Review: Original music from Vancouver based producer NAP has been intermittent on the electronic music scene, but now the Isla boss has finally dropped a 12" of deadly, textured and fresh-sounding electro for our bodies and minds. "Transhumano" features ZDBT and has all the hallmarks of Stingray-friendly future shock machine funk, but the particular approach to pads and melodies has a distinctive, moody slant that chimes with the hazy sound of Canada's West Coast. "Anestesia General" is another needlepoint, uptempo workout that packs layer up on layer of darting rhythms and blippy synth lines into the mix. "Sin Sistema" completes the set with a more subdued but no less detailed box jam workout.
Review: Plants Army Revolver debut on Avian. The Italian live act will join Avian for a five track EP showcasing the pair's breadth as producers. Working within the bounds of a carefully refined sound palette, Marco Ragni & Birgan Valentin look to the more muted, tentatively melodic end of loop Techno, with excursions into washed out Ambient & leftfield Electronica, placing the focus on sound texture & tone.
Review: Under the SolarX alias, Roman Belavkin was one of the leading lights of the Russian IDM scene in the mid-to-late '90s, though very few copies of his cassette and CD releases ever made it in to record stores outside the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, this is the first ever reissue of Belavkin's 1997 sophomore set, "X-Rated", an album that remains a firm favourite in the Russian electronic underground. There's much to admire throughout, with Belavkin effortlessly joining the dots between the skittish, angular rhythms of Autechre, Rephlex-esque "Braindance", Aphex Twin style ambient, early Squarepusher-esque "drill and bass" business and hypnotic ambient techno.
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: While Steffi and Virginia have been working together on and off for the best part of a decade, "Work A Change" is undoubtedly their most significant collaborative work to date (both in terms of its expansive nature and the quality of music on show). With Virginia handling singing duties throughout, "Work A Change" rides on waves of tasty electro grooves and hazy synth-pop motifs and futuristic electronics. It's a blueprint that guarantees goodness throughout, from the quietly euphoric shuffle of opener "Be True To Me" and the pulsating dancefloor fizz of "Help Me Understand" (one of two cuts showcased in both vocal and instrumental forms), to the high-tempo thrust of "Until You're Begging", the bass-heavy, future dancehall wonkiness of "Internal Bleeding" and triumphantly intergalactic title track.
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: New York techno mainstay Reade Truth has skirted around widespread recognition with a long-standing commitment to underground techno approaches recognised by those that know as some of the best in the business. This release sees him dust down the first release on his label Path, 20 years after it originally did the business. It's high time tracks like "The Path" that get a fresh airing - the dynamic, detailed approach to drum programming and warm acid undulations sound as relevant now as they did back then. "319" is a more reflective jam that heads into emotive, moody territory that highlights the breadth in Truth's sound, before "Give Me Insanity" round things up by taking it super-deep thanks to expansive pad sweeps and shimmering hats aplenty.
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: Somewhat surprisingly, this collaborative album had its roots in a 2013 request from Michael Mantra for dub techno and ambient dub stalwart Mr. Cloudy to remix tracks from his Silent Season-released 2013 LP "Light In My Head". Six years later, and after sending parts and versions back and forth, the pair has conjured this set of lengthy, deep and mind-altering excursions. Mr. Cloudy provides versions of the collaborative "White Dub": an ultra-deep, spaced-out "Remix" that smothers a gentle, slowly shifting ambient dub rhythm in heavily processed snatches of field recordings and atmospheric aural textures around and a sparser, more spaced-out "Edit" that's closer in tone to Mantra's otherworldly, dub-influenced soundscapes. Sandwiched in between you'll find a hypnotic version by Mantra that was partly created using music concrete techniques.
Review: After years of promoting events, Percolate has decided to embark on a new project - Percolate Records. They welcome longtime friend, British producer Austin Ato, to take them on the first steps of their new journey. Ato has appeared on a wide variety of imprints lately, from Me Me Me and Delusions Of Grandeur to Futureboogie and even Defected. "When Love Gets Cold" opens with the sweltering and finely filtered disco loops of the title track, paving the way for bouncy and euphoric house anthem "To Fall In Love" (which is equally as disco-fied!) and emotive Detroit house banger "All I Want". Speaking of the Motor City: he shows he is equally competent at hi-tech soul (with a UK rave influence too) on the breakbeat-driven and evocative "Blessed".
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: The resurgent Transparent Sound outfit (made up of UK electro veterans Orson Bramley and Martin Brown) have been riding high since their classic "Punk Motherfucker" got picked up for a reissue from Pressure Traxx, finding favour with the Club der Visionaere set. They're back on their own label with a rich and plentiful EP loaded with robotic box jams, leading in with the dark and seductive body popping beatdown "What Is Your Name?". The vocal mix is killer, but there's also the added bonus of an instrumental take for those who prefer a pure machine sound. Acidulant also steps up with a blinding remix that does a great service to the original, threading some seriously nasty synth wriggles and wobbles into the mix.