Arma is a 22 year old producer from London who heads up BodyCheck & Borough Recordings. As a producer, he is someone who's constantly evolving his sound and will not be pigeonholed to a single genre or BPM. Also known for lo-fi house under his DJ VHS moniker, his tunes are all unified through their energy and fun loving vibes. These driving, party loving joints are reminiscent of fellow Brit Mele: who signed him to his label. With their excursion into the exotic, not to mention how much they push the threshold of the lo-end! "Favela" is a bombastic joint that features some mad horn loops and powered by a relentless stomp and clatter. But it's really about Murder He Wrote's absolutely nasty, street level remix where he injects it with some proper UK funky flavour.
With releases on Live At Robert Johnson - including two albums - Balihu and Uncanny Valley, Pagliara might seem like an unusual choice of artist to put out music on Ostgut. That said, the Italian producer has had a long association with Berghain and was even a regular at its first incarnation. In any case, "If I Try to Forget I Will Miss You Even More" sees him ride a pulsing electronic disco groove, while on "Time And Again" he provides a rougher version of that sound as a pulsing bass and raw drums crash and pound away. "To A Faraway Place", with its insistent chord builds, is the kind of track that Steffi might play in the Panorama Bar, but it's only a fleeting nod at the club's chosen soundtrack and Pagliara quickly swings back towards the left of centre - this time with the acidic downtempo epic, "A Passing Day".
The Bunker's label has helped to cultivate a number of new techno acts over the past few years, and the latest artist to step up is Justin Cudmore. The Brooklyn-based DJ and producer first showcased his material on an EP for Honey Sound System last year, and Forget It provides further proof of his promise. The title track is a bleepy, acid-fuelled Chicago house track, while "New Jack The House" follows in a similar vein, albeit with rougher beats. "Moment" sees Cudmore fuse his love of 303s with the pitch-bent minimalism of Dan Bell, while on "Sweet Phantasy" he relives the energy of mid-west raves, as trancey chords flow over heavy drums.
Sascha Funke is one of those rare producers who does his own thing. With only a few releases to his credit in recent years - despite releasing three artist albums in the preceding decade - the elusive Berlin-based artist emerges from the shadows for this EP on Tiga's label. The title track is 'big' by Funke's usually understated standards, with woozy riffs cutting across a resonating bass and rickety percussion. It also benefits from Funke's smart production approach, with drops and builds in all the right places. "Robur" meanwhile sees him delve even farther underground as a frazzled bass builds against a backdrop of hollowed out drums and a stripped back rhythm. "MZ" sees Funke deliver a soaring electronic disco track, while keeping it diverse to the end, "Barkas" is a melodic, Kompakt-style affair.
Here's an unusual release; Italian house duo Hunter/Game have teamed up with Icelandic band Kura, and now their collaborations get remixed by some of techno's biggest names. Robert Hood conjures up a moody spectre with his version of "Signs of Change", with a tearing electronic riff cutting through an insistent metallic rhythm. In stark contrast is Etapp Kyle's remix; dissected vocals float over dreamy, floaty synths and a laid back, dub groove. The direction shifts again when Bambounou gets to reshape the same track; the French producer's first take is a sprawling, spaced out take, while his dub version descends into a complex, abstract workout, led by percussive hiss and tape noise.
With his 2015 debut EP for Breaker Breaker, London-based deep house misfit Ross From Friends made a seriously big impression. Much was made of his dusty, fidgety, lo-fi sound, and his penchant for jamming out tunes using outboard hardware. This belated follow-up for Lobster Theremin offshoot Distant Hawaii takes a similar approach, kicking off with the loved-up chord progressions, clattering drum machine percussion, redlined tape hiss and heart-aching vocal samples of "Talk To Me You'll Understand". "Gettin' It Done" is an altogether more positive and Balearic-minded trip into dusty deep house territory, while "Bootman" makes merry with mutilated '80s soul samples, hazy chords and fuzzy drums.
Frits Wentik's Will & Ink imprint presented several EPs by the new garde of Dutch house music: Nick Putman aka Malin Genie (Oscillat/Mandar) and newcomer Yaleesa Hall who delivered the impressive Woodall LP where he deconstructed groove music to its bare elements. We now get given a series of remixes from both the Lucas and Carol EPs here, with some very appropriate artists doing a damn fine job indeed. Post UK bass techno fuses in on Mosca's Pure Joy version of "Second Lucas" a brutal body basher that at times was reminiscent of Surgeon or British Murder Boys, believe it or not! The Livity Sound affiliated Asusu from Bristol also steps up and gives us his rendition of "Second Carol" a splintered dub techno workout that's a serious as it is functional. Hall and Malin also get stuck into one more new version themselves with their appropriately titled "YHxM Stripped mix" which sits somewhere between microhouse, dub techno and industrial aesthetics.
