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: 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: 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: Nick Sole is back on Mojuba! If you ever asked yourself how deep-house should sound like, now you have the chance to experience. The a-side of "World Dubbing" is an epic ocean of the deepest house sounds that will blow you away with its hypnotic organic feel and harmony. The b-side is a dancefloor shaking drum track with a catchy dubby atmosphere. Get it while you can!
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: Bergerac head honcho Red Rack'em is back with yet another oddball jam for the first time since 2017's "Place For Me", and it's fittingly titled "Wonky Techno Banger". Tripped-out, hypnotic and well funky - this one is perfect for getting weird at the afterhours. Groovy and equally psychedelic disco mutations that you've come to know and love from the man are catered for as well, such as on the bass heavy and lo-slung "Devon Analogue" on the flip, which is followed by "Nave Gazing" - a deep, beatless and neon-lit expression in Arp 2600 minimalism.
Review: A new aDepth audio record featuring Canadian Rennie Foster, including a remix of Nomadico (DJ Dex/Underground Resistance).
The title track Witch Hazel is a 9 minute long track with no breakdown and a minimal approach to arrangement, with organic elements cycling in and out subtly rather than obviously beginning and ending. A rolling half time, tribal groove drives the power of the track with a haunting vocal sample and layers of percussion creating a heady, polyrhythmic hypnosis on the dance floor. Not since Rennie's well known Devil's Water has he presented such an overtly occult offering as this extremely finely crafted EP, and this song represents the initial seduction of the record to the listener very effectively.
The second track, Navigator, is a drum machine driven workout, again with a polyrhythmic and tribal vibe, this time drenched in a rich, holographic pad that morphs and moves in unexpected ways. Minimalistic in presentation, this track is bass heavy and functional for the DJ, yet artistic and emotional.
The Nomadico remix by DJ Dex of Underground Resistance takes the elements of Witch Hazel and re-constructs them in a futuristic style with a more driving kick and molten Detroit attitude. A heavier techno approach to the piece, but still intact is the melancholic atmosphere of the original and siren song of the vocal sample. This mix includes a dramatic breakdown and unique arrangement familiar to fans of Nomadico's awesome Yaxteq label.
The last track on the EP is called Crossing The Boundary is possibly the only track in this style to sample distorted vocals usually associated with black metal, making this a very unique, perhaps polarizing, experiment in sound. Evocative of the desolation of deep space and suggestive of sonic dark matter. This track combines Rennie's singular approach to dub techno with ambient and drone music and the result is like nothing else currently in existence.
Review: The mysterious Wilson Phoenix returns with another batch of muscular techno joints that'll wipe the floor with any half-hearted 4/4 pretenders. Considering how sought after his earlier releases are, don't expect this to hang around for long. The beastly 909 kicks on "Dorphin" would slot in perfectly with Head Front Panel's own blown out take on peak time rabble rousing techno, while the kick-clap sync on "Dexed" will get fists a-shaking. It's not all blunt drums though - there's plenty of peppy colour splashed all over this record to make it stand out from the crowd. This ain't no monochrome chugging business!