Los Angeles bassheads and Jelly Bean Farm bosses Squane and Rees are back with more nasty low down bass shenanigans on the Illumination EP. Starting out with the guttural street level grind of "Grable" before the brooding deep dubstep journey "Shards" takes you well into the void. Elsewhere, "Automotonic" goes for a more futuristic and dystopian vibe on this experimental cut full of bleeps and sci-fi sound FX creating some real atmosphere to immerse in. Closing out the release is "Aphotic" which introduces some industrial textures over its half time beats which make for some very rolling and trance inducing riddims this side of the Autonomic or Exit Records sound.
Helmut Josef Geier, also known as the rampant DJ Hell, has been a Berlin mainstay since the early 90s, and he's among the few artists to have always remained in a state of flux. We don't mean that he's reinvented himself at the arrival of every new subgenre, far from it; Hell has always been a producer who offers a wide and playful range of house and techno, often guided by wacky samples from all corners of the scene. Fittingly, International Deejay Gigolo is his own imprint, and this new four-tracker comes at a perfect time; the scene is undefined and explorative at the moment, so a tune like "Car Car Car" is EXACTLY what our charts need for a little refresh - Kraftwerkian synths blend ever so well with a mid-tempo beat made of steely drums and balearic charm. The three remixes add to the feast: Roman Flugel's version breaks the groove down and adds an added layer of computer voices to the mix, while Phil Kieran's first version, the Autobahn mix, offers a speedy club re-imagination, while the Drum remix strips the whole thing down to a driving pile of machine noise. Excellent.
Following a release on its sub-label, Nick Harris brings his A Sagittariun project to Hypercolour. The title track resounds to cinematic orchestral flourishes and moves rather skilfully from rolling break beats into dance floor friendly kicks. "The Pathway" offers no such musical distraction and centres on tough, insistent kicks, a succession of filtered breakdowns and splintered percussion. To mark his appearance on the label, Hypercolour have commissioned US producer Matrixxman to rework "The Pathway". Taking the tempo down, his version has a cavernous, spacious feel. The kicks feel like they are submerged, but Matrixxman keeps the dance floor focus thanks to the use of rickety percussion and wild horn stabs.
Mind is Fautzi's third album and follows two long players for Soma as well as a brace of EPs on Figure, Warm Up and Pole. It's a mysterious, textured affair that begins with the ambient noise of "Psychopath" before moving into the eerie sound scape menace of "Entering". The Portuguese producer then shifts his attention towards the dance floor - "Subconscious" is a stripped back, minimal groove laden down with eerie soundscapes, while on "Defracted" and "Rentless", he veers down a tunnelling, acid soaked path, like a murky, visceral version of Sandwell District. "Seasick" is darker and more droning, led by a Mike Parker-style bass, but no matter what style he tuns his hand to, Mind demonstrates that Fautzi is a master.
Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. The second Dollydeluxe release boasts an atmospheric feeling, but with a dance floor bias. This is evident on Answer Code Request's stirring break beat opener, "Forking Path" and Voiski's brooding acid stepper, "Sound of Distance". Dexter, one of Steffi's closest peers, opts for a stern, steely electro approach on "66", while 214, fresh from his release on Lunar Disko, moves back towards ethereal sounds with the widescreen synths and ERP-style bass of "Sound Moments".
Work is Nick Hoppner's second album for the iconic label that he manages, but despite this reversal of roles, it shows his considerable talent and versatility when it comes to making music. "All By Themselves (My Belle)" is a dreamy pop track, while on "Clean Living" he adeptly mixes deep house synths and floaty melodies with a churning Chicago bass. "In My Mind" is a stripped back affair that breaks into soaring melodies, while on "Hole Head', he veers into broken beats and jazzy chords. "The Dark Segment" continues Hoppner's voyage into the abstract, featuring broken beats and eerie sound scapes, while he heads back to the dance floor with the flamboyant Latino chords and pared back rhythm of "Forced Resonance". It's an assured second album from one of Ostgut's secret weapons.
