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06 May 13
Review: Tom Rowlands is the spectacle-wearing-half of the Chemical Brothers and he debuts his solo work on Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound. Rowlands merges new school styles of throbbing and jacked-up house - replete with marching snares, curdling cow bells and cut vocals - with powerful stylings of EBM. Pitch that against a synthesiser that sounds like its being hung, drawn and quartered and you have Rowlands' title track "Through Me". Meanwhile, the chainsaw synth of "Nothing But Pleasure" dominates the track, which builds into a druggy drop made for party-harder dancers moshing like they were at a Rage Against The Machine or Justice concert - harking back to the days when French electro labels Institubes and Ed Banger ruled.
26 Apr 13
Review: Although it has only one release to its name - Happa's Beat Of The Drum - London club night turned record label Church is looking to be an imprint to keep close tabs on, especially on the strength of this second EP, from young London producer Rumah. Although his debut from last year demonstrated an atmospheric, syncopated style of bass music, "Stutter" shows a marked progression into swung techno styles, with a weighty track full of concrete rhythms and glassy synths; "Murmur" is similarly powerful, throwing acid flecks and sunken vocals into the mix. Meanwhile, Apes & Seb Wildblood offer their own take on "Stutter", tempering some of the original's more ferocious attributes with some subtle dub techno elements, while James Fox refixes "Murmur" into a slinky, mid-tempo house groover, whose swelling synths offer something considerably deeper.
03 May 13
Review: Next month sees Freerange boss Jimpster return to the album game with Porchlight and Rocking Chairs, this release acts as a neat teaser for what to expect. Lead track "Rollergirl" pumps in arpeggio like a night drive scene from a '80s music video clip, while breathy male vocals whisper in the tracks background. It's a melodic piece fuelled by muted tension and soft aggression. Accompanying it is "Hold My Hand", a track featuring all the Jimpster trimmings; deep piano chords, spoken word vocals, chromatic synth loops and soft, yet thumpy drums.
27 Mar 13
01 Apr 13
Review: Hard techno's Germanic beginnings may have given the genre it's unforgivingly industrial edge, but it soon spread across the globe faster than a HAARP electrical storm. Stepping up to the mantle with the likes of Presk and Blawan, Abstract Division have built a monolithic slab of near-impenetrable beats from their home in the Netherlands. It's as challenging as it is beguiling; the minimal sounds of "Collision" break through the colossal build and washed-out claps of "Comprehend", pulsing like the techno nights worth remembering. When the house revival begins to crumble, you know where we'll be.
01 Apr 13
Played by: Joachim Spieth (Affin), Juno Recommends Techno, Slam, Enclave, Victor Martinez, Submerge, Resident Advisor
Review: One of the more driving cuts from Robert Hood's epic Motor: Nighttime World 3 from last year, "Drive (The Age Of Automation)" finds itself getting a welcome single release. The original is about as Detroit as you can get, where a moody motorik bassline gives way to suitably sci-fi synths, combining a musical take on Detroit's automotive history with a Blade Runner aesthetic. Token artist Phase obviously revels in the opportunity to provide two brilliant reworks of the track; the "Nocturnal Mix", which isolates the original's bass stabs and incorporates them into a rolling juggernaut rhythm tailor made for the warehouse, while the "C-Box Mix" opts to keep the melodic elements but pare them back with the producer's trademark sharpness.
21 Apr 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Techno
Review: From the label who gave us Gorgon City and Rudimental comes another exciting new act, DVWLX (or David Wilcox as he's known to the taxman). Taking the bass flavours of labels such as Pets and Dirtybird but dropping the tempo down a notch or two, "Not Another Love Song" oozes a classy sense of timelessness. "Get Out" is darker and deeper again with a lovely succession of reverberating, dubbed out textures; think 2020 Vision's early output and you're not far off. "Just Like That" takes us deeper again, nodding at formative progressive sounds while maintaining a slight cheekiness with cool VonStroke style diced vocal hits. As far as debut records go, this is near-on faultless.
