By diligently releasing quality underground jams, Stockholm's Local Talk continue to prove that the Scandinavians aren't just all about the stadium-filling jock-house of Swedish House Mafia. Here in typically reasonable Scandi style they divide this EP equally between two talented acts. First up Chesus & Timmy P serve up some pretty serious tackle in the form of "Vitamin C" - all New York claps and rolls, diva vocals, retro organ riffs and trippy stereo-panned loops. Zoe Zoe, on the other hand, opts for deep US garage married to relentless hip-hop samples on the slammin' "Bust Them Wifes".
Kieran Hebden knows his way around a good remix, be it the 200 odd official remixes done as Four Tet (not to mention a raft of illicit ones) or the many superb remixes he's commissioned from other artists (with the classic Joy Orbison remix of "Love Cry" from 2010 our favourite) Winding down proceedings on his Beautiful Rewind album from last year, Hebden here assembles a fine cast of rising production talent to put their own spin on tracks from the album. Any release that features production input from Detroit prodigy Jay Daniel, gritty funkateer Seven Davis Jr. and London-based producer PhOtOmachine is worth some time investigating and it's the gooey take on "Buchla" by Mr Davis Jr. that has proved to be the Juno office favourite this week.
Kris Klayton aka Karizma may be known as a house DJ, but as this release shows, his sound reaches farther and wider than that limiting title. The Kaytronik dub of "Tech This Out" is a driving affair that features deep, filtered chords as its centrepiece, stretched out over doubled-up beats. "Bounce B+" is a drummy jam, full of rattling, shaking percussion, hisses and whirrs and underpinned by a searing, jungle-like bassline. Even on the most garage-oriented track, "K To The P", Karizma adds some sub-sonic bleeps, lo-fi toy town melodies and ghostly vocals to his trademark choppy drums.
Given that he usually releases rambling but charming ambient with Marcus Henriksson under the Minilogue guise, it comes as no surprise that Mullaert's solo work doesn't favour brevity. Clocking in at over 16 minutes, the title track is a pulsing, acidic affair that moves form eerie chants to warbling jazzy keys and into a gloriously tripped out, acid-soaked climax. By contrast, "Recapturing The Radical Self" clocks in at a modest ten and a half minutes and favours a more direct approach. Thumb-clicking percussion and clattering claps prevail as grinding riffs and spiralling 303 lines lead the listener to another denouement - this time it's an atmospheric synth outro.
Clocking in at 50 tracks, Tour shows that the German label isn't just about naive trance melodies and rickety, minimal beats. It starts with the deep ambience of Tominic's "Shine", which over the course of nine minutes moves into bleepy, minimal pulses. In contrast, there's the dubby house of Paul Bart's "Call It Anything You Want" and David Heckhausen's "Hang Zur Sonne Paul", a clicky, mid-tempo groove covered in organic textures. Despite this, trance fans won't be left disappointed; there's the buzzsaw bass and organic textures of Theo Meier's "Eichhorn", the gentle, spiralling melodies of Peet's seductive "Timers" and best of all, the brittle rhythm and day-glo hooks on Reinier Zonneveld's "Gevorderd Spelers".
It sounds like Norwegian producer Jon-Eirik Boska is channelling a range of techno sources for Interiors. While the title sounds like the name of a design magazine, the musical interior is quite different "Aspartam" starts it off in relatively sedate mode, the shiny dewdrop melodies combined with a stepping rhythm, while "Caves" is far more abrasive. Over a frazzled rhythm and hammering minimal beats, he drops throbbing bass licks as the track drops and then climaxes in quick succession. "Safehouses" is more understated and stripped back, but carries with it a sense of menace thanks to the bleepy bass. Finally, Boska drops "Ferns", which sees a return of sorts to the territory occupied by "Aspartam" - the only difference is that this time, the rhythm is more jittery than Shane McGowan with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
French producer Romain Poncet's stage name is the German word for 'dreamer', but this release proves that his sound is very earthy and rooted in the real world. "Hoodlum" kickstarts the release with dark bassy licks and a Nu Groove style siren before he delivers a series of functional tracks. "Shuttering", "Static Run" and "Swish" are all based on driving rhythms, firing percussion and searing chords - with the dense warehouse of "Swish" proving to be the most effective and impressive. However, the release highlights divert from this approach, with the tough, loopy "Wasp" and the menacing minimal surges of "Chord X" recalling the best of '90s techno.
