Reviewed this week
Originally released earlier this year, Rekids now taps Floorplan for two brilliant remixes. ironically, it's Robert Hood's side project that has seen him receive the most recognition in recent years, and it's not hard to understand how this happened. The first Floorplan version of "Feel the Same" sees the Detroit producer deliver a jacking, grinding rhythm track, which underpins a lo-if riff and a female vocal intoning 'get back feel the same' on a loop. The second version is heavier and more suited to techno dance floors, as brooding chords swoop in over doubled up claps and the vocal is truncated to simply intone the track's title.
Almost 18 years on from its debut release, Kompakt Extra is just months away from notching up a century of releases. For EP number 98, Kompakt's club-focused offshoot has snapped up a pair of heads-down, late night delights. Danny Daze and Shokh join forces, laying down a pulsating chunk of trance-like dancefloor hypnotism whose power derives not from thunderous percussion (though the drum hits are solid enough), but rather restless arpeggio lines, spacey electronics and some mind-altering melodies. Then it is Patrice Baumel taking an altogether different approach, slamming down a formidably heavy chunk of bass-heavy techno wonkiness smothered in the sticky humidity of an unlikely jungle rave.
Bjarki Runar Sigurdarson's latest release for Nina Kravitz's Trip label - his sixth in total - is a thing of rare beauty. While there's enough dancefloor thrust and sturdy weight to his beats and basslines, it's the elements that he surrounds them with that catch the ear. Check, for example, the early '90s intelligent techno motifs of "Fimmtudagar 16-2", breakbeat-driven IDM/techno fusion of "Galoppin Muninn", and distorted, techno snowstorm that is the wonderful "This is 5321". Best of all, though, is the forthright EP opener, whose spacey melodies, drowsy chords and crackling aural textures perfectly compliment the producer's steel-plated beats. In many ways, its unsurprising Kravitz is a fan of the Icealnder's work; after all, he's a very talented producer.
Colin McBean was way ahead of the curve when he was releasing EPs on his Phoenix G imprint back in the late 90s. Now some of those seminal tech-house records get a re-release and unsurprisingly, they still sound fresh. "Gladesmen" is a tough affair, led by niggling acid lines, but McBean really impresses on "Pepsi!" The distinctive, layered drums rumble in, there is a woozy synth line and the arrangement sounds even tripper thanks to a slurred vocal loop intoning the title. "The Day After B" is also impressive, with McBean dropping a filtered loop and those unmistakable, steely drums.
The Abstract Eye is Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, a producer who releases music mainly using the monikers GB, The Reflektor, Frankie Reyes and Julian Abelar. Five prolific, soulful/melodic tracks originally released in 2011 on Valentine Connexion, are now available again courtesy of Amsterdam's always reliable Rush Hour. The extraordinarily gifted Los Angeleno creates striking electronic songs here, which integrate the technological with the spiritual and ancestral. There's respectful nods on here to Motor City greats like Japanese Telecom ("Cool Warm Divine") and John Beltran ("Nobody Else"). Might we also mention "Nobody Else Pt. 2" which channels the cyclical/minimal soul of Internal Empire era Robert Hood: absolutely sublime!
Mark Hawkins takes a break from his controversial house project Marquis Hawkes to deliver four purist techno cuts on Developer's label. In some ways, Singularity sees the UK producer return to his roots. After all, Hawkins originally released hard techno on labels like Djax and Uglyfunk in the early 00s, but this new approach is more linear and streamlined. "One Ten" sees him drop a firing percussive track that resounds to eerie riffs, while on "Entranced", he combines a mesmerising synth riff with a pulsing acid backing. "Mist" is slower and more murky, while "Alley Groove" is the rawest track on the release, combining a stripped back metallic rhythm with frequency shifting tones.
Nathan Fake's most recent album, Providence, was also one of his most critically acclaimed works. Now the UK producer hands over "Degreelessness" (featuring Prurient) from the album to remixers Huerco S and Overmono. The decision to pair up Fake with Huerco S was an inspired one, with the US artist turning "Degreelessness" into a dreamy, languid affair. By contrast, the Overmono version uses Fake's tripped out sense of melody to create a soaring but glitchy dance floor track, supported by steely, angular drums. This package proves to be an embarrassment of riches for fans of the singular UK producer, with a new track, "Bosky", navigating a path between his melancholic sound and swinging, assured electro beats.
