Review: Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani returns to Stroboscopic Artefacts with 'Embryo' - an immersive four-track micro-odyssey spanning across jagged ambient scopes,unmapped acidic grounds and further leftfield-friendly sonic territories, opening up the path for his forthcoming sophomore LP and first ever for Stroboscopic Artefacts, 'Morphic Dreams'.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: From the minds of Direct Beat and Detroit Bass Classics, comes the first initial compilation of electro/techno heat. "Electro In The Key Of Detroit Vol 1" presents 4 proven dance floor dope and record crate staples that provide the hungry ears of masses the groove to move. A Side features two sure-fire steppers - a rare AUX 88 voyage entitled "Phantom Power" and Blak Tony's tempo-pushing "Holla Holla" finally see the light of day on this wax collectable, giving praise to Motor City footwork culture. On the flip, DJ K-1's "Erase The Time" rocked the airwaves and global clubs with its signature thumping style laced beneath alien-like melody and repetitive vocal structure while Posatronix's mutant-rhythm mantra, "Pure Techno Sound" pulls the weight of Detroit's street dance roots down to the origin of how to boogie in space. This collection of re-issued jams and new explorations is the must-have for the electro/techno & bass aficionado.
Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: It's high time that Berlin's Henning Baer launched his own imprint, and we're surprised that this is only happening now given the success of both his prior productions and of his Berlin club night, Grounded Theory. Manhigh kicks off with Henning Baer himself, gearing up the machines first with the bleeps and sporadic machine tones of "System Test (Nsdxit)", followed by the much more concrete and beat-laden shreds of drums on "Fighting The Dogs". The surprise comes from a rare appearance by Blawan as a remix of "Pan2945", with the Yorkshire native delivering some of his signature thrashing on the drums, and a fuzzy, drugged-out bassline that would have made Regis and Surgeon proud back in the days. The flip continues with more grey-scaled techno in the form of "Moving Ground", the excellent sack of squealing drones that is "The Last Quarter", and finished off tidily by the pouncing kick drums residing on "Copper Skin". Heavy duty gear.
Review: Copenhagen-based producer Rune Bagge (Northern Electronics/Ectotherm) presents the third installment on Courtesy's Kulor imprint. "Ingen Tak Til Systemet" (English translation: No Gratitude Towards The System) is a four track exercise in pure unadulterated sonic ultraviolence - if we've ever heard such a thing. From the pummeling and strobe-lit warehouse onslaught of opener "Secret Solutions", to the guttural and contorted noise terror of "Repulsion" followed by the frantic peak time mentalism of "I Am The Solution" which then gives way to the hyperspeed IDM of "Coup D'Etat" - there's truly no rest for the wicked on this one!
Order From Chaos Of The Death (Samuel Kerridge remix) (5:59)
Avoidance Paranoid (Isabella remix) (8:27)
Order From Chaos Of The Death (Ryo Murakami remix) (6:10)
Hissiyat (Svreca remix) (6:35)
Review: Following the release of Tolga Baklacioglu & Dee Grinski's album "Your Secret Face", VENT presents a remix package featuring Samuel Kerridge, Svreca, Ryo Murakami, and Isabella, who are some of the artists who have most inspired and supported the duo's music. These exceptional artists' interpretations refract the industrial rhythms and harrowing vocalisations of the original tracks into caleidoscopic tunnel visions with each remixer's individualistic expression.
Review: Following his highly praised album "Word Color" from last year, Gacha Bakradze offers up this stunning EP on Fever AM. "Monument" sees the Tbilisi based art- ist taking us on a refreshing, sublime journey over 4 pieces featuring his signature melodies, broken beats and striking sound design. Gacha pulls off a very well rounded EP here that works perfectly on headphones at home or on a sound system in the club. This is also the first artist besides labelheads Mor Elian and Rhyw to appear on Fever AM, opening up a new phase for the label.
