David 'Trus'Me' Wolstencroft's fourth album marks a sea-change in direction for a UK producer best known for soulful house and techno. This shift is audible from opening track "1979", where a caller to a late night radio show describes seeing aliens at an unnamed facility. The outer space-fixation continues on the eerie soundscapes of "The Unexplained", before he eventually hits the dance floor on "Dark Flow". Here too though the mood favours the otherworldly as ghostly vocals and resonating piano keys unfold over muted kicks. "Ring Round Heart" ventures back towards the hypnotic house sound that Trus'Me is known for, but it's a relatively short divergence and both 'Red Sun' and 'Our Future' see the UK producer push techno into the most far-flung end of our galaxy.
It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since the release of "Detroit". To celebrate double figures, its author has released a sprawling "10 Year Anniversary mix", alongside the original version. The party doesn't end there though, and Dirtybird has also selected some impressive producers to rework it. Unsurprisingly, Marc Houle's take is a slinky, stripped back affair, while Octave One's interpretation mines the kind of tribal, percussive sound that the Burden brothers have made their own over the past two decades. Fused with the original version's brooding synths, it makes for a intoxicating techno groove. Finally, Visionquest bring the curtain down with a laid back, groovy house take on this modern-day classic.
The latest release on Tommy Four Seven's label features tracks from the guests who performed at his night in Arena, Berlin back in February. It's a mixed bag. Amotik's "Sau" is a proper, 90s-influenced peak time affair - redolent of Luke Slater's infamous remix of "Forklift" its shrieking sirens unfolding over relentless kicks. Shlomo's "Golem" also plays out on the dance floor, although its sleek pulses and steely percussion are less intense than Amotik's contribution. The two other tracks, from the label owner and Pfirter, revolve around broken beats. Tommy's "Funf" is a dark, layered workout, while "Homeostasis" is less intense thanks to its subsonic bleeps, but those clanging drums lend it some serious weight.
Having spent much of last year cutting up hazy acapella vocals on the sublime Sintetizzatrice full-length on Spectrum Spools, Donato Dozzy returns to the dancefloor with a fine collection of techno workouts. He begins with the deep and sleepy riffs and shuffling rhythms of "Aurrora", before heading into tribal territory with the bass-heavy percussion workout "Ritmica". As its' title suggests, "TechTresor" is a rolling tribute to Berlin's longest-running techno club, while "The Drunken Ghost" is accurately named. Sitting somewhere between electro, techno and odd electronica, its' curious melodies and weird effects sound strangely like a ghostly figure stumbling around and knocking over furniture, while looking for its' next fried chicken fix.
We always thought of Unknown To The Unknown as a multi-faceted and exploratory label when it came to sussing out new talent, but we didn't see this one coming. Mak & Pasteman, recently of Lobster Boy, are a duo who are more often than not categorised under the dreaded 'bass' banner, but what they have here are actually a couple of stone-cold house cuts with a Dance Mania kinda flavour. "Percwerc" is a gritty, jittery 4/4 bomb with vintage drop that'll have your jaw wrapped around your head in no time, while "T2000" is just as raw and filthy except that the mood is funkier, deeper and little more musical. Both heavy, both recommended.
Collaborations from Dutch pair Steffi and Martyn under the Doms & Deykers alias have been frustratingly intermittent with just the sole 12" and a contribution to last year's Zehn boxset from Ostgut Ton. This 12", Dedicated To Those Who Feel, is apparently the precursor to a full album from the duo which is great news! "It's You See" sets the tone, cleverly fusing 808 State style chords, pitched-up vocal samples, warehouse-friendly analogue bass, and the sweaty hustle of techno rhythms. "Bafff" continues the retro-futurist theme, with restless rave stabs and psychedelic acid lines peppering a locked-in groove, before they explore deeper - if no less loved-up - territory on the colourful warmth of "For Those Who Feel". It is, as expected, a rather fine EP.
Irrespective of whether one buys into the appeal of Nina Kraviz as a DJ, there is little doubt about her ability to A&R a label. The latest split release on Trip features Kraviz herself, label regular Bjarki and a rare Aphex Twin track. Recorded under his AFX guise, "P-String" originally surfaced back in 1995 on a Peel session. Its combination of pounding drums and chilling strings stills sounds fresh and, to Kraviz' credit, is in keeping with the tone of the release. Bjakri's "Baepolar" chops up mid-90s jungle bass with glitchy rhythms, while his "Naked Naked" is a storming techno affair, led by pounding kicks. Even Kraviz gets in on the '90s mood, with the deep, abstract groove of "Don't Mind Wrong Keys".
