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: 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: Back in April, Blawan and Pariah rebooted their hardware-based Karenn project after a five-year hiatus via a rugged EP on their freshly minted Voam imprint. Here the pair inaugurates a new series, Voam Club Archive, in which they'll offer up tracks recorded during live performances. For fans of raging, hard-wired club techno, there's much to enjoy, from the intoxicating, acid-fired stomp of "Berlin - Live Cut 1" and the redlined intensity of the dark and distorted "Berlin - Live Cut 2", to the Sheffield style bleep melodies, wild electronics and Lory D style grooves of "Rome - Live Cut 1". Arguably best of all, though, is the metallic, forthright insanity of closing track "Amsterdam - Live Cut 1".
Review: Pressed on visually striking turquoise vinyl, "Visual Distortion Of Reality" is prolific Italian producer Whitesquare's first outing on Life And Death. Fittingly, it contains some of his most sonically striking cuts to date. The title track is particularly potent, with pulsating funky acid bass, ghostly chords and gnarly TB-303 lines rising above a simple but effective groove. "Not Moving" is similarly impressive. It rolls along on a punchy electro groove before introducing wild acid lines that sound similar to those used on its predecessor. On the flip you'll find two versions of "Jasmine": Whitesquare's atmospheric, otherworldly original and an even punchier, moodier take from the ever-impressive DJ Tennis.
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!
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: Thomas Bangalter's 12"s on Roule remain the most potent examples of the early 90s French Touch sound, and some two decades after their first release the Frenchman is re-releasing some of the prize picks from his formidable oeuvre. Trax On Da Rox Vol 2 follows the reissue of the first volume last month, and for what it's worth we reckon this instalment is even more essential. Tracks like "Club Soda" - perhaps the smoothest example of filter house ever committed to wax - as well as the abrasive ripples of "Extra Dry" and b-boy cut ups of "Shuffle" set a blueprint for a generation of producers who tried (and largely failed) to replicate the pumping, visceral energy displayed here, while Bangalter moved on, donned a mask and took over the world.
Review: Aside from a pair of releases on Horizontal Ground, and one appearance for the magnetic Edit Select, the enigmatic SNTS has chosen to reserve his/her releases for his/her own self-titled label. While the artist has only released EP's in the past, The Rustling Of The Leaves marks a debut LP effort. As you'd expect, the work is made up of chilling soundscapes, sinister sonics and grey-scaled ambient, but it's the way in which SNTS assembles beats around these elements that is impressive. "Backwoods", for example, flutters its subtle beats seamlessly into a hollow cave of drones and religious chanting, while a tune like "Remission" is what the inside of a power station would sound ike at night. For those who love their techno textures dark and sparse, this is it.
Review: Silent Season's mainstay artist Segue returns with a new album, following up on the well-received immersion of his 2016 LP "Over The Mountains" with further explorations in the hinterland between dub techno, ambient and a more pastoral kind of palette. It's a field he's well versed in, and one that typifies Silent Season's approach as well, but there's plenty of fresh ideas to latch onto here as Segue weaves gorgeous threads of melody around tactile, mossy beds of sound and understated grooves that carry you to far away, inviting places. Even the more pronounced dub techno stylings of "Mirage", for example, sound vibrant and invigorating in Segue's hands - another sterling album from an accomplished producer.
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: A dream team line up for this four way that heads off in various directions across detailed and trippy techno landscapes. Those who have been following these heads will understand what we mean- with the quartet all beginning to rise to prominence now and finally claiming the kind of respect they deserve. Saverio Celestri brings 'Ethereal', packed with direct cymbal work, lilting reversed organs creating leftfield-but-dancefloor business with plenty of usability. Midgar label manager Jacopo, toughest from the names here, takes us down an arpeggiated acid route, never quite unleashing but acting as precursor to whatever bangs come next. Otis' 'Axes of Continuity' has a simple three-four note melody mirrored by bumbling bass, and should sound ideal at anything with a free party vibe. Finally, Fede Lijt's 'Deflexion' goes deepest, twinkling chimes, submerged lows, plenty of snares.