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: DJ Octopus begins 2015 as he finished 2014, with a typically forthright selection of late night jams that join the dots between vintage deep house, acid, European techno and the analogue style jack tracks of Willie Burns and the L.I.E.S crew. There's a particularly day-glow feel about deep house opener "Untitled", which features looped organ riffs and energy-packed drum machine rhythms. "The Player" switches things up nicely thanks to some brilliant, cut-up slap bass antics, while "Ghost Antics" sounds like the sort of early British acid track that was found lying around on a dusty DAT. Finally, "Purple Pills" invited you to drop illicit refreshments and lose yourself in a brightly coloured fusion of rave chords, bounding beats and clandestine textures.
Review: Animals On Psychedelics is a new label out of Cleethorpes, run by DJ/promoter Carl_H. Through a combination of name, artwork and musical output, Animals On Psychedelics focuses on the more tripped out, spacey side of electronic music. The label's debut release is a two-track EP from London duo Invisible Menders, otherwise known as Dom Ahtuam & Jane Fitz, who have also released on Porn Wax and BOE Recordings.
Review: Valcrond Video, the label run by sound and image artist Luke Wyatt (Torn Hawk), Apresents VV-013 Russo's ""Wild Metals"". A
Russo (Ari Russo) is an NYC based multi-artist whose engagement with abandoned media finds an outlet in the video bursts he culls as OfficeFern. As a programmer, he's produced innovative music generation tools such as the Diamond Arpeggiator. He returns to his own music with this collection of challenging and transporting structures.A
Wyatt and VV are eager to endorse Russo's latest report on crossmodal perception, a true exercise in synesthesia.A
""Wild Metals"" sounds like ferns and orchids infiltrating a tableaux of black plastic electronics, the breed of black plastic that Russo and Wyatt both found sinisterly inserted into the grid of their childhood. It provided the skin for some of their favorite toys, and its general resonance was aligned with the fast cars, women, and architecture that dominated their imaginations.
Review: As part of longstanding no wave duo Naked On The Vague, murky girl group Knitted Abyss and extraterrestrial drone project Half High, Lucy Phelan has been a critical force in the Sydney DIY scene for over 10 years. Under the solo veil of Lucy Cliche, she annihilates with these four wavey techno tracks that honour her noise and punk ethos. With pounding drum sequences, draining synths and emotionless vocals echoing Cosey Fanni Tutti, her dark dreams sabotage our calculations of modern dance while demonstrating how physicality and the ethereal can interact.
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: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
Review: The latest Crimes Of The Future comes from Dimitri Distant and LVRIN, two emergent artists with a penchant for pitch black grooves steeped in the kind of acidic, wavey styles that COTF are consistently striking gold with. "Blasphemy" is a powerful slice of reductionist acid that uses a bare minimum of elements to create a sinister atmosphere to strike fear into the hearts of unwitting dancers. "Dead Sunday" is no slouch in the creepy department either, its clattering beats and bubbly acid line straining against a tape-stretched backdrop of synthesizer malaise. "Achromatic" switches stance to slow, undead electro soaked in embalming fluid and filtered through a B-movie veil for maximum guttural impact.
Review: Nereid appears out of the techno mists on the newly minted Warped Core label shrouded in mystery, with subtle monochrome head twisters to match. "Umea" leads the charge on the A side with an ethereal trip into dubby soundscapes filled out with plentiful reverb and pattering rhythms to snake straight into your cerebellum. "Operator" has an instructive bass throb carrying it along, although it imparts a similar steely aesthetic to the opening track. "Neptune" is no slouch either, using nagging mid-range percussion and eerie bleeps to spell out stern, functional techno of the deepest kind.
