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Talk about an unusual pairing; New York's best-known vegan has partnered with Adam Beyer's techno label for some big room versions of his 90s hits. At its most understated, this collection features German producer Tiger Stripes delivering a stripped back, minimal house take on "Go", while at the other end of the spectrum, Luca Agnelli turns the dreamy, wispy vocals of "Porcelain" into a thumping, rolling affair. In between these two extremes, there's the organic drums on Bart Skills' take of "Go" and Enrico Sangiuliano turning "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" into an effective but strangely catchy groove, as the original track's operatic vocal is fused with waves of acid.
The fourth release on Rukus shows how far its owner, Matador, aka Gavin Lynch has come. Having made his name with releases on Richie Hawtin's Minus, the title track seems to channel John Carpenter's dystopian soundtracks and fuse them with a contemporary disco-noir groove. "The Vicar" sees the Irish producer make a return of sorts to club techno with its buzzing bass and stuttering vocal, but Lynch quickly makes a shift back to the disco sound he explored on the title track with "Space Charmer". There, an ominous, throbbing bass and minor key trance hooks vie for attention and the interplay creates wonderful tension. "Clowns" and "Bells And Whistles" are like halfway houses between Lynch's techno and newly-found disco style, with the latter impressing thanks to its incessant cow bells.
Despite being only in his early 20s, Charles Fenckler has produced one of the finest techno albums of the year. Void follows on from a brace of Eps for Slam's label, and serves as the strongest showcase yet for his talents. What sets Fenckler apart from his peers is his ability to veer from classic to modern styles without compromising his sound. "Immersion" is a breathy, melodic workout with echoes of early 90s UK techno, while "Frozen Room" is a Dave Clarke Red-style banger, replete with sirens and dramatic stabs and the full on acid of "Stellar Acid" completes Fenckler's interest in that era. Similarly, this young talent also has a modern outlook; there's the tumbling tribal drums of "District 2" and the atmospheric, broken beats of "Subject X103", which has echoes of Perc and Randomer. It's an assured, confident release that belies his youth.
After a brief debut appearance for Brotherhood Sound System earlier this year, it was about time that LKY had the opportunity to get his point across with a full EP, and the young Artifice label have done the right thing here. In fact, it was his tune that we particularly loved from that BSS release, so it's no surprise that these four tunes are all total mind melters, and exactly the sort of bass music that is keeping the game from sounding stale. "Critical" and "Ridicule" are both total killers, two rolling, beat-heavy tunes with backed by phat layers of subbass, and propelled forwards by some truly intricate drum programming. "Stative Decision" is more of a techno tune than anything else, except that LKY still manages to inject some of that inimitable UK sensibility, leaving PAN:INC's remix of "Critical" to cap this highy recommended release with some truly militant percussive stabbing. Excellent and tipped.
Field Theory is undoubtedly a producer on the rise. His debut track, the acid-propelled "Rituals", was the standout cut on Futureboogie's Summer Riot V EP, while his recent Europa single on Secret Life was packed with saucer-eyed treats. The two original tracks showcased on this Sprechen outing are superb, too. He continues his obsession with psychedelic TB-303 lines on the rolling, floor-friendly strut of "What's Going On", before diving into deeper waters on the contemporary Chicago hip-house/acid house fusion of "KRS Acid". Alinka delivers a metallic, everything-but-the-kitchen sink rework of "What's Going On", while Dorsia turns "KRS Acid" into a melodious, melancholic chunk of lilting deep house.
Detroit legends Octave One return with a new full length LP, following up last year's brilliant Burn It Down on their esteemed 430 West imprint. Lenny and Lawrence Burden are on point as usual with their soulful/emotive futurist vibes ensuring surefire dancefloor bombs. With such anthems in the making like the energetic tech-funk of "Locator" or the gritty Motor City Soul of "Just Don't Speak" (Midnight Sun ReDub) that features all the hallmarks of the Burden brothers sound: funky basslines, uplifting strings, diva vocals and hands in the air piano rolls! "Where Time Collides"
Figure has been one of the main champions of Gabriel Cassina aka Regal'a work and signing him was an astute piece of A&Ring. As Cassina's latest release on Len Faki's label demonsrates, he brings fresh thinking to the world of club techno. The title track is powered by a thumping, heavy bass but its swinging groove is peppered with vocal samples. "Did You See It" sees him venture down an acid-filled rabbit hole, accompanied again by a repetitive vocal sample, while "Slab" is a stepping, bleep-laden affair. Radioslave drops a superb, disco-fuelled take on the title track, while his alternate, 'Broken' version sees the Rekids boss explore an uncharacteristically dreamy approach.
