Review: The celebrated Lady Starlight returns to Len Faki's Figure imprint to follow up last year's "Which One Of Us Is Me?". Her mentalist and barrelling techno expressions are on fine display again on 'W', featuring the frantic acid techno banger "AC1", the old school UK techno vibe of "GR16" with its hypnotic chord stabs and steely 909 rhythms that good friend Surgeon would have played at the legendary House Of God if it was released back in the day. On the flip, there couldn't be a better snapshot of 5AM at revered techno mecca Berghain via the strobe-lit peak time intensity of "Red 4" bringing this EP to an epic close.
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".
Review: Pressed on visually striking turquoise vinyl, "Visual Distortion Of Reality" is prolific Italian producer Whitesquare's first outing on Life And Death. Fittingly, it contains some of his most sonically striking cuts to date. The title track is particularly potent, with pulsating funky acid bass, ghostly chords and gnarly TB-303 lines rising above a simple but effective groove. "Not Moving" is similarly impressive. It rolls along on a punchy electro groove before introducing wild acid lines that sound similar to those used on its predecessor. On the flip you'll find two versions of "Jasmine": Whitesquare's atmospheric, otherworldly original and an even punchier, moodier take from the ever-impressive DJ Tennis.
Review: UK artist Memphis is a little known but vital producer who made his mark back in the nineties and Mirror Zone have been studiously shining a light on his back catalogue with some choice reissues. "Ukigumo (Floating Clouds)" is made up of tunes from a lost DAT tape found in the artist's archives, opening with the pensive broken beat techno of the title track with its enchanting lead line that urges you to follow it into the unknown. "Child Of The 70's" is more propulsive with marching drums and cosmic pads pulling you in two directions at once, while "Acid Brook" is a mind melting bit of 150bpm techno with a molten lead acid line that is strangely calming despite the pace of the track.
Review: Aside from a pair of releases on Horizontal Ground, and one appearance for the magnetic Edit Select, the enigmatic SNTS has chosen to reserve his/her releases for his/her own self-titled label. While the artist has only released EP's in the past, The Rustling Of The Leaves marks a debut LP effort. As you'd expect, the work is made up of chilling soundscapes, sinister sonics and grey-scaled ambient, but it's the way in which SNTS assembles beats around these elements that is impressive. "Backwoods", for example, flutters its subtle beats seamlessly into a hollow cave of drones and religious chanting, while a tune like "Remission" is what the inside of a power station would sound ike at night. For those who love their techno textures dark and sparse, this is it.
The Heart Of A Man, The Desire Of A Monster (5:06)
Psajcedelic Power (3:17)
X20000 (Open Source) (6:01)
The Dominance Of Blood Worship (7:24)
Review: Swiss minimal electro pranksters Les Points return with another mysterious release under the alias of Elektronische Sequenz Proleten. We aren't exactly sure which members of the collective are responsible for this one, but you can sure bet it's jam packed with more zany retro shenanigans than you can swing a modular at. Early '90s industrial seems to be in the heart of side A, as heard on the muscular stomp of "The Heart Of A Man, The Desire Of A Monster", while the pounding rhythms and stuttered samples of "Psajcedelic Power" call to mind early acts like Front 242 and Frontline Assembly. On the flip, we have two mental and full throttle acid cuts which are not for the faint-hearted.
Review: "Looking back in hindsight to the activity and accomplishments of Axis is with much pride - to witness the relationship between the music and listener evolving to this point. The Director's Cut reissue project is about manicuring detail. It's about a rare opportunity to enhance what we've done so that the relationship strengthens for the long term" - Jeff Mills
Review: Seoul-based Frenchman Timothee Victorri has been in fine form of late, offering up a string of unusual - but undeniably brilliant - breakbeat techno cuts that recall the psychedelic, mind-altering brilliance of the early '90s ambient techno movement. Here he dons a new alternative alias, SYO, in order to explore a more trance-influenced sound. A-side "Tears" sounds a little like a long lost early '90s psychedelic trance workout: all undulating acid lines, rising and falling, arpeggio style bass, dramatic builds and drops and plenty of hallucinatory electronic flourishes. "Dune" sees him strip out the beats while leaving plenty of rhythm, recalling some of the more trippy, ambient techno cuts popular in the same period; certainly, we could imagine a spacesuit-clad Mixmaster Morris dropping it at the Fridge in Brixton around 1992.
