Review: For those who dig Jeff Mills but don't have the time or money to hoard records from his extensive back catalogue, the ongoing "Director's Cut" series showcasing hard-to-find gems from his discography is a godsend. Volume five begins with a trip back to 2015 and "Solar Cycles" - an alien-sounding, otherworldly mid-tempo techno loop jam - from the limited edition, USB-only "Proxima Centauri" album. Side B begins with the bleeping tribal techno hustle of "L8" from 1998's "Skin Deep EP", before Mills offers us a chance to drift through space via 2006 track "Above Waiting Worlds", which is one of his most intergalactic and cinematic dancefloor cuts to date (and that's saying something).
Review: UK dub techno maestro Steve O'Sullivan is back with another payload of deep immersion heaters under his Bluetrain guise, this time on the Future Primitive label. There's a deadly restraint at work on "Congo Shuffle", where the elements get reduced to needlepoint precision and the low end rhythm section stalks with purpose. "Invisible Guest" takes things in an explicitly dubwise direction, channelling serious Rhythm & Sound vibes for an immaculate head-nodder, before "Paralyzed Dub" slows down further into an end of the line skank for the weary to find solace in - masterful movements in the echo chamber from start to finish.
Review: Bjarki's BBBBBB label has carved out its own unique niche in the techno world and next to occupy it is core label artist Stian "EOD" Gjevik. The former Rephlex artist shows off his magnificently complex and busy yet harmonic and melodic sound across five fantastically restless cuts that has lead synths taking you down a number of rabbit holes. Calming pads vie for your attention on "(Untitled) (W-R6)" while the acid laced "The Battery Poles (Are Conic!)" is so bright and shiny it'll have you reaching for your sunglasses. Few people speak so freely through their machines as this man right now.
Review: Detroit duo Aux88 always danced to a different drum than their Motor City peers, developing a ludicrously weighty trademark sound that put massive, mind-mangling analogue bass and gut-punching electro beats at the heart of the action. "Direct Drive", a 1995 release that has long been hard to find (hence this much-needed reissue), is one of the best examples of their distinctive sound. The title track (side A on this edition) is little more than a raw, thrusting bassline, snappy machine beats, spacey pads and occasional Kraftwerk samples, but it's brilliantly floor-friendly and brilliantly executed - Detroit body music for those who like their club cuts sub-heavy. Elsewhere, "Aux Express (DJ K1 Mix)" is a bouncy electro jam and the short "Bytes" tracks are wonky vocal samples for creative DJs.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: Venetian imprint Yay present the third installment of their sublabel 3N0 by Aljaz Gnezda aka Eliaz. The Slovenian producer's second EP features three minimal cuts from the wonkier end of the spectrum. Eliaz is said to have made the low slung acid bounce of "Lizergid" on the A side in 2013, before he switched to a mainly hardware setup. The other tracks on the flip are brand new: the tripped-out breakbeat action of "Erbiton" and the entrancing afterhours raviness of "Mental Spaceship". The man is slowly but surely becoming one of the prominent characters of his local scene.
Review: Mancunian legends Graham Massey and Andy Barker reunite for the first 808 State album in 17 years. They recorded the new opus "Transmission Suite" in the Granada studios (where they once performed live on television 30 years ago) and looked to their hometown's club scene as their main source of influence - along with the timeless aesthetic of Detroit which has always influenced their style. Across this collection of "sonic landscapes" (as described by Massey) you'll hear the booming acid electro of first single "Tokyo Tokyo" and "The Ludwig Question", through to off-kilter jams like "Westland", futurist house grooves of "Ujala" and a modern reboot of classic "Angol Argol".
Review: Some wicked underground sounds coming out of Ukraine (and beyond) on offer here by new imprint Hypnohouse. Darren Woollard aka Dawl who has been putting out some wicked grooves on Libertine, Furthur Electronix and Klasse Wrecks lately gets into some proper bleep techno action on "Output" while Kiev-based Trippsy finishes up the A side with the strobed-out and tunnelling sensations of "Flashback". Flip over for Uruguay's Fede Lijtmaer who channels some Dopplereffekt vibes on "Passing By" followed by Wulffius' retro techno jam "Salty Breeze". Tip!
Review: Japanese artist Sunao Gonno's idiosyncratic sound has appeared on labels such as Endless Flight, International Feel and Beats In Space over the years, where he's dabbled in shoegaze, kosmische and psychedelia as heard on 2015's breathtaking "Remember The Life Is Beautiful" or on last year's contemporary jazz outing "In Circles" with Kazuhiko Masumura. An accomplished DJ also, he's no stranger to Berlin's Panorama Bar, where Nick Hoppner (Touch From A Distance) has long held a residency. The two artists collaborate for the first time on "Lost", featuring three sublime sonic journeys: go deep into the exotic on "Bangalore" with its world music influence, or chill to the vivid downbeat tones of "Love Lost" until "Start Trying" returns to the program with its neon-lit aesthetic plus breakbeats reminiscent of the rave era.
Review: Two years after they offered up the first part in the "Retrofitted Future" series, Primary Perception partners Mahy and Nichel Cruz return to Slow Life with volume three. They hit the ground running with "Valis", a crunchy romp through bold analogue bass, twisted acid lines and spacey electronics, before bouncing their way through more melodious, warm and ear-catching territory on the aptly named "Sci-Fi Jazz". Side B boasts two versions of "Funky Emotions" - the low-slung, bass-heavy and decidedly futuristic original mix and the altogether deeper and dreamier "Break mix" - as well as utterly gorgeous ambient track "Space Is An Ocean".