The Annual Fundraiser courtesy of Scottish imprint Craigie Knowles is back! They've recruited another bunch of heavy hitters to light up the clubs, with a cause to lighten the burden of war that's placed on the shoulders of children. Kiwi duo Chaos In The CBD throw down the Afro influenced, spiritual life music of "Natural Taboo", BRSTL's finest Shanti Celeste gives us the booming electro-funk of "Dolphin Chant" and Den Haag's legend Legowelt gives us the shimmering analogue soul of "At Delphi". Elsewhere, UK hardware maverick Neville Watson throws down the rather first wave Detroit sounding "Hazing" while the Going Good and Lovers Rock affiliated Yoshinori Hayashi serves us a wonderful, Erased Tapes style classical ambient journey titled "Pogado Tower"
Monty Luke dons his Mandingo alias once again for Rekids. Parallel Universe was released in 2015, where the track "Universe II" originally appeared. It now gets a couple of sweet remixes by two right legends. First up is Germany's undisputed king of hypnotic minimal house: Thomas Melchior, who puts a spell on you as always with his trance inducing rendition. Then, if that was not enough, the godfather of deep house himself Larry Heard steps up to the challenge. His version sounds more similar to the original but even more party loving with its rolling, funky bassline and added swing and shuffle for good measure.
Lo Recordings has taken pride in exploring a wide and broad range of sounds. To mark 20 years of their imprint, they've taken a bold approach to their output, further exploring developments in electronic music today. As known users and fans of the MPC, both Mr. G and K15 were given the same samples dug out of the Lo Recordings archives to create a track which would showcase their techniques and methods. This then became the theme in a series of three releases to come out throughout the year from the pair. The legendary Colin McBean delivers the funk as always on his contribution "Navigate" where tribal rhythms face off with mesmerising chords and rolling bass; not to mention those crashing Mr. G hi-hat rides that are his trademark. K15's "The Guilt Within" goes for something deeper and emotive: geared more for the early evening or the chill-out alike, channeling the vibes of classic Larry Heard with its melancholic pad sweeps, immaculate rhythm programming and stylish Juno 106 bassline.
The latest release on Tale of Us' label is a collaboration between Italian duo Mind Against and Aether, who is based in London. Like Mind Against's previous release on the label, this three-tracker is deep and tripped out. The title track evolves from a pulsing groove into a tranced out rush that gently moves up and down the melody scale, accompanied by a frazzled bass. "Eclipse" is more stripped back, with minimal beats and percussive clicks providing the backing for a rasping bass. Finally, there's "Event Horizon". Like the deep space horror movie of the same name, it sees the trio voyage down a wormhole populated by supernatural sounds and discarded space wreckage.
Since first emerging in 2014, Dutch duo Artefakt has earned a reputation for delivering spacey, melodious techno tracks that mines both classic Detroit techno, and British style 'intelligent techno' for inspiration. On this hotly anticipated debut album, they cast their net a little wider, including denser rhythms and more left of centre sounds amongst the starry melodies, intergalactic chords, and sparkling drum machine beats. It's a formula that consistently delivers results, from the undulating, tribal-influenced rhythms and emotion-rich musicality of "Entering The City", to the angry, acid-fuelled onslaught of "Return To Reason", via the sun-kissed electro brilliance of "Somatic Dreams".
London's Tessela has been crafting his sound in spectacular fashion over the last few years and none of his productions have caued more of a stir than the now rare as you like vinyl smash "Hackney Parrot". The prodigious bass explorer is not necessarily offering groundbreaking new genres but, instead, new ways of layering sounds next to one another. Both of the present tunes magnificent examples of rough, sweltering UK bass that's been run through the ever-enjoyable jungle filter. "Hackney Parrot" twists and layers up a famous vocal sample with masses of stop-start jungle breaks, and a couple of deep basslines that remind us of Dillinja's early output for Metalheadz. "Helter Skelter" is the heads-down tune, the one that's bound to get the crowd moving during a 5am trance, and Tessela's use of drums is becoming more and more essential for us after this new Poly Kicks. Warmly recommended.
