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Reviewed this week
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Running Back boss Gerd Jansen has already shown a love of DJ-focused rhythm tracks via beat-focused releases from Redshape and Todd Osborne. Here he goes one further, pulling together a six-track collection of drum workouts from an impressive roll call of producers. Amongst the drum machine-heavy treats you'll find a brilliantly loose, metallic workout from Disco Nihlist (track four), a smacked-out chunk of tropical oddness from the ever-impressive I:Cube (track 2), a surprisingly jackin', cymbal-heavy roller from Ame (track 5), and a dense chunk of afterparty voodoo from Radio Slave (track 6). Manuel Tur's dirty, low-down opener is pretty darn tasty, too.
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For Andrew Ferguson's first release away from Tempa his Nomine alias surfaces on AMAR, and to add that extra statistic, it's the first release from another artist to appear on AMIT's label. Opening track "Voodoo Native" is all about tribal drums that are made to fit a linear techno mould, while 9er's rhymes in the bass, clap and breakdown heavy "99 Aachen" will appeal to all you Phi-Life Cypher fans out there. Drums are stripped, atmospheres are tense and pianos are blurry in the title-track, while "Closed Door" is UK bass music made for a sewer rave.
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Dust is Jeanson Antonin's debut release on Token and arguably it's his most impressive release to date. Kr!z label has given him a double pack format to work with and it allows him the platform to express himself. At either end of the release there are two beautiful soundscapes; "Anna Livia" bathes in sensuous textures, while "Blue Note" features slow-motion beats underpinning shimmering melodies. In stark contrast, "Neter", "Astragal" and "Artefact" are tough, metallic bangers that recall the distorted stomp of Joey Beltram and Jeff Mills. However, it isn't just a release of extremes and "Prime Mover" sees Antigone bring a house groove to his tough metallic production.
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The main reason why German producer Robag Wruhme is one of the few minimal producers who retains credibility is because he doesn't sound like anyone else. Cybekks is so soft and fragile that at times it feels like it's made of silk. Even the dance floor tracks, "Volta Cobby" and the title track are imbued with an eerie, dreamy sensibility, characterised by mournful melodies unfolding over ponderous basslines. However, Wruhme really shines on "Anton I" and "Anton II". The former is a beautifully reflective piano composition, while the second instalment is led by tinkering bells, sleepy, bucolic hooks and a vocal that warbles and flutters like a supernatural woodland being.
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It seems Function is a fan of Cassegrain & Tin man material as he's just signed them up for his next release on Infrastructure New York. For this second Berghain 07 sampler, Function's appetite for boomy, acid techno is whetted by the collaboration's "Oxide". Meanwhile, former flatmate Ed Davenport, aka Inland, delivers "Sca Fell", a subaqueous workout that would get the Mike Parker seal of approval. DVS1 throws down some trademark warehouse beats with some caustic stabs to boot, while Steve Bicknell delves even deeper into the abyss than he did on the first sampler, with a track that's as menacing and frenetic as what Drexciya can be.
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The fruitful relationship between Clouds and Tiga's Turbo label continues with this rough and raw release. "Male Vaporum" sounds like a classic slice of 90s techno, it's tough, distorted drums underpinning screeching, shrieking riffs and a pummelling rhythm. "Maze Arcade (Nu Pain Mix)" sees them step outside their comfort zone, with a filtered break beat track, but for the rest of the release, the pair reverts to heads down, raw techno. "Nokia" brings a certain bleakness with its hollowed out metallic drums, while best of all, "Wolverhampton" seethes and rolls with the visceral rush of early to mid-90s Landstrumm and Tobias Schmidt. The riotous noise of "Omonoso Hausen" brings the release to a close.
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The latest release from Swedish jazz-techno producer Andreas Saag sounds like he has opened up a connection to the past. That's meant in the most positive manner possible. The title track is redolent of the best bits of late 90s/early 00s San Fran house. Over a loose and lazy dub groove a wide-eyed Rastafarian invokes the spirit of Haile Selassi, while the dub version puts the focus on the rolling rhythm and massive reverb. That's not to suggest that Saag is copying a formula, and "Call of Yacuma" features more distorted dub beats but also some I:Cube-styled jazzy licks. If the past is another country, it sounds like Saag is a proud resident.