Review: Robin Ball has been on a roll of late, flaunting his wares on the Memory Box label amongst others. He makes a second outing on Groovepressure with four tracks of dynamic, inventive machine jams touching on synthwave influences and a healthy dose of electro. There's atmosphere loaded into each of these forthright, roughly hewn workouts, not least on the eerie, trancey synth strings on "Mr Mumble". The B side features the steadiest material in the shape of two versions of "Satin" that tap into the housier end of Ball's output.
Review: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
Review: Fresh from his exploits with King Kashmere, beat alchemist Bambooman crashes the party at Accidental with four more singular experiments; "Shudder" rolls on a stuttering break that's paced in such a way it's as much UKG as it is techno. Both "Grasp" and "M1" show off more of a house side to B's spectrum as the former insists with an almost Detroitian charm while "M1" scrapes strange strings to create unique texture. Finally "Kyrian" takes us on a futurist twist on broken beat with spacious kicks and a warm, fat analogue synth. Some say shudder, we say goosebumps...
Review: At first glance, French enfant terrible Bambounou is a surprising addition to the Diskant impint - now known as just Disk. Known for his techno and house exploits on Clek Clek Boom and 50 Weapons, his knack for intricately programmed rhythms were on display even back then. It kind of figures that he'd be a good choice for the label, come to think of it now. That's certainly proven across the three tracks on the Parametr Perkusja EP, where his sound sits comfortably alongside label mates like Harmonious Thelonious and Durian Brothers. From the slo-mo esoterica of "Dernier Metro" which reaches near tribal moments, the hard hitting polyrhythmic techno of "Kosovo Hardcore" it is great to hear some original productions from him after lengthy absence.
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Essential repress! Tomas Bangalter's stone cold classic Roule 12" Trax On Da Rocks makes a return. The five tracks on offer - "On Da Rocks", "Roule Boule", "What To Do", "Outrun" and "Ventura" - have acquired legendary status, standing as sublime examples of the rough, raw end of the filter-soaked French house sound. Some 17 years since they were first released, these tracks have lost none of their madcap brilliance; if this isn't already a cherished part of your record collection, here's your chance.
Review: Both Ike Release and John Barera have been buzzing in the underground community for some time now. Ike with releases on Mister Saturday Night, Finale Sessions, Skudge and MOS and John with releases on Argot, Just Jack and Zakim. Now they turn to Ike's Episodes imprint to supply more of their upfront and dancefloor ready cuts. Starting out on the A side with the new wave acid sensibilities of "Looking Ahead" and the ferocious retro jack of "Lights Out" which are sure to set the night on fire. On the flip, the neon lit aesthetic continues with "Cosmic Divide" and "Winding Up" respectively, which conjure the ghosts from those dusty analogue machines to stunning effect.
Review: After initial outings from phile and Ptwiggs, the Deep Seeded crew welcome phile member Barking into the fold for another excursion into crooked techno from the outer realm. There's a lingering sense of industrial malaise emanating out of "Singularity" thanks to some dense signal processing, while "Clay Passage" pings off into a strange but utterly accomplished trip into Fourth World techno that packs a serious rhythm without the need for obvious drum lines. "Pathos" matches malevolent beats and tones with dominant ambience to create a proper push 'n' pull of a track, and then "Prone" rounds the EP off with some gutsy analogue demolition for the broken techno and electro crowd to get wild to.
Review: Over two decades into its lifespan, Adam Beyer's Drumcode imprint keeps evolving and excelling, pushing techno forward while remaining wholly respectful of its roots. On Part 3 of A Sides Vol 7, Beyer brings in the scene's top guns to expertly execute some main room peak-time action. On the first side, it's an undeniably Dutch affair with Amsterdam hero Bart Skils stepping up to deliver the deeply hypnotic tunnel vision of "West Of The Moon", while veterans Secret Cinema & Reinier Zonneveld deliver the darkly druggy dancefloor drama of "Pain Thing". On the flip, Pig & Dan should need no introduction and are in fine form as always on the adrenalised "Pushing On" while ascendant Aussie Juliet Fox similarly impresses on "Wanted Me".
