The first artist album on the Parisian label ClekClekBoom fittingly comes from French Fries. After debuting on the 'French' electro label YounGunZ Entertainment (alongside Bambounou) in 2010, Valentino Canzani Mora has remained central to ClekClekBoom since he co-founded the label back in 2011. The Kepler LP comes after a string of bass-heavy tracks and bootlegs, but there's no denying this LP is the South American-born artist's piece de resistance. At 13 tracks long, the album explores hissing cosmic ambience, experimental drum tracks, industrial bass-techno, broken beat rhythms, and some dubbier excursions on a classical tip. Special mention going to the album's club-geared highlights "Bug Noticed" and "Change The Past". Highly recommended.
The brilliant Answer Code Request follows releases for his own imprint and Marcel Dettmann's MDR label to make his Ostgut Ton debut with the Breathe EP, which delivers three cuts of his individual brand of weighty, breakbeat-inspired techno. Each of the three tracks sees him in particularly ravey form; "The 4th Verdict" combines a chugging synth line with minimal Mills-inspired percussion, while "Ghostes" offers a suitably spectral vision of club techno in its cavernous chords and heavy breakbeat rhythms. The title track however must be his most euphoric to date combining headspinning chords with taut drums - another killer from ACR.
A rather underrated cornerstone of the the UK's nebulous bass and techno scenes for more than half a decade, Untold ushers in a debut album in the shape of Black Light Spiral and boy does it pack a punch. If you caught any of the online previews that have surfaced in the period preceding it's release, you will have some idea of what to expect but the Hemlock boss has genuinely delivered one of this year's most impressive albums thus far. The foreboding sirens of opening track "5 Wheels" set the tone for an album that delivers on Untold's mission to keep the people up and at it with rough tough music while confounding them with brilliantly executed improbabilities.
While Luke Slater is busy as always, his Planetary Assault Systems output has slowed since the release of the all conquering Messenger LP for Ostgut Ton in 2011. For Future Modular, Slater is less visceral and more arpeggiated than previous releases, harking back to a '90s-early-2000s PAS-sound, specifically the title-track. On the B-sides there's the deep, trippy and linear "Serc", but before that there's a sinister "Riot In Silo" that's showered in 909-hi-hats to get through first.
As the Persuader, Jesper Dahlback has created some truly beautiful deep house - check 1997's Stockholm by Night - but Fusion is a different matter entirely. It sees the Swedish producer focus on harder-edged sounds, but without losing his groove. The title track is a high-paced roller, its galloping rhythm giving way to surging chords. "Transform Human" is based on a similar approach, albeit with a sample of an American conservative nut-job featuring over tough, slamming beats. "Absolute Reliance" sees Dahlback drop the tempo, but the beats are still bruising and the acid grimy. Completing the package is Par Grindvik's tough, breakdown-heavy take on the title track.
Given their long individual commitments to the dubwise cause, you'd expect a collaborative album from dub techno type Scott Monteith (AKA Deadbeat) and sometime Rhythm & Sound vocalist Paul St Hilaire to be a formidable proposition. And so it proves, as the duo apply their dub techno credentials to a more traditional dub framework on The Infinity Dub Sessions. St Hilaire is at his beguiling, soulful best riding Monteith's riddims, which veer from floor-friendly dub-house and dub-techno grooves (see "Little Darling" and "Rock of Creation"), to heady trips into more traditional dubwise territory (check the celebratory "Peace & Love" and tumbling "Hold On Strong"). Throughout, there's a loving authenticity that's extremely appealing.
You've got to wonder about what Alexander Kowalski made of the recent hard techno revival. The German producer was there first time round, dropping menacing bass-led releases for Kanzleramt during the loop techno period. Wisely, he has chosen Detroit techno rather than the flaccid late '90s sound to make his comeback with. The title track is a wiry, relentless affair, very much in the visceral Rob Hood mode. "Morgan" sees him pursue a full on approach with thunderclaps and a series of dramatic breakdowns documenting minimalism's transition from a US to a European aesthetic. Finally, "Revivalism (Dirt mix)" is less frenetic, with clanging drums and eerie synth lines prevailing.
