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Here's an unusual release; Italian house duo Hunter/Game have teamed up with Icelandic band Kura, and now their collaborations get remixed by some of techno's biggest names. Robert Hood conjures up a moody spectre with his version of "Signs of Change", with a tearing electronic riff cutting through an insistent metallic rhythm. In stark contrast is Etapp Kyle's remix; dissected vocals float over dreamy, floaty synths and a laid back, dub groove. The direction shifts again when Bambounou gets to reshape the same track; the French producer's first take is a sprawling, spaced out take, while his dub version descends into a complex, abstract workout, led by percussive hiss and tape noise.
London's Tessela has been crafting his sound in spectacular fashion over the last few years and none of his productions have caued more of a stir than the now rare as you like vinyl smash "Hackney Parrot". The prodigious bass explorer is not necessarily offering groundbreaking new genres but, instead, new ways of layering sounds next to one another. Both of the present tunes magnificent examples of rough, sweltering UK bass that's been run through the ever-enjoyable jungle filter. "Hackney Parrot" twists and layers up a famous vocal sample with masses of stop-start jungle breaks, and a couple of deep basslines that remind us of Dillinja's early output for Metalheadz. "Helter Skelter" is the heads-down tune, the one that's bound to get the crowd moving during a 5am trance, and Tessela's use of drums is becoming more and more essential for us after this new Poly Kicks. Warmly recommended.
Alicante has released on high-profile labels like Soma and Cocoon - the latter home to a 2013 DJ mix from the Italian - so it's no surprise that Adam Beyer's imprint has snapped up a release. Awakened is a diverse affair: at one end of the spectrum there's the minimal, tranced out title track, while at the other there's "Senses" and "Apogeo". Drumcode fans will relish the understated but relentless rolling groove of both of these tracks, which unfold to snappy percussion and euphoria inducing snare rolls. However, the real highlight here is "Times". Starting off as hypnotic, metallic track, it morphs into a melodic, epic affair that showcases Alicante's musical side
Since first emerging in 2014, Dutch duo Artefakt has earned a reputation for delivering spacey, melodious techno tracks that mines both classic Detroit techno, and British style 'intelligent techno' for inspiration. On this hotly anticipated debut album, they cast their net a little wider, including denser rhythms and more left of centre sounds amongst the starry melodies, intergalactic chords, and sparkling drum machine beats. It's a formula that consistently delivers results, from the undulating, tribal-influenced rhythms and emotion-rich musicality of "Entering The City", to the angry, acid-fuelled onslaught of "Return To Reason", via the sun-kissed electro brilliance of "Somatic Dreams".
It is over to Sapporo's Jun Kimata aka BirdMan for the Forbidden Colours imprint out of Bilbao (Spain), who've previously delivered great work by the likes of label boss Aitor Etxebarria aka EL_TXEF_A, Eduardo de la Calle and Andres Aguirre. The Shape Of My Voice EP starts off with the driving and tunneling deep electro workout "Two Billion Light-Years Of Silence" that's dripping in futurist aesthetic, while "Track 2" is a more dystopian affair on this dark ambient/drone piece. Then we have "Train Music" which effectively bridges the gap between hypnotic techno and deep house (the label's preferred aesthetic of late) and rather inventively indeed. The "Spicy Paracousia remix" by the aforementioned Aguirre takes the track on wonderfully spaced out deep house journey over its glorious seven minutes. Nice one!
Bay Area retrovert Matrixxman has become one of the most in demand producers of techno in the last couple years, due in so small part to some stellar releases on Delft, Spectral Sound and of course Dutch institution Dekmantel who now present the second installment of a triptych series. Following up the first volume Sector I: Rhythm, Sector II: Acid does exactly what it says on the tin: exploring the timeless capability of that little silver Roland box. He joins the dots between hypnotic techno and acid house on "Arrival" or "Rites" just as well as Scandinavian Varg can. Speaking of acid house: it's exactly that in all its vintage charm; it's like '88 all over again on "Bad Acid" or the absolutely explosive "I Am Matrix".
Although Henrik Schwarz has kept himself busy in recent years, it's been a while since he released a full-throttle dancefloor workout. This debut appearance on Gerd Janson's Running Back label - the German producer's first solo single 2013 - is arguably his most forthright and floor-friendly missive since the turn of the decade. "Not Only You" is a thumping techno stomper, where ragged, mutant, repetitive lead lines are propelled forwards by some seriously good drum machine programming. Flipside "Not You Also" offers a slightly more eccentric riff on the same blueprint, with Schwarz adding some eccentric spoken word segments and a couple of bold synth fills.
