Review: Tale of Us' label is steadily growing a reputation for championing left of centre dance music and "Ray" is no exception. The work of Swiss pair Adriatique, it brings together unusual sources to create a distinctive vision for contemporary techno. "Voices from the Dawn" boasts the dusty, grainy authenticity of proto-techno and ambient, with the duo integrating droning bleeps with a pulsating, electronic groove. On the title track, they go deeper; the rhythm is low slung and hypnotic and a melancholic synth riff unravels over a sequence of understated kicks. It's another killer release from this fast rising imprint.
Review: It's been almost a year since Swiss duo Adriatique presented their much lauded full length effort 'Nude', and this fresh collection of reworks ensure they still get to live on in the (mind the pun!) - Afterlife. While household names such as label bosses Tale of Us (with Mathame), Keinemusik's Rampa and Solumun appear, it's definitely worth mentioning the more underground artists that they reeled in. Berghain resident Kobosil's barrelling and austere rework of "Tachykardia" keeps the sensual vocals of the original, but is absolutely geared for the peak time period of his acclaimed DJ sets at the Berlin institution. Italian trio Agents Of Time (Obscura) deliver a typically epic and entrancing journey into the deeper realms of dancefloor dynamics, and probably most surprising of all is the addition of Frankfurt minimal house legend Isolee who injects "Mystery" with his idiosyncratic style of emotive and glitching minimal funk.
Review: Aether is probably one of the most underground - not to mention mysterious - artists of the Italian label Afterlife. There was not even a picture of him to date until now. Originally from Rome but now in London, Matthias Cordsen aka Aether is an accomplished musician who feels good on the international stage. With his new EP Specter, the artist wanted to find and promote his own sound. After collaborating with label staples and fellow Italians Mind Against last year on the terrific Solaris EP, he strikes out on his own here with the deep and slinky progressive house of "Endeavour, the euphoric epic that is the title track is geared for some proper tunnel vision under the strobe light and the moody dancefloor drama of "Raven" which employs the label's love of evocative melodies so well.
Review: The latest release on Tale of Us' label is a collaboration between Italian duo Mind Against and Aether, who is based in London. Like Mind Against's previous release on the label, this three-tracker is deep and tripped out. The title track evolves from a pulsing groove into a tranced out rush that gently moves up and down the melody scale, accompanied by a frazzled bass. "Eclipse" is more stripped back, with minimal beats and percussive clicks providing the backing for a rasping bass. Finally, there's "Event Horizon". Like the deep space horror movie of the same name, it sees the trio voyage down a wormhole populated by supernatural sounds and discarded space wreckage.
Review: Tale Of Us' revered imprint now serves up another thriller courtesy of southern fellow countrymen Agents Of Time. The Obscura Music head honchos deliver some big room melodic tech-house, that is equally as big on the sonic narratives as it is the dancefloor drama. Having previously contributed to the Realm Of Consciousness compilation, they now present their Forest Of Lies EP. The thundering tension and suspense of "Floating Time" sets the scene well, right into the hypnotic journey of "Dream Vision" or when they venture over to the darkside superbly on the nefarious acid of "Vapor Floor".
Review: Danish DJ and producer Denis Horvat had a stellar year in 2017 with releases on Innervisions, Exit Strategy and of course his own Aeon imprint. His surefire brand of deep melodic techno now finds yet another fitting home of Tale Of Us' Afterlife imprint. Razor sharp arpeggios, Afro tinted rhythms (plus all the mandatory buzzy synth leads!) comprise the dynamic opener "Modelo". This is the sort of track you'd imagine the likes of Dixon and Ame playing to festival heaving crowds. To create some proper dancefloor drama, you could bet on the brooding slow burner "The Bender" to deliver while "Natural Sources" delivers one more dose of euphoria, featuring intricate layers of tunneling and hypnotic sequences - emitting some immaculate audio sorcery you can lose yourself in. More impressive tracks from one of the scene's rising stars.
