Review: The Exium partnership emerges from the pandemic with a coruscating new EP. "Ascendo", with its chain mail percussion and stepping rhythm, sounds like an abrasive take on Regis' rolling techno. On "Atheris", the duo again deploy non-linear patterns, but the sound here is deeper and more layered, sounding like it was recorded in a wind tunnel. Exium return to their abrasive selves with "Cyclotron": favouring a straighter approach, its noisy analogue rhythm sounds inspired by Neil Landstrumm. Then there's the title track, where swampy beats and layered sound scapes come together for a fittingly industrial finale to the latest chapter in the Exium story.
Review: A big week for techno as Spanish duolith Exuim open the accounts for their Nheoma label in 2020 with eight new pulverising numbers of destruction. Following Part 1 released in 2019, it's all out armageddon in tracks like "Curse X2", "Anti-Static" and "Tales Of Communication" with more minimal loops and syncopated arrangements coming in others like "Therapy" and "Andromeda". Crunched, slamming and full of momentum, Exium pushes a sci-fi sound in "Pulser" while turning in something more Detroit and electro-fied in their remix to Domonic Butler's "Silesian Boy" remix. Serious techno for when the doors open again.
Review: Reeko faces down techno duo Exium for a no-nonsense release on the pair's Nheoma label. Circuits is an inspired meeting of minds and features Spain's leading proponents of harder-edged techno (with the possible exception of Oscar Mulero). It's no surprise then that "Circuit IV" is all noisy metallic riffs, dense loops and gives off the kind of eerie, spaced out feeling one normally associates with all-night techno parties. "Circuit V" is just as intense and sees the trio drop a dense, noisy loop over a rolling, linear bass. Rounding off the release is "Circuit VI", which focuses on a slightly deeper sound, thanks to its eerie synths, but the same relentless, pumping groove is audible in the background.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Polegroup label closes the year with a mammoth compilation that defines the current state of the techno nation. As Unknown Landscapes shows, it is a diverse place. There's droning ambience from Daphne RXX, while Reeko, Reggy Van Oers and Mike Parker deliver bleep-heavy, hypnotic groove that draw on the influence of F.U.S.E and Sandwell District. Heads-down loopy fare is also catered for - with the spiky percussion and bleak filters of Jonas Koop's "Fu Factor" standing out - and the form also revisits the rough, analogue sound of the 90s thanks to Karl Bult and American scene veteran DJ Hyperactive's contributions.
Review: Oscar Mulero's other label celebrates its fifth anniversary with this mammoth compendium. For fans of the Spanish imprint's club techno there is no shortage of material to get excited about; the Lewis Fautzi remix of Exium's "Nucleoid" is a hypnotic groove par excellence, its confluence of acid and droning pulses arcing to a tantalising climax, while Christian Wunsch and Exium once again represent the tough industrial and dub-meets-noise sound of the label on "Emission Lines" and "Biolag" respectively. However, there is also a more musical, reflective side to Poelgroup's sound. In this regard, 5 Years delivers most impressively with the chilling strings of the Architectural project from Reeko as well as the Spanish producer's cinematic, break beat-led reshape of Jonas Kopp's "M31".
Exium - "Labyrinth" (Paul Boex & Marco Rane remix) - (5:59) 136 BPM
Review: From the prolific Dutch label comes this high-quality compilation. It starts, somewhat inauspiciously, with the serene ambience of JaBBurg's "Summit", but soon after that plunges into the kind of streamlined techno that Paul Boex's imprint excels at. Deepbass & Ness' "Proximity" is a tough tribal track and Voidloss' "Moment Of Total Emptiness" follows in a similar vein, albeit with some hypnotic tones thrown into the dense rhythms. The Jeroen Search take on Tim Wolff's "Backstage Fridge" is reminiscent of late 90s Sterac mixed with Silent Servant as woozy chords are mixed with functional, loopy rhythms. Paul Boex himself also impresses with "Hate is Love" remixed here by Oscar Mulero, bringing the compilation to an urgent, acid-heavy climax.
Review: Exium continues his strong run of releases. As this four-tracker so ably demonstrates, what's really impressive about the Spanish producer is his ability to integrate existing tropes with his own sound. On "Monopoles", this approach sees him fuse a Function-style linear pulse with a repetitive vocal sample, while "Magnetic Flux" goes further and deeper into this direction, a dank, tunneling rhythm led by tonal bleeps and blips. On the title track, he changes direction again, with the kind of drones that one would associate with Hospital Productions fused with shaking percussion, while "Early Life" brings the release to a close to the sound of Mills-inspired, panel-beating drums.
