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Ashley Burchett follows up last year's Versions on Token with a second installment. This latest volume also shines a light on the UK producer's musical evolution. While the busy, rhythmic sound that underpinned his earlier releases is still audible on the rugged "Transantarctic (Polar Version)", it only tells part of the story. "Like a Light (Berlin demo)", with its insistent chords and scuffled dub beats tug at that city's musical legacy. The Substance remix of "Morodem" meanwhile, sees Burchett fuse a pulsing disco groove with cold steely percussion and a spiky rhythm. The final piece in this reinvention sees Burchett go back to Berlin albeit this time for the Klockworks-style dense workout that is "Behind the Sun (Re-Kon Dub)".
Tensal is the side-project of Hector Sandoval, who is better known for his work as Exium. On F-Forma, he refines his sound to deliver four solid, heads-down DJ tools. There isn't a huge difference between these arrangements - the first and second are loopy, tracky affairs, the fourth is somewhat heavier - but "3" is the most impressive as Sandoval uses heavy tribal drums and hand-raising filters to maintain his audience's attention. The only divergence from this script comes on the fifth and final "Forma". Instead of pounding, loopy beats, the Spanish producer delivers a subtle, mysterious-sounding broken beat arrangement that showcases his diversity.
The man Wolfgang Voight provided some inventive and pioneering techno under his Wassermann guise, one of many. "W.I.R." was released in 2000 and was a driving serving of pop-inflected techno. Frankfurt techno legend Sven Vath also stepped in, assisted by Roman Flugel, to deliver a grinding industrial techno remix that these days could easily be compared to the work of Ancient Methods. Kompakt Records alumni Tobias Thomas and Michael Mayer's remix however is by far the best and encapsulated the label's timeless aesthetic on this wonderful excursion through emotive and ethereal house sounds.
Part one of this Funk 22 Light Years Series Luke Slater is turning out at the moment on his Mote-Evolver label took in remixes from Token's Phase and Ben Sims with a classic '97 PAS remix of Dungeon making the cut too. For part two, Slater looks towards Ovum boss Josh Wink who turns in a progressive builder that's slightly more melodic and trippier than the original "Kat". It's tech house shake is undeniable! Meanwhile, "Kat" itself is tribal, uptempo and proper '90s looped techno. It's an EP of two halves - so which one are you: tech or techno?
Fresh from delivering a typically obtuse set of techno reworks on Russian Torrent Versions, Voiski pops up on Dekmantel with a poignant, and perfectly formed five-tracker for their UFO series. There's something particularly picturesque about the cascading synthesizer melodies and mournful chords of ambient opener "Go To A Mountain & Cry For A Vision", while there's flickering beauty to be found amongst the ragged electronics and hypnotic rhythms of "Happy Piece For Happy People Piece". Voiski flexes his futurist-meets-industrialist muscles on the angular but melodious "Seriously No", before treating us to a dash of metronomic Motor City deepness on "Come Back! Nothing is Forgiven!". Finally, he blends rising and falling synthesizer lines with punchy electro beats on the trippy "Drama In The Futurists Cabinet".
The TRIP label from Nina Kraviz has enjoyed a busy few years, thanks mainly to a series of various artist releases that bring the well-known and the upcoming together. For the latest split release, the focus is firmly on new and emerging artists. Roma Zuckerman, who has featured on previous Trip releases, delivers the slowed down, drugged up title track, while at the other end of the scale, there's the acid-soaked minimalism of Deniro's "G". Maayan Nidam, who has released on Cadenza and Perlon and Icelandic artist Exos are the best known artists and contribute smoky, dub house tracks and the glacial "Dub Jazz" respectively. Bjarki also contributes dropping a left field house track as Bbbbb. As always, it's a trip from start to finish.
We're really glad to see Praveen and Travis 'Machinedrum' Stewart back on the scene and on Hotflush Recordings. The duo are always a pleasure to hear, and especially if they are accompanied by two heavy-hitters like Prins Thomas and Giegling/White associate Edward. The two producers each have a go at remising tunes from Sepalcure's latest album Folding Time, and they just seem like the perfect duo to mix things up in and proper. Norway's disco king Prins Thomas transforms "Fight For Us" into a lazy, beach-ready disco swelter with a poppy edge that seems to sway between balearic and boogie; Giegling's deep house experimenter Edward goes a little bit wilder by reshaping "Loosen Up" into shuffle house banger with a supremely off-kiter edge.
