Review: Taken from his recent Frames of Reference album, Dirtro II has all of those qualities that make Phase such a distinctive talent. Tumbling, grimy drums, a pulsing bass and shards of glassy percussion unfold over a rhythm that skips in and out of time, lithe and limber but deadly effective. The release also boasts a remake from Robert Hood. Putting his Floorplan alter ego on hold, the Detroit producer delivers a banging version centred on heavy tribal beats and chord sequences that swagger menacingly. It's a long way from Minimal Nation and indeed Paradise, but that won't put off anyone who likes powerful, high-paced techno.
Alex Niggemann - "Balance" (Mixed By Alex Niggemann/continuous mix) - (1:16:30) 124 BPM
Review: From his native Dusseldorf to his adopted home of Berlin, Alex Niggemann's name is synonymous with the German tech house sound and appearances on a who's who of labels in recent years. From Poker Flat, Last Night On Earth and Tsuba to his own respected Aeon and Soulfooled imprints, he has shown his knack for deep and sexy grooves and his last eight years of DJing and studio prowess is on display for the latest edition of Australia's Balance series of mix compilations. The programming on Balance runs the gamut from deep, dark journey tracks (Gui Boratto "Joker" (Dave DK mix)"/Baikal - "Pelican's Flight"), dreamy hypnotism (Aril Brikha/Sebastian Mullaert - "Illuminate"/Antigone "Blue Note") and some new exclusives from the man himself, such as the mighty slow burner "Divergent". As always, there's a bonus track featuring all the aforementioned on a continuous mix.
Review: Danny Tenaglia is a stone cold legend, but his profile has waned significantly over recent years. Given that it's 25 years since the release of his first production, this first contribution to the Balance series - is well timed. Pleasingly, it seems Tengalia still "has it it". Throughout the collection, the veteran NYC DJ maintains a fearsome energy level, mixing things up via a track list that spans chunky tech-house, darkroom tribal, heavily percussive fare (see Michel Cleis' dub of Basement Jaxx's "Mermaid of Salinas") and intelligent techno revivalism (Dax J's brilliant "Dreamscape" and Ho's "Deletion 3"). It is, of course, an impeccable selection, as you'd expect from a man with Tengalia's undoubted pedigree.
Review: Token celebrates ten years in business with this excellent compilation. Unlike some imprints that use a significant milestone to simply churn out existing material, Kr!z label has taken an unusual approach by getting the label's regular contributors to collaborate with its DJ supporters. This leads to the dense broken beat of "Bloom", a track authored by Sigha and Rodhad, while on "Detonation Vertex", the Dystopian boss teams up with one of Token's core artists, O [Phase], for a tight, pulsating techno groove. O [Phase] also works with Antigone, the French producer, who is one of the label's most recent additions, for the peak time, steely rhythm of "Icosahedron Flood". Of course, the compilation also features Token's boss, with Kr!z dropping the melodic, spiky breaks of "Amalgam" with Inigo Kennedy and the detuned banger, "Comets", with CTRLS. Here's to another 10 years.
Review: Woof! If you are looking for a massive slab of techno, you won't find anything as hefty as Aphelion. A package of tracks from Belgian label Token, Aphelion is essentially a primer for the best in contemporary techno, featuring contributions from Surgeon, Rodhad, James Ruskin, Karenn and Planetary Assault System alongside some label regulars. You will have probably already heard "Fixed Action Pattern" from Surgeon - it's possibly one of this year's finest techno tracks - but it's got some stiff competition here with Ruskin in particularly funked up form on "No Trace". Aphelion is a real statement and proof of Token's current rank as a European techno powerhouse alongside the likes of Delsin and Ostgut Ton.