XY Play is Aber's follow up to Takeover, his 2015 debut release on Non Plus - and it sees the Israeli DJ/producer showcase two different albeit distinctive styles. On the the title track, a pulsing, acid-soaked groove prevails. Supported by doubled-up claps and ticking, incessant percussion, it's a modern, hard-edged interpretation of Chicago house. "Related Sources" is more typically Aber. The drums are dense and move with hypnotic force, as the Be As One boss lays down layer upon layer of dubby textures and frozen found sounds.Hopefully XY Play will serve to consolidate Aber's links with Boddika's label.
London based producer Leon Oziel makes his debut and inaugurates the Outer Steppes imprint and it is a promising debut if we do say so ourselves! Starting out with the tunnelling hypnotic techno of "Bayesian" (or later "Orakel") which is sure to induce a trance state on the dancefloor in the same fashion as guys like Deepbass or Evigt Morker, he then goes for something a bit more lush and dreamy on "Lost Language", a deep tech house cut that you could imagine Lee Burridge playing on a sunny rooftop party downtown. This is a great debut.
Frustrated Funk, Shopwrec and Central Processing Unit are just some of the quality labels on which the enigmatic 214 has delivered his wayward strains of electro and techno on. This new single for Lunar Disko is straight-up, high calibre business, as per usual, starting with the mesmerising pads and alluring soundscapes of "The Breakfast Club", a beat-driven escapade through a wave of majestic synths. "Lunar Landing" is more on the Dutch electro side of things, thanks to its sub-aquatic beats and general demeanour while , "Jade" injects some Chicago house live through an industrial filter, and "Hurley" liquifies its synths down to a thick pool of sonics and subtle beats. Gorgeous music.
Keita Sano's third artist album in as many years shows that he is one of the most talented new producers of rugged dance floor tracks. Released on Full Pupp offshoot label Rett I Fletta, it veers from the soaring acid-disco of "Full of Love" and "Honey" into the rhythmic machine dance of "Leave The Floor" and the shimmering Italo synths and snare rolls of "On The Floor". Whatever the Japanese producer may lose out by not focusing on a specific style, he more than compensates with through his adventurous approach. This is apparent as the eponymous album reaches a climax with "Vood" and "Sucker (Part 2)", the kind of throbbing hardware techno jams that wouldn't sound out of place on L.I.E.S.
The new album Wonderland is Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty's first LP as Demdike Stare since 2012's Elemental and arrives a year on after the completion of their Testpressing EP series for Modern Love. Starting out with the demonic and guttural body basher "Curzon" where you know right away that this album will be one wild ride. "Hardnoise" goes from industrial noise to sub bass heavy techno to blissful IDM over its epic 10-minute duration. Elsewhere, "Sourcer" tackles a mangled form of late '90s techstep while the beautiful closer "Overstaying" is a glorious exercise in hypnotism that sits somewhere between minimal techno and deconstructed electro.
Two British purveyors of powerful peak time techno collaborate on this fine collection of DJ friendly tools. Comprised of Dax J: the man behind the notorious Monnom Black and Clergy main man Cleric: who some of you would know from his appearances on Len Faki's Figure.They've joined up for this release in their new home, the techno capital that is Berlin. Sheer dancefloor fury; warehouse style, on offer here as heard on the relentless title track. The power of nightmares prevails on the bleak dystopian industrial of "Flight 19", and the steely and adrenalised grooves continue on "The Triangle" and "Sirius".
In one of the most unexpected but nonetheless inspired collaborations of recent times, legendary producer and remixer Arthur Baker has teamed up with Suicide frontman Alan Vega for "Angel of Hell". The other variable that makes this release so unexpected and invaluable is the involvement of Paranoid London. Over the course of two remixes, the mysterious act's acid belligerence and rolling drums act as the perfect counterfoil to Vega's tortured vocals and shrieks of pain. In another twist, former Sabres of Paradise member Jagz Kooner delivers a high-octane, techno workout, informed by Suicide's droning no-wave and relentless ghetto techno in equal measures.
