This is Mord's most ambitious venture to date, with a box set of seven records laying out the Dutch imprint's tough techno agenda. Regulars like UVB and Radial set the tone, with the former dropping brutish kicks and jarring riffs on "Someone Calling Cut" and Radial veering into a pumping direction on "Cru".Label owner Bas Mooy moves the compilation towards a more streamlined approach with the dense, linear Klockworks-like "Owl In Daylight", but Herdersmat also shows that the label has succeeded in attracting some heavyweight international talent; Eomac's "Phisk" is a disorienting rave-flecked stepper and Sleeparchive drops the bleep-heavy bomb that is "Evicted".
Acid Bitchez is a collaboration between knob twiddler Juhal Johnny and self-styled 'lyrical miracle' Jessical Jessika. Completing the Finnish connection on this release is Tiga collaborator Jori Hulkkonen, who delivers a devastating version of "Acid". Teasing his Roland until spews out super-squelchy lines, Hulkkonen's tones make for the perfect accompaniment to Jessika's sleazy narrative. Joeski steers the good ship 303 in a more tribal house direction, while Zia's take focuses on a steely, driving techno approach. General Ludd's interpretation is the most different, with a focus on rolling breaks and swampy subs, but it cannot compare to Hulkkonen's 303-heavy take.
Rekids' first 12" of 2016 comes from a previously untapped talent, Berlin-based producer Peggy Gou. The South Korea-born DJ/producer's sound has been influenced, in part at least, by that of her mentors and piano tutors Nu Guinea (a duo whose releases for Early Sounds have been superb). Certainly, you can hear their tropical take on deep house in opener "Troop", whose Afro-influenced beats combine brilliantly with Gou's humid melodies and beautiful chords. She flips the script slightly on "In Sum", where spacey, Detroit-influenced electronics envelop a snappy deep house rhythm. A fine debut EP is brought to a close by Galcher Lustwerk's remix of "Troop", which takes the track further towards Detroit techno territory via deep space electronics and cymbal-heavy beats.
Colin McBean originally rose to prominence as the B-boy member of The Advent, but as this compilation shows, his Mr G project is his most valuable work. The premise behind it is simple but deadly effective; create a rolling groove, bolster it with tough kicks and nagging percussion and throw in some vocal samples to give it an edge. On "Pepsi" and "Did You Know", he impresses with just these elements, with the latter's wailing soul vocal impressing most. On other occasions, he throws a squealing sax and churning chords ( "Jet Black") or acrid acid ("Zam Zam") into the mix, but the result is nearly always the same - peerless DJ tools with a killer punch.
Dark designs from Utrecht's Locklead: "Deepcore" sits somewhere between Tim Wright's twisted bass garage of the late '90s and Mr G's rough-edged wonky techno. The result is a track that will work across all styles from techno to UKG. Speaking of UKG, "Diversity" is straight-up heady jacking garage with a steroid-soaked 2-step and a rhythmic hook that's so infectious you should warn your doctor before you make this purchase. Finally "Take One" pays homage to the Bleep era of electronica with just the right amount of detuned rave tones, a chiselled two-step and a walking bassline that's not dissimilar to Zinc's early zeroes UKG output. Immaculate.
An instigator returns: Tectonic bossman lays down a sweet-shuffling garage-minded drum arrangement with more than enough space for Rico Dan to do his damage. Wait for the bass to really rip mid-way. As Rico says himself "original badboy business". "No Justice" brings up the rear. A scratchy, spatially dizzying stepper coded with all manner of spooked out designs, it's clear Pinch is in his element right now... Long may this continue.
When it comes to high-powered, contemporary post-dubstep - if there even is such a thing - Denham Audio is one of the finest in the game. This new EP on Heretic is probably amongst his best work, and the opener "Undulate" is pretty much all you need to be sold; it's mean fist of a groove is wrapped so tightly around the bassline that they sound inseparable. "Fractal itself is deeper, more swollen and a bit of a corner-dweller kind of lick, while "Phalanx" strides onto house territories with its 4/4 beat and pounding groove. Dirty remixes to boot from Silas & Snare, and Cloaka & Boxwork - nasty!
