Review: Silent Season's mainstay artist Segue returns with a new album, following up on the well-received immersion of his 2016 LP "Over The Mountains" with further explorations in the hinterland between dub techno, ambient and a more pastoral kind of palette. It's a field he's well versed in, and one that typifies Silent Season's approach as well, but there's plenty of fresh ideas to latch onto here as Segue weaves gorgeous threads of melody around tactile, mossy beds of sound and understated grooves that carry you to far away, inviting places. Even the more pronounced dub techno stylings of "Mirage", for example, sound vibrant and invigorating in Segue's hands - another sterling album from an accomplished producer.
Review: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Sattva & Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilising The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Circling Vultures - "Frothing Over The Fruit Of Original Sin" (7:30)
Israfil - "Psy ~ K" (5:56)
Locked In Blue - "Say God" (4:17)
Years Of Denial - "You Should Worry" (5:38)
Joshua Cordova & Sam De La Rosa - "El Gusano Pendejito" (4:34)
Raum-Zeit - "Toni Fahrt Motorrad" (3:46)
Champagne Mirrors - "Evelyn's Doll" (4:02)
Review: With a true curation of artists, this double LP marks the eclectic and passionate works from Public System. The latest in the synth-heavy sludgedown from the ever impressive imprint, invites a new cast of characters into the dungeon dance. The common theme throughout this collection, seems to be wide, slowed down melancholy. Some tracks take a floor-focused jump, while others demand the attentive consumption of a more serene setting. These two discs are packed with dynamic, chugging, and forward thinking jams that make you mesh all things the imprint is clearly passionate for.
Review: 'The Man-Machine' is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop. Less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, 'Trans-Europe Express', there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of 'The Man-Machine' in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new-romantic movement.
Review: "We are excited to finally announce and share 'Presentiment', the second Long Player from The Connection Machine. This release is particularly special for us as it will be the first time in over 20 years that Jeroen and Natasja have put an album out on vinyl. Despite having a string of aliased releases in the '90s on the mighty U-Trax, a 12" during the early days of Carl Craig's Planet E, a remarkable album 'Painless' on Down Low Music, and most recently a series of in demand E.P.s with Lost Trax on Tabernacle, their output has remained tantalisingly infrequent. With 12 tracks that capture their unique and awe-inspiring sound, 'Presentiment' opens you up to a world that only The Connection Machine have access to."
Review: You'll struggle to find another LP opener that's quite as striking as "Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death", the stunning ambient-folk cut that kicks off Phillip Sollmann's first album as Efdemin for five years. It's utterly beguiling and features a traditional folk acapella over layers of hushed electronic chords. It sets the tone for an album in which Sollmann effortlessly saunters between atmospheric and droning dancefloor techno ("Good Winds", the 14-minute, Berghain-friendly "New Atlantis"), woozy experimental ambient works ("At The Stranger's House"), Jew's Harp-sporting club cuts ("A Land Unknown"), discordant free tech-jazz ("Temple") and the kind of hazy, traditional music-meets-electronica cuts that have previously been a hallmark of Firecracker's Mac-Talla Nan Creag ("The Sound House").
Review: The ever on-point Kimochi crew has described this label debut from talented Finn Lauri Saine as "a deceptively simple series of compositions that rewards deeper listening". We get what they're saying. One of the EP's greatest strengths is the way the intricate details and subtle layers of Saine's productions creep up on you on the third, fourth or fifth listen. It gives all four cuts a super-deep feel, putting them somewhere between lovely warm-up workouts, horizontal home listening fare and Sprinkles style peak-time hypnotism. Highlights include the sunset-ready jazz-house fluidity of "Swirl", the undulating, wonderfully picturesque ambient shuffle of "Saw U" and the dub-techno influenced soundscape flex of "Babel".
Review: Given the hype that surrounded the release of the first Moderat set back in 2009, we can surely expect more of the same for this second outing from Apparat and Modeselektor. Those familiar with the first album's woozy blend of IDM, Thom Yorke indebted vocal dreaminess, porchlight techno and post-dubstep rhythms will immediately feel right at home. Online reviews have focused largely on II's atmospheric warmth, and the way in which the Berlin-based trio seems to have refined their sound. Both are valid critiques; certainly, there's a maturity and musical complexity to the album that betters much of their previous works. It's not much of a dancefloor set, but that's entirely the point; this is locked-in headphone listening for the wide-eyed generation.
