Review: Basic Soul Unit aka Stuart Li is a highly talented producer with a catalogue on seminal labels like Still Music, Mule and Steffi's Dolly imprint. Unbound sees him follow up to 2017's Wallow on Dolly with a three-tracker that reminds us why he's one of the underground's real stars. Influences from classic house and techno abound on this release, with Li interpreting them to create unique arrangements; on the title track, he use deep Detroit techno synths against the backdrop of steely drums and raw breakbeats. The apply named "Jitters" features rolling Chicago drums providing the basis for a bleep-laden bass and atmospheric melodies, while on "in Orbit", Li drops a busy drum track underpinned by a Mayday-style bass.
Review: Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit has been releasing music on Dolly since 2011, but Wallow is his most dance floor-friendly release for Steffi's label. On the title track, a vocal snippet and soaring synths play out against a backdrop of insistent but understated kicks and crisp claps. "Radiate" is less subtle; it resounds to a bleep-heavy bass and a rough metallic rhythm before it plunges the listener into a sub-aquatic rush of synths and hardcore-sampling vocals. "Joyride" sees the US producer deliver a stripped back groove, underpinned by eerie synth lines, while Voiski turns "Wallow" into a leaner, more linear affair, bolstered by a relentless bass and a pumping rhythm.
Review: There's been a fair bit of hype surrounding this second album from Stuart Li under his now familiar Basic Soul Unit guise, and it's not hard to see why. Dropping on Dekmantel some three years on from his Still Music released debut album Motional Response, Under The Same Sky revels in its' instinctively atmospheric and floor-friendly blend of classic Detroit, Chicago and - more surprisingly - British techno influences. As usual, the chords are deep and spacey, the melodies bold and shimmering, and the beats rough and ready. The results are splendid from start to finish, with the early LFO-influenced smasher "Fate In Hand", thunderous "Temptress" and sci-fi brilliance of "We All Want To Believe" amongst the numerous highlights.
Review: It sounds like Basic Soul Unit is following a decidedly US techno tradition on this outing for Steffii's label. The 'deep' mix of the title track unfolds over break beats and a pumping bass, and the dreamy, atmospheric synths have all the sense of wonder of the early Motor City techno of Kevin Saunderson and Octave One. "Delve Into" follows in a similar vein with tough drums giving way to ghostly, enchanting vocals. BSU channels the tougher E-Dancer sound for the 'Bang' version, with the break beats crashing in over the churning bass, while only "Snow Drifts" has a real contemporary flavour thanks to its churning, relentless filtering.
Review: Jason Li always knows how to take acidic house and techno to next level of hyper-resolution, injecting more colour, sparkle and punch into his drums and synths than many other producers could even dream of. So it is on Distant Lines, his latest offering which surfaces on Spanish label Fanzine. The title track is prime BSU material, as cascading 303 lines meet with twinkling arrays of synth over yearning bass, while the drums splatter out a merry madness of vintage jack. "Thaw" is a more measured affair, reining the beats back and letting a more reflective melodic section take hold. "Low Simmer" meanwhile manages to strike a neat balance between the two, ramping up the rhythmic energy whilst keeping the nagging synth lines in check.
Review: On the title track, Stuart Li opts for a defined sound, and does a fine job of replicating deep Detroit techno, replete with a swinging, off-beat rhythm underpinning his dreamy pads. Li casts his vision wider on "The Long Way" and "Flying Through The Fog", with heavy drums, reverberating claps and warbling acid lines complementing the dreamy melodies. However, none of these tracks can prepare the listener for Shed's remix of the title track. Like his Wax project jacked up on steroids, the slamming, rock-hard beats have a distorted resonance and the shredded, mangled percussion adds to the intensity. Only the rave-like dreaminess that underscores the remix provides a hint as to the track's origins.
Review: Toronto based Stuart Li, better known as Basic Soul Unit, returns to the Creme Organisation with a new four track EP of dirty, acid house. His releases over the last year, including his remix of Arnold Jarvis' classic house track, "Take Some Time Out" have proven his ability as a producer. This rep is only going to be further enhanced by the raw edged, Detroit influenced techno of "Tuff Luv".
Review: Basic Soul Unit follow up their Tuff Luv EP with a stellar package of "Jak D Freq" from Dave Huismans, aka A Made Up Sound. The Dutchman, best known for his productions offerings under his 2562 moniker, kicks off with the Puur Natuur mix, which strips the jacking original into a mechanical, dubbed out affair. His acid rework creates a smorgasbord of crunchy beats, squelchy basslines and general motorik goodness.
Review: Over the course of the last decade, Swiss stalwart Deetron has been responsible for a string of impressive remixes. Happily, these - and many others you may have missed - have now been collected together on the decidedly epic Re-Creation: Remixes Compiled. As you'd expect, the 25-track set flits between full-throttle, peak-time friendly techno futurism, bustling deep house goodness and more downbeat explorations that defy his reputation as a maker of killer club cuts. Highlights include the loved-up synth breakdowns and jacking, Chicago-style groove of his Juan MacLean remix, a wonderfully retro-futurist take on George Fitzgerald's "Every Inch", a thrusting, stab-happy revision of Quarion and a lusciously jazzy take on Todd Terje's "Alfonso Muskedender". That said, on another day we could have listed another five or six highlights: it really is that good.
Basic Soul Unit - "Escape Velocity" - (6:31) 133 BPM
Blackhall & Bookless - "Spirit" - (5:05) 132 BPM
Review: Jaunt Records is celebrating 10 years of active service in fine style with this series of various artist releases. The Air installment features four beat scientists presenting diverse musings on deep diving techno, kicking off with the hypnotic, cyclical "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan. JC meanwhile spices things up with the breakbeat roughness of "The Jaunt Track" before Basic Soul Unit lays the smack down with the bruising broken techno of "Escape Velocity". Blackhall & Bookless finish the EP off with the big room dub-out of "Spirit", a churning beast of a techno track that still maintains the meditative qualities of the other tracks.
Review: To celebrate notching up 50 releases, Uncanny Valley offered up a septet of colour-coded EPs featuring never-heard-before cuts from its growing roster of artists. With that campaign finished, they've now collected together all of those tracks on one suitably epic compilation, All Colors Are Beautiful. It's a pleasingly positive, life-affirming and kaleidoscopic collection all told, with the likes of Lauer, Jules Etienne, Johannes Albert, Cuthead and Basic Soul Unit taking it in turns to deliver cheery, synth-heavy cuts that variously join the dots between deep house, nu-disco, synth-pop, proto-house, jacking acid, crunchy electro, Motor City techno, ghetto-tech and glassy-eyed late-night sleaze. The results are uniformly excellent, making this one of the most essential compilations of 2020.