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: Let the sermon begin - Detroit techno legend and innovator Robert Hood steps up to deliver the latest installment of !k7's legendary DJ Kicks series and it's an edition well worthy of attention. The ordained minister leaves the minimal techno sound that he helped pioneer, for powerful, big room techno on this highly anticipated mix. Despite his famously linear approach, here he builds tension between tracks with suspenseful breakdowns throughout. Highlights include the direct impact of his own "Focus" and its factory floor stomp, his hypnotic rework of Landside's "Signs Of Change", the seething tension of Slam's "Remain" and the return of Space DJz' Ben Long who teams up with Belgian veteran Tom Hades on the sci-fi epic "The Knight Rider".
Review: Thus far all we know about Wilson Phoenix is pressed into the previous two records the anonymous operator has released so far in 2018. That should be enough for techno heads with their ears to the ground - this is rough and ready hardware business for those who like it nasty. While not perhaps as willfully unhinged as Neil Landstrumm, it's very much in that sonic ballpark, not least on relentless acidic opener "Between Mars." Things get a little freakier with the pinging electro delights of "Moon Machine" before the rowdy rave beast "Exo Planet" levels the landscape with some brutal synth stabs that would sound at home on an early The Prodigy record.
Review: Resurgent Welsh techno wizard DJ Guy launches his own label with a fresh batch of deep diving jams that put the soul back in the machine. From the twinkling, starry-eyed delights of "Music Is Life" to the horizontal meditation of "Interplanetary," this is immaculately executed electronica in the fine tradition of UK trailblazers like B12 that sounds as fresh as it did in the 90s. "Warmth In Rhythm" sports a nagging house groove to suck you in with ease, while "Propulsion State" fires off a dazzling arpeggio that heads skywards with a twitchy electro backbone for company. Top shelf tackle from a seriously talented cat.
Review: Eddie Fowlkes is back on his Detroit Wax label with more forthright jams that show off his distinctive approach to techno. As one of the originators of the sound, it's only logical he knows how to do this stuff properly. "Route 88" is a seductive, muscular piece with bold lead lines and a constant, driving rhythm section, while "Pass The Butter" takes a deeper route without losing the finely balanced and rich arrangement approach that his sound is built on. This is fully realised, classily executed Motor City machine soul from a man who helped define the culture.
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: The third sampler from Ben Sims' barnstorming Machine mix compilation presents another four cuts of militant, unrelenting techno from some of the finest operators in the field. Oscar Mulero heads up the A side with the spacious, ominous march of "The Calling," which contrasts sharply with the jacked up, tense energy of "Distorted Logic" by O Aka Phase. Tasha's "In The Zone" kicks of the B side in a head-spinning loop of rasping drums and disorienting layers, and then Sims himself rounds off the record with the poised and deadly "Drop Out." If you're after a potent collection of chiseled techno bombs guaranteed to do the business, then look no further.
Review: Lustwerk Music presents a mysterious new entity known simply as The Fock. With little to no background information, this record stakes its own claim within the Galcher-verse by offering up a range of mixes of "Shat Pop." The "Saldes Mix" is a proper immersion heater of cerebral techno, while the nervy, stomping "Flood1 Remix" is credited to White Material regular Young Male. The "Electro Mix" has a squelchy, boogie-inflected palette offset by woozy atmospherics, and the "Ambient Mix" unsurprisingly does away with the drums and drifts in limbo with a disembodied tannoy announcement for company.
Review: Leipzig producer Lootbeg has been spotted in the past flaunting his cosmic, melodically enchanting emo-techno on labels like Crow Castle Cuts and Tieffrequent. Now he comes to the burgeoning Sensu label with some of his most powerful productions to date, leading in with the euphoric, sky-scraping "The Travel To Planet Trance". "Cydonia Mensae" follows close behind with some equally lofty tones that position Lootbeg squarely in the stratosphere, while "Eupen" changes tact for a more introverted but no less harmonically rich composition that pushes the rhythm section to the foreground. A collaboration with Blinds, "Relate" edges closer to a deep house outlook with its warm lead lines and dusty jacking beats.
Review: Grooveboxx is a new label launched from the Parisian underground with a focus on fresh, invigorating rhythms with an outernational focus. The label's leading lady Myako opens this first 12" up with the dynamic, dusty adventure of "Salvia Cosmica", which makes for the perfect scene setter before Aleqs Notal throws down a tougher set of tumbling tribal drums. Myako then returns with "La Danza De La Risa", another subtle, poised and tantalizing rhythm track, before Geena trips things out on the heavy effects bliss out of "Selva Spirit". Myako's closing statement, "La Jungla Encantada", is a spaced out affair marked by Spanish speech and fragmented rhythmic hiccups - a cinematic end to an evocative release.
