This mysterious group have caused a stir thanks to their ability of mixing vocals with throbbing acid tracks. In particular, "Paris Dub", which features Paris Brightledge on vocals, has seen them break through to dance music's mainstream. That track features twice here - the steely drums of the lat-est edit are worth checking - but what's most interesting are the other tracks. "Light Tunnel", with Mutado Pintado on vocals, is a sleazy workout all about wearing black; "Headtrack" shows that Paranoid London are capable of other sounds and is a tough ghetto workout, while "Lovin U", fea-turing DJ Genesis, sees them apply a frazzled bass to new wave vocals. Paranoid London proves that they excel at knocking out 303-heavy club tracks, but it also suggests that this mystery act is capable of making other, less obvious sounds.
Rod Modell aka Deepchord was never known for his brevity, and Untraviolet, his latest album, proves true to form. Spanning two CDs and clocking in at nearly two and a half hours, it sees the US producer take the listener on a trip through his world of dub. Despite seeming very specific and defined, in reality it's a varied place; on one hand there are the scuffled, almost lo-fi Chain Reaction-influenced grooves of "Gulf Breeze" and "Red Sky", while "Radio Netherlands" is a more bubbly, effective techno track. Modell hasn't forgotten his largely sofa-based audience however, and the wall of hissing sound that comprises "Visible Audio" and the jazzier "Night Transmission" are classic Deepchord.
As debut singles go, this four-tracker from Look Like on Drumpoet Community is pretty darn good. For starters, it's pleasingly varied - contrast, for example, the sweaty, retro-futurist techno punch of "Phone Interference", and the chiming, cut-up, garage-influenced deep house warmth of "B.A.B.E" - and contains all manner of brilliant ideas. The loose, synth-heavy "Dapra", for example, boasts the intoxicating, synth-heavy madness of Maurice Fulton's Syclops project, but couples it with the booming, strobelight intensity of warehouse-friendly acid house. As for "Float", it's a paragon of picturesque beauty, with synthesized steel drum melodies cascading over a jaunty deep house groove.
There's been a fair bit of hype surrounding this second album from Stuart Li under his now familiar Basic Soul Unit guise, and it's not hard to see why. Dropping on Dekmantel some three years on from his Still Music released debut album Motional Response, Under The Same Sky revels in its' instinctively atmospheric and floor-friendly blend of classic Detroit, Chicago and - more surprisingly - British techno influences. As usual, the chords are deep and spacey, the melodies bold and shimmering, and the beats rough and ready. The results are splendid from start to finish, with the early LFO-influenced smasher "Fate In Hand", thunderous "Temptress" and sci-fi brilliance of "We All Want To Believe" amongst the numerous highlights.
The Black Light is German techno veteran Johannes Heil's first artist album in five years and follows on from a series of untitled collaborative releases with Markus Suckut on the pair's new Exile label. While Light does not reinvent the wheel, it does prove yet again that when it comes to no-nonsense club techno, few producers can match Heil. "Scene Four" is a typical Heil affair, with a filtered chord sequence unravelling over storming beats, while "Scene Five" sees him revisit the early days of German techno with a stomping analogue workout. Despite this no-holds barred approach, the album also contains subtlety on and off the dance floor, audible on the siren blasts and dense claps of "Scene Three" and the serene but slightly menacing ambience of "Scene One".
To give you a little bit of context, Belfast's Phil Kieran has been producing effective, floor-ready techno since the turn of the millennium, and he's appeared on many 'above the line' labels such as Skint and Scotland's Soma. The spritely dance specialist lands on Sven Vath's larger-than-life Cocoon Recordings, but only in a cameo role as the original producer of "Pkrmxd". The two sides of the record are given to Planetary Assault Systems and Tom Demac, respectively. The former contorts "Wasps Under A Toy Boat" into a driving, hypnotic beast that is tailor-made for the dance floor, while the latter transforms "Missp" into a jagged, electro house bomb with a steady 4/4 beat but that unleashes a grizzly load of bass. Just like the old days - thank you!
It's strange to think that the title of Kobosil's latest release is a reference to his birth year, the same year that Berlin institution Hardwax first opened its doors. Despite being in his mid-20s, this protege of Berghain shows that he is very skilful at creating tough but distinctive techno. "Konvergent" is all pumping, rolling bass and doubled up claps, while "Per" sees him push in a similar direction - on this occasion however, he lets spiky percussive volleys accompany his grimy pulses. There is a men-acing, moody air throughout this record, but it never feels affected or put on, nor does Kobosil rely on cheap tricks to achieve this effect. It means that the dark ambience of "Athtar" is just as spine-chillingly evocative as the howling wind and powerful bass of techno.