Kern Volume 3 is Objekt's first commercially available mix and it's clear that he invested an inordinate amount of time and effort into it. Despite being limited to 70 odd minutes, he has crammed a total of 36 tracks into the mix, but it never sounds rushed or frenetic. If anything there is an inordinate amount of space, with Objekt breaking the mix down midway through with the glitch dream textures of Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy's "Love Without Sound". Before that happens, there's the abstract woozy intro, supple metallic rhythms, throbbing bass-heavy steppers and atmospheric synth-led electro and the ebm of Jeff Mills' Final Cut band to contend with. Kern also includes a number of rarities, like Kirk De Giorgio's 1992 deep techno classic "Nebula Variation" as Future Past and the jittery 808s of Pollon's "Lost Souls" a one-off release on the short-lived Scopex label. These showcase Objekt's ability to bring forgotten gems to the fore, but would mean little without his masterful programming. This is evident throughout the mix, but is most notable when he moves from The Persuader's foggy techno through Oliver Ho's Birdland edit of Blaze's "My Beat" into the aforementioned Pollon.
Passarella Death Squad is best well-known as a clothes designer. The crew also numbers a former member of The Micronauts among its line-up. So how do they fare when they pair up with UK techno producer Perc? Pretty well it seems. Fusing the post-punk vocals and rhythmic strut of PDS with Perc's nickel-plated techno rhythms, the title track resonates to a pulsing disco groove, supported by gut-busting bass and ice maiden chants. "Temperate Dub" is more dance floor-focused and linear, but it's still far removed from the world that Perc usually inhabits. Hopefully there will be more of these genre-hopping releases.
The first seven installments of the Herdersmat series comprised a vinyl box set. Now this eighth series sees four upcoming techno producers feature on one 12 inch. Dimi Angelis puts a focus on angular Detroit techno with the jittery "Green Aviation". Sciahri from Italy goes harder and heavier with the tough kicks and resonating bass of "Perplexity" and Endlec, who has already released a number of EPs on the label, puts the focus back on abrasive, hard-hitting techno courtesy of "Neurofunk". Tripeo's "Yfur" inhabits a similar space to Dimi Aneglis - but as always, the sense of menace remains thanks to its meaning, eerie synths.
Following on from last year's releases on BleeD, UK producer Volte-Face delivers another impressive EP. "Shirime" is a hypnotic slice of pulsing techno that will cause a sense of disorientation as it slides across tonal and frequency spectrums. Iori, of Prologue fame, drops an urgent broken beat version of "Shirime" that will appeal to fans of Semantica and Token, but the real highlights are the title track and the brilliantly-titled "Dead Cat on The Dinner Table". Both use minimal techno as a basis, with stripped back, metallic rhythms covered in ear-splitting noise, tonal drops and bass licks powerful enough to induce involuntary bowel movements at 20 paces.
It's no surprise that Chris Finke's latest Bodyjack release takes inspiration from electronic music's recent past, eg the '90s. However, the seamless manner in which he integrates these influences with modern house and techno are impressive. The title track features a menacing, time stretched bass unravelling over a choppy rhythm and tough drums, while on "Hydra Effect" the ghostly vocal of a lost raver echoes around the steely rhythm. Best of all is "Slowine Effect"; like the title track, it plunders the bass archives, and on this occasion it sounds like Random Noise Generation's "Falling in Dub" was the source material. Coupled with a vocal that sounds like it is repeating the name 'snow white' when it's probably just 'slowine', 33 it has hat magical lost sound.
Khemia is a label that was set up by the people behind the KAOS parties and has already yielded a release that featured both Aeternam Vale and Bronze Teeth. Now comes another split release, this time with the honours divided between industrial act Orphx and abstract artist Rrose. Fittingly, Rrose takes care of the 'solar' side; "Emboli" evolves from waves of abstract noise and whirring percussive glitches into a hypnotic groove. On the other side, Orphx are tasked with the 'lunar' element and fittingly, the mood quickly darkens. A throbbing bass prevails as the pair delivers one of their typically hypnotic, rolling rhythms.
De Sluwe Vos in Dutch translates to The Sly Fox. He goes for some old Chicago hard house flavour reminiscent of Green Velvet's seminal Relief Records imprint on the deep down and dirty "Insert Track Title Here". "Basement Workout III" continues on with said aesthetic with its thunderous 808 drum machine workout, meticulously programmed to good fashion. Then, finally, Person Of Interest's '90s rave remix of the last track injects some smashing breakbeats, hoovers and mentasms to take you back to Heaven, London circa-'93 with Fabio and Grooverider on the decks.
