Review: Jeff Mills, the legendary Detroit techno pioneer who has been praised and worshipped by everyone club kid over the age of 18 since the late 80s, has focussed his efforts more on the classical side of music in more recent years. His gigs at the Barbican over the last few years, for example, are the shows to which he's dedicated most of his attention to, and it somehow all makes perfect sense. Although legendary tunes like "The Bells" or "Amazon" are straight-up dance floor bombs, there has always been a feeling that Mills' tunes were composed of something more than mere kick drums and monophonic instruments. This new album, Planets, sees the artist showcase the role of science fiction and of an imagined order prominently, something he's always been fascinated with. The likes of "Mercury", "Venus", "Earth" and the rest of the cosmos make more sense here than they do in the academic books; much like the great Sun Ra, it's almost as if these artists have found a simpler, more instinctive way to transmit the power of the universe. And that's through sound. The price might seem hefty, but this will be regarded as a very important release in the future. A fantastic journey through space and time.
Review: Brooklyn imprint Chronicle return with a high octane double header here courtesy of two stalwarts of the world techno circuit. First up, Frenchman in London Arnaud Le Texier (who you'd know of from his seminal mid noughties imprint multi.vitamins) appears first on the A side. He proves that he's always remaining on the genre's pulse as demonstrated on the tunnelling and hypnotic sci-fi groove of "Radar". On the flip, the bleeps continue with none other than Staffan Linzatti. The Swedish producer turns in another fine Jeff Mills tribute with "Destination (Minutes)" channelling the early vibes of the American legend's Axis/Purposemaker catalogue featuring adrenalised arpeggios, fierce 909 patterns and majestic pads.
Review: Anton Klint first came to our attention thanks to a handful of EP's that he dropped on Munich's Public Possession label, but while we were already big fans of the imprint's work, it was Klint's singular take on house and disco that attracted us. This latest two-tracker comes via Sweden's IDEAL label, and the producer offers something a little darker and more experimental compared to his previous escapades. "Personalmote" is a fuzzy, broken tune that verges on house but never quite fully rids itself of a tribal, stepping kind of vibe. On the other hand, "Efter Stangning" churns and drives away at a more classic deep house level, but Klint nevertheless injects a noticeable layer of something altogether more exotic. Twisted, dystopian house beats would be the best way to some this up.
Review: On the next record from Main Drain Studios, Chicago artist K-rAd brings two high-tempo cuts loaded with their distinct blend of bright, nimble production.
The A-side, "174_B7B5" is a total D&B tear-out. Thundering subs carry along waves of arpeggiated synths, while whimsical samples cut the tension of the winding breakbeat flurries.
On the flip side, horns fade in and out of "154_Materials Stardust Memories ", conjuring visions of a metropolis at dusk, with jazzy interludes telling tales while lean, skittering drums & warped bass lines pepper the road along the way.
Review: The third release from Juzer aka Chicago enfant terrible Beau Wanzer and Dan Jugle. The pair first appeared on Anthony Parasole's The Corner a couple of years ago and their sophomore effort appearing on Fort Lauderdale's Dog In The Night. Let's not forget Wanzer's previous flirtations with techno as Civil Duty (with Shawn O'Sullivan) and in NJB with Steve Summers and Bookworms. On the A side we have "Maiden Japan" which is good old fashioned electro-funk conjured from unmistakably all analogue sound sources: covered in a nice sheen of dust for added authenticity. On the flip, it's a different affair altogether with the peak time warehouse stomp of "The Gold Room" calling to mind the work of Dutch legend Steve Rachmad (aka Fix/Basic Bastard) from the late 90's and early noughties.This is the second release for the newly inaugurated R=A imprint - the first coming from Los Angeles' Fizzy Veins.
Review: We've been rather spoiled this year with new Convextion material. His 2845 full-length on Artless is arguably one of the best electronic albums of 2016, while his ambient-leaning 12" on Acido was also breathtakingly good. Here, he rounds off the year with a fine 7" single containing two terrific tracks. The veteran producer begins with new road, a delightfully spacey combination of cascading melody lines, similarly tumbling bass, and punchy but laidback electro beats. It's evocative and emotion-rich like much of his best work. Similar accolades could be heaped upon flispide "Summer Nights", a warmer and woozier concoction that sounds like Larry Heard in electro mode.