James Ruskin - "Correction Centre A" - (5:59) 136 BPM
Oliver Ho - "Part 1" - (4:17) 139 BPM
James Ruskin - "Weakness Of The System" - (5:45) 132 BPM
Review: To celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, Blueprint has delved deep into its back catalogue. "Post Traumatic Son", a collaboration between label owner James Ruskin and Karl O'Connor, features three times in remixed form, with DVS1 dropping a deep take, Robert Hood turning the track into an angular, metallic jacker and Marcel Dettmann remodelling it into a grainy Berghain stomper. In as much as dance floor tracks like "Son..." and the coruscating, gnarly rhythm of Outline's "Encounter" have defined the label since the start, so too does its more abstract work. A shadow of textured sound looms over Ruskin's "Correction Centre A"; Samuel Kerridge's "Operation Neptune" is a trip into the world of grungy electronics, while Lakker's "Static & Amp" fuses haunting vocals with a hissing, humming groove.
Review: As befits one of techno's most revered labels, Tresor 30 is a comprehensive collection that takes in a breath-taking array of artists and sounds. The compilation features classics, such as Underground Resistance's "Final Frontier", remixed here into a clubbier shape, the spellbinding deep techno of Juan Atkins' "I Love You" and Jeff Mills' timeless banger, "Late Night", one of Tresor's signature tracks. These eternal works sit alongside contributions from newer artists: in particular, Afrodeutsche's "Can't Stop" is a wonderfully dreamy affair, while RRoxymore's "Multiplicity" teases new twists from percussive techno. Thirty years after its inception, Tresor is showing no signs of slowing down.
Review: Surgeon follows the Golden Sea release on Ilian Tape from earlier this year with this fine four-tracker. "Winged Assassin" is a rolling, stepping affair that resounds to acid-soaked blips and woozy synths. In contrast on "Crater 101", there is a harder sound audible, with visceral kicks underpinning noisy stabs and sheets of steely percussion. But the UK techno veteran is in less abrasive form than usual on this release, and "Place of Angels" resounds to a murky bass and squelching tones. On the title track, Surgeon ventures even farther from the techno path, delivering an abstract atmospheric composition that blurs the boundaries between electronic and post-rock's stream of consciousness.
Review: The second instalment of the Raw Trax series sees Surgeon deliver an exhilirating, grimy take on techno music using just some basic equipment. The untitled "A1" cut follows the direction of the first release, with a hammering drum track underpinning noisy riffs. He ups the ante on "A2", where the slamming rhythm is infested with buzzing bee acid lines, before returning to pared back kicks and razor-sharp percussive bursts for "B1". Rounding off this second volume is the frazzled electronic noise of 'B2" - like the rest of the Raw Trax series, it should be required listening for anyone considering a dive into the world of techno production.
Review: Here's a release that takes a different approach to the typical techno EP. Surgeon created a series of tracks to play at the Amsterdam Dance Event last year, using a basic set-up. These results, while brutal in places, are a breath of fresh air. In particular, "Raw Trax 3" is a noisy, layered workout that unfolds against the backdrop of doubled up beats and grimy analogue tones. "Raw Trax 4" is comparably straight-forward, with a punishing kick drum pounding the listener into submission. Best of all though is "Raw Trax 2", a teased out stomper that recalls the vintage work of artists like Neil Landstrumm and Tobias Schmidt.
Review: For his first album in nearly two years, Anthony Child - better known, of course, under the Surgeon alias - has taken influence from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a tome that famously also inspired the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows". As a result, the Birmingham producer's usual moody modular techno rhythms and armour-plated grooves come brandishing decidedly trippy electronics, not to mention some serious psychedelic synth lines. Combine these with a willingness to explore electro and Autechre style IDM rhythms, and you have an album that could be Child's most impressive set for some time.
Review: To commence their 20th birthday celebrations, British techno imprint Blueprint has naturally turned to some of their pals for fresh material. Thus, we get Search Deep Inside Yourself, Surgeon's first appearance on James Ruskin's imprint for 19 years. The Birmingham producer naturally rises to the occasion, surging between metallic loop-jams ("Inside"), bleep-heavy broken techno brilliance ("Deep"), and surprisingly warm, tribal-enthused techno anthems ("Search"). Arguably best of all, though, is closer "Yourself", which sounds like Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams" after 20 years on crack, several spells in jail, and a brutal gang beating. Sure, there are few surprises, but when does Surgeon ever disappoint? You know the drill.
Review: Tiptop Audio started life as a manufacturer of modular instruments. Here, they launch an offshoot record label with an all-star collection of all-modular recordings. Largely focused on techno, as you'd expect, there are stellar contributions from Christian Burkhardt (the floor-friendly low-end bounce of "Gin Tronic"), Surgeon (the surprisingly melodious, intelligent techno inspired "Techno Blush"), Blawan ("Meg", a typically dense and sludgy affair), Kink and Richard Devine, whose "CR Hex Mutant" sounds like Aphex Twin having an epileptic fit. Best of all, though, is Joao Ceser's "Fifth Dimension", which drags classic Detroit futurism kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Review: Woof! If you are looking for a massive slab of techno, you won't find anything as hefty as Aphelion. A package of tracks from Belgian label Token, Aphelion is essentially a primer for the best in contemporary techno, featuring contributions from Surgeon, Rodhad, James Ruskin, Karenn and Planetary Assault System alongside some label regulars. You will have probably already heard "Fixed Action Pattern" from Surgeon - it's possibly one of this year's finest techno tracks - but it's got some stiff competition here with Ruskin in particularly funked up form on "No Trace". Aphelion is a real statement and proof of Token's current rank as a European techno powerhouse alongside the likes of Delsin and Ostgut Ton.
Review: It seems like the last few months of 2014 are going to be quite big for a newly bearded up Surgeon with a series of enticing looking reissues of '90s material under the SRX banner due to commence soon, as well as an incoming British Murder Boys retrospective on DNS. First up, the UK techno legend makes his debut proper on Token with Fixed Action Pattern, a two-track single of distorted, broken beat techno tailor-made for the Belgian label. Essentially two variants of the same track, the original is exactly the sort of searing, peak time wall-shaker you'd expect when Surgeon meets Token, and it's complemented nicely by a dub version that the label quite aptly compare to Lee Scratch Perry dabbling in industrial electronics.
Review: While it might be tricky in these open-minded times for Scuba to shatter preconceptions the way that he did with his Sub:Stance mix a few years ago, this compilation should be seen really as a celebration of the man himself as a DJ. After launching with a decidedly minimalist approach, the mix meanders between pacey techno, bluesy broken beat and rolling dubstep tempos. At times the flow feels unsteady, but then it just rings true that he put this mix together for himself. Without a dancefloor to look after, who knows where many of our favourite DJs might take us?