Following on from his recent appearance on a Correspondant label compilation, upcoming producer Bird of Paradise is given a full EP to articulate his unusual sound. "Brothel Drummer" kick starts the release in unexpected manner, a half-paced, drum-heavy workout. However, the producer really impresses on the title track and on "And The Half Light". Both tracks use live drumming, loose, pulsing grooves and gentle trance-inducing melodies to seduce the listener. Bird of Paradise also faces some serious competition from remixer Lauer. The German Dj/producer tightens the drums, adds some cowbells and uses Italo synth hooks to turn the title track into a long-forgotten 80s gem.
Mathias Kaden is a long time alumnus of the Freude Am Tanzen family out of Jena, learning the ropes from the very best; namely the Wignhomy Brothers. His recent long player Energetic originally came out in mid-2015, but now gets the remix treatment from an all-star cast. "Energie" gets a re-rub from Kompakt main man Michael Mayer, who turns it into one of those dark and melodic journey tracks that will fit into the current status quo of similar tracks by the likes of Life & Death and Innervisions. Dresden dusty house hero, the Uncanny Valley affiliated Cuthead, gives "Korokana" a nice urban flavoured rework and the mysterious Redshape gives "Clarity" his trademark rusty and reductionist sound. Let's not forget Nick Curly's contributions; he gives "Get Phunky" a dose of the Mannheim sound. Its driving, percussive tech house groove is relentless and there's a dub version for those of you less keen on Aquarius Heaven's vocals.
Joachim Spieth's Affin imprint starts a new series titled Affinity and this inaugurates the new project in spectacular fashion. This new venture will likely delve into hypnotic techno territory and we like where it's leading! It's Sardinia's Claudio PRC up first who gives us "Limnic", a slow burning and sinister epic with some seriously evil sound design and droning bass drawing you into the void. Fellow Sardinian and Prologue label mate Ness is up next with "Vardar" a stomping and tunnelling techno affair with layer upon layer of immersive pads and paranoid atmospherics. On the flip is Dutchman Reggy Van Oers, with the rather Dettmann sounding "Frenetic" and finally sometime Ness collaborator, Glasgow's Deepbass gets onboard with the hypnotic and futuristic stomper "The Light That Never Was".
Tokyo label Blindetonation drops a killer split release that encapsulates all that's great about modern disco. It opens with Gabriel Ferreira's "Slow Sugar", which, as its title suggests, is laid back but expansive, chugging along at 90 bpm or thereabouts. The tempo increases on Club Bizarre's "Supernova", with heavy claps and warbling acid creating a sense of spaciousness and a similar approach is audible on the lazy, dub-tinged groove of Bird Of Paradise's "92 Responder". The release takes an electronic turn on Steve Ekman's "Obscuria", a pulsing bass coming together with spiky beats, but soon enough, it veers back to its dubbed out environment courtesy of the languid groove of "The Back Door" by
After a five year hiatus, Steffi and Dexter's now legendary Klakson imprint is back in action. Said to have been due to pressing plant delays and being tied up with their respective careers, we can forgive them; so long as they continue with the quality releases they've shown us thus far. The dirty electro funk antics of "Troubles" sees Remy Verheijen awash in an analogue bubble bath to the vocoded tune of "I've got/so much troubles/on my mind". "Flashback" is dark and emotive techno-soul that you could have sworn was the work of Boris Bunnik for a second, but undeniably Dexter. The second half of the release gives us "Twilight Life", a tribute to the more electro-fied leanings of UR or Drexciya, as is "Patternmaster" which gets deep down and nasty in the aquatic fashion of the latter. Tip!
This Mexican producer takes a break from tropical act Salon Acapulco to drop a killer debut for Tiga's label. The title track, with its stripped back rhythm and hiccuping percussion, sounds closest to conventional techno, but there are other, less predictable styles on Furia. The Split Secs remix of the title track repositions it in pulsing, electro-disco space, while Vontier's own "Zu Zu Zu" rides a muddy groove and features chilling bleeps, like a shadowy take on electro house. Best of all though is "Casper Whisp!" Featuring Mijo on vocals, where Vontier does his best impression of ebm bands like Front 242's bass power, albeit covered in modern percussive whirrs and ticks.
