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: Mella Dee's Warehouse Music doesn't try to be smart or clever, but it does bang, and what more can you ask for from a dance producer? The title of his latest suggests he was in a particularly direct mood when putting these tracks together and so it proves: "Techno Belter" is built on big, bulky drums with prickly synth details, and "Silver Street" has wonky chords bringing an inebriated feel to the cantering kicks below. Floatation Device does a great job of sprinkling in some cosmic dust on his mix of "Jack U Later" and "Stack Select" is pure Jeff Mills minimalism. Great stuff.
Review: Classy Italian label Where We Met unveil a new signing on their seventh release, which also marks the mysterious ReKaB's debut. His skills belie that newbie status, because this is atmospheric techno with emotional and musical depth. "2019" is a real highlight with its twitchy synths and breezy electro grooves making for a pensive vibe before things cut loose on warm and rubbery house jam "The Hassle". The ambient synths that colour these tracks is what make them standout, and closer "Self-Destruct" is a prime example of that. "Music Makes It Better" is a title we can all relate to, and in the case of this track, it sure is a beautiful place to be.
Review: Long-serving electro project Transparent Sound come back full throttle with this expansive album of masterful machine music. Opening track "Pretend Like You Care" is a startling opener that feels like a wormhole back to the Cologne laboratories of the kosmische movement. The beats kick in proper from that point, and in consummate noirish fashion, with "No Call From New York", and proceed to trip through all manner of nocturnal dreamscapes lit in sleazy neon strip lighting. It's a lurid, evocative sound world the veteran duo concoct, and one you'll find yourself returning to again and again.
Review: FunkinEven's Apron label rarely, if ever, puts a foot wrong, whether putting out ragged techno, raw hip hop or whatever in between. It is Molinaro who steps up now after first landing on the label back in December 2017. The NTS host has long been a firm part of the London underground and has a lo-fi, frazzled sound that blurs the lines between a number of different genres. Here he offers spaced out and grizzled drum tracks, unsettling machine-made ambience and rough and ready beatdown that Theo Parrish would admire. It's been a long wait since his last release, but this EP was well worth it.
Review: "Supernature" is Escape Artist's sophomore EP on Salt Mines and is another stylish intersection between breaks, electro, techno and ambient. The music here is crisp and clean, with sleek lines and sharp edges making it all the more pure and serene sounding. "Carpentaria" is a scene-setting opener that builds on smeared pads without ever fully taking off, and "The Earth" repeats the trick but with more bubbling and organic percussion. "Silicone Valium" is a brilliantly trippy electro cut on fat and heavy kicks and the title track marks full lift off with a surging future-techno groove detailed with some old school breaks.
Felix Da Housecat - "Temptation" (Color mix) (5:54)
China White - "Theme From The Underground" (5:53)
The Operator - "The Mind Strike" (7:18)
Steve Poindexter - "Body Jam" (14:19)
Mike Dearborn - "Deviant Behaviour" (instrumental mix) (5:39)
DJ Skull - "Don't Stop The Beat" (6:04)
Review: In case you didn't know, leading Dutch crew Dekmantel have taken it upon themselves to shine a light on the vital work of the Djax Up label. It was one that joined the dots between US and European scenes back in the nineties and this second volume features eight cult 90s cuts from some foundational names. Highlights are plentiful throughout, but our picks have got to be Glenn Underground's "Real Space"; a jacking Chicago jam with cosmic bass that still bangs and DJ Skull's hi-tek soul on "Don't Stop The Beat" that well and truly defies its age amongst a release that is full of golden oldies.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (with Simon Topping
Sly Is Watching
(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games (with Josh Caffe
Review: When it comes to jackin' Chicago style acid house revivalism, few can hold a candle to Paranoid London. As this long-awaited second album proves, the duo is the undisputed masters of sweaty, TB-303 driven jack-tracks and - as recent single "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" and LP opener "Starting Fights" prove - classic-sounding vocal cuts that recall the glory years of Fingers, Inc in the mid-to-late 1980s. Interestingly, "PL" boasts far more collaborations than we've seen from Paranoid London before, including a string of ragged club cuts blessed with evocative spoken word vocals, a thrusting acid throb-job with lead vocals by Simon Topping and a suitably twisted, machine-driven hook up with Arthur Baker and Alan Vega (the raw and weighty "Angel Of Hell").
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Copenhagen-based producer Rune Bagge (Northern Electronics/Ectotherm) presents the third installment on Courtesy's Kulor imprint. "Ingen Tak Til Systemet" (English translation: No Gratitude Towards The System) is a four track exercise in pure unadulterated sonic ultraviolence - if we've ever heard such a thing. From the pummeling and strobe-lit warehouse onslaught of opener "Secret Solutions", to the guttural and contorted noise terror of "Repulsion" followed by the frantic peak time mentalism of "I Am The Solution" which then gives way to the hyperspeed IDM of "Coup D'Etat" - there's truly no rest for the wicked on this one!