The Track Series has seen Soma owners Slam shed a light on their underground roots, with a specific focus on the Chicago influences that helped shape their sound. For the sixth instalment, they turn their attention to one of the city's earliest warehouse jams. "Like This" appeared during the mid-80s on DJ International and was Chip E's debut record. The Scottish pair take the track's distinctive, stuttering vocal sample and fuse it with an uptempo, hard jacking rhythm and wave upon wave of spiralling acid lines. It's sure to introduce a whole new generation to the raw sound of Chicago house.



Doing things properly and building up a DIY phenomenon from their base in Zurich, the Les Points crew have brought a fresh, daring originality to the house and techno scene with their gritty outboard approach and a wide range of stylistic tendencies. Taking a break from releasing on their own label, Audino, Barbir, Louh and Nicola Kazimir have been invited to the evergreen Trelik to broach their music to a wider audience. From the blissful space techno groove of "Anubis" to the tightly wound beats of "Housepacer" and on to the cranky acid funk of "Ripstyle", this is yet another distinctive transmission from the plucky Swiss crew.
Reigel is the latest signing to Enemy and brings a unique perspective to Dustin Zahn's label. Apart from her ability to switch between tough, loopy club gear and atmospheric mood music, the upcoming producer also adds her own vocals into the mix. On "Transformed" and "Acceptance", her mysterious tones float in the ether over pounding drum tracks. In particular, "Acceptance" impresses with echoes of classic Harthouse. The title track is another example of her unique sound, albeit this time with her vocals unravelling over a peak time track. Proving that her approach isn't limited to big rooms, Reigel also delivers the hazy, frazzled dub of "Nachalo".
Next up on Ralph Lawson's esteemed imprint are London house duo Voyeur. Having been picked up by Kerri Chandler for his Kaoz Theory imprint, Leo & Benson quickly followed up with hyped releases on Dirt Crew, Madhouse and Watergate Recordings. Starting off with the slamming tribal tech house groove "Witchdoctor", while the slinky yet jacking acid house of "Music Box" equally impresses. On remix they have Fuse resident and Moscow Records founder Archie Hamilton, who shows just why there is so much attention on him at the moment. His version delivering as always with this rolling and minimal afterhours style jam
Label-hopping Dutchman DJ Overdose can usually be relied upon to bring the goods. Happily, he's in fine form on this first solo Unknown to the Unknown appearance since 2015's fantastic Housejam Freaker. Wisely, he's decided to steer clear of well-worn retro-futurist cliches (jungle breaks, hardcore revivalism and so on), instead delivering a trio of raw cuts that blend elements of electro, 1990 style European techno and blistering acid house. "Probably Too Commercial", a rough-and-ready dose of distorted, high octane electro smothered in alien electronics, is probably the pick of the bunch, though sweaty, stab-tastic opener "Feeding The Fad" - all razor-sharp electronic riffs, wayward drum machine beats and old school vocal samples - also impresses.
Following a productive 2016 in which he delivered superb material on labels including Dekmantel, Clone and Perc Tracks, Randomer returns to L.I.E.S for the first time since 2015. "Smokin" is a typically bombastic and bass-heavy affair, with the producer combining his usual metallic, industrial-tinged sounds and spacey electronics with a killer electro groove. It's little less than a genuine club roller that achieves a perfect balance between rhythmic funkiness and trippy eccentricity. you will then get the creepy, echo-laden hits, horror chic and panicked rhythms of "Velvet" and the dense, dusty late night techno throb of "Rye". While neither of the these tracks can match the thrills of "Smokin", they're both excellent mixing tools.
British techno veteran Oliver Ho has released some fine material as Broken English Club since debuting the alias back in 2014. The English Beach, Ho's second BEC full-length and first for L.I.E.S, is the audio equivalent of a trip to a run-down North Sea coastal resort on a wet Wednesday in November. Full of end-of-days electronics, stripped-back industrial techno, moody minimal wave shufflers and bubbly EBM workouts, it's as authentic a tribute to early '80s electronic experimentalism as you're likely to hear all year. Highlights include the Nitzer Ebb style bounce of "Pylon", the foreboding, desolate electronica of "Rust Ballad", the angry electro moodiness of "Carrion" and the rolling, organ-laden autumnal bliss of "The English Beach".
