Review: This is not the first compilation to drop whose sole aim is to raise funds for NHS Chartities Together - R&S Records and Bass Agenda both delivered similarly epic sets - but "Care4Life" may well be the strongest and most diverse. As you'd expect, each one of the 45 tracks is previously unreleased, and the cast list reads like a who's who of dance music culture. Notable highlights include an ultra-deep, saucer-eyed number from Daniel Avery, an unheard rework of the Chemical Brothers' "Catch Me I'm Falling", a superb revision of Harvey's Locussolus project by Kiwi, Matthew Herbert in jazzy broken beat mode, a rare solo outing from Optimo's JD Twitch, a rip-roaring rave workout from Jas Shaw, and thumping peak-time bangers from Dusky, Eats Everything and Patrick Topping.
Review: Following on from the recent 2.1 compilation, Hotflush again shows why it is such an essential dance floor label. It features established artists like Agoria, who drops the discordant tones and spiky minimalism of "Helice" and Recondit with the deep, dubbed out "Channel" , alongside emerging producers like Glaskin with the twisted acid of "You Are Simply A Machine". No Hotflush compilation would be complete without its owner Scuba's input; here it takes various forms, including a broken beat remix of "Ruptured" by Surgeon, and the SCB sub-project dropping the sub-bass led "Rope". If that wasn't reason enough to buy Floor 2.2, there is also a fine techno track from the late, great Trevino.
Review: The latest compilation from Scuba's label features some of dance music's most distinctive producers. Recondite delivers "Pour", a throbbing, spaced out groove that will leave listeners mesmerised. Locked Groove, another Hotflush regular, also focuses on the deeper end of techno with the hypnotic, flowing "From Beyond". The compilations also includes "If You Still Want Me", an evocative house cut from Yotam Anvi, where plaintive vocals unravel over a dubbed out groove, while Scuba himself impresses with the synth-heavy "Nineteen Eighty" and, working as SCB, drops the steely, stepping rhythm of "Five Degrees". Floor 2.1 is an essential release for anyone with even a passing interest in forward-facing techno and house.
Review: Label boss Scuba dons his SCB alias to deliver this split release with Wehbba, who has previously released on high-profile labels like Drumcode and Tronic. That hypnotic, big-room sound is audible on "Survival", where steely drums are fused with wild acid pirouettes. The title track is less intense, and sees the duo deliver a pulsating groove that's framed by steely percussion and ponderous vocal samples. "New Culture" is more stripped back, with this unlikely pairing focusing again on those steely drums, underpinned this time by an insistent filter. "Green Planet" is similarly focused, as rolling, Palstikman-style percussion and acid drones unravel over solid kicks.
Review: Dave Robertson aka Reset Robot returns to Hotflush after last year's Conflux release. The focus here is on tough club tracks with varying de-grees of abrasive sound. The title track is a chugging rhythm that is based on a potent update of the Hoover bass, which provides the basis for filtered riffs and a series of incessant bleeps. Despite this, its step-ping rhythm means that it maintains a sense of funk. "Idiolect" sees Robertson dive off into the noisy abyss with a grainy take on acid tech-no, while Wehbba keeps up the pressure with a stomping take on last year's Reset Robot / SCB collaboration, "Arp".
Review: Reset Robot aka Dave Robertson is best known for his work on Adam Beyer's Truesoul imprint, and now makes his debut on Hotflush. "Slippery Jack" is a mesmerising tech house cut that revolves around a building electronic riff and a pumping groove, while on the title track, the UK producer opts for a different approach. Dramatic chords swirl in like storm clouds over a relentless, hammering rhythm, while the break down is bigger than a motorway tailback on Black Friday. By contrast, "Arp" is a deeper affair, led by layered chords and a buzzing groove. Meanwhile, Scuba's own take on the title track offers another perspective, with its steely drums cutting through Robertson's chords.
Review: Remixing Scuba's SCB project must be a daunting task, but Hammer and Mor Elian both rise to the occasion. Hammer's version of "Test Tubes" is led by a pulsating bass and epic synth lines that are inspired by horror disco and joyous Italo in equal measures. Meanwhile, Mor Elian's take on "Fishbowl" goes down a different route; underpinned by rough, rolling 808s and menacing low end, it reinforces the fact that the Fever AM founder is one of the most talented electro artists to emerge in recent years. The original version of "Fishbowl", also included here, is a reflective slice of deep techno, while on "Turquoise Shade", Scuba surprises again, this time with a mellow, blissed out house groove.
