Review: Modular techno maestro and Freerotation big cheese Steevio is on fine form on "Zephyr", his first EP of 2019. He kicks things off with "Brawd", where undulating electronic motifs and faintly foreboding snatches of melody wind their way around a rolling techno groove, before offering up a swinging, off-kilter take on tropical techno rich in darting minor key melodies and jazzy sub-bass. Turn to the flip and you'll encounter two more chunks of modular dancefloor hypnotism: the slowly shifting, head-in-the-clouds throb of "Cysuron" and the melodious but off-kilter tech-jazz flex of hard-to-pigeonhole EP highlight "Rhyddid".
Review: Chris Tietjen has long been a valued member of the Cocoon family, and mixed his first CD for the Frankfurt-based label way back in 2006. Here he celebrates a decade of collaboration with a tenth and apparently final mix for the imprint. Partly designed as a look back over the label's releases over the past 10 years, Zehn comes across like a labour of love. Densely packed with tracks - he impressively squeezes some 36 selections into 70 minutes, showcasing work from a veritable who's who of techno talent - it offers a typically fluid, atmospheric, late night-friendly chug through tech-house, minimal and European after-party hypnotism.
Review: Joe Montana aka Edoardo Fatovich is an Italian musician, DJ and producer who has been releasing music since 1993 across many seminal and now defunct labels - but more recently on Mindshake, 8bit and Claque Musique. Presenting the fifth release on fellow Italian imprint Pick.Sel here, we aren't sure whether these are some more unearthed gems from Fatovich archives or freshly made creations, but that's exactly our point - this is some timeless music on offer here. The A side features the emotive minimal tech house trip "Nute50" which could call comparisons to like minded legends such as Stewart S Walker or Akufen's earliest output. On the flip, "Little Ur Ex" is an exercise in reduced boompty business - the kind of micro-house that was popular in the mid noughties.
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).
Review: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is the perfect companion to Burnt Friedman's steely, minimalistic shades of broken dub techno. The Iranian percussionist comes as a surprise addition to the Nonplace catalogue, but he certainly makes for an even more cerebral drumming experience than the already off-kilter world of Friedman's tunes. Both the A-side's mixes of "Yek" are just on the right side of dark, combining Eastern influences together with colder, more industrial executions from the West. On the B-side, we have a similarly frenetic experience, where metallic drums collide with deep baselines and polyrhythmic flows spanning the full circle. Well, this might just be our favourite Nonplace yet!
Review: If you're a minimal fan and don't know Yama Music, you've been sleeping. Their first three EPs flew off the shelves and into crates of heady DJs across Europe. Once again the eponymous Yama Music is or are behind the beats and it's forward thinking, no nonsense dancing music of the highest order. "Acisaronno" is proper tech house with delicate hi hats and steel plated drums making for a frictionless groove, while "Chinchilla Shuffle" is the sort of slightly wonky and oddball track that Craig Richard drops on the regular. Freaky, spaced out and atmospheric, tech house doesn't get much better.
Review: For the fourth release on his nascent label, Frankfurt-based Baba Osman has turned to two producers still finding their feet: debutant collaborators Nicolas Etorena and Santiago Uribe. There's much to admire on their first EP, not least fine opener "24-25". A bouncy peak-time roller propelled by raging acid bass, ear-pleasing bleeps and chunky house drums, it perfectly sets the tone for a 12" rich in nods to vintage UK techno. This is particularly evident on X2, where early hardcore breakbeats and a gargantuan sub-bass line are peppered with metallic chords and early Warp style bleep melodies. You'll find more heavy, LFO-influenced sub-bass and the more straight up bleep techno snappiness of B-side "Zazzia".
Works On Sunday (Enzo Siragusa & Seb Zito remix) (6:44)
Review: Moscow Records boss Archie Hamilton appears this time on Enzo Siragusa's Fuse London imprint with these slices of rolling, Latin-infused tech-house for the beach party. This is the kind of stuff that lovers of Mindshake and Rawthentic will be all over. First up "Mind Blank" brings the tough yet sultry attitude that you could imagine playing peak time at Amnesia. "Works On Sunday" takes the tempo down a notch or two for something more suited to the afterhours, but just as sexy. There's also a remix of this on the flip by none other than label boss Siragusa with Seb Zito keeping the afterhours vibe intact but with a druggier, minimal take on things.
Review: Having made his debut on Roots For Bloom back in 2013, Michael James was made to wait for another opportunity to impress. That came last year via a trio of highly regarded releases on Constant Sound and its Constant Black offshoot. Things are clearly going well, because he's now served up his most expansive collection of tracks to date: a seven-track double-pack featuring a variety of club-ready treats. Check, for example, the low-slung, bass-heavy tech house creepiness of "Catch Me If You Can" and "Winds of Change", the gently spacey bump of "Stormy Skies" and the fluttering late night dreaminess of "Dog Day Afternoon", where stretched-out chords recline over a chunky, dub-influenced bassline.
Review: Iranian born and now Ibiza-based scene stalwart Nima Gorji of NG Trax returns to Bondage-Music after nine years to present his first EP. "White Metal Rat EP" boasts a quartet of vinyl-only tech house weapons. We're particularly enjoying the entrancing polyrhythmic groove of "Love You Feel", slinky and seductive late night deepness of "In Da Dessert" and the groovy minimal funk of "Like This", which is perfect mood music for the warm-up or afterhours.
Jamie Lidell - "When I Come Back Round" (live version - Matthew Herbert long Night dub) (7:42)
Matthew Herbert - "Megaphone" (7:20)
Review: The ACJ94 EP comes courtesy of Accidental Jnr, a new sub-label of Matthew Herbert's Accidental. Here he presents a remix of Jamie Lidell's "When I Come Back Round" from 2005's Multiply. Entitled "Live version - Matthew Herbert long Night dub" it's a much more raw and funky take on the track with tough drums and emotive elements where the source material is, like its name suggests, from an appearance on an L.A. radio station from some years ago. On the B side, we have the man himself Herbert with a new track entitled "Megaphone" a classic and proper deep house jam for the late night that's expertly crafted by the artist who has brought us such timeless classics like "See You On Monday" amongst many others.