Following on from the producer's much lauded debut, Alex Tsiridis reemerges on the Avian label with Cave Walls (Part Two).
Tsiridis' work under the Rhyw moniker has always showcased the producer's keen ear for drawing out melody from potentially disharmonious elements - tweaking feedback components and utilising heavy filtering to generate curious hook-like riffs that dip in and out of the heady drum work with some considerable style.
On AVN035, Rhyw continues to mine this unique production aesthetic, eking out both pleasing tones and more discordant sonic anomalies in equal measure across a handful of new recordings.
Beatless pieces All Structures Are Unstable & Karhide lean tentatively towards Cluster-esque Krautrock in their execution - the former, an acrimonious deconstruction of the producer's dance floor work, and the latter owing more to the Noise & Drone music found elsewhere on the Avian label.
Byzantine Mahogany, the first of three more functional pieces, finds its hook element in a growling, low slung saw, driven hot & buoyed by dry, shuffling percs & Happening RN features that same twisted bass, this time with added urgency. Opportunist completes the triad and finds Tsiridis in yet more high octane territory, sonically shifted more to the high frequencies found on Cave Walls (Part One) - cementing a now characteristic bent to the producer's work.
Review: Rrose continues to serve up occasional slabs of mind-altering techno gold, primarily on the Eaux label the producer established in 2012 after parting company with Sandwell District. This year-ending missive is as impressive as it is mind-altering and thought provoking. Opener "Beware of Shells" delivers a trippy and intoxicating blend of rhythmic modular noise and foreboding electronics, before the creepy "Incisors" leads us gently by the hard towards peak-time techno dancefloors. Elsewhere, "The Swelling" serves up buzzing, mangled white noise, "Sister (Remix)" is a psychedelic, mid-tempo modular techno chugger, and closing cut "Pecking Order" is a particularly dystopian chunk of otherworldly ambient.
Review: UK techno dons James Ruskin and Mark Broom are back at it again on Blueprint with three slabs of upfront peak time material that packs brains to match brawn. "Domwen" is a delirious workout that revolves around a mad-eyed synth hook to make late night ravers fly off the handle. "Screwface" is equally ear-catching with its snarling electro lead bending and flexing around the stern beat, and then "Okt" bowls in with yet more oscillating acrobatics to shock out your local techno dungeon. You hardly need assuring of the quality these two can conjure up, but suffice it to say if you're after tough and inventive fist-shakers, this 12" has got you covered.
Review: The seventh volume of Drumcode's annual A-Sides compilation hits with no less than 10 debuts for the label, with topline artists releasing their maiden productions on the imprint. Over two decades into its lifespan, Adam Beyer's label keeps evolving and excelling, pushing techno forward while remaining wholly respectful of its roots. On this volume, German techno legend Thomas Schumacher delivers one of his best tracks in a while on the brooding peak time onslaught "The Unseen" which brings the distinct sound of Bremen in to 2018. Ascendant Brazilian DJ Victor Ruiz impresses as always with the melodic and hypnotic "Pulso", before former Radio 1 host B.Traits closes with the chugging factory floor stomp of "I Feel The Music".
Review: This fine outing on Church marks the return of Rai Scott, a woman who knows a thing or two about crafting quality deep house. Despite it being three years since her last EP, Scott has lost none of her production powers. For proof, check the dreamy lo-fi wooziness of "Paradise of Crane", where deep space synthesizer chords seemingly float around a clicking deep house groove, the cinematic bliss of "Lazy Sunshine" - "Deep Burnt" for a new generation, perhaps - and the lilting, enveloping dancefloor melancholia of "Detached Observation". Also worth checking is Valentino Mora's fine remix of "Paradise of Crane", which recasts the track and a slowly shifting chunk of head-in-the-clouds deep house/dub techno fusion.
Review: For their latest must-check release, outsider club music specialists Basic Moves welcome debutant The Sect3000, a Swiss producer who originally recorded the material showcased here for his own private amusement way back in the mid 1990s. It's great that we finally get to hear them, though, because both tracks are superb. "Blaupause", an organ and acid-fired chunk of techno futurism closer in tone and style to Detroit is undeniably emotion-rich, while flipside "Plastic Dream" offers a trippy, deep space romp through pitched-up, Motor City style electro reminiscent of both Aux88 and Drexciya.
Review: Techno reissues don't come much more essential than this. Of all the Detroit heroes, Anthony Shake Shakir is one of the wildest, with his iconic catalogue traditionally pushing into the red and drawing on a rugged set of influences. This comes across in abundance on "5% Solution", his second single which came out on Metroplex in 1993. The title track feeds off the rolling hardcore breaks that were blowing up in the UK as much as the Motor City methodology, and it sounds utterly magnificent. "Mindless Entertainment" whips up an oddball tuff-house brew that aligns with Sheffield bleeps n bass, "Day Of Reckoning" stutters and shakes with frantic energy and "My Name Is Binky" gets into a wonderfully crooked groove. Shake has a bite and verve to his style that just can't be beaten.