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London bass house specialist Mickey Pearce returns to Loefah's Swamp 81 with a new collection of floor pulverisers; the sort of tunes that make trends and break necks. "Warm Barzz" itself is on the docile side, but "Loop W" rapidly enters the abyss in what is surely one of the oddest drum loops we've heard from the man. "Sticky Fingerprints" is a lo-fi kinda number with eerie background sonics but still a prime cut for the dancefloor, while "Loop X" is completely broken, a mass of percussion held together by the darkness below it. Large.
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The Scottish producer is at the helm for the latest release on his own label and it's no surprise that it's a dance-floor primed affair. Learning the charge is the title track, larger than life pulsing techno groove somewhere between the sexual swing of Giorgio Moroder and the distorted stomp of early Luke Slater. "Wren" is perhaps more typical of the Beck sound, with its dark, bubbling pulses underscoring dramatic synth builds. "Leo" follows in a similar vein only on that occasion, the drums are harder and heavier, as Beck fuses them with a snaking groove. Finally, there's "Karman"; led by robust kicks and featuring a series of deep break downs, it brings to a close an EP that started in truly dramatic fashion.
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Van Oers puts out his first record for Affin's sub-label in two years and it's a belter. The title track sees dubbed out chords wash over a choppy but brittle l rhythm, its mechanical nature the perfect counterbalance to the dramatic textures. By contrast, "Shunned" is a much more stripped back and linear affair, with a straight drum track underpinning a gradually building, hypnotic filter. Affin has chosen the remixers well; Italian techno producer Claudio PRC makes some slight adjustments to "Pristine", but the insistent percussion and more rolling groove make it more suited to the dance floor. Meanwhile, the Deepbass take on "Shunned" is a tripped out, echo-heavy journey into techno's darkest corners.
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After previous, if infrequent, transmissions for Electric Minds and Non Plus, Commix producer George Levings returns with some new Endian material for the always impressive Secretsundaze Music. The more attentive out there may well have heard at least one of these tracks in the club or in a mix of late, with Joy Orbison ending his Essential Mix last year on the opening track "Finish Me". Well done to Secretsundaze for facilitating a wider release for them then with "Finish Me" the sort of fiery, low end heavy club track you feel will be heard on dancefloors for some time to come. Don't ignore the B side tracks though as they are equally potent tools for the dancefloor.
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German label Ressort describes itself as providing techno that is the soundtrack for "dark nights filled with stroboscopic flashes, fog and frenzy". Listening to Documents, it's hard not to understand why they make this claim. Ekserd's "Hidden Document 1" is an insanely heavy groove, its gained drums and pounding groove nonetheless shot through by a swinging sensibility. The second "Document" instalment is deeper and more musical, but the drums are still robust and teem with power. There are no such elements on I/Y's version of "Hidden Document", where a growling bass prevails over a pacy groove, while the Svreca take on "Document II" is a synth-heavy techno workout. Working with Array Access, Ekserd brings the release to a close with the broken drums and swirling melodies of "Wons".
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It's always a good day for techno when new Steve 'master of the loop' Bicknell material arises, just like it's done here on the first sampler for Function's Berghain 07 mix. "Odyssey #1" is a distorted gyration through fizzy atmospheres and chocked bleeps, while Post Scriptum's rolling "Human Timescales" is a cross between the Hauntologists sound and the beats heard on Tobias' Leaning Over Backwards album, also released on Ostgut Ton. There's some transatlantic vibes on LB Dub Corp's "So Much", while the emerging Blue Hour sees his zapping drum track keep the sustain on his synth locked for the entirety of the track.
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This is the second release on Nina Kraviz' label and it shows that the Russian DJ is putting her money where her mouth is. There aren't any crowd-pleasing names on this double pack, but there are plenty of purist techno tracks. On the tough, percussive side there's Bjarki's rattling "Revolution", both Deniro and Kraviz, working with Exos, drop heavy, bleepy minimal workouts, with the former's "Dumans" recalling Joey Beltram's eternal "Believer". On the subject of 90s techno, Kraviz also deserves praise for signing a Steve Stoll track; as its title suggests, "Dumbo" dispenses with subtle niceties in favour of a rough, pulsing acid workout that recalls the glory days of Proper.
