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.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (album edit) (6:45)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (club mix) (5:47)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (Slow) (7:29)
Review: House and techno badboys Paranoid London are proceeding the release of their second album with a bunch of singles from it. First up is "Cult Hero" featuring Simon Topping - one of many guest vocalists on the full length. It's a bristling acid house cut with tight, corrugated drums and relentless 303 mania ripping up the groove. Topping's deadpan vocals are layered over the top and bring to mind the more anthemic work of Depeche Mode. "Club Mix" is even more caustic and kinetic, while closer "Slow Mix" strips back everything but for the lunching drums and demonic vocals of Topping.
Review: Silas & Snare continue the heat on Madam X's Kaizen with their second single on the label this year. As always there's no letting up in terms of aesthetic, melting pot and energy. All sitting somewhere in the techno/hardcore/dub axis, "Pressure" lives up to its name with a rolling break, and warped grime basses, "Dreamscape" creates intensity with a loopy vocal hook and densely coded sense of tension while "Whistle Blower" brings us home on a deeper, more broken tip where noises aren't all what they seem. Feeling the pressure yet?
Review: It's been six years since Lewis Fautzi debuted on Soma, and since then he's become a real techno powerhouse. His latest shows yet more evolution in his sound across four streamlined and hypnotic "Extinction" cuts. "F01" is alluringly low key as drums roll over a frosty and frozen tundra, then "F02" ups the ante with steel plated kicks and sonar-like pulses that burrow deep. After the warped synths of "F03" comes closer "F04", the most heady of the lot thanks to its MIllsian minimalism and infinite melodic loops.
Review: Icelandic label Lahar debuts with this highly impressive release from NonniMal, who was previously spotted dropping the classy "Freyja" 12" on AE Recordings back in 2016. Sound design is the order of the day on "Eitt" as a beautifully rendered set of percussive bell notes chime around a minimal rhythm section - a piece pointedly geared towards transcendence. "Tvo" has an intriguing slant to its groove, as the sharply oscillating synth wobble juts out against the grain of the drums. "Thrju" takes things in a bleak but captivating direction, while "Fjogur" cools the record down in a cloud of blissful, frostbitten ambience.
Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: Swiss producer Alci, also known as Shaolin Fantastic, landed with lauded releases on Robsoul before skipping to other labels like Apollonia and Meander. Following last year's excellent "Diversity" double pack, he lands on his own label Seeingsounds with this pitch perfect slice of dreamy minimal house. "Acid Drip" may be a misleading title - it's more of an unending groove draped in gorgeous, shimmering melodic finery. "Hiragana" takes things in a more twitchy direction, while "Apachi" brings another slant on reduced, oddball funk to get the up all night crowd loose and freaky in all the right ways.
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.
Review: After debuting his Pakzad moniker on Infiltrate last year, Justin Pak makes the leap to Burnski's Constant Sound with this assured set of electro workouts built for the modern age. "Timeless" is a snappy, vibrant cut with a serious amount of techno propulsion to match the crooked funk of the beats. "Clutch" has a more trippy, melodic twist, while "Correlation" hunkers down into a more backroom vibe as detailed as it is freaky. This is seriously executed electro from a fast-rising talent - nab a copy, drop it into a set and watch the bodies writhe.
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: 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: 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: Released earlier this year to critical acclaim, Krystal Klear's "Euphoric Dreams" was a non-stop rush of neo-trance synthesizer refrains and melodic, life-affirming electronics. Here, Kink turns in his takes on the track, starting with a formidably filthy, bass-heavy take that flits between euphoric, synth-heavy sections and dark, stripped-back grooves. It's neo-trance, Jim, but not as we know it! The veteran producer's flipside "Drums & Bass Mix" removes the giddy and glassy-eyed synth parts, instead layering psychedelic acid lines atop thumping, trance-inducing beats and Belgian hardcore style "Hoover" bass. In other words, it's a properly intense techno throb-job.
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!
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.