For this release Jeroen Search departs company from his usual production cohort Dimi Angelis and delivers an EP that's 100 per cent Search, designed specifically for Decoy's gritty and industrial aesthetic. "Lost Contact" is fast-paced, hi-hat clashing techno, with a cheeky mid-track dip in amplitude making it all the more '90s inspired, while the bleeping synths and tapping drum machines of "Ancient Space" grumble and spurt like the electronics you'd here in the hidden bunker of a Secret Counterintelligence unit during the Cold War. Rounding out the four track EP is "Subdued", a stripped, minimalistic DJ tool-version of its fellow inhabitant "Ad Infinitum".
Fabrice Lig on DJ Bone's Subject Detroit label backed with killer remixes from Aaron Carl and DJ Bone! Allegedly stored in the Subject archives for some time, "Hmong Dignity" is finally unleashed and the original will be familiar to anyone that's witnessed a DJ Bone set in recent years. Eminently raw, but filled with melody thanks to those chords and restless riffs, "Hmong Dignity" is a fine example of how Detroit influenced European techno. A remix from the late, great Aaron Carl features, lending the track a familiar dose of murkiness thanks to some stomach churning bass, whilst that instantly recognisable central melody is wisely retained. The accompanying remix from DJ Bone glides along on a tough techno meets electro vibe, superbly slicing up the melodic element to form an entirely different refrain.
Lock up your daughters, it's another release form Scalameriya. The stage name for Serbian producer Nikola Grebovic, his latest release for Glenn Wilson's Planet Rhythm makes for an unsettling listen. "Planetary Deflector" sets the tone for the release as hammering broken beats underpin weird, abstract sonic squiggles. "Undeciphered Language" offers more of the same, albeit before tailing off into a bleak reverie and "Colonial Resort" has the added bonus of a bass so grim and a rhythm so heavy it'll rattle your teeth. Just to make sure that he has succeeded in scaring the crap out of everyone, Grebovic delivers the coup de grace, the ass-quaking sub-bass and ghastly horror riffs of the title track.
German techno outpost Dystopian takes a moment to reflect by looking back over their initial run of releases and picking out two gems to get the remix treatment. Felix K, fresh from his debut album last year, gets his "Stone Edge" track reworked by Par Grindvik, who drops a tough salvo of drums and distant melodic pads aimed at the heavier kind of techno-head. Function gets a touch deeper with his version of Rodhad's "Patient Zero", working some subtly optimistic notes into the low end arpeggio to give a more soulful effect in amongst the finely honed club-ready percussion.
Of all of 2012's widely-lauded releases from the L.I.E.S. battalion of unusual suspects, it was perhaps Unicursal Hexagram by Jahiliyya Fields that stood out, quite because it sounded like nothing else around. The work of Ron Morelli's close friend Matt Morandi, Jahiliyya Fields now makes a welcome return to L.I.E.S. with the less comprehensive but no less mind warping sounds of Pleasure Sentence. This record also differs from Morandi's previous L.I.E.S. release in incorporating more clearly rhythmic elements; the four tracks still sound resolutely like Jahiliyya Fields though and quite like nothing else. "Anon Anon" is perhaps the best example of this as Morandi utilises a solid 4/4 rhythm wrapped in animated analogue tendrils that ripple with gentle energy over its 15-minute running time.
Continuing L.I.E.S. boss Ron Morelli's approach of releasing music regardless of whether it's brand new or been sat in the archives for some time, Legowelt's "Teen Romance" has been kicking about for some time. Regardless of its vintage, the track highlights everything there is to love about Danny Wolfers; spectral melodies, snapping drum machine rhythms and gurgling analogue basslines all sunk in thick-set tape dust. "Days of Persistence" goes in on a deeper tip with its sweeping pads, and "SH-High School Daze" is a bubbling pit of simmering psychedelic acid.
