Review: Fresh from the release of their Where We Start album on Tronic last year, Drunken Kong deliver four dramatic tracks for Terminal M. "Dark Moon" is a rolling, peak-time affair, featuring trippy synth lines and a grinding bass, while on "In All Of This", the Japanese pair go down a tribal route, with a bubbling bass and hissing percussion providing the backdrop for a dystopian, sawtooth riff to insinuate itself into the arrangement. "Trace" sees Drunken Kong invoke the spirt of late 90s tribal techno but with a twist, as vocal snippets and recycled rave melodies are integrated with cavernous kicks, while "Detached" is a house-focused track, served up with psychedelic melodies.
Review: Label regulars Drunken Kong release their first EP of the year on Tronic and it's a heady affair. The title track revolves around tough, pounding kicks and menacing air raid sirens that swoop in at regular intervals, while "Phase One" is a high-paced roller populated by wiry acid tones and rasping percussion. In contrast, "One Day" is more subtle, with doubled up claps and a linear rhythm laying the basis for moody synth stabs and a gurgling bass, while "Non Stop" sees the duo venture down a tripped out route as a straight rhythm provides the backdrop for eerie synth riffs and powerful filtered builds.
Review: Tronic unleashes its annual compilation, which as always contains the label's favourite tracks. "Luv Can Turn Around", a deep techy track from the late, great Pascal FEOS is a reminder of the many loved ones lost in the past year, while label owner Christian Smith's rolling rhythm and surging chords on "Hallucinate" signals a time in the near future when we'll be able to return to the dance floor. At the other end of the sonic spectrum Harry Romero delivers a bruising, jacking version of DJ Rush & Eric Sneo's "Take Me Back", while Sinisa Tamamovic's "Lost Memories" is a more intense iteration of that style, a steely, bleep-heavy techno track.
Review: Tronic recently held a competition for aspiring remixers to interpret the mesmerising club techno of label regulars Drunken Kong's "Peace", and the label's call to action received over 300 entries. From this pool, Tronic has whittled the efforts down to three standout versions, which feature on this release. There's the joyous, piano-led take from Hisashi Aochi, while on Stiv Hey and The Southern's version, a darker, pulsating rhythm prevails, with sirens unfolding over a pumping bass and a series of wild snare builds. Then there's Ettica's take: while more subtle than the previous remix, its combination of dreamy synths with acid builds means it's a worthy - and effective - addition to Tronic's catalogue.
Review: Clocking in at over 60 tracks, Orbit is a look back at some of the standout releases on Tronic over the past year. The compilation covers a massive range of styles and moves from Eric Sneo and DJ Rush's ghetto techno collaboration, "Take Me Back", and the pounding tribal rhythms of Gaston Zani and Filterheadz' "Perspective" into more tranced out territories thanks to the emotive builds of "Tesla" from veteran German producer Oliver Lieb. There are plenty of other twists and turns here: label owner Christian Smith's long-standing studio partner Jon Selway delivers an excellent, rumbling electro take on Nematic's "Pecular", while Drunken Kong drops a throbbing tech-house groove in the form of "The Line".
Review: This second set of remixes from Drunken Kong's recent artist album are designed for the dance floor. First up is techno veteran Ken Ishii with a firing take on "Step Back". It's reminiscent of the ferocious and timeless Luke Slater take on Joey Beltram's "Forklift" and sees the storied Japanese artist drop a driving, percussive take on the original, its screeching riffs causing a wild crescendo. Up next is Mario Ocha with an equally impactful version of the title track. Built on a booming bass and featuring frazzled synth stabs, it makes for a moody, rousing piece of modern club techno.
Review: Drunken Kong follow their 2017 debut album The Signs Within with this fine follow up. It starts off in tranced out mode on "Certain Reason", which sees a pumping groove and pounding kicks underpin evocative synths and mysterious vocals. Meanwhile on "Live & Create", a drum-heavy track provides the basis for dramatic filter sweeps and "Toro", their collaboration with label owner Christian Smith, sees them deliver a pounding, linear club track. At the other end of the spectrum, "This Is" sees the Japanese pair put their focus on electro and synth pop, with catchy hooks supported by rumbling 808s, while "See You Again" is a dreamy ambient piece.
Review: Initially materialising as a fully fledged happening, Stil Vor Talent's latest compilation kicks off 2020 with a big bang. The Last Trip is a mini-compilation of party-friendly styles under the techno umbrella, rolled into 12 exclusive tracks - featuring legends and newcomers alike. There are two selections from Malandra Jr, with the seething banger "Poison" leading the charge, Citizen Kain is no stranger to the label either and his two contributions come in the from of the moody hypnotiser "Crush" followed by the adrenalised peak time groove "Balance". Elsewhere, Heerhorst get on his tunnel vision on the dark journey "Hydra", Transcode explores classic trance melodies and Reese basslines on the epic "Molecular Cloud", the ever reliable scene stalwart Olivier Giacamoto serves up the minimal tech house jam "Bonobo" and Made In Paris wraps up this fine package in style with the slick nightmoves of "Conjure".
Review: 2019 has been a busy year for Tronic, and this compilation provides some of the highlights to date. There's DJ Rush & Eric Sneo's rattling percussive "Take Me Back", which draws on gritty ghetto techno for inspiration, while at the other end of the spectrum, the brilliantly named Drunken Kong duo drop a massive, bass-heavy big room workout in the shape of "Two Rivers". Orbit also provides a reminder of the label's heritage, with the shimmering, tranced out "Tesla" by veteran German artist Oliver Lieb, and Christian Smith's long-time friend and musical collaborator Jon Selway delivering an awesomely moody electro reshape of Nematic's "Pecular".