Review: Osaka's Koshiro "YPY" Hino built his reputation on a series of fearlessly experimental cassette releases, before breaking cover to deliver a 12" of frazzled techno on Nous last year. Zurhyrethm marks his long-form vinyl debut, and contains eight suitably experimental tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. While there are clear tropical influences, a humid feel and nods towards the visceral pleasures of ambient, Hino's greatest strength is his eccentric drum programming. Zurhyrethm's dense - but often subtly mixed - percussive backing dominates throughout, with nods to African and South American rhythms, Sweet Exorcist's C.C.CD-era "clonk techno" (look it up), and the metallic clanking of classic industrial music.
Review: Original music from Vancouver based producer NAP has been intermittent on the electronic music scene, but now the Isla boss has finally dropped a 12" of deadly, textured and fresh-sounding electro for our bodies and minds. "Transhumano" features ZDBT and has all the hallmarks of Stingray-friendly future shock machine funk, but the particular approach to pads and melodies has a distinctive, moody slant that chimes with the hazy sound of Canada's West Coast. "Anestesia General" is another needlepoint, uptempo workout that packs layer up on layer of darting rhythms and blippy synth lines into the mix. "Sin Sistema" completes the set with a more subdued but no less detailed box jam workout.
Review: Yaleesa Hall returns to his Will & Ink imprint with some fascinating techno derivatives on the Hayley Laura EP, although these are much more straight ahead than his usual stripped down experiments - best heard on his 2016 debut album. Beginning with the electro-bass assault of "Zoe Price" bringing that UK style sound popularised by Carl Finlow or Radioactive Man in true style. "Hayley Roach" with its splintered beats and and tunnelling sequences are reminiscent of Regis' output in the late '90s, while "Laura Pomeroy" being the the most atmospheric cut on offer here - going down a more lush and hypnotic route. This is the first solo output from the Amsterdam based producer on the label.
Review: Rather unexpectedly, the third CVX release, to date, comes through on Berceuse Heroique, an imprint which seems to be following and replicating just about any genre or sub-culture form the past, making it a perfect example of post-post-modernism in action. Zibaldone III of CVX, a serious previously restricted to the Laura Lies In label, is undoubtedly a wild and wicked concoction of nebulous sonics that are all driven by a toxic, merciless percussion which spews from all angles with a certain mechanical fashion. It's an honourable third edition of the series, and we hope this marks a beginning of a new dawn for CVX. Wicked style.
Review: Central Processing Unit chief CP Smith is keeping tight-lipped about the identity of the shadowy producer(s) behind the Secret State project. Smith describes this debut EP as "an attempt to rise above the all-pervasive, vacuous, decaying culture." We'll let you judge whether the men or women of mystery have succeeded in that aim, but we certainly think it's a fine EP. By CPU standards, it's a rather eclectic affair, flitting between druggy, arpeggio-driven alien funk ("CIA UFO Google Search"), ghetto-tech influenced deep electro (the wonderful "De-Pattern"), sparkling dacenfloor electro positivity ("The Sleep Room") and glistening, bass-heavy techno/proto-house/deep house fusion (sublime closer "Weep For Joy").
Review: Modular techno maestro and Freerotation big cheese Steevio is on fine form on "Zephyr", his first EP of 2019. He kicks things off with "Brawd", where undulating electronic motifs and faintly foreboding snatches of melody wind their way around a rolling techno groove, before offering up a swinging, off-kilter take on tropical techno rich in darting minor key melodies and jazzy sub-bass. Turn to the flip and you'll encounter two more chunks of modular dancefloor hypnotism: the slowly shifting, head-in-the-clouds throb of "Cysuron" and the melodious but off-kilter tech-jazz flex of hard-to-pigeonhole EP highlight "Rhyddid".
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: All good things come to an end. Part ten of ten in Ostgut Ton's tenth various artists' compilation and they've recruited some of their superstar residents to give their very best. Marcel Fengler's restrained fury on "Fallin' (feat. Elif Bicer)" almost sounds like something off the soundtrack of a sci-fi film where dramatic elements face off with Bicer's angelic voice. Etapp Kyle's "Nolah" is another example of his well executed hypnotic techno with a nod to the master himself Robert Hood. Finally Steffi's "Loweborschtel" is the kind of surefire sub-aquatic electro funk and the standard in quality you'd always expect from the Dolly boss.
