Review: A cynic could argue that Modeselektor's label has had more farewells than one of Liberace's Las Vegas residencies, but this release is worth the discerning the techno listener's attention in any event. The title track is the work of 19.94, and it's an impressive debut from this mystery act. Slow, purposeful bass supports textured drones and white noise washes. On "Narr Day Remodulated", Cosmin TRG takes the droning noise and sets it to a pumping, relentless rhythm. Combined with dark, repetitive riffs, it's the perfect counterpoint to 19.94's slow paced experiment. The 50 Weapons count down has truly begun.
Review: Stepping up with his second album for 50 Weapons, Addison Groove is once again mining the rhythmic excitement of juke and footwork and working it into his blue-hued melodic headspace. Standout vocal cut '"Just You" is a prime example of the upbeat flavour across the album, while "11th" matches the plush harmonies with moodier switch-ups, and "The Spirit Level" drops the tempo into a house bump that lends itself to the illustrious synth sweeps. Typically though the beats are in that twitchy middle ground between dubstep and footwork, leaving plenty of space for razor-sharp constructions and dazzling edits as best demonstrated on the dynamic acid roll of "Space Apples".
Review: Following the sad news of Rashad's passing, this latest single from the ever-productive Addison Groove takes on a more poignant nature as the late footwork legend guests on the second track. That the track is called "U Been Gone" only adds to the emotional weight of it, not to mention the wistful keys and yearning vocal lick. Elsewhere Addison Groove is on typically fiery form, from the rave baiting whiplash of "Push It" to the weighty bassbin busting badness of "Dat Ass". The samples are beyond cheeky in their recognisability, and it matters not a jot when the music kicks as hard as this.
Review: With Modeselektor's highly lauded 50 Weapon's imprint on its way out after a great run of seminal releases, they're going out all guns blazing with two absolute killer tracks. The first from UK bass hero Antony Williams aka Headhunter aka Addison Groove, who throws down the jacking and unrelenting juke inflected monster that is "Allaby". Beware, there's some serious bass frequencies on this one! If that was not enough, they commission Berlin techno maverick and one half of MMM Erik Wiegand aka Errorsmith for some of his typically bleepy, massive and downright outrageous main room monsters in the form of "Airbag". If you thought the bass on the previous track was too much, just wait until you hear this full frontal sub assault.
Review: Bringing a measured kind of juke menace to the 50 Weapons camp, regular attraction Addison Groove this time links up with fellow Bristol bass maven Sam Binga for some short and snappy cuts that explore diverse corners of electronica while all riding that hyped-up tempo. "Rzor" keeps things strictly rhythmic with its rush of 808 beats moving through pitch tweaks and rubbing up against found sound percussion. "Thr3id" gets twisted up in melodic stabs and the kind of gnarly acid spits you might find on Drukqs-era Aphex, bouncing off steady central motifs in order to fire off as many drum machine samples as possible in a three minute time frame. "11th" is even further into deploying intricate melodic darts that zip through the rapid fire beats, delicate chimes offset by dreamy synths and stuttering samples. "Ol Man EK" whips all these feelings up into a perfect summation track, capturing the bittersweet-ness of early jungle and vintage deep house in amongst a positively futuristic flurry of percussion.
Review: Talk about going out in style. Modeselektor's label's prolonged death continues in style with two ex-cellent tracks from Germany's finest experimentalists. Lars 'Anstam' Stoewe has been a regular on the label since 2011, and this latest effort is one of his finest recordings for 50 Weapons. Clocking in at ten minutes, "Dolores" is a teased out groove that resonates to creepy wind chimes and ponder-ous, heavy bass, creating a chilling, atmospheric effect. It couldn't be further removed than some of the clubby releases on the label. Then it's the turn of Robert Henke. One of the architects of modern techno as Monolake, "VT 100" is all splurging, corrosive bass, twitchy drums and insistent, nagging percussion. It's a fitting swan song, but not, one suspects the last we'll hear from this label.
Review: It's not been that long since the last Bambounou outing on 50 Weapons but Jeremy Guindo-Zegiestowski is at it once again with this precise two tracker of gold-standard hybrid cuts that feed off techno before mixing it up with a curious DNA that is all his own. "Ignition" takes a dub techno chord and makes it bounce and roll at a skewed angle while the rest of the track seems to be focused on charging ahead. "Take It Out On Me" is less convoluted with its staunch techno focus, all thick, thudding kick and cyclical patterns of robotic chatter, but there's still plenty of room for some quirky breakdowns and fills in amongst the more delineated fare.