Review: Aubrey's Don Gardon alias was a one-shot decoy deployed in 1997 with the now highly sought-after "Textures" 12" on Aubrey's own Textures label. While the provenance of these new tracks is a little foggy at this stage, what you can be sure of is the grade of techno we're dealing with here. Aubrey's illustrious career speaks for itself, and so do these tracks in the first Textures release since 2001. "The Phase" is an effervescent, funk laced race to the stars, while "Vari Tube" takes a more intimate route through dusty house that wouldn't sound out of place in the Workshop stratosphere. "Slam Dunk" is a cheeky, jazzy affair while "Dons Slide" gets a little more freaky and far out in the finest tradition of B2 tracks.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After launching Brush & Broom with two solo releases, maverick German producer Kalbata keeps his followers guessing yet again with this collaborative release with the equally unpredictable Maayan Nidam. "The Town" is a surefire party starter made up of catchy bleep lines, quivering rhythmic flashes and lots of shimmering FX sends that suggest this was a live jam from two talented producers locked in the groove. "Chrome Moon" takes a deeper, more meditative approach without losing those heavy echo chamber washes, where the spring reverb and buckwild delay feedback rein supreme. Wonderful, free-tripping results from an unexpected meeting of minds.
Review: For the last decade, Submersion has served up a swathe of atmospheric, otherworldly albums that effortlessly blur the boundaries between sound design, dub techno, drone and ambient. The publicity-shy artist's latest effort for Andrea Porcu's ROHS! Imprint follows a similar blueprint, offering up a septet of beguiling, dub-wise soundscapes crafted partly from homemade field recordings (a detailed list, including the dates they were captured, is featured on the sleeve). It's a hugely intoxicating sound soup, similar in ethos to the likes of Stephen Hitchell's Variant and Intrusion projects, with a comparable level of sonic detail and druggy, early morning charm.
Review: It's quite remarkable just how much quality Ben Sims has managed to pack into the Tribology mix and its accompanying series of vinyl samplers. The fifth round shows no signs of going soft as it leads in with the sledgehammer thump of Marcel Fengler's "Cortex", showing the Berghain resident to be on formidable form. Alienata shakes things up with the slick yet sinister electro strains of "The 8th Passenger", and James Ruskin lands some heavy blows with the delirious synth cycles of "TZR". Psyk finishes things off in his signature style, looping up some nervy blips and bleeps around a restrained set of drums for the ultimate in techno hypnotism.
Review: The fourth sampler from Ben Sims' mammoth Tribology mix features another four of the must-have exclusives from this crucial document of contemporary techno. Function leads the way with "Introversion", a spooky and sleekly designed deep driver marked out by thin slithers of displaced vocal. Tripeo plays the opposite tact with a bright and bold synth hook front and centre of the mix on "Sequoia", and then Truncate trickles down a pattering array of drum machine rhythms and fluttering melodic chimes on the stunning "Rings." Blasha & Allatt bring the tough stuff to the B2 with the jacked up energy of "Broughton 93" - their debut appearance no less and a very strong one at that.
Review: Transparent Sound label boss Orson Bramley steps up to his long-standing imprint with a new guise, Empty Orchestra, which showcases yet more of his crafty, delicately executed take on electro. "Nervouse Smile" is an impeccable study of the style, loaded with intricate machine funk elements from twitchy drum programming to ethereal pads, and of course a healthy dose of funk for good measure. As well as the original version, there are additional remixes courtesy of rising stars Acidulant and Alero May, the latter of which has an especially infectious bassline ripple and some smart key change moments for a dynamic end result.
Review: Hailing from Crimea, Stas Karpenkov's Krym Mryk label is a direct line into the most intriguing techno-oriented diversions transmitting from Russia and Ukraine. In a similar vein to the likes of Udacha and Ghost Zvuk, Krym Mryk is brimming with the kind of originality and expression that makes records such as these essential purchases. "Entity" presents a calm, icy ambient lead in before the quivering, dubby techno pulse of "Yevpatoriya Satellite". "I've Had Enough To Look Down" is a writhing, biomechanical synth work out of the highest order, and "Windswept" finishes the EP off in a gentle blizzard of drones. A serious draw for this record as well is the Stanislav Tolkachev remix, which nudges "Yevpatoriya Satellite" into dynamic broken techno territory with a powerful synth wave channel coursing through it.
Review: Silas & Snare continue the heat on Madam X's Kaizen with their second single on the label this year. As always there's no letting up in terms of aesthetic, melting pot and energy. All sitting somewhere in the techno/hardcore/dub axis, "Pressure" lives up to its name with a rolling break, and warped grime basses, "Dreamscape" creates intensity with a loopy vocal hook and densely coded sense of tension while "Whistle Blower" brings us home on a deeper, more broken tip where noises aren't all what they seem. Feeling the pressure yet?