Many happy returns to Dutch techno stalwarts Delsin, who celebrate reaching a century of releases with 100 DSR, a collection of previously unreleased gems from the label's global army of artists. With such techno and electro talents as Gerry Read, Claro Intellecto, Redshape and A Made Up Sound involved, you'd expect it to be good. Pleasingly, it is, darting between shimmering IDM (CiM's brilliant "Way Station", Conforce's equally impressive "Wave Trance"), luscious Detroit futurism (Bleak's "Keep Me Close", John Beltran's brilliant "Return To Nightfall") and formidable heads-down pump (Sawlin, Mike Dehnert).
Prime Numbers return to Treat Me Right, the Trus'Me LP that was issued earlier this year and given album cut "Somebody" the full single. For many, "Somebody" was a highlight of the producer's third artist album, a simple yet highly memorable production based around subtle shifting rhythmic touches, a hypnotic bassline, and highly pressurised percussion and that sole vocal loop. In terms of DJ tools, few others had such reach last year with everyone from Dan Bell to Nina Kraviz and Ben Klock making optimum usage of the track. On remix duties is the man that never smiles Mosca, tasked with adding his own slant on the track; a deft drop in tempo and the stripping away of several layers of percussive intensity allows a degree of space resulting in a wonderfully brooding slab of heads down house.
This album for Studio Banhus sees Simon Haydo map out new possibilities for techno. Remaining in dance floor mode throughout, his deft production touch, subtle editing and use of unusual sounds mark him out as a producer with real promise. "The Territories Marked" is all about the combination of resonating bleeps and abstract percussive ticks, while on the pumping rhythm of "The Strain is Too Much", the sound of the wind whistles in the background. Best of all though is the title track, with tripped out, jarring riffs and tonal shifts set to a jerky rhythm. If you're looking for a brave new look for dance floor techno, you've come to the right place.
Here, Beat Pharmacy man Brendon Moeller delivers his fourth full-length, his first since 2011. In typical fashion, there's a twisted, druggy intensity to the music, which flits between psychedelic electronica (see opener "The Frequency of Love" and vaguely tropical "Stepping Out"), tough, acid-tinged techno beatscapes ("Guilty Pleasure"), dub-influenced sludge (the excellent title track), and dubstep-influenced industrial spookiness ("Deep Fried"). For all the murkiness on display, there are moments of startling beauty and almost alarming clarity, with the samba shuffle and sun-flecked melodies of "Tricks of the Shade", and picturesque, humid "Lost" standing out.
Berlin's Life And Death drops a hotter-than-hot EP by Italy's Dead Heat trio for another fine slice of techy house deviations! "Bosco" is a mid-tempo, 4/4 tune with luscious vocals and a beautifully organic feel. Techno maverick Lucy is on the remix duties and produces a watery, stripped-back reinterpretation of the original. "The Dam" is another floor scorcher with straight kicks and winding melodies, while The Field's remix is almost beatless, allowing hi-hats to soar freely above sunken atmospherics. Ace.
Although NYC producer Bookworms has been busy of late collaborating with Steve Summers on their Confused House label, solo productions from the man are generally few and far between, which makes Japanese Zelkova particularly welcome. Described by the label as a "divergence" from his previous material, with "dusty crunched out samples and programming" giving way to a "man/machine element", these three crunchy tracks are a far cry from the "African Rhythms" track unleashed on the world all those years ago.
Keith Tucker's other project has a techno focus, but it is still informed by the electro sounds of Aux 88 as well as the techno from his hometown of Detroit. Both versions of "Origins" feature breathy vocals and spacey synths, with the original version backed up by a shuffling rhythm. "Elements" sees Optic Nerve venture farther into techno territories courtesy of a prowling Reese-like bass, while "Anomaly" is a soulful affair, in the vein of vintage Stacey Pullen. Released on Arne Weinberg's Diametric, the only other mystery is why it took so long after its physical release - it was the label's first release in 2009 - to be made available in digital formats.