Review: Mask-sporting techno titan Redshape (real name Sebastian Kramer) can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods, particularly when it comes to the warmly nostalgic, timeless-sounding outings he delivers on Running Back. There's a definite "back-to-the-future" feel to 'Release Me (Base Mix)', a jacking slab of acid house/techno fusion piled high with psychedelic TB-303 lines, booming bass and creepy, held-note chords. He explores the track's vintage Chicago House influences further on the more stomping, acid-fired 'Windy Mix', before opting for a warmer and bouncier techno sound on 'Bonuz Me' (check the melodious, looped riffs and synth-strings). Closing cut 'Second Ten', meanwhile, sounds like vintage Mr Fingers updated for the Berlin techno generation.
Review: Dutch powerhouse Delsin bunkers down for another year with a choice selection of tracks taken from the label's marque artists, regulars and newcomers. The compilation showcases the label's tastemaking approach to embracing a somewhat unidentified strands of dub electro, a new and developing sound harnessed it seems by Delsin this year. Claro Intelcto slathers his track "Two Thousand" with more of the obscene basslines we love the British artist for (with a lighter alternative to be found on "Messages") while Conforce plays with pixelation and subtle subsonic electro pulses in "OI". Gunnar Haslam rivals Porter-Ricks-deepness in his track "Cacique De Poyais" while label boss Peel Seamus warms things up with Detroit-styled keys and synths to offset the deeper, melodic and shimmering dub of new talent His Master's Voice.
Review: Given his long association with Gerd Janson's Running Bback label, we were rather surprised to learn that "Rise" marks Sebastian Kramer's first appearance on the imprint for three years. "Rise" is naturally hugely impressive, with Kramer building tension via moody Detroit techno style bass and sweaty, off-kilter house drums before introducing more melodic elements (chords, sparkling piano riffs etc.) and trippy spoken word snippets. For those that like to get busy in the mix, Running Back has included a druggy and percussive "Bonus Beats" version as well as a wonky, delay-laden acapella. Elsewhere, "Shape" is a positive and melancholic chunk of broken techno/string-laden deep house fusion, while "Motor Mix" is deep, drowsy and thoroughly delicious.
Review: Redshape follows last year's A Sole Game album with a return to Delsin, one of the main labels that has supported him over the years. This four-tracker has all of the German producer's signature sounds; "Android Malfunction" is a heads-down roller that resounds to eerie bleeps and doleful synths set to busy, rumbling drums. On both "Passengers" and "Bishop", he opts for a more understated approach: the drums are still tough and roll effortlessly, but the bass tones have that unmistakably melancholic Redshape tinge. Most impressive though is "A New Home", where Redshape weaves haunting melodies into a steely rhythm, making for an unforgettable deep techno piece.
Review: Originally released back in 2011, In Trust shows Redshape at the very height of his creative prowess. The title track features staccato drums in the background as the red-masked producer lays down beguiling, hypnotic melodies and beautiful synth lines that trail off into the ether. Representing the other side of the mysterious artist's psyche is "Laser!" Led by a pulsing, growling bass that wraps itself around an eerie synth line, it's on a par with other Redshape floor-killers such as Shaped World and Blood Into Dust. This release serves as a reminder that when it comes to Detroit-influenced techno, few producers can compare to Redshape.
Review: After a number of releases on Nonplus, the mysterious Redshape returns to his own Present label. More esoteric and less menacing than some of the red mask-wearing techno producer's previous output, The Gate/Voyager sees him set his sights on a more reflective path. "The Gate" resounds to dramatic chords and lithe back beats as a mysterious vocal talks about cosmic messages travelling at the speed of light. "Voyager" sees him head into an even more contemplative space. Its bass throbs and purrs powerfully, while all around it moody synths rise through the ether, like a sleek space craft gliding effortlessly across galaxies
Review: The choice of Tony Humphries to mix Running Back's first label compilation is a significant one. Getting his big break in the early '80s as an understudy for the legendary Shep Pettibone's Kiss FM show, Humphries went on to become one of the defining DJs of house music's formative years, with residencies at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar and London's Ministry of Sound. His previous mixes illustrate his continuing ability to bridge dance music's past and present and his new one for Gerd Janson's imprint will mark its fifteenth anniversary. It is a timely reminder of what has made the Frankfurt powerhouse remain on many favourite label lists for over a decade. It's a mix of golden oldies and recent classics alike: from Todd Terje's smash hit from several years ago "Ragysh" and the anthemic "The Voice From Planet Love" by Precious System, through to more recent bombs. Two by Running back alumnus Shan ("Bassline Party"/"Work It") and the legendary Mr G's Motor City ode "Ben & Gerd" (Killin It M Day).