Review: Centrum is Parisian producer Bambounou's second artist album on Modeselektor's label and it shows two distinct sides to his musical palette. The album begins with haunting, glitchy tracks like "Composer" and "Fire Woman", before Bambounou moves into melodic, bleep-heavy sounds courtesy of "Excluding Natalia" and "SAC". Unexpectedly, the listener is shaken out of this stupor with "Each Other", a tough, hammering rhythm, "Oez", which is less direct but also revolves around a grainy, dense rhythm track and the glitchy techno of "At The Mirror". Just in case the listener is left in any doubt about Bambounou's musical duality, the album ends with the humming bass and tough percussion of "I Ride".
Review: Bambounou again proves he is a reliable source for straight up dancefloor music devoid of pretence and full of quality. The producer's French house side shines through on this fourth release for 50Weapons, but he still holds on to the ghetto vibe he's shown on his ClekClekBoom releases, while keeping it deep. "Feel Like This" features a skipping house beat with a repetitive vocal and evolving background textures, while "Onto This" is a fuller alternative thanks to upfront chords and extra percussion.
Review: 50 Weapons continue to turn out a healthy amount of Bambounou-related material, although in this instance they look to a pair of remixers to deliver their own interpretations of his unique, bass-laden sound. French Fries steps up with a remix of "Take It Out On Me" that pays its dues to footwork in its raw, tom-heavy construction, while also keeping the arrangement sparse and limber. Laurent Garnier keeps the French connection strong with a version of "Ignition" that sees the veteran techno producer getting deep into a simmering techno treatment that builds progressively over nearly nine taut minutes.
Review: Rocking up to his regular home at 50 Weapons, Bambounou brings yet more of his playful, experimental bass music to bear with this rock solid three tracker. There's a great focus on wild, disorientating noises hammered into solid rhythms, whether it's the metallic swirls that slop around the insides of "Filled", or the jerky tap drips that inject the funk into "Brim". Aside from the spicy sounds, there's also plenty to hold onto, not least with the whopping great chord stabs that also inhabit "Brim". Having said that, "Boarder" is more intent on plunging you into a bizarre soundworld of bold VHS synth drones and snaking percussion that seems intent on dodging the groove at all costs.
Review: 50 Weapons' Welsh correspondent Benjamin Damage continues the explicit flirtation with techno explored on debut album Heliosphere with the two track 4600 EP. Intriguingly it's the first tangible results of O'Shea's restorative endeavours with a huge ETI 4600 synth, having spent some 18 months repairing it back to working condition with a synth-obsessive in Suffolk. Given the lengths he went, you'd think Damage would be happy but no there he is on the cover, scowling whilst perched on a vintage Italian scooter. Still though stern faces suit the mood of the music within with "ET Rework" unashamedly aimed at the darker main room techno floors. "Nebula" meanwhile, offers something more cerebral in its skipping percussion and faltering analogue bleeps.
Review: There is no doubt that "Tremens" is a worthy addition to Modeselektor's 50-strong collection of 'weapons'. The UK producer's own 'long version' is a peak-time slammer; based on oversized, grainy kicks, it features hissing percussion and analogue riffs howling past, which act as a prelude for the mammoth chord sequences that veer into the kind of eerie sounds that emanate from Detroit. By contrast, the Robert Hood version sounds relatively sedate. The Detroit producer takes musical chords, adds in some robotic vocals and underpins his arrangement with heavy rolling drums that are the antithesis of the visceral minimalism he is associated with.
Review: Continuing the spate of remixes commissioned off the back of the Heliosphere album, 50Weapons put Benjamin Damage under the knife with a pair of modern techno mavens. SCNTST is something of a prodigal young talent from Germany, previously appearing on a pair of singles for Boysnoize. Here he crafts a multifaceted version of "010x" that moves through myriad moods and headspaces from calming pad drenched lulls to breakbeat-fuelled roughness, but always marching ahead with a technoid sense of purpose. Meanwhile Truncate brings a more delineated kind of workout that sports the hallmark focus of the L.A. based producer. Po-faced drums and hypnotic melodic hooks meet with more gentle ambient washes to create a flawless slice of contemporary techno.
Review: Heliosphere marks the debut solo long player of Benjamin Damage will for the Modeselektor-helmed 50 Weapons imprint. The young producer, who divides his time between Swansea, London and Berlin, is already established as a 50 Weapons regular, debuting back in 2010 before striking up a fruitful partnership with Doc Daneeka for the label which culminated in last year's They Live! long player. Once again working solo, Damage eschews the garage-tinted rhythms of his previous output for a sound that is resolutely techno on Heliosphere and it's an approach that suits him well!
