Peter Van Hoesen and Yves De May are easily two of the very best techno artists out there. Just to clarify, they are excellent at creating true techno music, not the sort that looks to the past; both producers have been pushing the boundaries since they got into the scene, and it's no wonder that they've been associated to labels like Sandwell District - now sadly defunct - Tresor, and Dekmantel. Here, they reappear on the excellent Editions Mego with Ground & Figure, an album that explores all corners of the term 'techno', from the more beat-centric to the utterly abstract, and drone-like. Tracks like "Porter Swiss" provide a minimal, almost skeletal strain of dance music, while others like "Perfect Boulevard Exclusive" are lean, stripped and devoid of anything dance-related. The important thing is that these two are conjuring their own sound, a dark and ritualistic aesthetic that provides the listener with something fresh, compelling and provocative. Sublime.
Oscar Mulero's Polegroup label closes the year with a mammoth compilation that defines the current state of the techno nation. As Unknown Landscapes shows, it is a diverse place. There's droning ambience from Daphne RXX, while Reeko, Reggy Van Oers and Mike Parker deliver bleep-heavy, hypnotic groove that draw on the influence of F.U.S.E and Sandwell District. Heads-down loopy fare is also catered for - with the spiky percussion and bleak filters of Jonas Koop's "Fu Factor" standing out - and the form also revisits the rough, analogue sound of the 90s thanks to Karl Bult and American scene veteran DJ Hyperactive's contributions.