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Den Nard Husher – Senida

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“These were uncovered from dusty DAT tapes from the vault of Jonas Thor’s basement,” Strobelight Network founder Amaury Arias told me, somewhat nostalgically, when I contacted him about this Senida 12″. Much like Yossi Amoyal’s Sushitech label out of Berlin, Arias’ New York-based Strobelight Network is deeply inspired by the frosty, yet warm and streamlined sounds of Icelandic dub techno outpost Thule – “Strobelight Network” is the 15-minute B-side that dominated the label’s debut record back in 1996 after all. As it transpires, Arias discovered Exos’ classic 2001 LP My Home Is Sonic – subject of a 2015 Delsin reissue after it was originally released on Thule sub-label Æ Recordings – which led to the American to contacting Exos. After the Icelander visited New York the two solidified their friendship and established Strobelight together in 2014 with a three-track, Thule-heavy various artist EP.

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Rezzett – Doyce

If bands like Animal Collective or Throbbing Gristle made techno they’d probably fit comfortably on The Trilogy Tapes, a label that consistently pushes experimental electronic music in an interesting direction. The first vinyl release on TTT back in 2010, Dro Carey’s Venus Knock, set the tone for sparse rhythms and distorted rumbles driven by percussion so real you could reach out and touch it. Since then Will Bankhead’s label has continued to explore the outer fringes of techno and beyond, cultivating a sound personified by weighty sub-bass, erratic drums and imposing percussive licks saturated in distortion.

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Various Artists – MDM D

Format foibles don’t come much stronger than those exercised by Frankfurt’s Mmodemm label. Not only did they come to life as a strictly cassette-based affair, but their series of alphabet-themed compilations featured a track from each artist on its own tape, housed in a five-strong box. It’s a cumbersome way of presenting your music, surely with some kind of statement wound up in it as well, but if the packaging was somewhat silly, the music contained within was serious. Das Ding, Hypnobeat, F#X and Container have all appeared alongside less familiar names, the style generally orbiting around grubby, 4/4 oriented electronics for the modern wave of hardware deviants.

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Scheich In China – Scheich In China

Jagged thumps and oxidised howls from the belly of the Sankt Pauli fish market. Hamburg’s Golden Püdel has undoubtedly been a fulcrum for some of the most interesting underground electronic music of the past few years: faithful to the creed of the obscure and fresh in its unhindered genre-bending creativity, the place was also – refreshingly! – recently saved from neo-liberal property speculation. As one of the club’s maverick agitators, Nina’s mixes have also provided much enjoyment of late – and the latest release on the V I S label she runs with Tobias Duffner reflects their scene’s aesthetics and praxis, continuing to push the line where a refined taste for dark techno bleeds into a territory of quick-witted experimentation.

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Pussy Mothers – The Number 1 EP

While many are now familiar with the good work now being done by Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, JD Twitch has been a fan from the very start. Through his longstanding friendship with co-founders Emily MacLaren and Stuart Evans, Twitch has long had an unofficial A&R hotline to the lauded West End studio, with the duo frequently passing on the best of their students’ work for consideration. Ever since he put out the typically eccentric, energetic and experimental Muzikal Yooth album by The Green Door Kids back in 2010, Twitch has hoovered up all manner of material from the studio for release on his thrillingly left-of-centre Optimo Music label. The greatest example of this blossoming relationship has undoubtedly been Golden Teacher, whose retro-futurist distillation of dub, punk-funk, disco, techno, house, techno and electro influences epitomised the free-and-easy, try-anything ethos that Evans and MacLaren have done so much to encourage.

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Minor Science – Whities 008

British producer and music journalist Angus Finlayson put out his first Minor Science EP, Noble Gas, on Trilogy Tapes back in 2014. The record marked an impressive debut for the first-time producer, sculpting moving, erratic soundscapes, combined with genuinely deep and hypnotic rhythms. His second release, Whities 004, on the Young Turks affiliated label Whities, showed a different side to Finlayson’s work. The two-track release drew the listener into darker territory with gritty, melodic techno littered with the same chaotic warmth of Finlayson’s initial record. The Berlin-based producer now returns to Whities for a second time with Whities 008, a further example of Finlayson’s range, delving into even darker realms by delivering a two-track record of sub-loaded weapons.

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DJ Python – ¡Estéreo Bomba!

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What’s in a style these days? For every grassroots genre or movement within music, there are already mutations, adoptions and mergers before a scene is even developed. Perhaps you like your house music laced with a healthy pouring of ambient, or crave some footwork with a sprinkling of early-‘90s jungle and a soupcon of Detroit techno. Whoever the cook at the cauldron, there’s not much music made these days that doesn’t have a variety of flavours poured into the mix. As such, it can only be assumed that billing DJ Python as an ambassador for ‘deep reggaeton’ must be taken with a pinch of Himalayan rock salt, for different taste buds might well call his concoctions plain old homemade techno or house, albeit with an MSG kink in the ingredients.

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The System – The System EP

By now, we’ve come accustomed to Music From Memory delivering on-point reissues of obscure material that’s devilishly difficult to easily pigeonhole. While it would be fair to say that Jamie Tiller, Tako Reyenga and Abel Nagengast’s Red Light Records-affiliated imprint tends towards the Balearic, the very nature of that “sound” – arguably more open to individual interpretation than any other designated musical style – means that they can pretty much release what they please.