Italian legend Sam Paganini is back with another peak time techno weapon which newly inaugurates his new JAM imprint. The first track entitled "Desire" is the kind of relentless and pummeling fury that his seen him release several times on Adam Beyer's esteemed Drumcode imprint and is even complimented with some euphoric '90's rave organs to boot. It's a much more tunneling and hypnotic affair for the late night on the adrenalised "Mercury" which will have you surrendering to the strobe lit void in no time. Trance inducing synth loops and the good ol' claps on the kick take their cues from the legendary Robert Hood: but done quite stylishly.
This year, Shlomi Aber's Be As One label celebrates its tenth birthday. We'll have to see what the imprint has in store by way of celebrations. For now, they continue to churn out the dancefloor hits, beginning with a heavyweight techno three-tracker from little-known Italian outfit JAM. Both "Hermes" and "Pegasi" are peak-time box jams, built around stomping rhythm tracks, sweaty drum fills, and subtle synth loops that slowly mutate as each cut progresses. The real killer, though, is "Opportunity Rover", a wild and psychedelic dancefloor assault based around the twin attractions of intense TB-303 acid lines and weighty, speaker-bothering drums.
The latest recruit to the Dext Recordings cause is Otik, a producer who recently impressed via a solid outing on Bristol-based Durkle Disco. The real killer here is title track "Deep Red", a deliciously percussive workout built around a superb broken beat style rhythm track, spacey chords and weighty sub-bass. It's given the remix treatment by Erosion Flow, whose dirty remix is propelled forward at a rate of knots thanks to some thumping techno beats and ragged acid lines. Speaking of techno, bonus cut "Rasputin" sees Otik wander towards the kind of dirty, post-dubstep techno territory once inhibited by Peverlist. Mak and Pasteman's remix feels like an intergalactic update of Jaydee classic "Plastic Dreams".
Larry McCarthy aka Bruce has previously released on Livity's offshoot and Hessle Audio, so it makes sense that he would appear on Hemlock. This three-tracker starts with the melancholic, downtempo "Before You Sleep", which sounds like it could have featured on a Portishead B-side, especially as it radiates low-end menace as it progresses. McCarthy gets down to dance floor business with "In Line". Frenetic rhythms and steely drums collide with dubbed out, filtered effects to create a tripped out dance floor roller. "Sweat" is another unexpected track, with McCarthy fusing haunting sound scapes with dissected, abstract rhythms.
Motor City techno legend Alan Oldham returns as DJ T-1000 and he's right at home here for British hi-tech soul merchants Third Ear. The guy behind such seminal imprints as Generator is in fine form and flying the flag for the timeless sounds from The Motor City: techno the right way! Starting out with the straight ahead, self aggrandizing groove of "1 Liquid Metal (Acid version)" which repeats the man's name continually, there's also "Shapeshifter" or "Air Berlin" which respectively are tough and funky: more reminiscent of the artist's classic sounds when he was formerly known as X-313 or The Neon Sex Fiend. The emotive "Marina 2" is the deepest and most uplifting offering on here and closes out the EP in nice style. Another fine release by techno's 'Renaissance Man'.
Csaba Lumnitzer aka Jay Lumen is a prolific producer, but even in his crowded release schedule, Search will stand out. Issued on the Hungarian producer's own Footwork imprint, its title track resounds to heavy drums, splurging bass and dramatic, swooping chords. While it creates quite an impact, it's not as dramatic as "Warehouse Trip". There, Lumen departs into heavy techno territory; doubled up claps, dramatic stabs and a relentless groove merges with titanium beats that sounds like the kind of malevolent cocktail that Gesloten Cirkel and Peter Van Hoesen might create if they ever ended up in the same studio.
It's hard to believe that "Discussion" is 20 years old. Cited by none other than Marcel Dettmann as one of the most important German techno records of the 90s, it has lost none of its lustre despite the passage of time. The bass is pounding and dark, the vocals pitched down and druggy and the synths seethe with eerie intent. In recognition of its importance, Muller has commissioned a series of remixes. Claude Young drops a busy Detroit techno take,Ulrich Schnauss, one half of Beroshima, turns it into a lithe, melodic affair and DJ Rok rides a rolling techno juggernaut rhythm through its centre. Even Hacker gets in on the action with a pulsing disco version.