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: Thus far all we know about Wilson Phoenix is pressed into the previous two records the anonymous operator has released so far in 2018. That should be enough for techno heads with their ears to the ground - this is rough and ready hardware business for those who like it nasty. While not perhaps as willfully unhinged as Neil Landstrumm, it's very much in that sonic ballpark, not least on relentless acidic opener "Between Mars." Things get a little freakier with the pinging electro delights of "Moon Machine" before the rowdy rave beast "Exo Planet" levels the landscape with some brutal synth stabs that would sound at home on an early The Prodigy record.
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: 'White of the Eye' is the first release under "Nothing but Blood" from Scott Fraser, a direct link back to Scott's earlier 90's work and sound around the darker realms of techno and harder-edged Chicago house. The EP title refers back to a favourite Donald Cammell film of Scott's from 88'. 'White of the Eye' on the A-side is an 11 minute extended mix of the lead cut. Silent Servant on remix duties delivers an amyl fuelled techno bomb landing somewhere in an 80's new york basement. Diving deeper on B2 it features Atlanta resident Claire Elise Tippins on vocals.
Review: After releases from the likes of Myles Serge and Hakim Murphy, Mentha now turns to STK (also known as Stekke) for some sinister minimalist tackle from the dark side. "Something Is Raw" creeps along on a bed of grumbling drone as pin-prick percussion punctuates the gloom, and then "What Is Back" drops the bed of noise for an eerily sparse groover sure to unsettle the nerves of any listener. After all those subtleties, Gary Romalis does a damn fine job of edging a little more meat onto the bones of "What Is Back" without losing the vibe of the EP. With punchy yet muted drums and lashings of atmosphere, his remix makes the perfect counterpoint to STK's uneasy reductions.
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.
Coefficient - "Wavefunction Collapse" (P God remix) (6:58)
Coefficient - "Wavefunction Collapse" (6:52)
Ben Gibson - "Frontier" (5:50)
P God - "Hoag's Object" (6:20)
Review: Italian label Prototypes is pretty straight up with their mission statement. It's all about 'classic techno elements blended with eerie atmospheres, dark synths and sharp percussion as essential characteristics.' UK producer Coefficient pursues the bleepier end of hypnotic techno in the same vein as the legendary Sahko, as heard on the trance inducing atmospherics of "Wavefunction Collapse". The fierce remix up next by label boss P.God goes for the jugular in the same style as recent Pole Group or Avian efforts. New Zealander Ben Gibson is featured too, with the lush deep techno excursion entitled "Frontier" which proves that this guy is on point as always. Finally we have P.God again with another fine effort in the form of "Hoag's Object". While certainly not as furious as his aforementioned remix, it certainly is jam packed full of drama and suspense. With its trance inducing melodies, droney pads and strict rhythms channelling that now classic Sandwell District kind of vibe.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Review: A slice of cyclopean, baltic Techno served by Grad U, well known for his Greyscale/Redscale project and releasing on labels like Knowone, Neurotron or Echocord. He delivers an obscure trip through the 7th Chapter of the story, Warfare, the decisive battle between clones and humans for the reign of planet earth...no one is safe. This is a vinyl-only release and limited.
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: Mike Jefford is back under the Positive Centre guise presenting us with more brutalist slabs of noise executed with the most skilful precision for the shadowy SNTS imprint. "The Arrival" sounds like the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller with its haunting and immersive pads supported doom laden rhythmicity of metallic textures. "Prepared Platform" is more straight ahead: a brutal and body bashing industrial techno attack full of reverberating night terrors. On the flip is "Direct Searching" which continues on with the doom-laden techno aesthetic that's become associated with Jefford's sound by now; a pulverizing slow burner. "Microlith" is definitely the fiercest offering on here: this loopy and hypnotic DJ tool is extreme and brutal and will make one secret weapon to covet in your arsenal.