Review: Some three years on from his last outing under the alias, Orlando Voorn dons the occasional Basic Bastard pseudonym for another giddy trip into soulful and melodious techno territory. Title track "Signals" is typical of the Dutch veteran's work, with attractive and futuristic chords, riffs and melodies dancing jauntily above a high-tempo techno groove and some seriously funky acid lines. It gets the remix treatment on the B-side, where Gallegos Yoga re-casts it as an acid fired slab of techno-funk before Unknown Detroit twists it into a ghostly, unearthly stomper. Bonus cut "Deep City", a colourful and ultra-melodious affair, is also superb.
Review: When it comes to dub techno, you need look no further than the master of the genre, Basic Channel. It's been a good long while since there was any fresh material on wax from the immortal German outfit, but now they have looked back over their archives and realised that "Q-Loop", originally found on the BCD CD release, never made its way on to vinyl, and so here it is for all the Basic Channel completists out there. There's no need to go into detail about the music, but an extended fourteen minutes of "Q-Loop" stretched across the A side can only be a beautiful thing. On the flip you can also enjoy the aqueous strains of "Q1.2" and "Mutism"s vaporous ambience, both of which are enjoying their first outings on the black stuff.
Review: Stuart Li, better known as Basic Soul Unit, set up the Lab.our Music label last year as a low-key outlet for vinyl only transmissions from himself and others. Having introduced local Toronto talent Maxwell Church last time round, Li is back behind the buttons for Lab.our 003 which seems to retain the techno orientated slant of much of Basic Soul Unit's work in 2013. Lead track "Head Long" grips control of the A Side, rolling out one long groove of heads down techno, with the sort of windy textures and rolling toms that tend to get Ben UFO all excited. Face down, "Nowhere To Be Found" opts for a more broken feel, with the ghost of hardcore buried deep in it's DNA and the kind of stunted drums that can cause ankle fractures, and "Spiralling Down" will appeal to STL fans.
Review: Brothers From Different Mothers stalwart Basses Terres is a producer to whom easy categorization cannot be applied. For example, on his 2016 debut, he rushed between a quartet of experimental techno, leftfield and electronica excursions, while 2017's "Counting Pulsations" cassette was a druggy trip rich in ambient, dub and "dungeon synth" flavours. So what's on offer here? More intoxicating, otherworldly concoctions, that's what. Highlights include the dark tropical ambient of "665 Moths", the dubbed-out post-dancehall weightiness of "Wilfred Doricent", the slipped and spacey electronica of "Deliae" and the fluid dreaminess of gently percussive closing cut "Sentiment Oceanique".
Review: Otherwise known as one half of the Decas duo, Berlin-based Battista strikes out on his own with Records Hold Memories, an EP of thumping, raw techno tracks in the Restoration/Livejam vein, all recorded straight to tape. "From The Otherground" is all heaving kicks, a chugging angular bassline and distorted vocals buried deep in the mix; John Swing's remix meanwhile subtly flips the energy with a more rolling bassline with the kinds of loose drums that gather energy like a steam train. On the flip, "Natural Instinct" offers more unhinged 4/4, building up to a crescendo of cymbals and vocal noise; "Flowing Through Time" is even more manic, accelerating things up to 134BPM through a flurry of claps, snares and looping bass.
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: Since signing with Ransom Note Records in 2016, Bawrut has been on a fine run of form. Remarkably, this is the Madrid-based Italian's fifth EP for the imprint and it's every bit as memorable as its four predecessors. Like much of his work, title track "Pronto Arpeggio" is rich in razor-sharp analogue electronics, with high register arpeggio synthesizer lines rising above punchy beats, manic drum fills and mind-altering acid motifs. It's successfully toughened up by KiNK before Bawrut returns with "Shooreee", another boldly percussive and constantly building exercise in analogue electronics manipulation. Ruf Dug's brilliant remix takes the track to another level entirely via even denser drums, rougher acid riffs and more glistening lead lines, while "Atchu" is a chugging chunk of late night acid sleaze.
