Review: EYA Records presents a double 12" of plush techno and house spanning styles, giving four producers the chance to showcase the breadth of their sound with two tracks each. Innershades brings emotive 90s swoon and peppy acid to the A side, before Two Phase U slips in a little uptempo robo-disco sauce and a feisty jack track. Otis takes things in the direction of wiggy proto-trance and bleep techno, and then Zots finishes up with freaky synth work dripping with mischievous personality. This is a set of tracks that demands to be noticed - don't sleep.
Review: It's always a treat to spot Edward donning his Desert Sky guise for another trip into the hinterland of minimal techno, where expression reigns free and all kinds of sound sources tumble into a truly exotic mix. On this album for PAL SL, all bets are off as we get whisked down a mysterious and meandering path where organic and electronic matter merge in the shadows, all strapped to subliminal but pronounced grooves that make this some of the most potent, intriguing club material in circulation right now. Buy the ticket, take the ride and dance out under that Desert Sky.
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".
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: Long-serving electro project Transparent Sound come back full throttle with this expansive album of masterful machine music. Opening track "Pretend Like You Care" is a startling opener that feels like a wormhole back to the Cologne laboratories of the kosmische movement. The beats kick in proper from that point, and in consummate noirish fashion, with "No Call From New York", and proceed to trip through all manner of nocturnal dreamscapes lit in sleazy neon strip lighting. It's a lurid, evocative sound world the veteran duo concoct, and one you'll find yourself returning to again and again.
Felix Da Housecat - "Temptation" (Color mix) (5:54)
China White - "Theme From The Underground" (5:53)
The Operator - "The Mind Strike" (7:18)
Steve Poindexter - "Body Jam" (14:19)
Mike Dearborn - "Deviant Behaviour" (instrumental mix) (5:39)
DJ Skull - "Don't Stop The Beat" (6:04)
Review: In case you didn't know, leading Dutch crew Dekmantel have taken it upon themselves to shine a light on the vital work of the Djax Up label. It was one that joined the dots between US and European scenes back in the nineties and this second volume features eight cult 90s cuts from some foundational names. Highlights are plentiful throughout, but our picks have got to be Glenn Underground's "Real Space"; a jacking Chicago jam with cosmic bass that still bangs and DJ Skull's hi-tek soul on "Don't Stop The Beat" that well and truly defies its age amongst a release that is full of golden oldies.
Review: While Steffi and Virginia have been working together on and off for the best part of a decade, "Work A Change" is undoubtedly their most significant collaborative work to date (both in terms of its expansive nature and the quality of music on show). With Virginia handling singing duties throughout, "Work A Change" rides on waves of tasty electro grooves and hazy synth-pop motifs and futuristic electronics. It's a blueprint that guarantees goodness throughout, from the quietly euphoric shuffle of opener "Be True To Me" and the pulsating dancefloor fizz of "Help Me Understand" (one of two cuts showcased in both vocal and instrumental forms), to the high-tempo thrust of "Until You're Begging", the bass-heavy, future dancehall wonkiness of "Internal Bleeding" and triumphantly intergalactic title track.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: Primal Code brought plenty of fresh ideas and new perspectives to their debut album "La Via Della Seta" last year, and continue to do so on this fascinating new 12" for Sweden's Hypnus Records. They have a tribal take on techno that draws on indigenous cultures and instrumentation to make for darkly hypnotic tracks that echo the experimental work of the likes of Donato Dozzy, Neel and even Shackleton. It's mesmerising and cerebral stuff with psychedelic overtones and plenty of intriguing sounds, effects in the swirling ambient pads and deft little hooks that litter the rubbery, drawn out grooves.
