Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Cartulis bounce from the essential release from Eliaz to this intriguing slab by Reade Truth, a New York techno original who was last spotted on Warm Fiction, Blkmarket Music and Path Records. His "Wires, Everywhere" album was a big release for Cartulis last year, and now he's back with further ruff n' tuff cuts that drip with Big Apple attitude. From the deep diving "Starflight" to the epic, ranging "Space Out (Expression)", you can sense Truth's hard earned swagger but it's also balanced out by subtlety, a sense of space and groove that makes each track a pleasure to sink into.
Review: Last year Paulo Mosca made his vinyl debut on Where We Met as one half of Venetian duo Micro.Solchi. Here he makes his solo bow via a four-tracker on Slow Life rich in vintage influences. "Interstellar Interruption", for example, sounds like the kind of far-sighted UK-US techno fusion that could have been featured on a Nexus 21 EP from 1990, while the organ-sporting techno-funk of "Cosmic Love" boasts bleeps that could have been taken wholesale from an early Warp 12". The producer's inherent funkiness is showcased further on brilliant opener "What's Their Name?" - all squelchy bass, Derrick May style drums and jaunty sci-fi lead lines - while "Star Wars" wraps decidedly spacey pads, warped lead lines and dubby bass around a shuffling breakbeat rhythm.
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: 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: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.
Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: Sad City's debut album was an absolute delight to behold when it landed late last year, and this remix package on Emotional Response does a great service to the quality of the original by offering up some truly outstanding new versions from impeccable talent. DJ Nature is one of the greats of heads down, dusty house, and his smoky handling of "Steady Jam" draws you in across two blissful versions that adorn the A side. On the flip, "Pace, Movements I-IV" gets a beautifully bubbly acid treatment from HOLOVR, and Herron plunges "Rain" into a murky bath of leftfield techno.
Review: Following the excellent instalment from DJ Skull, Mentha continues to gather pace as a house and techno label of note with this sublime offering from Hakim Murphy. While the Chicago native may be known for some bruising hardware house and techno a lot of the time, he's showing his more sensitive side on this release with delicate tracks that head into deep techno waters. The title of the EP says it all, as nimble, expressive beats merge with soothing, aqueous pad tones for a most satisfying of listening experiences. Fans of early deep techno a la B12 and Stasis will find much to enjoy here.
Review: Following outings on Echovolt, Further Electronix, Nerang, X-Kalay and Of Paradise, Gennadiy Manzhos brings his Low Tape project to Private Persons for the very first time. "The Next Summer of Love EP" is an expansive and universally impressive affair, with the Russian producer brilliantly charging between sun-kissed deep electro (melodious opener "Euphoria" and the similarly summery "No Acid For You"), raw and heavy jack-tracks ("Chicago Blues"), skittish but spacey electrofunk (the high tempo thrills of "Detroit Love"), bittersweet brilliance (the melancholic chords, non-stop machine beats and acid-style electronics of "Never Not Known You") and bass-heavy ghetto-house/ambient techno fusion ("Winter Acid Waltz").
Review: The low-key but long-serving D2B steps up on a self-manned label to deliver two surefire club smashers for those who appreciate the grit and soul of proper Detroit techno. "My Love" on the A side is the friendlier cut, its taut machine rhythms embellished with dextrous synth work from pulsing chords to simmering strings, all shot through with a smoky after hours haze. On the flip side, D2B gets a little rawer with the component parts of the track, jacking up the drums and spacing out the arrangement for a more intense workout that should satisfy anyone who wants techno with personality that still smacks hard.
Review: Dublin techno deity Matador returns with peak time ammunition. Growing, tension building and valve-releasing stuff made for main stage rigs and darkened, sweaty basements alike. Fans of the producer will not be disappointed, especially as it has been over a year since we got last summer's 'Air' on his Rukus imprint. Digressions aside, it's hard to know which of these techno offerings will do more damage, and not just because all three have a similar approach to taking us where we want to go. Opener 'Come With Me' is all about the background synth refrain, a continuous energy build beneath acid hooks and razor sharp highs. 'Connected' re-emphasises the importance of top-end percussion, only breaking twice to allow for a quick recharge. Finally, 'Fidgit' takes those ideas up to 11- a peak time weapon make no mistake.
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!
Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.
Review: Prince De Takicardie has been part of the Lumbago family of artists for some time. He's already served up some serious heat via the Signal Phantasm project (alongside studio collaborator Welwert) and here makes his solo debut for the Lyon-based label. He starts strongly via the jumpy acid bass, twisted electronics and thrusting grooves of "Space Dandy", before giving his TB-303 lines more prominence on the retro-futurist techno clank of "Scorpio's Track". Arguably even better is "The Haunted Cabaret", a sparkling and spacey slab of storming techno-funk, while "The Gates of Hell" sees the French producer wrap rave style stabs and jacking machine drums around another Chicago style acid bassline.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
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".
Following the successful reception of klodio's debut EP, the Tokyo-based producer spent the year playing shows in Japan with various upcoming artists like Fulbert and label co-founder Alixkun, and taking part in disruptive events such as Pow Wow School of Music.
When klodio decided it was time to start recording his second EP, he took a slightly different direction, going from Techno-influenced Detroit House to House-influenced Detroit Techno. "Shinagawa Sunrise" is a fast-paced retro-futuristic Jazz jam which climaxes on a fantastic sax solo by the young and talented Ilia Skibinsky. Daiba goes a step further in this Techno journey, flowing from glowing, light, syncopated chords to a dark and aggressive atmosphere, and back again to the relaxing chords.
