Review: Arguably one of Spain's most prolific techno talents, Oscar Mulero returns to the super label PoleGroup with the Electric Storm EP. The title track combines Mulero's trademark throb and reverb-heavy ambience with powerful drums, while "Cave" takes things in an even darker direction, with brittle percussion resonating against reverb-heavy ambience. The remixes aren't too shoddy either; Our Circula Sound boss Sigha delivers a remix of the title track with some prickly yet powerful synth blips, and Tommy Four Seven coats "Cave" with an industrial fuzz and into a broken techno nightmare which will destroy any dancefloor.
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: Continuing his foray into the pitiless world of pitch-black techno, Oscar Mulero brings the pressure on this latest EP for Developer's Modularz imprint, stepping up to the label's remit for forward-thinking industrial styles. "Rotula" falls slow and heavy, somehow achieving grace even as the unforgiving bottom end thuds out and the hats shudder with nervous energy. Truncate brings a remix that plies a more compacted trade in cyclical techno, less booming but more pointed than the original. On the flip, Mulero's "Transversal" does the damage with a scant list of ingredients, largely dominated by a stuttering square wave bass stab bringing the doom to great effect, while Sleeparchive reacts with a version that brings everything you could want from a Sleeparchive cut; a bleak soundscape devoid of human warmth with a central bleep the only source of light.
Review: Oscar Mulero revisits last year's Black Propaganda with some help from some of contemporary techno's biggest names on this essential remix EP. "To Convince For The Untruth" sees Stroboscopic Artefacts boss Lucy take the original's cavernous surroundings and sharpen them up with bitcrushed hi-hats and subtly a rumbling noise floor, while Developer's take on "Disinformation" straightens out the original's breakbeat acid tendencies by soaking its furious synth lines in reverb and hooking everything together with a rolling 4/4 kick. Finally, Shifted's take on "Intentionally False" keeps the measured pace of the original but transplants its thick, bulging frame for a threadbare structure littered with subtle detail.
Review: Having been producing and DJing in his native Spain for over 20 years, Oscar Mulero is one of the lynchpins of the country's techno scene. Barely a year from his last long-player, and Mulero arrives with Black Propaganda, his most impressive statement to date. Following the delicate, bit crushed ambience of "The Dirt", the album travels through a number of dark, minimalistic techno structures, from the cavernous echo of "Instant Widespread of the Dirt" (which sounds like what you'd imagine Villalobos and Mills would sound like together), through the hypnotic emissions of "Intentionally False" and the insistent pulse of "False Statement", before winding up with the title track, a crystalline piece of razor sharp sound design. Highly recommended.