Review: Berlin-based Italian producer Audri has been scattering his smart, fine-tuned machine soul across a handful of labels over the past four years. Picking up the thread from the emotive and inventive end of the 90s techno spectrum, his latest drop on Albion should appeal to all those who can't get enough of that B12-flavoured sound. 'Inner Movement' sports plenty of classic Motor City influences, but given a crisp modern finish. 'Dizzy Freq' has a deeper demeanour that jacks and jives in equal measure, with a nod to the formative sound of bleep techno. Domenica Rosa delivers a fun and freaky twist on the original, before the legendary Titonton Duvante dubs things out nicely on his version of 'Inner Movement'.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: Sound the alarm, Borai is back with another essential drop of rough n' tough breakbeat business on his Higher Level label. In the same vein as his celebrated Club Glow work with Denham Audio, these are well-schooled rollers with sonics to make the sternest soundboy shock out. 'Sanctuary' calls to mind the earliest strains of Good Looking Records in its dreamy moments, with ample space afforded for the amens to get gnarly too. 'Carpet Bagger' strikes a deadly blow in the hardcore vein, piling on the darkside synths for a rave-ready showstopper to get synapses tingling and jaws clenching.
Review: Seven months on from the label's last outing - a suitably trippy, acid-fired four-tracker from Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33's project - Tusk Wax returns to action with a fresh album from synthesizer fetishist and Giallo soundtrack specialist Antoni Maovvi. The Berlin-based Bristolian is at his atmospheric and far-sighted best, offering up a range of synthesizer and drum machine-heavy compositions that sound equally as good at home as they do in clubs. Highlights include - but are in no way limited to - the glistening, guitar-laden mid-80s bubbliness of 'Emotional Trigger', the hard-wired Italo-disco sleaziness of 'Disaster Code', the organ-laden horror-house of 'Insider', and the ever-rising starry brilliance of the album's standout moment, closing cut 'The Circle Remains Unbroken'.
Review: The 10th release on EYA comes from French producer Master Flashhh, who delivers punchy, cool-headed house music with a strong early 90s slant. 'Too Big To Fail' keeps things stripped back and weighty, with a bassline so thick you could sink your teeth into it. 'Beat Boxxx' has a more psychedelic, slow-techno slant to it, not least thanks to the ranging 303 gurgles sliding around the track. 'Boulevard Mystere' adds a little cinematic spookiness to the mix for an ear-snagging warm up track, and 'Enigma' completes the set with the kind of eerie mood and crisp box jam sounds that make artists like RVDS so compelling. Highly recommended for those who like their machine music with personality and punch in equal measure.
Review: Originally released back in 2011 on two singles, Shades of Detroit is a journey of six deep and dubby house monsters! The new limited reissue includes both Dark and Light parts, marbled vinyl and a new updated artwork. Essential Detroit house classic!
Review: The brilliantly dark world of breakbeats and stripped back techno that Illian Tape call their own gets that bit richer with this new EP from Pessimist. It kicks off with some rugged jungle rides that are coloured by bird calls, wood block hits and booming bass before 'The Crawlers' is a flurry of snares and hi hats that tie your mind and body in knots. The excellent 'Ridge Racer Revolution' is a hardcore track that never lets up, with flailing hits and hundred mile and hour breaks all demanding you dance. The closer is a dystopian cut of unresolved loops ad frazzled bass that lurches back and forth and traps you right where it wants you. Thrilling stuff.
Review: Munich-based mystery man, Skee Mask, remains at the top of our Ilian Tape favourites. While we love the work of brothers Dario and Marco Zenker, the two label founders, we think that this guy's sound is the creme de la creme of contemporary, dub-filtered techno. Serum and Junt were both absolute killer EPs, and the Shred album was also on our list of the best releases of 2016, so we're pretty psyched about this new single, the curiously named 2012. The opening "Kordman Return (Swing mix)" is Skee Mask up to his naughty break sampling and techno wizardry, all broken and loose, whereas "Palo Alto" sees the producer in a surprisingly sturdy, head-first mood driven by solid bursts of 4/4 and wondrous synths. Over on the B-side, "Fjorward Flex Dub" swings its mighty swarms of drums over a minimal flurry of melodies, in what feels like a sublime reinterpretation of heavy, 90s power-house; "Glass Museum" closes with a real twist thanks to an abstract, wide-eyed landscape of dissolving, jazzed-out percussion and moody ambience. Excellent material, as per usual.
