Review: The latest addition to the Craigie Knowes roster is A Sagittariun. Known for releases on his Elastic Dreams label and other well-known outlets like Idle Hands, the project's strength lies in its ability to reinterpret 90s rave and techno for modern dance floors. On "Heart Sutra", this trademark style comes into focus as breezy synths are fused with a snappy rhythm and a pulsating groove. The atmospheric melodies and high-paced rhythm of "Interzone" inhabit a similar territory, but the UK producer also pays tribute to Craigie Knowes' label sound on the rumbling bass and metallic 808s of "The Soft Machine".
Review: Issued on Running Back's Incantations offshoot, A Sagittariun's latest album is a diverse affair. While it features the kind of tripped out techno that this producer has become synonymous with over the years - check "Watch The Skies!" and "Life Is The Illusion, Love Is The Dream" - it also boasts off-centre tracks such as scuffled industrial funk of "Once Upon A Time" and "Last Of The Crazy Baldheads". Heights is also notable in that it features tripped out jams like the cosmic-disco of "Lazer Battle At The OK Coral" and "Dream Stealers" as well as the broken beats of "Version Excursion". It shows that A Sagittariun is a more rounded artists that some of his club releases may have suggested.
Review: Nick Harris' A Sagittariun project has been behind some of the most distinctive techno releases in recent years - and Fahrenheit 451 is no exception. It starts with the high-paced rhythm of "The Golden Apple", which progresses to reveal hypnotic bleeps, clattering percussion and a wonderfully menacing bass, all supporting a soaring melody. On "Blue Lotus", Harris combines spindly break beats and muted kicks to provide the basis for tropical melody lines. Changing course once again, "Liebe Tanzen" sees Harris create a dense percussive framework, against which he lays down a bass that hums like a group of non-plussed bees.
Review: Despite dating back to 2011, it was only a matter of time before Nick Harris was enticed to allow his A Sagittariun project leave the Elastic Dreams fold. Of course, decamping to Idle Hands makes perfect sense, as the Bristol label shares the same open minded approach as A Sagittariun. This finds expression on "Pseudo Science", where swung rhythms, a rave-fuelled sense of wonder and building chords all come together to create a wonderfully playful track. "Heavy Manners" is much straighter and less nuanced; Harris focuses on delivering a rolling, bass-heavy groove that features warbling acid, bizarre vocal samples and sensuous textures unravelling in kaleidoscopic unison.
An Infinite Number Of Possibilities - (5:39) 132 BPM
Burning Crystal - (6:37) 120 BPM
720 Degrees - (5:53) 129 BPM
Review: Since 2011, or what we could describe as the rebirth of vintage electronic music and the muddled, increasingly convoluted evolution of 'bass' music, Nick Harris aka A Sagittariun has been providing our charts, and the wider scene, with consistently high levels future-proof techno. Slightly Ajar is his third release of 2017 already, and it comes through on his own Elastic Dreams imprint with a squadron of deep and effortlessly mesmerizing electronic shapes. "Stingray" opens with an ocean of euphoric pads and industrial rhythms coming together as one, and is followed elegantly by the much deeper, more reflective broken patterns of "Burning Crystal". On the B-side, "An Infinite Number Of Possibilities" kicks the gears into motion with a much bouncier, club-centric techno groove filled with surreal melodies, and "720 Degrees" buries a load of bleeps into a hypnotic bundle of sci-fi sonics for total dancefloor domination. Effective and ultra-sleek - the lot of them!
Review: Following a release on its sub-label, Nick Harris brings his A Sagittariun project to Hypercolour. The title track resounds to cinematic orchestral flourishes and moves rather skilfully from rolling break beats into dance floor friendly kicks. "The Pathway" offers no such musical distraction and centres on tough, insistent kicks, a succession of filtered breakdowns and splintered percussion. To mark his appearance on the label, Hypercolour have commissioned US producer Matrixxman to rework "The Pathway". Taking the tempo down, his version has a cavernous, spacious feel. The kicks feel like they are submerged, but Matrixxman keeps the dance floor focus thanks to the use of rickety percussion and wild horn stabs.
