Review: Rush Hour's Direct Current series has already struck gold on several occasions - most notably the back scratching endeavours of FaltyDL and Cosmin TRG - however a shift upwards in ambition and a swerve in focus towards these shores has delivered a truly startling full length album from BNJMN. The latest alias of Ben Thomas, a young UK producer whose work has featured under a variety of names for labels such as Svetlana Industries and Tirk, Plastic World could feasibly be conceived as Thomas finding his true musical identity. This is an album that's covered in a glistening sheen of utopian futurism; from the grinding amphibian machine funk of "Wheels In Motion" to the more upwardly mobile jacking acid melodies of "Tunnel Flight", BNJMN seems to posses an innate and auspicious talent for creating music that's just as suited for the floor as your headphones. Whilst "Blocks" has been most commonly claimed as the track that will draw you in, it is perhaps "See Through The Stars" that leaves the most lasting impression, throwing together frosted soundscapes with throbbing bass and tingling percussion and washing them with rich sounding shafts of upwards electronic melody with jaw dropping results.
Review: More pounding analogue machine grooves from the boy from Bournemouth, now based in Berlin. This release inaugurates new Creme Organisation sub label Jericho One. Starting things off in good fashion is "Skur" a furious, bare bones stomper with some serious ghosts in the machine, lurking in the background. "Herz" or "Glut" get a bit more atmospheric with dark strings and pads accompanying rusty, gnarly, galloping beats. There's some diversity on here which is good; things get a bit more on the purist and cyclical techno tip with "Hydrofoil" a bleepy and hypnotic number, while final track "Solvent X" saves the best for last on this peak time, 808 fuelled stomper.
Review: Having released his Plastic World album just earlier this year, BNJMN spoils us with another sizable package in the form of this 9-track treat. There's something pleasingly arcane about the way he uses the tried and tested 4/4 formula as a secondary backbone to the rich layers of textures. At times he can be gentle, at others quite manic, in the way that he triggers the elements in his tracks, but the harmonious tones always reach a sweet-natured conclusion. 'Wisdom of Uncertainty' is a prime exponent of the fairy tale sound he has cornered in which to express himself.
Review: BNJMN's take on techno has never been fixed, though in recent times he's happily been focused on the more robust, forthright end of the style. Droid neatly fits into this category, with the track sitting somewhere between the dust-encrusted, distorted sound favoured by the likes of L.I.E.S and Lobster Theremin, the end-of-days intensity of Berceuse Heroique's output, and good old-fashioned techno funk. It fizzes, clanks and throbs in all the right places, with just the right amount of metallic pressure and mind-bending electronic chicanery. The accompanying remixes are strong, too. There's a bouncy, surging interpretation from Inland that should please all those who like 'no nonsense' techno, and a pulsating, EBM-influenced interpretation from Cassegrain.
Review: Hypnagogia is BNJMN aka Ben Thomas' first album in seven years, and it has certainly been worth the wait. Veering wildly in sounds from the atmospheric ambience of "Atoms Speak" and "Glowed" into the nightmarish tones and stepping rhythm of "Swarm", it shows once again that he is a versatile artist. While Hypnagogia also focuses on the dance floor, most impressively on the rolling, subtle filters of "Titan Dome" and the eerie "Hypnagogia" (part 1)" BNJMN's fifth album works best during its home listening moments. Even the more uptempo "InDub" boasts the kind of subtle production approach that works best when experienced from the sofa.
Review: Last seen dabbling in some Ballard-referencing song-based material as Singing Statues, UK producer Ben Thomas returns to the more familiar BNJMN guise and the label for whom he's arguably done his best work with this Hummingbird EP for Rush Hour. Seemingly directly inspired by the humble hummingbird, the three original tracks here demonstrate a wide appreciation of tempos, with the glistening 140bpm techno of the title complemented by the shifting, sludgy sonics of "Slowwave". The final BNJMN production "CRVD" feels closest to previous BNJMN material, whilst the title track is blessed by the first ever Xamiga remix from Lowlands forest techno exponents Legowelt and Xosar.
