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Reviewed this week
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The latest signings to Erol Alkan's label are Cowboy Rhythmbox aka edit king Nathan Gregory Wilkins and remixer, producer and mash-up expert Richard X. Given their past adventures and exploits, it's no surprise that Box is such a raucous affair. "We Got The Box" is based on a jacking, filtered groove with a woman intoning on repeat something to do with the title (although it sounds closer to "we got the pox"). However, it's not as impressive as "Rattle". Percussive and laced with acid, its Latino chants and insistent rhythm are sure to cause mayhem whenever they are dropped.
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Increasingly sparring in the studio and on the decks, Bristol bods Hodge and Facta consummate their partnership with this release for Rinse that highlights two very different but equally essential cuts. "Spheres Of Costa Rica" riffs on a distant and enchanting hook of traditional vocal and places it in the midst of a spooky house framework rich with melodic percussive hits and plenty of low-end heft. "Visions" meanwhile takes a more moody route into oppressive industrial scrapes and dubby treatments to make a thoroughly contemporary hybrid belter that holds back as much as it releases. It's an assured release that plays on the strengths of both producers and points the way for more cool and deadly dance killers to come.
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Originally released back in 2010, Boris Bunnik's debut album as Conforce has stood the test of time. It helps that the type of music and influences that the Dutch producer draws on are timeless, it also has a lot has to do with his flair for production and subtle touch. This combination of skills is audible throughout on the album, but is especially noticeable on the deep electro of "First Impression", where rave whistles appear amid squelchy bass tones or on the acid bleed and warm chords of "Subtraction". Bunnik may be mining well-known tropes and paths, but it is to his credit that he manages to squeeze new shapes and sounds from them, as the ghostly techno groove of "Rare Education" demonstrates.
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The diverse musical tastes of Phillip Solman are evident once again on this second round of remixes tied to his fine 2014 album Decay. There is something for all fans of contemporary techno here as ERP (aka Gerard Hanson), Don Williams, Johannes Volk and Traumprinz all contribute to proceedings. Typically the ERP revision of "Decay" recasts the album's title track as rough, bouncing electro whilst Mojuba boss Don Williams flushes "Track 93" with new levels of Motor City indebted urgency over a throbbing low end bass groove. Mr Volk turns in a fine melodic tweak of "Parallaxis" though it's fairly overshadowed by the epic orchestral rendition from Giegling artist Traumprinz.
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He may be a newcomer, but Luigi Tozzi certainly knows how to craft deep, hypnotic techno. The release starts with "Bioluminescene", a subtle roller that combines Dozzy's trance aesthetic and the cavernous rumble of German dub techno. "Chemosynthesis" is more stripped back and less driving, but it has a mysterious, almost eerie edge and the same quality is audible on the chiming chords of "Hydrothermal Vent". "Photophore" has a less chilling feeling as Tozzi introduces dreamy synths and "Sub-Photic Zone" sees icy filters sweep through the arrangement. It's left up to the remixers to steer the release back towards the dance floor with Deepbass and Claudio PRC deliver tribal rhythms and throbbing dub basslines on their respective versions of "Bioluminescence" and "Chemosynthesis".
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Belgian in Berlin Kill Frenzy has been building up to the release of this long player with a succession of murderously good singles on some chief labels. However, it's Claude Von Stroke and his Dirtybird label that has the full length, recently teasing us with lead track "All Night Long". Not quite sure why he's referencing the eponymous country-gone pop star in the title, but we do have a further ten tracks to enjoy. Overall it's a real exercise in deep jackin' joints, with highlights being the space-age slam jam "No Panties", the totally filthy "XXX" and the buzzsaw house of "Bondi".
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When announcing the release of her sophomore set, Steffi Doms told Resident Advisor that it was "much more about how I see the dancefloor these days" than her "conceptual" 2011 debut, Yours & Mine. While there are some IDM and vintage electro influnces - most notably on opener "Pip", throbbing electrofunk jam "Treasure Seeking" (a hook-up with old pals Dexter and Virginia) and the picturesque closing track "Fine Friend" - for the most part Doms sticks rigidly to the kind of club-friendly fodder with which she made her name. By and large, this means vibrant, Detroit-influenced techno, with the throbbing "Bag of Crystals" and sci-fi leaning "Selfhood" standing out.