A Sagittariun via Vortichez - "Transmission From Myrtle Avenue" - (1:35) 151 BPM
Review: When Bristolian man-of-mystery A Sagittariun released his debut album, Dream Ritual, back in 2013, there was a brilliant freshness to his '90s inspired intelligent techno sound. Since then, many others have mined similar inspirations, but few can match the authenticity of his sound. Elasticity, his sophomore set, widens his palette of influences further, via nods to blissful ambient house, trippy interludes (complete with spoken word samples from famous psychedelic thinkers), Drexciyan electro, the guitar-laden atmospherics of Jonny Nash, and, most surprising of all, classic UK garage. It's a fine set, all told, and one that reveals greater details with each successive listen.
Review: As the title of his latest release suggests, mystery man (or woman) A Sagittariun has been around for a while. It's no surprise then that this release, like the rest of his catalogue, draws on older sources for inspiration. "3--4-3" is constructed from clipped drums, a shuffling rhythm and features the kind of wide-eyed, jazz-tinged keys that you'd associate with classic Prescription releases. Rolando's version of the track features this melodic element, albeit underpinned by a tough, linear rhythm and splintered percussion, while label boss Alex Jones' version is all about a splurging, noisy bass and a low-slung rhythm. The best track on the release however is "Delta House", a slower groove full of demented jazz squalls and a woman moaning ecstatically.
Review: Given the recent crackdown on club culture in the capital, it would not be unreasonable to posit that mysterious producer A Sagittariun is referencing London in the title of his latest release. However, to do so would be to ignore the fact that Cities is appearing on the label arm of the Secretsundaze parties. The accompanying soundtrack doesn't exactly conjure up images of a metropolis in lockdown either; "Quartz" is the toughest offering, but even its tight drums give way to liquid chords enveloped in cotton bud filters, while "Landing Pad" and "Different Planet" are lithe grooves with warbling melody lines that suggest a vibrant utopia rather than a lost city.
Review: There are few producers out there trading in anonymity that escape the sense it's being used purely as a marketing tool, but A Sagittariun belongs in this small group. Having established a particular style of house music with a series of releases on his own Elastic Dreams label, the supposed Bristol elder turned in one of last year's finer debut long players in the shape of Dream Ritual. His first release since then is The Jupiter Chronicles, a four track EP of diverse productions that will please A Sagittariun fans no end. Lead track "Wave Upon Wave" is a fairly well titled exercise in unrelenting breakbeats and rolling Roland 303-esque riffs, and the shifts upwards as the EP progresses. There's an undeniably subtle euphoria to "Re-Ignition" whilst wonderful chaos seems to grip A Sagittariun with the other two cuts, where the freneticism of "Ascella" is well complemented by the rugged yet playful "And The Moon Be Still As Bright".
Review: There's something pleasingly old-fashioned about the work of mysterious producer A Sagittariun. To date, the enigmatic artist has delivered a string of strong 12" singles that sit somewhere between classic Detroit techno, mid-'90s electronica (think Pete Namlook with a dancefloor pulse, or stargazing ambient house) and early U.S deep house. Dream Ritual, his first full-length, continues in a similar vein, offering the kind of stargazing melodies, wide-eyed atmospherics and tactile, synth-heavy rhythms that bristle with cosmic intent. There are some startling diversions from the formula, too, not least the rubbery slap bass, paranoid vocal samples and vintage drum machine hits of "The Age of Sin".
Review: The mysterious A Sagittariun goes back to the '90s for Across The Celestial Sphere. "The DNA of Life" is in keeping with his previous releases, as robust breakbeats underpin sensuous bleeps and a powerful sub-bass. However, the release starts to get really interesting on "Clusters". The backing drums are similar to the track Stacey Pullen contributed to the True People compilation - seek it out if it's not in your collection - to which Sagittariun adds dreamy chords and a soaring acid line. Meanwhile, "Fire Sign" is a deep affair, powered by a throbbing bass; once again, the track is reminiscent of Detroit techno from the mid-90s.
