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SWITCH GENRE
 
Reviewed this week
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This release is a sign of how much of a global phenomenon underground electronic music is, as all of the contributors come from Mexico. Thomass Jackson kick-starts the release with "Bad Chat", a malevolent, bass-heavy groove that is propelled over frenetic drum rolls. Eddie Mercury's "Rim Cow Shot" inhabits a similar space, albeit one that is powered by grainy kick drums and razor-sharp percussive volleys. An interest in the darker side of electronic music must be a common theme for Mexican producers because both Mijo's "Working Late" and Inigo Vontier's "Lunatico" are led by eerie, warbling synths and throbbing basslines and Theus Mago's "Ritmo Extraterrestre" is a wild acid extravaganza.
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Redshape's last outing on Running Back, Bonuz Beatz Vol 1, was something of a stripped-back affair, offering a quartet of forthright DJ tools. Here, the masked techno producer returns to his usual full-throttle best. The original version of "Leaves" is decidedly robust, with clipped acid lines, electronic squeaks and a rumbling bassline riding a locked-in groove. The "Rotated Mix" offers a little more space for the groove to breathe, with Redshape getting busy with drum machine handclaps, hissing cymbals and classic rave-era stabs. The "Stripped 2 Clip & 303" version, meanwhile, pushes the nagging acid lines to the four, stretching them out over a tweaked, cowbell-laden groove.
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Given the abundance of krautrock influences and cosmic synthesizer sounds on the Vermont debut album (simply titled Vermont), Prins Thomas was the natural choice to provide remixes. Here, he puts his typically cosmic, space-leaning stamp on three tracks from Dani Plessow and Marcus Worgull's much-hyped set. First, the Full Pupp boss delivers a chugging, hypnotic version of "Dynamik" full of rising and falling electronics and fizzing techno percussion. A slower, more Scandolearic take on "Elektron" follows, before Thomas memorably turns "Macchina" into a head-nodding chunk of woozy ambient dub. It's this, more than the EP's other dancefloor-focused moments, which really impresses.
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For those who had assumed that Butch was a tool house producer and not much else, this release will come as surprise. Favouring a more experimental approach than usual, "LFO" is led by weird, freaky frequencies and a bleep bassline. "Delusion" sees him go down a deep, dubby route, the robust bass leading into a sweeping, dramatic climax. Butch keeps the focus on more reflective sounds with the weeping synths and tough claps of "Sphere", while he returns to the experimental path of "LFO" for the denouement. Both "Tone 2.0" and "Busy B" are reduced tracks, with the former based on subsonic blips and bleeps and the latter boasting a stuttering groove bolstered by a Hoover bass.
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The term 'locked groove' may be primarily associated with tough, loopy techno, but Tim Van de Meutter's latest release under this name is radically different. The title track starts with stripped back, minimal house beats, before de Meutter introduces a dramatic, surging bassline and tranced out synth lines. It's to the producer's credit that he manages to keep the groove dance floor-based. "Meditations In An Emergency" pushes even farther in an esoteric direction; a chattering rhythm and acid warbles provide the backdrop for Locked Groove to provide the kind of dreamy synth scapes that Derrick May used to produce. Van de Meutter's stage name may not fit this music, but "Meditations" is still deep electronic music at its best.
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Greek producer Alex Dimou follows his recent EP on Get Physical with this compilation of some of his tracks. "Turn Around" is a real 'lost it' moment, its glitchy percussion and slurred vocal recreating long, hazy nights on the dance floor. However, Dimou is clearly a producer of diverse tastes; "Efukt" is much more esoteric, featuring dreamy chords and lithe breakbeats, while "So True" featuring Lee Burton follows a similar, breakbeat path, albeit one that is lined with acidic segues and hypnotic bongos. Dimou's selection even makes nods to pop music with the psychedelic downtempo of "White Rabbit", before finishing with the contemplative piano house of "Oceanmoon".