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: 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: Essential repress! Tomas Bangalter's stone cold classic Roule 12" Trax On Da Rocks makes a return. The five tracks on offer - "On Da Rocks", "Roule Boule", "What To Do", "Outrun" and "Ventura" - have acquired legendary status, standing as sublime examples of the rough, raw end of the filter-soaked French house sound. Some 17 years since they were first released, these tracks have lost none of their madcap brilliance; if this isn't already a cherished part of your record collection, here's your chance.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
The Sixteen Steps - "Tales From The Old Country" (5:47)
Neud Photo - "Plagued By Consciousness" (6:08)
Review: As was the case with its predecessors, the third volume in VEYL's ongoing "Previously Undisclosed Rituals" series is packed to the rafters with angry, lo-fi club cuts, paranoid pagan techno and wild, mind-altering dancefloor throb-jobs. It's all of a high standard, of course, but we're particularly enjoying the drowsy late night hypnotism of Terrence Fixmer's "Always Through", the pitch-black electronic body music of The Sixteen Steps' "Tales From The Old Country", the foreboding late night creepiness of Neud Photo's decidedly trippy "Plagued By Consciousness" and the rip-snorting techno stomp of VTSS's nails-hard opener "Toxic Bleach". In a word: intense.
Vagara - "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" (Space Is Lonely Celestial Light mix) (8:16)
Fio Fa - "Prospects" (6:19)
Sasha Vodnik - "Rusty Trombone" (5:31)
Review: Inaugurating fresh imprint Future Funktion are a couple of relative unknowns, but they are certainly on to promising things if this riveting debut EP is anything to go by. The enigmatic collection of artists get those classic Sheffield vibes going, with Irie Nation aka Tomas Station providing full effect on the electrifying groove of "Assinie", followed by the off-kilter retro bounce of "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" by Vagara and the cheesy yet irresistible rave vibes of B side cut "Rusty Trombone" from Sasha Vodnik and the truly deep groove of "Prospects" by Fio Fa. For fans of classic bleep and first wave techno sounds similarly explored by imprints like Art of Dark, Time Passages and My Own Jupiter - this one will be right up your alley.
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: Astonishingly, 12 years have passed since Jochem Peteri cemented his status as one of techno's rising stars via his so far only album as Newworldaquarium, "The Dead Bears". Here he offers up a new, highly limited re-issue, which stretches the set over three slabs of wax (the initial pressing was a double album) and includes three tracks previously only available on the digital edition. It's a largely warm and opaque affair full of hazy melodies, tactile autumnal grooves, Motor City style sci-fi sounds, ambient textures and languid, meandering beats. There are occasional pleasant diversions - see the disco-tinged cut-up loop jam "The Tide You Can't Feel" and tipsy slow jam "The Dead Bears" - but for the most part it's an electronic muscle soak; Radox for the ears, if you will.
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: Given that acid revivalists Paranoid London have yet to put a foot wrong, it's no surprise to find that "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" is another absolute belter. It's taken from the duo's forthcoming album and features sometime Posthuman collaborator Josh Caffe channeling his inner Robert Owens and Jamie Principle over a retro-futurist backing track. In its full length, the track brilliantly combines Paranoid London's jacking drums and thrusting acid bass with dreamy chords and just the right amount of glassy-eyed melodic flourishes. It sounds like a classic TRAX release given the Paranoid London treatment, which I'm sure we all agree is a very good thing indeed. If you're in the mood for something even sleazier and more driving, the Bam Bam-inspired Dub has it covered.
You Hung - "The Truth Was Different" (live) (5:04)
Fret - "Helicopter Rig" (4:51)
Concrete Fench - "Track 5" (2:46)
Simon Shreeve - "The Space Between Cultures" (4:50)
Obelus - "Scale Reference" (4:29)
Layne - "Raising Up, Removal" (4:22)
Khrone & Mjolsness - "5th Recording 7" (5:43)
DVA Damas - "People Say I'm Cool"
Review: This fine compilation from Regis' Downwards label has been trailed as a kind of "family portrait" of where the imprint stands in 2019, offering a slew of exclusive tracks including a heap of cross-generational collaborations. There is plenty to set the pulse racing throughout the collection. "EBM supergroup" You Hung impresses via the moody and clanking, mid-80s industrial vibes of "The Truth Was Different (Live)", while Obelus' "Scale Reference" sounds like Richard D James after a particularly potent bong hit. Simon Shreeve's "The Space Between Cultures" is a creepy slab of ambient/noise fusion, Layne's "Raising Up, Removal" is a delightfully out there journey into metallic electro headiness and DVA Damas' sub-heavy cut "People Say I'm Cool" is as stylish and, let's face it, cool as the title suggests.
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: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Sideway Invisibility Theory are already well versed in the Romanian minimal scene both individually and as a duo - on top of their releases on Do Easy and Amphia, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia represent two of the most prolific operators in the second wave of Bucharest-based dance music. With a mammoth wedge of music delivered to Sushitech in the form of two double packs entitled Invisibility Chapter I & II, this single serves as a pint-sized distillation of those records for the DJs with less time on their hands. "Alternate" is right at home on Sushitech, all elegant beat programming and huge, billowing clouds of dub chord. Label regular Steve O' Sullivan is right at home on such smoky ground, although his remix on the B-side blows the vapour away to deliver a tightly woven tool for the heads down crowd.
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.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
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".