Review: The Thule vaults open up once more to give us further insight into the foundations of one of the great bastions of Icelandic deep house and techno. Plastic is an early alias of Yagya, who was on searing form when he originally made the River Electric 12" back in 1999. A metallic finish gives "Brain Plasticity" it's unique appeal, while "Translated Translations Translated" heads into dubbier territory (albeit with some cheeky bitcrushing thrown in for good measure). Whichever cut you plump for, Thule have dusted down yet another gem of unique Scandinavian techno you won't want to be without.
EXhale (Dixon Just A Different Mixdown version) (6:56)
EXplore (Recondite remix) (5:56)
EXpand (Tale Of Us remix) (7:47)
EXposed (Dubfire remix) (13:03)
Review: Four tracks from last year's Plastikman album get the remix treatment with some unlikely results. Innervisions boss Dixon would not be the most obvious candidate to rework Hawtin, but his "just a different mix down version" of "Exhale" sees the German DJ deliver a rolling, acid-fried workout that veers into oceanic chords. Newcomers Recondite and Tale of Us have remixed "Explore" and Expand" respectively. The former's version is dreamy and introverted, while the latter's remix focuses on repetitive, tingling piano lines. Most surprisingly however is Dubfire's version of "Exposed". Instead of big room minimal, the former Deep Dish member drops a hypnotic, pulsing techno workout, led by spiralling acid lines and warbling low end tones.
Review: Ever the champion of brains and brawn in equal measure, Maceo Plex makes his debut appearance on Drumcode with this punchy beast of a single. "Conjure Dreams" features plenty of Plex signifiers, from the rounded and rowdy bassline pump to the haunting tone of the synth lines, neatly packaged in a chunky framework of big room drums. "Conjure Floyd" meanwhile burrows into more minimal territory where the tones are amelodic and the percussion takes the lead, calling to mind the restraint and tension of classic M_nus productions where so much could be said with so little.
Review: Sam Smith aka Ploy is making some of the hottest techno around at the moment and, no, the dude ain't German. Bristol-schooled and full of bass dread, Ploy's tunes have taken him from Timedance to Hessle Audio, and now onto the ever-impressive Hemlock Recordings. "Unruly" dominates the A-side with its fat, inter-galactic groove filled to the brim with hollow noise and complex percussion folds, all blowing up to a stop-start rhythm; on the flipside "Garys" chucks out another dense groove of tooled-up techno wizardry, banging and dubbed-out for maximum club tear-out, whereas "Lost Hours" lingers in outer space thanks to a beatless sway made up of kinetic bleeps and aqueous sonic shapes. Killer!
Review: Spanish producer Pohl is up next on Frankfurt label Aerobic, following up a terrific inaugural release by Chris Geschwindner. Although he's from Madrid, Pohl's no doubt got that 'Mainhattan' sound - in the vein of the locals such as Traffic, Hardworksoftdrink and Pager. Bouncy minimal funk with early Detroit/Sheffield influences as heard on alien jams like "Aillen" and then "Inert" on the B side featuring some rich Dopplereffekt style synths. Finally, he steps over to the darkside on the brooding bleep fest that is "Transit".
Polirican Alarm - "Shelter Or Funkbox" (NY Or Detroit mix)
Senor Ladron - "Bomb Scare"
Bileebob - "Meanwhile"
Bileebob & Marshallito - "Gtr4"
Marshallito - "Prison Diairies"
Review: After only releasing DJ Spider & Marshallito material, SubBASS004 comes as a various artist release that introduces four new characters over the five-track EP. First up is a bar-by-bar house jam by Polirican Alarm that provides all the suggestions it was made by someone that knows their way around a MPC. The same could be said about Senor Ladron's "Bomb Scare" only it's a SH101 that does all the talking this time. Billeebob supplies two tracks, the first a synth-wavy "Meanwhile", while a collaboration with label owner Marshallito, "Gtr4" sounds like a folky Pink Floyd song underlined by the most basic of drum beats: the backbeat. Marshalllito then supplies a rather wonderful solo downtempo piece in the shape of "Prison Diaries" featuring high-pitched piano keys and gospel humming.
Review: Detroit legend Terrence Dixon may have announced his retirement from music production, but we've not heard the last of him yet. This outing under his Population One pseudonym is one of a number of 12" singles of previously unheard material we can expect in coming months. A collection of vintage tracks from the vaults (the track titles giving away when they were producer), Time Will Tell sees Parker in fairly downbeat mood. Certainly, there's a mournful feel about the minor key melodies and metronomic techno rhythms of "3. 26.2013 @ 11.40pm", while "11.18.2013 @ 1.41am" seems obsessed with discordant electronics and sci-fi influenced grooves. Meanwhile, the EP's oldest moment, "2.1.2008 @ 5.48pm" is almost overwhelmingly bittersweet and sorrowful.