24 Apr 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Minimal/Tech House, Sean Danke, Resident Advisor, Timo Maas, Troy Pierce, DJ Hell, 2000 And One
Review: Richie Hawtin's label has long been associated with the minimal sound, but this release frees itself from that sound. The title track is stripped back, but it serves up a new take on classic electro thanks to its shuffling 808s and woozy, reflective synths. Tale of Us return to a more conventional approach on "Discochord" but they still avoid hiccupping mnml sounds and the squelchy acid line is accompanied by atmospheric synths. Finally, "Lost City" is more grimy and nocturnal, but again the menacing 808s and reflective synths make it sound a million miles away from the label's trademark sound.
10 May 13
Played by: Joseph Terruel
Review: The ever-correct Prime Numbers series is still going strong, this time bringing together a thoroughly eclectic range of producers to lay down some solid club fodder. Adesse adopts the tenderest approach, bringing a soft African lilt to a subtle arrangement of light drums and poignant chords. Truss is certainly in no mood to chill on "Redbrook", going for a big room techno flavour that favours rigid beats, acid parps and epic swathes of organ. Massimo Di Lena is on a far more twitchy tip, with a snagging assortment of percussion and some woozy synths that leave one feeling wonderfully dizzy.
25 Mar 13
Review: DMX Krew is back with a twisted, body-morphing collection of tunes on his own Breakin' Records, the label which the man has been curating since the mid-90s. Once again we're treated to a beautiful cocktail of electro deluge and machine-drum psychedelia; "Honeydew" is a classic DMX cut with enough funk to leave you roasted on the floor, while "Dramatic Exit" heads even further down the rave era thanks to its slippery beat layout and nostalgic melodies. "Sppoookey" is an AFX-reminiscent hurter, complete with plenty of acid licks and gritty-as-hell drum programming, whilst "Apple Grid" takes a bouncier approach to things and "Superficial Appearance" blends far-out acid trickles, heavy snares, DMX grit and spits it back out into a luscious deep house belter...something only the man is capable of.
08 Apr 13
Review: Expert attention to detail across all visual and sonic elements is present and correct once again on this sick release from the Avian nest with label co-founder Shifted at the helm. Originally spread across two 12"s for the physical release, The Cold Light is presented in its entirety across this digital EP. "Cold Light Sektor A" is all about the contrast between elements as the near incandescent lightness of those dubby chords battles with the growing weight of Shifted's sludgy rhythmic arrangements, while "Sektor B" opts to burrow down a plinking locked groove making it a perfect DJ tool. The swarm like "Sektor C" meanwhile is a repetitious and mind numbing groove of techno, deviating only slightly in variance throughout the track's entirety; "Sector D" turns up the freeze in a production which can be likened to a subdued Mike Parker - whom Shifted remixed recently - as cold Sandwell-style bleeps flutter and hum under Shifted's now trademark four to the floor style.
08 Apr 13
Review: The father and son team Rick and Tevo Howard has dropped some joint classics in recent years and it's nice to see them back together on wax courtesy of the Bio Rhythm label. Overseen by Paul Du Lac, the Dutch imprint demonstrated impressive form in its short life to date, calling on Jamal Moss, Albert Van Abbe and Crystal Maze for some excellent releases. The House Room EP has Rick and Tevo dropping an original cut that brings back the warm feeling of those early Beautiful Granville releases, whilst Du Lac gets the chance to show off his own production prowess across two remixes with the latter Acid Dub a real jack hammering joy.
24 Apr 13
Played by: In Flagranti
Review: Zero confirms what this writer had long thought about Subjected: he inhabits a world where darkness reigns. Indeed, the tone on Zero is predominantly bleak; from the white noise of "M" and the slowed down, scraping rhythm of "Vx800" to the hammering drums and slamming rhythm of "Tool 1", the wild analogue yelps of "SD 1" and the searing bass and stepping rhythm of "Vault 101", the album is not designed to chill out at home to. But that doesn't mean it is throwaway or disposable, and alone the epic chord builds and sheet metal percussion of "Concept 3" is more powerful than a warehouse full of drone albums.
25 Mar 13
Review: The Fear Of Flying label's co-owner BLM returns with his first new material in some time on the label of cult London party Secret Sundaze with a three track EP that feels significantly darker in tone than his releases for Tsuba and Underground Quality. "Sudden Death" is a hefty piece of loop techno that would put Skudge to shame, whose chugging bass and clattering percussion is contrasted with some softly placed keys. "Chemistry" is another weighty production whose dimly lit dub chords slowly emerge from the gloom before leading into an unexpected section of gentle 303 and spoken word vocal, while "Brick" is a lighter jam whose swelling synth waves catch a restless bassline and looping chords in its wake.