Review: It's hard to believe that Plonk is almost a decade old. Famously, it featured on Marcel Dettmann's seminal Berghain mix CD back in 2008, a selection that was instrumental in introducing the Berlin club's sound to a global audience. And yet this release does not neatly dovetail with the soundtrack one would immediately associate with the world's best-known techno club. Sure, it's linear and dense, but Redshape's sparse arrangement is informed by the spacious dub of Basic Channel / Chain Reaction rather than harder iterations of techno. That said, the percussion is relentless in an understated manner and the eerie undercurrents do call to mind the many activities carried out in the club's nooks and crannies. More than anything though, the fact that it still sounds fresh after ten years says a lot about both Redshape and Dettmann's creative visions.
Review: As the title of Redshape's latest release suggests, the material contained therein was recorded during two of his live shows. Typically, the man in the red mask's performance is fluid and freeform by nature, but "London" illustrates that he has also instilled some discipline into his sets. It is more functional than usual and revolves around a driving, heads-down rhythm, firing hi-hats and a murky, grainy bass. By contrast, "Paris" is more sophisticated; while Redshape's powerful drums and cavernous sub-bass provide the backdrop, the track recorded in the French capital is full of mysterious synth flourishes - and adds some elegance to his catalogue.
Review: Two heroes of the new breed kick off a new mix series for Jamie Jones' esteemed Hot Creations imprint. Jones began Paradise at DC10 (Ibiza) five years ago and it's gone on to be a huge success, inviting the biggest names in the business to come play alongside his crew of residents. The first mix is courtesy of Toronto's Nathan Barato, a frequent collaborator with local heroes such as Carlo Lio and The Junkies and whose career has been on the rise with releases on Cajual, Saved, Circus and Defected. Highlights include the Derrick Carter classic "Where Ya At?" (Mix Originale), Makam's brooding "Loleatta" and Jared Wilson's rusty acid odyssey "Girl, I'm Waitin". UK talent Patrick Topping this year completed his third summer as resident at DC10 in Ibiza for Paradise. Here Topping showcases the sound and style of his sets with high energy from the word go. His mix features several of his own productions guaranteed for maximum dancefloor impact, as well as Metaboman's lo-slung and exotic "Next Please" through to Dave Clarke's massive remix of Jark Prongo's "Movin Thru Your System".
Review: It's that time again: Sven Vath's powerhouse Cocoon Recordings presents the next volume in its alphabetically themed series and brings out all the big guns in typical fashion. There are many highlights, but for our money we'd bet on fellow Frankfurt homeboys Einzelkind, Robin Schulz & Rhythm Factory who team up for the bouncy, late night tech house of "N.2guts", masked Berlin techno impresario Redshape on the brooding dark journey track 'The Choice", Glaswegian legend Alex Smoke with the funky microhouse jam "Porridge" and of course Ovum Recordings man/Philly's finest Josh Wink with the droning peak time acid trip "Buoyantly Grounded". It will take you ecstatic heights like he has done previously.
Review: There's an uncanny, yet distorted resemblance to Kassem Mosse's "578" in Redshape's raving "Tel Aviv", the first cut from a series of EPs the German plans to release to mark a decade of live performance. To be released across a range of labels, Gerd Janson's Running Back is first up to honour the masked producer with his personal celebration of music. "Rome" on the otherhand swerves any real melody, instead focusing its attentions of snarling white noise, in your face bass and a cut up vocals to make you dance!
Review: It is hard to believe that this record is nearly 10 years old. When it appeared back in 2007 on Redshape's own label, the title track's eerie synths and uncontrollable splurging bass sounded like a revelation. Indeed, this type of raw techno was a breath of fresh but menacing air amid the slew of synthetic mnml sounds. On the flip, "Black Dust" isn't quite as heavy and takes inspiration from US deep house, thanks to its bleeding, Chicago bass and melancholic synths. As techno is once again plunged into a world of sixth form misery, we need records like Unfinished Symmetry more than ever.
