Review: This is one for the heads, quality techno meets progressive bringing the sounds of Detroit and Tokyo together. These tracks are spacey and atmospheric, tailor made for those smoke filled underground floors. Title track 'Blue Love' has a captivating vocal from Erika Tele which floats beautifully above the bubbling beats and bassline while a soaring string glistens through. There is a dub for the vocally shy, and also included is the brilliant Cafe mix of 'Dark Deceptions' for those really deep and twisted moments. A big EP of raw electronic music which will both educate and entertain!
Review: Here we have some recent recordings from veteran Detroit electro heroes Aux 88. Traditional electro is typically the order of the day here which, when produced with such aplomb as is here, not necessarily a bad thing. "Pocket Radio" is clearly indebted to Kraftwerk, with Autobahn-esque rolling bleeps that give way to a lovely and unexpected bassline halfway through. "Electro Slaves" is killer horror electro that could be Heinrich Muller at his finest as could be "If Am Was FM". Lastly, "Lock Groove", updates the sound somewhat with breakbeats and acidic squelches.
Review: The pioneering Detroit electro act Aux 88 continues its reinvention on Magic. The title track starts with glistening, crystalline synths, joined shortly by a raw, buzzing bass that ripples its way through a shuffling techno groove as Ice Truck's angelic vocals play out in the background. It's a far cry from Keith Tucker's origins as an electro artist. The evolution is made all the more apparent on the instrumental version, where the vocals are stripped away and the bass sounds more epic. Aux 88 follows a similar approach with "Astral Projections"; the bass is more streamlined and pile-driving and an eerie hardcore synth plays out over the arrangement. The release also includes an interlude version of "Projections", with Erika Tele in freestyle mode.
Review: A new trio of remixes of Michigan electro-futurists Aux 88, with songs plucked from their excellent Mad Scientist album given a new lease of life. Detroit In Effect take "Annihilating The Rhythm" and give it a juiced-up 303 line as well, while Mr Velcro reinterprets "Interstellar Time Travel Theme" as a fast '80s electro joint in the vein of Egyptian Lover. Similar west coast-isms bleed into the Miami bass hi-hats on DJ Xed's Bladerunner-esque reimagining of "Control Panes"
Review: Keith Tucker's long-running electro project rarely strays into the straighter techno field, so it's interesting to hear how typical 4/4 producers approach Aux 88's original material. The most conventional version is Andrez Bergen's take on "Electronic Underground". Using tribal drums and shards of glitchy percussion, the epic, soaring synths nonetheless remind the listener what city "Underground" originated from. Arne Weinberg's take on "Underground" is more rooted in the Detroit techno narrative with doubled up claps and a wiry groove underpinning more subtle melodic bursts, but the highlight comes from G Man. It's been a long while since Gez Varley worked under this guise, but his symphonic string-led take on "Shadow Dancing" is a reminder of his prowess as a techno producer.
Review: Despite one of the central narratives in electro being about exploring the future, there is scant evidence that its leading producers actually practice what they preach. If we leave this contradiction to one side, there is no doubt that producers like Gosub and Mr Velcro Fastener are leaders in their field. Gosub's version of "Extraterrestrial Time Traveller" features a an electro funk bass and pitched down robot vocals talking about 'sterilisation', while his velcro fastening colleague opts for a wiry rhythm and eerie synth melodies. Dynamik Bass System continues with the retro-facing approach on their version of "Electronic Robots", where a Kraftwerkian sense of melancholy prevails. The future is here and it sounds just fine.
The Real Kent Clark - "Make It Right" - (5:10) 114 BPM
Aux Tha Masterfader - "Lets Dance To The Beat" - (4:24) 76 BPM
Dilemma - "Bocca Nights" - (4:00) 106 BPM
Review: Hot Pony, Vexkiddy and Antoni Maiovvi's bi-monthly gathering at Sameheads, is arguably one of Berlin's best-kept secrets. Their spin-off label, Royal Athlete - which also explores their Italo-disco, synth-wave and synth-boogie influences - seems to be similarly under-appreciated, despite a strong track record. There's certainly much to admire on this latest multi-artist E.P, from the elastic freestyle revivalism of Aux Tha Masterfader's brilliant "Let's Dance To The Beat", and The Real Kent Clark's glistening synth-pop bubbler "Make It Right", to the chugging, spacey and druggy shuffle of Dilemma's "Bocca Nights". Chaconna's sparkling instrumental synth-pop opener, "Dreamers" is our pick of a strong bunch.