Traum are faultless in their fondness for beauty in techno and Berlin's Egokind fits their dreamy agenda like a smooth glove. "Nothingness" sees a naive melody float above a warm clicky shuffle, all lighted sprayed with a hazy fizz like an Amazonian mist. The remaining two tracks feature trippy producer Ozean, whose deep and gentle "Fatigue" resembles Ron Flatter at his most fragile and the remarkable "One Love," which is both a dazzling and tragic broken beat bleep-fest like no other.
Its fairly safe to say that Jay Bliss is on fire at the moment. Now he takes time out from his recently launched "Stomping Grounds" imprint to follow up on his 2013 appearance with OCH on "The Remix EP". Here the warm, punchy 9 minute A-side creates a highly seductive floor-tension. Flip the disc over for two modern take's on minimalism, possibly paying homage to Studio One or Basic Channel with persistent rhythms, undertones of original dub, shaken and stirred with plenty off Bliss magic.
Yellow Magic is the latest in a series of EPs on the Wighnomy Brothers' label by this German duo. Following on from this year's "Purple Magic" release, they have decided to give their studio trickery a different shade. The title track is a tracky, stripped back affair with vocal samples whispering in and out of the arrangement. It's exactly the kind of track one would expect Robag Wruhme to play. "Consoli" follows in a similar vein, but "Trsnumak" ushers in a change of direction as rattling percussion and menacing organ playing are introduced. Although billed as a bonus track, "Segelboot" also impresses, with its jazzy keys and insistent bleeps.
Wolf + Lamb lothario Monaco steps over to his second home Dirtybird with two delicious slices of low-swung organic house. "5 Feet" lollops and sways with a slinky bass groove and heavily reverbed drums. Complete with subtle shades of his own falsetto vocal, it's as cool as it is funky. "American Holiday" takes the vibe deeper again as weaves of percussion build and strip back over a heavily processed guitar line.
German producer Douglas Greed veers away from techno with the title track of his latest album. Like many of the Bpitch artists, his track inhabits a middle ground between indie melancholia and electronic drama, with introverted vocals unfolding over breathless synths. What then of the remixes? Seth Troxler provides a chugging remix that midway through reveals shiny, trancey synth lines, while Chloe opts for one of her trademark electronic house rehapes, all pulsing basslines and acidic spirals dissecting the vocal. dBridge's take is more low profile than usual, with doubled up beats underpinning searing guitar and Marco Resmann delivers a dubby version, full of sensuous string passages.
Londoner Weiss has gained support from a plethora of esteemed dance luminaries including Richie Hawtin and Green Velvet. The heat keeps coming with his latest release for Toolroom, and Volume 3 offers up three new productions - the slamming 90s soulful banger "I Feel Better" (which even contains a sneaky sample of Ian 'Lovejoy' McShane), the retro techno acid slammer "I Can't Stop" and the super deep, string-laden and loop heavy soulful floorfiller, "Alright With Me".
Fresh from welcoming Swedish pair Genius of Time into the Running Back fold, Gerd Janson's next order of business is to coax Todd Osborn into contributing his first material for the label in some seven years. Depending on your musical tastes, you might know the Detroit-based musician for his ragga-influenced junglist excursions as Soundmurderer (sometimes alongside SK-1 aka Tadd Mullinix), the cassette-only ragged hardware acid of his Superstructure project, or the more house-orientated output released as Osborne and his given name. It was under the latter that he debuted on Running Back with Giganta back in 2007, so the sight of this T-rhythm Trax Vol 1 is most welcome. As the title suggests, the five tracks here are neck snapping techno tools of the highest order.
The German label is 12 this year, but as it faces into its teenage life, it retains the same hunger for new music. Get Physical owner DJ T delivers one of the compilation's highlights, a stab-heavy techy take on John Tejada's "Timebomb". Like a slowed down take of Dave Clarke's "Red 2" infused with disco riffs, it sets a high watermark. Nonetheless, T faces stiff opposition from The Martinez Brothers, whose "Issshhh" is all tough percussive volleys and insistent chords, like a tough take on Levon Vincent. Elsewhere, new acts like Siopis and Gorge impress with drum-heavy tools, while old hands Tiefschwarz deliver a spaced out, bleep-heavy version of John Monkman's "Follow Me".