Review: A quick glance at the cover art for Parrish Smith's first outing on Knekelhuis should be all you need to accurately guess the record's musical contents. That image - all fragmented, collage style strips and pitch-black segments - offers a neat visual metaphor for the producer's clandestine machine music. Fuzzy, distorted, stylized and in-your-face, all four tracks sit somewhere between the dystopian techno assaults of Ron Morelli's L.I.E.S label, and the industrial/EBM sounds of the '80s. This formula is at its' most potent on clanking opener "Stillness & Secrecy", but is also used impressively on "Supra", where snaking, Middle Eastern melodies drift across a dense, post-apocalyptic backdrop.
Review: Parrish Smith is a relatively new addition to the extended techno world, but the producer is undoubtedly one of our favourite recent additions, particularly for his sensibility to the core of EBM and industrial music. His previous EP, out through Ron Morelli's LIES, was one of the best 12"s to come in 2017 (in our humble opinion), so this new EP for Holland's Dekmantel crew is nothing but vibes for us! The title track, "Sex, Suicide & Speed Metal", blasts out heavy bass-kicks amid swarms of washed out guitars and doom metal references, leaving "Mute" to provide some comfort to the bone-heads, thanks to its noxious bass and drum-machine centricity. "Fall Into Sin" is yet more death and destruction, driven by a blasting wave of detuned electronics and metallic percussion, while "Skins" bangs out a dubwise slice of post-industrial nuttiness - large up, Parrish.
Review: Parrish Smith's debut of dystopic forbidding sets the tone of this label's impressive first release with a superb stark, acid ridden slab of body music. Helena Hauff adds to the proceedings with her remix of Pankow's"Das Vodkalied" taking no prisoners and using heavy percussion in contrast to a wonderfully tense set of arpeggiations, which all descend into skull crushing pressure. Carrying over are Pankow, pioneers of the Italian Industrial/EBM scene, with two tracks from their legendary first tape "Throw Out Rite" from 1983. With "Das Vodkalied" disembodied vocals are cut up and come from every direction driven by a raw, off-kilter energy and pounding beat. "I'm Food For You" cranks up the drive and anxiety to create a killer track based around stark arpeggiation. Last of all, Perseus Traxx provides an acidic stripped down venting of frustrations which he spits out with vehemence.
Review: Lena Willikens is not only the first female DJ to curate a compilation for Dekmantel's Selectors series, but also the first to put the emphasis on previously unreleased music rather than dusty-fingered crate-digging gems. That's not to say there aren't excellent older cuts present - see the decidedly psychedelic brilliance of Sandoz's ambient dub earworm "Morning Star (Dubmix)" and the trippy 2001 industrial dub techno of Vromb's "Amalgame" - just that there are a few more previously unheard killers. These include, but aren't limited too, the drowsy broken techno of Jasss's "Little Lines", Parrish Smith's jacking industrial house shuffler "Minima" and the druggy, mind-altering synthesizer soundtrack throb of Borusiade's intoxicating "Night Drive (An Exercise in Indulgence)".
Review: Dekmantel rounds off a hugely successful year with a compilation that reflects the organisation's multi-faceted approach. At one end of the spectrum there's the dubbed out groove and spacey vocals of Peaking Light's "Blind Corner" and tropical act Bruxas' left of centre beats, while at the other end Robert Hood delivers the blistering techno of "Red Machine". In between these extremes, there are Dekmantel-supported artists such as Betonkust & Palmbomen II - impressing here with the Legowelt-esque "Renaat Egypte" - and zeitgeist-defining names like Lena Willikens and Matrixxman. Add in some Dutch scene veterans such as Tom Trago, on fine form with the epic but understated "Working Machines", and it's not hard to see why 2018 was a great year for the Dutch collective.