Review: There's much to enjoy about the output of the Kimochi label, not least the bespoke, spray-painted sleeves and their habit of releasing only the deepest, most hypnotic electronic music. Their latest must-have release is another super-limited affair that drifts lazily between ultra-deep cuts shot through with dub-wise rhythms, atmospheric shoegaze motifs, echoing ambient chords and beats straight out of the early '90s ambient techno playbook. It's utterly gorgeous and deliciously hazy, with slow-burn melodies and undulating electronics slowly rising above reverb-laden chords, warm basslines and occasionally skittish rhythms. There's something particularly special about the locked-in drums and hypnotic bassline of "Elljus", but the ambient soundscapes "Heden" and "Inland" are also superb.
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: After the stunning Ostati album released on Organic Analogue last year, Georgia's HVL is back with a new album on the label for his home turf, Bassiani. As a resident of the infamous Tbilisi club, he knows innately how to communicate the vibe of one of the world's most widely discussed techno clubs, only this time he's taken a slightly tougher stance. "Eyes In The Sky" has a fierce, paranoid acid edge, while "F12 (Korg Patch Mix)" gets into freaky, cerebral techno territory. There are intriguing interludes and skits, and plenty more dancefloor heaters delivered with an inventiveness that once again affirms HVL's status as one of the brightest talents operating in the loosely defined field of deep techno.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: Silent Season have carried the music of Submersion and Mon0 independently before, but now the dub techno producers have teamed up to take their sound onto new plains of exploration. The sound palette is consistent with both their music and that of the label, but the familiar dancefloor tropes have been jettisoned in favour of a more meditative end result, leading in with the achingly beautiful tundra excursion of "Beginning Of The End". From there the album drifts with glacial motion through a range of finely crafted soundscapes, wielding a world of rumbling, harmonious noise in the middle distance without ever losing that seductive dub techno ambience.
Review: Danish producer SOS Gunver Ryberg is known for her compositions in soundtracks, video games and theatre, as well as her own A/V installations. She now presents this mini LP for Berlin-based imprint Avian, following up some exciting releases on Contort and Noise Manifesto. "Entangled" includes six tracks focused on the dancefloor, including four "micro compositions", which illustrates Ryberg's vision of contemporary techno and her ability to hypnotise through sound design. From the barrelling intensity of opener "Palacelike Timescale Of Black", introspective ambient drifter "The Presence Eurydike", to powerful moments of textured greyscale techno ("Levitation") and intoxicating IDM deconstructions as heard on "Magnetic Force" - prepare yourself for one intense sonic experience.
Review: A fine example of Pan-European collaboration here, as the Brighton-based Furthur Electronix label buddies up with Berlin stable Libertine Records for a very special joint release. Shad T. Scott kicks things off (under his now familiar Gosub alias) with the deep, sparkling and picturesque electro shuffle of "Take Your Time", before ACEW + Ghost Ride layer spacey, minor-key synths over skittish drums on the rather fine "Mind The Gap". The quality threshold remains high on side B, where Cignol's inspired, acid-flecked electro workout "Chorus Envy" - which to these ears is as rush-inducing as any similarly melodic early Orbital record - is followed by the stomping, fuzz-fuelled lo-fi techno thump of Jared Wilson's "Toughskined".
Review: You'll struggle to find another LP opener that's quite as striking as "Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death", the stunning ambient-folk cut that kicks off Phillip Sollmann's first album as Efdemin for five years. It's utterly beguiling and features a traditional folk acapella over layers of hushed electronic chords. It sets the tone for an album in which Sollmann effortlessly saunters between atmospheric and droning dancefloor techno ("Good Winds", the 14-minute, Berghain-friendly "New Atlantis"), woozy experimental ambient works ("At The Stranger's House"), Jew's Harp-sporting club cuts ("A Land Unknown"), discordant free tech-jazz ("Temple") and the kind of hazy, traditional music-meets-electronica cuts that have previously been a hallmark of Firecracker's Mac-Talla Nan Creag ("The Sound House").
