Alex Niggemann - "Balance" (Mixed By Alex Niggemann/continuous mix) - (1:16:30) 124 BPM
Review: From his native Dusseldorf to his adopted home of Berlin, Alex Niggemann's name is synonymous with the German tech house sound and appearances on a who's who of labels in recent years. From Poker Flat, Last Night On Earth and Tsuba to his own respected Aeon and Soulfooled imprints, he has shown his knack for deep and sexy grooves and his last eight years of DJing and studio prowess is on display for the latest edition of Australia's Balance series of mix compilations. The programming on Balance runs the gamut from deep, dark journey tracks (Gui Boratto "Joker" (Dave DK mix)"/Baikal - "Pelican's Flight"), dreamy hypnotism (Aril Brikha/Sebastian Mullaert - "Illuminate"/Antigone "Blue Note") and some new exclusives from the man himself, such as the mighty slow burner "Divergent". As always, there's a bonus track featuring all the aforementioned on a continuous mix.
Review: Ever spreading their wings and snapping up labels left right and centre, Dark Sky move on from their recent turn for Tectonic to deliver a release for Mister Saturday Night that applies their complex and engaging approach to housier domains. First track "In Brackets" is a refined beast, tapping into the spiritual vein of artists like DJ Qu but employing a richer tapestry of sounds to intone the mystery. "5AM" by comparison is a much snappier proposition, sporting a vintage garage beat and cheeky trills of synth, while "Voices" burrows into a plethora of vocal micro-samples with purpose and a lot of layering. "Rare Bloom" rounds the EP off in stunning fashion with a measured roller that keeps the beat ticking steadily so that accomplished swells of synth can draw you in on a bold and thrilling journey of a track.
Review: Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards are the London based production duo Dark Sky. Having met at secondary school, Dark Sky formed out of a mutual love for the ever evolving London electronic music scene; a love that the duo have always explored through not only their DJ sets but also their productions. The new single "Kilter" is a dark journey track engineered for maximum dancefloor drama. Yes it has the mandatory wonky synth lead happening, but it's a wicked one, bearing the true grit of analogue and backed by some rusty rhythm patterns that work a treat. Second offering "Acacia" is more deep and gentle to an extent, with its sublime pads and hypnotic bleep melody backed by some sultry vocal samples and dusty barely there rhythms.
Review: Culled from Monkeytown's second album, Othona, as well as the preceding single, "The Walker" and "Kilter" get reshaped by two of electronic music's most respected emerging artists. First up is Miami's Danny Daze; his take on "The Walker" starts inauspiciously with ghostly electronic chants, but they are soon joined by a pulsing, acid-soaked bass that pushes the original track into a tripped out disco finale. Meanwhile, the German techno duo the Zenker Brothers get to rework "Killer". Grainy percussion drizzles over a steppy rhythm and billowing chords, while metallic drums knock out the clanging beat. With the addition of grandiose woodwind, it makes for an epic treatment
Review: Across its nine tracks, the London duo's recent opus entitled Othona was a return to the deeper darker realms of dance music from which they are said to have emerged. Heavy on bottom end, with subtle melodies and emotive synths; it was Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards' most dynamic and accomplished work to date. Their new single follows in suit: "The Passenger" featuring an epic arrangement full of tight elements and much suspense: it's sure geared for some proper dancefloor drama. "The Walker" is taken from the aforementioned album but is remixed by Frankfurt legend Roman Fluegel, whose trance inducing version is bleepy and evocative as always. Finally there is a wonderful live version of "Angels".
Review: Ahead of their long-awaited debut album Imagin, Dark Sky break a year's release-silence with two awesome slices of uncategorisable bass beauty. "Silent Fall" is as delicate as it is heavy. The vocals (which don't sound too far away from Ninja Tune's Stateless) fall lightly on a punctuated heartbeat bass refrain providing the ultimate balance of weight and spirit. "Odyssey", meanwhile, thunders with a more robust full-bodied wave that's slinks and slaps over a solid tech arrangement with nuances of classic electro... A little like Deetron might after eating a lorry load of burgers. Now let us feast on the album!
Review: The lead single from Dark Sky's debut album Imagin has the potential to win them many a fan with its impassioned vocal turn and crisply-realised melancholic step, building into a beautifully crafted melodic crescendo that resonates perfectly with the shortening days. By way of remixes, Trevino is up first with the dramatic "Heartbeat Remix", which interestingly eschews any kick drum in favour of rousing bass swells and stabbing hats. Marcel Dettmann meanwhile takes a long time to fully reveal himself, letting the vocal sit stark on its own and teasing the full thrust of the track in gently with some powerful synth strings to boot.
