Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: Seleccion Natural is Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, a techno dream team who have a new album on the way this autumn. Before that they offer up two tracks from it on a tidy 10" that brims with modular synthesisers, samplers and drum machines. "Split Didactics" will rewire your brain with squeaking lines and cantering kicks making for a real techno riot, and "A New Description Of Hell" layers up hammering kicks with howling synths into a rigid and unrelenting groove. Making this extra special is artwork by none other than Silent Servant.
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: For the latest single on Umwelt's essential Rave or Die label, the Lyon-based producer finds himself sharing vinyl space with Perc Trax regular Ansome. The South London producer handles side A, assaulting the senses via distorted breakbeats, chilling, held-note horror strings and gory electronic riffs on the industrial techno insanity of "Vakuum". Umwelt's track, "Affres", explores similar sonic territory, though his use of macabre audio loops, redlined electronics and rapid-fire, ray gun drumbeats gives the track a much more rolling and hypnotic feel. Both cuts are wild-eyed and aggressive in tone, even if they are every bit as sci-fi as classic Detroit cuts.
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: Bristol's finest Jules Smith aka October is back with more reduced EBM mutations following up the dusty and rusted experiments ts as heard on his great Death Drums cassette on No Corner just last year, not to mention 2015's wicked Black Body Radiation. It's the second edition of his new eponymous imprint here. On the A side we have "Repentant (version)" a grotty acid slow burner that squeals away menacingly above the seething dirt of vintage drum computers. On the flip "Judgement Dub" goes for an early Chicago vibe somewhere between Jamie Principle and K. Alexi with its haunting pads and funk bass supported by spitfire rhythm patterns and morose atmosphere that's geared for the early morning hours of a sweaty Berlin basement party.
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.
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: Sect's third and final sampler for the It's All For You compilation ends on a bittersweet note, seeing the last release from Sect favourite Grovskopa, who has decided to retire following the closest of near death experiences. The A-Side features Lag's remix of his Sect classic "Atopic", reworking the lurching bass and broken-beat rhythms of the original into a hypnotic number with a fractured synth melody. The B-Side sees "2:69", a brittle yet powerful track with churning bass which recalls Drexciya's classically hard edged approach, combined with hazy orchestral sweeps - a fitting swansong for a great producer.
Review: Russian enfant terrible Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno appears next on Gost Zvuk: an imprint dedicated exclusively to the Russian and ex-USSR scene and only releasing music of producers from these regions. The label's seventh release (known elsewhere as 'Swamp Tracks') showcases the diverse array of Milyakov's sonic repertoire, that has seen his release on labels as diverse as Cititrax, Incienso and Zodiac 44. The fierce sonar transmission of "Project Loop 1" or "Subsonic II" will no doubt bear comparisons to Berlin legend Sleeparchive, but still hold their own. Milyakov is really in his element when delving deep into electro mutations as heard on "Industrial Acid" or the tripped-out minimal techno cut (and our favorite) "2x Clouds".
Review: The second collectible EP out of three, arriving on double white 10" vinyl, and containing tracks from Jon Convex's debut album, Idoru sees another four hard hitting fusions of techno and contemporary bass music. Unlike the first EP, which was surprisingly melodic, these tracks aim squarely at the floor, with "What I Need" a heavy tom-led piece of Detroit influenced techno, and "Aversion" providing some tracky functionalism. "Desolation" and "Four Faces" meanwhile provide some bleak electro dystopianism, much indebted to his Autonomic heritage.
Review: Miltiadis Merentitis is one of the greatest exponents of the underground Greek scene. After several releases on Nous, Echovolt and Synapsis he joins Jose Rico's Spanish imprint Freebeat with the Epitome Of Things EP. Miltiades explores the driest of territories through his characteristic chords, kicks and percussion which will transport you to another world. Take the first cut on the A side for instance: a deep hypnotic techno cut that creates perfect trance induction by relying on the most basic of analogue elements. On the flip, the second track is a gothic lo-fi house jam reminiscent of New York City's Patricia while the final offering channels the spirit of early '90's Detroit on this fine serving of hi-tech soul.
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.