Review: Dustin Zahn has been flying the flag for uncompromising techno for the past 20 years, so it is somewhat surprising to see him appear on Rekids. The title track is typical Zahn: cruising along at 130bpm, it sees him marry tough drums with a repetitive riff. "Decorum", which is of a similar tempo, resounds to churning chords and pile-driving percussion. Meanwhile on "Nameless Midnight", the US producer pushes the tempo up further, but adds some extra intrigue with an instinct vocal loop playing out over a wiry rhythm and mysterious bass tones. Rounding off what is an unusual but welcome release for Matt Edwards label is "Subtle Flex", a chord-heavy affair that features a more stepping rhythm than the preceding tracks.
Review: "Stranger..." was originally released as a limited edition on Rekids sub-label REK'D ten years ago, and now it gets a wider release. Despite the passage of a decade, it still packs a considerable punch and is available here in two remixed versions from Len Faki. The first 'Podium' take is sure to send a club into oblivion with its wild synth stabs, rolling drums and ominous filters. Faki's "X-Break" version is not as direct, but is still just as effective; over hollowed out drum breaks, he adds layered chords to the siren-like synths, lending Zahn's original a more measured but distinctive version.
Review: Arts label owner Emmanuel teams up with veteran producer Dustin Zahn for this resolutely underground EP. Emmanuel's "Bethide" starts the release in tough mode, with gritty kicks and dense, clicking percussion providing a funky but utilitarian sound. On "Visible Invisible", he veers into a deeper but gloomy direction, as bleak synths unfold over a pumping rhythm. It's a marvellously moody affair. This split release also finds Zahn in uncompromising form; the tribal "Submit Yourself" unfolds to belching acid lines and looped vocal snatches, while on "Eternity's Edge", he lets broken beats and rolling filters provide the basis for dreamy but dark chords.
Review: Uh oh, Truncate is back onto your subwoofers with the second chapter of his recent remix series...the last outing still pounding its way across the Juno HQ! This time the American techno maverick chooses Par Grindvik and Dustin Zahn to mould "Mira Mar" into bleepy, hi-hat-heavy tool, while Zahn himself strips "Modify" of all its dignity and cuts it down to a beautifully simple kick-beat approach. Grindvik closes this chapter off with a deeper, more mentalist take on "Mira Mar", where the melodies are catapulted into oblivion thanks to intricate FX processing .
Review: It's that time again: Sven Vath's powerhouse Cocoon Recordings presents the next volume in its alphabetically themed series and brings out all the big guns in typical fashion. There are many highlights, but for our money we'd bet on fellow Frankfurt homeboys Einzelkind, Robin Schulz & Rhythm Factory who team up for the bouncy, late night tech house of "N.2guts", masked Berlin techno impresario Redshape on the brooding dark journey track 'The Choice", Glaswegian legend Alex Smoke with the funky microhouse jam "Porridge" and of course Ovum Recordings man/Philly's finest Josh Wink with the droning peak time acid trip "Buoyantly Grounded". It will take you ecstatic heights like he has done previously.
Review: A big congratulations to Adam Beyer and his esteemed Drumcode imprint celebrating 20 years in the business. His techno powerhouse has continuously and effortlessly remained relevant, championing the work of fellow Swedish legends Cari Lekebusch, Joel Mull and Christian Smith, to late noughties heroes like Paul Ritch, Kyle Geiger and Pig & Dan to present day stars like Nicole Moudaber, Joseph Capriati and Luigi Madonna. There's a lot of serious peak time artillery on here, rest assured. But for us, the highlights weren't limited to Alan Fitzpatrick's uplifting and downright epic "Terra Firma" with its massive drop, head honcho Beyer and Mark Reeve's "Nine Of You" with its darkly fierce and tunnelling groove plus Truncate's killer remix of Dustin Zahn's "Miss You". Honourable mention to newcomer Boxia; he's surely one to watch if the banging "Revolution" is anything to go by!
Review: It's fair to say that this release has been a labour of love. Five years in the making, label owner Emmanuel has chosen a collection of tracks from his dream team of techno producers. This means that ASC's breathy ambience "Stasis" sits beside deep, at times acid -soaked pulsing rhythms from Boston 168, Unbalance and Forward Strategy Group as well as peak-time rollers from emerging artists like Cleric and industrial bangers courtesy of scene veterans like Dustin Zahn. While the inclusion of producers such as Subjected and the fast rising I Hate Models is sure to put increased focus on this compilation, its real, lasting value are the more cerebral contributions such as Emmanuel's own "Bridge of Quietness".