Tel Aviv's Moscoman returns to the always reliable ESP Institute for more of his infectious oddball grooves which continually defy categorisation. Much like fellow homeboys Red Axes and Autarkic, his sound sits somewhere between disco, house, synth pop, punk-funk and even balearic; and indeed that's the spectrum of sounds explored on his new album titled A Shot In The Light. There's some lo-slung, latin infused disco deepness on the "Mexican Cola Bottle Baby", trippy cosmo/psychedelic shenanigans on the hilariously titled "Losing My Wedge", the moody and entrancing journey that is the title track (which pushes the same territory as Barnt or Marvin & Guy) and there's even some darkwave electro: like on the epic closer "Death At The Funreal".
Following on from the release of his debut Trevino album earlier this year, Marcus Kaye celebrates another first - his inaugural release on Scuba's label. The title track is underpinned by a typically beefy Trevino low end and provides the basis for atmospheric chords and wave upon wave of jittery melodies. By contrast "Desecrate" is a high-paced techno number, powered by thunder claps and gristly bass stabs and "Mosaic", while less visceral, has an unquestionably functional feel thanks to the surging dub bass and pinprick acid lines that power it. Proving that he is a versatile artist, even when it comes to the dance floor, "Jungle Love" sees Kaye lay down a chord-soaked stepper.
Well isn't this a marvellous meeting: progressive house legend turned techno's dark lord Dubfire collaborating the pioneer of dark journey tracks (long before the Life & Death crew): the man from Bremen and Senso boss Oliver Huntemann. The dynamic duo team up for "Humano" where some ping pong delayed tom drums drenched in reverb create tunnelling trance induction atop of a slinky tech house groove; druggy dancefloor drama indeed! There's also some killer remixes on offer. Brazil's Victor Ruiz serves up his absolutely bangning peak time rendition while American producer Shaded's "Summer Skin Remix" certainly honours the trademark sound of both producers on this seething and slow burning dancefloor journey guaranteed to cause a headrush or two!
Colin McBean is an unstoppable force at the moment isn't he! At the moment you say? Yeah too right; the guy never actually stopped his relentless pursuit of the perfect house and techno grooves since the '90s and this Conectionz EP is no exception. Starting things off in explosive fashion with the "You In Or You Out? (Sims Jacker edit)" with its relentless thud and crack of a 909 workout with funky bass and evil pads helped out by some generous reverb build ups; all you need really. The original version up next is more restrained deep house with that great vocal refrain repeating "live your life the way you wanna be free" the tracks aggression provided by those hissing rhythms. Finally "Bring It" is a soulful breakbeat number with soaring synth leads that is a great departure from McBean's normal style.
The inlay art on this release says it all. Featuring a female face peeking through clouds and a blissed out heavenly body floating above her, it mimics the early utopian states imagined on early 90s dance music covers. The accompanying music also wears its influences openly. Daze, an Australian producer, previously released a trio of records for Lobster Theremin, but for this outing ditches much of the gritty tape noise that he had shrouded his previous work in. The title track is all wide-eyed synths and hyper-speed jungle breaks while on "Centuries Later" he slows down the pace to emulate Nexus 21 and Detroit techno. However, the main narrative on this release is the pre-jungle period and as "Xx" shows, Daze manages to capture the mixture of musical depth and high-speed rhythms that defined that period.
As some of you may well know by now, mysterious Yorkshireman Kamera delivered a fine selection of moods and grooves on the Ventoux EP which were conceived during a series of gruelling training sessions while cycling Mont Ventoux. It recently received a first round of remix treatments by scene favourites such as Droid Behavior's Truncate and Malin Genie affiliate Yaleesa Hall. This second offering features ManMakeMusic's George Fitzgerald whose rendition of "Consignia" turns it into a darkly emotive journey track with layers of hypnotising pads over a cracking and relentless beat. Houndstooth's Throwing Snow steps up afterwards to present his makeover of "Ventoux" getting some properly glitched out breaks working marvellously beneath some lush and dreamy elements, creating a wonderfully hypnotising whole.