A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere (4:58)
Review: Paul Woolford has spent a good chunk of his downtime over the last year or two making Special Request tracks in his pants. So much so, in fact, that he's created enough material to fill four albums, all of which will be released this year. "Vortex" is the first and is, in Woolford's own words, high on "bangers" and low on "conceptual guff". In practice, that means lots of gut-busting low-end frequencies, trippy analogue electronics, razor-sharp rave-style riffs and bustling rhythms that variously touch on electro, early '90s progressive house, breakbeat hardcore, slamming Joey Beltram style techno (see album highlight "Fahrenheit 451") and metallic, delightfully mangled drum and bass ("Fett", whose wonky electronic undulations hark back to early Woolford classic "Erotic Discourse").
What Doesn't Kill You Doesn't Make You Anything (4:09)
Darkly Down The Cellar Steps Again (5:02)
Review: John Heckle last released an album on Tabernacle three years ago, but he's been far from quiet since then with his Head Front Panel project diverting his attention towards blistering hard techno. Tone To Voice then represents a return to more melodic pastures with a more diverse selection of tempos and moods to choose from, but still Heckle's innate gift for expressive, dynamic machine music shines through. "Sonic Spectrometer" is a joyous slice of techno-jazz, while "Potential Life" whips up stunning cascading synth lines and pattering hats. At times, there's no need for a kick, and with ample ambient excursions woven into the mix this stands as one of Heckle's most accomplished releases yet.
Review: After a 2018 dalliance with ESP Institute, Andrea Mancini AKA Cleveland returns to John Talabot's Hivern Discs imprint with his most expansive and ambitious release to date. Stretched across two discs, the tracks that make up "nDSi" are notably more starry and spaced-out in approach than some of the Brussels-based producer's previous releases. There's much to admire from start to finish, from the sci-fi electro shuffle of "Polar" and deep space techno bliss of "Noord", to the sparse analogue notes and off-kilter IDM rhythms of "6IX". Other highlights include the breezy, Space Dimension Controller style ambient techno of "Govlin" and the broken computer vibes of bleeping closing cut "NDSi".
Review: Toki Fuko has quietly slipped out some high-grade ambient electronics over the past 10 years, but this double-vinyl drop on the ever excellent Silent Season represents some his most striking work to date. In line with the label's aesthetic, gauzy dub techno atmospheres prevail in the main, as thick billowing clouds of chord drift over submerged, stripped down rhythms. There is also space for other moods to infect the process though - there's a laconic 90s chill-out room groove to "Spring Ray (Outtake)", which then gets reshaped as a pattering percussive meditation on the EP's closing mix. Stunning, immersive approaches from start to finish.
Domenic Cappello - "Not A Festival Track" (Basement mix) (6:57)
Stojche - "Decipher Language" (5:41)
Gauss - "Aperture"
XDB - "Satimak"
Leonid - "Woodwalk"
Life Recorder - "True Moments"
Review: The Verdant stamp of quality is well established by now, but it presses even deeper with the release of this high-grade compilation from a rich cast of subterranean seafarers. Steve O'Sullivan dons his Bluetrain cape for the slow-chugging, appropriately dubbed out meditation of "Sleeping With The Enemy", while Domenic Cappello creates a swooning string-drenched masterpiece out of "Not A Festival Track". Stojche's "Decipher Language" is a snappier affair, while XDB crafts one of his sublime, leftfield techno variations brimming with imagination to match its functionality. At every turn this is a compilation of top-drawer techno crafter with passion and originality - grip it while you can!