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J Albert – Strictly J

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Some artists make you wait years between releases, drip feeding samples and new information until the music’s eventual release, which can never quite match the anticipation. New York’s Jiovanni Nadal takes a practically polar opposite approach. In less than two years he’s put together 10 collections of sooty, loose-limbed house under the name J Albert, often on taste-making labels like Black Opal and Ital’s Lovers Rock.

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Boneless One – GYRORIDE 005

The word ‘acid’ is etched into the run-out grooves on the B-side of the fifth release on Tabernacle sub-label Ride the Gyroscope. It’s feasible that it appears there at the behest of Boneless One, the Finnish artist who kick-started the label with two EPs and whose third release now follows two fine records from EDMX. ‘Acid’ is a neat, one-word summation of Boneless One’s catalogue to date; check his sparse pre-Gyroscope catalogue and there is a talk of minds being blown and accompanying titles with psychedelic undercurrents (anyone for some “Lucieeed Dream Embodiment”?).

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Roger 23 – Extended Play

This is a delightfully strange record, one that is likely to leave Ilian Tape fans reared on the Munich label’s recent succession of jet-propelled techno infused with breakbeats very confused. In the best way possible of course. With the true meaning of EP bastardized at will these days by labels mistakenly proffering two or three-track 12”s under the name, it’s great to see Roger 23’s Extended Play lives up to its billing. A six-track record and one that barely bothers with the notion of the dancefloor; instead offering up three vignettes of ambience amidst an equal number of more fleshed-out Roger 23 productions.

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Bored Young Adults – Shy Dancers On Bungalowdorf Beach

Blawan’s 2012 EP for Joy Orbison and Will Bankhead’s Hinge Finger imprint, His He She & She, stands out as one of the most mind-melting club records in recent memory. “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?” asked a menacing vocal sample on the opening track that pushed abrasive percussion, jagged rhythms and disturbing wails tightly together to form a raucous techno roller. The club-primed cacophony was a hit, pumping dancers with the frenzied energy of a Norse berserker when belting out of systems, and eventually riding high on multiple End of Year lists as the calendar drew to a close.

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Bill Converse – Warehouse Invocation

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This is US producer Bill Converse’s second release on Dark Entries and follows the impressive Mediations / Industry debut from earlier this year. Like a summer storm gathering over the sea or the sound of chirping crickets at sunset, Converse’s music is by turns vivid, breathtaking and pregnant with an alluring air of expectation.

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CO/R – Gudrun

Joy Orbison producer Peter O’Grady is one of the UK dance scene’s biggest stars, with an impressive number of veritable club anthems under his belt. But what’s most surprising about his work, especially compared to other producers of ‘big’ tunes, is that he’s never locked into an identifiable sound. “Hyph Mngo”, “Sicko Cell”, “Ellipsis” and “BRTHDJTT” were all loved by dancers and critics alike, but barring their shared references to the UK dance tradition, they’re not that similar to one another.

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Mount Liberation Unlimited – (Eerie) For Your Love

Ever since the early days of Chicago jack-tracks, live improvisation has been a popular pursuit for those who create house music with hardware. The benefits of the method to those who master it are obvious, most notably the attractiveness of creative spontaneity it affords (see the Magic Mountain High and Reagenz live shows for proof), and the energy captured in straight-to-tape performances.

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Various Artists – Blurred Angles

Brokntoys clearly believes in the power of collaboration, and Blurred Angles is its fourth split EP to date. This time though, the London-based label has engineered a different twist to the concept of ‘various artists’; each track on Blurred Angles is a collaboration between Luke Eargoggle and one of his peers.

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Metropolis – Angstpolitiek

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Working together with Robin Koek as Artefakt, Dutch producer Nick Lapien explored the world of Detroit-influenced techno with The Fifth Planet on Delsin last year. The pair has just put out a follow up release, The Final Theory, on Field for those interested in acid and string soaked dancefloor techno. Artefakt forms the classic-sounding side of Lapien’s output, but it seems that when he works on his own as Metropolis, the production approach follows a less predictable turn.

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Mirror Man – Blood Is Truth

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Paul Du Lac’s Bio Rhythm label has shone over the past year thanks to a willingness to support some unusual projects and a genuine desire to push electronic music forward. First there were Mick Wills’ edits of the new beat act A Thunder Orchestra’s “Shall I Do It?” , followed by Wills and Du Lac’s edits of Italo trio Three of You. Then Bio Rhythm released Deviere’s Beyond The Celestial Gate, which featured some of the most unusual interpretations of deep house and techno heard in recent times.

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Amato – Le Desordre et La Nuit

Some comebacks are ill-advised and cringe-worthy, whereas others are timely. The sight of Giorgio Moroder pretending to DJ or Nile Rodgers squeezing the life – and every last dollar – out of Chic’s back catalogue at most major music festivals over the past few years both make strong cases for some artists never to come out of retirement.

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Gonno & Nick Höppner – Fantastic Planet EP

When Nick Höppner released Folk, his debut solo album in a production career that spans more than a decade, the former Ostgut Ton label boss told Kaput that its title pointed to the similarities of the genre to techno and house, noting that they were all initially written with rather basic arrangements and equipment. In such simple creative environments, what draws the listener in is neither elaborate edits nor intricate sound design but visceral dynamism that runs through the fabric of the music itself. And this is exactly what you find on the Fantastic Planet EP, the result of a three-day session in Berlin where Höppner teamed up with Japanese producer Sunao Gonno.

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