Heidi Sabertoorh - "So You Want To Take Back Your Will" (6:37)
Synapse - "Shiny" (locked groove) (0:30)
Somatic Responses - "Strategy Of Desire" (5:22)
John Selway - "Brainchild" (5:29)
Pointsman - "Dirty Shirt" (locked groove) (0:30)
Review: Seminal New York City imprint Serotonin lives on. John Selway and Jason Szostek present It's What We Live For: Volume 2 - the second in a series of compilations sharing their vision of sounds of tomorrow. Szostek himself dons the well known BPMF alias again for some fierce breakbeat techno action on "Zu Heib Fur Uns", the equally legendary Healy brothers aka Somatic Response still going strong - as heard on the slo-mo acid trance journey "Strategy Of Desire" and relative newcomer Heidi Sabertooth of Opal Onyx delivers some sludgy electro-punk antics on "So You Want To Take Back Your Will". There's some handy locked grooves on the electro-bass tip featured too by Synapse and Pointsman, which were pretty wicked too.
Miro SundayMusiq - "From Behind The Corner" (8:39)
Review: Following an excellent EP from Memphis, Animals On Psychedelics returns with more weird and wonderful party fare from the outer reaches. This time it's a various artists release that brings together all the producers involved in the label so far, while also introducing BPMF to the fold with the woozy, rubbery synth shapes of "Liza On Clouds." Jane Fitz and Dom Ahtuam's Invisible Menders project presents the rolling, psyched out melodics of "Three On Three," while Memphis pushes further into experimental territory with the wonderfully fractured "Altered States." That leaves it to Miro SundayMusiq to complete the EP with the wave-meets-Italo tones of "From Behind The Corner," a perfectly noirish flourish to finish a sterling record.
Review: Braiden's material has been slow to come out since he first landed with a bang on Doldrums back in 2010. A turn on Rush Hour confirmed his status as a producer in command of the chops necessary to get a dancefloor shaking, but this year's X Years In London OST cassette was a chance for him to expand into more experimental pastures. Not so on this new 12" for his Off Out label, which finds Braiden turning up the heat with some fiercely modern tech house workouts. "V.O.L.A.T" has the same kind of dangerous earworm armour that made Paul Woolford's "Erotic Discourse" so potent all those years ago. "Hydroplane" meanwhile takes some of the crisp but playful tropes of Pearson Sound et al and straps them to a thrumming motorik beat.
Review: Emotional Response reach out to another fine selection of sonic voyagers to take Brain Machine's excellent Peaks LP to task, leading in with the warm discoid undulations of Rollmottle who refigures "To The Stars" as a gentle, groovy warm-up joint. Die Wilde Jagd takes on "Mercury Ripples" and fashion a bombastic breaks jam out of it, and Merrick Adams pushes "Alpha Moon" into a curious but ultimately cosmic space somewhere beyond the titular lunar body. Cass takes the prize with the bittersweet synth tones that course through the two-part remix of "Nexus Vox".
Review: More re-issues of seminal tech house classics by Josh Brent aka Schatrax from the eponymous imprint, mainly active through the late nineties. For those that know, yes we're preaching to the choir, to those that don't: listen and learn! Up there with legends of the UK sound such as Silicone Soul, Pure Science and early 20:20 Vision. This release was originally known as Schatrax #10 and released in 1997. On side A we've got "The Same Fury" which likes its name suggests is probably the most ferocious track Brent probably ever made: this is some pretty hard jacking and functional techno on here for serious DJ use only. "Giddy Up" is equally as cyclical a DJ tool, with its tribal loops work out hypnotising you into submission much like his other classic "Dizzy". Finally on the flip we've got "East", a more straightforward techno stomper with some fierce 909 driven energy supporting some killer synth stabs.
Review: Fragrant Harbour once again dig out a cult gem from the seemingly endless vaults of 90s dance music, picking up on a rare and precious gem from a seminal Laurent Garnier mix and giving it the remaster and reissue it deserves. The artists responsible, Broccoli Brothers vs Righteous Men, hailed from Germany and were trying to emulate Mike Dunn. "Catch It (Calm Manoeuvre)" is a spaced out deep house track with all the gritty impact of a classic jam, while "Catch It (Jam)" gets decidedly rowdy with its hefty kick, jacked up swing and wonky bassline. On the B side "Ruhrschnellweg (Last Exit Stahlhausen Mix)" brings a little Detroit flavour into the mix with spectacular, uplifting results.
Review: Emergent duo Broken Arrows were previously spotted lurking around Giallo Disco back in 2015, so you should have some idea of the kind of lurid late night machine sleaze they like to get their hands dirty with. They've now slid over to the sympathetic but marginally more techno-minded Vivod imprint with a new clutch of deviant heaters for those adventurous dancefloor spaces where B-movie sounds reign supreme. "Female Predator" is a tough EBM-tinted workout with plenty of jack in its stack, while "Fear Eats The Soul" takes a more synth-wave approach with some speech samples thrown in for good measure. "Edge Of Darkness" is a more tense affair that pings arpeggios around a minor key refrain, and then "Basic Structure" whips out the hardest track on the record, a lithe industrial stomper laden with rhythmic noise and a mean synth bassline that will hit your solar plexus like a battering ram.