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In the eight years since his emergence as a promising 19-year-old producer, Argentinean Jonas Kopp has amassed a solid discography with a veritable clutch of 12" material for the likes of Curle, Ilian Tape, CLR, Krill, Stroboscopic Artefacts and Tresor. Sensing the time is right to try his hand at the album format, Kopp's chance comes via the later Berlin techno behemoth. Beyond The Hypnosis is a weighty 12-track endeavour, displaying Kopp's talent for crafting finely sculpted techno.
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Having firmly established himself as a mainstay of the Hotflush family Locked Groove is back on the label once more with some of that ultra-modern 4/4 business. Interestingly "Enigma" points in some way back to the UK bass roots of Scuba's label with its grimey horn stabs, albeit in the context of a haunting house track. "Wandering In A Cage" is a more typically slick tech house jam with a dubby lilt to the synths and a brooding atmosphere for those who find the horns on "Enigma" too much. That said, it's the lead track that gets the remix treatment, first from Scuba who weaves a more wistful arrangement around those hooky stabs, before Locked Groove's own "Dub Mix" shuffles up the samples a touch for a different rhythmic flavour.
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Already supported by most big name techno DJs, including Marcel Dettmann and Chris Liebing, it's not hard to understand the appeal of Encounter. Right from the outset, the title track's booming kicks and throbbing industrial rhythm underlines its functionality and dynamism. However, Wire hasn't just delivered a series of DJ tools; "Encounter" features dramatic violins and squiggly acid lines, "Vanish" resonates to snares rolls and clanging metal rhythms and the stomping, fuzzy rhythms of "Swirl" and "Lid" are cloaked in waves of malevolent acid. Best of all however is "Distance", where barbed wire percussion support wave upon wave of droning, distorted tones.
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Known for releases on Loco Dice's Desolat, Italian producer Alli Borem now brings his considerable dance floor talents to bear for Tiga's Turbo label. The title track is an effective DJ tool, led by relentless filtering, jittery percussive ticks and squelchy, fluid acid segues. "Children Of The Heart" is equally effective, with dense drums underpinned by powerful pulsing and rickety hats. Finally, Borem delivers "Turbo Rolling Ride". As its name hints, it pans, rolls and weaves its way through a series of acid peaks and troughs. Gate may not be as abrasive as some of Turbo's recent outings, but it's just as impressive.
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The resuscitation of Chicago's key '90s artists continues with Gene Hunt's latest release on LA Club Resource. Arriving just in time for witching season, the reissue of "Freddy's Dead" is a reminder of just how creative that wave of Windy City producers were. Borrowing samples from Nightmare on Elm Street, the 1999 track is murky and menacing, as ominous pulses and evil cackles herald the arrival of an unnaturally dark take on ghetto jacking. Fans of Hunt's sound will also be delighted to get their hands on the flip side track, "Bong". Recorded during the same period, its primal rhythm, visceral percussive volleys and malevolent acid gurgles are the ideal soundtrack to those long, dark winter nights.
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Yes Clone! The Jack For Daze series has been on sublime form of late, and their latest issue puts the focus squarely on the mid '90s output of Roy Davis Jnr. Anyone with some knowledge of Chicago's house history will know how appropriate Roy's work from this era is for the Jack For Daze label and those who don't should appreciate the chance to assess the work of such a house music pioneer! Roy's Chicago Basement Traxx features three productions hand-picked by Clone from the four-track 12" of the same name Davis Jr. originally issued in 1995 for the now defunct Kumba Records, and apparently one of Clone icon Serge's most cherished records. There's an intensity to these three tracks that will grip you instantly with the relentless rhythmic jerk of "Jack Da Rhythms" a particular highlight.
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As The Cyclist, Derry-based musician Andrew Morrison first surfaced back in 2011 with a cassette on Crash Symbols but came to wider attention with last year's excellent Bones In Motion LP for Leaving Records. The fifteen tracks spilled with tape saturated magnificence from every angle, and since then Morrison has diverted some of his creative energies into the more dance floor-focused Buz Ludzha. That project debuted on All City earlier this year with a 12" of "distorted '80s house" called Love Repetitive Rhythmics, and it's the Dublin label that now issues his latest LP as The Cyclist. If anything Flourish is a more focused set than his debut, building on his established style but veering down exciting new sonic avenues and in "Tape Grunge Rave" possesses one of this year's best track titles.
