Reviewed this week
Matt Edwards marked the 100th release in Rekids earlier this year with a release that featured "Feel the Same", and now he is putting out the debut Radio Slave album using the same title. It's a real mixed bag; "2nd Home" starts with gentle ambience and the dreamy breaks of "Forana", before the UK producer changes pace and drops the album version of the title track in all its vocal-heavy, driving glory. If its insistent riffs get too much, then there is the low-slung bass-heavy groove of "Trans" and the dubbed out abstractions of "Draw" to keep his audience guessing. Rekids may now be a house music institution, but as "Feel the Same" shows, it doesn't slide into predictability.
Over the space of just a few releases, Etapp Kyle has established himself as one of techno's most promising new artists. Of course, it helped him significantly that those initial Eps came out on labels like Klockworks, Prologue, Unterton and now Ostgut, the mother label associated with Berlin club Berghain, where he has a residency. As Alpha shows, Kyle's approach to techno is of the non-purist variety. On the title track, the sparse rhythmic pulses of Klockworks collide with Detroit otherworldliness for an expansive track. "Quantum" is more direct and sees the Ukrainian artist use his loose sounding drums and percussion to undercut a darker approach, while clouds of filtered sound and eerie textures crash in over the doubled up drums of "Source". "Ritual" sees him complete the release with a hint of bass-heavy menace, not entirely dissimilar to Prologue's sound.
The second volume of the Endeavours compilation starts with the artist it is dedicated to - Trevino. "Plugged" shows why the UK producer, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was held in such high esteem - its rich, dubby chords and swaggering groove sounding effortless. By contrast, Ambivalent delivers a rough, rugged take on jacking techno with "Supertouch" under his LA-4A guise, while Lando inhabits similar territory on the grimy "Ritual Track". There are emotions of a different nature audible on TML's "Crying (Piano Mix)", where euphoric keys and haunting vocals unfold over a rolling groove. Oliver Deutschmann provides the toughest, most frenetic track in the shape of the loopy techno "Sequel", while Scuba himself works as SCB to deliver the rough, sample-heavy techno of "Rolling SN".
The singles accompanying Mr C's celebrated return to the album format keep on coming, this time drafting in some noted names to deliver remixes of "Ripple Effect". First up is Marc Houle who employs some of his trademark creepy bass tones to underpin a purposeful, driving slice of darkside party music. Noel Jackson is equally on edge with his version, although it's a more stripped down and sped up affair that borders on electro in its sense of tightly wound urgency. Chloe gets to lay down a more varied remix that uses some punchy disco elements to create a more light hearted outlook on Mr C's original jam.
Having set our world alight with his third Ilian Tape EP, 2012, back in the spring, Munich man Skee Mask delivers another essential collection of loose-limbed, broken techno workouts. Typically, he's on point from the word go, enveloping swinging, off-kilter techno breakbeats with swirling chords and cascading melodies on brilliant opener "Inti". His love of African-influenced polyrhythms is explored further on the ghostly, percussion-rich club cut "Kappelberg Chant" (which, incidentally, makes great use of choral chants), while "Routine" is a warm, loved-up and evocative tribute to rave-era British breakbeat-house. His debt to British dance music's formative years also comes to the fore on killer proto-jungle jam "Skreet Lvl Dub".
Cosmin TRG kicks off a new label, Sportiv, which aims to marry heavy rhythms with techno complexity. On "In Your Body", the Romanian producer also adds some stream of consciousness mediation to the label's aesthetic, as an unnamed trainer urges the listener to 'relax your eyelids/focus on the darkness' as a banging, acid-soaked drum track batters away in the background. "Kapotasana", sees Cosmin opt for a more esoteric approach. While there are no vocals, the use of a repetitive, bleepy sequence and abstract sound scapes over a pulsing, surging rhythm and rickety drums shows that Sportiv is no typical techno series.



After a long hiatus, the past few years have seen Reinhard Voigt enjoy a resurgence, with a string of releases on Kompakt. Listening to "Seven Lines", it sounds like the German producer has become more reflective - its stripped back drums, dissected percussion and occasional frequency shifts are the very epitome of understated. However, there remains a flip side to his character, and this is audible on the title track. Centred on a fat, warbling bass, Voigt unleashes a synth line so melancholic but beautiful that it sounds inspired by the godfathers of German electronics, Kraftwerk. The contrast between these two elements ensure that "Apokalypse" is memorable.