Review: As Modeselektor's label reaches the final stages of its life, it is clear that it is going out with a bang rather than a whimper. Central to this impressive swan song is Benjamin Damage, one of the most prolific artists on the label. Here, he delivers "Battle", a dense, pumping track, its layered textures riding over tough, dub-heavy beats and rasping percussion. In a similar vein is US producer Truncate's contribution. Following on from his 2014 release on the label, he delivers "86". The groove is less busy than Benjamin Damage but no less effective, thanks to the use of chilling strings and dramatic bass tones, a fitting requiem for the label.
Review: Plans from the 50 Weapons label to offer up Gordian, Cosmin TRG's excellent LP from earlier this year, for rework and reshape seem to be edging further towards outright unpredictability with each subsequent release. Launching the series with a remix from Marcel Dettmann was a pretty standard decision from the label, but it was complemented by a jaw droppingly unusual take on "Noise Code" from jungle recyclist Lee Gamble. The inspired commissions continue apace here with remixes from Legowelt and Demdike Stare's Miles Whittaker. "Terminus Abrupt," the closing track from Gordian is focus of Legowelt's attention who seemingly expands on the moment of melodic warmth that appears late in the original, whilst Whittaker tackles "Noise Code" trudging up all manner of sonic grit with menacing intent.
New Structures For Loving (Marcel Dettmann remix) - (5:31) 128 BPM
Noise Code (Lee Gamble remix) - (7:19) 130 BPM
Review: The Romanian hotshot gets his work reshaped by two of the best contemporary remixers. Marcel Dettmann is best known for his industrial-tinged techno, but his remix of the title track casts a different light on him. Shards of delicate, metallic percussion provide the basis for Dettmann to deliver fragile melodies and a mysterious electronic groove. It's an impressive about turn for the German producer, but not quite as jaw-droppingly unusual as Lee Gamble's version of "Noise Code". There, razor sharp hats soar in over a pacey, tracky rhythm that stops, starts and collapses to reveal a wobbly, cartoonish bassline. Just before the end, Gamble lets the track descend into abstract mushiness, a fitting end to an idiosyncratic remix package.
Review: Although he has flirted with dubstep, garage and house since his first appearance in 2007, Cosmin Nicolae's transformation into one of contemporary techno's most interesting figures was completed when he joined the 50 Weapons fray in 2011, releasing two twelve inches and an excellent debut album in Simulat. His follow up, Gordian, references an ancient myth and the music contained within is just as fantastical as the title suggests. The complex melodic arrangements of his previous album are expanded upon to great effect on tracks like "New Structures For Loving" and "Defeated Hearts Club", recalling the more exciting end of 00s minimal, while tracks like "Gordian", "Desire Is Sovereign" and "To Touch Is To Divert" are as forceful and driving as his Rush Hour releases; once again Cosmin has taken a great leap forward.
Review: Benjamin Damage returns to 50 Weapons for another ripper and he means business on this one! Aqueous melodies, dubbed-out beats and just the right level of bass feed into a strong techno backbone; "Up" is a warehouse banger with seductive loops, and "Acid Bath" is a straight tool bumper for the peak hours, but it's "Splash" that really impresses, finishing things off with some much needed - albeit subtle - jackin action.
Review: It's fitting that Benjamin Damage is the last artist to release an album on 50 Weapons. Apart from owners Modeselektor, he was also one of the first to feature on the label. Obsidian sees Damage straddle a fine line between the melodic and the atmospheric, the dance floor-heavy and the visceral. This is audible on the title track, where spacey chords are introduced over a rolling rhythm and on "Monolith", an arrangement that sees Damage fuse tribal beats with fragile, angelic hooks. Even though much of the album revolves around this interplay, there are also moments when the balance tips in the favour of the esoteric, and the lithe break beats and sensuous ambience of "Pulse Width" and "Shimmer" bring an end to Damage's relationship with the label in fine, introspective style.
Review: With his collaborative album with Doc Daneeka still ringing in our collective ears, future RBMA participant Benjamin Damage delivers his latest solo missive. A far cry from the UKF inspired bass which characterised the producer's first releases, "Swarm" sees him deliver a brutal slab of uncompromising techno in the Marcel Dettmann mould, as a throbbing 4/4 kick is propelled along at a rate of knots by a dry arpeggio and severe dub chords. "Headache" meanwhile swaps brute force for military precision, as the sound of ascending aerial drones is accompanied by threadbare percussion in the form of a heavyweight tool made with the sole purpose of delivering its devastating payload on the dancefloor. With these two tracks, Mr Damage more than lives up to his moniker.