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: 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: 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.
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.
Coefficient - "Wavefunction Collapse" (P God remix) (6:58)
Coefficient - "Wavefunction Collapse" (6:52)
Ben Gibson - "Frontier" (5:50)
P God - "Hoag's Object" (6:20)
Review: Italian label Prototypes is pretty straight up with their mission statement. It's all about 'classic techno elements blended with eerie atmospheres, dark synths and sharp percussion as essential characteristics.' UK producer Coefficient pursues the bleepier end of hypnotic techno in the same vein as the legendary Sahko, as heard on the trance inducing atmospherics of "Wavefunction Collapse". The fierce remix up next by label boss P.God goes for the jugular in the same style as recent Pole Group or Avian efforts. New Zealander Ben Gibson is featured too, with the lush deep techno excursion entitled "Frontier" which proves that this guy is on point as always. Finally we have P.God again with another fine effort in the form of "Hoag's Object". While certainly not as furious as his aforementioned remix, it certainly is jam packed full of drama and suspense. With its trance inducing melodies, droney pads and strict rhythms channelling that now classic Sandwell District kind of vibe.
Review: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
Review: P-Balans is a new imprint in the Future Nuggets emerging constellation. A tehnodelia ramification within the Bucharest electronic scene that will host rising names like Khidja and Borusiade while introducing new characters like The Holy Fix (Camil Dumitrescu, co-member of Delusion Men) and Utopus (Ion D, producer of Steaua de Mare, Raze de Soare, Anahore?ii among others) already featured on "Sounds on the Unheard from Romania vol. 2". Keeping the same strategies of fusion and diffusion as Future Nuggets, P-Balans will explore the space traversal to techno, entering and exiting the dark halls of the club through multiple doors.
Review: While George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has released rather a lot of fine material in recent times, we still think that he saves his best for Berceuse Heroique - or at least his darkest and most clandestine aural explorations. For proof, check this inspired double-pack of creepy, pitch-black workouts, which we think contains some of his most potent work to date. There's the triple-time, paranoid deep techno throb of "Void", the faintly threatening dystopian dancefloor shuffle of "Machine", and the clanking, industrial-fired hypnotism of "R24" and "Mechanic". While it tends towards the paranoid and unsettling, Thompson has included one sun-bright shard of light: the blissful, beat-free, intertwined synthesizer lines of closing cut "Mod".
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: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
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: Sweden's Hypnus Records has been going strong since last year, delivering an impressive 10 records in this period! Although the label is coated in the Northern hemisphere's cold outlook, they've scouted a number of artists from different regions of Europe. Their latest offering brings a second volume of their Adepts series, lead by label casual Luigi Tozzi and "Hierophant" which finds the Italian in a deep, ethereal mood with those lamenting pads and gently cascading beats. On the flip, "Kykeon" by Feral brings some subtle bursts of acid to the fore over calming deep techno rhythms, with BLNDR's "Tomb" occupying a similar, mood enhancing mindscape.
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: 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: Thomas Bangalter's 12"s on Roule remain the most potent examples of the early 90s French Touch sound, and some two decades after their first release the Frenchman is re-releasing some of the prize picks from his formidable oeuvre. Trax On Da Rox Vol 2 follows the reissue of the first volume last month, and for what it's worth we reckon this instalment is even more essential. Tracks like "Club Soda" - perhaps the smoothest example of filter house ever committed to wax - as well as the abrasive ripples of "Extra Dry" and b-boy cut ups of "Shuffle" set a blueprint for a generation of producers who tried (and largely failed) to replicate the pumping, visceral energy displayed here, while Bangalter moved on, donned a mask and took over the world.
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: 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!
Dreaming Of Paradise (Oracy Leaving Eden dub) (9:26)
Review: Fresh from Utrecht, Blue Closet makes his debut on Mojuba with two startling originals; "To The Ocean Floor" lives up to its name with big pad washes and beats that shuffle like an old Rolando joint. Immersive and captivating, it's the perfect set opener that allows you to take any direction you wish. Flip for "Dreaming Of Paradise", a yearning, barbed soul cut that's reminiscent of Lee Burridge 15 years ago but at around half the tempo. Powerful and dreamy, it's complemented by a bubbling version from Oracy that blows Closet's doors off. More please, Bluey.
Review: Here's something of a surprise treat for techno fans: a first 12" in 20 years from legendary Dutch acid techno combo Random XS. The two tracks featured were originally recorded, but never released, in the '90s, and have been brought back to life by Random XS in collaboration with other producers. "Errant", which was co-produced by fellow Djax-Up Beats graduate Binaural, is a spacey affair, with undulating acid lines working in tandem with woozy chords, bubbling electronic melodies and clattering analogue percussion. Lost Trax lends a hand on flipside cut "Truant", which explores deeper techno territory via relentless rhythms, percussive builds, darkly ambient chords and deep space electronics.