Yan Cook is the latest producer to join the ARTS label collective. Over a few short years, the Ukrainian producer has released two albums and a series of EPs for labels like Delsin, Planet Rhythm and EarToGround. Despite this hectic release schedule, this EP is fresh and challenging. "6th Avenue" combines Shako-style minimal bleeps with powerful kicks and firing percussion, while on "Gallop", he puts his focus on a stripped back rhythm track, with firing percussion, tearing bass and pounding kicks pushed into distorted levels. "Hidden Message" is a totally different proposition and sees Cook deliver a deeply hypnotic, tripped out techno groove, but it's only a temporary distraction and straight afterwards, he drops the tough, tracky "Tetra".
P-Ben cites Jeff Mills as the reason why he started to DJ, but it's clear that his affinity with Detroit techno runs deeper than that. The French producer released his debut album on DJ 3000's Motech label a few years back, and now he returns with a dance floor EP. "Under the Torii" is not entirely dissimilar to 3000's own sound, revolving around a rolling rhythm, dubbed out chord sequences and soaring, chilling strings. P-Ben delivers a darker take on this sound with "Kiganbun", where nightmarish chords and siren riffs build over a tough rhythm sequence. "Kaguraden" is a darker affair, with insistent bleeps, firing percussion and white noise filters combined, but on "Meji Jingu" he re-states his love of Detroit techno as soaring strings are fused with an acid-heavy rhythm. There's also a tougher, tribal take on "Under the Torii" from Mikael Klasson included on the release.
A double header debut from US latin techno experts Sanfuentes Records. Argentinian dancefloor legends DJs Pareja team up with Cologne's ''jackmaster' Bryan Kessler to present the Detona EP. Both parties coming in hot from their prior releases on Comeme and Numbers. Starting off with the banging machine funk of the title track, we then get into some properly jacking tech house on the rather adrenalised epic "Ramp & Rage". Their third offering "Shu Shu" firstly appears in its original format: which is a bumpin' and bass driven deep groove, until the remix by Mijo really lights a fire under its ass! Electronic voodoo music right here.
Alex Tsiridis is part of dub techno act Cassegrain, but for this release on Shifted's Avian label, he unleashes a new project, Rhyw. Seeking to straddle both the dance floor and experimental worlds, Cave Walls features the grainy, twitchy "Iroquois" and the dark soundscapes of "Aversion Two". At the other end of the spectrum, there's the dark, pulsing ebm rhythms of "Sylvan" and the creepy, stuttering industrial of "Vixen for Society". However, the strongest track comes as a result of a partial retrenchment by Tsiridis to his default sound. More streamlined than the Cassegrain material, "Vixen for Society" is nonetheless a droning, hypnotic affair that brings the listener through the darker end of the cosmos.
Here's an interesting melting pot of influences; Engrave Ltd is based in Sicily and the label's latest offering - by new act Phunkadelica - draws on Italo Disco and the country's lesser known wave/industrial heritage. The title track fuses tripped out acid lines with ebm bass and searing techno riffs to create a distinctive dance floor workout. "Collapso" sees this fledgling act combine grungy, Bunker electro with a throbbing, disco groove, while on "Ipernova", there are echoes of Italian horror movie soundtracks, played out against a melodic but moody rhythm track. Factor in Man Power's epic "Italo Belgique" take on "Collapso" and its clear that Engrave has one of 2017's most unusual releases on its hands.
It's been quite a journey for Stephen Brown over the past twenty or so years. From the hyper speed abstract techno of his early releases on Djax and Scandinavia, the Scottish producer has more recently moved into melodic house. However, this release on Danish label Echocord sees Brown make a rare nod to his techno past. "Sandtext" and "Back Stroke" are in keeping with Echocord's deep, dubby sound, with chugging drums shaping the former and a deft filtered riff at the heart of the latter. But it's on "Wet" that Brown deviates from this script; jittery, nervy drums and Hood-esque synth stabs make for the kind of out there, minimal techno that he used to specialise in during the 90s.
Exclusives
WIGBERT - Stream EP (Second State Audio)
RADIO SLAVE - Feel The Same (Rekids)
SLAM - Soma Track Series Vol 6 (Soma)
Exclusives
COWBOY RHYTHMBOX - Scream (Phantasy Sound)
DANNY DAZE/PATRICE BAUMEL - Speicher 98 (Kompakt Extra Germany)
BROKEN ENGLISH CLUB - The English Beach (LIES)
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