Review: Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label plunges once more into the grimy underworld of electro and wave music, this time guided by dungeon dweller Morah who debuted on the label in 2015 and has since gone on to great things via Lux Rec, Berceuse Heroique, brokntoys and more. "I Saw, Strained Her Eyes Peering Into The Gloom" is a bittersweet dance with distortion as disheveled as it is catchy, while "Dance When Lights Off" pushes even further into the red with scintillating results. "Against Your Beloved" sounds positively shimmering by comparison, even if on its own it's still a truly dirty slice of jacked up electro. "One Shade The Less, One Ray The More" is a strong closing bout that draws from a similar sound bank and applies it to a more techno-minded structure.
Review: Given that acid revivalists Paranoid London have yet to put a foot wrong, it's no surprise to find that "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" is another absolute belter. It's taken from the duo's forthcoming album and features sometime Posthuman collaborator Josh Caffe channeling his inner Robert Owens and Jamie Principle over a retro-futurist backing track. In its full length, the track brilliantly combines Paranoid London's jacking drums and thrusting acid bass with dreamy chords and just the right amount of glassy-eyed melodic flourishes. It sounds like a classic TRAX release given the Paranoid London treatment, which I'm sure we all agree is a very good thing indeed. If you're in the mood for something even sleazier and more driving, the Bam Bam-inspired Dub has it covered.
Review: The second installment of Damon Wild's Comet Finder series takes off from Synewave with another four perspectives on cosmically-inclined techno from the long serving US producer. "Death Dive" is an appropriate title for the edgy opening track, which keeps the rhythm section submerged and lets the bleeps do the talking. "Black Lake" heads into more experimental territory, using a crooked groove as a vessel for all kinds of wobbling frequencies picked up like errant microwaves fired across the solar system. "Moonraker" maintains the ominous atmosphere while plunging into a dense, rippling bed of blips and synth wriggles, and then "Radars" rounds the set off with a linear trip through space dust of the highest order.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Stephen Lopkin made an impression when he landed on M>O>S, and now he follows up that star turn with this arch tribute to the archetypal techno sound on Distant Worlds. The "Imitator EP" may be brazen about its influences and intentions, but that's no disservice to the quality of the techno on offer here, which shows Lopkin to be incredibly well-read on the studio techniques of the past masters. From the Detroit stable to the UK torch-bearers, the reference points come thick and fast, but more telling is that fact these tracks fit right in with a lot of techno being produced at the moment. If you're feeling that classic 90s sound right now, then there's an embarrassment of riches to be enjoyed on this release.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (album edit) (6:45)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (club mix) (5:47)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (Slow) (7:29)
Review: House and techno badboys Paranoid London are proceeding the release of their second album with a bunch of singles from it. First up is "Cult Hero" featuring Simon Topping - one of many guest vocalists on the full length. It's a bristling acid house cut with tight, corrugated drums and relentless 303 mania ripping up the groove. Topping's deadpan vocals are layered over the top and bring to mind the more anthemic work of Depeche Mode. "Club Mix" is even more caustic and kinetic, while closer "Slow Mix" strips back everything but for the lunching drums and demonic vocals of Topping.
Review: Also known as Damaskin or Nino, Seraphim Rytm has been rolling through the underground for some time, shoring up at labels like New York Haunted, Silent Season and Batti Batti. Now the shadowy entity drifts onto the equally shadowy Alpengluhen label with the subliminal throb of Mount Sinai, a four part rumination that will plunge you deep down into the depths of techno meditation. "Part 1" is a sumptuous affair that places the undulating bass front and centre for a long, entrancing ride, while "Part 2" weaves delicate chiming tones and subtle percussive ripples into the mix with ample reverb dripping over everything. "Part 3" is where things really space out with a high frequency wall of sound that has a coruscating effect, and then "Part 4" plunges right back into the depths with a low end pulse and distant dread pads that will leave a distinct chill in the room.
Review: After dropping the Cosmic Path album on Infrastructure last year, US techno veteran Damon Wild returns to Synewave with some further ruminations on the relationship between space and electronics. There's a plethora of starry-eyed sounds to latch onto on "Comet Finder," which launches with a shuddering rhythmic chassis and a galaxy of intertwining synth tones. "Shadows" takes things in a deeper, eerier direction, while "Other Places" drops back even further into a minimalist shaker laden with heavily reverbed acid blips. The "Muted Mix" of "Comet Finder" is an icy, beatless flip of the lead track perfect for sending an interstellar chill out of the speakers.