Review: Berghain resident Patrick Graeser returns as part of the Ostgut Ton family, with his second full length opus. Much like his 2014 debut Code, Graeser has honed a hybrid musical approach that stands out in a world of uniform 4/4 techno - as heard over the years on MDR, Music Man and of course his own Answer Code Request imprint. Gens is a diverse yet cohesive affair, between the more straight-ahead tracks like "Knbn2", "Cicadae" or the particularly seething "Sphera" (which are breakbeat driven, bass-heavy and UK inspired), there are some mentalist IDM journeys ("Ab Intus/Audax") and even breathtaking ambient moments like "Orarum" and "Mora". Brilliant stuff.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - "One Being, One Orientation, One Power" (6:12)
Review: For the ninth volume in their ongoing compilation series, Berlin clubbing institution Berghain has handed over the reigns to man-of-many-aliases Dominick Fernow, an experimental electronic music hero known for his work as Vatican Shadow, Prurient, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and Exploring Jezebel among others. His choices are universally inspired, from the spoken word loops of Genesis P-Orridge and ghostly, mind-altering dancefloor hum of Los Angeles Death Cult, to the lo-fi techno of Ron Morelli, the acid-fired intensity of Volvox and the dust-encrusted industrial throb of full-throttle cuts by JK Flesh and Alberich. The double-vinyl set also includes a number of twisted modular loops and occasional forays into noise-soaked ambience. Impressive stuff all told.
Review: Andrea Porcu's ROHS! label has been a long time fixture in the ambient field, from net label origins to limited CDr and vinyl releases from a host of respected underground operators. This latest release, two years in the making, features two original tracks from PURL. These sublime ambient pieces, "Slow Poem" and "Cellar Door," move in slow, atmospheric ripples of submerged rhythm and glacial melodics, giving plenty of space for inventive remixes from Segue, Wanderwelle and many more. It's a perfect double pack of dreamy drifters for the chill-out room crowd to sink into.
Review: A fine example of Pan-European collaboration here, as the Brighton-based Furthur Electronix label buddies up with Berlin stable Libertine Records for a very special joint release. Shad T. Scott kicks things off (under his now familiar Gosub alias) with the deep, sparkling and picturesque electro shuffle of "Take Your Time", before ACEW + Ghost Ride layer spacey, minor-key synths over skittish drums on the rather fine "Mind The Gap". The quality threshold remains high on side B, where Cignol's inspired, acid-flecked electro workout "Chorus Envy" - which to these ears is as rush-inducing as any similarly melodic early Orbital record - is followed by the stomping, fuzz-fuelled lo-fi techno thump of Jared Wilson's "Toughskined".
Review: Following two appearances on Adam Beyer's Drumcode, British producer/DJ Boxia and self-confessed "rave anorak" returns to the label with his debut full length "A Night In The Life Of". Nine powerful and highly engineered peak time techno weapons aimed squarely at the main room. Opening with the glassy-eyed title track (feat Lyke), Boxia knuckles down and lunges straight for the jugular via the pummelling "Unofficial Everything", deep sonar transmission of "Primal People", seething and barrelling power of "Sunshine State" before rounding things off with the emotional, ambient IDM number "Last Nightclub".
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: Sometime Trilogy Tapes and Zodiac 44 artist Buttechno (real name Pavel Milyakov) arrives on Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax with his fourth album-length excursion. It could well be his best to date too, as we can confirm it has very few flaws, but plenty of atmospheric, ear catching fare to enjoy. He begins with the fuzzy, metallic mid-tempo techno creepiness of "March Cherskogo", before proceeding to flit between smooth horror-techno ("Back 2 The E"), melodious and spacey electro ("Elektroshirka", the foreboding "AXF"), mind-altering intergalactic chug ("Slow Durk") and sparse, crackling industrial techno (L.I.E.S-ish closer "808 Exec Dirty").
Review: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
Review: Fans of stripped-back, minimalist techno - particularly the Eastern European variant focused around Romania's thriving scene - will happily tell you that every release from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project (AKA SIT) is worth checking. This, a double-pack containing half of the tracks from their new album (a second part is also available) is certainly noteworthy. It features a quintet of trippy, low-slung late night workouts seemingly designed to operate in the cracks between tech-house and minimal techno. There are naturally subtle variations throughout - a nod to dub techno here, a psychedelic acid line or dreamy deep house texture there - but throughout, their focus remains firmly on wonky early morning workouts.