Review: After his excellent contribution to Diynamic's Picture series, ascendant Danish DJ/producer Denis Horvat is back on Afterlife. He returns to Afterlife for a second EP of distinctive, dancefloor productions - a year after the wonderful "Modelo". On Miracle Of The Rose, bear witness to an evocative and authentic development of Horvat's sound. From the hypnotic melodicism of "Noise" (feat. Lelah) which again showcases the Dane's trademark sound, to the moody and minimalist atmosphere of the title track and ending with the ethereal sci-fi dancefloor drama of "Divin".
Review: With releases on labels like Poker Flat and Stil Vor Talent to their credit, it's clear that Fideles aka Daniele Aprile and Mario Roberti are making a big impression. The Italian duo's music achieves this effect on Impressum, their first outing for Tale of Us' label. The title track is built on tough kicks and rasping percussion, while eerie hooks and ominous hooks swirl through to the foreground. "Hadar" revolves around the kind of menacing bass that you'd associate with Oliver Huntemann, but the pair make it their own, fusing it with mesmerising trance hooks. "The Tensior" is even more intense, thanks to its warbling low end and reversed filters, while "Avior" is all grandiose synth sweeps, supported by a frazzled, bleak bass.
Review: Not restrained or bound by conventions, Innellea are the ascendant German duo on Tale Of Us' revered imprint. Their visions and impressions visibly transfer into their music, as heard on labels such as Underyourskin Records, Steyoyoke and TAU in recent times. Beginning with some rock crossover into melodic tech house on "Vigilans", followed by deep journeys into the aether as heard on "Rhytidome" or "Impurity" respectively which incorporate ethereal elements accompanied by seductive, slinky and hypnotic arrangements which are right in line with the Afterlife modus operandi.
Review: Having released on a number of underground labels, De Vries now joins household names like Stephan Bodzin and Recondite with his debut on Afterlife, the label run by Tale of Us. Certainly, the Berlin-based producer deserve the spotlight: on the title track, he delivers a pulsating, spaced out groove that ebbs and flows majestically to the sound of hypnotic bleeps and blasts of white noise. On "Sciamachy", De Vries opts for a more spacey, tranced out arrangement, albeit one that is powered by rasping percussion and shiny synths. Rounding off this impressive debut on Afterlife is Common Sense People party founder Konstantin Sibold, who delivers a frosty, icy take on "Sciamachy".
Review: American producer Eric Estornel must barely find time to sleep: when not returning to his Detroit roots when curating his wonderful Lone Romantic imprint, making electro as Mariel Ito, tech-house as Maetrik or running his long standing Ellum Audio imprint - he's recorded some of the most infectious and pop-inflected techno under his most well known alias: Maceo Plex. He has also become a key artist for Afterlife Recordings in recent times, playing a great number of shows at their Ibiza residency alongside label heads Tale Of Us. Dramatic strings announce you to surrender to the void (right before the massive drop) of "Lonely Tribe" - tunnelling and hypnotic techno number featuring an infectious looped vocal refrain. There's also a remix by the ever impressive Italian Fango which takes the track ionto oddball exotica territory.
Review: Next up on Afterlife is the Italian duo Mathame, who featured on the label's second Realm Of Consciousness compilation. Their tracks have since been played regularly in the sets of label head honchos Tale Of Us and here they present more of their sought-after tracks. This latest offering is no doubt and diverse affair, beginning with the melancholic yet life-affirming "Nothing Around Us" (with Lyke) - another fine execution of dancefloor drama that you've come to expect from the label and features a dark pop element courtesy of Lyke's dramatic vocals. For something more straight-ahead (and with adequate groove dynamics) there's the brooding dub techno slow-burner "22" and the atmospheric mood lighting of "Fade Into You". The latter hypnotizing you with its slinky minimal tech house groove and angelic vocals atop.
