Review: Brawther's Negentropy label has already carried gold star material from Ron Obvious and the man himself, and now it's the turn of debutant producer Zweizig to show off his wares. This assured 12" leads in with the ambient intro "Gewissen" before the crisp minimal funk of "Rhythm Tension" kicks in with its shimmering and shuddering sound design pinging around the dexterous beat. "Zephyr" is a smoky affair with a snappy broken beat and lots of subtle organic matter writhing in the middle distance. "Rehash Repeat" takes things deep and dubby to complete the set, all mellow hiccupping rhythm accents and hazy melodic phrases.
Review: The Zenker Brothers and their Ilian Tape venture get stronger by the minute, and here Marco flies solo with this latest EP, sounding in utterly rude health with it. "Geezin" is a distinctive opener, ditching standard 4/4 propulsion in favour of an airy drum machine arrangement infected with the slightest flurries of hardcore breaks and offset by wistful synth patterns. It's a curious combination that works magnificently, but for those wanting something a little more direct "Splifer" is on hand to deliver a more classically Zenker techno mantra. "Darai" brings the swing back in fine style, throwing down a chunky stomp to match the sizzling hats, and then "Lubiana" wrecks the surroundings with its magnificent pummel of low end percussion and gritty production values.
Review: It's double trouble again from ever reliable Bavarian brethren: Dario and Marco Zenker. The Ilian Tape head honchos seem to look for inspiration from the West Midlands techno scene circa the mid '90s. The splintered, full-throttle machinations of A side cut "Sorting Peanuts" call to mind Force + Form era Surgeon with its stuttered and jarring pace - making equal room for tension and suspense. On the flip, the greyscale factory floor stomp of "Sample Predator" will please fans of the Downwards back catalogue - British Murder Boys and Female in particular.
Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: Argentina's Andres Zacco has form with Ilian Tape, debuting on the Zenker Brothers-helmed label back in 2011. Zacco is back in the IT fold, but this time it's through the label's X Series, a chapter reserved to more spontaneous white label action. As such, "Thaw" is a sublime mass of percussion riding solo on a soundscape, before being punched into shape by a powerful kick drum, while "Quirt" is more of a stripped-back techno slitherer for DJ tool use. Flip the wax and you'll find the weighty kicks and morphing sonics of "Beighty", alongside Ilian Tape's Rupcy's distorted, big room reinterpretation of "Thaw". All killer, no filler.
Review: The second 12" on Moscow-based mystery label Private Persons comes from Youngg P, a Ukraine-based DJ/producer whose debut release dropped on Kiev House a couple of years back. On the four tracks showcased here, he shows a good grasp of analogue house and techno dynamics. "Carpathian Rave" is a quirky, off-kilter jacker rich in buzzing electronics, liquid acid riffs and bustling house percussion, while "Ocean" fits the stargazing electronics of vintage Motor City techno to the saucer-eyed melodiousness of vintage Italian deep house. Meanwhile, creepy flipside "War" sounds like it was inspired by a mix of L.I.E.S style distorted techno and 1980s industrial funk. As for closer "Masher Track", it's a full-throated exploration of clanking, drum machine techno.
Review: KUMP's second multi-artist extravaganza - the Lyon-based label's first such exercise for two years -brings together tracks from a quintet of eccentric experimentalists. Clanking, horror-inspired creepiness is provided from the start via Jon The Baptist's lolloping "Hear No Evil", while those looking for some chugging, mid-tempo dancefloor sleaze should make a beeline for Maahrt's "Davardage". Elsewhere, Stove's "Chief of Nine Sisters" is an industrialist's take on tropical music with a suitably pagan twist, and Yssue and Yaws' contributions both sound like contemporary re-inventions of Nitzer Ebb style electronic body music (albeit with a touch more inherent looseness).