Review: Last year Skee Mask put the Ilian Skee Series on hold in order to release the brilliant "Compro" album on parent label Ilian Tape. Here he presents the second undeniably dancefloor-focused ISS EP of the year - a robust and forthright floor-tracker full of what the Munich-based composer calls "unstoppable fruity brain benders". It's certainly a vibrant collection of cuts capable of setting the pulse racing, with highlights including the mind-mangling analogue electro/techno/breakbeat fusion of opener "Juug", the deep two-step techno skip of "RZZ", and the IDM influenced shuffle of "Slow Music". Arguably best of all though is the teak-tough analogue electro wonkiness of "Play Ha".
Review: Fresh from a sublime, suitably psychedelic EP on Sophie Sweetland's Planet Euphorique imprint, Melbourne twosome Sleep D returns home to their Butter Sessions imprint with two robust chunks of glassy-eyed techno. A-side 'Freak Of' is particularly weighty and forthright, with psychedelic electronics, hallucinatory electronics and trance-inducing synthesiser sounds rising above a chunky bassline and seriously jacking beats. 'Nature' is a little deeper and more melody-driven - all hypnotic synthesizer loops, sunrise-ready chords, tactile synth-bass and blissful keyboard melodies - but no less energetic. It's basically a loved-up dancefloor treat, albeit one from the more gently psychedelic end of the dance music spectrum.
Review: Whether or not you've checked the mixed version of Avalon Emerson's contribution to the DJ Kicks series - and if you haven't, you should - we'd heartily recommend this unmixed vinyl version. There's so much high quality DJ-friendly material on show, from the bouncy, polyrhythmic Afro-techno melodiousness of Oceanic's 'Yellow Cone (Unison)' and the Detroit techno futurism-meets-acid-house brilliance of Lady B's 'Cruising Around The Motor City', to the breakbeat-driven brilliance of Waveform's 1998 gem 'Breakers In Space (D.A.T Remix), and the low slung disco-punk brilliance of Dirtcombs (a killer cover of 'Sharevari') and !!! (as remixed by Rub 'N' Tug). The collection also includes three tasy, previously unreleased tracks from Emerson, with dark Italo throb job 'Poodle Power' and weirdo acid electro number 'Wastelands & Oases' standing out.
Review: Having delivered one of the strongest electronic albums of 2018, Skee Mask AKA Bryan Muller returns to action with a tightly floor-focused 12" of broken techno rhythms and UK rave-influenced workouts. A-side "Trackheadz" is suitably weighty and forthright, with Muller wrapping drowsy deep space chords, hardcore style breakbeats and orgasmic vocal snippets around sturdy techno drums. Both B-side cuts are far more mellow in tone, with Muller underpinning swelling ambient chords and blissful chill-out room melodies with skittish, early IDM style beats. As with a lot of the producer's work, the vintage influences and inspirations are obvious, but the resultant cuts still sound warm, fresh and life affirming.
Review: A new enigmatic duo from London named Two Shell present Livity Sounds' next installment. Their debut "Access EP" draws influence from the South London underground of the late '90s and early 00's, with a nod to more contemporary Bristol sounds across these four wicked tracks. From the off-kilter stepper that is "Heart Piece', through to the glacial and deconstructed dub techno of "Contactless" and the rolling bass-driven entrancer "SYNC-2020" - they have forged an EP of warm but stripped-down, deft UK style grooves to mark an anthemic debut. More groundbreaking future sounds from the ever reliable Bristol label.
Review: It's been a while between drinks for Alexander Green, who has not released a solo record under the Boddika alias for nearly seven years (his most recent outing was a 2016 collaboration with Joy Orbison). The Walk Talk EP, which marks his return to the Nonplus label he founded 11 years ago, is therefore something of an 'event release' - in certain circles at least. Interestingly, opener 'Walk Talk' is a creepy and clandestine chunk of brooding analogue techno in its most traditional form, while the track that follows, 'Croak', adds buzzing and brain-melting bass to an otherwise similarly moody groove. Over on the flip '808 (Hacked)' doffs a cap to the polyrhythmic techno sparseness of Livity Sound, while 'Metal Forest' is as weird, wonky and mind-altering as they come.
Review: REPRESS: Rising Sun Psyche aka Berlin's hugely prolific but somehow rather lowkey Steffen Laschinski hits an amazingly bittersweet spot on his latest offering. It combines post-rave ambient, breakbeats, IDM and deep house into a real trip. "The River Experiment II" is a dreamy opener with gorgeous synths while "Back Home" is backlit with a celestial glow of melody and spoken word snippets that add to the reverie. There's gentle minimalism in "The River Experiment I" and followed by punchy and emotive number "Feel What I Feel" amongst many other highlights.