Review: Veteran maverick Elbee Bad pops up in ever-unpredictable places, but somehow he sounds just right on Thema. His fearless, deeply rooted take on house music defies imitation, and so it goes across this full-fat EP. "Request Monster" is a lazy groove embellished with strings protesting the culture of requests in the club, while "A Lot Of Jazz As A Child" doffs its cap to Sun Ra in a subtle way that manages to be both mechanical and free-flowing. "If EYE Was From The D" is a more overtly electronic production that sits somewhere in between acid, techno and deep house. "Crossing Dimensions" is an uplifting workout with a sweet vocal turn from an unknown source, and then "Jami Jam Dubb'd" finishes the record off with a primal set of ingredients working round a stout kick.
Review: The Jaunt Records 10 years series shores up with the Land installment featuring another four adventurous souls that have the spirit of deepest techno in their bones. Stojche lets lush Motor City synths lead the way on the energetic "The Exchange" before AWOL gets into an intricate broken beat groove on the stunning "54.973379, -1.614705". Luke Hess brings some unabashed acid gurgles to the front of the mix on "TDY" and then Deep'a & Biri plot a course for dubby waters with the growling tones of "Pilgrim".
Review: Italy's TGP label has been a strong presence in the more wayward division of the house and techno game since 2010, and this has been thanks to the persistence and unifying vision of its most regular artists. Here, they team up in fine style on the label's third instalment of the TGPEXTRA series, with Claudio PRC and UNC leading the pack with "CXXV", a sombre, minimalistic techno deviation with just the right hint of dubby haze. "III" by Blazej Malinowski is an equally sparse and aqueous affair, stretching cold beats and placid stars of bass over a consistently shifting backdrop of soft harmonies and industrial sonics.
Review: As one of the foremost energies in Rome's electronic music scene, Adiel's productions on her own Danza Tribale label have communicated her take on minimalist, rhythmically inventive techno to the wider world. On this fourth installment, Adiel pays tribute to the Japanese capital with the snaking immersion and insistent propulsion of "Tokyo". On the flip, she truly opens up the filters of possibility with the kinetic, hyper-detailed percussive ripples of "Jungle". In an eerie, cavernous space, these needlepoint drum lines interlock and drive the listener deeper into a well of meditation, delivering the intended outcome of submission and transcendence that Adiel's music is engineered for.
Review: There's a certain mysticism that hovers around Piramide Registrazioni, with its occult symbolism, mysterious artists and fuzzy, vintage sound. Label protagonist Xinner has been previously spotted alongside S. Moreira on Phonica Records, but here is sharing valuable wax space on Piramide 2 with Autre and Hawaiian Chips. Autre's version of old-skool deep house has an interesting urgency about it, and Hawaiian Chips turns out shimmering electro of the highest order. It's Xinner's tracks that stand out the most though, with synths straining under the weight of their own wobblyness and beats that punch out in clouds of reverb fog.
Andy Rantzen - "The Dial" (Itch-E & Scratch-E mix)
Laccy - "Spectrum Of Vibrations"
Laccy - "Coincidence Of Opposites"
Review: The fourth installment on Spinning Plates comes from Andy Rantzen and Laccy, featuring a wealth of off-beat techno adventures for wayward souls. Rantzen is an Australian producer with a history remixing the likes of Severed Heads and working alongside Paul Mac as Itch-E & Scratch-E. His lead track "Digital Elf" is a stripped a raw beats n' bleeps workout, while "The Dial" finds Mac chipping in as they rework the track into a deadly old-skool burner for lovers of bleep techno. Laccy has only had one prior outing to date, but sounds in strong form on the sleek and crafty "Spectrum Of Vibrations" and delightfully freaky "Coincidence Of Opposites".
Review: Following previous outings on Blind Box and Half Baked, OddMann strike out on their own with a self-titled label to carry their crafty twists on the minimal house and techno formula. There's quite a tough, old-skool finish to "Track 1" on this no-nonsense 12", tapping up the early UK techno vibe in all its swooning pads and errant bleeps. "Track 2" is more aligned with the clean lines and head-nodding grooves of European minimal, but there's still plenty of space for surreal sound design in between the drums. "Track 3" dials up the swing and gets seriously funky, keeping things stripped back to let the DJ do their thing.