Review: Hailing from Crimea, Stas Karpenkov's Krym Mryk label is a direct line into the most intriguing techno-oriented diversions transmitting from Russia and Ukraine. In a similar vein to the likes of Udacha and Ghost Zvuk, Krym Mryk is brimming with the kind of originality and expression that makes records such as these essential purchases. "Entity" presents a calm, icy ambient lead in before the quivering, dubby techno pulse of "Yevpatoriya Satellite". "I've Had Enough To Look Down" is a writhing, biomechanical synth work out of the highest order, and "Windswept" finishes the EP off in a gentle blizzard of drones. A serious draw for this record as well is the Stanislav Tolkachev remix, which nudges "Yevpatoriya Satellite" into dynamic broken techno territory with a powerful synth wave channel coursing through it.
Review: The Happy Skull label hasn't been afraid to look locally for inspiration, with The Kelly Twins sourcing some fine output from Bristol types Marco Bernardi, Rhythmic Theory, Kowton. But 12"s from Throwing Shade and Creta Kano suggests their feelers extend much further too! The latest Happy Skull release extends an invitation to Cologne and the severely under rated Andreas Gehm, a man who really knows how to abuse his acid lines to great effect. Lead track "Yes Or No" is the sort of cut you keep in your record box for the sweaty moments deep into a set when you really want to beat down the dancefloor. "Summer Time In Coloniae" does offer a more pensive side to Gehm's palette and perhaps inspired the Twin Peaks artwork on the 12", whilst closer "Going By" is ocean deep.
Review: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is the perfect companion to Burnt Friedman's steely, minimalistic shades of broken dub techno. The Iranian percussionist comes as a surprise addition to the Nonplace catalogue, but he certainly makes for an even more cerebral drumming experience than the already off-kilter world of Friedman's tunes. Both the A-side's mixes of "Yek" are just on the right side of dark, combining Eastern influences together with colder, more industrial executions from the West. On the B-side, we have a similarly frenetic experience, where metallic drums collide with deep baselines and polyrhythmic flows spanning the full circle. Well, this might just be our favourite Nonplace yet!
Review: Kalbata has turned his hand to many styles over the years, not least the excellent soundsystem explorations of Congo Beat The Drum, but on this second release for his label Brush & Broom, he's decided to fling himself into the fiery pit of acid while paying tribute to 90s motocross bikes. "Honda" is dripping with 303, punctuated by a twitchy set of drums, while "Yamaha" takes a diversion into moodier territory, letting hazy chords set the tone for an energised but defiantly heads down acid workout. "Suzuki" is a bit spicier, capturing the essence of 'up-for-it' early Trax Records but edging it into more hypnotic, looped up territory. "Toyota" finishes the EP off with an atonal bleep out with an electro undercarriage.
Review: Under the SolarX alias, Roman Belavkin was one of the leading lights of the Russian IDM scene in the mid-to-late '90s, though very few copies of his cassette and CD releases ever made it in to record stores outside the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, this is the first ever reissue of Belavkin's 1997 sophomore set, "X-Rated", an album that remains a firm favourite in the Russian electronic underground. There's much to admire throughout, with Belavkin effortlessly joining the dots between the skittish, angular rhythms of Autechre, Rephlex-esque "Braindance", Aphex Twin style ambient, early Squarepusher-esque "drill and bass" business and hypnotic ambient techno.
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: For the fourth release on their promising Wisdom Teeth imprint, founders Facta and K-Lone have turned to the combined talents of old pal Alex Coulton, Italian produer Chevel, and fast-rising studio boffin Simo Cell. Coulton kicks things off, delivering a deliciously heavy and floor-friendly concoction that sits somewhere between broken techno, contemporary bass music, and the kind of comforting deepness more associated with hazy house productions. Chevel does an excellent job of calming things down, layering up bleeping electronics and ambient textures to create something reminiscent of mid '90s IDM, before Simo Cell attempts to "Escape The Fate" on a creepy cut that combines fizzing hi-hats and wonky ambient melodies, with drum programming and musical touches borrowed from EBM and industrial
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: While Steffi and Virginia have been working together on and off for the best part of a decade, "Work A Change" is undoubtedly their most significant collaborative work to date (both in terms of its expansive nature and the quality of music on show). With Virginia handling singing duties throughout, "Work A Change" rides on waves of tasty electro grooves and hazy synth-pop motifs and futuristic electronics. It's a blueprint that guarantees goodness throughout, from the quietly euphoric shuffle of opener "Be True To Me" and the pulsating dancefloor fizz of "Help Me Understand" (one of two cuts showcased in both vocal and instrumental forms), to the high-tempo thrust of "Until You're Begging", the bass-heavy, future dancehall wonkiness of "Internal Bleeding" and triumphantly intergalactic title track.