Review: Spanish duo Exium depart from the well-worn industrial script on the latest release for their Nheoma label. Instead of broken beats and bombast, the listener is treated to blasts of white noise and resonating bleeps on the title track. That said, the duo manage to retain the interest of the dance floor thanks to their use of clicking percussion and robust kicks. On "Solar Masses", they apply a similar approach, underscoring their tonal frequencies with powerful sub-bass and steely hats. A return to the more conventional industrial techno sound is audible on Pfirter's version of "Subshell", where a rolling groove, punctuated by noisy drops, prevails.
Yuji Kondo - "Radiate The Ocean From My Back" - (6:23) 128 BPM
Review: It may not be the most fashionable label, but there's no doubt that Perc Trax has been instrumental in championing some truly uncompromising music over the past decade. Here, owner Ali Wells continues on his mission to ignore trends with a typically abrasive selection. Truss' "Brockweir" is a hard and heavy techno banger with a grungy bass and jagged, screeching riffs blaring in constantly while Sawf's "Goves" sounds like a broken beat variant on this approach. Perc's own "Forever Your Girl" and "Dumpster" see him mine the 90s to deliver rave-sampling, stab-heavy tools - in particular, "Forever Your Girl" sounds like it sampled T99's "Anasthasia" - while Spanish imports Oscar Mulero and Exium provide the compilation with some fractured rhythmic finesse.
Review: Oscar Mulero's label consistently puts out forward thinking techno - and this compilation is no exception. It may start with a surprise for some fans of the Spanish producer's broken beat sounds, with Reeko's "Miracle" delivering ghostly synths over a snaking bass line and Exium's "Mantra" featuring the kind of warbling trance melodies that one would associate with deep Detroit techno. Mulero's own "Tidal Acceleration" heralds a shift back towards more typical sounds as distorted, mangled drums support cold bleeps and a stepping rhythm, while Rolando drops a firing, percussive take on Exium's "Complex". Still, there is enough room for diversity as the skewed metallic rhythms and broken beats of Christian Wunsch's "Complete Surrender" demonstrate.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Polegroup calls upon a storied cast of producers to remix Exuim's 2013 album, which begins with this EP's highlight: a fresh, post-punky - supremely techno sounding - Silent Servant remix to "The 12th Planet". Jonas Kopp's remix to "Nucleoid" is a deep vamp of circulating darkness for the warehouse set, while Oscar Mulero turns in a dubby, liquid-coated production of throbbing bass frequencies when reworking "Massless Particle". The digital version of this EP presents two bonus remixes and the first comes from Dark Esser's Tripeo alias with an edit of "Dronid". It's both booming and calm while Mulero provides a second subterranean option of "Massless Particle". Tripeo's official remix of "Parallel Computing" completes the EP with a combination of bleep and chime sequences wavering on top of watery basslines and industrial atmospheres. Something here for every techno DJ.
Review: Two of contemporary techno's finest producers go head to head on Payback. Spain's Exium represents a clubby take on techno with his tracks "Diverse Population" and "Pulstar". The latter is a rumbling, cavernous groove lit up by acidic tones, while the former is built on tough tribal beats and a robust, meaty bassline similar to the one on James Ruskin's evergreen track "The Divide". Developer's contributions are far more visceral: "Promiscuous" is an insane, driving rhythm track led by ghoulish chords, while "Indigenous" is even more intense. Powered by distorted industrial drums, its cranium-splitting rhythms recall Jeff Mills at his most intense.
Review: When it comes to Modularz you always know what you're gonna get: techno. This split Specifics In Realism EP is the first time Exium has appeared on Developer and Fanon Flowers' label, and it's the third time for Elyas, whose next step can only be a solo release after two VA appearances on Modularz. It's business as usual for Exuim who provide "Star Ancestors" and "Nebulae", the first, a drubby and booming chunk of big room techno, while the other leans towards something more spacey. Elyas then provides a hissing, clav-clucking "Surgery" and a dank, suspense-themed "Take Off". Killer club cuts.
Review: The latest release from Spanish producer Exium recalls the hazy, crazy days of the late '90s. Before it disappeared up its own behind, loop techno provided a genuinely thrilling possibility, one that Exium documents here. "96.1 Mhz" is led by juggernaut break beats and urgent sirens stuck on a loop for seven minutes. "Oppression" is similarly repetitive, but in this instance broken beats and a grimy bass provide the basis for Exium's approach. The second half of the release focuses on a more jarring, contemporary sound, best articulated by "M.A.D.", but this can't compare to the rolling, slamming bombast of "Electrictone". Radio is proof that when utilised properly, loop techno can be a powerful force.
