The latest signings to Erol Alkan's label are Cowboy Rhythmbox aka edit king Nathan Gregory Wilkins and remixer, producer and mash-up expert Richard X. Given their past adventures and exploits, it's no surprise that Box is such a raucous affair. "We Got The Box" is based on a jacking, filtered groove with a woman intoning on repeat something to do with the title (although it sounds closer to "we got the pox"). However, it's not as impressive as "Rattle". Percussive and laced with acid, its Latino chants and insistent rhythm are sure to cause mayhem whenever they are dropped.
The diverse musical tastes of Phillip Solman are evident once again on this second round of remixes tied to his fine 2014 album Decay. There is something for all fans of contemporary techno here as ERP (aka Gerard Hanson), Don Williams, Johannes Volk and Traumprinz all contribute to proceedings. Typically the ERP revision of "Decay" recasts the album's title track as rough, bouncing electro whilst Mojuba boss Don Williams flushes "Track 93" with new levels of Motor City indebted urgency over a throbbing low end bass groove. Mr Volk turns in a fine melodic tweak of "Parallaxis" though it's fairly overshadowed by the epic orchestral rendition from Giegling artist Traumprinz.
Having previously impressed with the robust On Acid on Absurd/Acid Test, and more thoughtful Hinterland on Ghostly International, Recondite transfers to Innervisions for this third full-length excursion. The German producer seems to be in a particularly introspective mood on Iffy, delivering tracks that variously explore deep, spacious techno (see "Baro"), evocative deep house and bittersweet electronica. For all the sparse rhythms and clandestine atmospherics, there's plenty of picturesque moments, from the unfurling beauty of "Konter" and glacial downtempo shuffle of "Steady", to the tear-jerking shimmer of "Jim Jams" and gorgeous "Levo". As a result, it's probably his strongest set to date.
Oscar Mulero and Christian Wunsch's Spherical Coordinates collaboration may have a home away from home in Belgian techno titans Token, but their HQ will always be Pole Group. After two releases on Token, Mulero and Wunsch return to Spain for their fifth Spherical Coordinates record together and another masterclass in burrowing club constructions. Those techno selectors whose every weekend is spent in the booths testing the soundsystems and dancefloors of basements and warehouses will naturally gravitate towards these four cuts, where relentless drums and deep, ever evolving atmospheres rule at large.
Originally released back in 2010, Boris Bunnik's debut album as Conforce has stood the test of time. It helps that the type of music and influences that the Dutch producer draws on are timeless, it also has a lot has to do with his flair for production and subtle touch. This combination of skills is audible throughout on the album, but is especially noticeable on the deep electro of "First Impression", where rave whistles appear amid squelchy bass tones or on the acid bleed and warm chords of "Subtraction". Bunnik may be mining well-known tropes and paths, but it is to his credit that he manages to squeeze new shapes and sounds from them, as the ghostly techno groove of "Rare Education" demonstrates.
The tenth anniversary of Perc Trax has provided its owner Ali 'Perc' Wells with the opportunity to release his first ever mix CD. Using a lot of his own material as well as some smart selections from the label, including Factory Floor's remix of Forward Strategy Group, Wells acquits himself skillfully. However, the CD of unreleased material really stands out. Veering from Happa and Truss' stomping, distorted techno and the Magnetic North-style kicks of Perc's "Hyperlink" to the frazzled broken beats of Forward Strategy Group and Mick Finesse & Pinion's tracks, the first disc also features the cavernous acid of Drvg Cvltvre's "(I Don't Want To Die In) James Franco's House" and the shock-horror rave stabs of Sawf's "Goves". There's no doubt about it - Perc Trax is celebrating its first decade in typically raucous style.
Last year saw Dense & Pika make Hotflush their home after Alex Jones and Christopher Spero's project first surfaced via a select few white label releases. Aside from a remix of the Woolford classic "Erotic Discourse", Dense & Pika have been notably quiet on the release front so this new four-track slab for Scuba's label will be most welcome. Already in possession of a warehouse-ready style of techno, the Klank EP suggests it's been further honed in their time away from the spotlight with the title cut a particularly weighty production that has a low end that growls like a dragon. From here the pair enter submerged depths on "Wandering Hands" before the B-side signals a return to more chaotic fare with "Slowhand" and "Slacker".
