Review: Brawther's Negentropy label has already carried gold star material from Ron Obvious and the man himself, and now it's the turn of debutant producer Zweizig to show off his wares. This assured 12" leads in with the ambient intro "Gewissen" before the crisp minimal funk of "Rhythm Tension" kicks in with its shimmering and shuddering sound design pinging around the dexterous beat. "Zephyr" is a smoky affair with a snappy broken beat and lots of subtle organic matter writhing in the middle distance. "Rehash Repeat" takes things deep and dubby to complete the set, all mellow hiccupping rhythm accents and hazy melodic phrases.
Review: Sleazy McQueen's always reliable Whiskey Disco is back with its 61st edition, featuring Ukrainian editor Alex Zuiev. The man from Mariupol first appeared on the label back in 2017 and he's become a staple of sorts - as this will be his fourth for the Florida based imprint, in addition to appearances on Editorial, FKR and Spare Change. The Flying Objects EP features the rowdy late night disco of "Trenitalia" which is sure to get the crowd dancing on the ceiling, while on the flip prepare to get deep down and dirty on the lo-slung oddity of "Soul Fire" - which is perfect for late hours.
Introspective - "When The Rain Comes Down" (feat Jenifa Mayanja - Michael Zucker Finale mix)
Review: Finale Sessions founder Michael Zucker steps into the limelight with his first full EP for the label in the five years it has been running. Zucker has of course featured on a handful of split releases from Finale but he doesn't waste any of the space afforded here with a quartet of superb and varied productions. Leading the way, techno track "His Spirit" bristles with life and percussive energy whilst "Inner City Peace" will likely raise some interested eyebrows in West London thanks to its killer broken beat programming. Face down, Zucker dips into his personal archives for an unreleased and rather crisp remix of Introspective and Jenifa Mayanja hookup "When The Rain Comes Down" whilst the wonderfully named "Spiritual Graffiti" ends the release on a high note.
Review: It's may seem that deviant disco champs par excellence Bahnsteig 23 are already toasting to their 50th release, but in truth their catalogue started at 23 so don't be fooled. Instead, just feast on another salvo of seedy body music from Ziggy, which leads in with the synth-soaked pump and thrust of "Trance Gigolo" before switching to the sassy 80s funk of "Yo Let Her". Things are just as cool and deadly on the flip as the slap bass electro meanderings of "Amfobia" brew up a post-punk disco delight with a schlocky horror twist, and "Freaky Leaches" leaves things on an ominous note via a swampy trip through the mangroves with only a steady ticking rhythm section for company.
Review: Hot on the heels of Phil:osophy's latest treasure trove comes another bounty of bliss from Artificial Intelligence's Integral. This time with old friends Zero T and longstanding vocalist Steo. "Can't Hide" is pure soul heaven; delicate layers of Steo's harmonies arranged softly over a spacious beat and lilting pianos, it's T and Steo at their most evocative and feel-heavy. "Make Time" kicks with more urgency as techno-like synths stab hypnotically, balanced by Steo's falsettos and gently rising instrumentation. Elsewhere the unstoppable Monty gives their evergreen 2016 soul-out "Too Close To See" a bittersweet twist. There's no hiding from this one.
Review: Last year, Zero 7 duo Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker returned after three years with an eponymous retrospective of career highlights. It now appears that they were tidying up a few loose ends before their real return, which begins with "Aurora", their first new single in four years. A little less drowsy and happily stoned than much of their previous work, the title track is a wonderful chunk of lilting ambient pop with subtle folk undertones, spacey electronics, distinctive vocals and a sprinkling of psychedelia style backwards instrumental parts. "Mono", meanwhile, is similarly impressive, sitting somewhere between slacker indie, Terry Callier and lo-fi Afro-pop.
Review: Sweden's Local Talk is a label that is not afraid to go beyond the classic 4/4 sound formula to explore different styles within house music. Following up some great releases by the likes of Soulphiction, S3A and Boddhi Satva, their next release is by genre pushing, London-based legend Dean 'Saint' Zepherin whose legacy goes way back to 1988 when he released "Give Me Back Your Love" under the pseudonym Boyz In Shock - which is credited as the UK's first soulful house record. The A side holds the nu-jazz flavoured soul explosion of the title track that's sure to get some great vibes happening on the dancefloor, followed by the sensual Latin flavour of "Flying High" on the flip - which is perfect for those long hot summer nights to come.
Review: The Zenker Brothers and their Ilian Tape venture get stronger by the minute, and here Marco flies solo with this latest EP, sounding in utterly rude health with it. "Geezin" is a distinctive opener, ditching standard 4/4 propulsion in favour of an airy drum machine arrangement infected with the slightest flurries of hardcore breaks and offset by wistful synth patterns. It's a curious combination that works magnificently, but for those wanting something a little more direct "Splifer" is on hand to deliver a more classically Zenker techno mantra. "Darai" brings the swing back in fine style, throwing down a chunky stomp to match the sizzling hats, and then "Lubiana" wrecks the surroundings with its magnificent pummel of low end percussion and gritty production values.