Review: Perc has clearly found a soulmate in Oscar Mulero, and here the duo present another collaboration between their two tough, heads-down techno imprints. Mulero's gnarled-but-futuristic "Blackstar" is arguably the best thing here. It's as hypnotic as you'd expect, but there's a whisper of melody and soul amongst the intensity. The same can be said about Manni Dee's "Serenity", which breaks up the beats a little to add a little more fluidity to an otherwise pulsating, metronomic techno groove. Those looking for more straightforward, no-holds bared after-hours techno should check Formula Strategy Group's "Rundoled", and the ricocheting atmospherics of Exium's "Raw Visions".
Review: Oscar Mulero's Pole Group closes out the year with a collection from some of techno's most respected producers. While the overall tone on Unknown Landscapes is dark and at times unsettling, it never strays into the plodding furrowed-brow seriousness that often besets contemporary techno. DVS1's "Strobe" sees the US DJ deliver churning chords over a grinding, metallic rhythm, while Reeko's "Enlightenment Process" shifts from pounding broken beats into a spacey, filtered segue. That's not to suggest that the label or its owner have gone soft either; the squelchy acid and stinging riffs of Jonas Kopp's "M31" is as intense as it gets, but at the same time, contributions from Adam X and Forward Strategy Group tingle and pulse in a dubby, fuzzy afterglow.
Review: Fresh from unleashing their excellent album A Sensible Alternative To Emotion on Oscar Mulero's Pole Recordings, heavy hitting Spanish duo Exium return to their own Nheoma label for this split release with Kwartz. The first of the two tracks by Exium is "Wolf Rayet", a tunnelling boom of cavernous techno, while the Jeff Mills inspirations come to the surface in "Fenomen", sounding like a heavier take on the Detroit producer's Something In The Sky series. Mario Campos' emerging Kwartz project proves to be just as impressive; "Sinapsis" maintains the industrial edge of the EP with more loopy, reverberant beats. "The Beginning of The End" sees a ghostly synth line sliced apart by the kind of forceful drums and smashing hi-hats that are synonymous with Speedy J's music.
Review: Exium continue to strengthen their working relationship with Pole Recordings, gracing Oscar Mulero's label with A Sensible Alternative To Emotion, their second studio album. Having spent over a decade refining their own vision of hard edged techno, Exium use this platform of a second album to expand on their established sound, at times easing down the tempos and intensity for a more balanced listen across the 10 tracks. Productions such as the granite heavy "Massless Particle" or tunnelling abstraction of "Absolute Magnitude" demonstrate this is no drastic departure from the Exium sound but there's an equal consideration for melodic arrangements and more subdued moments.
Review: Ranging from bone-crushing industrial rhythms to more serene tracks, The Structure is a diverse release, yet each contribution shares some characteristics. Oscar Mulero's "Sound Mirror" is built from dense drums and broken beats, but even at its most intense, with evil horn stabs seeking to conjure up the apocalypse, he allows some light in via deft filtering. Christian Wunsch's "Mutation" is a more straightforward techno track, albeit one that breaks down to the sound of eerie chords and haunting strings. Exium's "Repeating Future" appears to take inspiration from the spacey ambience of Pete Namlook before veering into a stop-start, understated rhythm, while Jose Pouj's "Structure" offers up panel-beating drums and wispy atmospherics.
Review: Spanish techno power clique Oscar Mulero, Reeko, Exium and Christian Wunsch load and fire part six of their Seleccion Natural series out of Mulero's Polegroup canon. The previous five blasts came from Reeko's Mental Disorder, Christian Wunsch's Tsunami Records and Mulero's native Warm Up Recordings. Reeko's "Lynx" is a hi-octane power-trip of scratchy industrialism and gunshot snares jacked with a ferocious pace, as is Mulero's "Reverberation" only to a more bleepy and streamlined effect, with obvious fidelity toward Surgeon, Regis and Jeff Mills. Had Wunsch's booming "Sleep Cell" not been released here, it could easily hold its own among the factory-made releases of Perc Trax. Exium proceed with break-beat drums in "No Sign Of Weakness" which aggressively lends itself to a trove of over-driven bass squelches, piston pushing white noise and a tribal ramshackle of percussion - cabalistic techno at it's most dangerous.
Review: Exium prove again why they are one of hard techno's most acclaimed acts. The title track is an adroit combination of styles, with a pulsing bass suggesting a youth spent listening to EBM and industrial and a similar stretch of time immersed in streamlined minimal techno. The Spanish duo manage to seamlessly facilitate this cross-pollination by deploying hissing percussion and a grimy bass. On "Recycler" they also succeed in executing a seamless blend of disparate elements with grainy beats and a raw, analogue bass supporting chiming chords, while "Ripper" is also based on an unusual interplay - this time gurgling acid gets cosy with dreamy pads.