Review: Unbeknownst to most techno heads, 1995's Hippnotic Culture is majorly responsible for the modern rise in minimalistic dance music, especially the strains adopted by labels like Minus or Perlon a decade later. Released on the ambiguous Utensil Records, this was top-shelf material from Terrence Dixon aka Population 1, who has grown and evolved both of those monikers to this day. Holland's Rush Hour, always a source of inspirational dance aesthetics, is responsible for this re-visioning of the now much coveted original issue. "Rush Hour", to which the Amsterdam store owe their name, the wayward "Warped", "Cosmic Drill", "Lovechild", and the dreary-eyed "Lost In Space" all receive a fine remixing tweak, adding to their inherent hypnotism with another fine layer of Detroit dust. Transparent vinyl.
Review: As far as we can make out, this is either a debut single from a previously unseen production talent, or a surprise move towards electro territory from a French indie-pop band whose last release was way back in 2010. Either way, it's a fine EP full of notable highlights. Chief amongst these is "Checksaus", a punchy electro roller blessed with "LFO" style bass, bustling rave-era stabs and lashings of spacey electronics. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere on the 12", though, from the Drexciya style Motor City electro of closer "Cloak and Dagger" to the bustling, stab-heavy electro/analogue techno fusion of clattering, funk-fuelled lead cut "Bambam".
Review: After a couple of fine collaborative turns with SUED's SVN on Kontra-Musik, Henrik Jonsson's renewed vigour for productions under the Porn Sword Tobacco name brings him to another respected Swedish outpost in Aniara. Magnifik Botanik is the Gothenburg's first double pack and Jonsson has used this space to conjure up five tracks that perfectly flesh out the exotic, slightly tropical flavour that infects his work. There are moments reminiscent of that excellent Shinichi Atobe LP here, whilst the aforementioned SVN appears on "Vildvuxen Galax", one of the highlights of the five tracks along with "Kristallisering" and its life affirming piano loops.
Review: Tresor really are a special label. Almost thirty years in the business, and still dominating like no other imprint on the techno scene. This is because they have the power to bring in the very best of artists, with this latest re-appearance from Porter Ricks being one of the many examples of their timeless qualities. The Berlin duo made their name thanks to a succession of incredible releases for Chain Reaction, a Basic Channel sub-label that brought the experimental dub frame to the techno sphere; the project has always been a favourite of ours, and it's so pleasing to hear them doing what they do best. "Shadow Boat" is classic Porter Ricks, a glitchy, intricate dub-techno monster whose 4/4 beat is hidden among the myriad of sonics and harmonics bundled into a tight roll, and the same goes for "Bay Rouge" and its slower, more placid cascade of heartical melodies. "Harbour Chart" is the final call, a downtempo beauty that makes all other ambient seem sterile and lifeless. This is so highly recommended...
Review: Lisbon based Brit Mike Jefford returns for the fifth edition of his In Silent Series, where he presents some more of his bleak and monochrome techno derivatives. Positive Centre takes the exploration of sound reproduction and audio collage into rhythmic/hypnotic spirals of reverberated walls of sound - emphasising subtle changes in repetition with low frequency sound. Hell awaits on the pitch black industrial noise terror of "Tension Arm", before he brings you down to even lower depths on the slow burning haunter "Idle Roller". While Jefford's contorted style of techno exists at varying BPMs as on display here, B side offering "Sum Tolerance" ventures into a grey area - incorporating dub, half time drum 'n' bass and drone into an unholy mixture.
Review: When it comes to contemporary takes on early Chicago acid, few artists have quite as impressive a track record as I Love Acid founders Joshu Doherty and Richard Bevan AKA Posthuman. Further proof arrives via the duo's first EP for Craigie Knowes, which boasts a ridiculously heavy and psychedelic workout - "Cobra Structure" - amongst its' numerous highlights. Further encouragement to start jackin' is provided via the undulating TB-303 lines, creepy chords and clanking machine drums of "Polywater Acid", while "Down 2 Jakk" fixes twisted acid lines and stabbing, rave style lead lines to crispy drums. Arguably best of all, though, is EP opener "Steal The Snow", a deep, spacey and bleeping electro cut whose fizzing energy is enhanced no end by the presence of some seriously bouncy piano riffs.