Review: The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that the four cuts showcased here made up the first 12" of Indigo Aera's recent Lost Archives Special box-set. Like most of the rest of that expansive package, these tracks are exclusive and previously unreleased. The quality threshold is undeniably high: check, for example, the glistening, beat-less ambient positivity of Yamaoka's "Dragon Robe", and the glacial melodiousness of Skudge's rolling techno shuffler, "November". Those looking for a darker, slightly more intense take on techno should head for Museum's throbbing "RA", while label co-founder Jasper Wolff's "Float" is a study in classic, dub-influenced techno hypnotism.
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 XOR Gate is a new project from Drexciya member and all round Detroit legend Gerald Donald, we'd expect copies of Conic Sections to fly off the shelves. It helps, of course, that's the mini-album is little less than inspired. There are hints of Drexciya's alien electronics throughout, but little in the way of punchy TR-808 beats or booming bass. Instead, Donald treats us to a sublime selection of futurist soundscapes, experimental doodles, deep space ambient compositions and trippy, horror-influenced electronica. It's effectively the distilled essence of Motor City futurism with the dancefloor grooves removed and some creepy modular electronics thrown in. Which, we think you'll agree, is an enticing proposition.
Review: Gifted Culture Collective member and occasional S. Moreira collaborator Xinner has decided to inaugurate a new alias, Robotron, via a first EP for ESP Institute. The man-machine's first missive, "Dream Resonator", is rather delightful, and sees him warp chiming, crystalline synthesizer melodies and glassy-eyed IDM style chords around an inventive and entertaining rhythm track that sits somewhere between Drexciya style electro and jazz-fired broken beat. The same rhythmical dexterity is also at the heart of similarly rush-inducing flipside "Ice", where bolder melodies and chunkier bass catch the ear alongside some suitably futurist electronics.
Review: On celebrating 22 years of Josh Wink's cult acid classic "Sixth Sense" on his legendary Ovum imprint, they've invited one half of Masters At Work, Louie Vega, and Israeli techno hero Shlomi Aber for a set of remarkable updates. Vega looks after the A side with a couple of sweltering reworks: from the bouncy, bass-driven groove attitude of the main remix which retains industry veteran Ursula Rucker's powerful vocal performance, to the handy dub version up next. On the flip, Aber certainly has come a long way since the days of Chicago Days/Detroit Nights - it's about spending all weekend at Berlin's Berghain these days - getting on some proper tunnel vision with his steely and austere rework.
Review: This time the Mojuba sublabel brings us the second part of the 'Detroit' series by the label owner Don Williams himself. This one-sided
record features two fine examples of music inspired by the city of D. The first one is a pumping, peak-time cut to hit the dancefloors with
and might become an essential tool for the ambitious DJ. The second track convinces in its very own character, providing a feeling that
many will recognize from the early years of techno, when this music was connected to the listener in a more deep and emotional way.
Review: The masterful Sven Weisemann returns to the album format with Inner Motions, his second long player of a storied career as a producer of supple, genteel house music. It's released, naturally, on the Mojuba label whose sound has been defined by Weisemann and compatriot Nick Sole, and offers an extensive demonstration of the Berlin based producer's capacity to combine heart wrenching musicality with the crisp dynamism needed for club play. Arriving in some typically luxuriant packaging from Mojuba, Inner Motions is apparently "inspired by electronic music's classic and timeless albums of the early and mid 90s" and its 12 tracks form part of a greater whole. As intoxicating a listening experience it is, Weisemann has still ensured some of the music here can be equally powerful out of the collective context with "Rejection" and "Evolver" notable highlights.
Review: After a strong run of releases between 2013 and 2014 that saw the likes of Hakim Murphy and Mark Forshaw grace their grooves, III Rivers are back in action with a sterling new effort from apparent debutant producer Dane Weaver. The techno foundations of the label sound as strong as ever on "Atom Soup," which charges ahead on firm but malleable arpeggios with an acidic undertone. "In The Clear" is a more wriggly affair with a swung groove and plenty of off kilter delights for wonkier dancefloors. "A Brief Trip To Space" opens up the B side with some delightful anchorless tones, and then "French Stu" burrows deep into the outer realm of machine manipulation in a gritty demonstration of leftfield techno.