Review: Adam Beyer's label notches up the seventh A-Sides compilation in as many years. In keeping with its approach of featuring well-known Drumcode artists alongside newer artists, Volume 7 shines a light ion emerging techno talent. This includes the deep and dubbed out "Portable Paradise" by Anna, alongside upcoming Canadian artist Weska with the searing acid of "Other Places" and recent Drumcode debutant Boxia with the dreamy but rolling "Final Call". These emerging artists sit alongside techno veteran Thomas Schumacher, who drops the eerie but jacking "The Unseen", Alan Fitzpatrick collaborating with Scuba's SCB offshoot to deliver the tough tribal techno of "Untitled" and Dutch producer Bart Skills weighing in with the ominous big-room monster that is "West Of The Moon".
Review: Following previous remixes of SCB's recent LP Caibu by the likes of Rebekah and ANNA, Hotflush are back with the third edition - which ups the ante considerably. The track "Test Tubes" appears in its original industrial edged form, but receives a rework by men of the moment Mind Against - the Italian duo take the track into deeply entrancing territory in the same vein as their acclaimed releases on Life & Death and Afterlife. Label staple Locked Groove from Belgium delivers a spiralling rendition of "The Cut" which is properly geared for some moments of tunnel vision under the strobe light. Finally, embrace the raw power of the functional "Hexagon" a steely techno number scraped straight off the factory floor.
Review: Scuba's socially conscious SCB side-project continues to impress with its latest missive. "Traffic on the Hyperway" is a pulsating, electronic groove that resounds to filtered percussion and tough kicks. Elsewhere on the release, the Hotflush owner's material gets the rework treatment. Rebekah turns "Intelligence Fetish" into a pummelling, broken beat workout, its lone bleeps and steely drums conjuring up a bleak atmosphere. Isaac Reuben's take on the same track resounds to a break neck tempo and is powered by insistent kicks as well as some atmospheric drops. Meanwhile, rounding off the release in a more reflective approach is a new version of "Caibu" from the SCB album of the same name, where spiralling acid lines suggest a slightly more optimistic vision of the future.
Review: In keeping with Paul Rose's new socially-aware focus, the latest SCB release is, rather chillingly, called Extinct. While the man usually associated with the Scuba alias has become more interested in where humanity is going, this doesn't mean that this release is downbeat, and the title track is a stripped back tech house groove littered with blasts of white noise. "Anaesthetic" is more uptempo as Rose drops a linear, percussive rhythm, supported by metallic hi hats and doubled up claps. Meanwhile, ANNA's take on the title track is a rolling, hypnotic affair, peppered with dark acid lines and mysterious synths, while Ireen Amnes' version is led by lithe break beats and an understated bass. Overall, it's not as apocalyptic as its title suggests.
Review: Following on from last year's second Consciousness compilation, Afterlife returns with an even more ambitious project. Label owners Tale of Us deliver a suitably melodic track, "Nova", but there are also a series of contributions from high-profile artists. Sterac's "Universum" is an expertly weighted, stripped back techno affair, while on "Phase In", Edit Select takes it deeper with a throbbing, tranced out groove that is like a more refined take on early Plus 8 material. Completing the techno triumvirate is Scuba's SCB project. Now also a vehicle for the UK producer's socially conscious thoughts, "Tide Slide", which is possibly a reference to the effects of climate change, sees him deliver a frosty techno groove.
Review: If Mark Knight and Co. aren't busy enough celebrating Toolroom's big 15 year birthday at present (and its global parties in celebration of it), they've also found enough time for another mandatory volume in their esteemed Ibiza Underground series. With another collection of surefire hits and soon to be anthems that are sure to rock The White Isle this summer - this is all you need right here. A wide range of cuts (50 to be exact) that venture into darker territories come from the likes of New York duo Blondes on the fierce and broken "Quality Of Life" (Struction remix), the surprising addition of Scottish IDM wunderkind Lanark Artefax's "Touch Absence" (Intimidating Stillness mix), Dutch techno-bass merchant Martyn on the futuristic "Feel The Magnetism" and American retrovert Matrixxman on the tunnelling acid trip "Horizon". Rest assured that there's faire more typical of the label like Josh Butler, Franky Rizardo, Rick Wakley and birthday guests Booka Shade. For your convenience, the collection comes as two continuous mixes as well.