Krist comes from LA, but on his latest missive for Boys Noize, it sounds like he is tapping into Eu-ropean influences. "U Down" is a bleepy, rolling electro jam with an 'alpha, delta' shout out. Mean-while, "Konvert" sees him draw on the hard, grainy sound of Zombie Nation for a relentless techno workout. "Ctrl" is more contemporary sounding, and revolves around a swinging, bleep-laden swagger, while the title track is a thundering, loopy track overlaid with a buzz saw riff. Krist's only real nod to the US comes on closing track, "Bust It", where concrete-weight kicks underpin a slamming ghetto groove.
The 50 Weapons farewell continues in style with this release from Marcel Dettmann and the Zenkers. The MDR boss has been quiet this year on the release front, but "Activator" shows that he hasn't lost his ability to craft hypnotic techno, as stripped back, stepping beats underpin a wave of hypnotic, 'caught in a wind tunnel'-style sounds. The Zenker Brothers' "Namuan" is more indebted to 90s techno; insistent drums and percussion clatter and clang like iron bars flung on a concrete floor, as chords surge and climax in the background. There are just three releases left now and it will be interesting to hear what Modeselektor come up with next.
Having disappeared from view at the tail end of the noughties, veteran UK techno producer Makaton returned to action last year with the typically bombastic Ra Ra Replica EP on Token. Here, he continues his comeback by delivering a trio of tracks on James Ruskin and Richard Polson's similarly vintage Blueprint label. He begins with the creepy intensity of "Point Suspension", where crackling kick-drums and relentless cymbals combine with ragged, acid-influenced electronics to create a suitably psychedelic mood. Twisted, oddball electronics also form a key part of the slightly deeper and slower - if no less impressive - "Six Feet Under In Love", while "Cold Black Heart" is a quirky chunky of floor-friendly glitch-funk.
Are Szare trying to imbue techno with meaningful messages or merely injecting some fun into a musical form not known for its humour? This writer suspects the former is the case. While track names like "Crop Failure" suggest that they have an environmental agenda, the reality is that Rain God is a continuation of the stepping techno sound they explored so articulately on last year's Lost Shapes album. Tracks like "The Silver Number" and the aforementioned "Crop Failure" resound to percussive whirrs and robust, lurching bass tones. There are deviations from this sound on the more abrasive, snare-rolling "Buried Rails" and the rumbling, organic drums of "Overcharged by the Pump", but in the main this is skilfully executed techno served up with a wry sense of humour.
Stefan Goldmann's label has made a very astute move by releasing music from Rroxymore. Fresh form the Decon/Recon 1 release with Oni Ayhun, Paula Temple and Planningtorock, Tautologies sees her deliver three advanced, futuristic grooves. Bridging the gap between house and techno, "Darksun" is a lithe, organic groove that shifts and rolls incessantly, riding a torrent of bleeps and deft filters. "Q19" and "Dff" are in a similar mode, but more abstract; the former resonates to chim-ing bells in much the same way as Efdemin's music, while the latter houses drones and wind chimes in its drum-heavy, rolling groove.
Having previously surfaced on Optimo back in 2014, Shift Work now sidle over to Houndstooth with their crafty take on a modern kind of electro house. "Abandoned Hands" shakes and quivers with chunky bassline synths and fragmented vocals, powered by a technoid urgency and peppered with industrial noise flairs. "SBFM" meanwhile gets into a more edgy mindset with its nagging arpeggio, setting up Factory Floor perfectly for a remix which actually ends up pirouetting into a cyclical slice of abstract techno. DVA Damas meanwhile remixes "Abandoned Hands" and turns it into a slow-creeping pressure cooker of unreleased tension.
London young gun J Tijn is back: look out! In such a short time this guy has fast made a name for himself with some killer releases on Pennyroyal, Power Vaccuum and Bedouin. This time it's for WNCL Recordings and has four cuts of tough and rusty techno for inner city basement parties. Starting off nicely with the deep vibes with "HEHF" but it's no more Mr. Nice Guy after that. "Fat Controller" is a harsh, overdriven drum track whose kick and toms will properly rattle your speaker, but not before its high hats cut right through them. It's more of the same on the flip with "Malaria" whose wacky bird call melody will get some hands in the air at peak time. Finally "Decimated #8" is another awesome drum track with the most raw and vintage high hats and claps this side of a L.I.E.S. or Opal Tapes release.