Review: During the early '90s, Adam 'X' Mitchell - brother of the more celebrated breakbeat techno producer Frankie Bones - made some of the most intense, mind-altering and rave-igniting techno on the planet. For proof, check this killer compilation of material he released (under a variety of aliases) between 1992 and '94.It puts wild, intense, brain-melting TB-303 acid lines right at the heart of the action, variously wrapping them around jacking drums ('Faces of Death',' Octane Propellant'), body-contorting electro beats ('Electropolis'), and breathlessly pounding Teutonic techno rhythms ('Acid Over Wiesbaden'). If you like your techno to sound psychedelic, ragged, aggressive and unfeasibly heavy, then you need this in your life
Forever (Reconstructed By Octal Industries) (6:25)
Another Day (Ohm Morning Glory) (5:08)
Review: Back in December 2019, Jonas Thor Gudmundsson released his first album as Octal Industries in almost six years, a perfectly pitched set of hypnotic dub techno/deep techno fusions entitled Our Seasons. Here he offers up a double pack featuring a swathe of new interpretations of some of the album's most inspired moments. Perhaps the most instantly arresting remix comes from ASC, who brilliantly re-imagines 'Roblegt' as an immersive, 13-minute journey that's equal parts club-ready breakbeat electronica and sofa-bound ambient haziness. Former long-term studio partner Mike Schommer's gentle and warming, beat-down style version of 'Borg Telkin' is equally brilliant, while the contrasting GRIT and Ohm interpretations of 'Another Day' both hit the mark and then some.
Review: Given that his record crates are full of notoriously deep, little-known selections, we can think of few DJs more qualified to compile an edition of Brokntoys' dusty-fingered Casting Shadows series than Intergalactic Gary. The Hague-based selector has of course chosen to showcase some serious secret weapons, starting with an early '90s TB-303 bomb by Sprawl AKA Italian techno scene stalwart Andrea Benedetti. Here 'Neural Acid' has been pitched down to 33rpm, turning it into a 12-minute chunk of mid-tempo late night psychedelia. Over on the flip you'll find two more equally obscure gems: GAG's bubbly, synth-laden futurist Italo-disco killer 'Flyin' Bolero', and UK twosome QUAD's 1994 breakbeat techno workout 'Spires 'N' Towers'.
Review: Since first emerging in 2018, Carpet & Snares sub-label Dream Ticket has become a reliable source of far-sighted fusions of acid, electro, techno, IDM and breaks. The imprint's latest missive, which comes courtesy of former Further Records, X-Kalay and SURVIVE Ltd contributor Pearl River Sound (real name Roberto Semeraro), conforms to type by delivering a quartet of cuts that draw on all those styles and more. The Portuguese producer is in fine form as he flits between hip-hop influenced IDM warmth (the Artificial Intelligence-era melodiousness of 'Topoplove'), Black Dog style angular, analogue electronica ('Biblio Time'), filthy, hard-wired acid insanity ('Just Fucking Days Without You') and skittish, up-tempo acid-electro (the Rephlex style brain-dance madness of 'Digiana').
Review: Fluid Electronics is a new sister label to the boogie-focused Fluid Funk imprint, though it's focus will naturally be more contemporary variations of electronic music. To kick things off, they've smartly recruited Dutch producer Rob Belleville, an artist who previously impressed via releases on Symmetric Records, Common Dreams and, most recently, Guangzhou Underground. This time round he's in a contemplative mood, flitting between the IDM-influenced deep and melodic shuffle of title track 'Still Waters', the rushing, Motor City techno inspired sci-fi positivity of 'The Golden Hour' and the bustling, extra-emotive sweetness of retro-futurist treat 'Lost From View'. The EP also boasts a superb rework of 'Still Waters' from fellow Dutch producer Conforce, who thrillingly re-imgaines it as a dark and foreboding electro-techno stepper.
Review: Lamont's previous releases on Swamp81 were notable not for their sturdy sub-weight - that's a given - but rather the bounciness of his beats and his uncanny ability to create genuinely new and exciting fusions of existing bass music styles. He's at it again on Tectonic debut Hold Dat, with 135 BPM opener 'Hold Down' seemingly existing in the no-man's land between grime, dubstep and polyrhythmic techno. 'Push', a more sub-heavy and creepy concoction, is similarly rhythmically unique, while 'Brain' adds kuduro bounce, Sheffield clangs and UK funky fills to a snappy, house-style beat. Closer 'Dirty Letter' is a little easier to get a handle on - it's basically a grime instrumental - but no less impactful. A hugely impressive, must-check EP.