Review: Roy Of The Ravers returns to his Acid Waxa stomping ground with a much needed vinyl pressing of last year's insanely good "Who Are Ya??" album. Keeping tracks these potent trapped on cassette would have been a crime, but fear not as they've been cut in all their squelchy, 303-baiting glory. There's a particular snappy appeal to Roy's style that makes it some of the most refreshing acid we've heard in some time, whether it's the proper naughty "Roy Shat Over Ref" or the slow-creeping acid of "All Aboard !!!" The vibe is raw and nasty throughout, just like how proper acid should be.
Review: The lads behind Albion Records know a thing or two about where to look for fresh steps forwards in the minimal, house and techno scenes. After last year's Gab Jr release, they're finally back to hit number 10 with a double pack compilation that sets in stone what the label is all about. There's a lot to dig into here, but some of the standouts include the sharp and sneaky "Forgot Your Name" by Henry Hyde, the Boogizm-goes-electro freakery of Christian Jay's "Restive" and the swinging jazz surrealism of Phil Evans' "Hazard". With more than a little garage shuffle hovering over this release, it's set to be another huge one in all corners of the minimal tech house scene.
Review: Given his length of service and the sheer volume of music he's put out, it would be fair to say that a Jeff Mills career retrospective is well overdue. Happily, as "best of" compilations go, "Sight, Sound & Space" is up there with the best. The three discs boast no less than 42 tracks plucked from Mills archives - and those of his Axis Records imprint - with the accompanying 50-page booklet containing detailed commentary on each by the man himself. It's a superb package for both fans and newcomers alike, with the decidedly intergalactic and alien-sounding tracks perfectly summarizing the breadth and depth of his far-sighted work (think Motor City techno anthems, heavy loop jams, sci-fi fuelled electronic soundscapes, neo-classical soundtrack comp, heady ambient works and early morning minimalist club jams).
Review: The fifth release from Wilson Phoenix on his own self-titled label continues the impressive pace set by this breakout techno artist. "Analogical" opens up the A side with a heavy-hearted, emotionally charged strain of techno tough and tender in equal measure. Things get spicier on the flip as Phoenix plays around with rhythmic structures to make a deadly, bass-charged broken techno belter under the name "Gamma Meld". "Automatic Africa" finishes the EP off with a tightly wound percussive work out - just the kind of interesting DJ tool track you want to spice your sets up with.
Review: Tomoki Tamura and Tuccillo are back together once again as Doublet, with both seasoned tech house champs having fun in the studio jamming out the kind of stripped back, heads down grooves you'd expect to hear them play out. "Tee's 8" is a cheeky A side jam with the kind of acid line that goes down easy and then works you from the inside out. "Three Thousand Men" has a slight dubby thread to it which sits comfortably amongst the sturdy groove of the drums, and then "Tentation" switches gears for a bright and melodic creation that skips around in funky syncopation without even needing to worry about a kick drum.
Review: After kicking things off with the killer "Mariachi Guadalajara" by Lewski, Or:la's Cead label returns with another emergent talent, Blu Terra. The Warsaw based producer comes on strong for this breakthrough release with the heavy slapping, sound design-enhanced electro of "Person Sans". Even if the opening track felt detailed, it's superseded by the barrage of information spilling out of crafty, distinctive acid monster "20,000". "Western/Eastern" spreads across the B-side in a nervous twitch of rave energy geared towards big dark spaces, perfect for that spine-tingling part of the night when the real world feels very far away indeed.
Review: Midnight Shift continues its fine run of form via a mini-album of bleak intensity from renowned modular electro/analogue rave fusionist Umwelt, an artist whose distinctive releases are always worth a listen. The French producer sets his stall out via title track "Superior Life Forms", an undeniably heavy and distinctively dystopian chunk of broken electro fuzziness, before reaching for even grimier electronics and gut-punching bass on "Computer Controlled". "Latent Existence" is a moody, beat-free soundtrack for urban decay, "Fragment" and closer "The Windfall" are teak-tough industrial techno stompers, while "Shadow Entity" is a suitably psychedelic slab of trippy acid electro. Not for those of a fragile disposition, but impressively intense and forthright nonetheless.
