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: French producer Jeanson Antonin aka Antigone represents the new wave of techno artists, and he has made his mark on labels like Token and Demented. Saudade is his follow up to his 2015 debut on Kr!z imprint and it showcases why he is held in high regard. "Night Adrift" is a tense, tough roller, its metallic drums precisely crafted. On the flip, he delivers "Hiraeth"; there, the rhythm is intricate yet also dense and robust, with a tonal bleep fading in and out of the arrangement and the listener captivated by the few elements that Antonin has seamlessly brought together to have such an impact.
Review: Dust is Jeanson Antonin's debut release on Token and arguably it's his most impressive release to date. Kr!z label has given him a double pack format to work with and it allows him the platform to express himself. At either end of the release there are two beautiful soundscapes; "Anna Livia" bathes in sensuous textures, while "Blue Note" features slow-motion beats underpinning shimmering melodies. In stark contrast, "Neter", "Astragal" and "Artefact" are tough, metallic bangers that recall the distorted stomp of Joey Beltram and Jeff Mills. However, it isn't just a release of extremes and "Prime Mover" sees Antigone bring a house groove to his tough metallic production.
Review: It's no coincidence that the title of Antoin Jeanson aka Antigone's latest release is also the musical term for a repeating motif or phrase. Over two versions of Ostinato, the French producer delivers a master class in techno repetition. Understated and subtle but spellbindingly hypnotic, the first version sees mesmerising tones unfold over a rolling, skeletal rhythm that skits at the edges of the dance floor. On the second version, the French producer is more direct; a percussive groove prevails, with Jeanson decorating the arrangement with fuzzy filters, magical chimes, bells and ticking percussion. Irrespective of whether you are listening to this release at home or in the club, the effect will be the same - euphoria through repetition.
Review: Token's latest foray into the album world comes courtesy of Antigone aka Antonin Jeanson. Atypically for the label, Rising starts with a fusion of symphonic strings and dreamy synths on the the title track, while "Lost & Found" also features downtempo beats and layered textures. However, it's quickly back to dance floor business, as "Sands Of Time" and "Perchance To Dream" both see Antigone deliver a mixture of lithe tribal grooves, skipping percussion and off kilter samples. Still, it's not quite the rough, stepping sound that Token is known for and even when the French producer ups the ante, the steely drums of "Infinite Limit" resound to ghostly, evocative sound scapes. Rising marks a new departure for the label.
Review: Time is Antonin Jeanson aka Antigone's third release for Token and sees the French artist deliver more pared back, expertly constructed techno tracks. On "Static", the rhythm is loose but angular, while powered by jangling percussion and dub blasts. Underneath this structure Jeanson adds a powerful bass that purrs with menacing intent. "Shadow Play" is a more conventional, straighter affair, evolving from a linear, pulsing groove, but once again he shows his skills with dubby effects setting it apart from the usual club techno fodder. "Walking Distance" is in a similar vein, but this time it features a detuned, noisy riff riding one of Antigone's pared back arrangements.
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.