Eye Against Eye (Marco Bernardi Super Ninja mix) - (6:01) 123 BPM
Review: Arriving back in late 2011, A Sagittarium brandished a fully formed blend of house and techno and a cloak of mystery, and both elements have remained intact across the smattering of material that has surfaced in the subsequent period. A Transparent Mind is a fine return for A Sagittarium pairing two original productions against remixes from Marco Bernardi and Aubrey. "Eye Against Eye" demonstrates just why so many people lap up these Elastic Dreams releases, arising from cinematic beginnings into a unique sounding array of deep pads, cavernous bass stabs and slowed down but still eminently rolling jungle breaks. Mr Bernardi switches the mood from dream laden to nightmarish on his crunchy lo fi remix which will appeal to adoptees of the Jamal Moss school of thinking. The wonderfully named "Funky Archer" meanwhile is pure intergalactic bliss, with crisp 808 programming rising delightfully over a bed of interplanetary gurgles and streamlined synths. Again the source is flipped on its head in superlative fashion, as Aubrey transforms the track into a reverberant, clanking, yet still very funky techno track.
Review: The incognito A Sagittariun returns for their third outing on Elastic Dreams, and it's the best EP from the producer yet. "Wind Tunnel" is a hypnotic cut, as sizzling leads rise and intersect from the murky ether, while "Cyrannus 247" takes a good three minutes to get started, throwing organic percussion over a slick arpeggio, before morphing into something much deeper. "West Of Ophiuchus" and "Somewhere In Montpelier" both see the producer deliver their own warm take on early Detroit techno, as sci-fi pads go against loose, punchy drums.
Review: Apparently the work of a big-name producer who wants to keep his real identity a secret, "Circle" does a fine job of merging classic sounds with contemporary flavours. The title track is populated by spine-tingling acidic licks and powerful bass surges, but the underlying rhythm is stripped back as stuttering minimal beats take hold. "Telepathic Heights" offers a similar approach, with stripped back beats underpinning a soaring bass and Chicago-style doubled up claps. The release is also notable because it sees Berlin techno producer Mike Dehnert in more reflective mood than usual; his 'mellow remix' of circle as MD2 is all swirling rhodes keys and plinky-plonk bass, but he returns to typical form with the Basic Channel-style chords and distorted beats of the MD2 "hard" version.
Review: The Innate label made a sizable impact with its first release - a killer various artists with Mark Hand, Lerosa and others. Now it returns with another balanced mix of established and emergent artists, leading in with a stunning A side cut from A Sagittariun delivering what might be his most beautiful production to date - a swooning, snaking slice of melodious techno that brims with emotion and canny programming. After turning heads on the first Innate release, Gilbert returns with "Polynoid," a punchy, Lately bass-powered workout with lashings of Motor City soul heaped on top. Sean Dixon completes the package with "Our Love For Music," a pointed machine mantra that maintains the classic techno tone Innate is shaping up as its MO.
Review: Without fail, Futureboogie Recordings' annual "Summer Riot" EPs are always amongst the Bristol-based imprint's finest releases of the year. This year's edition - the eight in total - is no different. It's five floor-friendly cuts include a locked-in chunk of late night techno hypnotism by A Sagittarian (undulating opener "Machine Elf"), a raw and wonky, mind-altering analogue house jam full of Yellow Magic Orchestra style computer bleeps (Red Flower Union's "Natural Self") and a piano-sporting chunk of old school house revivalism from Statue ("Ivory"). Manchester producer Neil Diablo hits the spot with the starburst Italo-disco chug of "Colorado", while Kincaid gleefully dances through New York freestyle and Bobby Orlando style hi-NRG on EP standout "Bulfas".
Review: With this year's Miami Music Week fast approaching, UK bigwigs Toolroom kick off 2018 with the first in this year's Underground series; Introducing some fresh faces and new producers to the tracklist, 'Miami Underground' explores much more eclectic genres than previously but rest assured that they deliver all the regular surefire quality in tech-house and house. Highlights here include: the euphoric "The Phoenix Part 1" by the controversial Marquis Hawkes, the deep down and dirty "Paradise" by Patrick Topping (with the one and only Idris Elba!), "Day One" by Primitive TRust which gets a stellar remix by BRSTL homegirl Shanti Celeste and the surprising addition of industrialist Perc with his stomper "Rat Run" getting a groove injection by Matrixxman. Completing the bundle are two expertly crafted full length mixes.