Turns is the second album from Sam Barker and Berghain resident Andy 'Nd' Baumecker and shows that the pair have evolved and matured. "Encipher & Decipher" is rooted on the dance floor, but flows to the sound of ghostly synths and spellbinding bleeps. The pair also deploy this musical approach in slower settings audible on the reflective opener "Senden", while "Nocturnal" is an uptempo but chord-heavy groover similar to Aril Brikha. Some references to an electronic, experimental sound linger though; this is audible on the glitchy beats of "Club Entropicana" and the bass-heavy "Turnhalle", but overall, Turns is a musical, melodic affair.
Sand is Parker's debut record on Tresor, which is surprising because his distinctive, underground style is the perfect soundtrack to the Berlin club's sweaty environs. It's not hard to visualise the title track's rolling groove, recoiling bass and dark percussive bursts causing mayhem on the club's main dance floor. The US producer reverts to his typical sound on "Angels in Cages" and "Gyroscopic Precession". Both tracks feature the kind of sub-sonic bleeps and morphing bass tones that have defined his releases since the late 90s. The final track, "Meteor Crater" is deep, even by Parker's own standards, and sees him retreat into a woozy, dreamy techno groove.
Anyone who had Alan Fitzpatrick categorised as merely a big room minimal techno artist should think again. Sure, the UK producer has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Adam Beyer's Drumcode, but he has also released recently on Mosaic, the home of all things deep and dubby. As Dancing shows, Fitzpatrick also brings a depth of knowledge and musical history to his productions. Over a rolling, low slung groove, he adds in the kind of dubbed out vocal sample that used to prevail on San Fran house records at the turn of the millennium. Combined with a woozy rave riff, this makes for an intoxicating underground groove. The label has tasked Skream with the remix; upping the tempo, he delivers a rolling, bleep-heavy rhythm that breaks down into Fitzpatrick's frazzled rave stab before proceeding on its juggernaut course.
We've definitely seen our fair share of interesting collaborations of late, where new heroes of electronic music have called upon legends of the industrial scene for collaborative mayhem. Here's another one to add to this list and be assured that it's as curious as ever! The Border Community affiliated artist Nathan Fake; most famous for mid noughties anthems such as "The Sky Turned Pink" and "Outhouse" calls upon industrial noise terror Dominick Fernow; more commonly known as Prurient. On "Degreelessness" The Hospital Productions boss delivers his harrowing and stern monologues (drenched in delay and distortion) over Fake's majestic arrangement full of rusty vintage machine drum rhythms and dreamy/swirling arpeggios and it's quite reminiscent of Fernow's work as Vatican Shadow. The second offering "Now We Know" is quite a departure, but undoubtedly more in the usual domain of Ninja Tune's M.O. In this case, the track is a dreamy electronica journey with stuttering keys and hypnotic pads dancing atop of an infectious broken beat.
Time is Antonin Jeanson aka Antigone's third release for Token and sees the French artist deliver more pared back, expertly constructed techno tracks. On "Static", the rhythm is loose but angular, while powered by jangling percussion and dub blasts. Underneath this structure Jeanson adds a powerful bass that purrs with menacing intent. "Shadow Play" is a more conventional, straighter affair, evolving from a linear, pulsing groove, but once again he shows his skills with dubby effects setting it apart from the usual club techno fodder. "Walking Distance" is in a similar vein, but this time it features a detuned, noisy riff riding one of Antigone's pared back arrangements.
Label owner Mark Broom returns to Beard Man doing what he is best at - tough but expertly put together club techno. The title track is a heavy, tribal affair and is not dissimilar to the loopy material Broom was making at the end of the 90s, albeit laced with insistent bleeps. "D282" is also redolent of that period, with an electronic bass underpinning Broom's rolling rhythm, while "Demanding" sees the Beard Man boss adding some surging chords to the equation. Don Williams from Artless maintains the 90s theme on his first reshape of "Demanding", with hyperactive jazz-synth stabs riding a restless, percussive rhythm. A heavier, more modern approach prevails on his second re-work.
ANTIGONE - Time Enough At Last (Token Belgium)
CLERIC/DAX J - Lost In Bermuda (Clergy)
ROMANS - Valere Aude (The Bunker New York)
BJARKI - Fresh Jive (TRIP)
LKY - Critical EP (Artifice) - exclusive 05-12-2016
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