Ever since JD Twitch rebooted Optimo Music, it's been the irregular transmissions from Glasgow act Golden Teacher that has hit the spot each and every time. The amalgamation of two diverse bands from the city -noise punk outfit Ultimate Thrush and analogue house duo Silk Cut, Golden Teacher first emerged on Optimo Music early last year with a pretty apt description of sounding like "Arthur Russell's Dinosaur L jamming with Bobby O, K Alexi Shelby, Liaisons Dangereuses and Imagination, with some voodoo drummers and Sly & Robbie". Steadily building up a reputation for some riotous live performances, Golden Teacher are a class above because they manage to distill this energy into their recorded output too. Party People features three such examples, with A-side cut "Love" the kind of production that sufferers of LCD Soundsystem withdrawal will embrace and cherish for years to come.
Alicante continues his relationship with Cocoon on this peak-time release. Tough and percussive without lapsing into mindless territory, the title track resonates to the sound of tough percussion and a dense acid line that gradually insinuates itself to the fore. "Xyxy" is harder, a slamming affair that resounds to tough claps and firing percussive licks, but which also makes room for warm chords and intricate bells. In a sign that Cocoon has shifted towards more purist sounds, Berghain resident Rodhad has been recruited to rework "Wax Weapon", which he turns into a cavernous big room affair, mapped out by heavy thunder claps. Vath's label has also tapped Ryan Elliot to add some extra percussive muscle to "Xyxy".
Bas Mooy has deservedly gained a reputation for no nonsense, hard-hitting club techno. The Dutch producer's recent remix of Paul Birken was the highlight of that release and now King of Echo Echo sees him further flex his creative muscles. The title track opts for a dubbier, more percussive sound than the Birken remix, but there is a connection thanks to the introduction of a frazzled acid line midway through. The remixes are also of a high quality; Justin Berkovi's version is all screeching horns and detuned riffs - before a dreamy synth appears - while Ascion & D Carbone's take sees jackhammer drums combined with waves of white noise. Finally, Gabeen & Dr Hoffmann turn "King" into a stripped back, percussive workout.
Tiga's label makes another shrewd signing. JoeFarr is one of the new wave of UK techno artists and on Llarose, he delivers a set of fresh interpretations. "IDOMTYK", with its broken beats and crooked percussive slivers, sounds like a demented take on Mike Dehnert's Berlin techno. "Roller 4TI" follows a straighter dance floor sensibility without sounding hackneyed and the grainy drums are reminiscent of early '90s releases by Neil Landstrumm. "Tape 10" is another off-beat roller, with stomping beats mixed this time with trancey hooks, while the excellent "FTone" completes the release, with Farr smothering his doubled up beats with swathes of grungy sound.
There's a real acid house feeling to this release. It begins on the title track, where the anonymous producer lays down layer upon layer of nagging 303s and brassy samples over sassy breakbeats. Meanwhile, "Parenthesis" recalls early UK experiments with acid tracks, as emissions from the Roland are dropped over jazz-infused rhythms and samples from a philosophical debate about human labour keep cropping up in the arrangement. If that isn't post-modern enough then the remixes will satisfy even the most demanding Situationist. The Hardways Bros take on "Kiloton" resonates to a menacing bass and steely drums, while Raudive's excellent version of "Parenthesis" sees Oliver Ho fuse a fuzzy EBM bass with a slamming industrial rhythm.
After some impressive turns for ClekClekBoom and Needwant, Chaos In The CBD are moving over to Hot Haus for some more of their old-skool styled house offerings with a focus on lo-fi charm and pure hearted groove. "Delorean Dreams" has a dystopian electro tone at its core, as defined by the warbling synth line and punchy bassline, although it still moves with the strict instruction of a house beat. "Okinawa" likewise has its own raw edge to it, as though it were lifted from an early KMS record, warts and all. Legowelt gets beamed in for a remix of "Delorean Dreams" that heads into a nightmarish swirl of lurid sci-fi synths and subtle breaks.