Review: Hyperdub and Tectonic regular Walton finds himself on vital Munich label Ilian Tape for his next EP. The rhythmic innovator takes cues from the label's love of breakbeats in one track here. Opener "Before The Storm" is a suspensory bit of ambient with sustained pads and distant hits, crashes and pops speaking of alien life forms. "Rolla", a dusty and shadowy cut that skates along with a sense of uneasy menace. Last of all, "Depth Charge" is as it sounds: fathom deep bass lurches to and fro with machine gun like snares firing across the face of the track. It's boombing body music to make you move.
Review: Having only just released an EP through Midgar, 2017 looks set to be a winning year for techno deviant Von Grall. The Semantica associate is up on Modularz this week, and from the tenebrous sounds of "Seeking Loyalty", it's clear that the producer is in absolutely no mood to stray outside of the techno framework. This is some pretty dark material. "Distinction" is another hefty roller of a tune, this time stripped-back to a hypnotic sequence of bleeps and airy pads while, on the flipside, "Next Form" bashes out a cacophonous flurry of electrifying tones, and "Obtain It" flutters its pulsating bass tones over a minimalistic array of 6am sonics. Nasty, unforgiving gear for the dancefloor.
Zombies Under Stress - "Maan Zal Zijn" (Svengalisghost remix)
Mark Forshaw - "Submission"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
Review: Coldwave excursionist Shari Vari aka Void Vision finally comes through with her highly awaited Sub Rosa LP on the gorgeously on-point Mannequin imprint. The taster EP "Sour" out earlier this year was a taster of what's to come from Vari in terms of diversity and quality. Sub Rosa contains a little of everything when it comes to the electronic dance edge, where "Everythin Is Fine", for example, takes a techno beat and slaps down some vocals all over its makeup, while "Hidden Hand" is a true Drexciyan electro number. Then there's more abstract moments such as "Slow Down", "Vulgar Displays" with its rolling stabs of percussion and "Queen Of Hearts" with that humungous swell of low-end and quirky, heady melodies. Yum.
Review: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Maxwell August Croy's Root Strata present this retro inspired imaginary soundtrack, by the Vision Heat project of California-based musician Jared Blum. Said to be "inspired by countless soundtrack compilations and blog mixes of rare, foreign library and VHS music" as well as John Carpenter (naturally!) and Tangerine Dream. There's twenty odd tracks on offer here but they're all quite short, clocking in or around the three minute mark and all appropriate for various scenes. There's the beatless instrumentals for the rolling of the credits ("Vision Heat Logotone #2, "Manhunter"), moments of suspense ("Tonight's The Night", "Final Flight Excerpts 1-4") and of course the love scenes ("A Delicate Love" or "In Cab Reflections"). But it's the scenes at the disco that some might enjoy the most, such as the cheesy and funky "Beatin' The Heat On The Street", the Giorgio Moroder style cosmic disco of "Patrick's Theme" or the rebellious synthpop of "Slogovia's Theme". An impressive and convincing homage to a decade of decadence.
Review: After the label debuted recently with a 12" from Enrico Mantini, Purism returns with another fresh talent in the shape of Pepe Villalba, who makes a mighty fine impression with this first outing. "Acidbreak" may be something of a misleading name, although the 303 and a broken beat do feature heavily. It's actually woozy lead lines that shape out the vibe of this track, making for a dreamy electro diversion, and the mysterious yet warmly melodic tone continues on "U.F.O. (Sad Story About Conquering A Planet)". "Pianelice" is a different kind of jam with its stark keys way out front, but it's no less classy and ear-catching. "Charlie On The Moon" then finishes the record off with some slow, leftfield sparkle pitched at the lounging crew.
Review: Given how prolific Frak has been over the last 30 years, we shouldn't be surprised at founder member Jan Svennson's solo work rate. This latest outing under his regular Villa Abo pseudonym is every bit as essential as 2016's Madrid EP on Borft, a label he helped established in the mid 1980s. Happily, the techno on offer is of the bass heavy, trippy and bleep-influenced variety, with both "Bell Fragment" and the more psychedelic "Dual Twin" boasting serious sub bass and sparse electronic motifs. He drops the tempo on the industrial-fired throb of "Will Force Hermistin", where distorted electronics and metallic percussion hits catch the ear. There's also a neat bonus in the shape of a hypnotic, acid-laced late night techno rework of "Bell Fragment" by Estrato Aurrora.
