UK-based electro and techno label Cultivated Electronics has been unleashing its signature monochrome madness onto dancefloors since 2007. With label boss Phillip Bolland aka Sync 24 at the helm, Cultivated Electronics focusses on pounding out ‘high-quality, electro-influenced dance music with a dark and twisted edge’. As well as banging out releases from Sync 24 himself, the label has seen vibey cuts from the likes of Silicon Scally, The Advent, Animistic Beliefs, Signal Type, Maelstrom and more. Sub-labels include CE DIGI and Cultivated Electronics LTD.
Review: Alonzo is up next on Sync 24's Cultivated Electronics. Across the eight tracks featured on his new album They Come In Twos, the New York-based producer draws influence from dystopian aesthetics as well as the sounds of bass - presumably from his hometown of Miami. Whether it's the intergalactic battle bass of the thumping opening cut "Animal Control", the Drexciyan computer funk of "Cause & Effect", or the sci-fi beats of "Magnetic" or "Unprofessional" - this is proper electro futurism.
Review: With releases on Delsin, Electrix and Puzzlebox in his catalogue, it's fair to say that Dynarec is one of electro's most respected producers of the past 20 years - so it's fitting that he is making his debut on Cultivated Electronics. Kicking off with the wired, wiry funk of "Stop and Stall", Dynarec keeps Murder dance floor focused throughout. "First in Motion" sees him up the pace, embracing a hyper-speed funk rhythm and outer space melodies, while he slips into a more discordant direction on the swung electro and dissonant tones of "Specialized In Anything". On "Lowest Perceived Legitimacy", the release veers towards the visceral, with buzzing riffs unfolding over steely drums.
Review: It's been a long time coming but Sync 24's debut album is well worth the wait. Over the course of 11 tracks, the Cultivated Electronics boss serves up some truly vital modern electro. From upbeat tunes like "Inspired Law" to deeper, more esoteric jams like "Oriental Sunset" and proper alien funk tunes - the prime examples being "Drunk on Delays" and the title track - it's an impressive work. That Sync 24 doesn't feel the need to slip in token vocal tracks or other artistic whims to make it sound like an artist album is testament to his 20-year craft. Instead, the robotic, steely drums of "Sluper Smashed" and the lean electro funk of "The Arrival" provide all the necessary artistic expression.
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: Mind Stealers was Morphology's last release on Cultivated Electronics back in 2017, and since then, the electro duo has released two artist albums on Firescope. This return visit to Sync 24's label see them focus on what they do best, namely delivering robust metallic rollers. "Sorace" and "Quidra" both revolve around tight, steely rhythms, with the former boasting squelchy atmospherics and the latter unravelling to the sound of gurgling 303 licks. Meanwhile, 'Teogre", sees Morphology deploy robust bass tones to underpin eerie synth lines and the pair rounds off the release in style with the intense industrial drums of "Orrere".
Review: Cisco Ferreira aka The Advent delivers his first electro album in 17 years - and what better platform than Cultivated Electronics. The artwork for Life Cycles echoes the Advent's timeless Elements of Life debut album from 1995, and the music is also similar on the breaking electro-techno of "Music Is Life" and the hyper-speed breaker, "Electrical Sounds". Elsewhere, Ferreira takes us on a trip through classic Detroit sounds on "This Is Not" and on "Vast", he delivers a more abrasive, grainy take. Shifting focus once again, "L.U." and "Stasis V2" are high-paced ghetto bangers. It's a remarkably fresh and rounded affair from one of the great artists of the electro genre.
Review: With releases on labels like CPU, Frustrated Funk and Lunar Disko in his catalogue, it was only a matter of time before 214 aka Chris Roman put out a full EP for Cultivated Electronics. This four-tracker is a no-nonsense, dance-floor primed electro release. On "Linoleum and Cardboard", Roman lays down steely 808s and a stark rhythm, while "It Never Really Ends" sees him add some warbling acid to this approach. "Earthwroms" ups the pace and intensity levels, with shrieking riffs unravelling over a peak-time groove that calls to mind Rotters Golf Club. Rounding off 214's first full release on the reverend UK label is the sci-fi funk of "Nocturnal Hikes".
