Ever since JD Twitch rebooted Optimo Music, it's been the irregular transmissions from Glasgow act Golden Teacher that has hit the spot each and every time. The amalgamation of two diverse bands from the city -noise punk outfit Ultimate Thrush and analogue house duo Silk Cut, Golden Teacher first emerged on Optimo Music early last year with a pretty apt description of sounding like "Arthur Russell's Dinosaur L jamming with Bobby O, K Alexi Shelby, Liaisons Dangereuses and Imagination, with some voodoo drummers and Sly & Robbie". Steadily building up a reputation for some riotous live performances, Golden Teacher are a class above because they manage to distill this energy into their recorded output too. Party People features three such examples, with A-side cut "Love" the kind of production that sufferers of LCD Soundsystem withdrawal will embrace and cherish for years to come.
Chicago producer K Alexi Shelby's 1991 release gets the remix treatment for modern dance floors. Exos drops a stab-heavy pounder, its primal rhythm littered with vocal samples. Techno veteran Mark Broom pushes in a different direction, and his take is all about high-pitched acid lines set to a dense, drummy groove. Alex Bau's version is somewhat reminiscent of Robert Armani's timeless version of Hardfloor's Mahogani Roots, with alarm bells ringing over firing percussion and a jacking rhythm. Kid Mistik delivers the finale and the most intense version, with slamming concrete slab beats complementing a grungy acid line and raging percussion.
London bass night and label Church return with their first offering of 2014 and the first original material from resident Apes. Putting into practice the methods learnt on a bunch of remixes for Church, "Two Thousand Six" finds Apes ploughing the kind of weighty, heavily swung techno that is so popular right now, and is complemented well by the warmth and subtlety brought to the table on Chaos In The CDB's subsequent remix. If the main track is all about immediacy and power, then the other Apes original "Cold Love" shows a calmer side to his production palette, and is notable for some orgasmic male vocal sampling. Fellow Churchman Seb Wildblood ends proceedings with a doleful, melodically driven remix of "Cold Love".
There's a real acid house feeling to this release. It begins on the title track, where the anonymous producer lays down layer upon layer of nagging 303s and brassy samples over sassy breakbeats. Meanwhile, "Parenthesis" recalls early UK experiments with acid tracks, as emissions from the Roland are dropped over jazz-infused rhythms and samples from a philosophical debate about human labour keep cropping up in the arrangement. If that isn't post-modern enough then the remixes will satisfy even the most demanding Situationist. The Hardways Bros take on "Kiloton" resonates to a menacing bass and steely drums, while Raudive's excellent version of "Parenthesis" sees Oliver Ho fuse a fuzzy EBM bass with a slamming industrial rhythm.
As head of Fachwerk along with Roman Lindau and Sascha Rydell, Mike Dehnert has cultivated a weighty brand of techno that still contains a noticeable element of funk. He's also the most prolific of the three, with countless digital albums produced over the years in addition to pair of long players issued on Delsin and Fachwerk and his occasional dalliances with other labels like Echocord and the Clone Basement Series. Outside of Fachwerk, Marsel van der Wielen's Delsin is perhaps the one other label you'd closely associate with Dehnert and it's little surprise to see the Dutch imprint collar him for the 12-track Lichtbedingt. Described by the label as "yet another subtle evolution away from the chord driven, functional sound" Dehnert was initially known for, the album incorporates moments of beatless electronic experimentalism, broken bass, and swinging house, with the results still resolutely Dehnert!
Tiga's label makes another shrewd signing. JoeFarr is one of the new wave of UK techno artists and on Llarose, he delivers a set of fresh interpretations. "IDOMTYK", with its broken beats and crooked percussive slivers, sounds like a demented take on Mike Dehnert's Berlin techno. "Roller 4TI" follows a straighter dance floor sensibility without sounding hackneyed and the grainy drums are reminiscent of early '90s releases by Neil Landstrumm. "Tape 10" is another off-beat roller, with stomping beats mixed this time with trancey hooks, while the excellent "FTone" completes the release, with Farr smothering his doubled up beats with swathes of grungy sound.
If you're looking for a truly out there techno record, one that makes DJ Rush seem sane, then Hard Hat Traxx is for you. "Hard Hat Area" kicks starts the release with tinny drums, squeaky acid and heavy kicks, but it can't compare to "Pump". Set to a fast tempo, it features frenetic claps, a grungy wall of acid and what could be the sound of a jet breaking the sound barrier in the background. Then there's the aptly named "Meltdown", which sounds like Alex Cortex and Cristian Vogel on steroids, as a hyperactive minimal groove features wave upon wave of deranged analogue tones and frequencies.
