Review: The latest compilation on Maceo Plex's label brings together some names that would not normally share a release. Most notably, it features a rare production from Pete Tong - in collaboration with John Monkman - that follows a decidedly tripped out techno sound. The Radio 1 host features alongside a broad cast of characters, including US industrial pioneer Adam X. Working under the ADMX-71 guise, his "Bound & Broken" is turned into a slinky ebm track by Maetrik. There's also deeper material from Avision, with the rolling atmospherics of "In My Mind", while Citizen Kain is sure to keep listeners guessing with the brooding, pulsating "Charly Charly".
Review: There is no doubt that Sonic Groove is one of techno music's most seminal labels, and it now celebrates reaching a quarter century with a compilation of unreleased tracks from its roster of artists. Veteran producers The Source Experience and Italy's Max Durante deliver pounding, ebm-themed club tracks, while Orphx descend down their trademark signature route on the growling, acid-heavy "Revolt & Love". Dasha Rush's pulsating "Romance 22" is sure to appeal to those who prefer a less abrasive approach, but Sonic Groove's association with pared back, industrial techno is best encapsulated by label owner Adam X's stepping, brooding "Standing the Test of Time."
Review: Despite the fact that Adam 'X' Mitchell has two high-profile projects on the go - ADMX-71 and Traversable Wormhole - he has still managed to craft this hard-hitting release under his own name. Bedeviled starts with "Antagonistic" which yields pile-driving kicks; hissing piston percussion and horror chord stabs. "Psychological Tormentor" comes next. Like Traversable Wormhole on steroids it certainly lives up to its title thanks to its gut-busting bass and malignant stepping rhythm. Rounding off this display of techno ferocity is "Breaking Thru Your Force Field" where Mitchell pits a murderous grungy bass against cold trance riffs for a ride through the darkest alleys of cyber-punk terror.
Review: Native New Yorker Adam "X" Mitchell has long been a fan of collaboration, with a long list previous sparring partners including Ancient Methods, Navario Suaro and, of course, his brother Frankie Bones. For Mutiny & Disorder, he's joined forces again with fellow techno veteran Alistair "Perc" Wells. The duo begin in typically retro-futurist fashion on "Mutiny", whose rising and falling synth lines, dense beats and clanking hits recall the early days of Roman techno. The "back-to-the-future" feel continues with the warped riffs, spacey electronics, apocalyptic textures, surging sub-bass and thunderous rhythms of flipside workout "Disorder".
Review: Always one to charge into more interesting corners of the techno world, Adam X is in fine fettle as he drops his latest album for Sonic Groove, the first on his own label since 1998's Audiobiography. The tone is very much stout and stern, from the industrial-tinged drum hits to the cold and eerie synth content, but of course it's in the rhythmic department where Adam X really shines. At every turn there are intriguing grooves to latch onto, from the drunken lope of the title track with its anthemic hip hop vocal rip, to the opening broken techno drama of "Interchanges". There are more stripped down moments such as the restrained cycles of "Catenary", and some piston pumping bangers like "On The Verge Of Decimation", making this an engaging listen as well as a great collection of techno tracks.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Pole Group closes out the year with a collection from some of techno's most respected producers. While the overall tone on Unknown Landscapes is dark and at times unsettling, it never strays into the plodding furrowed-brow seriousness that often besets contemporary techno. DVS1's "Strobe" sees the US DJ deliver churning chords over a grinding, metallic rhythm, while Reeko's "Enlightenment Process" shifts from pounding broken beats into a spacey, filtered segue. That's not to suggest that the label or its owner have gone soft either; the squelchy acid and stinging riffs of Jonas Kopp's "M31" is as intense as it gets, but at the same time, contributions from Adam X and Forward Strategy Group tingle and pulse in a dubby, fuzzy afterglow.
Review: Long before his Traversable Wormhole project won him acclaim, New Yorker Adam X Mitchell was making intense, industrial techno for his own Sonic Groove label. Shorcut provides a timely reminder of just how dark and menacing the X man can get. The title track is based on a slamming rhythm and pounding beats with doubled up claps supporting dark, tunelling chords and waves of interference. "Diversion to Bangor" is just as insane; the arrangement's slamming sound is harder and more metallic, while at its centre an insane horn riff rises until it dominates the already intense track. Don't listen to it with the lights off.