Review: Unknown to the Unknown satellite hub Dance Trax sends in an arguably label defining release via a new collaborative EP between e-freq, Last Magpie and DJ Haus! Keeping it classic and future-retro in the cosmic, warehouse sounds of "Ace Of Bass" to get the ball rolling - and with subtle bleep and acid influences never far away - "State Of Peace" turns the tremolo up to 11 in the tech house mix. This release though is all about the original that goes miles to evoke a classic breakbeat sound that's as much Sheffield as it the Balearic islands to Muslemgauze and Andrew Weatherall. Proto-originality so fine you can almost hear the ghosts in the machine. May they rest in this State Of Peace.
Review: While her catalogue is just a few releases strong, Elisa Bee has already released on key labels like Truncate and Hardgroove. Fluid Funk reinforces her reputation as a purveyor hard-edged but distinctive club tracks. The title track is based on firing percussion and concrete weight kicks, while "Yes Yes" sees her integrate high pitched stabs with a jacking ghetto rhythm. "Pins and Needles" is even more intense. It sees the Italian producer draw on vintage Robert Armani and Mike Dearborn for inspiration, dropping gained drums, rolling snares and a mayhem-inducing looped riff. "Forever Seeking" also features insistent claps and steely kicks - on this occasion, they are combined with dense filters for maximum impact.
Review: Hot on the heels of last year's release for Hot Haus, e-freq delivers this debut for Dance Trax. "E Is 4 Freak" is a fast-paced, gritty banger. It resounds to insistent steely percussion and high-octane beats, with a series of filtered drops and builds and subsonic bleeps layered over the top. It makes for a powerful, distinctive affair. On "Dream State", a more esoteric approach applies; inspired by the jacking grooves of Chicago house, the track features tripped out vocal samples and an acid-tinged, frosty synth line that keeps on building through the arrangement. It's sure to attract the same level of support that the Hot Haus release received.
Cult Of Tau (Assembler Code remix) - (4:51) 70 BPM
Cosmopendium (original mix) - (5:02) 68 BPM
Chariot Of Love (original mix) - (4:49) 100 BPM
Review: Next up on Dance Trax is Kill The Void with an exhilarating debut for the label. Inspired by a range of electronic influences, this duo nonetheless manages to stamp their own identity on this release. The title track is a grinding, acid-laden affair with an ebm-style bass at its core, while the Assembler Code remix of "Cult..." transposes this low end to a spiky electro rhythm. Meanwhile on "Cosmopolitan", the French act fuses trance's darker excesses with a pounding industrial techno rhythm. The only deviation from their dance floor approach is the downtempo "Chariot of Love", but even here Kill The Void use similar textures to their club work to conjure up a menacing musical experience.
Review: Garnering a name for itself across the Unknown To The Unknown multiverse and other labels like Manchester's Dansu Discos, Lost Palms and UNDERTHESEA, Serbian-born, Brookyln-based rave revivalist Bojan Cizmic aka X-Coast brings the original sound of '90s rave, acid and techno to a new generation. Pushing at the higher BPMs there's no denying the pure trance sensations inside this EP's title track that goes deep, melodic and a inspiringly-so: melancholic. French producer Anetha (Oak / Work Them) throws down some contemporary industrial techno in her remix but for that pure referential element that sounds just as fresh today as it did back in the summer of love, look to the psychoactive vamps and vocals cuts of "Narcotic Influence" to the yearning themes, snare rolls and booming bass of "Bomba". Techno will always be trance to make you dance.
Review: Cutting a course through the contemporary sounds of modern day electro with labels like DMK and Censor (which he minted back in 2018), Alex Jann returns to Unknown To The Unknown via its sub-label Dance Trax. Showcasing a broad style of electro futurism, the music here floats from alien phasers and snapping rhythms in "CMD CNTR" to laid back and interdimensional tracks like "Inward Energy". With Scottish legend Marco Bernardi going all Bunker Records in his remix to "Cybernetik Memory", it provides a stripped back alternative to the flurry of acid and suspenseful motifs in the original. Badass rhythm tracks to be found in "Don't Come Around" (tip!) to some more sweet, deep space liaisons in "Klep Klap". Alex Jann in the house.
