Review: The Cursory EP is the second collaboration between Italians in Berlin The Analogue Cops and UK bass producer Blawan. It's the debut release on a new label run by another Italian duo, Raw People, but what is more notable is that the release maps out new possibilities for that grey area where house, techno and bass meet. "Aurum", with its loose, organic drums, could be easily mistaken for a Workshop release were it not for the wired vocal sample and interplay between the spacey, ambient chords and the arrangement's cheese-wire percussive licks. "Illy" is straighter and more representative of the Analogue Cops' approach, with its filtered groove and insistent stabs underscored by firing percussion, but it sounds functional when played next to "Quarto". The standout cut on the EP is based on a driving but more offbeat rhythm, while viscous acid lines cosy up to crashing cymbals, creating a woozy, edgy feeling. Put simply, "Quatro" is the kind of track that captures lost moments from late nights without making the listener feel uncomfortable. Finally, "Sickle" sees the trio return to dance floor techno, but with a difference. Blawan's input ensures that the rolling rhythm is fluid and less regimented, while the rasping percussion that tracks the building chord is rougher than a Ryanair red-eye out of Berlin on a Monday morning.
Review: Warm Tonal Touch marks a new chapter in Jamie 'Blawan' Roberts career, as the producer launches his Ternesc label. Set to offer a home to most of his solo material, he kick-starts the imprint with a quartet of modular techno workouts. Undeniably rhythmic and floor-friendly throughout, there's a surprisingly tactile feel about the rolling grooves of "Talatone" and "Roll Mick", despite the presence of clanking, metallic percussion. Interestingly, it's when he tries to do things differently -such as on the intense, clicking grooves and dislocated horn samples of "Blue Bottle", or the intense, cacophonous, unsettling throb of "Fentanyl", that the EP really excels.
Review: After flitting between labels for the first four years of his career, Blawan has decided to become master of his own destiny. Last month's Warm Tonal Touch EP marked the debut of his Ternesc imprint. This speedy follow-up continues on a similar theme, delivering a range of ragging, dark and often intense modular techno workouts. All four tracks prioritize percussion and rhythm, with any melodic elements - usually short, nightmarish loops, or horror-influenced textures - playing second fiddle to his impressive drum programming. It's a formula that works well, from the left-of-centre bounce of "Hanging Out With The Birds" and throbbing 4/4 pulse of "Mine Oh Mine", to the sludgy, industrial fuzziness of closer "Diatonic Valves".
Review: Blawan's back: look out! The Communicat 1022 is on his own Ternesc imprint: its third release to date. The title track is testament to his modus operandi: hard as nails, all-modular stompers that somehow find the soul in the machines. The brooding and dystopian "Rubber Industry" shows more restraint but still grinds and scuffles away in fine vintage glory. On the flip "Lit Up Communicat" is atmospheric and faintly melodic amongst all the industrial metallic textures and tape hiss while "Marga" hammers the message home in peak time hypnotic fashion: the melody on this one sounds like a hammer dulcimer dragged through a delay, absolutely mental! He's come a long way since bangers like "Scarborough Harbour" and "Peaches", finding a seasoned maturity in his sound, but this shows he still has all the energy and devotion to his art and possibly more than ever.
Review: For those with no concept of the studio intricacies that go into producing music, there are certain artists whose traits ensure their productions constantly fascinate. Mr kick drum Blawan certainly falls into that category. The London based Barnsley lad has enjoyed what some people might call a rip roaring 2011, scoring success after success on whatever label is lucky enough to house his music as well as starting his own label initiative with Pariah in the shape of Works The Long Nights. Given the increasingly bezerk techno nature of Blawan's material, it seems natural that one of this year's most consistent imprints in Clone would seek him out for some magic. And Peaches is up there with Blawan's finest work, smartly following Untold's debut on the Basement Series with four track based variations on the fruit every bit as devastating as the Hemlock boss's 12". Those trademark burrowing rhythms and indescribable drums sounds are present throughout each track and you get the feeling Blawan has as much fun making this sort of music as we do listening to it.
Review: Given that he's been active since the dawn of the decade and released countless singles on a wide variety of labels, it's something of a surprise to find that Nutrition is Jamie Roberts' debut album. Pleasingly, he's not altered his style to fit the format, instead opting to showcase six tough techno tracks in his usual fearless, club-ready style. Of course, there's still a certain amount of variety present - compare, for example, the end-of-days industrial motifs, foreboding textures and clattering drums of "Calcium Read" and the metallic, early morning tribal thrust of "Mayhem" - it's just that Roberts has no intention of compromising his principles. For that, he should be applauded.
Review: Some eight years on from his Hessle Audio debut, Blawan has finally got round to releasing his debut album. Predictably, it's rather good, offering an eight-track assault on the senses built around his now familiar clanking, industrial-tinged polyrhythmic techno rhythms, foreboding electronics and paranoid, claustrophobic aural textures. Most of the sounds - including the percussion hits - were created using modular synthesis, which gives Wet Will Always Dry a particularly atmospheric and otherworldly feel. There are nods towards the likes of Surgeon and Livity Sound, as well as Rhythm & Sound/Basic Channel style dub techno, but the album's greatest strength is that it never sounds like anything other than a fine set of Blawan club tracks.
Review: Following 2018's Wet Will Always Dry, Blawan returns to his Ternesc imprint for more high-paced techno. The title track moves at a frenetic pace, with its hiccuping, skeletal rhythm containing happy hardcore and rave samples. On "Lox", he maintains the same kind of tempo, but instead daubs the arrangement in noisy swathes of feedback. "Gadget" is much more abrasive; powered by distorted kicks, it sees the UK producer deliver cascading filters over a stomping rhythm. Closing out the latest release on his label is "Hapexil Rotator", where he opts for a slightly more restrained but grimy rhythm that resounds to pulsating tones.
Review: Blawan has opted for an unhurried schedule for his Ternesc label, putting out an EP a year for the most part. Following this approach, Immulsion follows 2019's Many Many Pings. It gets off to a raucous start with the pounding kicks and gated riffs of "40 Spiral", before Blawan follows it with the rolling break beat-led "Rain". From there, he takes the sound deeper with the 'Come To Me In Full Electric' take on the title track, while the 'That Kind of Kink' version of "Immulsion" sees the respected UK producer up the ante again with a lean but funky tribal rhythm.
Review: Has it been thirty years already? This celebratory R&S Records compilation doesn't just bring with it the nostalgic charm of tracks by names we shouldn't forget (Capricorn, Jam & Spoon, Second Phase and Mundo Muzique) and tracks we couldn't forget (Outlander's "Vamp" and Joey Beltram's "Energy Flash"), it also brings with it contemporary R&S classics like Tessela's "Nancy's Pantry", "Airglow Fires" by Lone, Vondelpark's indie-laced "California Analogue Dream" and Blawan's "Shader". 30 Years Of R&S Records takes the listener down memory lane, while lighting a path for what will hopefully be another 30 years.
Review: To mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of his label, James Ruskin has put together this massive compilation. It includes long-term friends and associates of the label - like Oliver Ho, Regis and Luke Slater - as well as newer additions to the roster, including Lakker and Rommek. Apart from uniting artists from different generations, the compilation also showcases the label's various hues; from the broken beats and intricate rhythms of Ruskin and Regis' O/V/R project and the hypnotic soundscapes of Lakker's "Orange" to the trace stabs and 10 tonne kicks of Regis' "Party Spoiler Too" and the chaotic industrial rhythms on Truss' "Wanastow", this compilation offers to newcomers an invaluable introduction to Blueprint, or to long-standing fans an indispensable reminder of why the label is unique.