 Abrams Exhaust Rises Between The Hands Of Victory (2:40)
Shadow War In Yemen (6:14)
Asymmetric Warfare Studies Group Double Game (6:25)
Review: New York's Dominick Fernow has released no fewer than eight albums of experimental techno and industrial ambience in his Vatican Shadow guise since 2011, all but one of them on his own Hospital Productions label, and now here comes number nine. As ever with Fernow's output, if you're looking for instant podium singalongs or catchy earworm riffs you'll be humming all day, forget about it: this is uneasy listening for the beat-inclined, as industrial FX and fragmented synth melodies merge with stuttering, off-kilter rhythms while track titles like 'Deny Military Involvement' and 'Asymmetric Warfare Studies Group Double Game' hint at the paranoid, dystopic overall feel.
A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere (4:58)
Review: Paul Woolford has spent a good chunk of his downtime over the last year or two making Special Request tracks in his pants. So much so, in fact, that he's created enough material to fill four albums, all of which will be released this year. "Vortex" is the first and is, in Woolford's own words, high on "bangers" and low on "conceptual guff". In practice, that means lots of gut-busting low-end frequencies, trippy analogue electronics, razor-sharp rave-style riffs and bustling rhythms that variously touch on electro, early '90s progressive house, breakbeat hardcore, slamming Joey Beltram style techno (see album highlight "Fahrenheit 451") and metallic, delightfully mangled drum and bass ("Fett", whose wonky electronic undulations hark back to early Woolford classic "Erotic Discourse").
Review: Whereas Ed Upton's previous DMX Krew album for Hypercolour explored the bittersweet world of electronic melancholia and laidback futurism, his latest full-length outing charges towards the dancefloor with a giddy grin and an adrenaline-fuelled lust for life. From start to finish, the untitled set is a throbbing rush of futurist techno, fizzing electro and muscular Italo-disco workouts, with Upton's trademark sound - think funk-fuelled synth-bass, psychedelic acid lines, intergalactic chord sequences and inspired electronic flourishes - guaranteeing countless cuts of timeless electronic music. Best of all, while most of the tracks are crying out for club plays, the album can be enjoyed as a single musical journey that stands up to repeated listens.