Review: Former L.I.E.S. and Apron regular Greg Beato struck out on his own in 2017, establishing the Ni Un Pero label as an outlet for his work. He's not released all that much since, though last month's "Cum In Peace" two-tracker suggested there was more to come. At five tracks deep, the "Dade EP" is the producer's most action-packed release for some time. There's plenty to enjoy throughout, from the ricocheting percussion, jaunty electro bass and spacey electronics of opener "Tres" and the deep lo-fi techno shimmer of "Cero", to the restless percussion, alien electronics and clanking industrial drums of EP highlight "Hasta". Wonky closer "El Fin", a kind of deep space electro/lo-fi P-funk fusion cut, is also inspired.
Review: The term 'idiosyncratic' is flippantly bandied about these days, but can be used more appropriately to define legendary producers such as Ann Arbor's John Beltran. For nearly 20 years, Beltran has created some of the most seminal and timeless expressions in hi-tech soul music. It is classic Beltran on The Musical Storm EP, as heard on "Ascending" which harks back to the sounds of his treasured Ten Days Of Blue album on Peacefrog back in '96, the life affirming ambient journey "Barely Beating Within My Chest" is a fast forward to the present and is similar to his work on recent Delsin efforts like Everything At Once or Espais. Always one to surprise us at times, Beltran goes for a more lo-fi and gritty analogue approach to jackin underground house on the gritty "Confuse You" on the flip.
Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
William Bendix - "Dallas" (Lucky Koi remix) (5:24)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (3:46)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (Parasols remix) (7:09)
Review: In just three years Ali Renault's Vivod label has managed to release a staggering amount of music from rule-breaking disco mavericks, and so it continues unabated on this new slab from William Bendix and Lewis J Force. The former comes leaping into earshot with the splattering robo-boogie of "Dallas" in all its chaotic glory before switching stance with the dazzling synth glare of "Centurion". Lucky Koi is also on hand to take "Dallas" to task and does so to great, mutant breakbeat effect. On the flip Lewis J Force whips up a bouncy acidic storm with "Folkestone Nightclub", only for Parasols to come bowling in and dismember it in a most sonically gruesome of ways.
Review: It's been a while since Blackest Ever Black turned the key in their A14 machine but it's clearly in working order as Beneath takes us for late night drive through the murkiest of bass/techno/breakbeat hinterlands. "Cloudy" is a sludgy, warped jam that would sound just as good in an Om Unit set as it would a Radioactiveman selection. For a little more grunt flip for the stripped back and rolling "Outsource" where the industrial strength drums suddenly get wrapped up in a short series of pure chord uplift. Hardboiled just as A14 likes to cook them; let's hope both parties don't leave it so long next time...
Review: Welsh techno producer Benjamin Damage is up next on Belgian institution R&S. He has been fairly quiet on the production front - not producing alongside cohort Doc Daneeka so much anymore and since the shutdown of the 50 Weapons imprint - but he did surface on subsequent label Monkeytown with a remix for label bosses Moderat (aka Modeselektor w/ Apparat) last year. "Malfunction" is a hard-hitting and bass driven main room techno workout, that's sure to cause some destruction on the dancefloor. The B side cut "Binary" takes it cues from the school of M-Plant with its hypnotic stabs, cutting through layers of sublime pads and restrained rhythmic sequences.
Review: Dutchmen Betonkust and Palmbomen II are back on local institution Dekmantel, following up last year's well received Center Parcs LP - which was recorded in the bunker of an abandoned theme park. The retro, grainy and lo-fi qualities that characterise their work is evident again here on Parallel B. This time recorded in a bungalow somewhere in the Dutch countryside, it finds a distinct middle ground between Palmbomen II a.k.a. Kai Hugo's lo-fi classic house aesthetics and Betonkust a.k.a. Swiere Westveen's taste for gritty electro, acid and Italo sounds. It pays fictional homage to a now deceased famous TV star, who instead on working on the screen, took up a new direction in making music.
