Review: New Atlantis is Efdemin's fourth artist album and takes its title from Francis Bacon's unfinished novel. In that work, there were musical instruments that could read all of the sounds of the universe. However, to start this album, the storied producer decides instead to go with the sound of the human voice on "Oh, Lovely Appearance Of Death". In spite of this bold move, he is soon back in his back in his comfort zone on the drum-heavy groove of "Good Winds" and the title track, where a sub-aquatic acid line is fused with woodwind sounds and dubbed out groove. While not as revelatory as his debut album, Efdemin, there are still wonderful touches here, such as the swirling sound scapes of "At The Stranger's House".
Review: Efdemin is not the most name you'd normally associate with Stroboscopic Artefacts, but Wrong Movements is the third in the label's Totem series, which sees selected producers free to experiment how they wish to. "Wrong Movements (Left)" is a wonderfully blurry, techno/house arrangement that is led by swirling, hazy chords and centres on a rolling, groove. On "Wrong Movements (Right)" the Panorama Bar resident forgoes kick drums in favour of washed out ambient textures, while on "Wrong Movements (Circles)", he returns to the dance floor. This time, he uses staccato drums as a basis for a left of centre arrangement with a jazzy undercurrent.
Review: Curle has had a long association with Efdemin; back in 2008, it released the German DJ's mix CD, Carry On - Pretend We Are Not In The Room, a benchmark mix for deep house and techno lovers. Fast forward a decade and the Belgian label is now releasing remixes of Efdemin's best material. First up is Terrence Dixon's take on "America" (which featured on the Carry On mix CD). Billed as a 'Minimal Detroit' mix, it's a slow-paced, head-nodding affair that features the vocal buried deep in the mix. Efdemin's best-known production, "Acid Bells" also gets the remix treatment. While the original was a blissful, tripped out affair, this take by DJ Koze is all grinding percussion and noisy drums.
Review: Dial Records are really on a roll these days. After recently releasing a beautiful album by Pawel and their remarkable 10 year anniversary compilation, they come back at us with the long awaited second album from Efdemin, Chicago. Berlin-based Efdemin (aka Phillip Sollmann) has been associated with the Hamburg-founded label since its inception a decade ago. His self-titled debut in 2007 was a stunning affair that resonated deeply with both the house and techno communities. After three years and several singles in between, Efdemin has finally graced us once again with nine new soul-striking tracks that combine the beauty and deepness we have come to associate with his productions. "Cowbell" starts things off with a vocal snippet, warbled organs and slow drum rolls as a prelude to "Shoeshine" which kicks things into higher gear with its tough drums and precise high-hats. All tracks seamlessly flow into each other, a concept many artists tend to overlook when making a full length album. This overall sense of flow makes it pleasure to listen to uninterrupted. Instead of finely balancing the line between house and techno, Chicago has more of a jazz-induced feeling to it- which is not to say that it's light or too refined, but rather more intriguing and textured than your standard fare of straight up deep house or deep techno. Oh, and there's even a Homer Simpson sample hidden in there.
Review: Efdemin's 2008 mix CD on Curle, Carry On - Pretend We're Not In The Room showed that he was as adept and inventive behind the decks as he was in the studio. A decade later, the same holds true for the follow-up mix, Naif, but this time the boundaries are more blurred. Consisting of 29 unreleased tracks - 10 from the German producer himself and 19 from like-minded artists - the selection runs the gamut, from the hazy, abstract tones of WaWuWe's "Beams" and DIN's noisy "Glide", into hypnotic dance floor techno such as "Laveline", Efdemin's bleep-y collaboration with Konrad Springer, the glorious mid-tempo minimal roller "Watte" - recorded as Sollmann & Gurtler and then 'versioned' by Efdemin and expansive dub tracks from Pom Pom and Marco Shuttle.
Review: Global Underground's Nubreed series has a huge amount of kudos, having brought respected DJs like Lee Burridge, Steve Lawler and Danny Howells to attention during the early 00s with a series of iconic mixes. Although it was on hold for much of the second decade of this millennium, it has been successfully resurrected and now gives the same platform to Theo Kottis. In keeping with its usual format, this instalment sees the Beautiful Strangers boss explore a range of styles and sound across two mixes. Accordingly, his selection ranges from Gigi Masin's melodic piano composition, "Maja", to the Mountain People's sensuous deep house "La Onda", taking in some underground classics like DJ Assassin's garage/house hybrid "Face in the Crowd" as well as left of centre oddities like The Horn's "Villager". It's a fitting testament to the Nubreed aesthetic.