22 Apr 13
Review: Always open to teaming up with like-minded souls for their releases on Osiris, the ever-prolific Kryptic Minds are on the prowl once more, this time with the equally active Killawatt in tow. Kicking off with the brooding and short-lived "Swung Operations", it's business as usual in the Osiris camp with plenty of industrial clangs and booms meeting with punchy digital percussion. The bleak tones continue apace into "Reaching Through", even as some discernable melody comes pulsing through from a dub techno chord, but the beat does more than enough on its own, working a rapid kick and sizzling hat to deadly effect without ever going overboard. "Cunning Juncture" finds equal worth in the minimal approach, bringing a measured amount of techno influence into the dubstep framework with sterling results.
22 Apr 13
Review: Tresor chalk up a whopping 260 releases with Sleeparchive's A Man Dies In The Street Part 1. Roger Semsroth has always constructed dense techno from minimal means: dusty white noise, a handful of bleeps, solid drums and simple sequences melded into new forms by heavy doses of repetition and austere atmospherics created from the waste products of cycling parts. Spooky bleeps only make up the even half of the EP, with "2" dinging endlessly like a quantised but malfunctioning train crossing, while "4" sees Semsroth inject more life into his short wrung tonal bursts. "1" and "3" however are the remit of ringing metrical's, with Sleeparchive seemingly paying homage to Regis' mid '90s style of hard and grubby techno, similar to "He/1" and "He/2".
02 Apr 13
01 Apr 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Electro
05 Apr 13
01 Apr 13
Review: This German label has won its reputation by straddling the house/techno divide, but there is no such ambiguity on Chosen 3. Focusing heavily on harder sounds, it opens with Rebekah's remix of Chris Page's "Derailleur", a steamrolling, fist-pumping affair, littered with belligerent chord stabs. Advanced Human's "Satellite Club" is in a similar vein, its dark drums and soldered iron riffs sounding similar to Jeff Mills. The Jeroen Search take on Egor Boss' "Inversion 2.2" isn't short of high-paced thrills either, and its doubled up claps and tracky rhythm provide a hard-edged basis for Boss' ghostly synths; the release highlight however is Dax J's "New Beginnings", a chord-heavy groove that throbs and filters to infinity.
08 Apr 13
Review: The Loch & Hill EP sees Steffi vocalist and Panorama Bar resident Virginia debut proper on Ostgut Ton. Perhaps best known to the world for her vocal contributions to Steffi's 2011 album Yours & Mine including the ubiquitous "Yours," Virginia is nevertheless a seasoned DJ and producer in her own right, having emerged from the Munich scene to take up a residency at Berlin's Panorama Bar in recent times. She's also grown into something of a producer under the tutelage of Steffi, most recently remixing the amusingly named "Shit On Me", a track Virginia vocalised on last year's Third Side LP . The Loch & Hill EP contains four vintage-leaning house productions with a modern sheen that clearly demonstrate her Panorama Bar experience; "Neurosis" for example is succinctly described by the label as a "playful, uplifting night-time jacker", while "Shifter" brings more explicit Detroit influences to bear with its elastic synth line and rumbling techno bassline.
01 Apr 13
Review: Comeme is one of the most brilliantly unpredictable labels and Beating PC shows why it is held in such high esteem. "Puqui" unfolds with psychedelic chords drawn out over a low-slung groove, the synths veering into the realms of tripped out. The title track sees loose drums combined with a languid funk guitar, while there are further surprises on "Eat Me", where a dubbed out bassline and lost vocal intoning 'what are you doing here' is fused with dreamy synths. It's a similar situation on "Voy a Ver", where darker guitar riffs chimes in over a groovy disco rhythm. Maintaining its unpredictable edge, "Berberecho" is a faster, jacking affair with a rubbery bassline and squelchy bleeps.