The seventh instalment of the series that Adrian 'Developer' Sandoval began back in 2011 sees him lay down more functional but individualistic techno. At the deeper end of the spectrum, there's "Outer Planetary Horn Calls", where atmospheric chords and a wiry groove prevail, while "Out of Body Terminology" is a hypnotic tribal groove with similarities to the hypnotic Italian techno of Obtane and P.God. At the harder end of the spectrum, there's "Ancient Modernists", a tough banging acid workout and the scuzzy, grungy techno of "Tesla On The Radio", but probably the track that best sums up Developer's linear, functional sound is the metal-plated rhythm and firing percussion of "Latin Mechanics".
This is Perc and Truss' first collaborative release in two years, but it does not feel like they have been absent at all. "Subox" hits the listener straight between the eyes with its pounding industrial beats, shrill tones and acrid acid lines. "Badman" is less direct and shows that the pair are not afraid to experiment as a menacing bass underscores deranged tones and mysterious, dissected vocals. However, probably the biggest surprise is the title track. Couched in a standard Perc/Truss backing track is a pumping, throbbing bass that sounds like E-Dancer transposed to a European techno setting. The last time this was attempted with such a degree of success was Laurent Garnie's Sound of the Big Babou, but Perc and Truss have gone even further because listen carefully and it sounds like they have sampled the vocal from Saunderson's remake of Esser's "Forces".
Slap me sideways and call me Grandpa, it's a new instalment of Killekill's Megahits series, and that means a burst of noxious techno beats from all angles. As with previous editions, we have 6 sides of wax all filled with new killers from the label's best, including Eomac, who delivers the supremely messed-up "Angel In The Marble", Bintus' nasty-as-ever acid on "Re-Clocking Knob", a gorgeous collaborative efforts from Cassegrain and Tin Man dubbed "Ad Hoc", Alex Cortex's unsurprisingly curious and marvellous "Tensegrity", and a very special appearance from Detroit legend Blake Baxter with the banging "Acid Warp Time Travel". The rest if as good, if not better - pure gold from the likes of Dez Williams, Jerome Hill, Detroit Grand Pubahs etc.
2013 was the last time we heard from Praveen Sharma aka Braille and Travis Stewart aka Machinedrum, who together have always made music as Sepalcure. In fact, it was this project that allowed them to make a name for themselves via Scuba's Hotflush Recordings, and the duo return to the the label with this new album, Folding Time. The best way to describe these scorchers is to dub them under neo-R&B, a rather wide banner, we know, but it really gets the mood of these tunes across. Electronic beats are always an important part of the arrangements, but the melodies and vocals are soulful, drenched in a spiritual pop flair that makes this LP as smooth as f***, and a perfect comeback to this great project.
It's hard to imagine drum and bass-turned techno artist Marcus Kaye being a golf fan, but that's where he gets his Trevino stage name from, as well as the inspiration for his label. It's also surprising that he is releasing an album in two parts - Front and Back. Comprising nine tracks each, they will be the same length together as a golf course. Of course this would mean nothing if Kaye wasn't a boss producer. Front starts with the lush Detroit techno of "Black Cat" before switching into the buzzing "The Hop". "Defektor Dub" is a rolling, chord-heavy affair, while the insistent bass and fragile melodies of "La View" are as flawless as a perfectly manicured green. As far as house and techno goes, Front is a hole in one.
One of the undoubted joys of any new Seven Davis Jr release is its' unpredictability. This latest extended player is every bit as eclectic and eccentric as ever. While title track "Dancing On The Sun" is a wonky, chopped-up chunk of bass-heavy Chi-town techno, its' even more chopped-up rework - "See The Light" - is rubbery, soulful and throbbing, with Davis making great use of some particularly cosmic vocals. Elsewhere, "Church" sounds like intergalactic boogie dragged through a Motor City warehouse party backwards, while "Spliffs" sees him take a paranoid trip into the stoner stratosphere in the company of discordant guitar solos, freshly baked wonk-hop beats, and vocals that sound like they were recorded in an echo chamber.