Review: This is only Redshape's second release this year, but it shows that the masked man has not lost his ability to conjure up atmospheric techno. The title track is typical of his sound, with a dense, upbuilding groove playing host to swirling synths, acid pirouettes and even some deranged vocal chants in the background. "Paper Blades" is a more unusual composition; it sees the masked man slow down the tempo and drop loose break beats. Against this laid back framework, he lays down Pete Namlook-style soothing ambient textures and supernatural, swirling textures that prove once again that Redshape is not a typical techno producer.
Review: The masked wonder returns after some time spent away with a new two track throwdown for Nonplus. After last year saw a pair of 12"s drop on Running Back, it's been a fairly quiet time in the world of Redshape, but he comes to Boddika's label with his surefire analogue intent intact, dropping a pair of assured club jams oozing with warmth and funk. "I Feel Like Riot" rumbles along on a crunchy set of percussion, around which wobbling LFOs of bass and plush synth hits spiral outwards in a fine Motor City tradition. "The Rift" meanwhile drops a slick set of conga-enhanced drum science with a different salvo of thick, throbbing melodic twists for the sleazy end of the dance.
Review: Many happy returns to Dutch techno stalwarts Delsin, who celebrate reaching a century of releases with 100 DSR, a collection of previously unreleased gems from the label's global army of artists. With such techno and electro talents as Gerry Read, Claro Intellecto, Redshape and A Made Up Sound involved, you'd expect it to be good. Pleasingly, it is, darting between shimmering IDM (CiM's brilliant "Way Station", Conforce's equally impressive "Wave Trance"), luscious Detroit futurism (Bleak's "Keep Me Close", John Beltran's brilliant "Return To Nightfall") and formidable heads-down pump (Sawlin, Mike Dehnert).
Review: Dutch techno titans Delsin recently celebrated a century of releases with the feverishly good 100DSR compilation. Here they deliver a fourth digital EP of material from the collection, showcasing three of the album's genuine highlights. Redshape's fittingly named "100 (Classic Mix)" is probably the pick. In best Redshape style, it's a near 11-minute journey into jazz-tinged Detroit techno revivalism; classic yet contemporary, driving yet emotionally rich. Area Forty One's "Supervoid" delivers some spookier, deeper techno thrills, while D5's delicious "Stem Cell" - his first new material in some years - bubbles and spits with melodic brilliance. Impressive stuff, all told.
Review: The man in the red mask presents a less singular and more accessible approach on the second Red Pack release. "Path Dub Mix" sees him go down the Chain Reaction route, as a fathomic bass underscores wave upon wave of dubby chords, while in another sideways move, "The Source" is all live, crashing drums and searing synth lines. There are hints of the Redshape of old on the original version of "Path", where eerie synths form over rasping percussion and steely drums, while both "Disco Marauder" and "Daft Mode" both unfolds to the sound of typical churning, brooding basslines. Despite these links to the past, "Bulp Head" shows that he is moving on, with a wired Japanese vocal sample bubbling up through the evocative synth line.
Review: German producer Redshape featured on Steffi's recent Panorama Bar mix, opening the selection with the deep ambience of his Palisade project. In this instance however, he focuses on the dance floor and "Focus" brings with it the menace and swagger we have come to expect from the man in the red mask. Waves of percussion hiss and itch, mournful tones play in the background and at the arrangement's heart is a bass that is by turns grinding, brooding and ominous. Steffi also contributes a track, "Attacke"; its claps are heavy and chords are eerie, but its pounding groove cannot compare to the Red menace.
Review: To date, Dekmantel's Anniversary Series of singles has proved to be something of a hit, delivering high quality deep house, acid and techno from such formidable talents as Hunee, Juju & Jordash, Skudge and Lone. Predictably, this fifth instalment is just as impressive as its predecessors, offering wildly contrasting fare from Redshape and Fudge Fingas. While the latter's fluid, loose, jazz-flecked "Light In My Life" impresses greatly, it's Redshape who wins the day. His "Flexx" is unashamedly powerful - a sweaty, percussive roller full of shuffling military drums, stargazing techno melodies, foreboding strings and booming bassline pressure. It's arguably his best for sometime.
Review: Delsin's masked crusader returns with his fifth EP on the ever reliable Dutch imprint. The three tracks on offer here showcase Redshape's sure hand with vintage production, with "Future Shock" a veritable analogue stew of swirling computer game bleepy synths and shuffling drum programming. "Kung Fu" sees the producer pay homage to the jacking sounds of Chicago, while the crunchy stomp juxtaposed by intergalactic synths of "Manhattan" pleases our ears immensely. Top release.