08 Apr 13
06 May 13
Played by: In Flagranti
Review: It's been nearly three years since we last heard from former 'next big thing' Rex The Dog (aka producer Jake Williams). His career has stuttered somewhat, following a string of well-regarded singles on Kompakt, Kitsune and Compuphonic. This, though, is an impressive return. While hardly groundbreaking stuff, there's something irresistible about the Moroder-on-pills groove and Jamie McDermott's spinetingling vocal (think Anthony Hegarty meets Sylvester meets Donna Summer). Yes, it sounds like a modern update of "I Feel Love", but its been lovingly rendered by Williams. It also sounds like a big hit in the making.
19 Apr 13
25 Mar 13
Review: Submerge release yet another full-blown leviathan of a compilation for all you Detroit addicts out there! This has literally got it all, ranging from classic rhythms like Underground Resistance's "Timeline" or Disco D's infamous electro monster "SOS", and even various re-ups from DJ Assault's vaults, such as "Dick Ride" and the hip-hop filtered "Same Ho"; to lesser known beasts by the likes of DJ Zap, DJ Godfather and many others! There are over thirty pieces here, so take your time and enjoy. Whatup doe!
01 Apr 13
30 Apr 13
Review: The ever-interesting Eddie Ruscha returns with a new Secret Circuit full-length, the first on Tim Sweeney's excellent Beats In Space imprint. Given the usually vivid style of his psychedelic electronica, it's no surprise to find that Tactile Galactics is a mesmerizing trip from start to finish. Ruscha darts between kaleidoscopic space disco, wide-eyed shoegaze house, analogue psychedelia, touchy-feely ambience and intense, druggy Italo, somehow shoehorning 25 years of musical misadventure into 70 spellbinding minutes. It's bold, melodic, hypnotic, beautiful, blissful, intense, inspiring and exciting. Put simply, Tactile Galactics is a great album.
19 Apr 13
15 Apr 13
Review: Since his arrival in the early 90s Scottish producer Neil Landstrumm has proved enduringly difficult to pin down, gracing labels as diverse in approach as Tresor, Peacefrog and Planet Mu with his blend of sci fi indebted electronics, and crazed rhythms. This five track Montesa EP for the infrequent but quality Sneaker Social Club manages to cram all Landstrumm's deranged musical genius into just five tracks and feels like you are dialling through pirate radio. Lead track "Guzacid" is little more than one long glorious jerk on a 303, whilst the Vibert doing Drexciya of "Hl_Lm" offers a moment of relative serenity before the superb dread vibes of "Super Mousse (Is On The Loose)". The real heat is however on the flip with both "Mc Aidsy Aids" and "315" ripping huge holes in the hardcore continuum.
29 Mar 13
22 Apr 13
Review: There's plenty of interest on this three track Charged Particles EP from the Tsunami Records label. Firstly it brandishes yet more highly charged output from the Spherical Coordinates project of label boss Christian Wunsch and Spanish techno icon Oscar Mulero, a collaboration that debuted in auspicious circumstances with a recent EP on Polegroup. Much like that four tracker, "SCXFG 21" sees the pair lock into a deep, throbbing techno groove that perfectly encapsulates their stated intention to create music "heavily inspired by space and futurism, focusing on liquid textures, harmonic sequences and classic drum machine sounds, yet preserving the danceable feeling." In addition, Geophone and Prologue artist Mike Parker ensures the deepness remains with the shuddering textural journey below that is "Currents" whilst Reeko opts for a groaning industrial approach on the excellent "Blueshift".
08 Apr 13
Played by: Paul Mac
Review: J Tijn is quickly becoming a recognised name after a strong contribution to a three-part techno series by Belgium label Other Heights, as well as his role in Turbo's New Jack Techno sampler, which saw his "The Anti Mixdown" cut into an EP with other up-and-comers Locked Groove, Gingy (minus Bordello) and Milano. A further example of J Tijn's rising repute is demonstrated on this Jack 2 EP which inaugurates the new Pennyroyal label from Hemlock boss Untold. The title track lurches through a rough mess of sludge and scraping hi-hats that sound like something from Terminator 2, while "Fucklebucks" heads toward ravey-Blawan territory. The snigger and growl of "Hamerhoofd" share similarities to Regis' early '90s material, suggesting like J Tijn, like Regis then, is only in his techno-adolescence, with plenty more to come.
