Review: While there is an excessive number of reissue labels, it's also true that few if any do it as well as De:tuned. For its latest missive, the Belgian imprint ventures back to the dawn of acid house to release a remastered version of the 1988 classic, "Stakker Humanoid". The work of Brian Dougans, it's a mesmerising trip through acid gurgles and rave whistles, the scent of dry ice mixed with condensed sweat palpable. What may prove as compelling for collectors are the remixes of "ST8818r". Luke Vibert's remix stays relatively close to the original, albeit with some grimy acid added, but the Autechre version is a murky knot of tonal blips and bass stabs and Mike Dred's take leads the listener back to the point where the release started - acid oblivion.
Review: When it comes to unearthing timeless nuggets from techno's past, De:tuned has few peers, and this proves to be the case on 7 Songs. The work of Brian Dougans aka Humanoid, this collection draws on the same acid house spirit that fueled his classic late 80s work such as Stakker Humanoid. Powered by gurgling acid and robust break beats, it's an exciting journey. At times hypnotic and exhilarating - thanks to the warbling 303s of "Truc" - and other times eerie and haunting (the ghostly synth wails of "Pyramid 17" and the hardcore-referencing "Swerver"), this collection is never short of captivating.
Review: Firescope legend and one half of electro champions B12, Steven Rutter, arrives in solo form on De:tuned. Dropping the Close Your Eyes & Breathe single, opener "O.L.F. ResPekt" sees Rutter in a wavering, spooky and melodic electro vibe, with "Rewind 273" keeping it lo-fi, downtempo and orbiting the bleep sphere of old school techno. Even lighter on the drums still is "Incredible", a strafing cosmic slice of synths, spaced out percussion and future music atmospheres that crystallizes this gem of a record to be discovered by the true B12 digger.
Review: Following on from last year's first La Source release, 90s techno act Nuron's journey back to prominence continues. "Burnenville" starts the EP in ultra-deep mode, with gentle melodies and a lazily pulsating bass unfolding over unhurried drum patterns. "Holowell" is more in keeping with Nuron's 90s material for the Likemind label, and sees him deliver deeply atmospheric synths over an offbeat, steely rhythm. 90s techno fans will also love As One's version of "La Source", with hints of acid bubbling under the balmy sound scapes. Beautifully curated and executed by De:tuned, with impactful artwork from Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic from this as soulful - and sophisticated - as techno gets.
Review: Deep summer electro warmth and cool breezy vibes all the way from '92 flown in by Nuron for the De:tuned label, a collective outta Belgium reanimating the halcyon sounds of electro's nascent beginnings. Last heard in the early-to-mid '90s with a smattering of clandestine tracks and releases, De:tuned reintroduces the sound of Nuron with the all-inspired La Source EP. Full bodied drum machines, kosmische and alt-pop melodies underpin the new romance of deeper '80s synths and voyaging electro atmospheres in three tracks that sound like Cybotron remixing Fatima Yamaha's "What's A Girl To Do". Direct!
Review: Rounding off its series of tenth-anniversary celebrations, the De:tuned label serves up a mixture of the classic and the modern. This split release starts in firing mode, with Plaid departing from their usual script to deliver a wild 303 reshape of Humanoid's "St18818R", which had appeared on a previous tenth anniversary release. Erik Van Den Broek aka Shiver follows with the reflective deep techno of "Primerose" - a new version of a track also previously issued on De:tuned. Remaining in this mood is Steven Rutter's "Formulate", where the former B12er wraps airy melodies around a steely rhythm, before Lone brings down the curtain with the mellow break beats of "Dream Ache".
Review: Usually, De:tuned puts out reissues, so Communion marks something of a departure for the label. It's Kirk Degiorgio's first studio album in 15 years under the As One project, and as befits its heritage, it's a gloriously widescreen affair. There's the dreamy ambience of "Absorption Spectra" and both "Downburst" and "Irimias" fuse similar sound scapes with brittle electro back beats. "The Ladder" sees Degiorgio push farther in the Detroit techno direction, guided on the way by out space blips, while the serene "Aimpoint" is redolent of the deeper than deep ambient-techno sound he explored on the classic As One album, Reflections. It's a timeless work.
