Review: It would be easy and unforgivably lazy to lump Claro's work in with the great unwashed of deep/dub techno. While Reform Club does sparkle and shimmer with epic strings, ghostly reversed chords and dreamy synths, it's the interplay between these elements and Stewart's unpredictable rhythmic dalliances that make his third album so rewarding. "Reformed" is a case in point: glassy percussion and sensuous string passages suggest an adept take on classic Detroit techno, but the underlying, resonating bass depicts an artist highlighting flaws and imperfections. In a similar vein is "It's Getting Late", where evocative chords unfold over a quirky bassline and the raw, Aardvarck-esque beats and breathy melodies of "Scriptease". But it's the tracks where Stewart appears to be sharing his own personal experiences that have the greatest impact. The atmospheric, chiming synths of "Still Here" has the same underlying sadness that Stewart articulated so beautifully on Metanarrative and the whistling sounds and serene ambience of "Quiet Life" elevate Stewart to the same level as great musical storytellers like Mark Hollis and Ian Curtis. The fact that be can bare his soul and document deeply personal topics without resorting to words makes his voice all the more powerful.
Review: Since Claro Intelecto's formidable Reform Club LP in 2012, the Modern Love staple has become a recognised component in Delsin's release schedule; last year saw Mark Stewart included among the contributors for Delsin's multi-faceted 100DSR/VAR compilation and the Dutch label also reissued his debut EP from 2003, Peace Of Mind. Now with this new Stanza EP, Intelecto shows Delsin for the first time how brutish he can actually be. Combining techno, electro, a bit of dub and a lot of industrialisms mixed with high powered Chicago house elements, "Remember" is the perfect example of his musical dynamism. "White Sun" is drizzly, smudged-out and a tricky, but rewarding mix for the DJ, while "A Nightmare Before Bedtime" is a gluttonous serving of disjointed house music. And for lovers of Regis style power techno there's "Blank CC".
Review: Mark Stewart aka Claro Intelecto returns to Delsin after 2017's Exhilarator long player with this powerful, at times bleak EP. "The Thunderdrome" sees the storied producer set out his stall; named after a long shuttered club in his native Manchester, its splintered percussion and spiky rhythm exudes post-industrial moodiness. He follows this with "Sniffer Dogs", a dense, textured affair full of chimes and underpinned by glitchy beats. It's not all heaviness though: "Messages" is a subtle, supple deep house track that shows Stewart's more melodic side. But as the glitchy, low-tempo closing track "Sirens" demonstrates, on this occasion Claro Intelecto is more concerned with darker emotions.
Review: Mark Stewart rose to prominence when dub techno enjoyed a resurgence a few years back, but to cast him as merely a by-product of this phenomenon is erroneous. Prior to his Warehouse Session series on Modern Love, Stewart had released an excellent electronic album, "Neurofibro" and the excellent deep techno "Chicago". While the title track sees Stewart deliver an exemplary dubby groove, filled with ponderous chords and a gradually morphing bassline, it's "Round & Round" that's of most interest. Escaping the joys of the echo chamber, the rhythm is stripped back and jacking, with a searing acid line recreating the primal urges of late 80s Chicago producers.
Review: Jeff Mills said nearly a decade ago that techno is being made for an aging audience. Regardless of whether this is true or not, what happens when the artists themselves start to get older - can they maintain their relevance? In the case of Mark 'Claro Intelecto' Stewart, the answer to this conundrum is simple; go back to your roots. The Manchester producer may have settled down, but creatively, Second Blood shows that he's as dynamic as ever. "Heart" marks a return to the first Claro Intelecto album, Neurofibro or the more understated sections of its successor, Metanarrative, with an atmospheric, ambient soundtrack gently unfolding, populated by muffled, half-heard vocals. The title track sees Stewart pick up the pace, but although the underlying bassline has a dark, resonating edge to it, the tempo is sluggish and the chords flutter about in a way that suggests the producer is seeking to tease out new directions for his sub-heavy techno. "Voyeurism" has no such ambitions, but sounds all the better for it; like the best tracks from the Warehouse Sessions series, its bass plays the central role, a fathomic, all-encompassing series of tones that steers the plaintive melodies on an irresistibly evocative path. Sometimes to stay ahead of the curve, you first need to take a few steps back.