Review: For his first outing of 2019, Adam Beyer has turned over the parts to his 2014 single "Teach Me" to Belgium's first lady of banging, acid-fuelled techno, Amelie Lens. She subsequently serves up two throbbing, peak-time ready revisions, with the A-side "Main Mix" offering a near perfect blend of booming, kick-drum driven beats, military snare fills, cut-up late night vocal samples and distorted, mind-altering riffs. As the title suggests, the flipside "Acid Remix" sees Lens indulge her love of mind-altering TB-303 acid lines, brilliantly wrapping them around a springier drum track, EBM-influenced melodic motifs and more pulsating, manipulated vocal loops.
Adam Beyer & Enrico Sangiuliano - "Preset Heaven" (8:17)
Timmo - "Muzik" (6:11)
Pig&Dan - "La Bruja" (6:37)
Julian Jeweil - "Nasa" (6:11)
Review: Some serious peak time weapons for the main room on offer here, from the ever reliable Swedish label Drumcode. Usual heroes of the label such as Luigi Madonna, Sam Paganini and Joseph Capriati step aside for some other equally reliable staples. On the A, side label boss Adam Beyer teams up with Enrico Sangiuliano on the evocative and life affirming "Preset Heaven" which takes its cues from early trance with its amazing chord progression. It is something more typical of the label next, on the pummelling warehouse stomp of "Muzik" by Bulgaria's Timmo. On the flip, there's more trance nostalgia on offer again - this time from legends Pig & Dan on the hypnotic/melodic bliss of "La Bruja" which we could imagine melting the minds of festival crowds well into the new year. Finally they save the best for last with French peak time specialist Julian Jeweil, serving up the furious, tunneling and strobe-lit ultraviolence of "Nasa" which will have your adrenaline going from the first beat. It has been a stellar year for the powerhouse label, with great releases by Moby, Dubfire and newcomer Layton Giordani.
Review: Drumcode head honcho Adam Beyer and Chicagoan legend Curtis Jones (aka Green Velvet) had discussed writing music together for a long time. Also, Beyer's protege Layton Giordani had admired the mohawked Jones' work for as long as he could remember. When he got to DJ alongside him at Belfast's Shine - the spark and subsequent friendship was immediate. The outcome of this respected trio's musical journey comes in the form of "Space Date" which will be familiar to many who've followed their sets over recent months. Featuring a relentless main room stomp with steely hats and droney synth leads, all accompanied by Green Velvet's trademark vocal delivery. The thunderous peak time energy of "Rome Future" is likewise guaranteed to rock the house - that killer Reese bassline particularly is sure to blow the doors off!
Review: Adam Beyer teams up with Pig & Dan on the new Capsule EP and they sure aren't messing around. The Drumcode boss knew he could call upon his label stalwarts for EP packed full of main room power tools with the peak time in mind. The adrenalised, forceful stomp and grind of the title track gets things off to a good start, while the druggy and head rush inducing muscle of "In Love" is bound for some real hands in the air moments. On the flip "We Are E" leaves little to the imagination on this heady and bass driven trip through the early hours of a heaving stadium dancefloor... where things are starting to get real weird. Then those ravey church organs come in and it starts getting right crazy!
Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
Review: Since announcing their debut album on UK institution Ninja Tune earlier this year, Irish duo Bicep present the first single from the album in the form of title track "Aura". Said to have been created via a series of accidents while experimenting with a new studio setup, the track finally came together through trial and error and here is the wonderful result. A dark and sexy serving of dancefloor drama featuring 'hands in the air' style vintage synth melodies, life affirming strings and immaculate drum programming. It is sure to be one of 'those' tracks you're going to be hearing a lot of in the latter part of 2017 and beyond.
Review: UK techno stalwart Steve Bicknell's Lost Recordings series must be one of the longest running in dance music; the Lost and Cosmic founder has been putting out previous unheard material from his early '90s heyday on and off since 2004. There are few surprises on this 10th edition, but plenty of slamming, no-holds-barred grooves. The hissing, spacey, cymbal-heavy "Track 3" is particularly trippy, while there's a gnarled, ragged intensity about the pulsating heaviness of "Track 1". Arguably best of all, though - ambient interlude "Track 2" aside - is "Track 4", an eerie techno shuffler built around a wonky, off-key electric piano loop and fizzing percussion.