Review: Three years on from his last outing on the label, Pessimist (real name Kristian Jabs) returns to UVB-76 with more heady fusions of techno and UK bass. He opens with a bang via the clandestine, claustrophobic and paranoid tribal techno-meets-experimental D&B insanity of "Burundanga", before creeping us out via the foreboding sub bass, horror soundtrack chords and analogue pulses of "Lithosphere". There's more end-of-days fodder on side B, where Simon Shreeve offers a dystopian, dub techno-meets-deep dubstep revision of "Paian" and Jabs unfurls the gritty analogue scariness of post-apocalyptic dancefloor number "Thug".
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the sort of music that defines Rave Or Die. Next up with some dynamite club tracks are Stranger and Umwelt, who take one side each of this new marbled 10". Stranger's "Motief" is a techno crescendo that builds on hard hitting techno drums. The urgent synths and increasingly brash hi hats work you into a manic state that is all consuming. Umwelt then gets even more abrasive with caustic synths and retro rave stabs, slapping metallic hits and pounding broken kick drums all forcing you to move on "Shut Up & Dance". This is truly arresting stuff once again from Rave Or Die.
Review: The crew behind the Clut label has put together a fine debut EP here. It offers up a quartet of cuts from techno and electro producers renowned for the warm, melodious and emotive nature of their sound. To our ears, the best track comes from Riccardo Rizza, whose EP-closing "Mars" is a fine fusion of rolling tech-funk grooves, spacey chords and life-affirming, B12 style melodies. That said, John Shima's similarly-minded - and arguably even more positive - "Circulate" pushes it close, while Odracir's analogue bass-propelled bleep-out "Set" and Alec Falconer and Rob Amboule's wonderfully deep "Clarkspin" push it mighty close.
Review: Unstoppable electro machine Carl Finlow (aka Silicon Scally) lands on Orson with more of that impeccable robo-funk he's so revered for. "Elastic Collisions" leads the charge with a tough and teasing workout that works around a heavy low end and plenty of sparkling sound design up top. "Octodecillion" keeps things on a dystopian tip, where a bleak future sounds as funky as it does ominous. "Probabilities" heads into a less floor-focused space where thick layers of buffed and polished synth wriggles collide in high-definition. "Mechanomics" completes the set with another taut belter geared towards the heads down section of the party.
Jamie Jones & Darius Syrossian - "Rushing" (extended mix) (5:43)
Jamie Jones & Darius Syrossian - "Rushing" (Afterparty Basement mix) (5:36)
Darius Syrossian - "Come On Come On" (extended mix) (6:33)
Darius Syrossian - "Kouka" (Warehouse Basement mix) (6:17)
Review: Jamie Jones and Darius Syrossian are both house heavyweights, but with very different vibes. It's fascinating that they have come together on this EP then, with their collaborative "Rushing" opening the EP in steamy fashion. It features a well worn vocal repackaged on bulky, bass driven house drums that are designed to get the crowd pumping their fists. The "Afterparty Basement Mix" is even harder hitting with some chords layered in for extra fun, then Darius goes solo on the flip for "Come On Come On", which fits in with his rolling, well sampled house style and is a sure fire crowd pleaser. The more stripped back and hypotonic "Kouka" is perfect for big spaces and bringing crowds together to march to a beat.
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: Sushitech's sub label Pariter has already released timeless records from the likes of Delano Smith, Steve O'Sullivan, Baby Ford and Norm Talley to name a few and this new release of the Romanian group Lisiere Collectif is no exception!