Review: Adam Marshall has been a part of the worldwide techno movement since about the same time as Mike Dreben; the pair's tunes have been hitting our shelves since the early days of Juno, and so we feel that they have been a special part of our development over the decades. They appear out of nowhere for the BLUE imprint, out of Canada, by slamming down some furiously penetrative techno bruisers with a minimalistic touch and feel. Dreben's first 2 cuts are wild and fast, tumbling over their own kicks and snares as the toxic levels of bass are released over tight, dance-centric grooves. Marshall's "Avalokitesvara" reigns supreme on the B-side, hitting harder and more direct comparted to Dreben's stripped-back feel, with a heavy succession of kicks and snares hitting down extra hard. Finally, some proper techno runnings!
Review: Style Upon Styles sister label Bangers & Ash is fired up once again to encourage a select artist to indulge both their ambient and dancefloor sides, and on this occasion it's US producer Contakt who has been asked to split his musical personality across two sides of wax. It's actually the mellower 'Ash' side that leads in first, with the dub techno meditation of "Second Shift" followed up by the star-gazing machine soul of "Detritus." Then on the flip the heat gets turned up with the rolling drums and punchy chord stabs of "Shut Off Notice" and the distinctly Motor City flavoured thump of "NDO."
Review: US veteran and all round champion of any genre he turns his hand to, Freddy Fresh is still immersed in the game and slinging out essential jams at a rate of knots. He dons his Modulator guise for two tracks on this latest 12", keeping things decidedly raw and letting the machines do the talking. This is stripped back robot music, all primal drum machine rhythms and errant synth bleeps for synthetic souls. On the B side Fresh represses a track produced in collaboration with Paul Mix, which was originally released back in 1996. It's not hard to see why it's so in demand on the second hand market - a spellbinding slice of ambient techno from the golden era of the genre.
Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.
Review: Given that he took his DJ/production pseudonym from the name of a 19th century Romanian writer of folk stories, it's no surprise that Petre Insperescu's chosen form of techno is shuffling, atmospheric and classically-minded. Sitting somewhere between Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos and Nicholas Jaar, his sparse but well-rounded productions are simultaneously pleasingly calming and genuinely energetic, full of curious touches (a twinkling, distant piano here, a cut-glass string trio there) and gentle exploration. Gathered together and mixed into a seamless whole, as on this first mix for Fabric, they offer an intriguing journey that should appeal to all those who love their techno subdued and atmospheric.
Vatican Shadow - "Church Of All Images" (Regis version)
Fiedel - "Andreas" (bonus beats)
Cub - "Cu2" (Ust Funk mix)
Mary Velo - "Detune"
Jpls - "Basis"
Rrose - "Wedge"
O - "Syvays"
Rrose - "Wedge"
Function - "Modifier"
Carl Craig - "Darkness"
Markus Suckut - "Hunt"
Samuel Kerridge - "Waiting For Love" (part 1)
Untold - "Motion The Dance"
Surgeon - "As You Breathe Here Now"
Mark Ernestus - "Mark Ernestus meets BBC"
Plastikman - "Plasticine"
Trevino - "Uptight"
Vcmg - "Spock" (Regis remix)
Planetary Assault System - "Flat Tire"
Factory Floor - "16-2-16-9-20-1-14-9-7"
James Ruskin - "Into A Circle"
SS/S - "Sicario De Dios: Siglo 2"
Laurent Garnier - "At Night"
Function - "Voiceprint" (reprise)
Review: Despite the nebulous Sandwell District label ceasing operations at the end of 2011, the name has lived on as a performance based entity with Female and Silent Servant leaving it to be fronted by Karl 'Regis' O'Connor and Sumner. Thus the latter two step forth to man the figurative decks for this stunning induction into the Fabric mix series. Productions from the pair feature heavily, with several tracks from Function's recent Incubation brushing up alongside several of Regis' recent remixes for Blackest Ever Black and VCMG, while Sandwell alumni Silent Servant and Rrose also feature in the form of "A Path Eternal" and "Wedge" respectively. There are also a few surprises in the form of Untold's "Motion The Dance" and Factory Floor's "16-2-16-9-20-1-14-9-7?, which are joined by experimental fare from Boyd Rice and Samuel Kerridge. A must for fans of Sandwell District.