More polished, singular, deep, and yet aggressive than "Toktroit", "Rainbow Bridge EP" brings another stone in the Asia-infused universe that the French producer is bringing to the world of electronic music.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
The Industry Of Dreams (Jeff Mills Commentary) (1:52)
Review: For those new to Jeff Mills' vast - and largely incredible - back catalogue, the Director's Cut series should be essential. Like its predecessors, this fourth volume gathers together various versions of killer cuts previously produced and released by the Motor City legend over the past two decades. Highlights include deep space techno workout "Deadly Rays (Of A Hot White Sun)", the densely layered African percussion, low slung bass and echoing organ stabs of "Gateway Of Zen (Percussion Mix)", the bleep-heavy electro/techno fusion of sweaty workout "999" and the alien-sounding, minor-key hypnotism of "The Industry Of Dreams". Each track is accompanied by a separate "audio commentary" from the man himself, which is ideal for those who love to hear artists talking about their work.
Review: Newcomer Tom Dicicco aka Veyg presents an ear snagging selection of leftfield beatdowns here for adventurous spinners on the fringes of the party. "Mutual Romance" is a quivering, shimmering trip through crooked house beats and crunchy yet dubby synth flourishes to delight the mind. "Virgo Love Affair" has a sweeter lilt, but it's no less wayward in its execution, but then "Filling Pieces" heads into more explicit deep house territory with some blissed out melodic content riding atop a deep diving US-flavoured rhythm section. "How We Live" ramps up the meandering dub processing, with tripped out filter sweeps and panning lending a psychedelic edge to this smoked out joint.
Review: While more usually recognised as Ann Arbor veteran Tadd Mullinix's acid house alias, JTC has always been more all-encompassing of classic electronic sounds. Taking in the aesthetics of nearby Detroit and Chicago, with Berlin techno and Belgian new beat influences along the way. With his new release on Spectral titled 'Indigo, Flesh and Fire', Mullinix takes a more direct and straight ahead route, with these infectious and functional techno tools that respectfully take their cues from the early Purposemaker and M-Plant back catalogue. From the hypnotic groove of "Innerloire Rendezvous" with its classic synopation and flanged hi-hats, the strobe-lit sensation of "Varastride" perfect for those heads down moments with its sonar pulse - that later makes way for that hands in the air melody. On the flip, we were particularly enamoured by the hi-tech jazz of "Surging On Chapinero's Edge" calling to mind the legend 'Mad' Mike Banks classic moments.
Review: AE Recordings turns its attention to Oculus, who they describe as a "titan of the Icelandic techno scene", famed for his live sets that have kept bodies moving for the past decade. He commits some of his sounds to wax here, maintaining the otherworldly emotional lilt that often comes from the scene orbiting AE and Thule Records, but with a bolder sound palette than some of the icy dubbed out artists he rubs shoulders with. "Nostalgia" deals in powerful, swooning chord progressions, while "Rydgad" pings a set of metallic percussion around a sturdy but crooked low end groove. "Morph" takes things deeper, while "Flod" offers up a classy take on the minimal techno aesthetic, with added sound design trysts for good measure.
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: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Review: Thomas Bangalter's 12"s on Roule remain the most potent examples of the early 90s French Touch sound, and some two decades after their first release the Frenchman is re-releasing some of the prize picks from his formidable oeuvre. Trax On Da Rox Vol 2 follows the reissue of the first volume last month, and for what it's worth we reckon this instalment is even more essential. Tracks like "Club Soda" - perhaps the smoothest example of filter house ever committed to wax - as well as the abrasive ripples of "Extra Dry" and b-boy cut ups of "Shuffle" set a blueprint for a generation of producers who tried (and largely failed) to replicate the pumping, visceral energy displayed here, while Bangalter moved on, donned a mask and took over the world.
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Review: After launching with a buttechno 12", Russia's leading exponent of leftfield techno fires up his RASSVET label under his own name with a trip into the strange middle ground between trance and coldwave. "Main Loop" is certainly obscure in its leaning, coming on like an 80s soundtrack refrain, but there's no mistaking the dazzling leads undergoing surgery in "Chording". This is deconstructed trance mangled for the post club generation, all the euphoria straining against aggressive digital processing to create a very unsettling listening experience indeed. Trance aficionados will be aghast, techno snobs will be up in arms, and the new wave of heads drawing on all genres great and small will be relishing in the post modern madness of it all.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: Nathan Melja drew some favourable attention with choice outings on Mister Saturday Night, Black Opal and Technicolour, but now he's steering his own label Dream Real as a vessel for his wayward but warm sonics. This second release keeps the psyched out tone of his previous work intact, offering up four jams of illustrious synth work and fractured beats for the adventurous souls out there. "Ignore" is a vaporous cut of stuttering drums and fuzzy chord shapes, while "Steam" sports a more clearly defined rhythmic pulse for the deepest house heads. "Raindrops" cools things down to a downtempo lilt, and then "That F Sound" nudges towards a leftfield techno domain that Melja ably makes his own.
Review: Eclair Fifi launches her River Rapid label with a smokin' hot drop from the mighty, ascendant Afrodeutsche. Manchester-based Henrietta Smith-Rolla turned heads quickly with her debut album "Break Before Make", which landed as a digi-only release on seminal electronica label Skam. Since then we've been patiently waiting for some follow up sounds, which Smith-Rolla dutifully delivers on this surefooted 12". "I Know Not What I Do" follows on naturally from the album with its moody, atmospheric synth lines and a Drexciyan bent to the production, while "Make The Call" locks into a crisp, tight electro groove for plentiful dancefloor pleasure. "Drink" has more of that brooding introspection lurking around the tough, boxy beats, and then "Phase Two" pushes out into a kind of android rave territory that will leave bodies quaking in its wake.