Unknown Credentials is a project of 5 tracks released on 2 single records. A sides on both parts are absolutely massive, acid lines and hypnotic chords peak time tracks that will shake any proper sound system with some serious bass extension! B sides are deeper and have more modern, fresh electroish vibe that we love!
Fans of Ricardo Villalobos & Craig Richards b2b sets are going to find it gold! Don't sleep!!
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Review: EYA Records presents a double 12" of plush techno and house spanning styles, giving four producers the chance to showcase the breadth of their sound with two tracks each. Innershades brings emotive 90s swoon and peppy acid to the A side, before Two Phase U slips in a little uptempo robo-disco sauce and a feisty jack track. Otis takes things in the direction of wiggy proto-trance and bleep techno, and then Zots finishes up with freaky synth work dripping with mischievous personality. This is a set of tracks that demands to be noticed - don't sleep.
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: Mick Harris is a master of bludgeoning sound, whether wringing out apocalyptic steppers in his Scorn guise or wrestling D&B into contorted shapes as Quoit. Monrella is one of his aliases that reaches back to the mid 90s and Regis' ZET label. These four new tracks capture the same mood of granite heavy Brummie techno as the original run, wholly compatible with the tougher end of the Downwards oeuvre, sculpted with the masterful ear for sound design that Harris has displayed throughout his accomplished career. Following on from the retrospective compilation on Berceuse Heroique last year, it's a real treat to have some fresh Monrella to chew on for the hardest of techno sessions.
Review: The Well Street family continue to bloom with this assured grip of adventurous steppers from Significant Other. You know you're onto something serious as soon as "Postdrome" fires up in a tangle of break slices, percussive rattles and poised kicks. The sparse drum-focused style continues in a quicker fashion with the tense and twitchy "Delos", while "Brain Fingers" amps up the bass flex to make for a dance-wrecking-ball of a track. "Memory Drum" completes the set with interlocking patterns balanced between organic and electronic and draped in tones of icy dread.
Review: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
Catch Me If You Can (Jorge Savoretti Ethereal dub) (7:08)
Review: Michael James' "Winds Of Change" EP was a big look for Constant Black, and now the eminent minimal house label draws on a hit list of sharp shooters to deliver some deadly remixes. Huerta is up first with an angular but rolling dub twist on "Catch Me If You Can", before Nick Beringer pings things in a wonderfully hazy direction with his "7am Dub" of "Stormy Skies". Pascal Benjamin gets into a tight, focused funk on his version of "Reservoir", and then Jorge Savoretti flies in an "Ethereal Dub" of "Catch Me If You Can".
Bongneck - "The Robber's Daughter" (Ghiz Retouch) (6:06)
Makebo - "Unknown Beauty" (9:09)
Review: Moscow's Shanti Radio imprint has been on fine form of late, offering up must-check 12s from DSF, Lost Desert, Volen Sentir and many more. Here they offer up their first multi-artist EP of 2019, an undeniably attractive and ear-pleasing affair that effortlessly joins the dots between deep house, tech-house and more percussive tribal flavours. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the string-drenched, bittersweet brilliance of Makebo's "Unknown Beauty", the sub-heavy throb of Ghiz's tasty rework of Bongbeck's "The Robber's Daughter" - all rolling hand percussion, insanely weighty bass and picturesque melodic flourishes - and the sunset-ready dancefloor bliss of Cornucopia's impeccable "Nature Boy".
Review: Under the Special Request alias, Paul Woolford has released some stellar music this year. Astonishingly, "Offworld" is his third album of 2019; it could well be the best, too. It explores different sonic territory too, drawing heavily on electro, futurist Detroit techno, Boards of Canada style IDM and the slick 1980s productions of Jam and Lewis. The result is a stunningly beautiful, spacey and far-sighted set that contains some of Woolford's most emotion-rich work to date - and that's saying something. It also finishes in stunning style with an impeccable remix/re-make of the Grid's "Floatation" that sounds like the best early 90s Orb remix you've never heard.