Dancing Hindus (The Hieroglyphic Being Experience II)
News From Near Future (Madteo No Hay Nada Nuevo En El Futuro remix)
Review: There's much to admire about this debut EP from Modern Obscure, the new label from sometime Hivern Discs contributor Pettre (here recording under the similarly fresh Pedro Vian alias). There's the loose, dreamy melancholy of Pettre's new age tinged deep house original, and a typically brutal, all-out acid assault from Jamal Moss, whose The Hieroglyphic Being Experience II rework is akin to being brutally smashed round the chops with a lead-clad 303. Best of all, though, is Madteo's No hay Nada En El Futuro Remix (literal translation: "there is nothing in the future"), which winds its way through three distinct, heart-aching movements across 15 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Crimes Of The Future is the kind of label you can trust, no matter who is at the controls. The same could be said for Giallo Disco, and certainly the two labels orbit a similar space for lurid soundtrack-inspired hardware jams from the Italo age. Vercetti Technicolor is one half of the Giallo team alongside Antoni Maiovvi, and here steps out with a perfectly bombastic range of compositions that revel in B-movie brilliance. "Golden Taurus" is the perfect slow-burner, those mono bass notes warming like no soft synth ever could, while "Topaz Fear" brings a more action-driven sequence into the mix. "Death Wish" too opts for a pumped up club scenario, while Heinrich Dressel smokes out "Golden Taurus" into a seedy slow-jam.
Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
Review: Some two years in the making, the double LP Datafunk Vol 1 compilation from UK label Abstract Forms finally arrives and should be classed under "worth the wait" by anyone with an interest in all strands of electro purism. Datafunk Vol 1 essentially demonstrates how respected Abstract Forms are as a label within the electro community with new and exclusive contributions from such luminaries as DJ Stingray, DMX Krew, mystery Bunker entity Shemale, Further Records Rotterdam correspondent Ian Martin and Andreas Gehm's Elec Pt 1 project. Don't skip on the lesser known names such as Das Mooster or Obergman however as their productions help lend Datafunk Vol 1 a sense of cohesion, with "Cycloaddition" from the unheralded Linear Synthesis a notable highlight. If Abstract Forms want to spend another two years working on a second volume that's fine with us!
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!
Ingrid Lukas - "We Are" (Manuel Tur remix 3) (6:47)
Rampa - "Necessity" (7:46)
Fred Und Luna - "Im Klanggarten" (Prins Thomas remix) (9:56)
Mosca - "In This Life Or The Next" (6:12)
Alex.Do - "Drenched" (7:35)
Eagles & Butterflies - "X" (7:19)
Davis - "Blind" (feat Cameo Culture) (5:53)
Denis Horvat - "Momak" (8:02)
Quarion - "Monolith" (6:24)
Dino Lenny - "A Certain Distance" (Dixon Retouch) (7:32)
Culoe De Song - "Judgement Day" (6:56)
Francesco Chiocci - "Nightmares" (7:30)
Review: Since launching back in 2007, Innervisions' Secret Weapons series has been consistently impressive. Its' various EPs and compilations feature tracks that have been doing the business in the sets of label chiefs Dixon and Ame, some of which have never previously been released. Part 8 is the most expansive volume yet, with 13 tracks stretched across four weighty slabs of wax. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the cinematic creepiness of Mosca's "In This Life or The Next", and the dreamy, slow-building wooziness of Prins Thomas' remix of Fred Und Luna's "Im Klanggarten", to the undulating, soul-flecked goodness of "Blind" by David, and the late night, broken techno brilliance of Culoe De Song's "Judgement Day".
