Review: British techno legend Neil Landstrumm returns to Unknown To The Unknown with an EP that's described as a "super charged fusion of dance music styles". Prepare for a proper alien transmission via title track "Hell Is Other People", featuring long time collaborator Si Begg, and the vinyl-only exclusive electro funk cut "Shadow Man". On the flip, he goes for a classic acid house vibe (with vocoder!) on the Adonis sounding cut "Aviemore" while it's classic Landstrumm all the way on the raw hardware techno of closer "Jackshit".
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.
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.
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: Butter Sessions latest must-check release comes courtesy of Melbourne-based rising star Furious Frank, whose recent EP on Paper-Cuts was particularly impressive. "Ahora Si" is similarly inspired, with the young Australian producer placing Ivy Barkakati's "Sueno Latino" style whispered vocal over a bold, alluring blend of jangling dream house pianos, rugged acid lines, sunrise-ready chords and loose-limbed analogue beats. He provides his own dream house style interpretation (the brilliant "Frank's Sunrise Mix") before inviting Ivan to give his take on the track. He adds some tribal percussion whilst retaining the cut's inherent dreaminess before Canadian producer D. Tiffany re-imagines "Ahora Si" as a bass-heavy chunk of UKG/breakbeat house fusion.
Review: Berlin-based DJ and producer Denise Rabe has become something of a cult heroine since her first releases in 2015. The years since have found her operate in her own parallel techno world, where psychoactive sounds and heavy drones permeate your ears, then your brain, then your whole being. Now she steps away from her own Rabe label for a debut on Stroboscopic Artefacts, which finds her take charge of the Totem series. Opener "Manifesto" is a driving techno groover with ghoulish synth designs and keys from the 5th dimension, then "Don't Leave" will utterly trip you out with its panning pads and mysterious leads. "Clouds" completes the journey with doom laden and wide spread kick drums that lurch over and over through some ruined post-human world. Tip!
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.
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").
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: 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: Reade Truth has been dropping plenty of heat lately on Cartulis and Warm Fiction, but now he's back on his own label Path. There's a lysergic, freaky twist to the strain of electro-techno he's exploring, where the synths bubble and trickle with playful energy while staying rooted in a nocturnal underworld of basement-ready business. "Without A Doubt" is especially captivating on this tip, while the slight move towards melody on "Brain Damaged" is just as welcoming. Watch out for "A Secret Heaven" though - a consummately punchy New York groove garnished with plenty of off-kilter sonic debris.
Review: UK dub techno maestro Steve O'Sullivan is back with another payload of deep immersion heaters under his Bluetrain guise, this time on the Future Primitive label. There's a deadly restraint at work on "Congo Shuffle", where the elements get reduced to needlepoint precision and the low end rhythm section stalks with purpose. "Invisible Guest" takes things in an explicitly dubwise direction, channelling serious Rhythm & Sound vibes for an immaculate head-nodder, before "Paralyzed Dub" slows down further into an end of the line skank for the weary to find solace in - masterful movements in the echo chamber from start to finish.
Review: After years of promoting events, Percolate has decided to embark on a new project - Percolate Records. They welcome longtime friend, British producer Austin Ato, to take them on the first steps of their new journey. Ato has appeared on a wide variety of imprints lately, from Me Me Me and Delusions Of Grandeur to Futureboogie and even Defected. "When Love Gets Cold" opens with the sweltering and finely filtered disco loops of the title track, paving the way for bouncy and euphoric house anthem "To Fall In Love" (which is equally as disco-fied!) and emotive Detroit house banger "All I Want". Speaking of the Motor City: he shows he is equally competent at hi-tech soul (with a UK rave influence too) on the breakbeat-driven and evocative "Blessed".
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Albert Luxus - "In Den Arm Bitte!" (Julian Stetter mix)
Tom Demac - "Serenade"
Jurgen Paape - "Abstrusia"
Reinhard Voigt - "Der Amnn, Der Nie Nach Deutz Kam"
Rex The Dog - "Vortex"
Justus Kohncke - "Mindless Sex Track"
Voigt & Voigt - "Der Schwarm"
Anii - "Ride The Tiger"
Clarian - "Early Life"
Extrawelt - "Pink Panzer"
DJ Balduin - "EWBA"
Anna - "Remembrance" (main mix)
Fahrland - "Yesterday" (Night version)
Patrice Baumel - "Grace"
La Fleur - "Tears"
John Monkman & James Monro - "Pesto Punk"
Blackrachas - "Rotary"
Raxon - "Dark Light"
Yotam Avni - "Track For Agoria"
Jonathan Kaspar - "Renard"
Gui Boratto - "618" (Kolsch mix)
Review: Cologne powerhouse Kompakt may not be talked about as much as it once was, but the label continues to put out high quality electronic music with its own distinctive vibe. For proof, check the 19th annual edition of their now legendary compilation series, "Total". There's much to set the pulse racing amongst the 25 tracks scattered across two CDs, from the shoegaze-influenced haziness of Weval's "Are You Even Real" and the picturesque, piano-sporting dancefloor deepness of Tom Demac's "Serenade", to the neo-trance throb of Rex The Dog, the twisted techno intensity of Voigt & Voigt, and the intergalactic electro/rave fusion of Raxon's strobe lit "Raxon".
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: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.