The second EP in Peter Van Hoesen's remix series sees Scuba's SCB alias and Token artist Phase following in the footsteps of that excellent double header of Sigha and Donato Dozzy. SCB's take on "Seven, Green and Black" takes the stuttering original and threads a strong 4/4 pulse through it, with atmospheric textures that belie the huge crescendo that erupts at the mid point. Phase meanwhile takes the slurry of abstracted delay that is "To Alter A Vector" and makes it suitable for the biggest of rooms, with earth-shattering kicks and subtle ambience shot through with sparks of synthetic texture, all designed to reinvigorate the tiredest of bodies and minds.
London bass night and label Church return with their first offering of 2014 and the first original material from resident Apes. Putting into practice the methods learnt on a bunch of remixes for Church, "Two Thousand Six" finds Apes ploughing the kind of weighty, heavily swung techno that is so popular right now, and is complemented well by the warmth and subtlety brought to the table on Chaos In The CDB's subsequent remix. If the main track is all about immediacy and power, then the other Apes original "Cold Love" shows a calmer side to his production palette, and is notable for some orgasmic male vocal sampling. Fellow Churchman Seb Wildblood ends proceedings with a doleful, melodically driven remix of "Cold Love".
Given the calibre of artists involved in the Monad series from Stroboscopic Artefacts (Perc, Lakker, Rrose, Kangding Ray, Donor) it's easy to forget that the label inaugurated the digital only endeavour with a release from the then-unknown Chevel. Four years on the Treviso-born producer returns to Lucy's label to helm a full release with his reputation on a constant upward spiral, thanks to his releases for Vae Victis, Non Series and his own Enklav label. With recent SA releases from Lakker, Rrose and a Dadub remix EP providing the label with a renewed juncture to the dancefloor, it seems now is a suitable time as any for Chevel to make his return with the One Month Off EP. Five tracks deep, this record is a fine display of Chevel's overtly lo-fi brand of Italian, strictly analogue club music and is apparently "built around the abstract themes of construction, starting with demolition and ending on perspective."
It's apt that Canadian in Berlin Mary Velo's latest release is out on a label called 'Sunday Morning' in German because the title track captures that in between time and its varying moods. It starts with atmospheric synths and niggling 303s - the accompaniment to that giddy feeling sleep deprivation sometimes brings - before a gloomy bass heralds the onset of sobriety and the mundane surroundings on the way home. The alternative, as presented here by Velo, is to keep going. She articulates this choice through the dark, loopy "MTD Locked Tool" take on the title track and the distorted kicks and drenched feedback of the apocalyptically-named "Anarchist Critique Of The Origins".
Chicago producer K Alexi Shelby's 1991 release gets the remix treatment for modern dance floors. Exos drops a stab-heavy pounder, its primal rhythm littered with vocal samples. Techno veteran Mark Broom pushes in a different direction, and his take is all about high-pitched acid lines set to a dense, drummy groove. Alex Bau's version is somewhat reminiscent of Robert Armani's timeless version of Hardfloor's Mahogani Roots, with alarm bells ringing over firing percussion and a jacking rhythm. Kid Mistik delivers the finale and the most intense version, with slamming concrete slab beats complementing a grungy acid line and raging percussion.
Belgian techno titans Token Records initiate the tease campaign for Inigo Kennedy's upcoming album Vaudeville with this two-track sampler. Kennedy's decade-spanning career has seen him produce under a number of aliases and for some respected labels, but he's seemingly found a perfect home in Token, having inaugurated the label back in 2007. Those familiar with Kennedy's production style will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of his forthcoming fifth studio album after spending some quality time with the two tracks here. Both show Kennedy's deft balance of heaving club-focused rhythms and experimental blend of melody and texture, creating something that doesn't sound unlike a contemporary Berghain-inspired update of the early '90s material of Warp and R&S.