Review: Italian power duo Mind Against are back, serving up some surefire dancefloor drama for comrades Tale Of Us on their esteemed Afterlife imprint. Featuring the dreamy and mesmerising "Days Gone" which could have been equally at home of Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream imprint; with its lush orchestral arrangements, hypnotic bell textures and sublime use of melodies just begging to played at open air rooftop parties in the Summer. Rest assured all the epic and wonky synth leads are featured throughout, in glorious fashion: it's their trademark after all right? On a more moody and serious tip is next offering "Cloud Nine", an immersive and tunnelling excursion through the progressive house sound, full of shimmering arpeggios and complex rhythm arrangements that reverberate through endless layers of delay and reverb. The remix up next by Berlin stalwart Alex.Do (Dystopian) is respectful and doesn't deviate dramatically from the original, instead emphasising certain layers for added dancefloor dynamics.
Review: Believe in the afterlife? You'll most definitely be convinced after hearing the new offering on Tale Of Us' imprint. The journey of ascension is this time curated by Amsterdam's scene stalwart Patrice Baumel. This will be his second elease for the imprint, following up last year's brilliant Glutes EP and he also makes a rare appearance outside his usual outlet Kompakt. The hypnotic, ping-pong rhythms of "The Hatchet" are somewhat reminiscent of Plastikman, combined with Baumel's great penchant for mesmerising layers of textured emlody. Second offering "Serpent" relies mainly on a slithering mental arpeggio, which is bound to create some sorcery - the sort that label bosses Milleri & Conte are renowned for on the dancefloor. This is guaranteed for transcendence in the club, much like the label's name suggests.
Review: The latest release on Tale of Us' label comes from Patrice Baumel. The German DJ/producer has always focused on a dreamy, tranced out sound - and Glutes is no exception. On the title track, he uses a purring bass to underpin building, minor key melodies, but still manages to maintain an understated, studied feeling and avoids slipping into an over the top cliche. "Engage" is a different matter; it sees Baumel up the pace and drop a pulsing, rolling groove that draws on eerie Detroit synths to create an atmospheric, spaced out arrangement that, like the title track, defies categorisation.
Review: Do you believe in the Afterlife? If Tale Of Us remain boasting of its virtues in such fine fashion, then consider us believers. The next next chapter in levitation comes courtesy of one of the scene's true finest: Lorenz Brunner. The German studio wizard delivers a massive six tracks of dancefloor drama on the Rainmaker EP, which involves a compelling narrative throughout its six tracks and a variety of moods and textures too. From the deeply brooding mood lighting of opener "Valvate", to the hypnotic and strobe-lit title track and "Aracne" that's reminiscent of his work on Dystopian - perfect for those heads-down moments in the early hours. Brunner delivers material that's right in harmony with the label's most devoted fans with the atmospheric melancholia of "Saudade" with its squeaky melodic action and the brooding dancefloor drama of "Step Back".
Review: Benny Rodrigues aka ROD becomes the latest underground producer to join the ranks of the Afterlife imprint. Known for his dark and oftentimes uncompromising club techno sound, Bunny sees him showcase a deep-er side to his style. It's audible on the title track's pulsating groove, which supports epic builds that float and shimmer sublimely. "Welcome Back Mama" is somewhat darker, and resounds to a pumping electronic rhythm track, while on "Melodi", he opts for a bleaker style, thanks to its spooky central riff. Meanwhile, the Fjaak take on "Mama" brings his fans back to the locked on, loopy techno that the ROD project has become synonymous with.
Review: Stephan Bodzin hasn't put out any solo material in a few years, and Strand serves as a reminder as to why he is so well respected. Issued on Tale Of Us' Afterlife label, it sees the German producer strike a fine balance between pristine trance melodies and subtle, club-friendly grooves. The title track is vintage Bodzin; featuring a powerful, purring bass and hypnotic synth riffs, it ebbs and flows like the evening tide. "Catamaran" is more understated. It sees Bodzin take influence from Italo and even early German electronic music to create an unforgettable piece of moving, melancholic dance music - its melodies swirling over a dubbed out backing.
