Review: Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, Saint Thomas LeDoux makes his vinyl debut here with the ever-essential Finale Sessions. The label alone should give you an idea of the vibe on this record, where Detroit-inspired deep house with soul, flair and grit gets steered in intriguing new directions. So it goes on LeDoux's first outing, kicking off with the dazzling chord trickery of "Me Time" before "Feels Like" nestles down into a broken beat groove sprinkled with gorgeous arpeggios. "Raw Meat" takes a dramatic turn into a more global, percussive sound world with stunning results, and then "Grief" simmers things down with a home-listening cut loaded with craft FX processes and a jazzy demeanor to offset the artistic distortion.
Review: Three years in, Blackhall & Bookless' Jaunt label is becoming a serious force for forward thinking, fractured techno exploration. On this split EP with Chad, the duo take the A-side and present two different versions of "Links". The "Battle rework" is a tense and dramatic tumble through dub techno soundscapes, while the "Bleak remix" pares the elements down to a more focused, minimalist thrum. Chad presents a wholly different vibe on the flip, using rich, warm synthesiser tones to draw you in to "Afters", and then Scenery regular ASOK takes up remix duties on the track with an immersive version that borders on breakbeat.
Review: Proudly positioned as a label dedicated to showcasing emerging talent within the realms of dark and dubby minimal techno, FarFromNormal return with their second release of the year. This time they're providing a platform to Nice N Trick & Sacke, who make the most of the vinyl space with two long form tracks that demonstrate just how much talent they have to offer. "Senor Memories" is a tribally-inflected experience sprinkled with off-kilter samples atop a driving techy backbone, while "Viola Profonda" steers a more streamlined course through crisp drums and nerve-jangling violin on a one way trip into the heart of the night.
Review: London-based Italian duo Konstress are back with their third release on their self-titled imprint, and it once again shows the pair progressing with a dynamic, detailed and original approach to stripped down dance music. The first track pits a stuttering groove against blown out keys and a smorgasbord of errant synth noises, and those noises jump across to the second track to plot a course through a highly textured, ominous soundscape where the drums have been left behind. The B1 track sports a tough, crooked groove and warm, sci-fi synth tones while the B2 takes a more eerie direction into deep and dingy techno. A classy, highly developed record for adventurous souls.
Review: A new label and a new artist throwing their hat into the techno ring with a sideways reference to A Certain Ratio. Do The Du clearly mean business, and waste no time in laying down the law with the rowdy snarl of "Verses", a punky slice of lo-fi techno from the gutter. "Senses" is a more tightly wound, looped up affair for the most nerve-jangled of dancer, while "Sauro" makes mincemeat of the house music blueprint with a wonderfully distorted twist on the genre. "Aicee" gets the whole B-side to trance out on a submerged, throbbing 303 burner and subtle drum jack that harks right back to the early days of Phuture.
Review: After launching into Memory Box with aplomb on the deadly Acid Stomp 12", Robin Ball steps up on the London-based imprint once again with the saucy tones of his latest four track EP. "Drop It Down Low" and its accompanying dub mix are classy twists on the tech house formula that lean towards old-skool methods while keeping the sleaze factor ramped up high. "Remember" takes a more tripped out tribal approach, with the "Vibes mix" providing a more subtle twist to the warm, melodic undulations of the full fat version. It's an EP loaded with personality and flair for sophisticated dancefloors.
Review: Mr Cloudy has a sizable back catalogue on labels like Entropy, Dubwax and Millions Of Moments, and now he's been snapped up by Local Traffic to impart his sumptuous dubby wares across four tracks. "Memoria I" and "Memoria II" let the A-side simmer in a bubbling broth of dub techno ambience, all shimmering chords undergoing heavyweight processing. "Sprayer I" is still immensely mellow, although a little rhythmic pulse creeps its way into earshot via the movement of the gravelly chords, and then "Sprayer II" rounds the EP off with something approaching a beat-oriented excursion through the same billowing clouds of dub techno finery.