Review: Spanning an epic 46 tracks of ghetto tech, house, electro and techno bangers welded all the more to scratch tracks, footwork and straight up motor city bangers - DJ Godfather's This Detroit Thing Of Ours has landed. With each track segueing into the next the album also includes collaborations with DJ Deeon, Goodmoney G100 and King Saaidi to Gettoblaster & Missy - you find other badass collabs vai Lil Mz 313 ("That Booty"), to soulful yet dubbier-tranced out numbers with Ricky Burns ("Back It Up"). Furthermore there's the raw basslines of "It's Ghetto Tech" featuring Dan Diamond to some slurpy-sippin' midwest club vibes of "What Up" featuring Parkhouse. DJ Godfather, better recognise y'all.
Review: A native of Reykjavik, Iceland, Tonarunur has just a handful of releases to his name on labels including Eskimo Recordings and Citizens Of Vice, but has already been called upon to sprinkle some magic remix dust over tracks by Imagination and Visage... which gives you some idea of the kind of 80s-inspired grooves you'll find herein. The dreamy 'Paris From Above' kicks us off in Italo/cosmic mode, before things take a more uptempo, proggy turn on 'Quebec From Above'. Coyote then brings us a downtempo refix of the former while Eric Skantze's take on 'Quebec...' goes straight for the melodic techno jugular.
Review: Said to be inspired by science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin - Alberta Balsam presents her debut album Higher Dreams for Dekmantel. A narrative-based listening session also designed for the dancefloor, the LP tells the story of a quest for survival and a planet ravaged by ecological collapse and environmental apocalypse. With that said, this is by far a draconian listen of gothic doom and swathes of cheap reverb - but a colourful and melodic session of pumping synth-music and electro references taking both Drexciya and Delia Derbyshire. Get your kicks from "Atuan Tombs", "Metanoia" and "Cascade" next to Alberta Balsam's own vocals in the title track and some hardcroe Detroit flair in "Suspended In The Manifold". A deep and beautiful debut that should be enjoyed and explored in its entirety.
Review: Some two years after making their breakthrough on Strictly Rhythm, Bodhi return to action via a first outing on Shall Not Fade. The Cardiff-based duo are in fine form throughout, giddily bouncing between styles without losing any of their trademark panache. bOver the course of the EP's five tracks, the Welsh twosome flits between driving, mind-altering sweatiness (stomping, psychedelic house opener 'SQU'), dreamy and spacey breakbeat (the saucer-eyed swell of 'Rounds'), sub-heavy electro (the pulsating and breathless 'Drop One'), ambient techno-meets-vintage D&B gorgeousness (the wavy synths sounds, minimalistic percussion and sampled voices of 'Solaris') and thrillingly grimy, ultra-aggressive revivalist jungle ('Junction 93'). A pleasingly varied, on-point excursion.
Review: The Hacker teams up with fellow French producer Commuter to bring some serious electro heat to Sync 24's label. Roentgen is a dark, dystopian take on the form, with echoes of Hacker's classic debut album, Melodies En Sous Sols. On "Roentgen Part 1" this takes the form of gurgling, ominous bass tones and eerie synths, while the second part leans even further towards menacing low end sounds, this time wrapped around a wiry rhythm. "RBMK" sees the pair take the tempo down a few notches, but still the same dark aesthetic remains, thanks to the use of a cold synth line. MMT-8's rugged dance floor version of "RBMK" completes this exemplary release.
Review: London Modular Alliance walk it like they talk it, running a synth outlet while also cranking our some of the freshest contemporary machine-led funk. LMA's raw production approach and signature aesthetic is crystallised on their debut album "Complex 2020" bristles with walls of menacing bass, while stripped back workouts like the twitchy "All Over" and the low-slung tonal emissions of "You're Tearing Me Apart" set out their stall when it comes to crafting contemporary electro. There's also a deeper, more esoteric side to their sound and the Detroit-inflected "Broken Remote" and the soundtrack-inspired "Bob's Rotten Head" reinforce the fact that Portable Sanctuary is a true tour de force.
Review: Last year PBR Streetgang launched their Kurtz label via two tidy 12" singles containing a wealth of sleazy, acid-fired fare and stripped-back, warehouse-ready treats. They've flipped the script slightly on their delayed third Kurtz EP, offering up a title track that showcases their deep, atmospheric, percussively punchy and alien-sounding take on electro. Quin Whalley dons his occasional Johnny Aux alias for the obligatory remix, successfully pitching up the beats and adding some spacey sounds for an authentically intergalactic electro feel. Elsewhere across the EP, 'Sendeturm' and 'Thru The Shutters' are both analogue-rich synthesizer workouts that reminded us of the late, great Greek composer Vangelis.
