Review: Eccentric imprint Les Points returns for the first time in 2018, bringing with it a quartet of cuts from "Various Xenopunks". Louh kicks things off with a fizzing, saucer-eyed techno shuffler that fixes classic electro chords and Motor City melodies to a bustling and forthright rhythm track, before Nicola Kazimir dips a mentalist, bass-heavy electro workout in modular distortion and a variety of mind-altering spoken word samples. Over on side B, Walid's "Posterior Spinneret" is a fine chunk of end-of-days electro with added foreboding noises, while Audinio's "Venus Flytrap" is the kind of wonky, acid-fired romp that would once have formed part of Rephlex Records' Braindance series of releases.
Review: After 19 years in the game, techno veteran Jens "Lowtec" Kuhn is still going strong. While he's recently been in a nostalgic mood - as reissues of early material prove - Kuhn is still capable of producing fresh, high quality material. There's much to enjoy about this first EP for new Malmo label Blundar, from the loud tape hiss, spooky melodies and weirdo ambient dub intent of "Track 2", to the moody, early Autechre throb of Skam-ish closer "Track 4". Dancefloor-minded thrills come in the shape of hypnotic opener "Track 1" - all unsettling, one-note chords, restless rhythms and distant electronics - and the hard-to-pigeonhole madness of the schizophrenic "Track 3".
Review: Hong Kong based label Fragrant Harbour has thus far supported work from choice leftfield beat candidates such as General Ludd, Fulbert and Renart, and this time turns its attentions to international outfit LPZ. There's a modernist, UK-leaning style to their brand of mutant techno, focusing on crooked, moody rhythms that sup from the same font as Livity Sound et al. "Triangular" crashes and bangs its drums through blissful pads before "Heliopolis" pushes the kick to the foreground and dives into more meditative depths. "In Flames" rides some dreamy breakbeat tones and "Luminescence" rounds the EP off with another crafty pairing of off-centre beats and soundsystem-ready tones.
Review: This debut single from previously unseen outfit LSD is remarkable for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the trio is made up of legendary UK techno producers Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and Dave Summer AKA Function. Given their collective history of making thumping, mind-altering techno, you'd expect Progress to be both heavy and trippy. That's certainly what you get from opener "Process 1", where psychedelic electronics and cascading, otherworldly noises rise above an armour-plated techno groove. They push the envelope even further on "Process 2", a track blessed with restless cymbal lines and weird, off-key electronics. In comparison, the similarly intense "Process 3" seems deep and woozy, though the incessant, 1990 style bleeps and "LFO" style synths guarantees a suitably hallucinogenic feel throughout.
Review: After first teaming up with Uzuri back in 2016, Italian producer Giorgio Luceri finally makes a return with a second part of his Space Fire Truth series. There seems to be a concept lingering in the presentation of the music, but let's focus on the sounds themselves. "Collinder 69 Funk" is an effervescent burst of uplifting energy with a groove that feels housey underneath plush Detroit techno synths. "The Early Morning Ouroboros" switches things up with a pacey, chopped up broken beat trip peppered with soulful vocals and instrumentation. "Kepler 16b" is a moodier affair that lets the techno side of Luceri's sound bleed through, and then "Tu Sei Il Maestro Dell'Eterno Ritorno" finishes the record off on a stirring, romantic tip with swooning strings aplenty.
Review: The inaugural release in early 2017 for Berlin's based imprint Zehnin, this EP by Italian techno wizard Lucy (Stroboscopic Artefacts) now receives a couple of powerful and dynamic remixes by British wunderkind Blawan. A side cut "The Hermit" (Blawan remix) is a slow burning and brooding rendition that incorporates a series of harsh textures and disorienting drones over a rusty and rattling breakbeat: quite reminiscent of Regis or Female's early Sandwell District remixes. On the flip, we're treated to something that is definitely more 'straight-ahead' on the sublime hypnotic techno workout that is "The High Priestess" (Blawan remix) and this is proper trance induction if we have ever heard such a thing. First bursting onto the scene several years ago, Leeds' Jamie Roberts is one of the most respected figures on the techno scene, with his ever evolving take on hard hitting dancefloor material. He also heads up the Terensc imprint.
Review: Torino label We Play The Music We Love has already made a strong start with some immersive turns by Trevor Deep Jr and Rills, and now they provide a platform for Italian duo Luminer. "Indaco" is a charged up dub techno excursion with crisp percussion to propel the classic chord shimmer that course through the centre of the track. "Canadian" takes a deeper direction with a crafty tapestry of synth flares and a more understated rhythm section. Hiver's reconstruction of "Indaco" opts for a crooked electro foundation, nimble acid line and a shapeless swell of pad tones as the key ingredients, and then Icelandic techno champ Thor whips up a sharp-strutting dub techno variation of "Canadian" that sits comfortably with the Luminer tracks.
Review: The prolific Luv Jam has been busy as ever this year, gracing Lets Play House, Tsuba and Rawax with his own distinct brand of understated club functionalism. He now adds the Rawax affiliated Housewax to his sizeable discography with the four track deep Tropical 3.4 12". Commencing with the title track, Luv Jam's in restrained and stripped back form, as a deep acid line tries to emerge from the ether beneath a playful analogue bassline and the minimum of percussion. "Sailaway" sees him collaborate with vocalist Molly Knew on a moody and echo laden production that has a similar feel of set opener to it, whilst the flip holds more productions where Luv Jam's musicality shines through.
Review: Ricardo Medina has popped up intermittently through the years as a wielder of hefty deep house, and so it goes on this new 12" for Wonder Stories. Take snappily titled "Mcoolaid", where the synths ping out bright and bold while the acidic bass and slamming drums keep the pressure at a constant peak, or the dark and nasty throb of "Fuego". Medina means business, and he's unabashed in his aim towards the big room peak time tech house crowd. "Techmoreno" keeps up the intensity, which gives Alejandro Paz the necessary ingredients for an equally smoking remix for the crafty jackers out there on the floor.
Review: When French "enfant terrible" Joan-Mael Peneau AKA Malestrom first pitched up on Central Processing Unit earlier in the year, more than a few eyebrows were raised. Many were expecting noisy, all-action techno similar to his earlier work, but instead he delivered high-grade futurist electro. Like that EP and his subsequent releases since, this outing on Private Persons is similarly minded. Opener "Red Stamp" offers a brilliant balance between distorted, gut punching beat-box drums and intergalactic melodies, while the even fuzzier "Blue Stamp" comes on like the soundtrack to a CGI battle in a big-budget Hollywood sci-fi flick. Turn to the flip for the panicked, mind-altering intensity of EP standout "On The Run", as well as the acid-fired electro trip "Temporary Document" and the anthem-like peak-time bustle of "Dialogue".