Review: Puglia, Italy based imprint Out-Er has had quite a year, with releases by the likes of Detroit minimal techno innovator Terrence Dixon aka Population One, British tech house hero Aubrey and Dutch techno legend Orlando Voorn. The label (run by Simone Gatto) now presents an impressive compilation celebrating five years in business and it is rather impressive, if we do say so ourselves and signifies some brilliant prospects on the horizon for 2017 and beyond. Highlights here weren't limited to: Dial Records and Berghain regular Efdemin with the oddball avant garde/techno crossover of "Don't Bang Your Fingers" where its hypnotic groove supports a bizarrely used dialogue from a cooking show. Then, quick: hide your AIRA because The Analogue Cops are here! They give us the slow burning and dusty hardware jam "Speculation", which is very good. Also, don't forget to check the aforementioned Voorn's collaboration with Motor City don Juan Atkins on "Reloaded" for your fix of hi-tech soul.
The Djoon Experience - "Old Landmark" (feat Kenny Bobien) (7:29)
2AM/FM - "Desolate Cities" (6:50)
Tom Of England - "Be Me" (4:23)
Invisible Conga People - "In A Hole" (6:22)
Christopher Deloach - "Snow" (feat Nick Hallstrom) (3:31)
Review: The outspoken pair that are Paul Nickerson and Francis Englehardt ran the Dope Jams record store out of Brooklyn until the pressures of rising gentrification in the area forced them to sadly close their doors in 2012. Featured on this compilation across three 12"s are exclusive tracks; reissued or previously unreleased. Highlights weren't limited to: Scottish tech house legend Funk D'Void: who delivers the hi-tech soul of "Thank You (Slowly)", Chicago hardware maverick Hieroglyphic Being on the relentless jack of "Kilometer Zero" and D'Marc Cantu and Tadd Mullinix aka 2AM/FM with the tunnelling acid techno of "Kilometer Zero". Comes with a 32-page booklet full of photos, staff profiles and various anecdotes from over the years.
Steve O'Sullivan & Yossi Amoyal - "Singularity" (10:05)
Eric Miller - "From A Distance" (7:58)
Bluetrain - "Read My Mind" (9:08)
Monoaware - "Hanami" (6:04)
Delano Smith - "Without Reason" (part 1) (7:36)
Delano Smith - "Without Reason" (part 2) (7:30)
Leonel Castillo - "Stealer" (7:30)
XDB - "Frost" (6:15)
Thor/Sanasol - "All Sides Will Be Lost" (8:56)
The Wise Caucasian - "Agent Orange" (6:13)
Ryan Elliott - "P's Keys"
Tobias - "Styles 2"
Efdemin - "Flight"
Monoaware - "G-Train To Shibuya" (7:31)
Fluxion - "Overcast"
Paul St Hilaire & Rhauder - "Not Saying Much"
Review: Sushitech's second chapter of their Tessera compilations has been in the making for over two years. It's not hard to understand why, however. This monstrous 5 disc release is riddled with techno killers of the highest calibre, from start to finish. We knew that these guys were reliable purveyors of fine electronic dance music, but this is a truly impressive showcase, and surely up there with the likes of Ostgut Ton. In fact, this compilation goes even beyond the immediate techno remit. It's difficult to pick out the highlights here; everything is solid, and even the opening dub echoes of "Prelude" is enough to get us salivating. There's a rare appearance on the dubbed-out deep house of "Skank" featuring Rhauder, Steve O'Sullivan makes a sleek appearance, Delano Smith offers two magnetic pieces of Detroit magic, XDB's "Frost" is nothing short of spectacular, and even Efdemin's glitchy, minimalist deep house seems more poignant than usual. This is a big'un - don't miss it.
Review: "Off radar dance music / elitist pop culture transmitted from the Gooiland area in Holland" according to the label themselves on the Noblesse Oblige EP " it is a gathering of artists with a different heartbeat and mind-set... uncompromising sounds for the real freaks ... in this case this means sweaty EBM, dark techno and industrial acid". Yeah we couldn't have said it better ourselves really. Take for instance the A side cut "Apertanence" by Zagreb's LCN, a slow burning EBM grinder reminiscent of early DAF or Liaisons Dangereuses, the always impressive Noah Anthony aka Profligate with his new wave electro-punk noir on "Come Back (Bleeding House)". On the flip we've also got some reduced industrial techno courtesy of Osty on "Untitled One" and the gritty and uncompromising techno-punk of "Neugeborene Nachtmusik" by Yoshiwara.