Matrixxman has spent much of his career collaborating with others, primarily like-minded producer Vin Sol. Here, he switches focus, joining forces with Beat Pharmacy man Brendon "Echologist" Moeller to deliver an eight-track assault of late night techno excursions. Hugely atmospheric - a by-product of both their selected sounds, and the trippy way in which the collection has been mixed down - the double-pack features acid-flecked hypnotism, balls-out early morning stompers, dubbed-out rollers, L.I.E.S style industrial crustiness, and the kind of gently psychedelic fare that would once have been described as "intelligent techno". In other words, the Black & White EP is a rock solid collection of dancefloor-ready techno cuts that touches on a variety of moods and sub-genres.
Atichgate is the third release from mysterious producer 04LM on Soma and consolidates his reputation as a purveyor of deep dub techno. That said, there is nothing introverted or reflective about this three-track EP. From the outset, he lays down a powerful manifesto; "Atich" rolls along at almost 130bpm and features mysterious synths rising up through its bass-heavy, pounding groove. The title track dispenses with melody altogether for a rumbling, grainy workout that centres on grainy percussion and an insistent, creaky filter. "Afterbyte" sees 04LM revert to a cleaner sound, and its solid kick underpins a wave of tranced out melodies.
It would be fair to say that Oscar Mulero is a techno purist. Over the last 16 years, he's built a solid reputation via singles and albums that rarely stray from techno's hypnotic, heavyweight roots. Hyperbolic Paths, his first single for Token since 2008, continues on this path. Its' four cuts are built around bombastic, full-throttle rhythm tracks, unsettling chords and undeniably trippy, looped melody lines. The standout track is arguably "Suborbital Trajecteries", which combines spacey, rising and falling synthesizer motifs with beefed-up, tropical-influenced techno drums and sweaty, constantly building percussion fills. The deeper and dub influenced closing track, "Eccentricity", is also quietly impressive.
Austrian act Elektro Guzzi squeeze primal techno shapes from a traditional band format of guitars, bass and drums. On Clones, their fourth album for Stefan Goldmann's label, it sounds like they have perfected this art. From the glitchy, grimy "Room" through the galloping bongo-heavy, LCD Soundsystem rhythm and breathy synths of "Voix", this album shows that they bring a wide-ranging approach to live dance music. As the murky noise and crashing drums of "Slowfox" and the epic melodies and shuffling electro beats of "Element" both demonstrate, this album also proves that Elektro Guzzi are far more than the average three-piece band posing as techno auteurs.
This is Kaspar's second release on Pets having also put out material recently for Upon You and Kompakt's Exklusiv offshoot. Like Pets' owners, Catz N'Dogz, Kaspar mines a freestyle form of minimal house and techno. This is most audible on "Strout". The bass lunges and lurches unpredictably, there are blasts and bursts of atonal noise and a rickety percussive accompaniment that holds the arrangement together. He adopts a far different approach on "Roundhouse"; closer in sound to late 90s party techno, it centers on a rolling rhythm, larger than life horn stabs and the kind of rolling snares that are the polar opposite of glum minimalism.
On their previous releases for the likes of Pinkman and Clone Royal Oak, Antenna has proved adept at delivering atmospheric, analogue-rich deep house and dusty basement tracks. As fine of these EPs were, none were anywhere as picturesque and saucer-eyed as this four-track outing on Beats In Space. Sure, the Dream 2 Science influences remain on the dreamy "Primavera May", and "Before I Fall Asleep", but the classic New Jersey deep house sounds are also accompanied by Kate Bush style improvised vocals, glistening melodies and breezy chords. Those wanting a little more low-slung basement grunt should head for the icy but acid-flecked fuzziness of "Primavera April", while closer "Acceptance Snow" is perfect for those who like their house ultra-deep and ambient-influenced.
It's been a long time between drinks for Victor Eich. Sugar appears three long years after his debut EP, the atmospheric Downtown Beat on Thirteen Moons Recordings. "Sugar" is something of an epic: a ten-minute chunk of woozy, bass-heavy deep house laden with fluid electronic motifs, weary vocal samples and, as the track progresses, psychedelic TB-303 acid lines. The original version is accompanied by two contrasting remixes. Joseph Terruel abandons his slo-mo house past in favour of a hypnotic, locked-in, tech-tinged dancefloor stomper, while Eich delivers his own alternate take - the looser, deeper and exceptionally atmospheric Ain't Always Sweet Mix.