Here's a match made in techno heaven - Mote Evolver boss and veteran producer Luke Slater has teamed up with O [Phase], who is best known for his releases on Token. Between them, they have come up with a killer EP. The title track fuses Phase's abstract sound design with Slater's intuitive understanding of what works on the dance floor, as waves of abstract sound unravel over a firing, futuristic rhythm. On balance, "Bugeye" is more about Slater's signatures, with a pulsating electronic riff and repetitive bleeps combined with stripped back but tough drums. Closing the release is "The Chains"; a ten-minute epic, with a ponderous vocal set to a lean, acid-soaked arrangement.
Kennedy has put out some corkers before on Token - 2013's Cathedral springs to mind - but the tile track on his latest offering for the label really ups the ante. Less upfront than usual, it revolves around a steely, stepping rhythm, while the spellbinding tapestry of hooks and melodies ensure it stands apart. There are elements of trance, 'Artificial Intelligence' and IDM all audible here, but the manner in which the UK producer blends them so seamlessly together will leave audiences reeling. "Glacier" is a mid-tempo affair, led by a stepping rhythm and gentle electronic pulses, while "Voyager" sees Kennedy at his most cosmic as he reaches for the stars over a pulsing groove, but it's on "Tornado" that he really causes a storm.
Cadans aka Jeroen Snik returns to Clone Basement,having made his debut or that label back in 2015. Since then, the Dutch artist in London has released on Tripeo and Wolfskuil, but the Clone empire seems like his most natural environment. The title track is a raucous affair, with drums rolling over a jittery, shaky rhythm as a repetitive vocal plays away in the background. It's raw, noisy and extremely funky. On "Dominion", he opts for a straighter approach, as a murky jacking rhythm and cheese-wire percussion prevail. Cadans completes his second release with a looped, tool version of the title track, where the vocal sounds more high-pitched.
Taking brains to other dimensions for well over a decade now, Maceo returns to wax for the first time this year with two certified brain-melters: "The Tesseract" tackles the complexity of the fourth dimension with a classic rolling drum arrangement wrapped in perplexing layers of bass. "5th Dimension Groove" turns your brain inside out even more as the running groove swoops to sub-frequency levels before a stark bass roar enters the fray and turns everything on its head. Maceo has never been one-dimensional.
Agents of Time are one of Europe's most highly rated techno acts; they have released on Maceo Plex and Jennifer Cardini's labels, have launched their own label and are in-demand live performers. Now they debut on Curle with a potent big room affair. "20 Seconds to Mars" is a tranced out big room number, led by soaring hooks, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Italian pair delivers "Polarized". Led by tight claps and grimy acid squiggles, it's a raw, gritty affair, but still highly effective. However, it's on the title track where they really shine; its combination of shimmering, spine-tingling chords and soaring bass make it the kind of track that will be played by the underground and mainstream artists.
This year marks 10 years since Bastian Volker first donned the Baaz alias. He remains one of deep house's most reliable producers, as this outing on longtime home Office Recordings deftly proves. He begins with the ocean-deep chords, softly spoken electronics and hypnotic groove of "Ween Been", before wrapping heart-aching pianos and drowsy chords around a barely audible drum track on the near-ambient bliss of "Absent". On the flipside you'll find the tech-tinged shuffle of "The Friend", where bolder kicks and snares rise above his liquid dreamscape, and the brilliant ambient electronica of sublime closer "Two (For You)". This is music for sunsets, sunrises and particularly sleepy afternoons.
The E-Beamz label recently debuted with a fine 12" of jungle-influenced haziness from Tim Shug and DJ Playstation. Here, they swiftly move on to EP number two, showcasing tracks from debutants DJ Boring and Magma. The former's A-side cut, "Winona" - so called because it utilizes vocal samples from an interview with actress Winona Ryder - sounds like a long-lost early '90s cut: an ultra-deep treat full of deep space chords, analogue deep house beats and psychedelic TB-303 abuse. Magma's dustier flipside cut, "You", explores similar old skool pastures, making use of both barnstorming techno drums and sweaty jungle breaks. Throw in ridiculously deep chords and riffs, and some eyes-closed vocal samples, and you have another late night winner.
Figure Jams is a new label from Len Faki's organisation and it gets off to a flying start with this split release. Italian producer Fabrizio Lapiana is up first and delivers "Memories" a soaring, atmospheric track that places the euphoria of classic German trance in a pulsing big room groove. "Far Away" revolves around a similar arrangement, but features a mesmerising acid line that seems to build without end. The flip side features a different proposition; mystery producer Amotik drops "Gora", a haunting break beat track with a major breakdown and with echoes of artists like Yantra. It proves to be only a minor distraction and "Kala" is a firing, minimal rhythm track, laden down with cold bleeps.
Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. STFSHD is a new collaborative effort between the label owner and Shed and the fractured break beats and atmospheric textures of "1.0" and "1.5" kick start the new sub-label's first edition, Dollydeluxe1.
Francesco De Bellis is best known for his electronic disco output as Mr Cisco, but as L.u.c.a., he drops the lush ambience of "Echo 1", which is also the opening salvo on the Fabric mix. Working with long-term friend Martyn, Steffi drops the Artificial Intelligence-influenced "No Life on the Surface", while Unbalance closes out the first release with the jittery beats of "Freedom".
Tadeo has enjoyed a long relationship with Non-Series, but this is probably his most high-profile release yet. Featuring tracks culled from his 2016 album, Chronicles of the Future, the label has commissioned a remix package that features the creme de la creme of contemporary techno. Abdulla Rashim turns "The Net" into a deep, textured affair, Silent Servant delivers a dark, acid-heavy take on "The Need of Development" and Efdemin adds his signature bells to his mysterious take on "The Motivation". There is also a rare remix from former Sandwell District operative Function, who mixes Millsian depth with driving minimalism for his take on "The Big Step". Pris closes out this hugely impressive remix package with a dense, percussive version of "The Cyborg".
Tadd Mullinix returns to his more experimental Charles Manier guise and follows up 2015's demonstrative sophomore American Manier with another politically galvanised trip into the darker, starker, fringe-frolicking pastures of electronica. Coated in his own artwork and burning with fusions such as a fuzzy kraut stew of "Lions Of Rojava", the swampy, insistent 99 percenter "Truest Coffer" the experience gradually builds in momentum and shape as we hit the final floor-focused throes where impenetrable weaves of molten machine funk entwine and tangle with uncompromised hypnotica. Another stern statement from the man like Cotton.
From Another Mind, founded in 2014, presents its fourth and most capacious release to date. Having started off initially as a South-German Party series, this release sees commanders-in-chief SHDW & Obscure Shape invite back previous guests from the clubnight, just this time using their talents as remixers to breathe new life into the first three much praised From Another Mind records. The likes of Rodhad, Tale Of Us & Mind Against, Dax J, Konstantin Sibold and Shlomo all feature with contributions staying true to the Label's sound forged initially by its founders, and whether going down an epic or a more banging path, all versions pay respect to that special hypnotism which has found so many supporters. Veteran Producer James Ruskin masterfully condenses "Nachtblende" down to a loop while Ryan James Ford brings a touch of IDM-ish Bleep Techno to "Augen Der Nacht". Ed Davenport explores his Inland project further, contributing a stepping techno journey which is only matched by Rodhad's version in its sheer vastness. The release is split in two version EPs, namely FAM004.1 & FAM004.2. Both artworks function by themselves however its full glory shines when held next to each other as the paintings complement each other.
According to Turbo, the label thought that Steve Lawler had written "Crazy Dream" with it specifically in mind. It's not hard to understand why - over a gritty drum track, the UK DJ lays down a murky bass and a robotic male vocal. It's exactly the kind of music that Tiga's label has continued to release despite it being unfashionable. Turbo has also commissioned an impressive list of remixers; Jori Hulkkonen delivers an acid-heavy jack track, while Charlotte de Witte, who has already released on the label, turns it into a firing techno affair. DJs Pareja from Argentina favour a similar approach, with snare rolls and an old school bass doing all the damage.
Dehnert is a prolific producer, with a long list of EPs and albums to his credit, but Home is his most diverse work yet. While he initially rose to prominence with storming club tracks, much of his latest album sits in stark contrast to that style. There's the atmospheric ambience of "Intro" and "No Time", and the electronic torch song, "Between No Words", featuring the vocals of Albert Vogt. On "Want Be", there are echoes of the German producer's sinister techno sound, albeit realised against a lithe stepping rhythm, while the title track and "Up" sees Dehnert use his trademark churning chords and firing percussion in a more off-beat style. Even on more out and out dance floor tracks, like the swirling organ playing of "Providing Home 2", Dehnert ends up sounding more like Bodycode than Basic Channel. It's an assured, mature work.