Known for releases on Loco Dice's Desolat, Italian producer Alli Borem now brings his considerable dance floor talents to bear for Tiga's Turbo label. The title track is an effective DJ tool, led by relentless filtering, jittery percussive ticks and squelchy, fluid acid segues. "Children Of The Heart" is equally effective, with dense drums underpinned by powerful pulsing and rickety hats. Finally, Borem delivers "Turbo Rolling Ride". As its name hints, it pans, rolls and weaves its way through a series of acid peaks and troughs. Gate may not be as abrasive as some of Turbo's recent outings, but it's just as impressive.
Belgian in Berlin Kill Frenzy has been building up to the release of this long player with a succession of murderously good singles on some chief labels. However, it's Claude Von Stroke and his Dirtybird label that has the full length, recently teasing us with lead track "All Night Long". Not quite sure why he's referencing the eponymous country-gone pop star in the title, but we do have a further ten tracks to enjoy. Overall it's a real exercise in deep jackin' joints, with highlights being the space-age slam jam "No Panties", the totally filthy "XXX" and the buzzsaw house of "Bondi".
Yes Clone! The Jack For Daze series has been on sublime form of late, and their latest issue puts the focus squarely on the mid '90s output of Roy Davis Jnr. Anyone with some knowledge of Chicago's house history will know how appropriate Roy's work from this era is for the Jack For Daze label and those who don't should appreciate the chance to assess the work of such a house music pioneer! Roy's Chicago Basement Traxx features three productions hand-picked by Clone from the four-track 12" of the same name Davis Jr. originally issued in 1995 for the now defunct Kumba Records, and apparently one of Clone icon Serge's most cherished records. There's an intensity to these three tracks that will grip you instantly with the relentless rhythmic jerk of "Jack Da Rhythms" a particular highlight.
Hailing from Chicago's Southside, the Dar Embarks duo make music that is clearly influenced by their hometown's musical heritage, but which also has relevance today. Tough and slamming, Fleer is a product of live hardware jams and no edits. "Arcane" and "Jaleco" set the scene with wild analogue howls and thick layers of acid. "Voodoo 97" isn't quite as visceral, and revolves around a churning chord sequence, but it's only a brief interlude. If anything, this release gets harder and heavier as it progresses, with the distorted kick drums of "Upper Deck" and the banging "Tadao" reminiscent of vintage Robert Armani and John Heckle at his hardest.
He may be a newcomer, but Luigi Tozzi certainly knows how to craft deep, hypnotic techno. The release starts with "Bioluminescene", a subtle roller that combines Dozzy's trance aesthetic and the cavernous rumble of German dub techno. "Chemosynthesis" is more stripped back and less driving, but it has a mysterious, almost eerie edge and the same quality is audible on the chiming chords of "Hydrothermal Vent". "Photophore" has a less chilling feeling as Tozzi introduces dreamy synths and "Sub-Photic Zone" sees icy filters sweep through the arrangement. It's left up to the remixers to steer the release back towards the dance floor with Deepbass and Claudio PRC deliver tribal rhythms and throbbing dub basslines on their respective versions of "Bioluminescence" and "Chemosynthesis".
At what point did the wave of New York house producers become closer in sound to their European peers? The turning point was perhaps the launch of Anthony Parasole's The Corner label. Whether this is the case is unclear, but there is no doubt that the US producer's links to Berlin strengthen with the release of My Block on Berghain's in-house label, Ostgut Ton. Ironically though, the title track has more in common with UK techno, its rolling drums and loopy tones sounding like a sleek and dynamic update of late '90s techno tools. "Bizarre" has a more mysterious feeling as Parasole drags the listener down a tunneling groove that sounds influenced by Prologue and Dozzy, while "Typhoon" reverts to the dense, loopy sound, this time realized through a filtered prism.