Review: Since adopting the BNJMN guise, UK producer Ben Thomas has graced a fairly impressive list of labels with his intricately sculpted brand of techno, and there's a definite sense that his best work is done when aligned with a Dutch label. After all, it was Rush Hour's excellent Direct Current series that brought BNJMN to wider attention with the classic Plastic World album from 2011. Having previously contributed a production to Delsin's 100DSR compilation series last year, the now Berlin-based BNJMN is granted a debut proper with the six track EP Coil. Spend some time with the EP and you'll come to the conclusion it's a confident assessment of everything BNJMN is capable of producing, with the pulsing, mind bending techno of the title track followed by more contemplative moments and some good old fashioned wall-shakers.
Review: Ben Thomas aka BNJMN released an impressive debut album on Rush Hour earlier this year, and it's fair to say that 141 is a worthy follow-up. Mixing up warm Detroit-style textures and melodies with broken beats, BNJMN comes across like bass music's answer to Convextion or John Roberts. "One Sea" is a beautifully dreamy, mournful soundtrack that is every ounce as melancholic as John Roberts's recent album, while "We Are The Weather" nudges BNJMN towards the dance floor, with a rippling bassline underpinning the atmospheric textures. Thomas's willingness to flirt with different tempos and rhythm structures is audible on the drum and bass pace of "Inout" and on the aptly named "Hybridisation", where a shuffling groove calls to mind the middle ground between Berlin techno and dubstep. However, throughout this journey the one constant remains his love of atmospheric moods and tones. Essential.
Review: Bnjmn rose to prominence as a house producer, but this mini-album for Delsin sees him straying further down an experimental path than before. "P-Tr" is a cold, glacial bleep techno cut, while "Womb" sees him lay down a linear, heads-down groove. Elsewhere, he departs from the dance floor as he displays eloquently on the noisy tones of "1987" and the tranced out, classical melodies of "Oder". But Bnjmn remains a dance floor producer at heart and nowhere is this more audible on "Microgravity". A rumbling, gritty workout, it connects his house heritage with his experimental techno present.
Review: Forged from a transatlantic exchange of sounds, pastoral house maverick Bnjmn and wayfaring noise wielder Best Available Technology have spent the past few years piecing together this album for Astro:Dynamics. Forming a logical middle ground between the two artists respective styles, De/Re-Constructions glides between atmospheric textural studies and plaintive, crackling leftfield house with ease. There's spinnable material available in the shape of "Tred", but this is largely a headphones affair to get lost in, from the cyclical twitterings of "Wired" to tense industrial reduction "Rift". It rarely stays in one place and yet never feels disjointed, which is impressive given the distinct minds at work on this unique project.
Review: Dutch label Delsin's 100th release celebrations continue, albeit in a typically understated fashion, on this fifth instalment. BNJMN's beautiful but brief opener "Dive" sets the scene for the release as does the dreamy but serene "Radio's Mutterings" by Herva. While the pace picks up on Delta Funktionen's "Petrol", a fusion of robust broken beats and dreamy chords, the overall tone here is mellow and melodic. This is audible on Bleak's "Keep Me Close", where dubbed out drums and a trancey bass prevail, and on the standout track from John Beltran. The US producer may be known primarily for his home-listening sounds, but on "Return to Nightfall" he copper-fastens his dreamy, melodic textures to a pulsing, hypnotic groove.
Review: Many happy returns to Dutch techno stalwarts Delsin, who celebrate reaching a century of releases with 100 DSR, a collection of previously unreleased gems from the label's global army of artists. With such techno and electro talents as Gerry Read, Claro Intellecto, Redshape and A Made Up Sound involved, you'd expect it to be good. Pleasingly, it is, darting between shimmering IDM (CiM's brilliant "Way Station", Conforce's equally impressive "Wave Trance"), luscious Detroit futurism (Bleak's "Keep Me Close", John Beltran's brilliant "Return To Nightfall") and formidable heads-down pump (Sawlin, Mike Dehnert).
Review: Delsin has been a purveyor of deep electronic music for the best part of two decades - and as this compilation demonstrates, 2018 was no exception. It moves in sound from re-issued electro classics by Lost Trax and VC-118A - the latter's chilling string-led "Sepia" is particularly beautiful - into Yagya's brittle deep house/techno and the gentle dub techno of Vril. Even on the more uptempo tracks, such as the throbbing acid of Artefakt's "Falling Into The Light" and the robotic, clanging rhythms of Yan Cook's "Dead Satellite", there is a subtlety and depth of sound absent in most labels' identities. Here's to another twenty years.