Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: Last year Paulo Mosca made his vinyl debut on Where We Met as one half of Venetian duo Micro.Solchi. Here he makes his solo bow via a four-tracker on Slow Life rich in vintage influences. "Interstellar Interruption", for example, sounds like the kind of far-sighted UK-US techno fusion that could have been featured on a Nexus 21 EP from 1990, while the organ-sporting techno-funk of "Cosmic Love" boasts bleeps that could have been taken wholesale from an early Warp 12". The producer's inherent funkiness is showcased further on brilliant opener "What's Their Name?" - all squelchy bass, Derrick May style drums and jaunty sci-fi lead lines - while "Star Wars" wraps decidedly spacey pads, warped lead lines and dubby bass around a shuffling breakbeat rhythm.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Review: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.
Review: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: Dublin techno deity Matador returns with peak time ammunition. Growing, tension building and valve-releasing stuff made for main stage rigs and darkened, sweaty basements alike. Fans of the producer will not be disappointed, especially as it has been over a year since we got last summer's 'Air' on his Rukus imprint. Digressions aside, it's hard to know which of these techno offerings will do more damage, and not just because all three have a similar approach to taking us where we want to go. Opener 'Come With Me' is all about the background synth refrain, a continuous energy build beneath acid hooks and razor sharp highs. 'Connected' re-emphasises the importance of top-end percussion, only breaking twice to allow for a quick recharge. Finally, 'Fidgit' takes those ideas up to 11- a peak time weapon make no mistake.
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: Ben Sims has been busy of late, what with the Tribology compilation and its strong run of companion singles. Now the UK titan is revisiting the project once more with these additional tracks from household names and newcomers alike. Marcu Bruno leads the charge with the frankly massive "Any Given Sunday", which slams a whopping great techno chord front and centre and rides it to perfection. Cadans brings a bit more tribal pressure to "Bite", and it sounds just as mighty. Mark Broom takes things in a simmering, rolling direction on "Loop It" and Avision finishes the record off with shimmering stomper "Rebel".
Review: Prince De Takicardie has been part of the Lumbago family of artists for some time. He's already served up some serious heat via the Signal Phantasm project (alongside studio collaborator Welwert) and here makes his solo debut for the Lyon-based label. He starts strongly via the jumpy acid bass, twisted electronics and thrusting grooves of "Space Dandy", before giving his TB-303 lines more prominence on the retro-futurist techno clank of "Scorpio's Track". Arguably even better is "The Haunted Cabaret", a sparkling and spacey slab of storming techno-funk, while "The Gates of Hell" sees the French producer wrap rave style stabs and jacking machine drums around another Chicago style acid bassline.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Eclair Fifi launches her River Rapid label with a smokin' hot drop from the mighty, ascendant Afrodeutsche. Manchester-based Henrietta Smith-Rolla turned heads quickly with her debut album "Break Before Make", which landed as a digi-only release on seminal electronica label Skam. Since then we've been patiently waiting for some follow up sounds, which Smith-Rolla dutifully delivers on this surefooted 12". "I Know Not What I Do" follows on naturally from the album with its moody, atmospheric synth lines and a Drexciyan bent to the production, while "Make The Call" locks into a crisp, tight electro groove for plentiful dancefloor pleasure. "Drink" has more of that brooding introspection lurking around the tough, boxy beats, and then "Phase Two" pushes out into a kind of android rave territory that will leave bodies quaking in its wake.
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Review: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: Roza Terenzi has had a head-spinning past 12 months, notching up a wave of high grade electro releases on labels like Oscillate Tracks, Butter Sessions and Dekmantel. Now she's debuting the Gloworm alias on start up concern Sides, and sounding as vital as ever as she delves into deviant jack tracks dripping with tripped out FX processing. "One Ten" has a slow and nasty acid vibe to it, with a groove that rolls with ease and wobble bass wielded to perfection. "One Twenty" has a more brittle electro bent to it, while "One Thirty" pumps things up to a more peak time flavour of machine funk. As you might have guessed by now, "One Forty" takes things even higher til you're flying at ghettotech levels - Terenzi sounds utterly on point so select with confidence, whichever tempo you need to reach for.
Review: On celebrating 22 years of Josh Wink's cult acid classic "Sixth Sense" on his legendary Ovum imprint, they've invited one half of Masters At Work, Louie Vega, and Israeli techno hero Shlomi Aber for a set of remarkable updates. Vega looks after the A side with a couple of sweltering reworks: from the bouncy, bass-driven groove attitude of the main remix which retains industry veteran Ursula Rucker's powerful vocal performance, to the handy dub version up next. On the flip, Aber certainly has come a long way since the days of Chicago Days/Detroit Nights - it's about spending all weekend at Berlin's Berghain these days - getting on some proper tunnel vision with his steely and austere rework.
Review: Last time we heard from James Ruskin, it was in collaboration with fellow UK techno veteran Mark Broom. Here he flies solo on Blueprint - the label he co-founded way back in 1997 - for the first time in five years. Title track "Reality Broadcast Off" is thrillingly wonky and unsettling, with Ruskin peppering a sturdy late night techno groove with waves upon waves of minor-key arpeggio lines and seemingly out of time motifs. It's great, all told, and most likely capable of inducing hallucinations in suitably refreshed dancers. He continues on a similarly off-kilter theme on the slightly more positive sounding - but no less mind-mangling - "We Are Everywhere", before rounding off a rock solid EP via the squelchy acid motifs and rumbling bass of "Disaffection".