Dutch techno powerhouse Chinedum Nwosu aka Shinedoe presents a reissue of her debut album on 2000 & One's 100% Pure imprint in 2006. It's a pretty straight ahead affair on here from the Intacto Records boss, with some powerful dancefloor oriented techno cuts and a few pleasant surprises, actually. After the deep acid opener "Afrotronic" we are treated to the emotive hi-tech soul on "Enjoy The Moments" (and later the kind of Sueno Latino sounding "Seek And You Will Find", there are the functional stripped back DJ tools like "The Peacemaker" and "Face Your Fear", too. The powerful Detroit influenced closer "Dilemma" ends this impressive album in style, awash in shimmering arpeggios and an adrenalised yet funky groove. Elsewhere, the track "Feel Your Space" is so obviously a zeitgeist of the mid noughties bleepy minimal boom, but the rest of the tracks can still hold their weight and sound contemporary enough for playing on modern dancefloors. Stood the test of time indeed!
Tommy Four Seven's eponymous imprint returns with more bleak and dystopian techno tools of industrial strength grade. Featuring the always ferocious Ancient Methods and the wonky drones of "System", Berlin duo Oake hypnotise you into submission as always with their esoteric imaginary soundtrack entitled "Anaxamines" before Italian producer VSK delivers the EPs finest moment on the rather Surgeon sounding broken techno stomper "Breaking Symmetry". The man himself T47 closes this fine EP out with the shredding body bash of "Dromod" that's mangled up amongst metallic textures, grinding sub bass and generous servings of clipped distortion; business as usual!
Hotflush alumnus Sigha has long been a masterful exponent of dark and gothic techno, developing a signature style that puts pitch-black textures and paranoid atmospherics at the heart of the action. Metabolism is the producer's second full length, and his first since joining Token in 2015. The 12-track set is in a similar vein to his previous work, with the 12 tracks flitting between deep and intricate explorations, more forthright workouts, and clandestine cuts that shy away from easy categorization. It's a formula that guarantees consistently impressive results.
Machine funk melodies taking their cues from the the sci-fi stories of Philip K. Dick? That's what UK's Moire is said to have taken inspiration from, among other things (all quite dystopian), on an album described as feeling "both futuristic and strangely human." His new effort entitled No Future, it's about where we are as a society right now and living in a climate of fear, hypocrisy, inequality, and lies. The London based producer also takes aim at modern matters concerning his home turf; something that's been demonstrated by the rising cost of real estate and the steady closure of major clubs like Fabric and Plastic People. The dark and desolate future beats of "Lost You" featuring DRS' rhymes are a good example, also the dusty and deconstructed urban house of "Jupiter" (which is further mood lighting) and not to mention "Facade" a neon-lit deep house jam perfect for a late night drive through the city and featuring James Massiah's haunting insights. Be sure to check out the album's interactive mirror entitled Monolith for an even deeper vision into the album's themes.
He's back! The Chicago techno and hard house legend returns on his notorious Kne Deep imprint with a new full length effort. The man who brought such legendary titles over the last couple decades such as "Motherucking Bass", "Freaks On Hubbard" and "Look'n Like A Woman" still pulls off his jackin' and relentless style as good as ever here and takes no prisoners! Getting straight down to business on the gusty and stompin' "That's What I'm Talkin' About" featuring his hilarious trademark vocals, there's two versions of the sick "Round Midnight" but we were more concerned with the "Rush Acid dub"(after all, he is from the Windy City!), while tracks like "Dirty Boy" and "Feeling Sexy" showcase his ever enduring knack for charming track titles; not mention a singular techno sound that influenced a generation of dancers and producers. He once famously said "Take more for what I am, or don't take me at all!" and we're certainly with the former. Isaiah Major: respect for doing it your way.?
Frits Wentik's Will & Ink imprint presented several EPs by the new garde of Dutch house music: Nick Putman aka Malin Genie (Oscillat/Mandar) and newcomer Yaleesa Hall who delivered the impressive Woodall LP where he deconstructed groove music to its bare elements. We now get given a series of remixes from both the Lucas and Carol EPs here, with some very appropriate artists doing a damn fine job indeed. Post UK bass techno fuses in on Mosca's Pure Joy version of "Second Lucas" a brutal body basher that at times was reminiscent of Surgeon or British Murder Boys, believe it or not! The Livity Sound affiliated Asusu from Bristol also steps up and gives us his rendition of "Second Carol" a splintered dub techno workout that's a serious as it is functional. Hall and Malin also get stuck into one more new version themselves with their appropriately titled "YHxM Stripped mix" which sits somewhere between microhouse, dub techno and industrial aesthetics.