Review: The mood on the eighth volume of Eps dedicated to celebrating De:tuned's 10th birthday is darker than previous editions. It begins with a new, full-on version of Humanoid's "Stakker" - renamed here as "ST8818r" - replete with coruscating acid lines and stomping break beats. Mike Dred aka Kosmik Kommando's timeless rave track "Biosurvival" also gets an airing, before Luke Vibert slows the pace down with the grinding "The Banter Notes". DE:10.08 also gets extra kudos for including a track from the brilliant - and underrated act - Air Liquide. In keeping with the overall acid-fried theme, they contribute the mind-bending "Strunkelpotz".
Spacetime Continuum - "Only One Sky" - (6:02) 125 BPM
Scanner - "Mothlit" - (6:42) 117 BPM
Ross 154 - "Eath To Our Freinds" - (8:03) 134 BPM
Leo Anibaldi - "Crion" - (5:08) 139 BPM
Review: While a cynic might argue that De:tuned's tenth anniversary celebrations have been more prolonged than Liberace's last party, it has nonetheless resulted in some truly unforgettable electronic music being issued. Here, the selection moves from Spacetime Continuum's atmospheric ambient techno on "Only One Sky" and the dreamy textures of Ross 154's "Eath To Our Freinds" [sic] before a slightly darker and more ominous approach prevails on the slow, nightmarish beats of Scanner's "Mothlit". Closing out this seventh instalment of De:tuned's tenth anniversary celebrations is a more mellow piece - the loose drums and dreamy melodies of Leo Anibaldi's "Crion".
Review: Initially a party organisation from Belgium, De:tuned has become a record label for reanimating the sounds from electronic music's early days. Run by Ruben Boons and Bert Hermans, it continues with the cherry-picked selections for its 10th anniversary with volume 5 in the celebratory series. Terrace (aka Stefan Robbers) and Nu Era (aka Marc Mac, best known as a founding member of 4 Hero) channel the timeless spirit of Detroit styled hi-tech soul and Jupiter jazz with their stellar contributions. While electro is the order of the day elsewhere, courtesy of legend Carl Finlow on the dystopian electro bass of "Photo Array" and new school heroes London Modular Alliance going further into dystopian and sci-fi aesthetics on the powerful "D6".
Review: De:tuned's tenth anniversary series continues with another rock solid EP packed with previously unheard treats. John Beltran steals the show with inspired opener "Juliette", an outer space Detroit techno number that underpins melancholic chords and dreamy electronics with a bustling, futurist rhythm track. Elsewhere, Altern8 man Mark Archer wraps dreamy, mood-enhancing riffs around crunchy machine drums on the luxurious "Depth From Within", Future Beat Alliance doffs a cap to vintage ambient techno and IDM on the shuffling bliss of "Reflected Notes" and Max404 gets busy with pots-and-pans drum hits, smooth acid bass and elongated organ chords on excellent EP closer "Butterflying".
Review: Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the De:tuned label digs deep into the world of 90s ambient to mark the occasion with three sublime cuts. "Every Now And Then", courtesy of Thomas Fehlmann's Sun Electric project, is a wispy, ethereal affair, while on "Shift", the brilliant - and often overlooked - Higher Intelligence Agency deliver a glorious slice of acid-soaked electro. It's the kind of track that inspired the current penchant for the glitchy end of electronic music. However, the real highlight here is Deepchord's "Garden". Led by breathy, textured synths and a gentle, rolling groove, it's the definition of deep music for the head and feet.