Review: It's been an exciting ride for both group and listeners alike since Dark Sky first emerged some four years ago on Black Acre, with ever more impressive musical feats getting signed up to ever more respected labels, and now well and truly in the Modeselektor fold on both 50Weapons and Monkeytown, they offer up their debut album. It's an expansive listen, from the rich synth orchestrations of the title track to the catchy band-in-the-room groove of "Vivid", with the focus very much on home-listening interest over club dynamics. There are still some kicking moments such as the rushy arpeggio drop of "Odyssey", but on the whole this is an album of carefully composed melodies and finely chiseled sounds to accompany you in more personal, introspective moments.
Review: London's Dark Sky trio have come a long way over the last three years, first appearing on the mighty 50 Weapons, then jumping on to Mister Saturday Night's catalogue, and now landing most vertically on Germany's Monkeytown - quite impressive if you ask us! The NTS Radio residents serve up "Voyages", a wonky techno side-stepper complete with tribal percussion and a distinct UK feel. Remix duties are taken care of by Francis Inferno Orchestra, who deliver a hypnotic and floor-ready version of the original, and techno God Reshape with his slithering, ultra-stripped back version. Another class act from Monkeytown camp.
Review: After some down time spent in the studio, 2017 will see the British duo Dark Sky return to Monkeytown and present their debut album entitled Othona. Across nine tracks, the album 'is a return to the deeper darker realms of dance music from which Dark Sky emerged.' Heavy on bottom end with subtle melodies and emotive synths, this is Dark Sky's most dynamic and accomplished work to date. Highlights on this tremendous opus include the evocative IDM journey "Domes" which is decorated by soaring and spangling vintage synth flair, the simply gorgeous/pop inflected house of "Angels" and "The Walker" which is guided by angelic vocals and magical arpeggios guiding you triumphantly upwards to the light. The LP will in turn yield a new live show which we're all excited about: stay tuned!
Robot Koch - "Let Me" (feat Curtain Blue & Born In Flamez - Alex Banks remix) - (6:11) 140 BPM
Dark Sky - "Manuka" (Anstam's Saint Seclusive edit) - (4:53) 115 BPM
Mouse On Mars & Tyondai Braxton - "Off Sea" (Gajek remix) - (4:23) 66 BPM
Review: Late entry for RSD 2015 on the digital front! Germany's ever-impressive Monkeytown label comes in strong with a remix EP by some fresh and up and coming talent from the streets. Alex Banks rewires Robot Koch's "Let Me" into a bubbling mass of growl bass and sci-fi effects a-la Noisia, London's Dark Sky see their "Manuka" tune remixed by Anstam into a wonky future bass driver with one hell of a vocal-led breakdown. Gajek transforms "Off Sea" by Mouse On Mars & Tyondai Braxton into a filthy, broken half-stepper that's bound to cause quite the stir around the midnight hour. Another glorious affair from the Berlin massive.
Review: The quality of the 50 Weapons output is always supreme and our German friends really do know how to pull together a diverse and extensive collection of their latest catalogue signings - a sure buy for anyone wanting a glimpse into the world of the most cutting-edge bass music around. Among the twelve stormers we have Dark Sky's "Shutter Speed" which pulls together wacky basslines and rolling tech beats; Addison Groove's usual footwork magic represented here as "I Go Boom"; "Malfunction (Despair) by the nuttiest technoid producer known to man - A Made Up Sound - and even Marcel Dettman's foreboding "Linux" monster. An essential collection.
Review: The Future Disco brand has long since stopped releasing anything vaguely disco related; these days, it's all about shimmering deep house and tactile, tech-tinged flavours. All Day Dancing is a concept album of sorts, gathering together a selection of warm, breezy tunes that have rocked open-air parties and beachside festivals the World over this summer. As such, it's a strong collection, showcasing such well-regarded gems as Vimes' "Celestial (Reprise)", Ten Walls' picturesque, string and synth trombone-laden "Walking With Elephants", and Tale of Us' chiming, melancholic remix of Mano Le Tough's "Primative People". Throw in further contributions from Dixon & Guy Gerber, Maya Jane Coles and Booka Shade, and you have a sterling selection.