Review: The annual Cocoon Ibiza mix is back this summer, with the 2017 edition mixed by two top talents. Nastia is one of the hottest DJs in the world right now. The Ukrainian is headlining clubs and festivals around the globe, showcasing great skills and a vast musical knowledge. In addition, she runs the Propaganda imprint and has also run her own festival, Strichka. Her solid and driving mix features tracks by Luke, Slate, Terrence Dixon and Calibre among others. Taking care of the second disc is Frankfurt's favourite son Einzelkind: he man who runs three labels including JAX and the esteemed Pressure Traxx in addition to releases on local institutions Playhouse and Cecille. He is a no-nonsense DJ who has played the likes of fabric and Space, and as such has helped put his hometown of Frankfurt on the underground dance map. His mix is minimal and cerebral mix is comprised almost entirely of his own tracks, both solo and produced with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Robin Scholz and Markus Fix.
Review: Despite its title, Wander to Hell is a relatively mellow affair. Issued on Tale of Us' freshly minted label, it sees UK-based producer Vaal conjure up an epic track that basks in the sunlight of melancholic indie and Border Community-style, trance-friendly electronics. To their credit, the label owners are also catering for DJs, and they have commissioned Locked Groove to rework the title track. Accentuating the original version's trance hooks and underpinning them with a pulsing, menacing groove, his take will work on more discerning prog/trance floors. By contrast, Berlin-based house producer Baikal steers "Wander" into a more menacing direction, where eerie woodwind and a pounding bass prevail.
Review: Tale Of Us have revolutionised their Afterlife label over the last few years. Once upon a time, their imprints were about their specific music, a minimalistic take on deep house and soul-ridden tech. This new EP, however, is a perfect example of their recent branching out, with the opening remix of "Monument" being carefully re-stylised by Magazine's head honcho, the ever-impressive Barnt (recently of Hinge Finger recruitment). European techno veteran Stephan Bodzin comes through with a comparatively deeper, dreamier wave of sleek techno, guided here by melancholic male vocals, whereas the moodier Adriatique hands in a much colder, more calculated techno reinterpretation. Solid.
Review: Tale of Us launch their Afterlife label in style with the Realm of Consciousness compilation. Bringing together some of the best-known names in contemporary techno as well as a group of newcomers, it moves effortlessly between esoteric moods. Tale of Us contribute the ambient intro, while Monoloc and Woo York are both in more mellow form than usual on the melodic "Phoenix" and "Poseidon" respectively. Meanwhile, Recondite contributes the sad melodies and throbbing bass of "Murphy's Law" and Locked Groove balances supernaturally beautiful hooks with powerful bass pulses on "Emeralds". Even more dance floor-focused tracks, like Obscure Shape & SHDW's "Die Wiederkehr", are filled with trancey melancholia.
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.
Review: Acclaimed Italian duo Tale Of Us present the third Realm Of Consciousness compilation on Afterlife Recordings. A collection of spellbinding and melodic epics packed full of narratives plus plenty of dancefloor drama awaits with some rather surprising additions too - artist wise. The German hero Recondite serves up the powerful opening track "Savaaq" with its tension and suspense and those soaring melodies, fellow Italians Mind Against team up with Blausch on the hypnotic bliss of "Trust My Eyes" and Ukranian deep techno experts Woo York give us the steely heads down techno of "Discovery". Elsewhere, southern Italians Agents Of Time appear with the adrenalised and entrancing cyclicality of "Superia", frequent Tale Of Us collaborator Vaal takes you deep into the aether on "Weakness Days" and ascendant German Kevin De Vries gets into freefall on the sublime "Phoenix"
Review: Chasing The Dream is the first artist album on Tale of Us' label and it's an impressive affair. The work of Ukrainian duo Woo York, it stays true to Afterlife's love of melodic electronic music. This is audible on the gentle break beats and warm synth hooks of "More Than a Feeling" and the title track or the windswept "Inception". That said, there is also a darker side to Dream; it first rears its head on the pulsating acid of "Burning With You" before the pair veer into the throbbing, epic "Energy Pulse" and drop tough kicks and the purring bass menace of "Kadastre". However, they really impress on the record's more melodic moments, and the soft-burning hooks of "Rise" shows that Woo York and Afterlife are masters of the art of the melodic.