Reviewed this week
Given that he occasionally performs D&B sets under the Sterngucker alias, we shouldn't be surprised that Stefan Streck's latest Micronaut missive draws influence from the early days of jungle and UK hardcore. The whole EP is something of a retro-futurist treat, if truth be told. Opener "Earlylate", for example, sees him employ both vintage, New Jersey garage style organ chords and house-tempo, jungle style breakbeats, while "OldNew" is a pleasingly saucer-eyed fusion of UKG inspired two-step beats, Inner City style synth stabs and nu-disco electronics. Elsewhere, "Undercover" sounds like pitched-down early liquid funk and "Smallbig" boasts the kind of sweeping melody lines reminiscent of progressive breaks veterans Hybrid in their pomp (whilst being a little rougher round the edges).
Label-hopping deep house head Urulu (real name Taylor Freels) has come a long way since he made his debut on Amadeus back in 2012. Here he returns to the label for the first time since, bringing with him a quartet of sumptuous, saucer-eyed treats. Freels sets the tone via the soft focus loveliness of ambient-goes-broken beat gem "Limp Lover (Intro)", before diving further into hybrid IDM/dream house pastures on the chiming and sunset-friendly "The Nautilus". His rarely seen electro influences come to the fore on the deep space shuffle of acid-flecked dancefloor soundscape "Armadillo", while "Cold Ravioli" sees him wrap dreamy piano flourishes and rich deep house textures around a snappy breakbeat house groove.
For the eleventh edition in the second phase of Billy Nasty's notorious electro imprint, he presents new collaboration M-Twelve. Taking their name from the iconic Fred Perry T-shirt. It's comprised of the label boss himself with Nick Dunton of Surface Records, 65D Mavericks fame and more recently: the Poverty is Violence label. A side cut "All The Things" is a booming and thumping expression in big-room electro, but with an evocative vibe and a sleazy vocal atop. That same creepy voice makes a comeback on the smack electro of "Time Spent". It's the B side which really packs a punch though, with these two stellar remixes: the dystopian breakneck shenanigans of "Time Spent" (Sync 24 remix) that is assisted by some snarling acid action, while Transparent Sound's rendition sees the Bognor legends deliver the goods as always.
Is Domenic Capello as good an A&R as he is a DJ? It might sound like a strange question, but over the past year, his Seventh Sign label has released two of the finest techno records in years. First there was Mihail P's epic Sleeper, followed now by Bud Burroughs debut EP. Hailing from Scotland, it is tempting to posit that newcomer Burroughs was schooled in electronic music at Capello's Sub Club residency in Glasgow. Accordingly, "With Awe, My Heart" is a timeless piece of Detroit-inspired techno, its bouncy groove and warm, seductive bass providing the basis for reverberating claps and dreamy pad and synth climaxes. "Julip" is a wonderful, widescreen electro workout, while on "On Yr Own", Burroughs picks up the pace again with a Ron Trent-style, string-soaked deep house workout.
HVL has landed on many different labels in recent years, but Rough House Rosie will always be something of a spiritual home for the adventurous deep electro and techno craftsman. Across the Hidden Valley EP he displays a fluid, instinctive approach to composition - "Enslaver" rolls out like a live jam but the detail and control embedded in the track is astounding. "Distom Spook" is charged with nervous acidic energy, while "Lemon Stealer" takes things in a more experimental direction with all manner of snaking synth voices wriggling around a crisp electro beat. "Crow Hill" finishes the EP off with a slow, rolling breakbeat groove and hazy pads for a quintessential wind-down session.
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