It's no coincidence that the title of Antoin Jeanson aka Antigone's latest release is also the musical term for a repeating motif or phrase. Over two versions of Ostinato, the French producer delivers a master class in techno repetition. Understated and subtle but spellbindingly hypnotic, the first version sees mesmerising tones unfold over a rolling, skeletal rhythm that skits at the edges of the dance floor. On the second version, the French producer is more direct; a percussive groove prevails, with Jeanson decorating the arrangement with fuzzy filters, magical chimes, bells and ticking percussion. Irrespective of whether you are listening to this release at home or in the club, the effect will be the same - euphoria through repetition.
Lennard Poschmann may not be as famous as his artistic name sake, but as his first album for Live At Robert Johnson shows, he is keenly aware of electronic music's cinematic power. This is audible on the lush ambience of "Welcome" and "Zerphyx", while similarly emotive sounds are underpinned by a hyper-speed, Juan Atkins style rhythm on "Rise" and "A66", where a warm, buzzing bass supports Poschmann's sublime synths. At times, the album veers too close to other producer's tropes - the delicate "Situation" is the most Aril Brikha track ever made - but like his enigmatic predecessor, Wells throws the futuristic electro of "Trianon" and the bleep-laden soundtrack of "Sincere" to keep his audience guessing, in Third Man style, right till the very end.
Following up the Cold Heart EP by label bosses Dusky, 17 Steps present a new one by Kiwi: the London producer's debut on the label. Having recently released on labels such as Futureboogie, Correspondant and Optimo Music, his distinctive sound is a mix of Italo, techno and electro. The uplifting epic "Marmora's Theme" is powered by a razor sharp arpeggio and balanced out by those hands in the air style piano loops. We were about to draw comparisons to scene heroes Tuff City Kids, but whaddya know: they're up next on the remix! They work their magic as always with a retro flavoured piece of dancefloor drama: they found it fitting to throw in a gnarly Reese bassline too. Epic!
Following his release for Peder Mannerfelt's label, Hodge presents a different approach on Hemlock. Last seen on the label back in 2015, this three-track release puts a focus squarely on techno. The title track is built on robust, steely drums, subtle filters and some background effects. In contrast, "Anomame" is an atmospheric affair that rides melancholic melody sequences and a lithe Detroit rhythm, while on "Medway", the Bristol producer offers a third variant. Slower and more experimental sounding - thanks to percussion that sounds like a shack door banging in a storm - its creeping acid and eerie synths ride a minimal, stepping rhythm. It proves again why the UK producer is so respected.
This is the second part of a trilogy that Mark Broom is releasing on ePM. The techno veteran's ear for crafting straightforward but effective tracks clearly has not diminished over the years and the title track presents the listener with a stab-heavy arrangement, played out against the backdrop of heavy kicks and niggling percussion. "77" sees Broom take influence from tracky US house, riding a shuffling, looped groove to infinity, while "LX" continues in a similar vein, led by chiming piano keys and an insistent, filtered rhythm. Striking a balance between house and techno, ePM have recruited Gary Bek to remix the title, which revolves around an organ stab and a rolling, looped arrangement.



Supported already by Klock, Dettmann and Sims, the latest release from Spanish producer Aiken delivers a stunning interpretation of techno purism for Non Series. It starts with the dense, spacey stabs of "Hybrid", which sounds like a more refined take on early Steve Bicknell material. The title track is a tougher, faster, big room affair that integrates dark Mills-ian riffs into its booming groove. "Somatic" sees Aiken go deeper again, with a niggling percussive arrangement playing out over a hypnotic loop, while on "Dominance", he manages to effortlessly straddle the house/techno divide, aided by gritty percussion and an insistent, pulsing rhythm.
Deep and tunnelling techno for avid fans of the acid life up for grabs here, courtesy of Aroy Dee's always reliable M>O>S imprint. Gijs Poortman, MarcoAntonio Spaventi and Steven Brunsmann bring you "Dreadfully Nervous" which would mark the trio's sixth release on the label. "Dreadfully Nervous" (Aroy Dee's Acid mix) will take you all the way back to Chi-town circa '88 when Phuture and Trax reigned supreme. The reduced DJ tool "Dreadfully" (Stoned version) strips the track down to its bare elements for creative effect at your volition. Finally on "No Soul" (Shallow String mix) they really saved the best for last on this grinding, squealing and tripped out vortex: which really works that little silver Roland box like a you know what!
