Review: Glenn Wilson's long-running label drops a diverse four-tracker. DJ Boss is up first with "Judit". Using rickety broken beats and a powerful bass as his backing, he mixes dubby chords and dramatic stabs to create an offbeat but alluring sound. By contrast, D.Carbone's "Allubus" is more direct, but its slamming sound is full of subtleties, from chiming bells to slinky, rattling percussion. There is no such ambiguity on Emmanuel's "Knowledge", where stomping beats and ice cold synths make for an effective peak time workout. However, Ness' "Hypnopaedia" quickly steers the release back to more ethereal territory, with a pulsing groove and spacey synths prevailing.
Review: An iconic and heavyweight garage label from the mid to late '90s, Ice Cream dropped a fair few classics in their heyday - as proved by this first volume of re-releases out this week. Songs don't get any mightier than Double 99's seminal bass-anthem "Rip Groove", which lead off this collection, while other forgotten greats like Stephen Emmanuel's choppy 2-step beauty "Hold On" and RIP Productions' huge house/garage hybrids "Work It" and "Love Is What We Need" simply put half of garage's new-jacks to shame.
Review: Over the past five years, ARTS has become one of techno's most consistent labels. Listening to Dark Matter 002, the latest release from the imprint's owner, Emmanuel, it's not hard to understand why. "Hype Beast" kick starts the EP with a stepping rhythm and filtered chord builds, that are not too far away from Shed's Equalized project. "Rejected" is a far straighter, linear affair, with the Italian producer laying down insistent riffs, tonal stabs and smart filtering, all over banging drums. Leaving the most unusual track to last, "Jungle Ting" sounds like it was inspired by early Oliver Ho, as layered textures and samples unfold over an intricate tribal drum sequenc
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: How do you make banging techno sound interesting? If you're Greek producer Emmanuel, then you take a leaf from late 90s house music to turn the drummy, clap-heavy techno of "Profile" into a filtered affair. Like DJ Sneak or Daft Punk beefed up on steroids, "Profile" is subjected to more panning than the average river in the Wild West during the gold rush. Abstract Division also takes an unexpected approach on "Inducement", lacing his percussive track with frequency-shifting bleeps. However, if you're in search of some good old-fashioned banging techno, don't fear because that's also available here courtesy of contributions from VSK and Re: Axis & Scalameriya.
Review: Having first made his name with rasping funk breaks, Valique has in recent years focused more on disco and house. Here, he delivers his most deep house focused release yet, a sumptuous collection of recent remixes. Predictably, there's plenty to enjoy, from the midtempo deep house/nu-disco/deep funk fusion of Valique's "Future Boogie" remix of Dr Cuts' "Red Hot Chilli Cuts", to the piano-laden deep house bump of his "Anthem" mix of Funky Destination's "Down To The Music". Best of all, though, is the twisted 303 funk and piano solo madness of Valique's "Less Swing" remix of Emmanuel Bravo's "Little Swing".
Review: Released by Belgian label La Musique Fait La Force, this extensive compilation designed to complement Jozef Deville's documentary The Sound Of Belgium includes nascent and trailblazing productions from the likes of Klaus Schulze, Front 242, Neon Judgement, Lords of Acid and CJ Bolland, while other notable classics include Joey Beltram's "Energy Flash", Outlander's "The Vamp" and Emmanuel Top's "Acid Phase". In total, it features 60 tracks of new beat, industrial and rave music from '80s Belgium, rendering it a defining compilation for the curious and interested to the more hardcore EBM enthusiast.