Review: Adiel presents a collection of narcotic and trance-inducing grooves for Kangding Ray's new (ara) imprint, following up an impressive inaugural release by the man himself. The Danza Tribale boss steers crowds into deep ecstasy with her hypnotic sets as resident at the famed Goa Ultrabeat, and on her new Musicfilia EP she serves up exactly the kind of sounds that comprise her acclaimed sonic journeys. Adiel surrenders to the void on the tunnelling opening cut "The Call" (a truly majestic exploration!) and on the B side we have the pure adrenaline of the title track - which will have you in mental overdrive. This one fully channels that 'Sound Of Rome' vibe. The EP ends with the deep and introspective melancholia of "Rednight".
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Eclair Fifi launches her River Rapid label with a smokin' hot drop from the mighty, ascendant Afrodeutsche. Manchester-based Henrietta Smith-Rolla turned heads quickly with her debut album "Break Before Make", which landed as a digi-only release on seminal electronica label Skam. Since then we've been patiently waiting for some follow up sounds, which Smith-Rolla dutifully delivers on this surefooted 12". "I Know Not What I Do" follows on naturally from the album with its moody, atmospheric synth lines and a Drexciyan bent to the production, while "Make The Call" locks into a crisp, tight electro groove for plentiful dancefloor pleasure. "Drink" has more of that brooding introspection lurking around the tough, boxy beats, and then "Phase Two" pushes out into a kind of android rave territory that will leave bodies quaking in its wake.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Second instalment from Belgian electro-label ZwaarteKracht, once again assembling a dream team of international producers to bring together this extraordinary selection of dancefloor tracks with dark sci-fi moods. All dynamically mastered by Karel De Backer to keep those subs moving like they should. Features Arsonist Recorder with the hard hitting retro futurism of "Brain Mode",
Deemphasis going deep on "In My Mind" with its underwater acid, Datawave served up our favourite on the darkly dystopian electro bass of "Quadrant" while Francois Dillinger's "Moon Prison" provides the abstract and minimal vibes.
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: Crisp Recordings is a record label and production company founded by legend DJ Ra-Soul and Chicago by way of Memphis' Don Crisp. Black in Time is the moniker used by the pair which has resulted in three previous collaborative releases on the label, and they're back with the fourth after a long hiatus. Now they present the politically charged "Democracy Is Hypocrisy" with its powerful narrative fuelled by a groovy minimal acid arrangement. Comes with a handy instrumental version on the flip, in addition to a rough and ready acid dub that's perfect for getting weird at the afterhours. Much crossover appeal anticipated on this little treasure -tip!
Review: Sheffield based event series (and now label), Groundwork, has been running small parties in intimate spaces, with the aim of pushing local DJ's in a relaxed, non-commercial environment. Inaugurating the imprint is 18-year-old newcomer Porter Brook with his debut EP which effortlessly joins the dots between breakbeat, techno and UK bass. From the deep neo-junglist stepper "Exit 14th Street", barrelling techno banger "Dipole" (laced with bustling drum machine breakbeats), to the intoxicating, contorted experimental twist of "K41 018 BXH9", this is a quality debut from the Steel City. Let's hope it won't be too long before we get a sequel.
Review: Russian enfant terrible Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno appears next on Gost Zvuk: an imprint dedicated exclusively to the Russian and ex-USSR scene and only releasing music of producers from these regions. The label's seventh release (known elsewhere as 'Swamp Tracks') showcases the diverse array of Milyakov's sonic repertoire, that has seen his release on labels as diverse as Cititrax, Incienso and Zodiac 44. The fierce sonar transmission of "Project Loop 1" or "Subsonic II" will no doubt bear comparisons to Berlin legend Sleeparchive, but still hold their own. Milyakov is really in his element when delving deep into electro mutations as heard on "Industrial Acid" or the tripped-out minimal techno cut (and our favorite) "2x Clouds".
Review: For the sixth missive on his admirable Touch From A Distance label, Panorama Bar/Berghain resident Nick Hoppner has turned to debutant Cameo Blush. The little-known artist hits the ground running with title track "Murky Waters", a superb fusion of two-step influenced electro drums, bleeping electronic melodies and drowsy female vocal snippets. "Hypervisibility" is a deep but weighty chunk of melodic electro bliss, while "Prophet Paradise" is dreamy, languid and sun-kissed, with bright and breezy lead lines and warming chords. Equally as impressive is killer closing cut "Year 2000 Problem", a rumbling breakbeat workout smothered in the kind of blissful electronic flourishes that were such a feature of Isolee classic "Beau Mot Plage".
Review: Earlier in the year, Livity Sound's "reverse" offshoot Dnous Ytivil returned after a two-year absence via a fine collaborative release from Hodge and Randomer. This relatively speedy follow-up is, if anything, even better, with debutant Bristol duo Cando serving up a trio of cuts that fuse typically Bristolian techno rhythms and serious bass-weight with tropical sounds and pleasingly glassy-eyed synthesizer melodies. It's a formula arguably best exemplified by bustling title track "Bleak", whose UK funky-influenced percussive pressure and surging bass-weight is offset by the picturesque quality of the electronic sounds placed on top. That said, the slightly more tribal Afro-tech drums and blissful synthesizer motifs of "Sundown" are also hugely impressive, while closing cut "Bleak (Dub)" is a sparse and heavy soundscape that reminded us of fellow Bristolian Ossia.
Review: Florin Buechel aka Contra Communem Opinionem first appeared on our radar a few years back with some killer EPs on Swiss electro imprint Lux Rec - in particular the collaboration with label boss Daniele Cosmo as Savage Grounds in 2016. Here he presents new Berlin label Omega Men's third installment, serving up yet more gritty analogue machine exploits on "The Transformation Problem". Hear that legendary Roland silver box hard at work throughout the four-tracker: we're loving the soaring resonance and glide of frantic opener "Dead Labor", the dystopian noir vibe of electro jam "Necessary Labor" and our pick of the bunch that is neon-lit exhilarator "Living Labor". Tip!
Review: A dream team line up for this four way that heads off in various directions across detailed and trippy techno landscapes. Those who have been following these heads will understand what we mean- with the quartet all beginning to rise to prominence now and finally claiming the kind of respect they deserve. Saverio Celestri brings 'Ethereal', packed with direct cymbal work, lilting reversed organs creating leftfield-but-dancefloor business with plenty of usability. Midgar label manager Jacopo, toughest from the names here, takes us down an arpeggiated acid route, never quite unleashing but acting as precursor to whatever bangs come next. Otis' 'Axes of Continuity' has a simple three-four note melody mirrored by bumbling bass, and should sound ideal at anything with a free party vibe. Finally, Fede Lijt's 'Deflexion' goes deepest, twinkling chimes, submerged lows, plenty of snares.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.