Review: London/Bristol based tech house institution celebrates a decade in the business. They've seen a few faces and phases, tech-wise or otherwise but at the end of the day remained consistent in their pursuit of quality grooves. Alex Jones and Jamie Russell present some great music here and there are many highlights. From electronica legends such as Warp's Luke Vibert, minimal house pioneer Matthew Herbert (with the deep and dusty microhouse of "Downgraded") as well as techno's one time enfant terrible Neil Landstrumm through to new favourites such as Swedish hypnotic techno hero Sebastian Mullaert (the tunnelling "Shadowed By I"), Italian hardware mavericks The Analogue Cops plus up and comers Yaleesa Hall x Malin Genie with the banging' "Buchan Trap". We applaud the label for their ability to keep on the pulse of the ever changing electronic music landscape and heres to another ten years.
Kerrier District - "Techno Disco" - (4:40) 112 BPM
Tom Demac - "Four Leaves Right" - (7:54) 120 BPM
Luke Vibert - "Stabs Of Regret" (FaltyDL remix) - (3:52) 95 BPM
Garnier - "Confused" - (10:38) 130 BPM
Lucretio - "Vampire Killer" - (6:22) 134 BPM
J. Wiltshire - "False Awakening" (Tuff City Kids remix) - (6:45) 128 BPM
Last Magpie - "Separation" - (9:09) 126 BPM
A Sagittariun - "Delta House" - (6:33) 107 BPM
Zoe Zoe & Enoah Ballard - "1234" - (5:41) 124 BPM
Losoul - "Time & Space" - (8:11) 122 BPM
Roberto Clementi - "Novism" - (5:56) 122 BPM
Review: London's Hypercolour crew have now become synonymous with quality house and techno, and although they are originally rooted in the UK strain of the genres, recent years have brought along a whole new heap of styles and talent on their catalogue. First up, we should give credit to Axel Boman and the ridiculously hummable tech-house groove that is "Depression 01", followed supremely by a hard-hitting house banger in the name of "Lynn" by the unstoppable Dense & Pika. Other choice cuts on here include Kevin McPhee's nasty "CC-XXX-YY-NNNNN", Jimmy Edgar's sexier-than-ever "Hush", Lucretio's smooth "Vampire Killer", and...of screw it, it's all pretty damn killer. HOT.
Jimmy Edgar - "Hush" (Kyle's Detroit Retro Metro remix) - (6:30) 124 BPM
Tom Demac - "Obstructing The Light" (feat Duncan Edward Jones - original mix) - (6:51) 110 BPM
Review: There's something quite insurmountable about the Hypercolour back catalogue, stretching as it does through vast swathes of quality house and techno material back to 2006. Thankfully the good folk at the label have consolidated some more of the finest gems off those releases and bundled them together for a one-hit fix of high quality gear that sits left of centre. Whether it's Space Dimension Controller remixing Luke Vibert or Rolando tackling A Sagittariun, the tones are rich and diverse on all fifteen tunes, without a single dip in the quality. Our pick would be the angular delights of JoeFarr's "Trapington" with its squashed soul in amongst rough and tumble drum science.
Various - "DJ-Kicks" (Continous mix) - (49:34) 133 BPM
Review: When they were asked to put together the latest volume in the "DJ Kicks" series, Mount Kimbie boys Dominic Maker and Kai Campos drew influence from a recent six-date run supporting Actress. As a result, the 22 tracks they have chosen - here presented in DJ friendly, unmixed form - tend towards the experimental and off-kilter, touching on a myriad of styles (ambient, industrial-era experimentalism, South American influenced tropical drum jams, spacey modular techno, raw-edged peak-time jams, mind-altering acid weirdness and intergalactic electro all feature) in the process. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the hypnotic dancefloor intensity of Stanislav Tolkachev and bleeping body-jack of A Sagittariun, to the skewed warmth of Severed Heads and the dream-like weirdness of their own exclusive contribution, "Southgate".