Malmo Sweden's Patrick Siech is back everyone, look out! Following up a great release for Richie Hawtin's seminal m_nus imprint last year collaborating with fellow Swedish techno hero Sebastian Mullaert (of Minilogue fame), he strikes out on his own offering an EP full of restrained yet fierce techno weapons. "Zorro" is dense and furious with sinister sound design lurking in the background which is perfect for building the vibe, but "Lo Clouds" is perfect to transition into the peak time with its adrenalised bass driven groove, industrial textures and sonar melody. "Kloroform" is harsh broken techno with noisy, harsh sound design and dark strings that sounds like early Surgeon while final track "M277" sounds like classic Marcel Dettmann on this flattering tribute. Tip!
The foreboding Developer Archive returns with its fifth chapter and as you'd expect, the EP is made up of four wavey techno bleepers tailor-made for floor-filling. From "Body Art" - a steamroller of a cut - to "Precious Time", Developer voices his thoughts across in a techno language, except that his moods differ on each track and although the bulk of the EP is rather bleak and grey-scaled, the sounds on a track like "Metronica" also portray a lighter side to the man's vision. Quality as always, this one's for the techno heads. Most probably supported by the whole Berghain mafia.
The third release on London label Them comes from a local lad, Ansome aka Kieran Whitefield. Despite its somewhat morbid title and artwork, this release centres on raw energy. "Coffin Dodge Rodge" sets the pace with its lunging bass, high-tempo rhythm and roller coaster succession of builds and drops. There's a brief interlude for the nail-scraping noise of "Dragon's Dynamite", but Whitefield excels at making granite-heavy but smartly executed peak time techno. On "Bearded Lady", this finds shape in the form of splintered beats and a rolling, noisy rhythm, while "Fisherman's Fist" allows some light to shine through thanks to its chopped up vocal samples.
Before landing on Berlin's mighty Tresor, Parisian Zadig made a name for himself on labels like Syncrophone and Deeply Rooted House, offering both house and techno as his specialities, but it's safe to say that his tunes were driven by the latter. "The Stellar Hunter" is, in fact, a heavy, menacing floor tool fit for the likes of any of the world's biggest dance floors, and the same goes for "Beyond The Portal Of Madness", a more contained techno bombshell for the passage mixes, and "The Man From Outerspace" - an ode to Jeff Mills? Possibly.
Berlin-based Romanian Miruna "Borusiade" Boruzescu was initiated into the Comeme family late last year, when he delivered a fine remix of Ana Helder's "Track Con Flute" for the superb One Night In Comene Vol 4 compilation. Here, he gets a chance to showcase his own productions for the same label, delivering a five-track debut EP full of atmospheric compositions and intoxicating ideas. There's a stylish darkness about much of the EP, from the minimal wave/dark synth-pop drowsiness of "Jeopardy" and exotic, Giallo-influenced charm of "Rescue", to the cacophonous drums and strobe-lit melodies of "Dancer's Doom", and throbbing, John Carpenter style horror of "Haunted By Flashlights".
Jimmy Edgar and Truncate sound like an unusual pairing, but on Submission they come together for an inspired collaboration. Over tight claps and a linear groove, a pitched-down robot vocal intones the track's title and the result is like a modern take on classic Dan Bell. Edgar's own version adds little more than an insistent tonal bleep, while Truncate's take is tougher and rougher, the bass drum pushed to the point of distortion and rolling snares crashing in mercilessly. Kris Wadsworth delivers the last remix and turns it into a dusty, deep house jam, led by dubbed out chords and an insistent rhythm.