Review: It never used to be so, but these days solo releases from Ben Klock are few and far between. We've seen periodic collaborations from the Berghain resident - most notably with old pal Marcel Dettmann - but little else, making this first solo single in nine years a genuine "event" release. He's in fine form on A-side "Subzero", a hushed, deep and intoxicating techno workout that delivers nine minutes of locked-in drums, hazy aural textures, simmering chords and icy, undulating lead lines. Flipside "Coney Island", an evocative and atmospheric affair that moves from dusty field recordings (presumably of the famous New York resort mentioned in the title) to forthright, funfair-aping techno headiness via a drawn-out ambient intro, synthesized horror strings and bubbly acid bass.
Review: Seleccion Natural is Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, a techno dream team who have a new album on the way this autumn. Before that they offer up two tracks from it on a tidy 10" that brims with modular synthesisers, samplers and drum machines. "Split Didactics" will rewire your brain with squeaking lines and cantering kicks making for a real techno riot, and "A New Description Of Hell" layers up hammering kicks with howling synths into a rigid and unrelenting groove. Making this extra special is artwork by none other than Silent Servant.
Review: Last year Brazilian DJ/producer Ana Miranda joined Kompakt Extra following years spent building her reputation via fine releases on such labels as Novamute, Twin Turbo, Yoshitoshi and Terminal M. For her third release on the long-serving German label she's joined forces with another scene queen, the incomparable Miss Kittin. The pair has produced a raw, driving dancefloor beast that's bigger than Donald Trump's ego and infinitely more alluring. "Forever Ravers" is heavy, intense and forthright, with stylized vocal snippets and razor sharp electronic motifs surging above a thumping groove. Miranda offers a different take on the track on side B, opting for bleeping and panicked electronics and spacey bleep melodies.
Review: Some three years on from his last outing under the alias, Orlando Voorn dons the occasional Basic Bastard pseudonym for another giddy trip into soulful and melodious techno territory. Title track "Signals" is typical of the Dutch veteran's work, with attractive and futuristic chords, riffs and melodies dancing jauntily above a high-tempo techno groove and some seriously funky acid lines. It gets the remix treatment on the B-side, where Gallegos Yoga re-casts it as an acid fired slab of techno-funk before Unknown Detroit twists it into a ghostly, unearthly stomper. Bonus cut "Deep City", a colourful and ultra-melodious affair, is also superb.
Review: Ben Sims' Hardgroove label presents a new 12" from emergent Brighton producer Charles Green. Hold on tight for a serious throwdown on opener "Rave No Name", which pits darkside hardcore piano chops against an insistent techno thump. This one aims squarely at the peak time for maximum devastation. "Musikbox" has a bold set of sizzling drums and some head-spinning synth stabs, while "Strange Leader" gets back into that noirish early 90s mood. "Routes" completes the package with a broader, space-minded outlook that hits just as hard as the preceding tracks. Classy stuff indeed.
Review: Smoky techno futurist Redshape dons his famously featureless mask once more, this time for an outing on regular home label, Running Back. Of course, the German's music is anything but feature-less, as this EP confirms once more. Opener "Rise" has scintillating chords draped over busy, shuffling, breaky-drums that find Redshape cooking up some funk, which is rare for him. We dig. A "Bonus Beats" and "Acappella" mix are included for adventurous DJs, while the flip sweeps you off your feet on a breezy, floating techno groove that is riddled with synths that flutter in warm solar winds. A firmly rooted and rolling Motor Mix of "Rise" closes out yet another essential Reshape offering.
Review: The Verdant label continues to plumb depths others fail to reach in the search for the most immersive techno emanating from the underground. On this split disc, the A side is under the control of Sirko Muller, who unfurls a masterful take on dub techno and minimal house as subtle as it is sublime. RV800 then remixes "Affinity" and makes it into a bouncy, acid-flecked groover that remains true to Verdant's deep dynamics. Jonno & Tommo take on the flip with the sultry mood piece "Efficacy," a spooked-out trip of a track that gets flipped into a slippery electro number by Havantepe.
Review: Domenico Torti is best known for his high profile remixes of Daft Punk, but this outing on Ed Banger finds him indulge in his first love: the sounds, colours and scenes of New York City in the 1980s. To help authenticate his quest, he enlists expert beat maker Afrika Bambaataa. Their single "Radar" is a wild disco ride with electro synth work and plenty of future retro motifs, from the vocoder vocals to the sounds of spacecrafts taking off. Deena Abdelwahed flips it into a heavy drum work out with rising chords, Dimitri From Paris layers in brilliantly funky bass and Adesse Versions and Borussia go for jacking club workouts.
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.
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").