Review: Seoul-based Frenchman Timothee Victorri has been in fine form of late, offering up a string of unusual - but undeniably brilliant - breakbeat techno cuts that recall the psychedelic, mind-altering brilliance of the early '90s ambient techno movement. Here he dons a new alternative alias, SYO, in order to explore a more trance-influenced sound. A-side "Tears" sounds a little like a long lost early '90s psychedelic trance workout: all undulating acid lines, rising and falling, arpeggio style bass, dramatic builds and drops and plenty of hallucinatory electronic flourishes. "Dune" sees him strip out the beats while leaving plenty of rhythm, recalling some of the more trippy, ambient techno cuts popular in the same period; certainly, we could imagine a spacesuit-clad Mixmaster Morris dropping it at the Fridge in Brixton around 1992.
Review: The Verdant label continues to plumb depths others fail to reach in the search for the most immersive techno emanating from the underground. On this split disc, the A side is under the control of Sirko Muller, who unfurls a masterful take on dub techno and minimal house as subtle as it is sublime. RV800 then remixes "Affinity" and makes it into a bouncy, acid-flecked groover that remains true to Verdant's deep dynamics. Jonno & Tommo take on the flip with the sultry mood piece "Efficacy," a spooked-out trip of a track that gets flipped into a slippery electro number by Havantepe.
Review: Four months on from the release of his debut album, "Blue Spring", Berlin-based Canadian Nathan Micay returns to LuckyMe with a formidably floor-focused EP. While there's one sublime ambient excursion - the "Blade Runner" synthesizer movements and bubbling acid lines of "Did U Know I Cannot Die" - the rest of the EP is rugged, raw and club-ready. "The Party We Could Have" is a house-tempo stomper with quietly jacking drums, echoing riffs and foreboding electronic arpeggio lines, while "This'll Tell The Tale" is a throbbing space disco/Italo-disco box jam. Arguably best of all, though, is the Jeff Mills/Robert Hood style thump of mind-altering opener "I'm Your Huckleberry".
Review: This new one on Martyn's 3024 might be a various artists affair but the tracks sit rather well together, which is even more remarkable given the diverse backgrounds of those involved: Noire with his super hard drums, Metalheadz affiliates Gremlinz & Jesta who link here with Sin, and Parris who makes some truly bonkers club music. Martyn's own "Frozen Bread Snaps" is the opener that most impresses with its delicate and skeletal drum programming and heartfelt chords. Elsewhere, "Door Of Guf" is a high octane rough rider while "Ballas" is perfectly off kilter and funky. "Dusty Glass Bubbles" somehow sounds exactly like it should with that title.
Review: Young Marco's admirable Safe Trip label continues to explore the archives of Antwerp-based Van Elsen brothers, offering up more early '90s gems from their wonderful - and previously under-appreciated - ambient techno project Trans-4M. Both tracks here are alternative versions of cuts from the duo's brilliant "Sublunar Oracles" album. On the A-side you'll find a previously unreleased remix of "Arrival" that wraps jaunty, sunrise-ready synth stabs, psychedelic electronics and chiming lead lines around a chunky, floor-friendly groove and thickset bassline. It's superb, as is flipside "Amma (Moon Mix)" - a 1993 12" B-side that adds a little humid, dancing-all-night-under-a-blanket-of-stars vibe to an already impressive ambient techno classic (think boisterous beats, starry ambient motifs, dreamy chords and subtle tribal influences).
Review: Pure, infectious, filthy, brilliant club energy. Steve Marie takes the a-side by the horns, first with the ravey, jacked up acid cut "JuplVtrax", then the nimble drum work and ducking and diving synths of "Psychedelia", which brings to mind flickering old VHS of illicit field gatherings from the nineties. Astral Body then takes you even deeper down the rabbit hole with the manic 303 and hyperdrive drums of "Galaxy Beat". "Equinox" closes things out with surging solar waves, rippling acid modulations and kaleidoscopic colours that leave you breathless. Reach for the lasers, etc.
Review: Newworldaquarium has long been a real darling of the techno world with an impeccable back catalogue filled with treasures, and now the Dutchman is treating us to two new tracks that were recorded during the same sessions as his seminal "The Dead Bears" in the early 00s. The 10-minute epic "Mercury" has a majestic synth phrase looped over rubbery kicks that will lead to real transcendental moments, while "Levels Halo" is a zoned out ambient piece with kick drums buried miles below, gently moving you along.
Review: The celebrated Lady Starlight returns to Len Faki's Figure imprint to follow up last year's "Which One Of Us Is Me?". Her mentalist and barrelling techno expressions are on fine display again on 'W', featuring the frantic acid techno banger "AC1", the old school UK techno vibe of "GR16" with its hypnotic chord stabs and steely 909 rhythms that good friend Surgeon would have played at the legendary House Of God if it was released back in the day. On the flip, there couldn't be a better snapshot of 5AM at revered techno mecca Berghain via the strobe-lit peak time intensity of "Red 4" bringing this EP to an epic close.
