Review: For the sixth missive on his admirable Touch From A Distance label, Panorama Bar/Berghain resident Nick Hoppner has turned to debutant Cameo Blush. The little-known artist hits the ground running with title track "Murky Waters", a superb fusion of two-step influenced electro drums, bleeping electronic melodies and drowsy female vocal snippets. "Hypervisibility" is a deep but weighty chunk of melodic electro bliss, while "Prophet Paradise" is dreamy, languid and sun-kissed, with bright and breezy lead lines and warming chords. Equally as impressive is killer closing cut "Year 2000 Problem", a rumbling breakbeat workout smothered in the kind of blissful electronic flourishes that were such a feature of Isolee classic "Beau Mot Plage".
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
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: 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: 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: Militant Detroit techno crew Scan 7 have learned much from their association with Underground Resistance, not least the benefits of myth-making and mystery. This is one of the reasons that "Between Worlds" is fast becoming one of techno's most talked about releases of 2019. Of course, the fact that it's also the seven-piece crew's first album since 2002 has added to the hype, too. So is it any good? Oh yes. Variously deep, spacey, futuristic and foreboding, the album's 13 cuts range from pitch-black acid-fired techno ("I'm Covered") and fizzing techno-funk ("Trackmasta Hoop"), to percussion-laden deep house melancholia ("Deep Roots") and punchy club electro ("It's Time"). For the most part, though, what you get is uplifting, emotion rich techno in the style of their fellow Detroit greats.
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: London-based retroverts Art Of Dark return with a wicked double header here for their third vinyl release. Antonin Hifda aka Daif takes up the A side, offering up the hardcore rave reductions of "Another Version Of The Truth" followed by the deep down Detroit styled electro beats of "Devil". On the flip, it's all about newcomers DC EFX who follow through with the electro bass vibe on the absolutely booming "Expansionz", before closing with the bass-driven acid techno "The Roller Express".
Review: Between 1996 and 2010, Move D and Pete Namlook recorded 24 collaborative albums, offering up an otherworldly blend of dreamy deep house, hypnotic techno, deep space ambient and jazz-tinged soundscapes. Sadly, none were made available on vinyl, making this EP a must-have. On side A you'll find two cuts from 2001's "Move D/Namlook VI - Live In Heidelberg": the acid-flecked dirty techno hypnotism of "Footer" and the dubbed-out ambient/jazz fusion of "Der Bergkonig". Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy the epic 2010 cut "Stranger", where the pair wrap sampled speech, twinkling pianos and enveloping aural textures around a suitably deep and tactile tech-house groove.
Review: It's now been two decades since Gallic producer Joan-Mael Peneau first donned the Maelstrom alias for the very first time. He's been in particularly fine form of late, offering up essential EPs on Cultivated Electronics, Central Processing Unit and Private Persons. Here he makes his debut on Craigie Knowes' hard-wired techno and electro offshoot C-Know-Evil with a formidably tough two-track offering. A-side "Spasm" is a riotous fusion of metallic percussion hits, high-octane electro drums, doom-laden acid lines and bass so raw and intense it was probably made in Scotland from girders. He opts for an even more doom-laden techno sound on fizzing flipside "Turbulence", wrapping increasingly intense electronic motifs around a surging rhythm track.
(Let Everybody) Join Hands (It Could Be An American mix) (6:33)
Feel The Power (The Music Can Give) (The House Nation mix) (5:03)
Storm (The Doody Dodgy mix) (5:09)
(Let Everybody) Join Hands (The Latin Love Affair mix) (4:19)
Review: For the first time since 1997, Laurent Garnier's earliest studio productions are available on wax. "French Connection" harks back to 1991, a time when Garnier spent a lot of his time travelling between Paris and Manchester. It was in the latter city that he met Mix Master Doody AKA Dream Frequency's Ian Bland, an experienced producer and studio engineer who co-produced the EP's six cuts. Musically, "French Connection" has stood the test of time better than a lot of dancefloor-focused music from the period. There's something wonderfully naive and glassy-eyed about its endearing mixture of heavy techno rhythms, post-Chicago house beats and loved-up, hardcore-era elements (piano riffs, female vocal samples, and so on). Crucially, all six cuts would slip easily into many contemporary house and techno sets.
Review: Thomas Berg's Soundscape Versions presents the third instalment on sublabel Mystic Versions with four unknown cuts by different artists across the globe, produced and performed using all analogue hardware gear. Sublime dub techno experiments captured in all their glacial and cavernous intensity, from the deep minimalist groove of "A1", the thumping delay-drenched reduction of "A2" to the housey and uplifting feel good vibes of "A4" with its jazz-bar loops. It's about quality over quantity on Mystic Versions and the wait has most certainly been worth the while.