Review: Nereid strip away the noise and focus on the music - an anonymous project by design on a self-manned label. This is faceless techno through and through, from the monochromatic artwork to the steely machinations of the music. It's far from a dry ride though - "Charon" leads the EP in confidently atop a snaking acid line that pulses between spacious percussion and some artfully placed atmospherics. "Sonic Boundary" is an exercise in spatial design, letting the reverbs bloom into an edgeless void for true transcendence, while "Alluvial Plains" boils the ingredients down to a minimal but motivated reduction. "Terminus" finishes the EP off on a nervous tryst with crooked rhythms and strafing acid lines swirling into an amorphous whole.
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: Newcomer Tom Dicicco aka Veyg presents an ear snagging selection of leftfield beatdowns here for adventurous spinners on the fringes of the party. "Mutual Romance" is a quivering, shimmering trip through crooked house beats and crunchy yet dubby synth flourishes to delight the mind. "Virgo Love Affair" has a sweeter lilt, but it's no less wayward in its execution, but then "Filling Pieces" heads into more explicit deep house territory with some blissed out melodic content riding atop a deep diving US-flavoured rhythm section. "How We Live" ramps up the meandering dub processing, with tripped out filter sweeps and panning lending a psychedelic edge to this smoked out joint.
Review: Braiden's material has been slow to come out since he first landed with a bang on Doldrums back in 2010. A turn on Rush Hour confirmed his status as a producer in command of the chops necessary to get a dancefloor shaking, but this year's X Years In London OST cassette was a chance for him to expand into more experimental pastures. Not so on this new 12" for his Off Out label, which finds Braiden turning up the heat with some fiercely modern tech house workouts. "V.O.L.A.T" has the same kind of dangerous earworm armour that made Paul Woolford's "Erotic Discourse" so potent all those years ago. "Hydroplane" meanwhile takes some of the crisp but playful tropes of Pearson Sound et al and straps them to a thrumming motorik beat.
Review: To date Ion Dumitrescu's Utopus project has only appeared on compilations, but now it scores the space in which to roam free across a whole EP that shines a light on this most promising of Romanian talents. P-Balans is the perfect place to house such wares, carrying the country's minimal love affair into intriguing new creative realms that deal in broken beat, electro and more outwardly experimental fare. "Southology" is a particularly fractured jam peppered with playful synths and tumbling drums, while "The Vision" takes on a shamanic techno stance. If you're craving propulsive tracks loaded with personality then hit up Utopus and you won't be disappointed.
Review: SH2000, a mystery artist whose been busy keeping himself under the radar, returns to Volking Music with another EP (check the guy's Ethereal Sound release for a true lesson in deepness!) and it's two tracks of utter symphonic beauty. "Track 1" releases a steady, driving kick beneath airy, delayed sonics and dreamy melodies, while on the flip, "Track 2" heads into total abstraction thanks to a starry landscape of atmospherics gliding left, right and centre without the help of any beat or bassline. Breathtaking excursions into the ether.
Review: Following it's recent reactivation and releases from JC & Kastil and D_Func, Ben Sims' Symbolism imprint sets out it's autumn stall with a blistering four tracker from Alphadrum. Rigourously roadtested by Sims himself over the past six months, this is an essential release from young italian producer, Alphadrum.
Review: Exos' label X/OZ continues to grow as a distinct voice in the world of minimal techno, this time around inviting Russian producer Nikita Zabelin to explore his sound with a sizable EP of finely crafted techno and thought-provoking ambience. "Confusion" is a consummate slice of hypnotic techno crackling with heavily processed energy, while "Pluton" drifts into rich beatless territory. There's more experimental fare afoot with the fractured tumbles of "Curtains", but "Trans Siberian Express" is on hand to lock things back into a sturdy rhythmic framework. Exos also takes the time to remix "Brooklyn Train" into a noirish dub techno workout.
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: REPRESS ALERT: After launching Brush & Broom with two solo releases, maverick German producer Kalbata keeps his followers guessing yet again with this collaborative release with the equally unpredictable Maayan Nidam. "The Town" is a surefire party starter made up of catchy bleep lines, quivering rhythmic flashes and lots of shimmering FX sends that suggest this was a live jam from two talented producers locked in the groove. "Chrome Moon" takes a deeper, more meditative approach without losing those heavy echo chamber washes, where the spring reverb and buckwild delay feedback rein supreme. Wonderful, free-tripping results from an unexpected meeting of minds.