Review: Tribe Recordings' second missive is another standout techno affair, this time from Dawl who has been making big moves this year on Better Sound Italy, Tone Dropout and Hypnohouse. His futuristic sound hits that perfect sweet spot between techno and electro, all with a deeply cosmic edge. "Want Some Candy" manages to be super slick and sleek with a pumping bassline that will wiggle your backside. The intergalactic journey continues on the more textured and brain frying "Voyage" and completes with the acid laced jack track "Just Hausin" which is a real fist pumper.
Review: Version co-bossman Orson seems to only drop a release once a year. But when he does, it's always worth paying close attention to. As with all things Version, it's a full trip that joins dots well beyond the assumed or conventional dub continuum. "Agadir" is a hazy Latin mooch into dub disco territory while "Delivero" is positively Balearic with its 105BPM plod, delicate arpeggiated weaves and sudden drop into soulful vocals. Flip for "Toxic Waste" as Orson goes all percussive and broken beat (think Tyrant) while "Garzweiler" closes on an stormy ambient note. Batten down the hatches.
Review: Ryan Aitchison aka Mella Dee is back on the fuming Warehouse Music imprint with three boiling-hot, golden era house cuts for the headz! In fact, the opening "Techno Disco Tool", as the name suggests, is a wondrous loop of high-powered soul, backed by an electrifying shade of FX filtering. On the flip, "Cloud One" is driven by a strong disco sample loop, taking it to some seriously euphoric lavels on the dancefloor, and "World Dance" dives right into the middle of the rave with its hypnotic techno sonics and harsh, intricate percussion loops. Three full-blown BOMBS!
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: Do or Die has already made an impression on Nicolas Lutz's My Own Jupiter and now makes a sideways step to Binh's Time Passages, another label associated with a deep digging selection of underground DJs who are some of the most revered of the moment. Opener "90s" makes you wanna scream "aciiiiiiiiid" at the top of your voice, "EBM" channels some old school rave, breakbeat and techno vibes with its energetic drum patterns and bleeping synths. The title track is the most unusual of the lot, pairing withering synth lines with metallic drums and distorted drones that all add up to some powerful, warehouse-ready sounds.
Review: Fresh from remixing Goldie classic "Crystal Clear" for the veteran producer's reissue of 1997 album "Saturnz Return", Djrum (real name Felix Manuel) offers up his first single in nearly two years. "Hard To Say" seemingly surges from the speakers, with ambient style deep space chords, blissful female vocal snippets and tactile aural textures rising above a blisteringly fast techno beat. This high-octane pace continues on "Tournesol", a cheerily positive affair that wraps chiming, new age style melodies and humid tropical flourishes around another sweaty, non-stop beat. Like the A-side, it's impressively ear pleasing but also percussively intense, especially when the Aphex Twin style mind-altering acid lines make an appearance midway through.
Review: Given the label's soulful roots, it's perhaps a little surprising to find Eglo championing a wild, wonky, machine-made EP full of angular electro, IDM, house and techno fusions from debutant Destiny71z. It's apparently the first of three EPs from the little-known producer, who used modular kit and dusty analogue gear to create his unpredictable but undoubtedly brilliant electronic workouts. We're particularly enjoying the zany Autechre-does-two-step-garage flex of "Softbeta" and the weighty, bass-powered crankiness of the artist's self-titled track ("Destiny71z"), but the jazzy, sun-bright breeziness of "Foodprogramvoltage" is also superb, and arguably more in keeping with Eglo's eclectic-but-soulful ethos. Either way, an eye-opening EP that's well worth checking.
Review: Richard Fearless returns to his Drone imprint with a hand stamped, white label album sampler leading up to his forthcoming album "Deep Rave Memory". Feel the power of "Atlas Of Insanity" on the A with its noir-ish, metal edged intensity that's equally as brutal as it is elegant. On the flip, "New Perspective" is a deeper and more hypnotic affair with its mesmerising chime melody and ethereal layers of pads supported by a broken beat which keeps you on the edge. All material from the forthcoming album was recorded at the Death In Vegas main man's Metal Box, overlooking the Thames where he drew from the studio's industrial environment for inspiration.
Review: Following fine releases on Shipwrec, Natural Sciences and Return To Disorder, masked electro/techno misfit Galaxian (real name Mark Kastner) makes his first appearance on Ilian Tape. The Glasgow-based producer starts in suitably big fashion via "External Observer", where what sounds like an orchestra of synthesizers gets to work over a skittish, bass-heavy electro beat, before exploring more dystopian dancefloor pastures on the moody, alien-sounding and otherworldly "Fuzzy Clouds Of Potential Existence". On side B he gives his out-there interpretation of early jungle ("Coming Up For Air"), batters a broken computer into submission and makes electro gold out of it (the slightly melancholic "Mechanistic Control Fantasies") and soundtracks the end of days (or possibly Brexit) on weirdo closing cut "Terminal Phase".
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: Reade Truth has been dropping plenty of heat lately on Cartulis and Warm Fiction, but now he's back on his own label Path. There's a lysergic, freaky twist to the strain of electro-techno he's exploring, where the synths bubble and trickle with playful energy while staying rooted in a nocturnal underworld of basement-ready business. "Without A Doubt" is especially captivating on this tip, while the slight move towards melody on "Brain Damaged" is just as welcoming. Watch out for "A Secret Heaven" though - a consummately punchy New York groove garnished with plenty of off-kilter sonic debris.