It's safe to say that German imprint Shitkatapult can now be classed as a pillar of modern techno music. Over the years, Shitkatapult artists such as Apparat and Cristian Vogel have been very important for the development of dance music and the label has always managed to reinvent themselves. This time, it's the third edition of its Werkschau compilation, and it features some of the hottest names in the game, as well as some of the darker sonics currently being made. Inside, you'll find the likes of TTT and Killekill's Eomac, Phon.O and of course, all the label's regular stars. Ace.
The sublime Important imprint has done it again here with another blast from the undiscovered past. Zurich was a test project by various different artists during the '80s and '90s, including a member of Warp act Seefeel. As you'd expect, there's a little bit of everything in here as far as styles and influences go, but it's all pretty cutting-edge nevertheless. Tracks like "Tzarist" or "Odessa" sound fresher than ever, recalling the sounds of luminaries such as AFX or Autechre, to name a few. Unmissable stuff.
The Kids Will Take Care Of Themselves - (4:30) 51 BPM
Monogamy - (5:01) 66 BPM
Shame - (4:28) 65 BPM
Pilgrimage - (8:33) 70 BPM
Having first appeared on Phantasy Sound as part of BTU last year, the somewhat mysterious U makes his solo bow for Erol Alkan's label with the Heaven In A Heartfelt World EP. Previous releases from U on Man Make Music have shown the producer is capable of aligning the dancefloor and home listening worlds, an approach he also adopts here. There are shades of Boards Of Canada or patten to crunchy IDM opener "The Kids Will Take Care Of Themselves", whilst the minimal plink of "Monogamy" feels set deep in degraded tape. There are two further exercises in rueful sonics in the shape of "Shame" and "Pilgrimage", leaving you with a lasting feeling the rumoured major label LP deal for U will result in some interesting listening.
In a glorious celebration of sour-faced, distinctly British punk poetry, Ekoplekz and Mordant Music get together once again for this short album of abrasive dub pulses and stream of consciousness wordplay. It's a potent combination that certainly has its roots in the dark side incantations of live Throbbing Gristle, albeit made richer with Ekoplekz's masterful arsenal of otherworldly squelches and splats. If anything his production gets channelled into a more focused structure when it has the words to work with, and it's no bad thing. Lyrically Mordant Music hits straight to the point, picking out contemporary references and drenching them in modern malaise in a tone fit for these sinister times.
Finally Torn Hawk (aka Luke Wyatt) provides us with a digital release of his second full-length for Valcrond Video. While the attention to detail, and particularly melody, that marked out early L.I.E.S. release Tarifa is present, it's masked in all manner of curious, clandestine effects, industrial rhythms and mutant noise. At times, 10 For Edge Tek comes on like a latter-day Steve Reich with drum machines and effects units; at others, it's more akin to early '80s noise albums or droning techno. Such wild swings and leftfield intent makes for a fascinating listen.