Review: Originally released during the early to mid 00s, Steve Rachmad's Scorp project was like a breath of fresh air for anyone suffocating under wave upon wave of dreary loop techno at the time. That's not to suggest that the tracks on this compilation are anything but DJ tools - and the steely minimalism and raw tonal repetition of "Atomitron" is reminiscent of Mills at his most uncompromising. However, they do possess a dynamism and energy that was almost alien to that period. Take a listen to the rattling snares and claps on "Energetix" or the relentless, pile-driving motion of "One Side" for confirmation that even when he's banging the box, Steve Rachmad is in a league of his own.
Review: Given his reputation for pioneering techno in the Netherlands in the '90s, it is no surprise a broad range of labels are looking to work with Steve Rachmad. Not soon after the man known as Sterac contributed a pair of remixes to an Aera 12" on the mighty Innervisions, Rachmad's earlier material is the subject of a reissue 12" on home turf titans Rush Hour. It's his mid-'90s work for Dutch techno label 100% Pure that is the focus of the Amsterdam operation's attentions here, specifically the cuts "Osirion" and "Primus." Issued together on a '96 12" on 100% Pure, both these tracks are not as widely feted as Sterac classics from the same era like "Sitting On Clouds" but they do demonstrate Rachmad's innate mastery of the Motor City sound. Remastered for 2016, they sound just as fresh some 20 years on!!
Review: The title of this release could sum up Steve Rachmad's diverse career. From the deep techno of the early Sterac releases through the widescreen electro of Sterac Electronics and the tougher projects like Scorp, he has brought his expertise and finesse to a range of styles. For this outing on Luke Slater's label, the Dutch artist remains in harder territory. "Stroke 1" sees clipped drums underpin a dark, EBM bass, while "Stroke 2" explores this sound in more depth, as a grinding low end is fused with hissing percussive ticks. "Stroke 3" and "Stroke 4" return to more typical Sterac territory, with swaggering rhythms unfolding to the sound of bubbly bass tones and dubbed out drums.
Review: Delsin slip out its highest profile record of 2014 just before the year ends - a whopping Sterac single with remixes from NYC power duo Anthony Parasole & Phil Moffa, Berlin techno commander Mike Dehnert, and a booming Vril dub. The original is a classic slice of Steve Rachmad goodness, with all the cheeky synths, shuffling percussion and funk you could hope for coming from the revered Dutchman, while Vril's dub couldn't do a better service to his Delsin colleague, taking the original's essential elements, stripping them of colour then doubling them in size. Parasole & Moffa focus on the synth power of Sterac's "Hynoticus" as does Mike Dehnert, only the German's version comes straight from the resonating vaults of his Fackwerk bunker. Banging EP!
Review: Just This celebrate their tenth anniversary with X, a compilation that skirts at the edges of ambient, techno and even pop. Those more mainstream elements are audible on Mind Against's epic remix of Blausch's "Brood" while on "Good Old Days", Woo York's thumping electronic groove also features pop vocals. There's a darker side to Just This' canon, and this comes through on Yotam Avni's brooding "Name Dropping" and the low-slung,frazzled groove of Extrawelt's "Ort Und Impuls (Alternate Version)". However, what really shines through are the dreamy techno grooves from Hunter/Game and Sterac's "Hypnotized", a powerful club track that combines firing percussion with seductive, Detroit techno-style bass.
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.