Review: According to Infrastructure NYC head Function, this compilation was compiled like an album and involves not only the core group of artists but also connects the dots between the label's past, his Berghain 07 mix CD for Ostgut Ton, the legendary Sandwell District days and the respective history of the artists. Infrastructure Facticity spans "a narrative ranging from lush, ambient electronics and post-club diversions, to contemporary club techno and back again." British artist Robert McNally provides the artwork and musically the highlights are not so much the dancefloor ready bangers, which are mainly quite good, rather the moments of restraint such as Vatican Shadow's brooding and almost Boards Of Canada sounding "Swords Over Paradise", the slow burning reduced acid of Cassegrain & Tin Man's "Open Sea" and Rrose's finest moment yet, "Cephalon", which can barely be described in words!
Review: You have to admire Ostgut Ton's ambition. While celebrating a decade in dance music with a compilation of exclusive, previously unheard music is now standard practice amongst leading underground labels, few would have the balls to release it with such a killer tracklisting as Zehn. Across the 30 tracks (count 'em!) you get a who's who of Berghain and Panorama Bar associates delivering a quite outstanding selection of left-of-centre techno and deep European house, with Marcel Dettmann, Boris, Virginia, Steffi, DVS1, Martyn, Tobias and Ben Klock all featuring. Highlights naturally come thick and fast, from the spacey electronics, heady textures and hypnotic rhythms of Function's "DX3 Analog Bass Seq", and the rush-inducing, string-laden house warmth of Matthew Styles' remix of Dinky's "Planes", to the picturesque intelligent techno of Doms & Deykers.
Review: Electronic music is often defined as being apolitical and entirely self-serving, but in this time of existential crisis for Japan, it shows that dance producers not only have a conscience, but care deeply about the country. There have been a number of initiatives already within electronic music to raise funds for Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims, and the act of helping is the overarching concern here. However, hopefully when you do decide to purchase this Kompakt compilation, you will get the added bonus of ghostly ambience from Marsen Jules and Ezekiel Honig, playful, offbeat house from Efdemin, eerie minimal house from SCSI-9 and Nick Hoppner, and Anontelli's playful electronic pulses - as well as feeling good about supporting a beleaguered nation.
Review: Hamburg based label Dial Records shot to fame in the second half of the 00s with their high brow approach to deep, minimal house and techno. Founded in 2000, they now celebrate their tenth birthday with a new compilation featuring all their usual suspects, aptly titled 2010.
Set up at the turn of the millennium by Carsten Jost and Peter M, better known as Lawrence, Dial remained largely unnoticed at first. It was only the last five or so years that the imprint famed for its sophisticated and emotionally evocative style of deep and minimal house came to the wider attention. Releases such as Efdemin's "Bergwein" EP and Pantha Du Prince This Bliss have garnered them the most attention leading up to today's celebratory compilation. But rather than just collecting the finest moments from those ten years, such is Dial's ethos, that they celebrate with entirely new material, including previously unreleased tracks from the likes of Rndm, Pigon and John Roberts.
Opening the compilation in typically refined style, Phantom Ghost embark on a fittingly theatrical ode to the pleasures of the highlife with the twilight keys of "My Secret Europe." Cultivated 4/4s then take over, starting with John Roberts who brings a classical element into the mix on "Lines." Efdemin explores sensuously deep tribalism on "Time," whereas Kassian Troyer uses layers of sub bass on "Tourist" to get into the groove. Isolee makes a rare appearance with some trippier house moments on "Black Lodge" before Pigon take it unfeasibly deep on "Koto." One of the label's starlets, Pantha Du Prince adds one of the highlights of the release with the enveloping masterpiece of "Fountain Drive."
Dial celebrate their tenth year, and twentieth release, the only way they know how - with a selection of tracks that look unreservedly forward, proving their need to do more than simply sit back on their previous successes. I'm just looking forward to their 2020 compilation.
Various - "DJ-Kicks" (Continous mix) - (49:34) 133 BPM
Review: When they were asked to put together the latest volume in the "DJ Kicks" series, Mount Kimbie boys Dominic Maker and Kai Campos drew influence from a recent six-date run supporting Actress. As a result, the 22 tracks they have chosen - here presented in DJ friendly, unmixed form - tend towards the experimental and off-kilter, touching on a myriad of styles (ambient, industrial-era experimentalism, South American influenced tropical drum jams, spacey modular techno, raw-edged peak-time jams, mind-altering acid weirdness and intergalactic electro all feature) in the process. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the hypnotic dancefloor intensity of Stanislav Tolkachev and bleeping body-jack of A Sagittariun, to the skewed warmth of Severed Heads and the dream-like weirdness of their own exclusive contribution, "Southgate".