Comeme felt a connection to the electronic beats from South Africa since its inception with tracks like "Pata Pata", "Osea... Hello", "El Sucu Tucu" and many more being testament to this. DJ Spoko, partner of DJ Mujava, for whom he wrote and produced the legendary "Township Funk" is one of their main influences. The label is said to have quite a following in Johannesburg and Aguayo was elated when invited to play there. He met Spoko, they put together these tracks that the label themselves claim "carry the spirit of this label, the vibe of Joburg nights" and started to jam with him in a studio in the centre of the city! The spooky title track features 8 bit melodies atop of tribal chants and crunchy beats, the funky and broken riddims of "Something About The Beat" are definitely geared to rock the dance floor later on at night while "Esquina" dives right into the exotic on this esoteric jam filled with humming bass, bird calls and hypnotic polyrhythms.?
Hyper Opal Mantis marks a significant moment in the career of David Letellier. Since first appearing as Kanding Ray back in 2006, Letellier has released a series of fine albums on Raster-Norton, many of which explore the blurred lines between club-ready techno, off-kilter IDM, and worthy experimentalism. For this latest full-length exploration, Letellier has transferred to Stroboscopic Artefacts, in the process subtly tweaking his sound. While rooted in his established "high definition" style, many of the tracks draw influence from ghostly ambience, industrial textures, and the muscular throb of Electronic Body Music. Despite the subtle variations, Hyper Opal Mantis is still very much a Kanding Ray record.
Ghost Culture is UK producer James Greenwood who back in 2012 got singed to Phantasy on the strength of one track on Soundlcoud and the rest as they say.. is history. He's now a staple of the London label with nearly a dozen releases thus far to his name and the Nucleus EP sees the young producer hone his sound further more although it still sits in the interesting space between acid house, EBM and techno. There's a certain sense of soul and emotion throughout. Highlights on here are the bittersweet electro of "ICO130" and "NGC1275" respectively, while the deep broken beat house of "NGC1265" offers a change of aesthetic while still exploring some sublime vintage synth textures like the rest of the tracks. Great effort!
Turbo boss Tiga returns after his fantastic 2016 long player No Fantasy Required to tell you what you've always needed to hear: on his new single "Eye Luv U." Co-produced by one half of Paranoid London, the new single harnesses all the pure energy of what enlightened club-goers often describe as their favourite emotion on this dusty, old school sounding acid house joint. There's some great remixes too: firstly by German house hero Butch whose version does exactly what it says on the tin with his "80's Warehouse Acid Mix" here he really works that silver Roland box like a you know what! Finally Scottish up and comer Jasper James gives us a tough peak time techno tool on his relentless version.
Italian legend Sam Paganini is back with another peak time techno weapon which newly inaugurates his new JAM imprint. The first track entitled "Desire" is the kind of relentless and pummeling fury that his seen him release several times on Adam Beyer's esteemed Drumcode imprint and is even complimented with some euphoric '90's rave organs to boot. It's a much more tunneling and hypnotic affair for the late night on the adrenalised "Mercury" which will have you surrendering to the strobe lit void in no time. Trance inducing synth loops and the good ol' claps on the kick take their cues from the legendary Robert Hood: but done quite stylishly.
Motor City techno legend Alan Oldham returns as DJ T-1000 and he's right at home here for British hi-tech soul merchants Third Ear. The guy behind such seminal imprints as Generator is in fine form and flying the flag for the timeless sounds from The Motor City: techno the right way! Starting out with the straight ahead, self aggrandizing groove of "1 Liquid Metal (Acid version)" which repeats the man's name continually, there's also "Shapeshifter" or "Air Berlin" which respectively are tough and funky: more reminiscent of the artist's classic sounds when he was formerly known as X-313 or The Neon Sex Fiend. The emotive "Marina 2" is the deepest and most uplifting offering on here and closes out the EP in nice style. Another fine release by techno's 'Renaissance Man'.
It's hard to believe that "Discussion" is 20 years old. Cited by none other than Marcel Dettmann as one of the most important German techno records of the 90s, it has lost none of its lustre despite the passage of time. The bass is pounding and dark, the vocals pitched down and druggy and the synths seethe with eerie intent. In recognition of its importance, Muller has commissioned a series of remixes. Claude Young drops a busy Detroit techno take,Ulrich Schnauss, one half of Beroshima, turns it into a lithe, melodic affair and DJ Rok rides a rolling techno juggernaut rhythm through its centre. Even Hacker gets in on the action with a pulsing disco version.
HENRIK SCHWARZ - Not Also You (Running Back Germany)
BRUCE - HEK027 (Hemlock Recordings)
SIGHA - Metabolism (Token)
DJ RUSH - Dance To The Drums (Kne Deep)
GHOST CULTURE - Nucleus (Phantasy Sound)
MATRIXXMAN - Sector II: Acid (Dekmantel Holland)
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