Review: Andrea Porcu's ROHS! label has been a long time fixture in the ambient field, from net label origins to limited CDr and vinyl releases from a host of respected underground operators. This latest release, two years in the making, features two original tracks from PURL. These sublime ambient pieces, "Slow Poem" and "Cellar Door," move in slow, atmospheric ripples of submerged rhythm and glacial melodics, giving plenty of space for inventive remixes from Segue, Wanderwelle and many more. It's a perfect double pack of dreamy drifters for the chill-out room crowd to sink into.
Review: Adiel presents a collection of narcotic and trance-inducing grooves for Kangding Ray's new (ara) imprint, following up an impressive inaugural release by the man himself. The Danza Tribale boss steers crowds into deep ecstasy with her hypnotic sets as resident at the famed Goa Ultrabeat, and on her new Musicfilia EP she serves up exactly the kind of sounds that comprise her acclaimed sonic journeys. Adiel surrenders to the void on the tunnelling opening cut "The Call" (a truly majestic exploration!) and on the B side we have the pure adrenaline of the title track - which will have you in mental overdrive. This one fully channels that 'Sound Of Rome' vibe. The EP ends with the deep and introspective melancholia of "Rednight".
Review: Drumcode's first big release of 2019 comes courtesy of Julian Jeweil, a relative newcomer to the Swedish label who originally built his reputation via years of releases on M_Nus, Plus 8 and Cocoon Recordings. "Transmission" is not only his long-awaited debut album, but also a far more spacey and intergalactic proposition than much of Drumcode's output. Of course, the majority of the tracks are still underpinned by relentless techno rhythms and gnarly electronic stabs, with plenty of darkness amongst the stargazing grooves. Intriguingly, there's also a little more variety than you might expect, with the deep and woozy "Planet X", acid-fired heaviness of "Astral" and glassy-eyed early morning ambient of "Final" catching the ear.
Review: Following two appearances on Adam Beyer's Drumcode, British producer/DJ Boxia and self-confessed "rave anorak" returns to the label with his debut full length "A Night In The Life Of". Nine powerful and highly engineered peak time techno weapons aimed squarely at the main room. Opening with the glassy-eyed title track (feat Lyke), Boxia knuckles down and lunges straight for the jugular via the pummelling "Unofficial Everything", deep sonar transmission of "Primal People", seething and barrelling power of "Sunshine State" before rounding things off with the emotional, ambient IDM number "Last Nightclub".
Review: There's a decidedly rushing, saucer-eyed feel to Ellen Allien's latest album, her eighth since launching the BPitch Control label at the dawn of the century. The Berlin veteran shows no desire to soften her sound or move away from the dancefloor, delivering an eight-track set that giddily charges between neo-trance (the loved-up "Empathy" and tech-trance throb-job "Free Society"), post-dubstep electro (the swirling "MDMA" and atmospheric "Exit To Humanity"), raging acid ("Bowie In Harmony"), decidedly muscular techno (the arpeggio-driven heaviness of acid fired smasher "Love Distortion" and the creepier "Electronic Joy") and bubbly acid electro (superb closing cut "Stimulation").
Domenic Cappello - "Not A Festival Track" (Basement mix) (6:57)
Stojche - "Decipher Language" (5:41)
Gauss - "Aperture"
XDB - "Satimak"
Leonid - "Woodwalk"
Life Recorder - "True Moments"
Review: The Verdant stamp of quality is well established by now, but it presses even deeper with the release of this high-grade compilation from a rich cast of subterranean seafarers. Steve O'Sullivan dons his Bluetrain cape for the slow-chugging, appropriately dubbed out meditation of "Sleeping With The Enemy", while Domenic Cappello creates a swooning string-drenched masterpiece out of "Not A Festival Track". Stojche's "Decipher Language" is a snappier affair, while XDB crafts one of his sublime, leftfield techno variations brimming with imagination to match its functionality. At every turn this is a compilation of top-drawer techno crafter with passion and originality - grip it while you can!