Review: Following up the closure of his respected Jealous God imprint, former Sandwell District accomplice Juan Mendez returns to Hospital Productions to follow up 2011's bold outing Negative Fascination - presenting these modern EBM mutations in the same vein. Mendez captures the zeitgeist of classic early '80s industrial dance on the rusty rattle of "Harm In Hand", followed by more driving body music of the steelier persuasion on "Damage" and the pitch-black technoid riot "Death Of Decadence".
Review: Brice Coudert's French imprint Lavibe is back after a terrific inaugural release brought to you by homeboy Bambounou and Italian Marco Shuttle. The second edition is mastered by Neel and features French youngblood Simo Cell (Livity Sound) on the A side, with the awe-inspiring IDM experiment "Ego Death" before Belgian cutting-edge techno master Peter Van Hoesen (Time To Express) takes over with the hypnotic, tunnelling journey down the vortex that is "Cygnus Attratus".
Review: Munich-based mystery man, Skee Mask, remains at the top of our Ilian Tape favourites. While we love the work of brothers Dario and Marco Zenker, the two label founders, we think that this guy's sound is the creme de la creme of contemporary, dub-filtered techno. Serum and Junt were both absolute killer EPs, and the Shred album was also on our list of the best releases of 2016, so we're pretty psyched about this new single, the curiously named 2012. The opening "Kordman Return (Swing mix)" is Skee Mask up to his naughty break sampling and techno wizardry, all broken and loose, whereas "Palo Alto" sees the producer in a surprisingly sturdy, head-first mood driven by solid bursts of 4/4 and wondrous synths. Over on the B-side, "Fjorward Flex Dub" swings its mighty swarms of drums over a minimal flurry of melodies, in what feels like a sublime reinterpretation of heavy, 90s power-house; "Glass Museum" closes with a real twist thanks to an abstract, wide-eyed landscape of dissolving, jazzed-out percussion and moody ambience. Excellent material, as per usual.
Review: Having set our world alight with his third Ilian Tape 12", 2012, back in the spring, Munich man Skee Mask delivers another essential collection of loose-limbed, broken techno workouts. Typically, he's on point from the word go, enveloping swinging, off-kilter techno breakbeats with swirling chords and cascading melodies on brilliant opener "Inti". His love of African-influenced polyrhythms is explored further on the ghostly, percussion-rich club cut "Kappelberg Chant" (which, incidentally, makes great use of choral chants), while "Routine" is a warm, loved-up and evocative tribute to rave-era British breakbeat-house. His debt to British dance music's formative years also comes to the fore on killer proto-jungle jam "Skreet Lvl Dub".
Review: Three different takes from two different periods of time meet up in this acid focused 12". The record features two Skudge originals from 2009, optimized into today's standards. And also a classically trained Splice track, where a fierce drum patterngoes in parallel with the acidic bass line. A current take on a very classic machine.
Sleep D presents DJ Mind Leaf & The Herbalist - "See Mi Rockin" (5:52)
DJ Fett Birger & Sleep D - "Birger's Dense Ricanstructed Melbourne RMix Three 7inch Versan" (4:18)
Review: Fresh from the warped mind of Melbourne misfit Sleep D comes DJ Mind Leaf & The Herbalist, an alternative alias focused on heavyweight, dub-influenced productions. "See Mi Rockin" is suitably deep, bass-heavy and twisted, with mangled, outer-space vocal samples and delay-laden electronic motifs fizzing around a booming bassline and skittish, dancehall-influenced riddim. It comes accompanied on side B of this rather tasty 7" by another collaboration between Sleep D and Norwegian eccentric DJ Fett Burger. "Birger's Dense Ricanstructed Melbourne RMix Three" is based around the recordings of a 2016 jam session that the Sex Tags man then reworked last autumn into a percussive chunk of woozy house rich in trippy synth lines and densely layered hand percussion. In other words, it sounds like as sweet Fett Burger workout.
Review: Given that he only ever released one single, you'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Slick Master Rick - an early Chicago house producer who later found fame as Dance Mania-signed ghetto-house producer Houz'mon. Here, Singaporean label Midnight Shift has pulled off a coup by pairing his sought-after "Halloween House" cut - an early ghetto-acid smasher released in 1988 - with a trio of previously unreleased tracks recorded in the same period. Check first the stab-happy thump of "Can't Wait" - all glassy-eyed vocal samples and thunderous kick-drums - before turning your attention to the rubbery, TB-303-heavy jack of Jammin Gerald hook-up "Nightmare". Closing cut "Jack My Body", meanwhile, is a brilliantly sparse but heavy chunk of blistering ghetto-house.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.