Review: The sixth issue from Jealous God, and the first of what promises to be another year of intrigue for the label, pairs up visual director Juan Mendez with 51717, aka New York artist Lili Schulder. Any fans of Schulder's 51717 cassette for Opal Tapes or her Shadowlust collaboration with Svengalisghost will be excited by the prospect of some new music committed to wax and she's on wonderfully abstract form here. Listening to opening track "The Glove" is an experience similar to being slowly covered by a viscous liquid to the point of suffocation, with her barely audible spoken word delivery only adding to the sense of foreboding. Complementing this, 51717 provides two shorter but equally striking compositions with "Regard" especially chilling. It's a mood that seeps into the two Silent Servant productions with "Severed Union" ripe mixtape opener material.
Review: The latest Mote Evolver release sees a collaboration so obviously perfect its amazing its taken this long, as Stroboscopic Artefacts boss Lucy and Sandwell District alumnus Silent Servant team up for two tracks of precision techno which supposedly sees the pair using digital and analogue elements together to combine Lucy's ability to tell a story with Silent Servant's mastery of noise and distortion. "Dormancy Survivors" sees a steadily rolling rhythm slowly layered up with bright dub chords and echoing chimes, while white hot noise swells in the background. "Victors History" takes a much moodier approach from the off, as a dubby bass deflects bouncing stabs while clockwork percussion drifts in and out of range, before progressing into full blown cinematic techno towards the finish.
Review: Ben Klock is Berghain's DJ's DJ and Marcel Dettmann is the club's purist, but Norman Nodge is the teacher. Without the lawyer, family man and DJ's influence, it is arguable whether the Berlin club where both reside would enjoy the same kind of global profile. Nodge's DJing played a central role in shaping the club's musical aesthetic. Mixing classic house and techno styles with contemporary variants, his selection veers from the wild abstractions of Birds Two Cage and Oni Ayhun to the explosive white noise intensity of Planet Assault Systems' take on The Nightripper's "Tone Exploitation" and the stomping industrial techno of Charlton's "Black Slong". While Nodge is clearly an expert in building a set, he doesn't simply ramp up the tempo and cruise to a predictable climax. Nodge follows the PAS/Charlton segue with the gnarly rhythms and chain mail percussion of Ctrls and Chance 'Chancellor' McDermott, but then drops into the trippy acid and infectious vocals of Tim Taylor & DJ Slip's "New York Minds". He follows this shift in sound with Radioactive Man's melodic electro bass and Legowelt's warm synth version of Xosar's "Rainy Day Juno Jam", bringing to a close Berghain's most impressive mix yet.
Review: Having inaugurated the Jealous God label on a collaborative release with Semantica boss Svreca, Juan Mendez returns here to helm the third 'issue' under his Silent Servant guise. The more feverish Downwards completists will recognise "Lust Abandon" as a track Mendez committed to tape for a limited split cassette release with Regis earlier this year which was issued exclusively through Los Angeles vinyl emporium Mount Analogue. The chance to own it here should not be passed up as "Lust Abandon" finds Mendez expanding on the deathly drawl that made up much of his excellent 2012 LP Negative Fascination, though there's a noted drop in tempo which serves to highlight how good a producer he is. Meanwhile Diagonal boss Powell turns in a splendidly ramshackle reconstruction that's driven by typically recycled no wave drums that always appear on the verge of collapsing.
Review: Juan Mendez pushes the largely abstract approach on his debut album towards the dance floor. Ironically though, the LP version of "Strange Attractor" was more brutal and upfront. On this version, Mendez lets the chain mail groove throb beneath layer upon layer of eerie chords, abstract whispers and what could be an angle grinder running in the background. This version of "Invocation of Lust" has an eerie, garbled vocal in the background, but fused with spiky metallic percussion and a thumping kick drum and throbbing bass, makes for a compelling club record. Finally, "Utopian Disaster (End)" is the most Sandwell-esque track on offer, its slamming rhythm, droning sounds and reverberating, doubled up claps sounding like a sequel to the Negative Fascination EP that was released on the seminal, now defunct techno label.
Review: Hospital Productions have been around for a hell of a long time, with releases dating back to 1998. For the last fifteen years they've progressed impressively and have grown by expanding their catalogue as far as black metal. Silent Servant, one half of the now defunct Sandwell District label, makes his debut for the American label with sheer elegance and emotion. Negative Fascination is a true LP, with all the productions representing an entity rather than a collection of dancefloor tools. Tracks such as "Invocation Of Lust", which sway effortlessly across desolate plains of synths and distant melodies, fall neatly into place with others; "Moral Divide (Endless)" being its natural epilogue as ghostly sounds and transmuted effects are caught in a whirlpool of rough, analogue beats. Only certain parts such as "The Strange Attractor" could be bracketed as belonging to the techno realm, with most other tracks containing much more than just club antics. "Temptation & Desire" could only be considered techno in so far as its dark approach, but it's the ingenious sound arrangements that fall between their spaces which make this album a true gem. Highly recommended.
Review: If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word, superb.
Review: According to Infrastructure NYC head Function, this compilation was compiled like an album and involves not only the core group of artists but also connects the dots between the label's past, his Berghain 07 mix CD for Ostgut Ton, the legendary Sandwell District days and the respective history of the artists. Infrastructure Facticity spans "a narrative ranging from lush, ambient electronics and post-club diversions, to contemporary club techno and back again." British artist Robert McNally provides the artwork and musically the highlights are not so much the dancefloor ready bangers, which are mainly quite good, rather the moments of restraint such as Vatican Shadow's brooding and almost Boards Of Canada sounding "Swords Over Paradise", the slow burning reduced acid of Cassegrain & Tin Man's "Open Sea" and Rrose's finest moment yet, "Cephalon", which can barely be described in words!