According to JD Twitch's sales notes, Luke Solomon and former Greenskeepers man Nick Maurer decided to join forces as Powerdance in reaction to "the bland, soulless dance music that's infiltrating clubs the world over". Certainly, there's little bland or soulless about opener "Mysterious Space Plane", which not only jacks harder than Ron Hardy after a face full of amphetamines, but also boasts a typically eccentric vocal from Maurer (this, incidentally, is given additional prominence on the accompanying, beat-less Reprise version). Elsewhere, "More Fire" takes TB-303-driven acid house into deep space, while "Fire Beat" offers a stripped-back, percussion heavy take on the same cut.
While the dance music media has focused heavily on Italian techno in recent years, it has mainly been about the tranced out, hypnotic sound.There is a far more abrasive undercurrent in Italy - inspired undoubtedly by Rome's early 90s sound - one of whose main protagonists is Repitch boss D.Carbone. "Cultural Collapse" captures the sense of unease that surrounds Carbone as pile-driving kicks are fused with a distorted juggernaut rhythm. "The Observer" is less intense and revolves around a pulsing, strobo-groove, but it's only a temporary diversion. "The Mutant's Law" sees Carbone rain down acid-laced, distorted techno, while "Anti-system" is a coruscating, hollowed out peak time groove.
Ed 'DMX' Upton has a long association with Power Vacuum, having released two volumes of EDMX experiments on the label since 2012. On this latest contribution to the label's rapidly expanding discography, Upton goes in hard from the start. Opener "Half Life" is a strutting fusion of fuzzy techno drumbeats and wild acid lines, while "Dastardly" fuses glitch style electro rhythms with distorted electronics and dreamy ambient chords. Flip to the B-side for the intense techno stomp of "Threshold", the L.I.E.S style analogue beats, distorted production and moody textures of "Late Result", and the Selected Ambient Works era Aphex Twin fluidity of "Girder 86".
Not to be confused with the gentle Dutch duo of the same name, Animal is the new solo moniker for Gabriel Eugenio (one half of the more disco-orientated duo Avanti). The Aztechno EP is a no-nonsense debut and features two originals and some mixes too. Aztechno A is a body music paced jam with fizzed out oscillation aplenty, whilst part B goes further into tense body music territory. Sequencers and Mijo both tackle A, delivering some brutal arpeggiation (former) and hypnoticism (latter), whilst B is given some acidic bounce by the more melodic Basurto.
The Soul Designer is back everyone! Belgian techno legend Fabrice Lig is still at it and boy are we impressed, as always. He never went away really; he just kept doing his thing: Motor City inspired techno-soul of the highest calibre, as displayed on his fabulous last single "No Judgement" (featuring Ann Saunderson) on Planet E. This time he teams up with Midwest legend Titonton Duvante for the Sensual EP. "Even Deeper" is the kind of track that you could imagine Derrick May or Laurent Garnier dropping mid set for one seriously ecstatic moment, with its funky SH 101 bassline (a Lig trademark) and some emotional chords/ keys. "In The Hood" gets a bit more tough and energetic for us with its darkly executed futuristic blues of the funkiest kind.
A year on from the woozy, experimental oddness of their simply titled debut EP I, Guido Zen and Joel Martin re-ignite their Vactrol Park production partnership. II sees them exploring similar sonic pastures, offering up moody, atmospheric, analogue-heavy workouts that join the dots between krautrock, drone, ambient, leftfield techno and curiously distorted, dubbed-out experimentation. The hypnotic, slowly unfurling opener "Tired & Feathered" is probably our pick of the bunch, though similarly epic, slo-mo closer "Grottaferato" - a creepy exercise in sparse, dubby electronics and Ket-addled rhythms - is not far behind. "Hump", a trip into the furthest realms of the duo's collective subconscious, is also strangely fulfilling.
Consumed Music is a record label based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Belonging to "one of the most played producers in the modern techno house scene, Consumed Music has become a home to many globally glorious artists in the field" and who are we to argue. This time they present local lad Richard Cleber with a bit of help from L&S Project on "Ormes" a dark tech house journey with moody atmosphere, tight rhythms and a razor sharp bass. The remix of it up next by David Wincent goes for the fiercely druggy main room vibe of a Drumcode track: this one's totally sick! There's two more original tracks: "Nicotina" then "Overtake", in particular, which will certainly cause a headrush or two with its massive drop and and moody industrial stomp thereafter.