Review: Having made his name during the late '90s and early 2000s as a maker of particularly forthright techno, Oliver Ho has broadened his horizons in recent years. Nowhere is that more obvious on his Broken English Club project, which debuted last year with a pair of industrial and EBM minded releases for Jealous God and Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. Here he returns to the latter, laying down more fuzzy, straight-to-tape journeys into analogue, mid '80s dancefloor experimentalism. There's naturally much to enjoy, from the peak Cabaret Voltaire grittiness of "Drycutting", and the bleak EBM throb of "Ritual Killing", to the ghostly synthesizers, Jaydee bass and droning textures of "Channel 83".
Review: After a quiet 2016 thus far Och's Autoreply label is finally back in action with a frankly fantastic selection of workouts from Mark Broom. In keeping with the style Broom has been exercising in new Perbec jams with Baby Ford, this is more restrained than the muscular techno Broom can also be known for. Instead, you get expressive, satisfying house tracks such as "18.2" and the neatly pumping "10" with its killer array of synths to satisfy the dancefloor and the mind in equal measure. Avoiding unnecessary fireworks in favour of perfectly chosen and shaped elements, this is a glittering demonstration of Broom's cool-headed approach in the studio.
Review: Always a man with his hand on the swing button, Stephen Brown knows a thing or two about funk in a techno world, but on this single for Technorama there's a distinctly house finish to the track. That's helped in no small part by the soulful vocal lick that runs through the middle of the track, even if the beats still bump with the roughness that he has made his name on. Don Williams ups the ante on his remix by slicing the remix up into fine slithers and fattening up the drums to make for a big room beast of the highest calibre.
Review: Stephen Brown's "Deep In" first surfaced last summer, delivering a breezy dancefloor punch to the guts full of bouncy techno drums, analogue synth-bass and fluttering vocal samples. A year on it returns, this time reworked by long serving Berlin producer Len Faki. On the A-style you'll find the "Hardspace Mix", in which Faki puts a rocket under the Edinborough producer's original. While it remains bouncy and the female vocal samples take pride of place, the percussion is tougher and closer in feel to classic Motor City rhythms. Turn to side B and you'll find the "Deepsace Mix", a thrillingly hypnotic interpretation seemingly tailor made to cause commotion in German clubs at 7am. Deep, driving and percussive, it's a real Teutonic treat.
Review: Following up some great ones by Mark Archer, Waveguide a.k.a Stereociti and newcomer Vivian Koch, Scottish hi-tech soul engineer Stephen Brown makes a welcome appearance on Berlin imprint a.r.t.less with his idiosyncratic brand of emotive techno. You really can't fault anything by this stalwart of the scene and the Sweet Nothing EP is no exception: from the Detroit style bounce of "The Venue", to the title track which could match anything John Beltran has done in the art of glassy eyed and bittersweet epics. On the flip, we particularly enjoyed the cavernous and glacial chill of dub techno excursion "Cedar Wood".
Review: Edinburgh's Stephen Brown has always (and still is) waving the techno flag way up high for the Scottish nation. The man has been on it since the mid 90s, and it's safe to se late him as a veritable veteran by now. This new EP for the excellent Echocord feels like a natural turn of events, especially given how magnificently dubby "Sandtext" feels like. "Wet" tries to offer a bumpier sort of ride thanks to sliding chords and huge slabs of bass, while "Backstroke" goes in with that classic, Sun-kissed dub techno flex which Brown, among others, helped to solidify.
Review: Argy's These Days label is an occasional treat in the world of stripped down tech house, and it makes its first appearance for 2016 with a selection of club-ready remixes from the label boss, tackling various productions from German techno mainstay Paul Brtschitsch. The "Floor Adaptation" of "Green" heads into subterranean pastures, albeit with a powerful beat propelling it, and "Eternal Aspects" maintains that underground mood with a warmer synth repertoire. On the more flamboyant B-side, "Squeezed" takes on a wild old-skool quality perfect for more fiery moments on the floor before "Subbass" continues the jacking theme in fine style.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: 10 Germany seem to get it bang-on each and every time! For a label who has released the likes of Ancient Methods, Perc and Matthew Herbert, among other legends, we'd expect nothing less than the spectacular and this is exactly what we got with this latest collaborative effort by Italy's Daniele Brusachetto, Jansky Noise, Human Larvae and Damaskin. Brusachetto's "Grigi Ma" is weird and wonderful pop tune set against a backdrop of cavernous percussion rattles, while Janksy Noise's "Black Night" is a full-on drone monster. Over on the flip, "Ruined" by Human Larvae is a fuzzy, noise-fuelled scorcher, and "Apocalypse" sees Damaskin produce the EP's only shred of rigidity thanks to its consistent 4/4 kick...accompanied by some rather gnarly power electronics, of course.