Review: Delta Funktionen delivers his debut EP for Cultivated Electronics. In keeping with the revered label's signature sound, North Point sees him focus on electro instead of the dubbed out techno that this project is often associated with. It kicks off with the intricate, eerie rhythm of "Intrusion", before "Moonstone Road" sees the Dutch producer transport the listener down an acid-flecked path, where tones warble against the backdrop of shadowy synths. The impossible to pronounce "Gl_T2C_H3Tr4" descends into glitchy abstraction, with its hiccuping robotic vocal samples pushing it towards the edge of malfunction. "Siberian Surf" closes out this fine release with a warbling bass and crisp claps prevailing.
Review: As far as compilations go, this first edition of the newly created 'From The Dark' release series from Cultivated Electronics is definitely up there, showcasing some of the freshest sounds in modern bass music. This eight track selection delves into the darker, swampier side of bass production, including belters from the likes of Exterminador, Sync 24, Delta Funktionen, Alienata and more. Our immediate standouts from this one however have to be 214's glitchy expedition into arpeggiated madness in 'Rock Scramble', along with Versalife's moogy roller 'Infinite Velocities' and the spooky chops of 'GmBHZolhoff' from Stratowerx.
Review: Following a near two-year hiatus, Delta Funktionen resurfaces in order to invite us on his Junior High School Excursion To The Parallel World. While the title evokes images of bad 1980s teen movies, musically the Dutch producer has delivered a double-pack full of what we would describe as "proper" techno and electro. That means thrusting rhythms, bold and restless basslines, intergalactic electronics and melodies that sound like they've been beamed down from, well, a parallel world. There's naturally plenty of subtle variation - compare and contrast, for example, the booming rhythmic intensity and creepy melodies of "Torpedo" and the winding late night acid trip that is "Stingoperation" - but Delta Funktionen keeps his eyes firmly fixed on the dancefloor throughout.
Review: Niels Luinenburg's Delta Funktionen project has always been sharply focused on the sci-fi end of techno, with 2012 debut album Traces sounding like a long-lost, Drexciya-era Detroit classic. On this follow-up, he's gone further, with the accompanying press release suggesting that the album's title refers to a mythical planet inhabited by a race of mutant outcasts. The accompanying music - a mix of vintage Motor City techno and electro influences, with added Chicagoan acid lines, Kraftwerkian vocoder vocals and occasional nods to Italo and proto-house - certainly fits the concept. It makes for a hugely enjoyable listen, and should appeal to more than just sci-fi daydreamers and UFO conspiracy theorists.
Review: Subtitled Lifewater Oasis, the name of the latest release in Delta Funktionen's series could be mis-construed as a paean to Drexciya. However, as soon as the grimy, acid soaked riffs and robotic drums of "Korath System" hover into earshot, it is clear that yet again, the Dutch producer has gone his own way. "Lost in a Dream" is the most impressive track on the release; with its ghostly harpsichord unraveling over tight claps and featuring a surging bass and eerie synths it maps out an individualistic alternative for Detroit techno. The only real hint at Drexciya's legacy comes on the closing track, "The Last Game", where ghostly synths light up a buzzing bass, but the groove is far more linear than the Detroit duo would ever have conjured up.
Review: Niels Luinenberg reaches the third chapter of his Wasteland series with more fresh interpretations on techno and electro. The release starts with "Phantom", which as its title suggests, follows a path that knocks on the doors of the netherworld. From its slow-motion start, supernatural sounds swirl in from the ether, joined by heavy claps. Eventually, it settles into a pulsing electronic groove. Is "Bunker" inspired by the label of the same name? It's hard to say, but certainly its mixture of acid and synth discordance will appeal to fans of the Dutch imprint. As a parting salvo, Luinenberg drops "Mutant Society", where evil synth sounds map out a trip through the netherworld.
Review: The follow up to last year's first chapter sees Niels Luinenberg again effortlessly blur the boundaries between classic electro and techno. The brilliant, aptly named "Black Endlessness" sees him fuse dark bass tones and rolling 808s with some searing Detroit techno melodies. However, the Dutch producer keeps the balance towards electro thanks to the introduction of some ponderous vocals. "Pusher" is a gritty, stepping track, littered with mad bleeps and anchored by tight claps. The pendulum swings fully towards techno on "a drone killed my bunny;" kettle drums support dense tonal bleeps and the kind of swampy rhythm that Gesloten Cirkel is known for. It's another perfectly balanced release.
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: 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: Sun Storm sees Niels Luinenberg return to the precise, electro-influenced sound of last year's Traces album for Delsin, with a title track combining a clean acidic bassline with rougher atmospherics in the background. It's joined by album track "Challenger", a more sinister production with sprawling pads and spiky, high-pitched strings. Given Luinenberg's relatively clean sound it comes as some surprise that the raw techno-leaning, hardware based Karenn duo comprised of Blawan and Pariah have been approached to remix the similarly icy "Onkalo", which previously featured on Traces; however, the pair's the snare-heavy rework acts as in interesting contrast to Luinenberg's original, isolating some of the original's melodic elements and caking them in industrial grit.
Review: Despite still being in his 20s, Niels Luinenberg has already released a string of acclaimed EPs and has showcased his impressive DJing skills through gigs around Europe and a series of excellent online mixes, as well as this year's Inertia compilation. Can he now take the next step and translate his skills to the album format? "Frozen Land" starts the album in contemplative mode as austere synths unravel over slow-paced, shuffling drums. It's followed by "Enter", where robotic vocals and seared acid lines underpin a slow-motion, ominous bass. Together, these tracks make for an atmospheric opening. Traces then shifts from the esoteric to the visceral, as "Redemption" rides heavy claps and rough acid lines; "Target" unfolds to cavernous drums and heavy tribal beats, while "And If You Know" features scatter-gun percussion and a "Losing Control"-style pitched down vocal sample. The parting shot, "On A Distant Journey" is perhaps the album's finest moment. It sees Luinenberg draw inspiration again from the classic techno and electro sounds that feature in his sets. Delta Funktionen may not have Forward Strategy Group's experimental edge or Shifted's unique sound design, but on Traces he proves himself to be one of the few to thrive in this most adverse setting for techno producers.
Review: The people who got to know Niels 'Delta Funktionen' Luinenberg through his ponderous Electromagnetic Radiation release or the adeptly programmed warm-up sets posted online may be surprised by the approach on Inertia. However, its direction could hardly be described as unexpected. The second volume of Electromagnetic Radiation and the grimy warehouse techno of Silhouette make perfectly clear that the Dutch DJ/producer likes to play it hard as well as deep. In that regard, Niels is not alone, and this mix, which consists solely of exclusive material, shows that a whole new wave of European techno producers is on the same wavelength. The mixture of the musical and forceful is audible from the outset, with textured chords unfolding over an angular rhythm on Sascha Rydell's "Rainy Days", a few tracks later as Cosmin TRG does his best mid to late 90s Ian Pooley techno impersonation over a rolling, warm bass and midway through on Peter Van Hoesen's "Last One at 1080", where evocative but eerie pads build to the backdrop of a prowling groove. It's a stunning finish to a mix that effortlessly balances the hard and the soulful.