Review: The link between architecture and techno is long established (as is the connection between music journalism and building design) and on Portfolio One, Developer's label delivers diverse constructions from some of the finest new school techno practitioners. Eduardo de la Calle 's "The Promise" features chords that move from foreboding and menacing to spacey and tranced out, all over a rolling groove. Elyas' "Adiccion" is also designed for the dance floor, but more driving and percussive, while Takaaki Itoh's "Dusker" juxtaposes breathy vocals with pounding beats. Adriana Lopez also balances the demands of the dance floor with melodic elements and her 'Acta' sees chiming bells unfold over a lithe, steely rhythm.
Review: Variations manages the rare feat of sounding suitably austere without resorting to the industrial-themed cliches that many techno producers are guilty of. Adrian Sandoval aka Developer's "Hexmode" is based on steely rhythms, but dank acid seeps through its metallic cover and later on, jarring riffs are sprayed over its framework. The title track is like Sleeparchive on downers as a series of insistent bleeps unfold over hissing percussion and ghostly synths loom in the background. There's an air of familiarity also on Eduardo de la Calle's "The Solution", where billowing dub techno chords are tempered by a nagging percussive underbelly, while Developer's combination of vocal snippets, cloudy percussion and dubbed out chords on "Under" keep the listener guessing right until the end.
Review: Crosstown Rebels head honcho, Damien Lazarus, has taken it upon himself (and his crew) to mark the "cosmically significant" date of December 21 with a 24-hour megaparty in Mexico. For those of us unable to attend in person, this accompanying compilation is the next best thing. Beginning with Pier Bucci's fittingly titled, and deliciously trippy, "Mayans", we get the exotic and trancey "The Prophecy" by Quenum, Matthew Jonson's sinister tech-houser "In Search Of A New Planet With Oxygen", the sublime "Cosmic Dancer" by Francesca Lombardo, the urgent menace of "Greed Insanity" by Fur Coat and the haunting, end-of-the-world vibes of "2012" by Jay Haze.