Review: Given that acid revivalists Paranoid London have yet to put a foot wrong, it's no surprise to find that "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" is another absolute belter. It's taken from the duo's forthcoming album and features sometime Posthuman collaborator Josh Caffe channeling his inner Robert Owens and Jamie Principle over a retro-futurist backing track. In its full length, the track brilliantly combines Paranoid London's jacking drums and thrusting acid bass with dreamy chords and just the right amount of glassy-eyed melodic flourishes. It sounds like a classic TRAX release given the Paranoid London treatment, which I'm sure we all agree is a very good thing indeed. If you're in the mood for something even sleazier and more driving, the Bam Bam-inspired Dub has it covered.
Review: Almost thirty years after it was first released and spawned an entire new sub genre, "Acid Tracks" still bangs harder than 99% of new tunes. Here it gets remixed by a selection of seriously big names as well as hot newcomers and then pressed up to limited green vinyl. The big man Carl Cox goes first and is in no mood to muck about, layering in hammering kick drums and making the 303 even more wild and serrated. Swiss-Chilean minimalist Luciano distils it down to a more soft and supple acid track that works on the mind, while the flip side offerings serve up stomping warehouse techno, strobe-lit anthems and rubbery drum workouts.
Review: Laurent Garnier might be famous for leaving cheery and positive feedback on more promos than any other artist, but he will always be more famous for his techno. At his peak he was an untouchable sonic explorer and this classic EP from 1993 proves that. Opener "Breathless" (produced by Ludovic "St Germain" Navarre) is a wave of shimmering hi hats and squirming synths from another dimension, "Wake Up" is a hard hitting acid jam and "Go To Sleep" is a lush ambient techno track that will bring you down after the rave, only to be picked up again by the Baloo mix of "Wake Up" which is pure energy. This is techno history right here.
Vagara - "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" (Space Is Lonely Celestial Light mix) (8:16)
Fio Fa - "Prospects" (6:19)
Sasha Vodnik - "Rusty Trombone" (5:31)
Review: Inaugurating fresh imprint Future Funktion are a couple of relative unknowns, but they are certainly on to promising things if this riveting debut EP is anything to go by. The enigmatic collection of artists get those classic Sheffield vibes going, with Irie Nation aka Tomas Station providing full effect on the electrifying groove of "Assinie", followed by the off-kilter retro bounce of "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" by Vagara and the cheesy yet irresistible rave vibes of B side cut "Rusty Trombone" from Sasha Vodnik and the truly deep groove of "Prospects" by Fio Fa. For fans of classic bleep and first wave techno sounds similarly explored by imprints like Art of Dark, Time Passages and My Own Jupiter - this one will be right up your alley.
Review: A new enigmatic duo from London named Two Shell present Livity Sounds' next installment. Their debut "Access EP" draws influence from the South London underground of the late '90s and early 00's, with a nod to more contemporary Bristol sounds across these four wicked tracks. From the off-kilter stepper that is "Heart Piece', through to the glacial and deconstructed dub techno of "Contactless" and the rolling bass-driven entrancer "SYNC-2020" - they have forged an EP of warm but stripped-down, deft UK style grooves to mark an anthemic debut. More groundbreaking future sounds from the ever reliable Bristol label.
Review: Tribe Of Colin have done a good job of keeping their identity unknown despite plenty of well received releases. Honest Jon's gets a fourth album from the enigmatic artist(s) that deals in sludgy techno, dubby steppers and pulsing electronic music that harks back to the streets of Detroit as much as hinting at a future London landscape long after humans have long gone. Twisted synths, shimmering percussion, dark chords and complex rhythms are interwoven with gritty textures and field recordings from around the world to make it a spellbinding listen. Fans of Actress and Andy Stott will love.
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: It's been a long time between drinks for Chris Korda, a transgender artist and activist whose last releases of note came on famed electroclash label International Deejay Gigolo way back in 2004. New album "Akoko Ajeji" is very much a surprise return to action, though its melodious, ear-pleasing and accessible blend of house and techno drums, digital synthesizer sounds and cheery post synth-pop refrains is both striking and hugely addictive. Korda's compositions offer subtle nods towards various vintage house and techno styles - particularly turn-of-the-90s deep house and early Chicago jack - but never sound anything less than thrillingly DIY productions giddily made in back rooms and bedrooms over the last decade and a half.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
My Love Is For Real (feat Haddaway - live At The Cathedral) (5:42)
Review: We've long thought that Austrian artist Wolfram Eckert is destined for greatness - or, to be more specific, crossover success - but to date his authentically produced but often tongue-in-cheek take on Euro-pop has yet to catch on with the public. "Amadeus", his long awaited second album, has all the ingredients to be a massive hit. Rich in bold synthesizer motifs, knowing nods to classic new wave and Euro-disco hits, atmospheric electronics, on-point grooves (we can hear nods to Italo-disco, Hi-NRG, acid house and the Pet Shop Boys) and high profile collaborations (Egyptian Lover, Haddaway, Peaches and, bizarrely, Pamela Anderson all appear), it's an album that brilliantly combines a mature synthesizer sound with the catchy hooks and giddy rush of the best pop music.
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: Having built up his self titled label alongside his sterling work as part of Oscillat, Lazare Hoche and Will & Ink, the one and only Malin Genie delivers his debut solo album. Moving beyond the pure club focus of his singles and EPs, the Genie has seized this opportunity to present a widescreen panorama of his sound, leading in with the subliminal ambience of "You" as a springboard to explore breaks, electro, techno, and especially IDM. There are so many ideas swirling round Anthropomorphic Sympathy, it's hard to know where to begin describing it. A true headphone commute for the deep listener to burrow into.
Review: Young Marco's admirable Safe Trip label continues to explore the archives of Antwerp-based Van Elsen brothers, offering up more early '90s gems from their wonderful - and previously under-appreciated - ambient techno project Trans-4M. Both tracks here are alternative versions of cuts from the duo's brilliant "Sublunar Oracles" album. On the A-side you'll find a previously unreleased remix of "Arrival" that wraps jaunty, sunrise-ready synth stabs, psychedelic electronics and chiming lead lines around a chunky, floor-friendly groove and thickset bassline. It's superb, as is flipside "Amma (Moon Mix)" - a 1993 12" B-side that adds a little humid, dancing-all-night-under-a-blanket-of-stars vibe to an already impressive ambient techno classic (think boisterous beats, starry ambient motifs, dreamy chords and subtle tribal influences).
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: 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.