Review: The 110th release from Kompakt Extra comes from Extrawelt, a long-serving electronic band from Hamburg that has previously impressed via albums and singles on Traum Schallplatten, Border Community, Darkroom Dubs and Cocoon Recordings. They naturally hit the ground running with "Pink Panzer", a bustling affair that mixes live drum breakbeats and tough machine percussion with moody, booming bass, creepy strings and evocative, ever-building tech-house electronics. Flipside "Argonaut" is an altogether sleazier and heavier affair full of thrusting, non-stop distorted bass, redlined post-electro drums and all manner of mind-mangling electronic effects. It's effectively the Yang to the A-side's Ying and, like its' predecessor, very good indeed.
Review: While more usually recognised as Ann Arbor veteran Tadd Mullinix's acid house alias, JTC has always been more all-encompassing of classic electronic sounds. Taking in the aesthetics of nearby Detroit and Chicago, with Berlin techno and Belgian new beat influences along the way. With his new release on Spectral titled 'Indigo, Flesh and Fire', Mullinix takes a more direct and straight ahead route, with these infectious and functional techno tools that respectfully take their cues from the early Purposemaker and M-Plant back catalogue. From the hypnotic groove of "Innerloire Rendezvous" with its classic synopation and flanged hi-hats, the strobe-lit sensation of "Varastride" perfect for those heads down moments with its sonar pulse - that later makes way for that hands in the air melody. On the flip, we were particularly enamoured by the hi-tech jazz of "Surging On Chapinero's Edge" calling to mind the legend 'Mad' Mike Banks classic moments.
Review: Thread is a collaborative project from Ben Micklewright and Marc Ashken, two long-standing figures in the UK's underground house and techno scene. After debuting in 2017 on Reach, the pair are back in action on O.C.D. with a varied selection of quirky machine jams. "Edge Road" is a twitchy tech house cut that nods to Thread's roots in the minimal scene, while "Derwent Way" explores a freaky strand of electro. "Holt Drive" has a more classic Drexciyan twist to it, and "The Alley" switches back into house mode with a heads-down wriggler that will worm its way into your cerebellum with ease.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Sattva & Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilising The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Review: Resurgent Welsh techno wizard DJ Guy launches his own label with a fresh batch of deep diving jams that put the soul back in the machine. From the twinkling, starry-eyed delights of "Music Is Life" to the horizontal meditation of "Interplanetary," this is immaculately executed electronica in the fine tradition of UK trailblazers like B12 that sounds as fresh as it did in the 90s. "Warmth In Rhythm" sports a nagging house groove to suck you in with ease, while "Propulsion State" fires off a dazzling arpeggio that heads skywards with a twitchy electro backbone for company. Top shelf tackle from a seriously talented cat.
Review: Here comes an eagerly awaited release by a newcomer that is destined to be an underground classic. Coming out directly from the camp of Neuhm from Naples is DJ Fabrizio Fattore: the resident DJ alongside Gigi Testa spreading the underground message through his music. Connected directly to their concept, Fattore makes his debut here on Word Peace Music: their main purpose is to connect both music and culture from all around the world and other galaxies in one universal language. Features the hi-tech jazz of "Planetary Love" that is reminiscent of classic Mad Mike/Underground Resistance, followed by the spiritual life music epic "Enuma" on the B side. It is full of shimmering synth layers and emotive elements - you could imagine the likes of Derrick May or Laurent Garneir playing this one.
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix) (8:25)
Deniro - "Epirus" (6:34)
Psyche - "Crackdown" (5:59)
Hiver - "Paert" (7:04)
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn" (4:46)
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica, throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism, main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro, classic breakbeat hardcore, post-dubstep, dark tribal drum jams and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
Review: Following up last year's Moments EP, Dea Dvornik and Enrica aka Eris return to Japanese imprint Cabaret with yet more impressive minimal electro shenanigans. The Italian/Croatian duo are in fine form on the Champions League EP, which kicks off with the deep and trippy bass-driven jam that is the tile track, followed similarly by "Redemption In Friedrichshain". On the flip is the most upbeat and lively track by the pair here named "Moloko" which will mix well with the rest of the label's recent discography - this bleepy and funky old school techno groove is absolutely infectious!
Review: From Patron and Wolfskuil to this first drop on Or:la's new label Cead, Utrecht producer Lewski is fast establishing himself in the buzzing space that exists between techno, electro and more experimental fare. "Guadala" has an uptempo bite, but there's plenty of dubby immersion to be felt in the bubbling synth drops and splashy reverb trails. "Jara" has its own kind of crooked intent, pockmarked with acid swerves and interlocking rhythms to get synapses firing. "Mariachi" takes things back to the peppier end of the tempo spectrum, clearly aiming for the peak time without making any cliched moves - no mean feat - and then "Descacorde" switches things up with a stomping electro house workout that brings a wholly different flavour to this excellent EP.