Three Faces Of Eve - "Wish You'd Leave" - (5:38) 138 BPM
DJ Godfather - "It's Only Detroit" - (5:21) 135 BPM
Steve Allman - "Next Level" - (5:55) 142 BPM
Versalife - "Shift Levels" - (6:19) 138 BPM
Helsmoortel - "Violence" - (4:23) 140 BPM
Flug - "Just You" - (6:10) 140 BPM
Assembler Code - "Architects" - (5:15) 135 BPM
Blaktony - "Produkt" - (4:34) 142 BPM
The Exaltics - "One Direct Line" - (3:32) 137 BPM
Vril - "Orgon" - (4:57) 132 BPM
Lord Of The Isles - "Identify & Approach" - (4:23) 145 BPM
PARAND - "Archangel" - (4:18) 135 BPM
88756 - "Fine Dining Experience" - (6:37) 134 BPM
Co-Accused - "Abduction" - (4:38) 140 BPM
MONK - "Simulation Theory" - (5:01) 131 BPM
Darkmode - "Dr Bloodmoney" - (6:44) 131 BPM
Review: Glasgow label Avoidant returns with another killer electro compilation. From the dystopian synths of
Three Faces Of Eve's "Wish You'd Leave" to the raw funk of DJ Godfather's "It's Only Detroit" and Versalife's "Shift Levels", Dark Planet covers the darker side of the electro sound with considerable style. It also delivers a series of surprises; nestled alongside contributions from scene stalwarts like The Exaltics are artists who wouldn't normally be seen in the electro field; these include Vril with the brooding, bass-heavy tones of "Orgon" and the spiky beats and layered samples of Lord of the Isles' "Approach & Identify".
Review: Few acts make electro as evocative as Boris Bunnik's Versalife project, and Shape Shifter 2 is no exception. The release moves from the metallic, outer space rhythm and ghostly textures of "Phosphorescence" into a more dance floor-friendly style on "Hybrid Form", where Bunnik uses a throbbing bass and robust drums as the backdrop for subtle melodic flourishes and acid-laced samples. The release takes a turn in a menacing direction with "Instinct", where an ominous sub-bass is combined with rickety drums to conjure up a nocturnal mood. In stark contrast, there's
"Cone of Silence", with Bunnik setting evocative pads to a bubbling groove that oozes machine-designed soul.
Review: Simon Walley aka CiM was instrumental in introducing a new, left field slant to techno during the 90s. This compilation, which is culled from his archives, shows why he continues to be an influential force in electronic music. Unselected oscillates between home-listening tracks like "Metric" and "Throughput" into more dance-floor focused compositions like the Detroit nuances of "Accent One" and the early Black Dog hues of "Example". Even when Walley operates in more abstract spaces, as he does on the dissected drums and tonal blips of "Jex Fill" and the frenetic "Crash", his work maintains a soulful, machine-led undercurrent, marking him out as a truly pioneering producer.
Review: Greek DJ and producer Echonomist is renowned for his indie electronic explorations with soul, invoking a spiritual depth on each release. Here he teams up with Tel Aviv's Jenia Tarsol (Watergate/Blue Shadow) for their debut on Tale Of Us' Afterlife imprint. Prepare for your sonic descent into the aether on the mesmerising locomotion of the title track, then prepare to elevate back on the advanced and futuristic deep house of "Do You See It Yet?" and equally high tech is the soulful and glassy-eyed Dwetroit influence on "Purple Skyline".
Review: With electro on the charge in 2021, Fracture & Neptun's Astrophonica label continues their support of the fresh, up and coming, and dope-as talent, Client_03. Presenting the project's fourth release since debuting in 2019, User Viewport sees Client_03 go deep, heavy and melodic in "Love & Or Hate Trigger" - the sweetest track on this EP - with the rest of the record turning in a gnarlier, more acid tipped edge. With the title-track riffing on Orwellian themes of surveillance with its unsettling vocal, "Wavefile_Dayjob" keeps it stripped back and bassline centric, as does "Protection Service Provider" only with a trippier, cosmic touch.
Review: Black Spuma are Fabrizio Mammarella & Phillip Lauer - a project that up until now was largely known for three records on International Feel. Having surfaced on Bristol's Futureboogie in 2019, Black Spumareveal themselves again for a four-track Hypercall EP on Live At Robert Johnson. Throwing down some heavy house chords in "Station To Station", get your gnarly acid jack tracks out of "Data Life" and a deep EBM workout in "Miracoli". And of course, there's still the pair's homage to Italo in "Transpork" that given its perfect moment in time will raise the roof.