Icelandic techno upstart presents his first full length album on Nina Kraviz' Trip label, the very label which presented this rapidly successful producer's style to the electronic music community in the first place. The Lefhanded Fuqs LP showcases many diverse sides to this producer, proving that he can perfect much more than your standard peak time techno DJ tools. The album presents a wide spectrum of sounds, from the slamming electro funk of the dynamic opener "Fimm Atta Atta Fimm Fimm Tveir Tveir", experimental hip-hop like on "+4531704090 2", fiercely cerebral IDM that takes its queues from Aphex Twin ("2366262lhkjdgh"/"Ghentleman Render 2") and of course some noisy and adrenalised techno bangers like on "Gory Ryebread" or "Basketball Smile (Bbbbbb mix)".
The sixth split release on Tommy Four Seven's label is a diverse affair and reflects the across the board soundtrack of the Berlin night of the same name. 47006 starts with Headless Horseman's "At The Gates" a rumbling slice of stepping rhythms shot through with understated menace. Pushing up the tempo is Phase Fatale's "Under Marble" where cyber punk industrial collides with a pulsing groove. Straight after that Stephanie Sykes throws a curve ball with the hypnotic dub of "Sakura" while the label owner retreats to the shadows. Inhabiting the same space as the mysterious Headless Horsemen "Bactria" is a noisy grunge techno stepper
Shlomo makes a return to Darko Esser's label after the 2015 release Avadon. Despite being known as a techno producer the release starts with the title track beautifully fragile ambience and this mood continues with the tranced out beatless "MUM". The Taaipon boss edges closer to the dance floor with "The Ritual" but this track also has a mysterious edge and its swinging rhythm and broken beats emerge from behind eerie found sounds. "Obsession" sees Shlomo deliver an expertly weighted acid heavy dance floor techno track but its lithe rhythm means that it seduces by stealth rather than by force. All told it's a masterfully subtle release.
London-based electronic artist Karen Gwyer has kept on impressing us over the last four years. With releases for labels like No Pain In Pop, Kaleidoscope, and Nous, Semtek's Don't Be Afraid seems like a natural fit to her improvisational take on techno. "Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase" is a stunner, a nine minutes' techno journey that's spans the whole length over nine minutes with its loose, aqueous groove barely held in place by raw, analog drum programming. "And Again Those Eyes" sees the artist return to more familiar territories thanks to a broken sway of beats and melodics, whereas "Meiosis Gametes" is a harsh, menacing techno swing with an electrifying buzz running through its groove. Solid, as per usual. This material comes hotly recommended. She's one to watch out for in 2016 and beyond.
San Francisco's Taraval return for Four Tet's Text label. Starting out with the soulful, summery and dusty groove of "Where's Leon" which sounds like an epic live jam recorded in one take, they then get stuck into the relentless stomper "Texler Acid" where that silver Roland box squeals away gloriously atop of a gutsy 808 rhythm and gradually builds in epic mayhem; loved this one! To close out this great EP is the jagged broken beat experiment of "Opal Cliffs" with its soaring dubby chords and rapid fire clap attacks working up to a glorious crescendo.
The Schwarz brothers can always be relied on to bring an individualistic approach to house music and Downstairs is no exception. Instead of minimal house or the more electronic sound that they favoured in the past, the title track's focus is on dense drums. Coupled with snappy percussion, it provides the backdrop for wired, detuned riffs. On "Upstairs", this sense of weirdness is more pronounced; once again atonal riffs surge into the foreground, accompanied this time by deranged vocals. Belgian duo GoldFFinch are tasked with reworking the title track and they don't disappoint; the drums are tough and tribal, the rhythm steps hypnotically and those wild riffs are replaced by breathy vocal snatches.
Igarashi is a significant name in his native Japan, but his star is only beginning to ascend in the West. This was thanks initially to a release on Peter Van Hoesen's label and now this record on New York club The Bunker's in-house imprint. Suffice to say that Igarashi is fully deserving of the hype. "Part 1" is led by spiky 808s and a pulsing, lithe rhythm, while on "Part 2" he goes farther down the wormhole. Led by translucent trance stabs, it sees Igarashi mine the same hypnotic techno path as Mike Parker. The third part is more pulsing and less frosty but on the fourth and final "Machine" he vanishes back down the frazzled tonal path he first explored on "Part 2".