Review: Having rounded off their fifth anniversary celebrations at the tail end of last year, Midnight Shift Records has decided to look to the future. In a bid to wet our appetite for releases yet to come, the Singapore-based stable has put together a killer compilation of "soon-come" sounds from label artists old and new. Highlights include the industrial strength stomp of Hodge and Gramrcy's Kowton-esque "Barnohl", the rolling, peak-time positivity of Mark Forshaw's "Power Grab", and the clanking, off-kilter lo-fi techno bounce of Innsyster. Those looking for more contemplative moments should check the gentle marimba melodies of Thelonious Harmonious's "Iron Beat", while electro freaks will definitely enjoy the cyber-sonic squelch of Amato's "Joie Automatique".
Review: The lads behind Albion Records know a thing or two about where to look for fresh steps forwards in the minimal, house and techno scenes. After last year's Gab Jr release, they're finally back to hit number 10 with a double pack compilation that sets in stone what the label is all about. There's a lot to dig into here, but some of the standouts include the sharp and sneaky "Forgot Your Name" by Henry Hyde, the Boogizm-goes-electro freakery of Christian Jay's "Restive" and the swinging jazz surrealism of Phil Evans' "Hazard". With more than a little garage shuffle hovering over this release, it's set to be another huge one in all corners of the minimal tech house scene.
Felix Da Housecat - "Temptation" (Color mix) (5:54)
China White - "Theme From The Underground" (5:53)
The Operator - "The Mind Strike" (7:18)
Steve Poindexter - "Body Jam" (14:19)
Mike Dearborn - "Deviant Behaviour" (instrumental mix) (5:39)
DJ Skull - "Don't Stop The Beat" (6:04)
Review: In case you didn't know, leading Dutch crew Dekmantel have taken it upon themselves to shine a light on the vital work of the Djax Up label. It was one that joined the dots between US and European scenes back in the nineties and this second volume features eight cult 90s cuts from some foundational names. Highlights are plentiful throughout, but our picks have got to be Glenn Underground's "Real Space"; a jacking Chicago jam with cosmic bass that still bangs and DJ Skull's hi-tek soul on "Don't Stop The Beat" that well and truly defies its age amongst a release that is full of golden oldies.
Albert Luxus - "In Den Arm Bitte!" (Julian Stetter mix)
Tom Demac - "Serenade"
Jurgen Paape - "Abstrusia"
Reinhard Voigt - "Der Amnn, Der Nie Nach Deutz Kam"
Rex The Dog - "Vortex"
Justus Kohncke - "Mindless Sex Track"
Voigt & Voigt - "Der Schwarm"
Anii - "Ride The Tiger"
Clarian - "Early Life"
Extrawelt - "Pink Panzer"
DJ Balduin - "EWBA"
Anna - "Remembrance" (main mix)
Fahrland - "Yesterday" (Night version)
Patrice Baumel - "Grace"
La Fleur - "Tears"
John Monkman & James Monro - "Pesto Punk"
Blackrachas - "Rotary"
Raxon - "Dark Light"
Yotam Avni - "Track For Agoria"
Jonathan Kaspar - "Renard"
Gui Boratto - "618" (Kolsch mix)
Review: Cologne powerhouse Kompakt may not be talked about as much as it once was, but the label continues to put out high quality electronic music with its own distinctive vibe. For proof, check the 19th annual edition of their now legendary compilation series, "Total". There's much to set the pulse racing amongst the 25 tracks scattered across two CDs, from the shoegaze-influenced haziness of Weval's "Are You Even Real" and the picturesque, piano-sporting dancefloor deepness of Tom Demac's "Serenade", to the neo-trance throb of Rex The Dog, the twisted techno intensity of Voigt & Voigt, and the intergalactic electro/rave fusion of Raxon's strobe lit "Raxon".
