Review: It's hard to believe that Cocoon is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but what's not difficult to grasp is that Sven Vath's imprint is marking the occasion in style. Rampa and Emanuel Satie kick-start this compilation with emotive, tranced out tracks - in particular Rampa's "2000" is particularly poignant - while Cocoon mainstays like Gregor Tresher and Ricardo Tobar up the pace with the musical but clubby techno of "Nostalgia (Is The Enemy)" and "El Eterna" respectively. As always, Cocoon strikes a flawless balance between showcasing local producers and international names; 20 Years is no exception and features frazzled acid from Josh Wink as well as steely percussive bangers courtesy of Planetary Assault Systems and Jacek Sienkiewicz.
Review: As one of the most feted labels in techno, it's not hard to imagine that Cocoon receives a ton of demos. Fittingly then, the Dots & Pearls compilation series shines a light on the type of music that is bubbling up from the underground via the label's inbox. Youandme's"Claret Loss" sets a high standard, with its lush strings underpinned by a robust groove. Similarly, Florian Hollerith's "Ohrenzirkus" - which also features on label owner Sven V?th's Sound of the 19th Season - strikes a balance between the musical and the functional as deranged horns unravel over a gritty back drop. Maintaining this melodic feeling is Petar Dundov's beautifully mournful "Pyroelectric". However, there is another side to this equation, with Marc Romboy dropping the menacing bass-led "Sequential Error". Irrespective of the mood however, Dots & Pearls V is sure to become an integral part of this year's clubbing soundtrack.
Review: Germany's Voltaire Music return with some heavy hitters in techno, tech house, deepness and beyond. While it's mainly a Deutsche affair for the most part, they even managed to rope in Croatian hypnotic techno veteran Petar Dundov - who in conjunction with Systematic's Marc Romboy delivers the spiralling and melodic sorcery of "Caper Tran". Elsewhere, there's some epic dancefloor drama like on Tim Engelhardt's remix of "Florian Kruse & Hendrik Burkhard's "Crack In The Wall" featuring some heartfelt vocals by Mi.li.an. Highly lauded mastering engineer Hannes Bieger delivers the moody and entrancing "Strato" geared for those heads down moments under the strobelight and Frankfurt's finest Sascha Dive - he of Deep Vibes fame - delivers the goods as always on the darkroom dub of "Renegade" (Long version).
Review: As the temperatures get warmer, you can rest assured that Petar Dundov will release new music. The Croatian producer has been releasing deeply melodic techno for the best part of two decades, but his latest missive for Music Man is among his most impressive work. "Dalmatina" sounds like a low-slung, techy take on "Sueno Latino", with Dundov laying down evocative melodies over a tight, techy rhythm. On "Once We Were Here", he ups the tempo, but the mood remains the same as ponderous piano lines flow over tight back beats. It's the perfect, atmospheric sound track for those dramatic Dalmatian sunsets.
Review: Given that Music Man regular Petar Dundov and Systematic boss Marc Romboy are both hugely successful producers in their own right, you'd expect this first collaborative release to be rather good. It is, of course, with pleasingly melodic "Garden of Cyrus" leading the way. While the track's muted (but heavy) drums and squeezable acidic bassline provide the energy, it's the duo's layered electronic melody lines that really catch the ear. If you're in the mood for something darker and more suitable for pitch-black Berlin basements, creepy and hypnotic flipside "Caper Tran" should more than fit the bill.
Review: "Lattice" is taken from Petar Dundov's fourth artist album, At The Turn Of Equilibrium, and it in some ways it is indicative of his sound. The Croatian's penchant for catchy, tranced out melodies are present, but the overall mood is subdued and even the synths have a less melancholic sound than usual, replaced by a somewhat frosty sensibility. It's left up to remixer Frank Wiedemann to raise the mood. The German producer, who is one half of Ame has considerable experience in this area - who can forget Rej? - and he combines powerful bass pulses with euphoric trance riffs to create a memorable, bubbling remix.
Review: Croatia's Petar Dundov, as those in the know well know: is one of the original proponents of the 'hypnotic techno' sound and why he's such a favourite at events such as the iconic Labyrinth Festival in Japan. In a career that's spanned over 16 years, At The Turn Of The Equilibrium LP marks his fifth album. Half the tracks are some of the most captivating and immersive ambient soundscapes that will inspire you with awe; such as on "Then Life" and "Everlasting Love" but rest assured there's some sweet trance inducing grooves also, like "The Lattice", the positive and uplifting "Before It All Ends" and the sombre and mysterious "Midnight Orchestra" which have you tunnelling down the abyss gloriously.