Given the calibre of artists involved in the Monad series from Stroboscopic Artefacts (Perc, Lakker, Rrose, Kangding Ray, Donor) it's easy to forget that the label inaugurated the digital only endeavour with a release from the then-unknown Chevel. Four years on the Treviso-born producer returns to Lucy's label to helm a full release with his reputation on a constant upward spiral, thanks to his releases for Vae Victis, Non Series and his own Enklav label. With recent SA releases from Lakker, Rrose and a Dadub remix EP providing the label with a renewed juncture to the dancefloor, it seems now is a suitable time as any for Chevel to make his return with the One Month Off EP. Five tracks deep, this record is a fine display of Chevel's overtly lo-fi brand of Italian, strictly analogue club music and is apparently "built around the abstract themes of construction, starting with demolition and ending on perspective."
Motor's main man Bryan Barton steps up here with another exploration of darkside electro techno that pushes the rough sound of his band into more dancefloor focused concerns. "Metal" leans on cyclical devices as it careers through its running time, using jagged mechanical thrums to create the energy as opposed to using more common drum sounds. "Turbine" is equally adventurous in its make up, keeping the beat as minimal as possible to let a jerking, offbeat synth take the reins instead. Luis Flores brings a less rigid rhythmic structure to his remix of "Metal", but the nastiness of the sound remains. "Pinion" meanwhile ramps up the intensity with his version of the track, letting some EBM and industrial influences shine through.
Doka's latest missive for Wolfskuil is a diverse but impressive affair. "Figure 8" is a tough, slamming track, its harsh, visceral rhythms recalling the best of Robert Hood's '90s work. By contrast, "Figure 4" is a dubbed out groove, its rumbling bass and lumbering drums borrowing from the post-punk approach of Silent Servant. "XOX" offers a radically different perspective; over a high-tempo groove, acid lines come hurtling in, but these soon give way to deep, dreamy melodies. Finally, the title track is a glacial ambient track, shot through with interstellar blips and tones. It makes for a spaced out finale to another great Doka EP.
UK artist J TIJN continues his endeavours to redefine the very meaning of tortured, visceral techno with another release on Untold's no nonsense Pennyroyal label. If you've caught recent J TIJN contributions to Power Vacuum or Oversee Assembly, you should be well aware of the levels of intensity the producer is currently operating at, though this three track release should still come brandishing a warning! It's "Yearn" that packs the most immediate punch, with Pennyroyal themselves claiming it's like being "creeper massaged by the wet knuckles of every touch point of rave past present and future". Meanwhile "Innart" is lopsided, broken techno with aquatic sound design that will causes issues for the techno selectors out there with weak bladders, whilst "Nuke" is as potent as the name suggests.
Belgian techno titans Token Records initiate the tease campaign for Inigo Kennedy's upcoming album Vaudeville with this two-track sampler. Kennedy's decade-spanning career has seen him produce under a number of aliases and for some respected labels, but he's seemingly found a perfect home in Token, having inaugurated the label back in 2007. Those familiar with Kennedy's production style will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of his forthcoming fifth studio album after spending some quality time with the two tracks here. Both show Kennedy's deft balance of heaving club-focused rhythms and experimental blend of melody and texture, creating something that doesn't sound unlike a contemporary Berghain-inspired update of the early '90s material of Warp and R&S.
Time To Express usher in the final instalment in their trilogy of Reciever remix releases themed around Peter Van Hoesen's excellent Perceiver LP, with Marcel Fengler and Neel stepping up and nonchalantly maintaining the standards set by Messrs Dozzy, SCB, Sigha and Phase. Adopting a reduced principle, Berghain resident Fengler has remixed "Inspection In Solitude" dropping swarming, buzzing riffs over a sinewy groove that gets right under your skin. In contrast to the ambient textural nature of Donato Dozzy's previously released remix, his Voices In The Lake cohort Neel offers a gradually building, densely filtered reshape of "Objects from the Past" that gets more intense with every few bars.