29 Apr 13
Review: After time well spent roaming across labels such as WNCL, Idle Hands and Brainmath, Kevin McPhee returns to his starting point of [NakedLunch] with a new grip of tracks that display an artist still exploring new avenues for his sound to maraud down. "Version One" kicks off on two minutes of bizarre melody that profoundly hides its tempo until everything pauses for a solid house beat to take hold, making for an eye-opening vision of singular groove. "It's What She Wants" is uncompromising in a wholly different way, pumping and clunking on a productive factory of percussion before the less-than-obvious appropriation of R&B vocal comes loping into the mix. "P1:P2" is positively conventional by comparison, but it's no straight up house cut by any regular stretch with its own unique metallic clang and a decisive switch up into more melodic territory for the later part of the EP.
26 Apr 13
06 May 13
Review: Having signalled his return to pounding techno on a rowdy Echochord release recently, Mike Dehnert ensures that rattling sensation in our eardrums remains with Placide, a four fingered assault on your senses through home stable Fachwerk. Apparently inspired by some spam email entitled "Give It To Me Raw!" Dehnert elected to record opening track "Drehimpuls" live in Paris for extra rawness, with suitable results; the track literally barrels through a thick wall of corrugated sonics. The remaining three tracks sound slightly cleaner in comparison, though the sheer sound design at play ensures the unpredictable serrated synth of "Charger" or booming warehouse groove of "Eigenzeit" prove just as memorable. Final track "Isolant" is undeniably funky too, trapping some lost female vocal deep beneath the mangled kicks and smacked out whistles.
22 Apr 13
Review: Eomac is otherwise known as Ian McDonnell - one half of the Irish duo Lakker. In 2011 the duo debuted on Killekill with the Spider Silk EP, and now McDonnell dons his Eomac guise for the Berlin imprint. The Spoock EP was originally slated as Killekill's first release, but label boss DJ Flush held back the EP for three years, waiting for the day Killekill had grown in enough stature to give Eomac and his music a deserving platform. Stroboscopic Artefacts boss Lucy remixes the titles track, weighing in on Eomac's original kooky-creepy synths, but adds a fizzing wall of low end to his version. Exquisitely cut up vocals in "No Name" creating a haunting atmosphere for thocking wood block percussion and heavy broken beats to cut through, while a hollow "Stylised & Desensitised" unfurls into a procession of rocky drums and clicks unconnected to earthly matters.
02 May 13
05 Apr 13
Review: Feral offers club techno with real depth and texture. The Joel Alter version of "There You Go" features storming beats and insistent vocal snatches, but it also evolves to include a sensuous chord progression and an infectious vocal sample. Alland Byallo's take on "Rolling Energy" also has reflective qualities thanks to its sensuous chords, but the heavy bass and rolling groove prime it for the floor. Markus Suckut's take on "There You Go" meanwhile is stripped back and stepping, its heavy bass and hissing percussion the focus of all the action. But depth is never far away on this release and John Osborn's remix of "Rolling Energy" is a droning, multi-layered affair.
30 Apr 13
Review: If you're looking for relentless techno, then you've come to the right place. On Man Out of Dubs, Clouds take skewed, metallic rhythms and fashion them into something darker and more disturbing. Muffled vocals and swathes of background noise are audible on "Drone Function", while deranged vocals - this time pitch-bent and tripped out - feature on the grinding, riff-heavy "Tropical F**k". Clouds take a break on the sinewy broken beats of "T-AO-192" - although muffled vocals are still audible - but soon enough it's back to banging techno territory on the Hound Scales She Goat remix of "Tropical F**k", where heavy industrial beats and a searing bassline prevail.
29 Apr 13
Played by: Joachim Spieth (Affin)
Review: Belgian label Token dip their toes in the reissue game with this reissue of a Mark Broom cut from 2002. Originally released through the Coda offshoot of James Ruskin's Blue Print, "Two" apparently highest amongst Token boss Kr!z's personal favourite Mark Broom productions and the track still sounds immense some eleven years on. A classic example of Broom at his most relentlessly thumping, "Two" is given some contemporary context with a Syntax remix whose spacious textures and brushed syncopation offer a more serene accompaniment.
15 Apr 13