Review: Hailing from the dark and mysterious world of Bunker Records, Shemale makes a welcome return after many years of silence with this fantastic release on Tabernacle. "Star Chamber Summoning" sets a powerful tone - this is ambient music that demands attention through its sheer force of presence. "Way To Hyperborea" actually taps up some kind of beat structure, but it still behaves like a wayward backroom track with its undulating bassline and gravelly, brutally submerged beat. "Shores Of The Western Sea" is all analogue soundtrack bombast of the finest B-movie kind, and "Wisdom Of The Stars" strikes a more nightmarish note in its use of discordant synth drones.
Review: Having emerged from the murky waters of the tape scene on Always Human and Summer Isle, Strahinja Arbutina follows up on a first 12" for BANK Records NYC with this sterling sure shot for the excellent Bliq label. There's a range of styles displayed across Fox Venom, but the tracks are held together by the immersive, droning atmospheres that linger in the background of the productions. "Fox Venom" lurches under a heavy cloud like the best subterranean techno should, while "Teabagging Mystery" gets locked into a deathly minimal groove. This is music for the graveyard shift, although Deemonlover's "So Solid Mix" of "Fox Venom" does inject some wild breakbeat action into the gothic surroundings.
Review: UntilMyHeartStops makes a welcome return to the fray with this sublime four-tracker from emergent Swedish producer Martinou, previously found sneaking around the sewer sender label. As is customary with UMHS releases, the conventions of house and techno are masked by a veil of mystery, where billowing pads and crooked rhythms dig past common or garden variety club tracks to offer something more sublime. From the slender, shimmering "Unaware" to the weighty thrum of "Excessive, Surely" and on to the delicately poised "I Don't Wanna Wanna Feel", Martinou proves himself to be entirely in tune with the hidden depths of the label.
Review: Hot on the heels of his inaugural release in January, Braiden introduces Slewis, a new producer on his emerging Off Out label. After years of honing his craft in the studio and playing in experimental bands, London born Slewis makes his mark on his debut with two equally bold dancefloor cuts. Group V opens with an extended twisting cacophony of synthesizers before breaking down into metallic driving machine funk. On the flip, Despot delves deeper down the rabbit hole as EBM influenced sounds and syncopated claps dance around a bed of paranoia, leading to a tense breakdown populated by a flurry of spasmodic drums.
Polished Chrome (feat Gary Numan - The Friend Part 1)
No Regrets (feat Aleen - The Friend Part 2)
Review: While he forged his reputation on fearlessly mechanical, no-holds-barred techno, Chris Liebing's occasional albums have tended to take a more widescreen approach. For example, his last solo set, 2003's "Evolution", jogged between spoken word, ambient, techno and left-of-centre breakbeat. He's taken a similarly eclectic approach 15 years later with "Slow Burn", a full-length low on rip-snorting club fare but high on atmospheric electronica, hypnotic chuggers, woozy ambient, early '80s cold wave influences, nods to early industrial music and a clutch of impressive collaborations (Gary Numan, who pops up on "Polished Chrome", being the most eye-catching guest). For the most part, this approach pays dividends, with the intoxicating "Trilogy", becalmed "So Then" and John Carpenter influenced "Ghosts of Tomorrow" standing out.
Review: After launching last year with Who, Get Your Copy returns to the fray with a little help from Italian powerhouse Steve Murphy. The producer gets plenty of action on labels like Hot Haus, Chiwax, Lobster Theremin and more besides, so you know you're going to get a solid dose of tuff house business delivered with that gutsy Roman attitude. "Everything U Know" channels an abundance of 90s vibes, from the nagging chord stab to the understated speech sample, while "Infiltrator" takes a tribal direction without losing the old-skool flavour. Both cuts are perfectly shaped for the dance, whether you want to hit a peak time note or take the crowd deep into the groove.