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Fans of Bio Rhythm will know the Rotterdam operation is fond of working with Jamal Moss, with two dizzying platters from the Mathematics boss under his Sun God alias helping Paul Du Lac to establish the label in its first year of business. Moss returns here alongside Noleian Reusse as Africans With Mainframes, a project the pair have shared on an intermittent basis over the past 12 years and their first release together in four! It's not clear when these two productions date from, but if the title track and "Tonkolili" are the result of recent times in the studio Moss and Reusse have evidently lost none of their studio chemistry. The other track just shades it here thanks to the thrilling feeling the various elements are constantly on the verge of exploding. One for the fearless selectors!
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As Our Circular Sound is Sigha's label, you'd be forgiven for thinking the man himself would facilitate the first long player on the platform. However recent times have found James Shaw using the label as an outlet for emergent talent, ushering in works from Arcing Seas and Positive Centre to complement the more established contributions of Truss, Shifted and Sigha himself. It's Mike Jefford's Positive Centre project that takes the honour of the first album project on the label with In Silent Series consisting of nine new productions from the producer. If you've indulged in previous Positive Centre material you'll immediately warm to the delicate and glacial exploration of sound reproduction and audio collage.
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Forma are known for their ambient/cosmic work on labels like Spectrum Spools, so this release marks a departure of sorts. It still features those great layers of sound that characterise their leftfield sounds, and the title track begins with animal shrieks and expanses of swirling, glacial synths. Eventually, Forma introduce kick drums and the track morphs into a tripped out, acidic affair. There is a similar approach audible on "Cloud Pillar"; the kick drums are audible from the outset and Forma use snare rolls sporadically to ramp up the intensity levels, but it's the expansive, textured soundscapes that really captivate and hypnotise the listener.
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Since first surfacing under The Exaltics guise back in 2007, Robert Witschakowski has graced a stellar cast of labels including Bunker, Creme Organization, Panzerkreuz and Modal Analysis, and this year has seen him arise on the Clone West Coast series for a tryptich of Some Other Place releases and remix Marcel 'two tone' Fengler for Ostgut Ton. The addition of Dutch label Shipwrec to his ever bustling discography with this Twelve EP makes perfect sense within the context of the music it's released thus far, and this is a fine addition to anyone that considers themselves to be an Exaltics completist. Lead cut "The New Beginning" sounds like Gesloten Cirkel remixing "Deep Burnt", whilst "Coroded" fully lives up its title - both are complemented by a remix of "Downwards" from Bunker royalty Unit Moebius Anonymous.
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As one of the people behind the Budapest-based Farbwechsel label, and with releases on labels like Opal Tapes and Lobster Theremin, it makes sense that S Olbricht should bring his crunchy take on techno to the similarly aligned Gang of Ducks label. Those who have enjoyed any of his previous releases will find much to enjoy here, with each of the seven tracks taking his dark sound in pleasingly different directions, with the chopped and screwed techno of "Wowno", the blissed-out pads and sparkling rhythms of "Tape13" and churning techno roller that is "Rovdik" all offering some brilliantly strange moments.
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Three of techno's biggest names under different aliases appear on this second Stroboscopic Artefacts release to celebrate its five year tenure of abstract techno. "Totemism" may well be an off-cut from Zeitgeber's debut and self-titled album, a collaboration between Speedy J and SA label boss Lucy. It's reminiscent of the early, rhythmically dubby productions of the label's earlier releases, while L.B. Dub Corp (aka Luke Slater) provides a reduction of his thunderous Ostgut Ton mega-storm "Take It Down In Dub". With more five-year celebrations on the way, this adds to the unexplainable tone of a label that's now firmly fixed in Berlin club culture.
Exclusives
JONAS KOPP - Beyond The Hypnosis (Tresor Germany)
MIKE DEHNERT - Switch Back To City EP (Fachwerk Germany)
SAMULI KEMPPI - The Observer Effect (M_Rec Ltd)
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Top Labels
Sonic Groove
Ostgut Ton Germany
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