Review: Mick Harris is a master of bludgeoning sound, whether wringing out apocalyptic steppers in his Scorn guise or wrestling D&B into contorted shapes as Quoit. Monrella is one of his aliases that reaches back to the mid 90s and Regis' ZET label. These four new tracks capture the same mood of granite heavy Brummie techno as the original run, wholly compatible with the tougher end of the Downwards oeuvre, sculpted with the masterful ear for sound design that Harris has displayed throughout his accomplished career. Following on from the retrospective compilation on Berceuse Heroique last year, it's a real treat to have some fresh Monrella to chew on for the hardest of techno sessions.
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: 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: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
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.
(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.
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: 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.