Review: Given that the 'phonautograph' referenced in the title is apparently the oldest sound recording device, it is no surprise that Kevin McHugh's debut album as L4-4A takes a lot of its influences from older times. That's not meant as a negative, and the opening tracks, "Frequenzvariabler" and "Transmitter" are eerie, ambient soundscapes. McHugh keeps the focus on classic-sounding electronic music with the acid-fuelled, bass-heavy electro of "Dialup" and "Semantron" and the deep Detroit tones meets quirky rhythms of 90s UK techno on "Blitzlicht". McHugh also delves into the world of acid with the sharp drums, gurgling 303s and MCing on "Resistor". L4-4A's debut album is a long way from McHugh's previous incarnation, Ambivalent.
Review: LA-4A is a trio that comprises Ambivalent, Amber, who has released on Mobilee, and DJ Kevin McHugh. It's no surprise then then Triad is such a roller coaster sonic ride. The title track could easily pass for an update on late 90s jungle, as its hyperactive, stepping rhythm is merged with jittery percussive slivers, screeching strings and a predatory bass that recalls classic No U-Turn. On "Network", the trio move on to jacking tracks, albeit a tough groove that centers on a merciless sub-bass, while "Understand" is an old school house number replete with a chopped up but evocative vocal sample.
Review: LA-4A is the latest project from Kevin McHugh, who was also responsible for the Ambivalent project. On "Invader", he explores a dark, drawn out take on Chicago house, with a booming bass unravelling over a primal rhythm. "Synthapella - America Kid" is a deep, swirling beatless affair, but the remixes will get more attention. Matrixxman's version of "America Kid" is a tracky affair, led by a prowling bass and best of all is Alden Tyrell's take on "Invader". More reminiscent of the abrasive, raw techno of mid-90s Joey Beltram and Luke Slater rather than his Italo or jack trademark sound, the remix is led by a searing bass and noisy kick drums.
Review: It's a case of another week, another side project from Dutch producer Boris Bunnik. Vernon Felicity takes inspiration from some of his other aliases, especially on the title track, where the shimmering synths could have been borrowed from a Conforce record. Elsewhere, the project goes its own way. "DC" is a powerful interpretation of Detroit techno, underpinned by a cavernous bass and sparkling melody lines. Changing tact, Bunnik drops the ferocious acid lines and percussive volleys of "Defender", while on "Rdmx8", he keeps the audience guess till the end - drawing again on 303s, he turns in a low slung rhythm that oozes menace.
Review: Ambivalent's new Delft imprint is fast making a big impression with its retro influenced house and techno releases. Vin Sol, who has collaborated with Matrixxman previously, has struck out with some fine tracks in the last few years and this is no exception. Title track "Memory Scan" is a rolling minimal techno number that floods you in bass and reverberated toms while nagging, loopy melody persists all the way. "Just Whisper" is a nice squelchy acid workout accompanied by early noughties minimal techno style rhythm, complete with ping pong delay. "Solid Black" and "Rhythm" are actually killer 808 workouts that would make James T Cotton blush. Tip!