Review: It never used to be so, but these days solo releases from Ben Klock are few and far between. We've seen periodic collaborations from the Berghain resident - most notably with old pal Marcel Dettmann - but little else, making this first solo single in nine years a genuine "event" release. He's in fine form on A-side "Subzero", a hushed, deep and intoxicating techno workout that delivers nine minutes of locked-in drums, hazy aural textures, simmering chords and icy, undulating lead lines. Flipside "Coney Island", an evocative and atmospheric affair that moves from dusty field recordings (presumably of the famous New York resort mentioned in the title) to forthright, funfair-aping techno headiness via a drawn-out ambient intro, synthesized horror strings and bubbly acid bass.
Review: Newworldaquarium has long been a real darling of the techno world with an impeccable back catalogue filled with treasures, and now the Dutchman is treating us to two new tracks that were recorded during the same sessions as his seminal "The Dead Bears" in the early 00s. The 10-minute epic "Mercury" has a majestic synth phrase looped over rubbery kicks that will lead to real transcendental moments, while "Levels Halo" is a zoned out ambient piece with kick drums buried miles below, gently moving you along.
Review: Version co-bossman Orson seems to only drop a release once a year. But when he does, it's always worth paying close attention to. As with all things Version, it's a full trip that joins dots well beyond the assumed or conventional dub continuum. "Agadir" is a hazy Latin mooch into dub disco territory while "Delivero" is positively Balearic with its 105BPM plod, delicate arpeggiated weaves and sudden drop into soulful vocals. Flip for "Toxic Waste" as Orson goes all percussive and broken beat (think Tyrant) while "Garzweiler" closes on an stormy ambient note. Batten down the hatches.
Review: The crew behind the Clut label has put together a fine debut EP here. It offers up a quartet of cuts from techno and electro producers renowned for the warm, melodious and emotive nature of their sound. To our ears, the best track comes from Riccardo Rizza, whose EP-closing "Mars" is a fine fusion of rolling tech-funk grooves, spacey chords and life-affirming, B12 style melodies. That said, John Shima's similarly-minded - and arguably even more positive - "Circulate" pushes it close, while Odracir's analogue bass-propelled bleep-out "Set" and Alec Falconer and Rob Amboule's wonderfully deep "Clarkspin" push it mighty close.
Review: Somewhat surprisingly, this tasty 12" marks Years Of Denial's first solo release since 2016's "Blood Debts" LP, an intoxicating, otherworldly fusion of industrial, EBM, experimental electronica and mind-bending rhythmic noise. The Italian artist hits the ground running with "Crow", where drowsy, stylized spoken word vocals echo above tight acid flashes, moody bass, doom-laden chords and bustling drum machine beats, before rushing towards throbbing EBM territory on "Body Map". Over on the flipside the Mascara-clad fun continues on the clanking industrial-meets-electro warp of "Love Comes And Goes" and the guitar-laden moodiness of closing cut "Cold Blooded Hands".
Review: Detroit duo Aux88 always danced to a different drum than their Motor City peers, developing a ludicrously weighty trademark sound that put massive, mind-mangling analogue bass and gut-punching electro beats at the heart of the action. "Direct Drive", a 1995 release that has long been hard to find (hence this much-needed reissue), is one of the best examples of their distinctive sound. The title track (side A on this edition) is little more than a raw, thrusting bassline, snappy machine beats, spacey pads and occasional Kraftwerk samples, but it's brilliantly floor-friendly and brilliantly executed - Detroit body music for those who like their club cuts sub-heavy. Elsewhere, "Aux Express (DJ K1 Mix)" is a bouncy electro jam and the short "Bytes" tracks are wonky vocal samples for creative DJs.
Review: IDM legend Steven Rutter has been presenting some awe-inspiring electronic explorations on his FireScope imprint in recent times. The label's latest instalment comes from British producer Miles Atmospheric Sagnia, whose classic techno perspectives on the SkyHealer EP sound right at home here. The Atmospheric Existence Recordings boss moves wonderfully through the deep shades of techno soul ("Exoplanetology"), chilled-out and dub-inflected electronica ("Our Future"), classic hi-tech soul ("Waters Of Life") and highly engineered electro of the most evocative kind on the brilliant "See The Light".
Review: Some three years on from his last outing under the alias, Orlando Voorn dons the occasional Basic Bastard pseudonym for another giddy trip into soulful and melodious techno territory. Title track "Signals" is typical of the Dutch veteran's work, with attractive and futuristic chords, riffs and melodies dancing jauntily above a high-tempo techno groove and some seriously funky acid lines. It gets the remix treatment on the B-side, where Gallegos Yoga re-casts it as an acid fired slab of techno-funk before Unknown Detroit twists it into a ghostly, unearthly stomper. Bonus cut "Deep City", a colourful and ultra-melodious affair, is also superb.
Review: Do or Die has already made an impression on Nicolas Lutz's My Own Jupiter and now makes a sideways step to Binh's Time Passages, another label associated with a deep digging selection of underground DJs who are some of the most revered of the moment. Opener "90s" makes you wanna scream "aciiiiiiiiid" at the top of your voice, "EBM" channels some old school rave, breakbeat and techno vibes with its energetic drum patterns and bleeping synths. The title track is the most unusual of the lot, pairing withering synth lines with metallic drums and distorted drones that all add up to some powerful, warehouse-ready sounds.
Review: Classy Italian label Where We Met unveil a new signing on their seventh release, which also marks the mysterious ReKaB's debut. His skills belie that newbie status, because this is atmospheric techno with emotional and musical depth. "2019" is a real highlight with its twitchy synths and breezy electro grooves making for a pensive vibe before things cut loose on warm and rubbery house jam "The Hassle". The ambient synths that colour these tracks is what make them standout, and closer "Self-Destruct" is a prime example of that. "Music Makes It Better" is a title we can all relate to, and in the case of this track, it sure is a beautiful place to be.