Review: Melbourne's Short Black label has been relatively sporadic with its releases up until now, having started back in 2013 with Matt Kennedy's Together At 2am EP and dropping the third release on the label back in 2016, Rustal's Privilege. Hopefully this excellent new transmission from newcomer Tristan Kino will be the start of more productivity from the crew. The EP starts off in fine style with the nervy, reduced acid twitch of "Yggdrassil", while at the other end of the record "Niddhog" presents a tougher, darker throwdown crafted for seedy techno dancefloors. Johannes Volk has been snapped up for remix duties, and does a sterling service with the metallic clang of his version of "Niddhog".
Paperclip People - "Country Boy Goes Dub" (Marcel Dettmann remix)
Norman Nodge - "BB 1.0"
Francois X - "Rising"
Marcel Dettmann - "Lightworks" (Phase remix)
Lockertmatik - "M Lock 4"
Wincent Kunth - "Carlre"
Joey Anderson - "Repulsive" (Marcel Dettmann edit)
Marcelus - "Flash"
Vril - "Torus XXXII"
Review: When it comes to DJing there aren't many names as trusted as Marcel Dettmann to provide the essential mix, be it in CD or podcast format. To date he's curated the second installment of Ostgut's in-house Berghain mix series and the Conducted mix for Belgian label Music Man. So it's about time Fabric invited the Berghain resident to participate in their own mix series, with this 77th edition providing a selection mostly based on unreleased MDR demo tracks that Dettmann's been utilising in his sets for years. The result is a good primer for what to expect from his label in the future, with Answer Code Request, Norman Nodge, Ilian Taper Dario Zenker and French producer Marcelus amongst the high-profile names contributing unreleased productions.
Review: While he may have been operating in the underground for some time, Darren Allen's music is only just coming to light through his own Underlying Form label now. There's a range of styles on offer across this EP, kicking off with the subtle pulse of "Feel" before moving on to a distinctly French-flavoured micro house groove on "Inmost Cave" that wouldn't sound out of place on Telegraph Records. On the B side, "Routine Kills Inspiration" switches the mood up with a rougher sound palette, even if the arrangement is still a minimally-minded affair. Then it's left to Vid Vai to drop a complex reworking of "MD Habitat" loaded with intricate textures.
Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux - "The Same River Twice"
M:I:5 - "Masstab 1:5/11"
Jan Jelinek - "Tendency"
Dresvn - "Untitled B1"
Objekt - "The Stitch-Up"
Two Full Minds - "No Smoke"
Photek - "T'Raenon"
Don't DJ - "Pornoire"
Flanger - "Spinner"
Carl Craig - "A Wonderful Life" (Epic mix)
Call Super - "Acephale I"
Call Super - "Acephale II"
Marco Bernardi - "Demonia"
Jega - "ZX82"
Shanti Celeste - "Strung Up"
Bitstream - "Incubator"
Bruce - "Sweat"
Convextion - "Niche"
Karen Gwyer - "Hippie Fracca"
Thomas Ankersmit & Valerio Tricoli - "Plague #7"
Walter Brown - "Keep On Walkin'"
Yves Tumor - "The Feeling When You Walk Away"
Max Loderbauer - "Giant Hug"
Speng Bond - "Cutbacks"
Review: Soon, Fabric's impeccable mix series will reach its 100th installment - an impressive achievement in anyone's book. This 92nd volume comes from rising star Call Super, who joins the dots between all manner of tasty house and techno treats - some left-of-centre and quirky, others simply wonky and picturesque - over the course of 80 hugely entertaining minutes. According to the producer, it's designed for the break of dawn, rather than peak-time, a fact reflected in the presence of dreamy, loose, fuzzy and melodious tracks from the likes of Carl Craig, Speng Bond, Max Loderbauer, Shanti Celeste and Dresvn.