Review: Marking their one hundredth release, ePM pull out the stops with this unmissable remix package. Shed reworks Regis' "Beyond the Reach of Time", turning the Downwards founder's droning techno into a dreamy affair. CYRK is tasked with remixing Freddie Fresh's "ProMars", with the interpretation centred on warbling acid and crisp 808s, while in contrast, the Inigo Kennedy version of Bryan Chapman's "Io" is a dense affair, powered by heavy kicks and populated with sludge-like textures. It's followed by the Works of Intent take of UK veteran Paul Mac's "Nothing Remains". Led by a grinding bass and warbling melodies, it makes for a hypnotic end to an exemplary release.
Review: With 20 years spent releasing, distributing and representing techno and electro's finest producers, it's fair to say that ePM is a true champion of the underground. That commitment comes into sharp focus on EPM20, which brings together music from all of the Eps that the label released over the past year. The listener is really spoilt for choice: Regis delivers the beautifully ghostly techno of "Beyond The Reach Of Time Pt 1", while Robert Hood keeps the mood mysterious on the aptly named "Shadows". While the compilation spotlights prominent producers, it also showcases artists who sometimes fly under the radar - on this occasion, it's Paul Mac with the drum-heavy "Nothing Remains" and Carl Finlow's nocturnal electro on "Optogenetic". The fact that it's dedicated to the sadly departed Tim Baker is also a lovely touch.
Oliver Way - "Music Is So Special" - (5:33) 128 BPM
Mark Broom - "77" - (5:00) 128 BPM
Paul Mac - "Disc Electronique" - (6:45) 124 BPM
Luis Martinez & Keytone - "Lost At Sea" - (6:31) 124 BPM
Cristian Vogel - "Tyrkisk Peber" - (7:37) 130 BPM
The Third Man - "Pipes At Helios Canyon" - (6:16) 127 BPM
Ben Long - "Simple Soul" - (7:17) 127 BPM
House Of Black Lanterns - "Drown" - (6:33) 125 BPM
Kristian Heikkila - "Konstruktion" - (6:06) 128 BPM
Esteban Adame - "Handed Down" - (5:15) 125 BPM
Review: EPM Music is a label headquartered in Maastricht, the Netherlands that has recently presented terrific work by the likes of Mark Flash, Floorplan and Mark Broom - so it's evident that purist techno sounds are on offer by this fine label. For the seventh edition of their long running EPM Selected series they certainly have a special and well curated compilation on offer that touches on the many shades of the genre- but altogether emotive, soulful and with an undeniable Motor City edge throughout. Highlights not limited to: Detroit veteran Oliver Way's fierce and functional heads-down groove "Music Is So Special", the evocative hypnotism of British legend Paul Mac's fine contribution "Disc Electronique" through to Space DJZ' Ben Long (who's back in fine form) on the adrenalised and cyclical banger "Simple Soul" and the ever impressive Los Angeleno Estaban Adame's hi-tech soul excursion "Handed Down".
Review: For its 50th release, UK-based Osiris Music has rightly thought of landing with a fully-packed compilation from all corners of its vast and explorative catalogue. As a side note, it's important to say that this imprint, along with a few other key stables, has been responsible for the successful merging of the techno and dubstep worlds over the last 5 years. Ipman's broken, techno-leaning tool "Persistent Dread" is a great example of this early on, with peeps like Pessimist or MAnnic also providing some new and exciting flavours in the field. The one like Killawatt is also on duty here, bringing through some delightfully eerie industrial vibes, while Paul Mac, Sleeper, and Juno favourite Manni Dee deliver amuch needed 4/4 swing to liven the dance up. Fully-packed and loaded.
Review: Taken from the veteran producer's archives, this four-track release shows that Mac is a masterful producer, no matter what sound he turns his hand to. In this instance, it's gnarly acid with a side-serving of analogue trackiness. The mysterious "Because of That", with its rolling hats and tripped out bleeps, sets the tone for the release, while on "Level of What", he moves up a few intensity notches, thanks to its crashing snares and raw percussion. On "Stripes", Mac explores a deeper, Detroit-influenced approach, but it is only a temporary diversion and he soon returns to dark, dubbed out sounds on the menacing "All Tolled".
Review: It is no exaggeration to say that Mac is one of the UK's most underrated producers - and his archive series shines a light on his talent. It also brings material that has been unavailable before to the public and on this fifth installment, he shows two different sides to his musical output. "Regular Disaster" is a deep, breathy techno track, powered by an up-tempo rhythm and a supple bass. Representing another facet of his sound is "Studio Grit". Operating at a similar tempo, it sees Mac weave churning filters in and out of bombastic drums and a relentless, pile-driving rhythm.
Review: Despite having released almost 80 EPs on countless labels and having worked under an array of artist names, it seems that there is still unreleased material in Paul Mac's studio. Thankfully, he has decided to put it out and it serves to reinforce the fact that he is a hugely talented, diverse producer. "All Tolled" isn't what one would expect from Mac, a stepping rhythm recorded it seems from a Martian aircraft carrier, amid the hiss and whoosh of space vehicles taking off and landing. "Level of What" also offers surprises; it follows Mac's well-documented love of acid, throwing down crashing snares and pirouetting acid lines, but amid this mayhem, he drops in the kind of eerie synths more commonly associated with Giallo Disco's horror shlock.
Review: Mac often draws on the influence of Detroit, but on DAT Archive, he focuses on the low-slung swing of Chicago house. "Binary Cycle" is a grainy, jacking affair, featuring little more than heavy 909 kicks and scratchy riffs. "Cherry Picker" sees Mac up the intensity and tempo levels as splurging 303s lines and an insistent ghetto rhythm prevail, while "Evidence" invokes the spirit of Robert Armani with its relentless, analogue rhythms. But Mac excels when he adds some of his own flourishes to this sound: "Funk Ignition" is a stop-start affair laced with grimy acid, while "F10 Filter" is led by spiky snares and tough, metallic drums.
Review: It's a positive thing that a veteran producer like Paul Mac can re-appear, seemingly at random and receive acclaim for his work. Then again, as Simple demonstrates, not every producer is as talented. The title track is a heavy, rolling groove, powered by a dark, booming bass and made all the more effective thanks to its churning filter. It sounds like Mac has made an attempt to fuse loopy techno with Saunderson-style bassy grooves and has succeeded. Liverpool producer John Heckle opts for a radically different approach with his remix. Heckle's remix is based on a jacking rhythm and acidic licks that insinuate themselves in and out of the arrangement.