Review: Adam Monti aka ADMNTi heads up 4Plae Records out of London and joins Casey Spillman (who just debuted on Infuse) for his label's fifth release. Monti opens with the hypnotic, bass-driven and swing-fuelled loops of "0207", a sublime groove reminiscent of iO (Mulen) or Jack Wickham, while Spillman's contribution comes in the form of the very UK influenced bounce of "Juice Appeal". This takes the best of 2-step and garage (and even the mandatory "rewind") to create a sexy serving of late night mood music. On the flip they flip the script, with both artists remixing each other's track and for what it's worth we reckon it's all about Spillman's remix of Monti's - tough rolling and functional tech house that's aimed squarely at the main room at peak time!
Review: The Aesthetic label is steadily growing as yet another strong side to the Constant Sound empire, and they're sounding fit as a fiddle with this latest drop from Niko Maxen. "Aesthetic 04" leads in with "Calibans Dance", a swirling, dubbed out affair with intriguing percussive tones to add an intriguing edge to the stripped back house groove. "Lessons" has a heads down, twitchy demeanour it's impossible to resist, and then "Twelvty" summons up some elegant synth strokes that hover in between the shuffling beats. The latter provides more than enough inspiration for Kepler to deliver an astounding remix that plays around with bouncy arps and pointed house rhythms in his inimitable style.
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: 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: 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: Diego Krause is a key part of the effervescing Berlin underground thanks to his work as a DJ, producer and co-founder of Beste Modus. Here he steps out on Mulen's 20th EP with three slick tracks that perfectly straddle the divide between deep house, tech and minimal. Opener "Apogee" gets busy on supple drum programming with all sorts of astral pads spiralling round the groove and a burrowing bassline brings the funk. "Dive" hits harder but is still detailed with deft synths, alien motifs and warped pads that make it so much more than a purely functional track and the lithe and elastic closer "Dominion" is simply irresistible.
Review: Almost five years has passed since now legendary Japanese producer Susumu Yokota passed away. Lo Recordings, who worked with the experimental electronica, techno and ambient artist over a number of years, have decided to mark the occasion by releasing a posthumous album made up of recently discovered - and previously unreleased - Yokota recordings made around the same time as 2002 set "The Boy and the Tree". While there has been a little post-production work by label founder Jon Tye, those familiar with Yokota's work wouldn't be able to tell. Otherworldly, imaginative and hugely emotional in tone, the ten included tracks flit between neo-classical inspired Japanese minimalism, pastoral soundscapes, gentle new age aural dreams and the kind of hushed, life-affirming ambient works that were once Yokota's trademark.
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 1) (6:35)
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 2) (13:39)
Review: The Mandar dream team of Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and S.A.M revisit "Poisoned Words" with a double dose of remixes from none other than Ricardo Villalobos. The minimal overlord lives up to expectations on both flips of the original track, needling into the tiniest sonic details and holding down an insistent groove that will sit beautifully in the mix. The A side features a simmering version that revels in wriggling sound design with ample space to flex and mutate, while the B side stretches out into a quintessential Villalobos wormhole of a remix. Unmissable sonics from one of the scene's true legends.
Review: Under the Yak alias, Steel City producer John Randall has previously plied his wares on Version, 3024 and R&S, offering up distinctively percussive tracks that sit somewhere between techno and bass music. His latest outing - this time for Phonica Records - delivers more hard-to-pigeonhole goodness for discerning dancefloors. Opener "Zip" peppers African style tribal drums and raw Motor City techno bass with the kind of ear-catching bleeps that were once a Steel City staple, before the jumpy and upbeat "Guevenne Groove" wraps positive, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs around sweaty, loose-limbed live drumming. "Fret" is a spaced out, bass-heavy two-step number laden with intergalactic electronics and undulating bass, while closing cut "Gerudo" brilliantly joins the dots between tribal rhythms and shimmering deep house.