There's not much information available on US producer Vakkuum, but like many of the new artists on Turbo, this release came about from label owner Tiga playing the tracks in his DJ sets. 'Sound, that's what the speakers are for', intones a serious male vocal on the title track, as Vakkuum lays down club-crushing filters, rolling percussion and the kind of analogue sounding rhythm that Dan Bell pioneered. "Break the Mold" is inspired by similar influences; crashing snares, howling analogue riffs and a hammering drum track all come together to make for one of Turbo's best techno releases in recent years.
Jeals comes from 'Poland via the USA' according to Lobster Theremin, but as Flux demonstrates, his sound encompasses many strands. Opening track "W Scape" is a dreamy ambient affair, while "What It's All About" sees him deliver a delightful oddball house affair, combing the London label's in-house jerkiness with some early Dan Curtin-style jazz influences. On "Gentle Chain", Jeals moves into warm, downtempo electro, but picks up the pace again for the US house of "Flexx". Rounding off what is a deeply impressive debut release is "Up There", where the newcomer combines blips and frequency tones with crashing claps and a jerky rhythm.



When it comes to celebrating their tenth year in business, no one could accuse Dekmantel of doing it in half measures. For this, the fifth instalment of their 10 Years series, they have recruited well-known faces alongside some surprise appearances. German dub producer Burnt Friedman delivers "Monsun", a high-paced, heavily filtered workout that cruises along at break neck speed. By contrast, "Edge Of", from Detroit producer Ectomorph, is a model of restraint, following a dubby groove that ebbs and flows to the sound of spaced out textures and a lurching bass. Dekmantel regulars Juju & Jordash drop the uptempo, jazzed out house of "Neon Swing", while helping to blow out the birthday candles is Fatima Yamaha, with the sultry keys and synths of "Platforms (Empty Version)".
Originally released back in 2002 on the Bellboy label, Len Faki has resurrected Frankie Bones' "Bump Your Head". It's the latest track to come under the spotlight on the Berghain resident's LF Rmx sub-label. Dedicated to creating dance floor versions of tracks that are tailored to his DJ sets, Faki does't disappoint here. The 'Hardspace Mix' resounds to incessant claps, the vocal from the original track on loop and a relentless drum pattern. Unsurprisingly, the 'Hardspace Tool' is even more functional, with Faki putting a focus on incessant percussion and relentless kicks. It's sure to sound even more impressive on the Berghain rig.



As "Rise of the White Dwarf", the opening track on Pfirter's latest release shows, the Argentinean artist isn't solely focused on the club environment. It's a neo-classical piece, led by stirring strings. By contrast, "Double Existence" sees Pfirter back on the dance floor, albeit in left of centre mode. The track's stepping rhythm, wooden percussion and understated bleeps makes for an unusual arrangement. In stark contrast, "They Want to Fool Us" is a tough, rolling groove that is led by tribal beats and layered chants. Completing this varied release is Stanislav Tolkachev's high-octane, insistent take on "Fool Us".
Following his appearance on Ann Aimee, Sawlin aka Ronny Scholz makes the transition to the mother label, Delsin. For fans of the Dutch imprint, Sawlin may seem like an odd choice, but Motion Keeper finds him in less full-on form than usual. The title track is his version of a deep house track, full of atmospheric, dubbed out textures, vocal snippets and a rumbling, bass-heavy backing groove. "Endless Supplier" sees him revert to tougher techno, as razor sharp percussion and dark stabs come together to create a sense of menace. However, it it is only a temporary distraction from Sawlin's deeper mission, and "Wired Evening" resounds to woozy chords and a stepping rhythm.
Exclusives
BURNT FRIEDMAN/ECTOMORPH/JUJU/JORDASH/FATIMA YAMAHA - Dekmantel 10 Years 05 (Dekmantel Holland)
ETAPP KYLE - Alpha (Ostgut Ton Germany)
COSMIN TRG - Sportiv 003 (Sportiv)
Exclusives
SKEE MASK - ISS002 (Ilian Tape Germany)
HODGE - Swing For The Fences (Hemlock Recordings)
AVISION - Excess EP (Beard Man)
Top Labels
Planet E US
Perc Trax
Music Man Belgium
Stroboscopic Artefacts Germany
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