Review: Suspended Animation is Phase's second release on Token this year and continues one of the longest-running partnerships in contemporary techno music. The Belgian imprint has been home to Ashley Burchett's music for well over a decade, and as, this EP demonstrates, continues to support his varying takes on dance floor techno. Fittingly, "Suspended Animation (Stroke B)" is a fast-paced, pumping rhythm, powered by a sleek, pulsating bass that supports trancey hooks. On the "Stroke C)" version, Burchett opts for a slower, more heads-down approach. The bass is dense and darker, and the use of a breathy vocal sample adds to the sense of mystique.
Review: This is Token's 80th release, but the Belgian label shows no sign of running out of steam. Indeed, the opposite is true; Boundary Interactions sees one of its main artists, Phase, deliver an abrasive but highly effective EP. "Search Party" resounds to rattling, incessant bells, firing percussion and a spacey, growling filter. It's a real peak time offering from the UK artist. By contrast, "Microdose" is more stripped back and repetitive, with a steely rhythm underpinning eerie chord sequences. Meanwhile on the title track, Phase drops a bouncy groove and, reliving the trance sound of the 90s, a melancholic melody that does a lot to dispel Token's reputation as solely serving up tough techn
Review: Ashley Burchett has been releasing on Token since its inception a decade ago, so the direction on Metropolitan comes as a surprise. The title track is more direct than is Burchett's usual appraoch, with a fizzling din riding an up-tempo, linear rhythm, heavy drums and cheese-wire sharp percussion. It sounds like SP-X going head to head with Robert Hood. On "The Absent Mind", there is another unexpected move; the UK producer delivers a metallic, clanging rhythm that fuses Chain Reaction's dubby repetition with the locked on, linear approach of the aforementioned Mr Hood. Only on "Fallen Columns" does O stay close to the stepping sound that he made his name with - but even there, the approach is understated and ghostly.
Review: Ashley Burchett follows up last year's Versions on Token with a second installment. This latest volume also shines a light on the UK producer's musical evolution. While the busy, rhythmic sound that underpinned his earlier releases is still audible on the rugged "Transantarctic (Polar Version)", it only tells part of the story. "Like a Light (Berlin demo)", with its insistent chords and scuffled dub beats tug at that city's musical legacy. The Substance remix of "Morodem" meanwhile, sees Burchett fuse a pulsing disco groove with cold steely percussion and a spiky rhythm. The final piece in this reinvention sees Burchett go back to Berlin albeit this time for the Klockworks-style dense workout that is "Behind the Sun (Re-Kon Dub)".
Review: It only took Phase two years to follow up his debut album, Frames of Reference, but this second long player shows no signs that he rushed out a follow up. Ashley Burchett, the UK producer behind the project, draws on some classic techno tropes; the visceral, linear rhythm of "Blind Eye" has echoes of vintage Robert Hood, while the layered, hypnotic, layered grooves of "The Maze" sound like they came from Jeff Mills space station. However, there are many other moments where Alone is unmistakably the work of Phase. This is most audible on the hard-edged but futuristic "Increment", the insistent shuffle of "Spacialize" (sic) and best of all, "Remote", a bruising broken beat affair underpinned by a cavernous bass.
Review: It's been great to see Ashley Burchett finally get his dues in the last few years where he has kept on with a steady slew of killer releases. Most of them on Token. Versions is further testament to this but as the title suggests, showcases some revised and unreleased takes on previous efforts. And they're just as brilliant. "Flyby/Falling (Enhanced Version) is typical of Burchett with its slamming, cyclical peak time intensity. "Bulk (Unreleased Demo Mix)" is a stripped DJ tool with its chugging and brutal delayed beat accompanied by muted and syncopated percussion. "Obscura Mix 1" slams away in a funky and tribal fashion similar to an old James Ruskin or Oliver Ho cut. Finally "Mass (Stripped Mix)" does exactly what it says on the cover with this pummelling DJ tool.
Review: Arguably the two biggest R's in techno at the moment remix [Phase], with Rodhad revealing a more emotive side to his techno, while Robert Hood delivers the goods like only he can. Rodhad's interpretation takes away some of the original low-end heard in "Perplexed", resulting in something that's groovy, but still tough, while noticeable increasing the blue-noted tones of the track. Robert Hood's love affair with "Dirto II" continues with the Detroit legend joining in on the cold temperaments for a clinical and percussively slicing remix. With rapid fire releases like this, it seems trying to match Token's dominance of club techno at the moment would be a futile act.
Review: Over the course of ten tracks to appear on Frames Of Reference, the long-time coming debut album by Phase, the Englishman draws upon ideas he's been fine tuning for more than a decade. Of the fresh material is the rich bass and sinister crawl of "On The Edge", the haunted glass whistles of "Dirtro II" and the respective electro and dubby leaning "Just Another Dance" and "Shadow Caster". Rearranged riffs come via the LP's opening track "Binary Opposition (process 3)" which sets the tone for a heady mix of no frills techno undeniably designed for club play. It's an impressive debut which incorporates elements of muscular European rhythmics with passages of motor city mechanics and melodic tonality.