Review: Second instalment from Belgian electro-label ZwaarteKracht, once again assembling a dream team of international producers to bring together this extraordinary selection of dancefloor tracks with dark sci-fi moods. All dynamically mastered by Karel De Backer to keep those subs moving like they should. Features Arsonist Recorder with the hard hitting retro futurism of "Brain Mode",
Deemphasis going deep on "In My Mind" with its underwater acid, Datawave served up our favourite on the darkly dystopian electro bass of "Quadrant" while Francois Dillinger's "Moon Prison" provides the abstract and minimal vibes.
Review: Robert Crash's new TC White alias offers an ulterior shade of raw here, made possible by Swiss newbie label Moto. This is proper bangin' material from start to finish, kicked off with the liquid-like patterns of "Cow", a grungy house banger masterminded by heavy folds of mutant bass and crusty drums; "Muffin" splits the tempo down to a magnificently awkward broken beat with a deep, off-kilter sensibility. On the flip, "Cool" travels under a much murkier, more swamped sort of disguise, while "Cheese" is barely able to contain its inebriated groove from melting apart amid distorted tape hiss and loose instrumentation, which leaves "Mountain" to provide a little disco comfort to this mighty fine, utterly loopy EP of true-school house music.
Review: Osaka's Koshiro "YPY" Hino built his reputation on a series of fearlessly experimental cassette releases, before breaking cover to deliver a 12" of frazzled techno on Nous last year. Zurhyrethm marks his long-form vinyl debut, and contains eight suitably experimental tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. While there are clear tropical influences, a humid feel and nods towards the visceral pleasures of ambient, Hino's greatest strength is his eccentric drum programming. Zurhyrethm's dense - but often subtly mixed - percussive backing dominates throughout, with nods to African and South American rhythms, Sweet Exorcist's C.C.CD-era "clonk techno" (look it up), and the metallic clanking of classic industrial music.
Review: Original music from Vancouver based producer NAP has been intermittent on the electronic music scene, but now the Isla boss has finally dropped a 12" of deadly, textured and fresh-sounding electro for our bodies and minds. "Transhumano" features ZDBT and has all the hallmarks of Stingray-friendly future shock machine funk, but the particular approach to pads and melodies has a distinctive, moody slant that chimes with the hazy sound of Canada's West Coast. "Anestesia General" is another needlepoint, uptempo workout that packs layer up on layer of darting rhythms and blippy synth lines into the mix. "Sin Sistema" completes the set with a more subdued but no less detailed box jam workout.
Review: Yaleesa Hall returns to his Will & Ink imprint with some fascinating techno derivatives on the Hayley Laura EP, although these are much more straight ahead than his usual stripped down experiments - best heard on his 2016 debut album. Beginning with the electro-bass assault of "Zoe Price" bringing that UK style sound popularised by Carl Finlow or Radioactive Man in true style. "Hayley Roach" with its splintered beats and and tunnelling sequences are reminiscent of Regis' output in the late '90s, while "Laura Pomeroy" being the the most atmospheric cut on offer here - going down a more lush and hypnotic route. This is the first solo output from the Amsterdam based producer on the label.
Review: LFT has already made a sizable impact on his gnarly, muscular brand of weathered electro and techno, and now he's been snapped up by Zement to deliver another four rowdy roundhousers. "Nucleon" channels the best of minimal wave and gives it a deadly dose of modern acid revelry that will incite fevered responses on the floor, while "Wounds" takes things in a spookier B-movie direction without shaking off those powerful 303 demons. "The Cure For My Kind" manifests as a kind of nightmarish electro, and "Hypno Haniwa" takes another route into machine funk for malevolent souls, with stunning results.
Review: Rather unexpectedly, the third CVX release, to date, comes through on Berceuse Heroique, an imprint which seems to be following and replicating just about any genre or sub-culture form the past, making it a perfect example of post-post-modernism in action. Zibaldone III of CVX, a serious previously restricted to the Laura Lies In label, is undoubtedly a wild and wicked concoction of nebulous sonics that are all driven by a toxic, merciless percussion which spews from all angles with a certain mechanical fashion. It's an honourable third edition of the series, and we hope this marks a beginning of a new dawn for CVX. Wicked style.
Review: Central Processing Unit chief CP Smith is keeping tight-lipped about the identity of the shadowy producer(s) behind the Secret State project. Smith describes this debut EP as "an attempt to rise above the all-pervasive, vacuous, decaying culture." We'll let you judge whether the men or women of mystery have succeeded in that aim, but we certainly think it's a fine EP. By CPU standards, it's a rather eclectic affair, flitting between druggy, arpeggio-driven alien funk ("CIA UFO Google Search"), ghetto-tech influenced deep electro (the wonderful "De-Pattern"), sparkling dacenfloor electro positivity ("The Sleep Room") and glistening, bass-heavy techno/proto-house/deep house fusion (sublime closer "Weep For Joy").
Review: Modular techno maestro and Freerotation big cheese Steevio is on fine form on "Zephyr", his first EP of 2019. He kicks things off with "Brawd", where undulating electronic motifs and faintly foreboding snatches of melody wind their way around a rolling techno groove, before offering up a swinging, off-kilter take on tropical techno rich in darting minor key melodies and jazzy sub-bass. Turn to the flip and you'll encounter two more chunks of modular dancefloor hypnotism: the slowly shifting, head-in-the-clouds throb of "Cysuron" and the melodious but off-kilter tech-jazz flex of hard-to-pigeonhole EP highlight "Rhyddid".
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: All good things come to an end. Part ten of ten in Ostgut Ton's tenth various artists' compilation and they've recruited some of their superstar residents to give their very best. Marcel Fengler's restrained fury on "Fallin' (feat. Elif Bicer)" almost sounds like something off the soundtrack of a sci-fi film where dramatic elements face off with Bicer's angelic voice. Etapp Kyle's "Nolah" is another example of his well executed hypnotic techno with a nod to the master himself Robert Hood. Finally Steffi's "Loweborschtel" is the kind of surefire sub-aquatic electro funk and the standard in quality you'd always expect from the Dolly boss.
Review: Tolga Baklacioglu's releases may not be all that frequent, but when they do arrive they're always worth a listen. Your Secret Face is his first outing of 2018 and sees him join forces fast-rising Russian artist Dee Grinski. The latter's stylish - and heavily distorted - spoken word vocals can be heard on the EP's opening and closing tracks, with the latter - an 11-minute experimental epic that could feasibly soundtrack nuclear Armageddon - also benefitting from her drowsy, improvised singing. No doubt she contributed heavily to the EP's instrumental cuts, too, which are bleak, fuzzy and industrial in the best possible way.
Review: Plants Army Revolver debut on Avian. The Italian live act will join Avian for a five track EP showcasing the pair's breadth as producers. Working within the bounds of a carefully refined sound palette, Marco Ragni & Birgan Valentin look to the more muted, tentatively melodic end of loop Techno, with excursions into washed out Ambient & leftfield Electronica, placing the focus on sound texture & tone.