Review: Having spent the last couple of years concentrating on his collaborative Zenker Brothers project with brother Dario, Marco Zenker has decided the time is right to deliver a new solo 12". Predictably, he hits the mark from the off, successfully blending starburst chords and loose, clattering drum machine rhythms on the tech-jazz influenced "Amb-01". Those looking for a more metronomic, 4/4 club techno roller should check the bounding kick drums and restless hi-hats of "Isolated". B1 cut "First Feeling" sounds like a Motor City techno take on The Orb's 1989 classic "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain", while closer "Motion" is little less than a sparkling, sunburst tribute to classic, hardcore-era breakbeat techno.
Review: Over the last four years, Toulouse twosome Zendid have maintained a steady release schedule, dropping highly regarded EPs on such labels as Elephant Moon, Infuse, Timeframe and Discobar. Here they return to the latter label with a fresh four-track missive. As the title suggests, opener "Space" tends towards to intergalactic, with futurist electronic beeps and weightless chords clustering around a rolling, sub-bass-heavy tech-house groove. "Virgin Virgin" is a deeper, looser and slightly warmer mid set box jam, while "Berlin 6" is a stripped-back, funk-fuelled stomper rich in glitchy stabs and mind-altering bass. The EP also includes a tasty bonus in the shape of Maayan Nidam's smooth, deep and bass-heavy remix of "Space".
Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: Rising star Al Zanders (real name Alex Buchan) returns to action, with regular vocalist Sheyi getting a shared credit for the very first time. Her contribution to A-side "Get It Together" is particularly strong, with her distinctive vocals perfectly complimenting Zanders' ear-catching combo of jazzy broken beat grooves, Maurice Fulton style electronics and cosmic soul synths. The bruk-up synth-soul vibes continue on near Balearic B-side opener "Satisfy", before Zanders abandons all caution with the ten-ton sub-bass, crunchy drum machines and sweaty broken beat rhythms of late night delight "GIT (Dub)", a notably heavier instrumental revision of the A-side opener.
Review: Argentina's Andres Zacco has form with Ilian Tape, debuting on the Zenker Brothers-helmed label back in 2011. Zacco is back in the IT fold, but this time it's through the label's X Series, a chapter reserved to more spontaneous white label action. As such, "Thaw" is a sublime mass of percussion riding solo on a soundscape, before being punched into shape by a powerful kick drum, while "Quirt" is more of a stripped-back techno slitherer for DJ tool use. Flip the wax and you'll find the weighty kicks and morphing sonics of "Beighty", alongside Ilian Tape's Rupcy's distorted, big room reinterpretation of "Thaw". All killer, no filler.
Review: Exos' label X/OZ continues to grow as a distinct voice in the world of minimal techno, this time around inviting Russian producer Nikita Zabelin to explore his sound with a sizable EP of finely crafted techno and thought-provoking ambience. "Confusion" is a consummate slice of hypnotic techno crackling with heavily processed energy, while "Pluton" drifts into rich beatless territory. There's more experimental fare afoot with the fractured tumbles of "Curtains", but "Trans Siberian Express" is on hand to lock things back into a sturdy rhythmic framework. Exos also takes the time to remix "Brooklyn Train" into a noirish dub techno workout.
Review: Z Lovecraft (AKA Rhythm Section International family member Mali Baden-Powell) made his debut last year via an EP on No Bad Days that cheerfully joined the dots between acid, deep house, hip-hop and early hardcore style breakbeats. There's a far mellower feel to this three-track outing on Guru Meditation, even if breezy opener "Verge Dub" does underpin jammed-out electric piano chords and dreamy electronics with shuffling breakbeats and a bustling sub-bass motif. "Arklight Dub" joins the dots between dub techno and spacey deep house, while nine-minute B-side "Hannah's Theme (Bliss Version)" is the kind of fluid, exceptionally picturesque shuffler that could have come from the studio of one of Italy's leading dream house crews during the ambient house era.
Review: Yoyaku Distribution's matter-of-fact YYY series continues to impress, delivering a third "mystery" 12" of the year to date. The un-credited producer gets straight down to business on side A, wrapping darting melodies and liquid electronics around fizzing cymbals, undulating kick drums and warm bass in an outer-space tech-house style. There's a slightly darker and more energy-packed feel to the flipside track, whose staccato percussion hits, restless drum machine handclaps and back-alley stabs sound like they were created with sweaty basement dancefloors in mind (despite the presence of the series' usual fluid chords).