Review: Three despatches from the outer limits of the jazz spectrum make up an EP that defies easy categorisation. As One's 'Elsewhere' is up first, and comes on like a free jazz excusion underpinned by the intriguing combination of a live double bass line and an almost jungle tempo breakbeat. As One are then back again to take on Sensurreal's 'NewBrandDesign', which again has Reece/Bukem-ish drums but married in this instance to long, lingering pads, disco stabs, shimmering keys and more. And then there's Jedi Knights' 'Solina', again remixed by As One into a head-fried slice that draws on Detroit techno for inspiration. An interesting package that rewards repeat listening.
Review: Belgian label De:tuned delivers another cracking release after trawling through Luke Vibert's archives. "Balath" sees the maverick UK producer fuse mind-bending acid lines with crisp, up-tempo electro rhythms, while a similar, but somewhat noisier approach applies on "Worry Ledge". There, eerie tones and buzzing acid unfold over a fast, rolling 808-driven groove. "pHIacid" sees Vibert slow down the tempo and introduce what sounds like a mixture between an easy listening arrangement and funfair music, with this unusual fusion daubed in layers of acid. Finally, "Arcadia" resounds to noisy drums and twisted 303 lines. Irrespective of its provenance, the material on Arcadia makes for a fascinating release
Review: Here's a reissue that stands tall and proud above most re-releases. Belgian label De:tuned has worked with UK producer Kirk Degiorgio to unearth some UK techno gems from his Future/Past DATs. First up is a melancholic break beat take on "Hyperspace", which Degiorgio has dubbed the ultimate version of the track. "TRY 2004 Funk Mix 2", a wiry techno funk affair that leans on Detroit influences, is also made available here, alongside the busy, bleepy "Locator", which also only appeared on a CD compilation. Rounding off this excellent reissue is 'Cosmos'; previously unreleased, its crunchy, hyper-speed break beats and low slung tones define the wild, weird and wonderful sensibilities that prevailed during early 90s UK techno.
Review: Moth is John Beltran's follow-up album to his 90s long player Ten Days of Blue, and proves to be a worthy successor. There's the jittery rhythms of "Wet With Rain" and the Detroit techno "Flight", while on "The Returning Dance" and "Nineteen Eighty Nine", the US producer looks to Larry Heard for inspiration as he drops emotive deep house tracks that centre on bleeding basslines and vivid melodies. Beltran's trademark ambient sounds are also present, with "Whatever The Road Brings" delivering chiming melodies over subtle rhythms, while the ethereal "Street Lights" and "My Robot" represents Beltran at his esoteric best.
Scanner - "Eros" (Bitten By The Black Dog) - (5:54) 122 BPM
The Future Sound Of London - "Monolith" - (3:59) 93 BPM
Review: There's no doubt that 90s UK techno is popular again - just look at Discogs prices for confirmation of the renewed interest in this form. But what do those revered acts sound like now? The exhaustive 2016 compilation, Brainbox, did much to shine a light on those artists' current trajectory and this follow up remix package also does a fine job. The Black Dog deliver an atmospheric ambient take on Scanner's "Eros", while on Future Sound of London's "Monolith", a somewhat bleaker, dystopian take on ambience is audible. That said, classic UK techno also had a place on the dance floor; Kirk Degiorgio's tunneling take of B12's "World's End" - remixed under his Future/Past name - and Mark Broom's skeletal electro version of the same track show that nearly 25 years later, that this remains the case.
Review: Most box-set releases tend to focus on reissues and re-releases, but on Brainbox De:tuned opts for a different approach. The compilation features artists who defined European techno and electronica's golden age during the 90s, but the Belgian label has commissioned new or unreleased material from these acts. Fans of that era will be thrilled by B12's moody electro, the raw, analogue warmth of John Beltran's "Nineteen Eighty Nine" and the resonating bass-y techno of In:Sync's "Crack in the World". While not every track impresses - Move D's contribution sounds tepid - there are enough jaw-dropping piece of music on this compilation, witness the autumnal majesty of as One's "Where Did He Go & Why" to make Brainbox an essential release.