Review: Tribe Recordings' second missive is another standout techno affair, this time from Dawl who has been making big moves this year on Better Sound Italy, Tone Dropout and Hypnohouse. His futuristic sound hits that perfect sweet spot between techno and electro, all with a deeply cosmic edge. "Want Some Candy" manages to be super slick and sleek with a pumping bassline that will wiggle your backside. The intergalactic journey continues on the more textured and brain frying "Voyage" and completes with the acid laced jack track "Just Hausin" which is a real fist pumper.
Review: Venetian imprint Yay present the third installment of their sublabel 3N0 by Aljaz Gnezda aka Eliaz. The Slovenian producer's second EP features three minimal cuts from the wonkier end of the spectrum. Eliaz is said to have made the low slung acid bounce of "Lizergid" on the A side in 2013, before he switched to a mainly hardware setup. The other tracks on the flip are brand new: the tripped-out breakbeat action of "Erbiton" and the entrancing afterhours raviness of "Mental Spaceship". The man is slowly but surely becoming one of the prominent characters of his local scene.
Review: Not On Earth's first release sold out in quick time - unsurprising given the reputation of Frankfurt based founders Bodin & Jacob. Their second is a various artists affair that shows off some of the talents they have unearthed, while Bodin also reappears with "A Walk In The Park." It's a brilliantly militant cut with clipped, marching beats and rasping bass squelches, and elsewhere Philipp Boss opens the EP with the slippery electro rhythms of "Lava". Griezman's "Decheterie" is an uptempo bit of proper first wave tech house a la Terry Francis. Closing out this more than handy EP is the hard edged electro-tech of "Zoober" from Martyne.
Review: The latest missive in the L.I.E.S. ongoing series of collaborative EPs brings together Cititrax regular An-I (AKA sometime leftfield disco maverick Doug Lee) and Berlin-based experimental electronics maverick Unhuman. The pair begins in forthright fashion, moving from the racing drum machine heartbeats, rhythmic noise and mangled yelps of "Five To Nine", to the doomy bass, triple-time beats and clanking metallic hits of post-punk number "Hate Thy Neighbour". Over on side B they mutilate electro beyond almost all recognition on the alien insanity of "Entschuldigung" before lolloping towards a conclusion with the fuzzy industrial funk thrust of "Cannibals".
Review: Midnight Shift continues its fine run of form via a mini-album of bleak intensity from renowned modular electro/analogue rave fusionist Umwelt, an artist whose distinctive releases are always worth a listen. The French producer sets his stall out via title track "Superior Life Forms", an undeniably heavy and distinctively dystopian chunk of broken electro fuzziness, before reaching for even grimier electronics and gut-punching bass on "Computer Controlled". "Latent Existence" is a moody, beat-free soundtrack for urban decay, "Fragment" and closer "The Windfall" are teak-tough industrial techno stompers, while "Shadow Entity" is a suitably psychedelic slab of trippy acid electro. Not for those of a fragile disposition, but impressively intense and forthright nonetheless.
Review: Three years on from his last outing on the label, Pessimist (real name Kristian Jabs) returns to UVB-76 with more heady fusions of techno and UK bass. He opens with a bang via the clandestine, claustrophobic and paranoid tribal techno-meets-experimental D&B insanity of "Burundanga", before creeping us out via the foreboding sub bass, horror soundtrack chords and analogue pulses of "Lithosphere". There's more end-of-days fodder on side B, where Simon Shreeve offers a dystopian, dub techno-meets-deep dubstep revision of "Paian" and Jabs unfurls the gritty analogue scariness of post-apocalyptic dancefloor number "Thug".
Review: Richard Fearless returns to his Drone imprint with a hand stamped, white label album sampler leading up to his forthcoming album "Deep Rave Memory". Feel the power of "Atlas Of Insanity" on the A with its noir-ish, metal edged intensity that's equally as brutal as it is elegant. On the flip, "New Perspective" is a deeper and more hypnotic affair with its mesmerising chime melody and ethereal layers of pads supported by a broken beat which keeps you on the edge. All material from the forthcoming album was recorded at the Death In Vegas main man's Metal Box, overlooking the Thames where he drew from the studio's industrial environment for inspiration.
Review: Four months on from the release of his debut album, "Blue Spring", Berlin-based Canadian Nathan Micay returns to LuckyMe with a formidably floor-focused EP. While there's one sublime ambient excursion - the "Blade Runner" synthesizer movements and bubbling acid lines of "Did U Know I Cannot Die" - the rest of the EP is rugged, raw and club-ready. "The Party We Could Have" is a house-tempo stomper with quietly jacking drums, echoing riffs and foreboding electronic arpeggio lines, while "This'll Tell The Tale" is a throbbing space disco/Italo-disco box jam. Arguably best of all, though, is the Jeff Mills/Robert Hood style thump of mind-altering opener "I'm Your Huckleberry".
Review: Melbourne-based Efficient Space continue to plunder the vaults of their local electronic music legacy on their latest release. Indeed it's a rather parochial affair on the A side which features Future Sound Of Melbourne - an electronic group comprised of Davide Carbone, Josh Abrahams and Steve Robbins. Each respective artist went on to achieve considerable success with their solo efforts afterwards - Abrahams in particular finding mainstream success on the pop drum'n' bass anthem "Addicted To Bass" in the late '90s. Their offering "Track Six" is a true zeitgeist of early '90s techno that takes the best aspects of US and European sounds of the time. On the flip, Sydney legend Andy Rantzen (of duo Itch-E and Scratch-E (along with Paul Mac)) offers up the fairly minimal and hypnotic jam "Harmonic Eye".