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.
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: Casio Royale is a project from underground DJ Mark Forshaw, which has already yielded three fine EPs on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams. For its fourth release, the UK spinner has defected to DJ Haus' label. Channelling the sound and spirit of early minimal house and techno, the title track features a wiry groove, pitched down vocals intoning the track's title and wild analogue riffs. "Work That" sees him look to ghetto house for inspiration, with a stuttering vocal intoning the track's title over a dense, jacking rhythm. On "JFM15", Forshaw continues his fascination with raw electronic music - there's a novel take on the vocals from Pump Up The Jam, layered over an urgent, analogue workout. Only on "Organa" does Forshaw go deeper, but even there the deep melodies are laden down with warm acid and rolling snares.
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: 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.
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: 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.
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".
Review: Following an impressive, textured release on Honey Soundsystem, San Fran native Vin Sol delivers another great EP, this time for DJ Haus' label. In contrast to the previous outing, Dance Trax is decidedly lo-fi. It starts with the grating drums and insistent tones of ""Ruff Rugged & Raw", before he veers into drum track territory courtesy of the linear, stripped down drums and wild, sine wave signals on "95 Toreback". There is more detail on "Body Snatchers", with an insistent vocal sample accompanying relentless acid, but in the main, this is a heads-down, drum heavy affair as the tracky "My Mind" so eloquently demonstrates.
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.