Doka's latest missive for Wolfskuil is a diverse but impressive affair. "Figure 8" is a tough, slamming track, its harsh, visceral rhythms recalling the best of Robert Hood's '90s work. By contrast, "Figure 4" is a dubbed out groove, its rumbling bass and lumbering drums borrowing from the post-punk approach of Silent Servant. "XOX" offers a radically different perspective; over a high-tempo groove, acid lines come hurtling in, but these soon give way to deep, dreamy melodies. Finally, the title track is a glacial ambient track, shot through with interstellar blips and tones. It makes for a spaced out finale to another great Doka EP.
Youngman doesn't release that much material, but as his latest release on John Osborn's label shows, each one of his records is worth checking. On first listen, there isn't much to the title track bar a stripped back, percussive rhythm, but then dramatic chords sweep in. Combined with dark synth lines, it makes for a stark, disntinctive affair. "Car Padder" is based on a similar premise, although on this occasion it features a humming, pulsing bass at its core. Finally, "Skyways" sees him travel down a different path, with the synths tranced out but still eerie, set against a relentless bass.
In a neat twist, Italian new school producers Gigli and Obtane are releasing their latest record on Cannibald. The label is the work of veteran DJ and producer Leo Anibaldi, who is one of Italy's longest-serving techno names, and it is refreshing to see him support the new wave. Anibaldi delivers a spaced-out soundscape take on "The Dreamers", but it's all about the dance floor versions here. The "KC1 Variation" is based on thundering drums and textured break downs, while the original version features the kind of dense, viscous bass and disappearing-down-the-wormhole rhythmic pulses that the Zooloft duo has made their signature sound.
Daniel Fisher aka Physical Therapy certainly has a skewed take on electronic music, and Million Years Crushed sees him give vent to his unusual methods. There's the woozy, layered piano and crisp drums of the deep house track "Salad Dressing", while "American Cream" sees him deliver a strange version of acid trax. Amid discordant riffs and sirens being let off, Fisher delivers a nagging 303 line. "Val E Of The Dolls" is even more off-beat, with spiky break beats and jittery rhythms providing the basis for wild keyboard stabs and cheeky vocal samples. The title track is sane by comparison, thanks to its trancey keys and insistent claps, but fear not, Berghain resident Norman Nodge takes it down an abstract route with his bleep-heavy remix.
Radiation is not a typical Third Ear release, but Why Sheep aka Japanese producer Gaku Uchida has a long-standing relationship with the imprint, having released an album on Guy McCreery's label back in 2003. Both versions of "Radiation" favour experimental textures and extreme sonic diversions. Bluesy guitar shards are combined with bursts of noise and creaky effects on the first take, while the second version is just as warped. There, waves of spiky percussion and crashing drums provide the basis for jazzy licks and vocal chants. The remixes from Kare San Sui are less intense, with the first "Radiation" reduced to an atonal sound scapes and "A2" turned into a jazzy broken beat workout.
If you're looking for a truly out there techno record, one that makes DJ Rush seem sane, then Hard Hat Traxx is for you. "Hard Hat Area" kicks starts the release with tinny drums, squeaky acid and heavy kicks, but it can't compare to "Pump". Set to a fast tempo, it features frenetic claps, a grungy wall of acid and what could be the sound of a jet breaking the sound barrier in the background. Then there's the aptly named "Meltdown", which sounds like Alex Cortex and Cristian Vogel on steroids, as a hyperactive minimal groove features wave upon wave of deranged analogue tones and frequencies.
UK artist J TIJN continues his endeavours to redefine the very meaning of tortured, visceral techno with another release on Untold's no nonsense Pennyroyal label. If you've caught recent J TIJN contributions to Power Vacuum or Oversee Assembly, you should be well aware of the levels of intensity the producer is currently operating at, though this three track release should still come brandishing a warning! It's "Yearn" that packs the most immediate punch, with Pennyroyal themselves claiming it's like being "creeper massaged by the wet knuckles of every touch point of rave past present and future". Meanwhile "Innart" is lopsided, broken techno with aquatic sound design that will causes issues for the techno selectors out there with weak bladders, whilst "Nuke" is as potent as the name suggests.