Review: Delta Funktionen delivers his debut EP for Cultivated Electronics. In keeping with the revered label's signature sound, North Point sees him focus on electro instead of the dubbed out techno that this project is often associated with. It kicks off with the intricate, eerie rhythm of "Intrusion", before "Moonstone Road" sees the Dutch producer transport the listener down an acid-flecked path, where tones warble against the backdrop of shadowy synths. The impossible to pronounce "Gl_T2C_H3Tr4" descends into glitchy abstraction, with its hiccuping robotic vocal samples pushing it towards the edge of malfunction. "Siberian Surf" closes out this fine release with a warbling bass and crisp claps prevailing.
Review: Garnering a name for himself with a stream of releases on labels like Cultivated Electronics and Central Processing Unit, Silicon Scally and his sound this time around is keeping a ghetto spirit alive within electro that's not too short of a wry, subtle humour. With its catchphrase titling, it's fun to imagine the sounds of this Skoda Banger EP come from nights out in a coupe whip, flexing the backstreets of Liverpool on a midnight blitz through city's badlands, clubs and underground. In Sci-Fi style, it's as if the bleepy synth lines in the title track represent a four-wheeled drift down main street, or something of a highway cruise control in "Mind Splitter". Banging EP.
Review: Following on the two previous instalments, the third volume in the From the Dark series sees Cultivated Electronics map out an uncompromising vision for modern electro. There's the acidic bounce of Morphology's "Sentinal", while the Cuban funk pioneer Alpha 606 lays down a stripped back sound on "Zombie King". While the compilation features respected artists like Carl Finlow - dropping brooding, bass-heavy heat on "Hive Mind" as Silicon Scally - and label owner Sync 24 teaming up with Joonam for the mysterious "Prada Thunder Cuns", this volume also features newcomers like Calderin, whose ferocious, filtered "Sudor" shows that electro's future is in safe hands.
Review: Despite begin one of the leading lights in modern electro and putting put material on CPU and Raar, Eczo is Maelstrom aka Joan-Mael Peneau's debut release for Cultivated Electronics. As befits such an individualistic artist, it's a diverse affair: there's the wiry, high-speed electro funk of "Smoker", while on the title track, Peneau drops the tempo and opts for a more atmospheric arrangement. The approach changes radically again on the Sync 24 remix of "Smoker", with the label owner dropping a high tempo, electro funk version, led by sparse drums and a frenetic, stepping rhythm. Closing out the release is the swampy "Confidential", where Maelstrom uses a dense rhythm and a detuned bass to devastating effect.
Review: As far as compilations go, this first edition of the newly created 'From The Dark' release series from Cultivated Electronics is definitely up there, showcasing some of the freshest sounds in modern bass music. This eight track selection delves into the darker, swampier side of bass production, including belters from the likes of Exterminador, Sync 24, Delta Funktionen, Alienata and more. Our immediate standouts from this one however have to be 214's glitchy expedition into arpeggiated madness in 'Rock Scramble', along with Versalife's moogy roller 'Infinite Velocities' and the spooky chops of 'GmBHZolhoff' from Stratowerx.
Review: Sync 24's label delivers a killer electro release. For the first time in a long time, Carl Finlow dons his Silicon Scally hat. "Deodexed" is everything we've come to love from Finlow's electro project - spiky rhythms, heavy sub-bass and steely drums unfolding to the sound of tense bleeps. Spain's Boris Divider also delivers a lesson in stripped back electronix, with "Primary Function" focusing on firing, minimal riffs, eerie synths and dry 808s. Morphology's "Dark Star" is deeper with melodic synths lighting the bleepy acid path, while the 303 is also a hot theme on label owner Sync 24 & Deixis's collaboration, with rolling kettle drums underpinning acid licks and a breathy vocal.