The Industry Of Dreams (Jeff Mills Commentary) (1:52)
Review: For those new to Jeff Mills' vast - and largely incredible - back catalogue, the Director's Cut series should be essential. Like its predecessors, this fourth volume gathers together various versions of killer cuts previously produced and released by the Motor City legend over the past two decades. Highlights include deep space techno workout "Deadly Rays (Of A Hot White Sun)", the densely layered African percussion, low slung bass and echoing organ stabs of "Gateway Of Zen (Percussion Mix)", the bleep-heavy electro/techno fusion of sweaty workout "999" and the alien-sounding, minor-key hypnotism of "The Industry Of Dreams". Each track is accompanied by a separate "audio commentary" from the man himself, which is ideal for those who love to hear artists talking about their work.
Review: Between 1996 and 2010, Move D and Pete Namlook recorded 24 collaborative albums, offering up an otherworldly blend of dreamy deep house, hypnotic techno, deep space ambient and jazz-tinged soundscapes. Sadly, none were made available on vinyl, making this EP a must-have. On side A you'll find two cuts from 2001's "Move D/Namlook VI - Live In Heidelberg": the acid-flecked dirty techno hypnotism of "Footer" and the dubbed-out ambient/jazz fusion of "Der Bergkonig". Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy the epic 2010 cut "Stranger", where the pair wrap sampled speech, twinkling pianos and enveloping aural textures around a suitably deep and tactile tech-house groove.
Review: Hyperdub and Tectonic regular Walton finds himself on vital Munich label Ilian Tape for his next EP. The rhythmic innovator takes cues from the label's love of breakbeats in one track here. Opener "Before The Storm" is a suspensory bit of ambient with sustained pads and distant hits, crashes and pops speaking of alien life forms. "Rolla", a dusty and shadowy cut that skates along with a sense of uneasy menace. Last of all, "Depth Charge" is as it sounds: fathom deep bass lurches to and fro with machine gun like snares firing across the face of the track. It's boombing body music to make you move.
Review: Alexander Khaliulin first donned the Flying Cobra alias earlier this year for an album on Space Of Variants that neatly showcased his seemingly innate grasp of atmospheric dub techno soundscapes. "Flowers Decay Quickly" is the producer's surprisingly speedy follow-up. It's another heady and intoxicating affair, with Khaliulin sashaying between the languid, head-in-the-clouds ambient of "Emanation", the gentle but hypnotic dub techno shapes of "Sleepless" and "Way Above", the sun-kissed laziness of "Night Walk" and the fantastically dubbed-out, slow motion soundscapes such as yearning closing cut "Light Of Truth Has Gone Out".
Two Phase U - "Time Is Like Sand Through Your Fingers" (6:01)
Two Phase U - "Yolocreo" (8:01)
Review: Two Phase U has been busy recently and has a slew of releases out in the next few weeks, but first up is a split with relative newcomer Nemo Vachez for Opia. Every release on this label sells out in quick time, and for good reason: it deals in music that straddles a divide between house and techno, with elements of dub and breakbeat adding further vitality. Vachez's tech-funk opener sounds like classic Two Lone Swordsmen, while "Love From Jupiter" has infectious, fluttering metal snares and rugged bass. The flip features something you might describe as techno disco on "Time Is Like Sand Through Your Fingers", while "Yolocreo" is a blizzard of drums, toms, hits and restless melody that awakens your every sense.
Review: Hot on the heels of the release of their first album in 17 years, Underground Resistance affiliates Scan 7 return with one of their funkiest and most accessible EPs to date. Opener "Chuuch" is a riotous and righteous affair that sees main men TrackMasta Lou and Mr Hooper peppering a funky techno beat with killer samples from a wild and celebratory gospel disco classic. It's one of those tracks that will have even the most miserable clubber throwing their hands skywards in celebratory release. The pair continues on a similar vein on the organ-driven gospel techno stomp of "No Enemy No Table", before moving in a deeper and more relaxed direction on the equally as impressive "Here To There".
Review: Since first emerging in the late 1980s, Peter Elmaloglou has been one of the mainstays of the Australian techno scene. Derrick May is a fan and has decided to offer Elmaloglou the opportunity to showcase his wares on Transmat. A-side "Set Me Free" offers up an impressive fusion of soft-touch European tech-house tropes (fluid, delay-laden synthesizer motifs, tactile beats etc.), Chicago style psychedelic acid lines and the kind of rumbling, elongated bass tones that were once a feature of Kevin Saunderson's late '80s/early '90s work as Reese. Over on side B, "Don't Stop" is undulating, hypnotic and minimalist in tone, with percussion that both hisses and clicks, while "Autumn Blues" sees him pepper a squeezable techno groove with heady ambient chords and glassy-eyed electronic lead lines.
