Review: Juan Rico is one of techno's great unsung artists. While most fans know him for his work as Reeko, it's the Spanish artist's material under the Architectural guise that really impresses. Spanning spaced out ambient, dub house and deep rhythmic techno, it always maintains a distinct identity. That sense of identity is clear on the club-based "3.1 (Low Version)" and "4.1 (Alternate Version)" on Reprises, as well as on the wonderfully expansive, jazzy groove on "Amour (Beach Version)", a new take on the title track of his 2015 album. Never content to remain in one place for too long, this release also veers from the wiry rhythms of "Cosmic Toys" and "Cubismo 8.3 (2020 version)" to the dramatic sound scapes of "Opera#9".
Review: Architectural is an alias for Madridillan techno legend Juan Rico that sees him explore the deeper and textural shades of dub techno to rather stunning effect - as heard over the years on Pole Recordings, Semantica and his eponymous imprint. Appearing last year for Maceo Plex's main imprint, his latest outing is released via the Ellum Black sublabel, where it's said that Rico 'goes deeper into the hypnotic edge of his soundscape.' This is evident on the soulful and introspective opening cut "Romanticism Movement", while the cerebrally adrenalized tunnel vision of "A Girl With No Friends" bears all the hallmarks of his more well known Reeko moniker. Finally, "Never Yours Boy" proves yet again why he's considered one of Spain's go to producer's for hypnotic and industrial edged techno tools.
Review: The third volume of the Broken Promises series sees some familiar names reunited. Italian duo Hunter/Game deliver the brooding ambience of "Distance", while on "Electric Soul", Spanish producer Juan 'Reeko' Rico dons his Architectural cloak to raise the tempo with a tight, metallic rhythm track, punctuated by relentless bleeps and dense claps. Just This regular Pisetzky opts for a looser techno sound on "Anterial", as layers of evocative synths warble over a rolling groove. Having appeared on previous Broken Promises split EPs, Altman ends this release on a trippy note with "No FX". Once again, a rolling drum track prevails, acting as a backdrop for a mysterious melodic segue that leads the listener into psychedelic realms.
Review: Architectural is the side project of Juan Rico, better known in techno circles as Reeko. However, 2015's excellent Amour album as Architectural suggested that Rico's real talent lay in creating deeply atmospheric electronic music. That touch is audible on the hypnotic sound scapes of "Cubismo 8.2 (Lost in Buenos Aires 1)", but also bubbles beneath the surface on dance floor tracks like the frazzled tribal groove of "Cubismo 8.1". On "Cubismo 8.3", Rico follows a tunneling techno route, but in the main he impresses most when adopting a more reflective approach. "Cubismo 8.4 (Lost in Buenos Aires II)" resounds to shimmering chords and the "Cubismo 8.5 (Lost in Buenos Aires II)" is fizzy ambience of the highest order.
Review: Oscar Mulero's other label celebrates its fifth anniversary with this mammoth compendium. For fans of the Spanish imprint's club techno there is no shortage of material to get excited about; the Lewis Fautzi remix of Exium's "Nucleoid" is a hypnotic groove par excellence, its confluence of acid and droning pulses arcing to a tantalising climax, while Christian Wunsch and Exium once again represent the tough industrial and dub-meets-noise sound of the label on "Emission Lines" and "Biolag" respectively. However, there is also a more musical, reflective side to Poelgroup's sound. In this regard, 5 Years delivers most impressively with the chilling strings of the Architectural project from Reeko as well as the Spanish producer's cinematic, break beat-led reshape of Jonas Kopp's "M31".
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: Ben Klock is Berghain's DJ's DJ and Marcel Dettmann is the club's purist, but Norman Nodge is the teacher. Without the lawyer, family man and DJ's influence, it is arguable whether the Berlin club where both reside would enjoy the same kind of global profile. Nodge's DJing played a central role in shaping the club's musical aesthetic. Mixing classic house and techno styles with contemporary variants, his selection veers from the wild abstractions of Birds Two Cage and Oni Ayhun to the explosive white noise intensity of Planet Assault Systems' take on The Nightripper's "Tone Exploitation" and the stomping industrial techno of Charlton's "Black Slong". While Nodge is clearly an expert in building a set, he doesn't simply ramp up the tempo and cruise to a predictable climax. Nodge follows the PAS/Charlton segue with the gnarly rhythms and chain mail percussion of Ctrls and Chance 'Chancellor' McDermott, but then drops into the trippy acid and infectious vocals of Tim Taylor & DJ Slip's "New York Minds". He follows this shift in sound with Radioactive Man's melodic electro bass and Legowelt's warm synth version of Xosar's "Rainy Day Juno Jam", bringing to a close Berghain's most impressive mix yet.