Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: Throughout his career, L.I.E.S. regular Beau Wanzer has proved adept at delivering decidedly fuzzy, lo-fi workouts that variously draw influence from industrial, EBM, techno and electro. He's at it again on "Do The Spider Shimmy", a tidy ten-inch containing six wonderfully wayward cuts. It's a noticeably stripped-back affair, with most of the cuts existing of little more than sparse but heavy basslines, occasional electronics, minimalist electro beats and the odd droning, stylized vocal. Highlights come thick and fast, from the gently spacey synth-scape "Never Look Back" and the buzzing simplicity of "You Can't Stand On Broken Shoes", to the lo-fi no wave pop of "Choice Curve" and the raw, laid back electro sleaze of the title track.
Review: Transhumanism is a collective of Dutch producers who first met on the dance-floor at Dave Clarke's Whip It party at Melkweg in Amsterdam, so that will give you a reliable indicator of their sound: it's brash, serrated electro that fires your synapses and awakens your every sense. Juan Atkins and Helena Hauff have been dropping it all summer and it's easy to see why. There is strobe lit action from Slaves Of Sinus, walls of high intensity sound from RXmode, rave tinged stuff from W1b0 and a more throwback jam from TFHats to round out a high impact EP.
Review: Seleccion Natural is Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, a techno dream team who have a new album on the way this autumn. Before that they offer up two tracks from it on a tidy 10" that brims with modular synthesisers, samplers and drum machines. "Split Didactics" will rewire your brain with squeaking lines and cantering kicks making for a real techno riot, and "A New Description Of Hell" layers up hammering kicks with howling synths into a rigid and unrelenting groove. Making this extra special is artwork by none other than Silent Servant.
Review: Berlin-based DJ and producer Denise Rabe has become something of a cult heroine since her first releases in 2015. The years since have found her operate in her own parallel techno world, where psychoactive sounds and heavy drones permeate your ears, then your brain, then your whole being. Now she steps away from her own Rabe label for a debut on Stroboscopic Artefacts, which finds her take charge of the Totem series. Opener "Manifesto" is a driving techno groover with ghoulish synth designs and keys from the 5th dimension, then "Don't Leave" will utterly trip you out with its panning pads and mysterious leads. "Clouds" completes the journey with doom laden and wide spread kick drums that lurch over and over through some ruined post-human world. Tip!
Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Bristol's finest Jules Smith aka October is back with more reduced EBM mutations following up the dusty and rusted experiments ts as heard on his great Death Drums cassette on No Corner just last year, not to mention 2015's wicked Black Body Radiation. It's the second edition of his new eponymous imprint here. On the A side we have "Repentant (version)" a grotty acid slow burner that squeals away menacingly above the seething dirt of vintage drum computers. On the flip "Judgement Dub" goes for an early Chicago vibe somewhere between Jamie Principle and K. Alexi with its haunting pads and funk bass supported by spitfire rhythm patterns and morose atmosphere that's geared for the early morning hours of a sweaty Berlin basement party.
Review: Miltiadis Merentitis is one of the greatest exponents of the underground Greek scene. After several releases on Nous, Echovolt and Synapsis he joins Jose Rico's Spanish imprint Freebeat with the Epitome Of Things EP. Miltiades explores the driest of territories through his characteristic chords, kicks and percussion which will transport you to another world. Take the first cut on the A side for instance: a deep hypnotic techno cut that creates perfect trance induction by relying on the most basic of analogue elements. On the flip, the second track is a gothic lo-fi house jam reminiscent of New York City's Patricia while the final offering channels the spirit of early '90's Detroit on this fine serving of hi-tech soul.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: It's now been two decades since Gallic producer Joan-Mael Peneau first donned the Maelstrom alias for the very first time. He's been in particularly fine form of late, offering up essential EPs on Cultivated Electronics, Central Processing Unit and Private Persons. Here he makes his debut on Craigie Knowes' hard-wired techno and electro offshoot C-Know-Evil with a formidably tough two-track offering. A-side "Spasm" is a riotous fusion of metallic percussion hits, high-octane electro drums, doom-laden acid lines and bass so raw and intense it was probably made in Scotland from girders. He opts for an even more doom-laden techno sound on fizzing flipside "Turbulence", wrapping increasingly intense electronic motifs around a surging rhythm track.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
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.
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Review: Laurene Exposito is back on Amsterdam's Knekelhuis with a follow up to her well received debut album. This new record is said to be very personal - life changes and her love life are said to be central themes. All tracks have been recorded at Exposito's home in the Rennes, France using all analogue equipment. Starting out with the seductive coldwave tribute "Yellow Density" which features some inventive synth action that reaches near acid moments over her deadpan vocals. On the flip, title track "Cocktail Mexico" goes for some Dopplereffekt style electro shenanigans and "Go Forward" conjuring up comparisons to early Tropic Of Cancer on this hazy lo-fi goth journey.
Review: 2013's Das Heise Experiment album was one of Robert Witschakwoski's wilder efforts under the storied Exaltics alias. This belated second volume is perhaps not quite as intense - there are less acid-fired workouts, for starters - but it is just as impressively mind-altering in tone. Although rooted in machine electro, the 12 obliquely-titled tracks draw on a myriad of influences, resulting in a largely dark, moody and clandestine mixture of dark and paranoid ambience, panicked IDM, punchy, Drexciya-style missives, end-of-days mid-tempo techno and fuzzy, L.I.E.S/Vatican Shadow style lo-fi murk. As you'd expect, the whole thing hangs together brilliantly, sounding not unlike the soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi horror set on a haunted spaceship.