Review: Just under two years after launching in a blaze of modular noise and out-there electronics, Athens-based label Pi Electronics has decided to set up a new offshoot, PEVA, to handle the organisation's first compilation, Variable. They say the idea is to bring together unheard tracks from label artists old and new, with additional contributions from lesser-known local artists and higher profile guest stars. The nine tracks are, by and large, forthright and intense, with highlights including the clanking, acid-flecked industrial techno of JK Flesh's "Chelmsley Wood", the buzz-saw guitars and motorik machine drums of 3.14's "GBNR17", the extreme techno filth of "Spinner" by DAS and the fuzzy, razor-sharp electro heaviness of Damcase's "INKL Rules".
Review: Russia's Gost Zvuk label has long been a firm favourite here in the Juno office. Their glitchy, mysterious, futuristic music always makes for intriguing listening and now they celebrate five fantastic years with a compilation featuring a host of closely associated talents old and new. The bumper triple vinyl collection features paranoid experimental ambient that draws to mind covert spying operations, mangled machine music like INFX's "Damaged +dn", haunting modulated synth soundscapes from OL and skeletal techno rhythms that rewire your brain like Erofeev's "11bng". It all makes for a genuinely fresh and original collection of hugely provocative music.
The City Where I Used To Live & Love/Stockholm (2:33)
The Color Of Saffon/Opium (5:56)
Lavender Halter/See Through Showers Of The Standard (3:41)
Review: Varg's Star Alliance originally took shape as a 6 cassette box set released in late 2015 on Posh Isolation now gets a re-release on vinyl and is definitely a must for fans of the Swedish producer. Said to be a collection of live recordings from his worldwide performances over an extended period, they are no doubt representative of his varied yet dynamic style, running the gamut from power electronics and dark ambient pieces through to deeply hypnotic techno that has seen him release on the likes of Northern Electronics and Semantica previously.
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: Aside from being one of the hottest prospects in contemporary electro, French producer Unwelt is also running not one but three of the most consistent imprints around at the moment. His fourth studio LP comes through on the New Flesh subsidiary, breaking out into a deafening storm of industrial electronics from the get-go! The album, Abandon In Place, feels like it should be part of the larger 'dance' category but, in fact, it is very much grounded in experimentalism and abstraction, launching copious waves of hard-edged ambient, often guided by sparse percussion loops and rhythmic bass. The flipside contains the most energetic moments, and as the album progresses, so does Umwelt's thirst for movement pace. A masterfully composed cascade of sounds.
After The Cremation (Area Green Green Grass version) (4:23)
Pankow (SW Electrofunk mix) (5:36)
Steamed Up Window (Skookum Reminiscence) (4:06)
Review: Mystery production unit UD returns to Kimochi, one of the more overlooked imprints of the last few years, with four new cuts and a rather fine selection of remixers to boot! The mood is pensive and the sounds are atmospheric throughout, where tracks like "Lollipop Robot" or "Adapter" stand somewhere between ambient and electro-acoustic. The remixes give the tracks slightly more dancefloor weight, and both Area Green Grass and label regular Skookum contribute with a set of pretty killer reinterpretations a-la outsider house, but the silent killer is most certainly SW's remix of "Pankow". The SUED records co-owner fixes up a wonderfully bizarre concoction of sounds and shapes, moulding them into a dubby, sparse and cinematic twister. Another fine slice of Kimochi, beautiful artwork and all.
Review: TV Baby are NYC duo Matthew McAuley and Brain (not a typo, apparently) McPeck who are what local legend James Murphy would describe as using "borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s" with their brand revised no-wave antics. Produced by Gabriel Andruzzi of the Rapture, their music is impressive nonetheless and gets some equally impressive remixes by these guys: check 'em out. First up is Los Angelo Secret Circuit doing his trademark psychedelic synth thing on "Free Tech", Tom Of England hands in two remixes of "Wild Joy", but it's all about the "Tom Of England Astro instrumental" where it stutters and glitches away in real style. Finally "Klerin Priest" gets the remix treatment and we'd have to hand the award to Ivan Smagghe whose "Frossed Remix" channels that dirty late night Paris feel much like his early Black Strobe releases did: grinding, squealing and booming about the place. One of his best remixes in years, if you ask us.
