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Reviewed this week
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Black Fan has only put out one EP on Wolf Music Recordings prior to this latest outing on Sweden's excellent Local Talk stable. His music is characterized by deep, dubby and raw beats coated in a distinctive party flavor, qualities heard loud and clearly on the wonky bumps of "In The Water". "Dancin' Together" takes the more soulful approach, where choppy female vocals ride above jittery chords and starry pads, whereas "J2015" is an altogether dustier affair, a quick-firing mass of percussion shots and siren-like melodies.
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After flitting between labels for the first four years of his career, Blawan has decided to become master of his own destiny. Last month's Warm Tonal Touch EP marked the debut of his Ternesc imprint. This speedy follow-up continues on a similar theme, delivering a range of ragging, dark and often intense modular techno workouts. All four tracks prioritize percussion and rhythm, with any melodic elements - usually short, nightmarish loops, or horror-influenced textures - playing second fiddle to his impressive drum programming. It's a formula that works well, from the left-of-centre bounce of "Hanging Out With The Birds" and throbbing 4/4 pulse of "Mine Oh Mine", to the sludgy, industrial fuzziness of closer "Diatonic Valves".
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Hyped producers come and go, but Martin Landsky can always be relied upon to release sublime deep house. This is apparent on "Under the Bridge", a typical Landsky house track. Tight, shuffling drums provide the basis for gradually up-building chords - that hint at a euphoric release - alongside dramatic stabs. The overall effect is spine-tingling and evocative. On the title track, the Poker Flat artist departs from the script. Sure, his trademark acid licks and minute vocal samples are audible, but they ride a booming, Reese-style bass. Rounding off this excellent release is the house version of the title track, whose synth washes sound like Mike Huckaby at his most ethereal
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Dutch label Dynamic reflection continues to go from strength to strength with power duo Abstract Division comprised of label boss Paul Boex and Dave Miller. The original of Metropolis is a nice slice of soulful melodic techno that fans of Heiko laux or Vince Watson will be all over. The first thing you may think then listening to the Trolley Route mix is it sounds like Oscar Mulero; and it is! Things start getting hectic when they big guns Function and Marcel Fengler are called in for remix duties. Dave Sumner's pounding yet atmospheric version is all you'd expect. But he keeps the lush melody of the original intact and it works well. Fengler's rendition delivers exactly what he's renowned for in the form of energised, peak time minimal; just the way it should be!
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A taster for Karmil's second album, due this year, Play It.. draws on a range of house influences and tropes to create an idiosyncratic release. "Play It" is all dense drums and full of the kind of tripped out delays and filters that were last heard during the minimal house boom. In contrast, "Do It" is a rolling, linear affair, powered by a strong sub-bass and recalling the late 90s/early 00s sound of London tech-house. Karmil ventures farther back in time for the final track, "Say It". Here, the production is cleaner and sparser, the synths have an eerie, otherworldly sound and the end result is reminiscent of Two Lone Swordsmen's unforgettable flirtation with deep house on Swimming not Skimming.
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It's long been something of a tradition for Tosca's albums to be followed, within a year, by a set of remixes and alternative versions. Shopsca: The Outta Here Versions maintains this trend, delivering all-new reworks of the Viennese duo's 2014 full length, Outta Here. While there's a thread of blazed dub running throughout, the variety of the reworks is actually rather impressive. FaltyDL's version of "Have Some Fun" - all bittersweet horns and fizzing future-jazz electronics - is particularly inspired, while the Ogris Debris version of "Kickin' It Down" is a wild, electrofunk-meets-glitch-house gem. Throw in some dub disco style reworks and a woozy house re-fix of "Crazy Love" from Tom Demac, and you have a rather strong set.
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The masked wonder returns after some time spent away with a new two track throwdown for Nonplus. After last year saw a pair of 12"s drop on Running Back, it's been a fairly quiet time in the world of Redshape, but he comes to Boddika's label with his surefire analogue intent intact, dropping a pair of assured club jams oozing with warmth and funk. "I Feel Like Riot" rumbles along on a crunchy set of percussion, around which wobbling LFOs of bass and plush synth hits spiral outwards in a fine Motor City tradition. "The Rift" meanwhile drops a slick set of conga-enhanced drum science with a different salvo of thick, throbbing melodic twists for the sleazy end of the dance.
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There's nothing more powerful in electronic music than a great bass. From Suburban Knight's cubist tones to the desolate subs of No U-Turn, the low end has the potential to be a producer's deadliest weapon. It certainly seems to be the case for German artist Oliver Huntemann. While he rose to prominence during the noise-fixated electro house sound, his bass sounds are never messy and fuzzy, favouring instead a brutal, streamlined approach. Both "Schwarzlicht" and "Filmriss" contain little more than oppressive and sleek basslines. Granted, they are anchored in metallic rhythms and cold beats, but it's Huntemann's bleak low end that prevails on both occasions.
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Is it disco? Is it minimal? No, it's Alkalino's latest release. Drawing on the tripped out rhythms of minimal house and the sample heavy approach of the disco/edits scene, he delivers "El Che". It's not clear whether the title is a reference to the revered Latin American revolutionary, but the shuffling rhythm and 'French Kiss'-style riffs do provide the basis for Alkalino to sample an uplifting vocal rant en espanol. Whether it's a call to arms or just the meanderings of a random Spanish speaker is unclear. On "Roshna", he veers more towards the kind of jazz-inflected sound of Cadenza, with hollowed out drums and a sonorous bass guiding the way.
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The latest release on Swiss label Drumpoet Community has the potential to become a huge summer anthem. In particular, the Washerman remix of the title track sees a buzzing bass and bubbling riffs underpin Jinadu's tortured vocals. Close your eyes and it could easily pass for a remix of Depeche Mode by an artist like Oliver Huntemann. The Musk version of "Starchild" is more in keeping with the label's house sound and features doubled up claps and hissing percussion fused with sensuous piano lines. The Hyenah version of the same track remains in a similar territory, albeit with tighter and denser drums supporting the piano lines.
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This Australian producer shares the name of the fabled drum machine, but this release offers so much more than bog standard beat tracks. "Saratoga" starts with dubby beats before Black lets loose with volleys of machine gun fire percussion and hypnotic pulses. The track eventually descends into a netherworld where eerie, nocturnal riffs and outer space blips and bleeps prevail. "Floored" offers a different perspective on Black's production style; a stepping rhythm and dense drums provide the basis for hoover stabs and spacey textures. Finally, "Deuce" brings the release to a close in an intense manner. Although the tempo is slower, the riffs are discordant and the miniature vocal snatches only serve to heighten the sense of unease.
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Active as a record releasing producer for a decade, James 'Burnski' Burnham has credits for a wide variety of labels in his discography, gracing everyone from Boe to Hot Creations. Constant Sound is a new label from the man, set up with Jon Woodall, Burnski's production partner as Constant. Music from Cab Drivers, Kris Wadsworth, A Scott, and Richard Rowell is promised over the coming months but it's a solo record from Burnski that kicks matters off with Your Love. A collaboration with vocalist Beckford, "Your Love" is one of those insistent, driving house cuts with dashes of acid to it and it's complemented by remixes from Prime Numbers man Trus'me and Mosaic boss Steve O'Sullivan who take the cut in markedly different directions. A solid start for Constant Sound!
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