Review: Given that legendary London DJ Steve Bicknell was one of the earliest champions of "proper techno" in the UK, it's been heartening to see his recent renaissance. Renewed interest in his 1990 productions has allowed him to issue a string of previously unheard gems from the vaults. Awakening The Past takes this approach, too, serving up a trio of previously unreleased gems from 1998 - the wonderfully trippy, late night techno loop jam "Physical Life", ragged acid workout "Natural Vibrations" and even more psychedelic "Fearing The Mind's Fears" - and a cut recorded earlier this year in Berlin. Interestingly, the latter - an intense, bleeping, modular-sounding slammer entitled "Conscious Awakening" - sounds like it could have been recovered from the same dusty DAT as the other tracks, despite being 100% new.
Review: The brilliant Chronicle has been quiet for a minute, but comes back in fine form with this keenly curated various artists 12" that re-affirms the label's vision of cerebral, deep and driving techno. Damon Wild shows his tender side on the gorgeous, immersive "Constant Search", while Ben Sims brings a tougher palette to bear on peak time percussive belter "Vicious Cycle". Steve Bicknell summons a fearsome, metallic dervish on the monolithic "Chapter Of Self", and Tadeo takes things bleepy, loopy and uplifting on "X Marks The Spot". It's a 12" of stunning modern techno from start to finish.
Review: The brilliantly monikered Big Strick - familial elder to Omar S and responsible for the odd killer release on his younger cousin's FXHE imprint - belatedly sates the appetite of record collectors keen to indulge in his recent album Detroit Heat with a six track selection of the choicest cuts spread across this twelve inch. Seemingly drawing influence from a myriad of Motor City influences, Detroit Heat impressively flits between murky deep house, tracky techno and hypnotic jack-tracks. Like many of his contemporaries, Strick is a sucker for 'cement mixer' production - that distinctly Detroitian sound where every beat, groove or bassline sounds like the master tapes have been marinated in grit. That trademark sound, alongside a solid selection of floor-friendly grooves, makes Detroit Heat an excellent addition to the Motor City house canon. The rubbery spinal atmospherics of "Under Tone" and the Tony Coates vocally assisted jack of "Maybe 1 Day" are particular highlights!
Review: FXHE bloodline member Big Strick continues to excel on his own 7 Days Ent. label, dropping his first 12" of 2012 which has a nice community feel to proceedings. Alpha & Omega introduces us to Generation Next, a rising 16 year old talent from the streets of Detroit who contributes alongside Mr Strickland to all three tracks here. Stylistically, the three tracks here seem equally indebted to Juan Atkins pure techno endeavours as Infiniti and the sub aqueous grooves of Drexciya, not least the restrained title track which shimmers from the murky depths into a finely crafted liquid groove imbued with bubbling elatory Utopian textures. On the flip "Origin" ripples with pressure, its rhythmic elements grappling for your attention as the space between them decreases with Strick and Gen Next expertly layering texture upon texture. A masterful 12" shaped exercise in modern day Detroit sounds is completed with the devious electrofied snap of "Bloodline".
Review: Leonard "Big Strick" Strickland is perhaps best known for his family ties with Omar-S (they're cousins), though his productions are well worthy of praise in their own right. Here, he offers up a sampler 12" featuring cuts from his recent (and excellent) Reservoir Dogs LP. Perhaps the most noteworthy cut is "Family Affair", a lovingly constructed chunk of hypnotic, melodic deepness written with Omar-S. That said, Strick's solo effort "Armed & Dangerous" - a winding chunk of voodoo techno - is arguably better. The mazy techno-funk of Reckless Ron Cook's "Night Moves" is also outstanding.