Review: For the second salvo in their "Secret Sun" series of unreleased 1990s techno tracks, O.C.D has plucked five superb cuts from the dusty DAT tapes of Scott Featherstone, a period producer who released one 12" as Beyond A Void way back in 1992. They've found some genuine gold, too, with the five previously unheard tracks offering a melodious and floor-friendly mixture of languid electro rhythms, shuffling breakbeats, tight techno drums, weighty bass, colourful lead lines, atmospheric ambient techno pads, subtle Yorkshire bleep motifs and lashings of sun-kissed deep house melodies. Highlights are plentiful throughout, though we're particularly enjoying the sub-heavy swing of "Dat007", the Motor City influenced brilliance of "Ecordes" and the clanking sci-fi futurism of "Cheeting" [sic].
Review: Butter Sessions latest must-check release comes courtesy of Melbourne-based rising star Furious Frank, whose recent EP on Paper-Cuts was particularly impressive. "Ahora Si" is similarly inspired, with the young Australian producer placing Ivy Barkakati's "Sueno Latino" style whispered vocal over a bold, alluring blend of jangling dream house pianos, rugged acid lines, sunrise-ready chords and loose-limbed analogue beats. He provides his own dream house style interpretation (the brilliant "Frank's Sunrise Mix") before inviting Ivan to give his take on the track. He adds some tribal percussion whilst retaining the cut's inherent dreaminess before Canadian producer D. Tiffany re-imagines "Ahora Si" as a bass-heavy chunk of UKG/breakbeat house fusion.
Review: Cartulis bounce from the essential release from Eliaz to this intriguing slab by Reade Truth, a New York techno original who was last spotted on Warm Fiction, Blkmarket Music and Path Records. His "Wires, Everywhere" album was a big release for Cartulis last year, and now he's back with further ruff n' tuff cuts that drip with Big Apple attitude. From the deep diving "Starflight" to the epic, ranging "Space Out (Expression)", you can sense Truth's hard earned swagger but it's also balanced out by subtlety, a sense of space and groove that makes each track a pleasure to sink into.
Review: Last year Brazilian DJ/producer Ana Miranda joined Kompakt Extra following years spent building her reputation via fine releases on such labels as Novamute, Twin Turbo, Yoshitoshi and Terminal M. For her third release on the long-serving German label she's joined forces with another scene queen, the incomparable Miss Kittin. The pair has produced a raw, driving dancefloor beast that's bigger than Donald Trump's ego and infinitely more alluring. "Forever Ravers" is heavy, intense and forthright, with stylized vocal snippets and razor sharp electronic motifs surging above a thumping groove. Miranda offers a different take on the track on side B, opting for bleeping and panicked electronics and spacey bleep melodies.
Review: It never used to be so, but these days solo releases from Ben Klock are few and far between. We've seen periodic collaborations from the Berghain resident - most notably with old pal Marcel Dettmann - but little else, making this first solo single in nine years a genuine "event" release. He's in fine form on A-side "Subzero", a hushed, deep and intoxicating techno workout that delivers nine minutes of locked-in drums, hazy aural textures, simmering chords and icy, undulating lead lines. Flipside "Coney Island", an evocative and atmospheric affair that moves from dusty field recordings (presumably of the famous New York resort mentioned in the title) to forthright, funfair-aping techno headiness via a drawn-out ambient intro, synthesized horror strings and bubbly acid bass.
Review: IDM legend Steven Rutter has been presenting some awe-inspiring electronic explorations on his FireScope imprint in recent times. The label's latest instalment comes from British producer Miles Atmospheric Sagnia, whose classic techno perspectives on the SkyHealer EP sound right at home here. The Atmospheric Existence Recordings boss moves wonderfully through the deep shades of techno soul ("Exoplanetology"), chilled-out and dub-inflected electronica ("Our Future"), classic hi-tech soul ("Waters Of Life") and highly engineered electro of the most evocative kind on the brilliant "See The Light".
Review: Back in April, Blawan and Pariah rebooted their hardware-based Karenn project after a five-year hiatus via a rugged EP on their freshly minted Voam imprint. Here the pair inaugurates a new series, Voam Club Archive, in which they'll offer up tracks recorded during live performances. For fans of raging, hard-wired club techno, there's much to enjoy, from the intoxicating, acid-fired stomp of "Berlin - Live Cut 1" and the redlined intensity of the dark and distorted "Berlin - Live Cut 2", to the Sheffield style bleep melodies, wild electronics and Lory D style grooves of "Rome - Live Cut 1". Arguably best of all, though, is the metallic, forthright insanity of closing track "Amsterdam - Live Cut 1".
Review: London-based retroverts Art Of Dark return with a wicked double header here for their third vinyl release. Antonin Hifda aka Daif takes up the A side, offering up the hardcore rave reductions of "Another Version Of The Truth" followed by the deep down Detroit styled electro beats of "Devil". On the flip, it's all about newcomers DC EFX who follow through with the electro bass vibe on the absolutely booming "Expansionz", before closing with the bass-driven acid techno "The Roller Express".