Folie A Dreamland (Jensen Interceptor remix) - (5:45) 138 BPM
Review: Enjoying her meteoric rise still is South London-based producer Nite Fleit, a new-school acid, electro and deeper spaced techno head who's earned a name for herself thanks to releases on Unknown To The Unknown, Vancouver's Planet Euphorique and others via her Australian association thanks to Mall Grab and Newcastle's Steel City label. For the Dance Trax label she turns in two cosmic, warehouse numbers that burn - both "Usual Suspects" and "Folie A Dreamland" see gnarly acid lines and hectic computer noise calmed by soothing synths underpinned and punctuated by heavy 808 kicks and raw, snappy snares. Jensen Interceptor turns in a gnarly night drive version in his remix, with D Tiffany looking down the '90s techno wormhole in her Hi NRG remix to "Usual Suspects"
Review: Dance Trax's second "Bonus Beat" comes from popular retro-futurist and rave revivalist DJ Haus. "Too Much Data" is a typically forthright and mind-altering affair, with the Haus-master (sorry) channeling his inner Cajmere by smothering a tough techno groove with raw electronic motifs and doom-laden spoken word snippets. Patrick Topping steps up to remix first, offering up a stomping revision rich in paranoid electronic riffs, glitchy percussion fills and kick-drums so weighty the dancefloor may not be able to support them. Rounding off the package is Dance Trax regular DJ Boneyard, whose bouncing, redlined techno revision is full of trance style synth stabs and darkcore style menace.
Review: Massien has put out material on labels like XL and Tectonic and now brings his street sounds to Dance Trax. "Twist & Turn" is inspired by old-school, breaking electro, with Massien dropping warbling synths over rolling 808s and powerful bass stabs, while on "Lust & Sound", he drops a niggling acid-led breaker. Electro producer of the moment Jensen Interceptor introduces a more clubby feel to the release, which is thanks to an ominous bass on his remix, while there are two tracks featuring DJ Haus; "Hypnotik Rhythm Sequence" is a bleak, steely breaker and "Random Access Memory" is an acid-laced, tone-shifting affair - both marking Massien out as a formidable artist.
Review: Following last year's Where Are The People release, Addison Groove and Bim Sanga get together to deliver another Bags Inc release. Drawing on deep house textures and a ghetto 'work' sample, "D Question" is a tough, steely affair, designed with crisp drums and angular rhythms. "Seven of Nine" is more stripped back and sees the pair deploy a repetitive sample, albeit over a noisy, jacking groove. Changing tact again, the duo deliver "Bashton Valed", where a predatory bass underpins dreamy synths and strings that float over an acid backing. Rounding off the release is "Tanga Toll", which marks a return to a more pared back, jacking approach, albeit with the duo using a smart cut-up technique.
Review: UK rising star Redlight returns for retroverts Unknown To The Unknown, after his previous City Jams EP on sister label Hot Haus Recs. On the rolling rave attack of "Gamma Ray" with its exotic vocal jack, it sounds somewhat reminiscent of an old Guy Called Gerald classic. It receives a brilliant remix by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, which accentuates the late '80s aesthetic in neon-lit fashion. The controversial Marquis Hawkes' rendition likewise delivers a perspective from house music's seminal era, but this one is more rooted in the early '90s. "Equinox" continues on with his penchant for old school rave aesthetics with this evocative breaks driven masterpiece.
Ready 2 Jack (Shadow Child remix) - (4:41) 124 BPM
Operate It, Press Play! - (4:02) 120 BPM
Review: Label boss DJ Haus is the latest artist to contribute to the Dance Trax series, and turns in a primal, banging three-tracker. "Ready 2 Jack" starts with the stuttering beats and vocals of Chicago house before breaking into a noisy, bleepy sequence. On "Operate It, Press Play", the same willingness to blur the boundaries between original house influences and contemporary sources is audible. There. Haus drops primal 909 drums and percussive volleys that act as a back drop for detuned tones. It's similar in style to recent UTTU contributor Shadow Child's sound, so it's no coincidence that the Food Music boss pops up to turn "Ready 2 Jack" into a more streamlined, pulsating groove, led by a powerful, bleep bass.
Review: So far, the majority of Simon Neale aka Shadow Child's releases have been on his own Food Music imprint, but Dance Trax is sure to raise his profile. Issued on the well-known Unknown to the Unknown label, it also sees Neale's creative focus shift to old school influences. "Renegade Stabz" is a stab-heavy break beat techno affair, while on "Nonsense", a similarly party-themed sound is audible, this time with a rolling groove replacing the crashing breaks. Atypically for Shadow Child, "Don't Lose It" sees him deliver a jacking, minimal techno workout, replete with firing percussion and analogue bleeps. Working under his Geeeman guise, Gert drops a storming minimal house take on "Lose It".