Review: The man sometimes known as As One or Esoterik (to name just a few of his many alter egos) returns with the Swarm EP, bringing his truckload of influences and experience with him. His A.R.T label (Applied Rhythmic Technology) has previously released early work by legendary artists like Aphex Twin and Carl Craig, and this release won't damage that lofty reputation one bit.
As a former soul-boy and rare groover, Degiorgio brings something different to his Detroit-leaning Techno excursions, as seen on A Way of Life which combines beautifully arpeggiated keys and life-affirming chords to keep you locked in the for the ride. While A Way of Life is an airy cosmic odyssey, Swarm is heavier and more pumping, with some dark textures laid over a driving beat that'll keep the floor working easily. Final track Distant Realm keeps the hi-hats high and adds some distantly modulating pads for texture, all the while keeping the vibe peak-time and club friendly. It's obvious that a journeyman of Degiorgio's calibre has picked up some tricks over the years, but when it sounds as good as this, it's almost as though he's showing off.
Review: One of the most positive developments in contemporary techno is the resurgence of Kirk Degiorgio's ART label - and this release completes the 90s revival, welcoming long-absent producer Ian O'Brien back. "Promenade Eleven" bears little resemblance to the jazz-not-techno approach O'Brien was exploring a decade ago, but its jerky Detroit rhythms, neat claps and chiming bells do bring with them a deep musicality that has long been O'Brien's underlying signature. Degiorgio's take features a more brittle rhythm to begin with, but the heavy claps signal a ramping up of intensity and the arrangement's groove assumes epic proportions soon afterwards. Finally, newcomer The Third Man takes a stab, and his scuffled beats and brooding organ solos bring an element of new school restraint to the release.
Kirk Degiorgio - "The Convergence" - (7:02) 131 BPM
Lag - "Mashina" - (6:05) 130 BPM
Unbalance - "Blood Lust" - (6:46) 130 BPM
Review: Moscow club Propaganda celebrates its twentieth anniversary by launching a label of the same name. It's testament to the club's ability to reinvent itself that it has put together such an inspired split release as its first offering. Dimi Angelis kicks starts the EP in blistering form with the 130bpm plus thundering tribal sound of "Crossfire". It's followed by UK techno veteran Kirk Degiorgio, who keeps the mood dark and foreboding with the murky bass and rickety drums of "The Convergence". Lag, who has released on Mord, keeps the pressure up with the chant-sampling minimalism of "Machine", before Unbalance brings down the curtain with "Blood Lust", an acid-seared tunnelling workout.
Review: Kirk Degiorgio and Coyu's Suara label are probably not names that one would normally put together, but Arc Mode sees the revered techno producer deliver a tougher than usual release. On the title track he delivers a series of frazzled acid lines, realised against the backdrop of a firing rhythm, while "Redeemer" sees him venture farther down the rabbit hole, courtesy of a panel beating, pounding rhythm. By contrast, "Astral Cell" is deeper and more tripped out, thanks largely to its hypnotic pulses and rolling groove, but this release is all about the peak time, as displayed so effortlessly by Mark Broom's tough, metal-plated take on "Arc Mode".
Review: Sims and Degiorgio's Machine parties have reinvigorated London's techno scene and it's fair to say that the label is having a similar effect. At a time when their peers have either fallen into a minimal hole or are rediscovering their hastily assembled Goth pasts, the duo keep their heads down and focused on making deadly techno. The title track comes from Sims' studio and is a driving, filtered beast fuelled by razor sharp percussion. On "Strike 2", Sims notches up the pressure, with dark droning pulses joining the rhythmic heaviness. Degiorgio also acquits himself well; "Dark Fire" is like a distant cousin to "Strike 2", covered in splurging acid lines and ticking percussion, while "Dread" is led by tough drums and a brooding hoover bassline.
Review: The rise of the titans right here! The two biggest hi-tech soul merchants from the United Kingdom team up here on Spanish imprint Suara, for some epic and futurist dancefloor drama on "Rise". Strict rhythms accompany layer upon layer of warm emotive pads and soaring synth leads - as you'd expect from the duo. Their further homage to Detroit (via Glasgow and London) continues on second original offering "Variable Slope" which brings the funk with its bleepy bassline and killer groove for a life affirming dancefloor journey. There's a couple of killer remixes too. French sonic wizardry from the one and only Voiski: who leivers a scorching rendition, plus a lovely neon-lit classic house perspective from the controversial Marquis Hawkes . If that was not enough, a sombre, deep electro re-take on the aforementioned "Rise" by Leipzig's Lake People caters to a more downbeat moment.