Mark Harris and Johnny Rivo are back with Notes to Self 1, a second Shift Work offering for fabric's in-house Houndstooth label that features a triplet of killer cuts that blur the lines between techno, house and coldwave. "Contact High" is the lead track, a high-powered slice of bodytonic four-to-the-floor that doesn't use complex patterns to get its point across but, instead, blasts out a kick drum beneath a fuzzy, reverberating bassline. "Re-gene" and "Signal" further blast out the speakers with more venomous shards of bass that grow more powerful and damaging with each new loop. Heavy and recommended.
The latest release on Bas Mooy's label comes from the techno force of nature that is Ritzi Lee. In stark contrast to the modern drone-led style or even some of the tougher industrial variants, Lee's sound is unpredictable and at times lo-fi. "Traction" is a hype-speed ride through rolling techno, underpinned by warped acid and waves of noisy percussion. "Framework" is in a similar vein, but borrows from jacking ghetto techno. "Progress" and "The Challenge" also flirt with unusual structures. The former is Lee's take on minimal house, viewed through a noisy, crunchy prism, while on the latter, he uses a doubled up vocal sample and shifting, panning percussion to create a woozy, queasy sound.
German label Superstition was always one of the leading labels operating in the techno-trance inter-zone during the 1990s, and this remix collection shows how it managed to straddle these worlds. It starts with the high-paced purist Sterac take on Quazar's "Confusing The Sun", before shifting focus with the churning chords and buzzing bass of Humate's edit of Quazar's "Ninety-Seven Stars". A pre-EDM Laidback Luke shows up to deliver a rolling house take on LSG's "Quickstar", while French-Asian duo Technasia deliver a lithe, breezy take on the trance classic "Schoneberg" by Marmion. Superstition's techno credentials were so well regarded that they even secured a DBX remix of Fred Gianelli's "1st Premonition" back in 1996 - and its mixture of dreamy chords and minimal house rhythms are a reminder of the clout it wielded back then.
Mak & Pasteman now have quite the collection of labels under their belt, and previous releases for imprints like Lobster Boy, Sounds Of Sumo and Unknown To The Unknown have elevated their level onto a new category of quality. This new EP is the sixth instalment of the Materials label, which they inaugurated with the 001, and we're not surprised to hear that "It's Dis" is a slick and aggressive techno banger with a familiar, and bass-centric, UK edge. "Creep", on the other hand, offers something odder, more tribalistic and very much in line with the sort of material that is heard across the more experimental of dancefloors nationwide.
For their ninth release, Italian imprint Just Is has gathered together an all-star cast for a split EP that hits the mark throughout. Label regular Pisetzjky joins forces with Dutch producer Tom Trago on opener "Peru", a melancholic chunk of deep house/tech house fusion blessed with sorrowful strings and lashings of spacey synths. Long-established techno producer Eduardo De La Calle layers deep space melodies over a thunderous kick drum-driven rhythm on the sturdy "Mondo 8", while jazz drummer-turned-electronica hero Kelpe delivers the EP's finest moment. Titled "Dry Riser", it sees the London-based producer brilliantly fuse skittish live drum patterns, trippy synthesizer arpeggios, and ridiculously heavy bass.
Subtitled Lifewater Oasis, the name of the latest release in Delta Funktionen's series could be mis-construed as a paean to Drexciya. However, as soon as the grimy, acid soaked riffs and robotic drums of "Korath System" hover into earshot, it is clear that yet again, the Dutch producer has gone his own way. "Lost in a Dream" is the most impressive track on the release; with its ghostly harpsichord unraveling over tight claps and featuring a surging bass and eerie synths it maps out an individualistic alternative for Detroit techno. The only real hint at Drexciya's legacy comes on the closing track, "The Last Game", where ghostly synths light up a buzzing bass, but the groove is far more linear than the Detroit duo would ever have conjured up.
OBJEKT - Kern Vol 3 (Tresor)
KASSEM MOSSE - Chilazon (Honest Jon's)
PBR STREETGANG - 12.32 (Futureboogie Recordings)
OLIVER MOON - Insight (Nineteen89)
OM UNIT - Friend Of Day (Idle Hands)
NECK - Drunken Tribe EP   (Ego Plastix Digital)
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