Review: Digging deep into the Chicago Rave vaults to re-issue the debut EP from Billy Nightmare aka "Mystic Bill" Torres. Growing up in Miami, Bill was involved in various parts of the music industry, from working at Flamingo Record Pool, to playing guitar for the band Life In Sodom (80's Synth/Goth band). His interest in both House & Industrial music inspired him to make his move to the Windy City. Bill quickly became involved in the night scene with residencies at clubs like Shelter, Crobar, & Smart Bar. His studio work began with a remix of Kay Ladrae's "Lack Of Love" with Vince Lawrence, followed by a string of releases, including an LP on Trax Records. He has recently relaunched two record labels and several releases and remixes out each year.
'Reality Check' was released in 1996 on Woody McBride's label Sounds. Originally the project was to be titled " Billy's Nightmare", but to avoid being jinxed for life, Torres decided to switch it to Billy Nightmare. He put the Mystic Bill alias aside, got a hair cut, changed his sound and became this new persona. 'Reality Check' consists of 4 tracks, recorded at Mirage Studios in Chicago in 1996. Two tracks on the A-side are dark thumpers and will haunt your head for days. Side B has 2 versions of the same song, lighter and funkier in mood both show the diversity Mystic Bill is capable of producing. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each EP is housed in a custom designed jacket by Eloise Leigh featuring a 90s photo of Billy Nightmare staring into TV static and includes a postcard with notes.
Review: Grenoble-based producer Binary Digit previously plied his trade on Seven Hills offshoot Zeitnot, so it's little surprise to see him popping up on its parent label. "Never Owned A 303" is the Frenchman's most expansive EP to date, with the six included tracks varying in tempo and intensity while making extensive use of razor-sharp synth riffs and mind-altering, TB-303 style acid lines. Highlights include the metallic, Syclops-goes-techno clatter of "ZE7U II", the "Braindance" influenced dancefloor madness of "Virtual Modular 2 Tape", the sprightly acid-electro bounce of opener "Acid Racing Head" and the DJ Funk style ghetto-acid rush of "I Never Owned A 303".
Review: Berlin based retrovert Binh returns for another much anticipated edition of his Time Passages series with Lost 'N' Rex EP, which follows up some great ones of late by Evan Baggs, Metamorphic Interface and Omar. Featuring six doses of old fashioned techno and electro that take their cues from the early '90s sound; from wacky and strobed-out jam of "Rice In" which you can imagine him playing at one of his regular marathon sets in his hometown, the old school jack of "Waescherei" that calls to mind Blake Baxter's early sounds on KMS to the nefarious underwater electro of the title track which gives a respectful nod to Motor City legends Drexciya.
Review: Liverpool's Scenery Records has been making a real splash over the last 18 months, delivering the kind of top notch, analogue-heavy deep house gear that invites comparisons with the best labels from Vancouver, Washington D.C and New York. There's plenty more to cheer on this label debut from Liverpudlian producer Binny, not least the immersive melodiousness, dancing synthesizers and rhythmic hustle of "Retrospective". Chicago Skyway delivers two impeccable rubs of that track, with the second - a new-age techno stomper built around beautiful synthesizer arpeggios and drum machine cowbells - standing out. Flip for the glassy-eyed intelligent techno-meets-deep house thrills of "A Moment In Time", which is also given a pulsating acid techno makeover from Scenery veteran Circular Rhythms.
Review: Since first emerging in the late 1980s, Peter Elmaloglou has been one of the mainstays of the Australian techno scene. Derrick May is a fan and has decided to offer Elmaloglou the opportunity to showcase his wares on Transmat. A-side "Set Me Free" offers up an impressive fusion of soft-touch European tech-house tropes (fluid, delay-laden synthesizer motifs, tactile beats etc.), Chicago style psychedelic acid lines and the kind of rumbling, elongated bass tones that were once a feature of Kevin Saunderson's late '80s/early '90s work as Reese. Over on side B, "Don't Stop" is undulating, hypnotic and minimalist in tone, with percussion that both hisses and clicks, while "Autumn Blues" sees him pepper a squeezable techno groove with heady ambient chords and glassy-eyed electronic lead lines.