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: 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: 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: Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes' occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It's perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes - see the wonky industrial IDM of "Prophylaxis" and the beatless synth madness of "Gnome Circle" - but it's the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense "Hades Gates") that really stand out.
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: Owen Jay's Batti Batti label has carried a great selection of various artists releases throughout its back catalogue, and the tradition continues with this latest missive. The Palette EP kicks off with the ever-rising talents of Jayson Wynters, who plies a seductive strain of deep house on "Sherella's Kiss" that melts perfectly into the blissful, twinkling keys and gossamer percussion of Duccio's "Absurdation". Kiddmisha leads in on the B side with the sprightly electro of "Healing" before Weakmassive rounds things off with the mellow acid of "Sjhue," which matches a nagging 303 with sumptuous keys for a spine-tingling conclusion to a fantastic 12".
Review: Keeping up with Rene "Shed" Pawlowitz's many aliases is almost a full-time job in itself. Here, he dons the WK7 guise last used in 2012 for an EP that happily joins the dots between the sensual shuffle of house, and the rigid thump of techno. A-side "Washer" leads the way, with curious synth refrains and off-kilter electronics riding a delightfully bumpin', extra-percussive, 125 BPM groove. Flipside "More Music" successfully doffs a cap to vintage US and UK garage - feel the swing of those beats, with the added intensity of his usual techno kicks - with warm chords and vocal samples emphasizing the classic inspirations.
Review: Too long had passed since the last Power House killah, so these four new bangers from WK7 aka Shed couldn't be more welcome on our charts. As per usual, the techno luminary chugs out some proper old-school vibes under this slamming guise and, unsurprisingly, they're as mean and tooled-up as ever. "Rhythm 1" is classic WK7 on a breakbeat tip, molding euphoric rave waves together with fat, driving beats for the dancehall; "The Healer" is a much deeper, funkier groove powered by rough flanger FX and Shed's magical groove tactics. On the flip, "Rhythm 2 (Power Snap Mix)" is a subtle edit of the A1, boasting yet more percussive glory, while the Tripple H mix delivers a fine jungle rework of the original - crunchy breaks all-round!
Review: Having only made spotted appearances in the past, icy ambient techno artist Winter In June makes a fine first outing on vinyl with a press of his formerly digi-only EP Eternal Lovers. It's prime Silent Season material, using massive slabs of reverb and a foreboding sense of space as his main weapons while rolling out bleak machine matter that sounds as though it were blown across the tundra. "About Life & Death" is particularly moving with its heart monitor bleeps and forlorn strings, while "The Party Is Elsewhere" is a telling trip into the coldest of coldwave.
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!
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.