Review: ** Repress on clear vinyl ** Hospital Productions have been around for a hell of a long time, with releases dating back to 1998. For the last fifteen years they've progressed impressively and have grown by expanding their catalogue as far as black metal. Silent Servant, one half of the now defunct Sandwell District label, makes his comeback for the American label with sheer elegance and emotion. Negative Fascination is a true LP, with all the productions representing an entity rather than a collection of dancefloor tools. Tracks such as "Invocation Of Lust", which sway effortlessly across desolate plains of synths and distant melodies, fall neatly into place with others; "Moral Divide (Endless)" being its natural epilogue as ghostly sounds and transmuted effects are caught in a whirlpool of rough, analogue beats. Only certain parts such as "The Strange Attractor" could be bracketed as belonging to the techno realm, with most other tracks containing much more than just club antics. "Temptation & Desire" could only be considered techno in so far as its dark approach, but it's the ingenious sound arrangements that fall between their spaces which make this album a true gem. Highly recommended.
Review: Detroit techno maestro DJ Bone has been on prolific form of late, from his collaboration with Deetron to his own steady stream of sharply realised output on his Subject Detroit label. Now he's back with a new album, Beyond, and it's as advanced and keenly executed as you'd expect. From the echo chamber synth flourishes of "Multiples Of Self" to the low-end grind of "In The Deep," there is plenty for Bone fans to chew on here, with a continued focus on expressive synth work as first mooted with the "A Piece Of Beyond" LP earlier this year. "Rosedale Park" is a clattering, Rhodes-embellished track primed for damage in the dance, while "Bound To Move" equally brings the peak time heat.
Nina Kraviz vs Snazzy - "U Ludei Est Pravo!" (4:37)
PTU - "Mstera" (3:59)
Carlota - "Your Destination" (4:56)
Carlota - "Noise Psychosis" (6:53)
Vladimir Dubyshkin - "Soviet Film" (4:26)
Buttechno - "Dubstepping Progression Fast" (7:01)
The Mover - "Track One" (5:05)
Review: Nina Kraviz knows that January is usually a rather bleak month. Thus, she's tried to raise the spirits of Trip label fans everywhere by delivering this surprise New Year present: a tidy, eight-track compilation of previously unreleased cuts from the imprint's growing family of contributors. There's much to banish the January blues, from the all-action acid-techno intensity of Buttechno's "Rostokino Acid" and the mildy aggressive, off-kilter industrial techno hypnotism of PTU's "Mstera", to the buzzing, machine-fired dancefloor psychedelia of "Noise Psychosis" by Carlota and the sparkling, Autechre-via-Moscow bounce of The Mover's "Track One". Throw in typically sludgy, out-there workouts from Vladimir Dubyshkin, the trip boss herself and Snazzy FX's Dan Snazelle, and you have a fine collection of floor-focused experimental techno cuts.
Review: "The Cry", John Beltran's 1997 album under the Placid Angles alias, remains one of his most beautiful, picturesque and well-rounded works. This belated sequel - the first Placid Angles outing since - is therefore hotly anticipated. It's wonderfully warm, melodic and atmospheric, with Beltran - a producer renowned for his ambient and techno works - expertly fusing elements of dreamy deep house, futurist Motor City techno, purist 1990s tech-house, early '90s IDM, rolling jungle/early D&B and intergalactic ambient techno. The result is a set of tracks so emotion-rich and evocative that you may want to marry it, or at least take it home to meet your parents. In a word: stunning.
Review: Danish producer SOS Gunver Ryberg is known for her compositions in soundtracks, video games and theatre, as well as her own A/V installations. She now presents this mini LP for Berlin-based imprint Avian, following up some exciting releases on Contort and Noise Manifesto. "Entangled" includes six tracks focused on the dancefloor, including four "micro compositions", which illustrates Ryberg's vision of contemporary techno and her ability to hypnotise through sound design. From the barrelling intensity of opener "Palacelike Timescale Of Black", introspective ambient drifter "The Presence Eurydike", to powerful moments of textured greyscale techno ("Levitation") and intoxicating IDM deconstructions as heard on "Magnetic Force" - prepare yourself for one intense sonic experience.