Review: Two British purveyors of powerful peak time techno collaborate on this fine collection of DJ friendly tools. Comprised of Dax J: the man behind the notorious Monnom Black and Clergy main man Cleric: who some of you would know from his appearances on Len Faki's Figure.They've joined up for this release in their new home, the techno capital that is Berlin. Sheer dancefloor fury; warehouse style, on offer here as heard on the relentless title track. The power of nightmares prevails on the bleak dystopian industrial of "Flight 19", and the steely and adrenalised grooves continue on "The Triangle" and "Sirius".
Review: UK producer Dax J decamps from his Monnmon Black imprint to Speedy J's label to release his second album. In many ways, the Electric Deluxe founder must feel like things have come full circle; Illusions of Power crackles and tingles with the type of raw form energy that prevailed in techno when Speedy J himself was first rising to prominence. There are exceptions here like "Cartagena Square", a woozy ambient piece. However, it is sandwiched in between "Zulu Nation" and "Harry The Hatchet" which revisit Joey Beltram's dark pre-jungle bass and Jeff Mills artillery-powered percussion. Most impressive though are Dax's acid tracks; "The Quest" is a paean to vintage Plastikman and "Reign Of Terror" offers a towering shrine to the wild 303 abandon of Acid Junkies.
Review: Berlin's Dax J couldn't be more Clergy if he tried. Yes, the native Londoner deals in precisely the sort of brand of techno that the imprint is looking for, and a tune like "Purist", with its wormhole of a bassline and stripped-back percussion, is instantly recognisable as being part of the whole Berlin sound; check "Understate" and you'll see that this same structure is transformed into something nastier and more penetrating. The B-side contains another two slices of neural brain dynamite, the first being the stuttering, paranoid beat attack that is 'Warp", followed by the looser, more beatless sway of "Slip From Sanity".
Review: Danny Tenaglia is a stone cold legend, but his profile has waned significantly over recent years. Given that it's 25 years since the release of his first production, this first contribution to the Balance series - is well timed. Pleasingly, it seems Tengalia still "has it it". Throughout the collection, the veteran NYC DJ maintains a fearsome energy level, mixing things up via a track list that spans chunky tech-house, darkroom tribal, heavily percussive fare (see Michel Cleis' dub of Basement Jaxx's "Mermaid of Salinas") and intelligent techno revivalism (Dax J's brilliant "Dreamscape" and Ho's "Deletion 3"). It is, of course, an impeccable selection, as you'd expect from a man with Tengalia's undoubted pedigree.
Review: The organisers behind German party The Third Room have responded to the coronavirus by setting up a label and tapping artists who played for them for the material on this split release. The proceeds from the sale of this EP will go to people who bought tickets for one of Third Room's cancelled events - a kind gesture. It's no surprise that the tracks on the compilation are reflective of the party's sound: Dax J and Obscure Shape & SHDW's contribution focuses on hard, fast acid; Inhalt der Nacht & Echoes of October drop the pile-driving "Beutezug" and even Ellen Allien's track is coated in ravey menace. The one exception to this approach is Hector Oaks's droning "Do You See The Light?"