Review: Delivering the best in electro beats this side of the cosmos is the super sonic Craigie Knowes label outta Glasgow. Following an epic 2019 that saw releases from the likes of Textasy, Maelstrom, Jensen Interceptor and the always reliant John Daly, Craigie Knowes follows up its first 2020 release by Cygnas with the deeply cool Descent EP from Carl Finlow. Full of some fine snap, crackle and deep electro pop - word to the Craigie Knowes mastering engineer of choice over the years - this EP maintains the quality of standard we've come to know from the label. The hit here is "Undertones" with its glistening production values that finds its sister track (or slight dub version) in "Descent". For something gnarlier check the riffing basslines of "Cascade" or the spacious and percussive minimalism of "Displaced". Bonafide quality.
Review: The Adana Twins deliver the third edition of their annual compilation series, and Spektrum 3 is the best volume yet. It features swirling, vivid electronic jams from Echonomist and Hadiid - the frosty synths on the latter's "Neuro" is especially memorable - alongside the raw percussion and melodic hooks of Aaaron's "Smile". The pace picks up on Cabaret Nocturne's "Afterlife", with Eleonora's breathy vocals set to a pulsating groove, while DC Salas' "Solar Walk" is a chugging piece of Bordello A Parigi-style Italo. However the centre piece in the compilation is the purring bass and the tight drums of the Adana Twins' own "Nordlys", a killer modern electronic disco workout.
Review: Following last year's collaboration with Blue Hour, Dold flies solo for his latest outing on Arsenik. The title track lives up to its promise, with repetitive rave stabs unfolding over a rolling tribal groove. Add in some well-placed chops and cuts, and "Rave Break" becomes a powerful, distinctive track. On "For Life", Dold goes deeper: while deploying a similar rhythm and funky back beats, the shimmering synths reveal a musical side to his style. This deeper sound is also audible on "Strained Strings", where chilling strings play out over rumbling break beats, while a more esoteric iteration of this style unfolds on the chiming melodies and rolling drums of "22-999-33".
Review: Following on from last year's Artefakt EP, the De Stijl imprint returns with a split release as its second instalment. Focusing again on a more cerebral take on electro and techno, it starts with a fusion of atmospheric synths and steely 808s on Aphelion's "Temple 7". Artificial DRM's "Human With No Name" inhabits a similar territory, as an understated bass supports brooding textures, while Korridor's "VI" ventures into ambient techno territory with pads swirling in a seductive arc. The one variable is Artefakt's "Agents Of Reality"; while also haunted by ghostly sounds, its stepping rhythm and acrid 303s exude a level of intensity not audible elsewhere on De Stijl 02.
Review: During the first stages of lockdown in Berlin, Luca Venezia AKA Curses decided to make some music inspired by years spent as a dedicated teenage raver. It's these tunes that feature on The Future is Waiting, his first release under the alternative Venice Arms alias. We're particularly fond of title track 'The Future is Waiting', a throbbing chunk of rolling electro wrapped in twinkling pianos, rave style stabs and pulsating, machine-gun bass, though the NYC freestyle inspired late night bounce of 'Fearless Love' and rushing, glassy-eyed 'Vortex (Feel The Love)' also impress. Venezia naturally dons his more familiar Curses alias to remix 'The Future is Waiting', re-imagining the track as a jangly, guitar-laden chunk of '80s synth-pop nostalgia.
Review: A decade ago, the Dekmantel crew threw their first party in the Dutch capital; two years later the record label followed. For their decennial anniversary, Dekmantel Records are releasing 10 very special EPs over the course of 2017. The fourth release in their celebratory series is a collection of new material from some of the label's favourite artists. This fourth edition brings together their love of electro and wave influenced grooves by the likes of Los Angeles electro legend The Egyptian Lover, who serves up the aptly titled "This That Old School" which proves to all the bandwagon jumping wannabes what 'real' electro is. Staying on that retro flavoured tip are the Antinote affiliated Syracuse & Epsilove doing some acid infused analogue jack by way of pop on "Scubatomic Love". Finally, they look locally with the Red Light Radio affiliated/Rush Hour 'analogue adventurist' Interstellar Funk: who pursues some retro/balearic vibes on the sublime "EFX Harmonix"
Review: Unknown is Extrawelt's fourth artist album and sees the pairing of Arne Schaffhausen and Wayan Raabe try something different. It's clear from the vocodered vocals and Italo-inspired melodies of "We Are Asteroid!" that the pair have gone down a new route. This becomes more evident on the atmospheric electro of "Fischmarkt On Acid" and the somewhat more abstract 808 shuffle of "Ausloser". While fans of the German duo's trance-influenced techno may balk at the direction that Unknown takes, this is an assured, innovative album. As the pulsating bass and magnificent synth sweeps of "Ort Und Impuls" show, Extrawelt's dive into the unknown is to be welcomed.