Anthony Child claims that the inspiration for his seventh artist album came from using hardware to receive transmissions from far-flung galaxies. He then hooked up with astrophysicist Dr Andrew Read - a former collaborator - to work out the bewildering track titles. That's the concept. The reality is that Objects is a dense, grainy work. It feels like Child has deconstructed or in some more extreme situations has hacked away at tropes like minimalism, clicks and cuts and dub step to reveal an inner, hidden world. On the first few tracks, this alternate reality resounds to a sluggish pace, amid the crackle and groan of cleaved percussion and tortured subs, but it gradually comes round to stepping, broken beat techno and lunging rhythms. That these also descend into pulverising walls of white noise and nausea-inducing frequency shifts at times also serve as a reminder that Child has tuned into something other or inner-worldly.
The Southern Italian now in Berlin follows up last year's Fury Road EP with some more fine selections for dark, late night warehouse parties on Alex.Do's Dystopian imprint. Starting off with the dreamy melodics of "A Last Shimmer" he then shows off his knack for cinematic sound design on the mechanical "Love Is Such A Strong Word Too". The raw and driving hypnotism of "False Prophet" is reminiscent of Cassegrain while "Desolated Society" has the kind of atmosphere and transcendental qualities of D3MENTED or Edit Select releases.
D.KO records boss Mad Rey is a Paris based producer with further affiliations with Red Lebanese and Babylon Rockers. He inaugurates new label VERTV, imagined by the three Parisian producers and DJs: Neue Grafik, Hybu and EVANS. Opening with "JaJa Californien" which is a dusty, smoked out and sampledelic deep house jam in the vein of Glenn Astro or Max Graef. The same goes for "Song 741" with its playground samples and deep house keys a recurring theme throughout, it sounds great. "Commune (Les Pigeons)" however gets on a much tougher tip and could easily mix/ transition into techno in a DJ set, with its furious drums and sharp saw wave stabs. We're likin' it!
German producer Kobosil is only in his 20s, but with a residency at Berghain and releases on its in-house label and Marcel Dettmann's MDR, he has already achieved more than most young artists. Grow, his debut album, is his most ambitious move so far. With the exception of the industrial-charged "Aim For Target" and the tough house of "The Living Ritual", his main focus is on dark, eerie ambient shapes - check the title track - and the spooky drones of "Telling The Truth" and "To See Land". It's far removed from more typical Kobosil fare like the hypnotic, linear "You Answered With Love", but Grow is an assured, adventurous move from Berghain techno's boy wonder.
This release is reminiscent of the very best of 90s deep house. Luke Harney has brought together a heavyweight collaborative team here, which includes Lewis Wright on vibraphone and the seminal guitar player Miles James. It's this dynamic interplay which makes "Right" such a stand out track, as James' strutting guitar plays out over a powerful bass and jazzy key tinkling leads the listener to a spine chill-inducing break down. US producer Jason Fine has been tasked with the remix and he does a fine job, making the drums slightly heavier and adding in some eerie synths, but it's hard to beat the beautiful original track.
"Street Lessons" is the new release by Berlin dwelling Aussie Isaac Tichauer. Bumping and sexy deep house with a razor sharp bassline and tightly programmed rhythms supported by smooth male vocals by Jean Nonchalant. Oh and a wonky Life & Death style synth lead. All you need right? There's also the dreamy yet adrenalised journey track "Higher Level" which is the kind of open air rooftop business you could imagine Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay pumping out.
Launched just over a year ago, Developer's Archive label allows the American techno producer an opportunity to slip out intermittent limited vinyl only runs of his own material while his more established Modularz imprint continues to flourish thanks to collaborative releases with Truncate, Silent Servant and more. This third Archive release doesn't stray far from the established template, drawing on a palette of raw, growling metallic techno for four exercises in expertly sculpted sound design. "SEQ7" is a vicious opening gambit, driven by dense kicks and cascading hats which nudge the central one note motif up and down the tempo scale, while "Obsessions" is a weightier production that seems to gain pounds as it descends into the depths of claustrophobic techno. The ghosts of a fully blown vocal track sound trapped deep within the DNA of the juddering "Impure Thoughts" while "De Chord" is a suitably titled exercise in dubby chord techno.