Review: For those who follow the work of British IDM legend Claro Intelecto, the last few years have been frustrating, to say the least. It's been five years since his last album, and three since he released a single. Exhilarator, his fifth full-length, is certainly well over-due. Predictably the ong anticipated full length is also rather good. As usual, it offers a superb balance of dark and intoxicating electro, tuneful intelligent techno, bubbly IDM, glitchy post-ambient soundscapes, deep and bass-heavy techno shufflers and clanking, off kilter experimentation from the Autehcre school of electronica. It's atmospheric, impeccably produced and stuffed full of highlights. In other words, it's another great Claro Intelecto album.
Review: Claro Intelecto, Gerry Read and Unbroken Dub feature on the first EP in a series of five from Dutch label Delsin primed to celebrate reaching 100 releases. Founded back in 1996, Delsin have undoubtedly slipped past this number if you factor in all the reissues, one off releases and their rejuvenated Ann Aimee sub label, but everyone loves a special edition release so lets not nitpick. You can expect material from Sawlin, Conforce, Redshape, Mike Dehnert, Delta and Newworldaquarium on subsequent 100DSR/VAR drops and the series is inaugurated in fine style here. "Fighting The Blind Man" is classic scatterbrained Claro Intelecto, whilst "Granny Bag" demonstrates that Read's wild side has not been tamed by his swift rise in popularity over the past year or so. Siberian producer Unbroken Dub manages to sound both calming and slightly foreboding on the excellent final cut "Spacing".
Review: Given her current popularity, it's no surprise to see all-conquering house hero Maya Jane Coles mixing the latest instalment of !K7's long-running DJ Kicks series. The diminutive DJ/producer is in fine form, too, mixing up typically atmospheric house cuts and clandestine deepness with saucer-eyed late night faves and forgotten B-sides (see Bozzwell's surprisingly emotional "In My Cocoon"). As a mix it's as deep, melodic and groovy as you'd expect, with a strong vocal theme running throughout. As it progresses, it tiptoes further into bleary-eyed darkroom territory, via stand-out cuts from Marcel Dettmann, Caribou (his thrilling remix of Virgo Four), Gerry Read and T Williams. Available digitally as individual tracks or one continuous mix!
Review: One of Europe's biggest electronic music parties sets out an impressive taster for this year's event. Mixed by French DJ/producer Brodinski, it moves from the deranged, siren-led "Slope" by Joe, through the swinging techno of Randomer's "Bring" and the chord-heavy groove of Brendon Moeller's take on Appleblim & Peverelist's "Over Here" before moving into more raw forms. This is articulated by the rough analogue jack of Marquis Hawkes' "Outta This Hood" and the firing, lean techno of Robert Hood's "Protein Valve (Edit 1). Brodinski also deserves kudos for dropping the grainy, surging bass and crisp drums of Claro Intelecto's rumbling electro killer, "Tone"
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).
The Invariants - "Ritzy" (feat Elkan) - (6:53) 123 BPM
Claro Intelecto - "Hurt" - (4:39) 130 BPM
Sentomea - "Ease Of Life" - (10:09) 117 BPM
ShlAmmo - "The Quest" - (6:00) 120 BPM
Gunnar Haslam - "Kerallel" - (8:54) 123 BPM
Vril - "Lazar" - (8:04) 164 BPM
Cameron - "Construct" - (5:05) 117 BPM
Review: Despite being operational for almost two decades, Delsin has a higher hit rate than nearly any other techno label. This is audible on Cameron 10, an eight-track compilation from the Dutch imprint. The Invariants deliver deep, atmospheric techno for the floor on "Ritzy", while Artefakt's contribution, "Anemic Cinema", is a reflective broken beat affair. Delsin has coaxed a track form Claro Intelecto, who delivers the bass-heavy but mysterious electro of "Hurt". Newcomers also get a platform, with Sentomea dropping the slow-burning dub house of "Ease of Life" and Shlomo impressing on "The Quest", a tunnelling techno groove that also features hushed angel chants. If that wasn't enough Giegling's Vril and Gunnar Haslam complete the package with bleep-laden and lo-fi tracks respectively.
Review: Dutch powerhouse Delsin bunkers down for another year with a choice selection of tracks taken from the label's marque artists, regulars and newcomers. The compilation showcases the label's tastemaking approach to embracing a somewhat unidentified strands of dub electro, a new and developing sound harnessed it seems by Delsin this year. Claro Intelcto slathers his track "Two Thousand" with more of the obscene basslines we love the British artist for (with a lighter alternative to be found on "Messages") while Conforce plays with pixelation and subtle subsonic electro pulses in "OI". Gunnar Haslam rivals Porter-Ricks-deepness in his track "Cacique De Poyais" while label boss Peel Seamus warms things up with Detroit-styled keys and synths to offset the deeper, melodic and shimmering dub of new talent His Master's Voice.