After debuting on Code Is Law for the various artist Wolf EP with Eomac, Sawf and Hound Scales, new name Janzon debuts fully with a complete release full of tough techno. For the first third of the opening track "Luvox" however, we're met with an ambient intro, which then turns into a synth-led melodic adventure after the first beat drops. "Fluid Access" provides the release with some nuts and bolts techno, staple gun samples and a hidden vocal that lightly suggest a Blawan influence, while "Alpha Pulse" is a loopy, spit-polished version of what you might hear from Chevel. Janzon then brings out some metallic, oriental twangs in the EP's final track "Genetic Defect".
Even by the standards of celebrated experimentalist Jan Jelinek, this is a fabulously enticing project. It sees Jelinek don his Farben guise to remodel, rework and remix the work of similarly leftfield sound collage artist Dennis Busch, AKA James Din A4. The resultant 10 tracks are as intriguing and entertaining as you'd expect, with Jelinek putting his own sludgy 4/4 twist and wonky electronic stamp on Busch's dense field recordings and glitchy concoctions. Highlights come thick and fast, from the organ-laden off-kilter swing of "Kader Dolls" and chiming oddness of "Powerbaum", to the smack-jazz soundscape of "Rettung" and hypnotic, experimental techno bump of "Krieghelm Hundewasser".
Radiation is not a typical Third Ear release, but Why Sheep aka Japanese producer Gaku Uchida has a long-standing relationship with the imprint, having released an album on Guy McCreery's label back in 2003. Both versions of "Radiation" favour experimental textures and extreme sonic diversions. Bluesy guitar shards are combined with bursts of noise and creaky effects on the first take, while the second version is just as warped. There, waves of spiky percussion and crashing drums provide the basis for jazzy licks and vocal chants. The remixes from Kare San Sui are less intense, with the first "Radiation" reduced to an atonal sound scapes and "A2" turned into a jazzy broken beat workout.
The first time Matt O'Brien appeared on Curle was on a split release with a Peter Van Hoesen and Donato Dozzy collaboration ("Talis"). Since that record in 2010 he reappeared on the Belgian label the next year with the Starting Over EP. This new transmission by the Off Key Recording boss is his first in three years and O'Brien presents some laid back and melodic techno that's slave to the arpeggiator. O'Brien's three tracks pair the linearism of Albert van Abbe with some warm synthesiser glow played by someone that knows their way around a keyboard, creating some tracks that don't venture too far down the techno rabbit hole.
Kontra-Musik's latest record sees the label welcome a new and intriguing hook-up between SVN and Swedish producer Henrik Jonsson, aka Porn Sword Tobacco. The latter's production alias is said to come from a shop in Jonsson's home city of Gothenburg that sells exactly those three products; SVN, of course, has increasingly become more recognised by the release, with three great 12?s on the Sued label, and has collaborated with with Dynamo Dreesen under the Dreesvn name for Sex Tags Mania and Acido. The results of their hook up is something quite unique; "Complaints A" provides a more soulful piece of minimalist yet still decidedly odd techno, while "Complaints B" delivers a more Detroit-like take on the minimal sound reminiscent of early Robert Hood. Two killer tracks, not to be missed.
There are few producers out there trading in anonymity that escape the sense it's being used purely as a marketing tool, but A Sagittariun belongs in this small group. Having established a particular style of house music with a series of releases on his own Elastic Dreams label, the supposed Bristol elder turned in one of last year's finer debut long players in the shape of Dream Ritual. His first release since then is The Jupiter Chronicles, a four track EP of diverse productions that will please A Sagittariun fans no end. Lead track "Wave Upon Wave" is a fairly well titled exercise in unrelenting breakbeats and rolling Roland 303-esque riffs, and the shifts upwards as the EP progresses. There's an undeniably subtle euphoria to "Re-Ignition" whilst wonderful chaos seems to grip A Sagittariun with the other two cuts, where the freneticism of "Ascella" is well complemented by the rugged yet playful "And The Moon Be Still As Bright".
Given the artists assembled to rework Blondes when their debut album was released two years ago, it's unsurprising that this EP of remixes is of a similarly high standard. Of particular interest is Huerco S's version of "Wire", which delivers a clanking, murky, industrial and frankly chilling ten-minute trip into fuzzy techno territory. Almost as impressive are the versions of the same track by Function (deep, spacey techno) and Claro Intelecto, who surprises by delivering an intricate, organic-sounding rub full of winding chords and melancholic intent. As if that lot wasn't enough, there's also a great deep house-meets-dub house revision of "Swisher" by Simian Mobile Disco.