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With just the one release, 2011's Deephouz Y'all for Creme Organization, the Seaside Houz Boys alias from Danny 'Legowelt' Wolfers looked to be one of those amusing one-off projects cast aside as he went on to focus on his next deranged endeavour. A round of applause to DJ Haus for coaxing some further Seaside Houz Boys material out of Wolfers for this latest Hot Haus 12". Living up to it's title, this 12" arrives with some wonderfully ludicrous artwork depicting Wolfers and what looks like Creme boss DJ TLR surfing ice cream on oversize Oreos. The music itself is prime Wolfers, ranging from the furious yet deep jack attack of "Nude Beach" to the grotty Dancemania style tumble of "I Luv My Life" and low slung acid burn of the title track.
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For a producer who has released on a label like Drumcode and who is synonymous with big-room, white noise-saturated techno, Falling Down comes as a surprise. It shows a far deeper side to the amiable Fitzpatrick's canon, and it also suggests that he's just as adept as making melodic dance floor grooves. The title track starts off with stuttering, rattling percussion before trailing off into an evocative, melodic build-up. "Vanishing" is even more impressive; over sweet strings and chords, Fitzpatrick drops the kind of dreamy vocal snatch that you might expect to hear in one of Legowelt's more mellow tracks. Auden's remix of the same track is slower and heavier, but doesn't sacrifice Fitzpatrick's melodies.
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Spanish producer Eduardo de la Calle gets criticism for sampling other artists' work, but on this release for Nonplus, he proves himself to be a master at crafting deep, hypnotic techno. "The King Pariksit" sets the tone with its spooky synths and otherworldly drones calling out like a spirit from another dimension. The impossible to pronounce "Sudha Nityananda Parivara Vaisnava" and the slightly less complex titled "The Sudama Song" see de la Calle return to the dance floor. The former is a tripped out dub techno track, while the latter sees him veer into a deeper, bleepy direction. Rounding out the release is "Sri Sri Ragendra DAS", where de la Calle delivers churning chords and spellbinding chimes that is every bit as forceful as it is subtle.
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You may have stumbled across Finnish maverick Ilpo Vaisanen in many different corners of fringe electronics, whether via his work alongside Mika Vainio in Pan Sonic or perhaps when he and Vainio linked up with Alan Vega, or maybe when he was involved in Rude Mechanic. Whatever the case, he's certainly no stranger to Mego, where he appears on the Editions arm with this latest project, Communist Dub. It's a sleek and focus affair that keeps proceedings as stripped back as possible, taking a minimalist approach to electronic dub that makes the likes of Pole sound extraneous. In the fine slithers of echoing percussion and sparse mixes, there is a deadly attention to detail that truly gets under the skin.
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It sounds like Lithuanian producer Grad U has found his natural home on Echocord. The Danish imprint has been one of the most distinctive platforms in dub techno and Space Explorations fits right in to its brief. "Debris Disk" starts the release with an ominous, mid-tempo groove and splintered hats, reminiscent of Dimension 5. "Hydrogen Reactor" is more functional, with cheese wire percussion mixed with tough but resonant kicks. However, it sounds like Grad U's comfort zone is a more esoteric place and the spacey chords and billowing textures of "Quantum Corrections" is a beautifully measured, reflective affair.
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The day London producer Volte-Face has been waiting for is finally here, the arrival of his debut record. Casper Clark inaugurates his BleeD label (taking after his event of the same name) with a Euro-centric five-track EP of warehouse techno you could imagine Rodhad playing. Reverbs are high, beats are four-to-the-floor and 909 hi-hats are in full swing, just check out "Until The Light Takes Us". "Sine Qua Non" provides the EP with some dubbier tinges, while "IXAXAAR" is very much in line with the linear, bleepy and Jeff Mills inspired techno Staffan Linzatti is making today. Binding the EP is the ambient title-track, and oh... did we mention there's a Peder Mannerfelt remix!
Exclusives
KRAVIZ, NinaVARIOUS - De Niro Is Concerned (TRIP)
ANTIGONE - Cantor Dust (Token)
ENDIAN - Finish Me (Secret Sundaze) - exclusive 26-05-2015
Exclusives
SEASIDE HOUZ BOYZ - Surfing On Ice Cream (Hot Haus)  - exclusive 25-05-2015
TEJADA, John - Dramamine (Pallette)
VARIOUS - 6 (On)
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