Always one to charge into more interesting corners of the techno world, Adam X is in fine fettle as he drops his latest album for Sonic Groove, the first on his own label since 1998's Audiobiography. The tone is very much stout and stern, from the industrial-tinged drum hits to the cold and eerie synth content, but of course it's in the rhythmic department where Adam X really shines. At every turn there are intriguing grooves to latch onto, from the drunken lope of the title track with its anthemic hip hop vocal rip, to the opening broken techno drama of "Interchanges". There are more stripped down moments such as the restrained cycles of "Catenary", and some piston pumping bangers like "On The Verge Of Decimation", making this an engaging listen as well as a great collection of techno tracks.
Patrick, Frank & Joe Are Chasing The White Rabbitoh - (4:04) 90 BPM
Names (reprise) - (4:09) 120 BPM
Lars "Anstam" Stoewe has long been part of Modeselektor's extended family of artists, releasing his first two albums on their 50 Weapons label. While those first two sets were characterized by a desire to blend punishing dancefloor rhytms with elements of IDM and dark ambience, Names - his third LP - is a largely more considered affair, with shards of light amongst the gathering gloom. Of course, he's not totally abandoned the skittering rhythms and maudlin basslines - see the sweeping chords and intense beats of "I Stopped Counting" and the rushing post-dubstep blast of "Fragments of the Good Old Days" - but these moments are countered by hazy songs and sweet soundscapes, with the superb "The Obvious & The Impeccable" standing out.
It's rare that an electronic album is the biggest album of the year, or at least the most hyped. That's certainly the case with Syro, Richard D James first official release under his Aphex Twin moniker for some 13 years. So, is it any good? For starters, it sounds like an Aphex Twin album. Listen through to the 12 tracks, and many of his familiar staples are present - the "Digeridoo" era rave breakbeats, the mangled synth-funk mash-ups, the intoxicating ambient-era melodies, the warped basslines and the skittish drill & bass style rhythms. There's madness, beauty and intensity in spades. In other words, it's an Aphex Twin album, and - as so many have pointed out since the album's release was announced - there's no-one else quite like Richard D James.