As Our Circular Sound is Sigha's label, you'd be forgiven for thinking the man himself would facilitate the first long player on the platform. However recent times have found James Shaw using the label as an outlet for emergent talent, ushering in works from Arcing Seas and Positive Centre to complement the more established contributions of Truss, Shifted and Sigha himself. It's Mike Jefford's Positive Centre project that takes the honour of the first album project on the label with In Silent Series consisting of nine new productions from the producer. If you've indulged in previous Positive Centre material you'll immediately warm to the delicate and glacial exploration of sound reproduction and audio collage.
South American producer Jonas Kopp is one of the most talented new techno artists to emerge in recent years - further proof that innovative electronic music-making is no longer limited to Europe or the US. Kopp's latest release is for Berlin imprint Tresor and it's an abrasive one. The title track is a dense, grungy rhythm, supported by razor-sharp percussion slicing through the grunt acid spirals. "Blackbird" starts in deeper, minimal mode, but soon enough, Kopp steers it into visceral territory thanks to a churning filter. Even "Message From Solaris", whose title hints at a deeper approach, sees Kopp pit outer space tones against rough broken beats.
Already supported by most big name techno DJs, including Marcel Dettmann and Chris Liebing, it's not hard to understand the appeal of Encounter. Right from the outset, the title track's booming kicks and throbbing industrial rhythm underlines its functionality and dynamism. However, Wire hasn't just delivered a series of DJ tools; "Encounter" features dramatic violins and squiggly acid lines, "Vanish" resonates to snares rolls and clanging metal rhythms and the stomping, fuzzy rhythms of "Swirl" and "Lid" are cloaked in waves of malevolent acid. Best of all however is "Distance", where barbed wire percussion support wave upon wave of droning, distorted tones.
As The Cyclist, Derry-based musician Andrew Morrison first surfaced back in 2011 with a cassette on Crash Symbols but came to wider attention with last year's excellent Bones In Motion LP for Leaving Records. The fifteen tracks spilled with tape saturated magnificence from every angle, and since then Morrison has diverted some of his creative energies into the more dance floor-focused Buz Ludzha. That project debuted on All City earlier this year with a 12" of "distorted '80s house" called Love Repetitive Rhythmics, and it's the Dublin label that now issues his latest LP as The Cyclist. If anything Flourish is a more focused set than his debut, building on his established style but veering down exciting new sonic avenues and in "Tape Grunge Rave" possesses one of this year's best track titles.
Snappily combining the worlds of outboard machine-driven production with modern bassweight club sensibilities, Rushmore is bringing an undeniably fresh style to the table on this latest offering for Trax Couture. "Drizzle" is a prime case in point, keeping an icy menace about the stripped production while a limber acid line flirts around the sharply snapping drum lines. "It's Me" is a more direct Dance Mania-style 4/4 throwdown, replete with ghetto house vocal lifts, and "Ment Drum" seems equally concerned with four-to-the-floor ruffness albeit without the paeans to female body parts. "Highroad Works" switches things up a treat for the last track, dropping the tempo way down low and playing with string stabs in a fractured stylee that makes for something genuinely original.
Earlier this year Houndstooth regulars Akkord released the HTH020 EP, in which the duo took their bass-heavy sound to darker, more industrial places. It's something explored more explicitly on this remix package, which may well have two of the year's most radical tracks revisions. Tri Angle artist The Haxan Cloak delivers the epic 10-minute "Cloud of Witness" remix, taking elements from all four of the original Akkord EP's tracks, and turning them into an unclassifiable behemoth of bass, drone and strobing beats. Vatican Shadow's take on "Greyscale" and "Typeface" is a little more conventional, but nevertheless turns the two tracks into a powerful piece of techno that would demolish a dance floor in the right setting.
Irish producer Eomac has enjoyed a stellar 2014 and this remix package ends the year on a high note. The first remix provides a surprise, with Tommy Four Seven turning the title track into the kind of dark, rolling techno that calls big rooms its home. Over a dense, Berghain-primed rhythm, tight percussive licks and a menacing bass, horror synths screech and shriek hypnotically. Anno Stamm's take on "Su Riddim" is slower but no less intense as churning bass and freeform tonal playing unfolds over machine gun claps and a low-slung groove, while the final remix, AnD's reshape of "Shell of Dark" is a furious, breakbeat-led workout, littered with ghoulish sounds.