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This split release is the first in a series of four records celebrating the German label's 15th birthday. First up is owner Steve Bug, whose "A Shot In The Dark" track gets remixed by Taylor. With a subtitle 'Trapped in 92', it is no surprise that Bug's deep chords and jacking house is infused with dark snare rolls and even some stray gun fire! The Organ Grinder's version of Boris Dlugosch's "Sweet Talk" is just as raw, with the insistent chords, sprawling acid lines and jagged percussion sounding like something from Ian Pooley's mid-90s catalogue. By contrast, youANDme's "Quince" is cleaner, crisper, more precise - but still likely to appeal to those who love the kind of tripped out house that Poker Flat specialises in.
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The past and the present collide on this sampler for the latest Watergate mix. Martin Eyerer's "Reckless" draws on classic acid house tropes, including searing acid lines and rolling snares - reminiscent to the ones on Laurent X's timeless Machines - but the bass growls with the kind of aggression only a modern artist could make. Stephan Hinz's "Hungry" is the most contemporary sounding track, a jacking, rolling affair that unwinds to the sound of sheet metal percussion and eerie bleeps. Clint Stewart's "Drenched" also takes inspiration from the old school, its evocative, building chords combined with a wailing siren that sounds like a modern take on Lil Louis.
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Norwegian hotshot Charlotte Bendiks delivers another killer release for Mental Overdrive's label. The title track is a tracky affair, its tough claps and robust rhythm providing the basis for a seductive female vocal. There's a similar approach on the other tracks, and overall Aurora sounds like a harder take on Prins Thomas' nu-disco. Veteran Norwegian spinner Strangefruit makes an appearance on the tribal drums of "Bananas", and both "Inside Joke" and "Crazy In The Coconut" resound to system-levelling basslines and woozy synths. The final piece in the Norwegian jigsaw is complete on Bjorn Torske's Torskefoten remix of "Lofoten", where a sulky robot proclaims 'I like to lose control' over a bleak mutant disco groove.
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As soundtracks to the end of this year's season in Ibiza go, Closing Party is a raucous affair. There is no shortage of big room tech house bangers, demonstrated ably by the filtered, tracky workout that is Wehbba's "Opalescence" and the swinging techy rhythms and vocal snatches of Jay Lumen's "Reverse World". However, instead of just following the same path, this compilation does dig a bit deeper. Patrick Topping's "Forget" sees rave riffs spliced up over a jacking house groove, while Booka Shade's remix of Hot Since 82's "Don't Touch The Alarm" cleverly fuses filtered house with the German duo's crystalline melodies for a euphoric, fist-pumping affair that is 100 per cent Ibiza.
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Taken from the recent and quite unexpected album collaboration between the prog house titans and bestselling sci-fi writer John Twelve Hawks, "3B3" catches the partnership at its expansive best. The central element is the bass, cavernous and spacious, that allows insidious acid lines, dark snare rolls and a vocal sample - "3B3 is a living thing" - seep through the heavy, rolling arrangement. The Robacid vs Babicz mix sees veteran German producer Babicz draw on his Rob Acid guise for inspiration. It results in a reshape that throbs with squelchy acid but at the same time is tethered by a buzzing, distorted bass.
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Previously active within the Logistic/Telegraph stable, Parisian DJ David Gluck also has a keen interest in movies. Or so it seems when one listens to "Lebush", on his new release. Somewhere deep in the shredded drums and abstract rhythms, it's possible to hear Robert De Niro's character in Taxi Driver talking about "washing all of the scum off the streets". The sample retains pride of place on Cabanne's remix of the same track, nestling amid the French producer's dense, tribal drums. Gluck's own "Werehouse" favours a similar approach, with a percussive arrangement and doubled up drums giving way to a series of break downs, while "In Love" sees Gluck return to the abstract approach of "Lebush", minus De Niro's sociopathic rant.
Exclusives
KIASMOS - Kiasmos	(Erased Tapes)
GLUCK, David - Just The Tip EP (Minibar)
EYERER, Martin/STEPHAN HINZ/CLINT STEWART - Watergate 17 (Watergate)
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