Review: Will Bankhead's Trilogy Tapes imprint continues their assault on 2012 with the latest release of Tuff Sherm - an alias of TTT regular Dro Carey. Sitting nicely alongside the KM/MM and Willie Burns releases on TTT this year, the Pharmacy EP showcases a sound that is part raw techno, part submerged house; the title track combines rolling tom-heavy percussion with abrasive unprocessed synth tones, like Drexciya jamming with Kassem Mosse. On the flip, "Hydlide" makes things even murkier, with some abstract beatdown house that would give Madteo a run for his money, while "Leg Man" is another trip down the wormhole of abstract loops and minimal clockwork rhythms. We probably don't need to tell you, but this is another essential 12" from TTT!
Review: For Those That Knoe are back with another wedge of dusted down delights from Casey Tucker, a hidden treasure of the mid 90s that nearly got away. Fortunately his effervescent machine soul jams have found a new lease of life with these reissues, and this fourth installment comes from a freshly unearthed box of DATs that pushes Tucker's story even further. "Inner Strength" is a pumped up shot of dynamic techno in the classic sense of the word, mysterious but hopeful, tough but sensitive. "Terraform," which previously aired on a long-deleted 12" from the 90s, takes things skywards with an unabashedly positive tone to the dense layers of synths and box beats. "Waiting Game" rounds the EP out on a wistful, acid-drenched tip - let's hope there's more jams of this quality to come from the Tucker archives.
Review: Last seen excelling on The Corner, NYC techno man Phil Moffa adds Hypercolour to his prospering profile with Rogue Music, a 12" hook up with the irrepressible Seth Troxler. Whilst this may not be the most immediate of collaborative endeavours you could think of, there is still plenty to enjoy here with "Blue Rawls" a perfect balance of stripped back, bone shaking rhythm and a growing sense of textural foreboding. It's the sort of track you can lay down after a frantic bout of drums to really hypnotise the dancefloor. Complementing this, "Meet The Butcha" heads off into seven odd minutes of bugged out house territory and leaves us clamouring more from the pair.
Sakamoto: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (Francesco Tristano rework)
The Mentor (feat Derrick May)
Infinite Rise (feat Derrick May)
In Da Minor (feat Derrick May)
Esoteric Thing (feat Derrick May)
Review: Derrick May's Transmat, a legendary label that has been producing some of the best, most mind-altering electronic music since the late 80s, returns with a highly unexpected album by Luxembourg's Francesco Tristano, an artist who has always had one foot in electronic music and the other in neo-classical. Although this comes as a surprise, it's easy to understand why May would want to associate himself with such a talent; the producer's music is both so varied and well-consrtucted that it must be a dream come true for any artist to remix. In fact, aside from Tristano's own masterful productions on here, from the opening "Sakamoto: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" to "Rocco's Bounce" or "Xokolad", Derrick May himself appears across four tunes, all of them reminiscent of his Detroit golden days, and it's great to hear that he hasn't switched to an all-digital set-up. In fact, all the sounds on this superb album sound organic, full of life and, although the arrangements recall many of May's classic tunes, there's something new and compelling about them. Recommended!
Review: Having found his way into the bags of Ben Sims, Norman Nodge and Rolando among others with his first release, Tripeo returns with a second 12" of heavily textured, hypnotic and puristic techno. An alter ego of Holland-based producer Darko Esser, Tripeo eschews the eclecticism of his other project Onionboy for "niches and purism". This is clearly evident on the A-side, where a functional kick drum combines with diamond-like hi-hats and a lone glassy synth to create a purist techno experience that borders on the psychedelic. The B-side is even more sparing but no less striking, with a broken techno rhythm that is interrupted by a trippy mosaic of morphing synths on a 90s tip.