Review: SCB had been an alias for Scuba's dance floor-focused techno tracks, but as Caibu and the EPs that preceded it demonstrate, it is now also a vehicle for the UK producer to explore different styles and to articulate his concerns about modern society. Tracks like the bleep-heavy "Test Tubes" and the storming, big room "Manufactured Consent" - the title a riff on the classic Chomsky tome - show that the project remains synonymous with killer techno, but Caibu succeeds largely by showcasing SCB's other side. "The Cut" is a shimmering, widescreen piece of music, the tone-laden breaks of "Freedom for the Fifty" sees Scuba seek justice for a wronged group, while the warbling, off-centre "Extinct" is an understated sound track for end of times.
Review: n the past, SCB was Scuba's techno alias, but based on this year's releases, it has also moved into the conceptual sphere. According to the UK producer, Engineered Morality, like the two preceding EPs, see him 'exploring a fictional narrative in which a hypothetical timeline is corrupted by a climate-related disaster'. It is also another taster for his debut SCB album, Caibu. "Intelligence Fetish", with its layered electronic tones and drones, reveals a new, experimental side to Paul Rose, while "Precision Incision" sees him back on the dance floor with a rolling workout, led by steely percussion and resonating drums. "Fishbowl" marks a return to a more experimental approach, with dusky break beats and spaced out synths unravelling over a lean bass. It bodes well for the SCB album.
Review: Hotflush head honcho Scuba returns to his esteemed imprint, following up hot releases by Liverpudlian newcomer Or:la, scene stalwart/acid freak LA-4A and the experimental electronics of Munich's Pyur. Under his SCB alias, he is probably best known for 'heads-down' style grooves and definitely more on the aggressive side. The dusty and dank "Test Tubes" is warm-up music for clandestine warehouse raves, while "Freedom For The Fifty" sees him offer up an impressive perspective of old school, Detroit style electro. From here, you start to see that it's a really diverse yet cohesive offering: with the hypnotic dancefloor drama of "Oration" showing something more consistent with his label's overall sound, while the evocative and life affirming retro electronica of "Laboratory Conditions" closes out the EP in style - something you would have heard at one of those legendary raves under the M25 back in the early '90s.
Review: Paul Rose started the SCB side project as a platform to put out dance floor-focused techno - and he has resurrected it for Below the Line. The release supposedly refers to a hypothetical scenario where a climate-related disaster triggers widespread unrest. Despite bearing such a potentially tragic back story, there is much material for celebration here; "Five Degrees" revolves around an acid bass, while "Confidence Track" sees Rose revisit previous SCB material, with looped chords and cavernous filters riding a rolling groove. The release does feature an ominous composition in the form of the moody electro cut, "Opposition Division", but the main focus is on the dance floor, as the massive breakdown and siren riffs of "The Cut" demonstrates.
Review: The second volume of the Endeavours compilation starts with the artist it is dedicated to - Trevino. "Plugged" shows why the UK producer, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was held in such high esteem - its rich, dubby chords and swaggering groove sounding effortless. By contrast, Ambivalent delivers a rough, rugged take on jacking techno with "Supertouch" under his LA-4A guise, while Lando inhabits similar territory on the grimy "Ritual Track". There are emotions of a different nature audible on TML's "Crying (Piano Mix)", where euphoric keys and haunting vocals unfold over a rolling groove. Oliver Deutschmann provides the toughest, most frenetic track in the shape of the loopy techno "Sequel", while Scuba himself works as SCB to deliver the rough, sample-heavy techno of "Rolling SN".
Review: This is the first in a series of two mini-compilations on Hotflush and is dedicated to Trevino, who died earlier this year. First up are German pair Glaskin, who drop the techy, stepping "Cosmic Dance Interlude", followed by Or:la with the deep but jacking "B.W.U.W". Ambivalent makes his Hotflush debut under his LA-4A guise to drop the jacking "How I Feel", with Terr's "Find A Way" occupying a relatively similar space. Label boss Scuba unleashes the noisy, primal techno of " Boulahrouz" under his SCB alias and Israeli producer Yotam Avni rounds off the first volume with the stripped back, minimal groove of "Baduk". This first instalment is a fitting tribute to the UK producer.