Review: Der Dritte Raum have been releasing music on Harthouse for the best part of three decades but the passage of time doesn't seem to have affected their ability to release killer, trance-tinged techno. On this latest album, the title track and "Mekanikmuzik" showcase their ability to craft lean but melodic tracks, while "Andromeda Mission" represents the more acid-tinged approach that they are associated with. Kommit also sees them present contemporary flavours, with "Candy Blue" in particular centred on the kind of dense drums you might hear on a Shed track while "Transporterraum" uses a dub techno rhythm as the backdrop for dreamy chords.
Review: Esteemed German techno imprint Harthouse just keeps on going. Their latest offering is a new compilation titled Robotic Intelligence, featuring current luminaries and legends alike in global techno talent. They are extremely proud of the respected artists that have contributed 12 exclusive tracks, each reflecting the current zeitgeist of the label. Highlights not limited to: veteran tech house duo Der Dritte Raum delivering the slinky and hypnotic epic "Gummihammer Zwo", current poster boy of the stadium minimal sound Boris Brejcha serving up a typical main room headrush on "Schaltzentrale" (Joker remake), Japanese legend Ken Ishii going for that old school strobed-out sound (reminiscent of his Flare alias) on "Reasonable Doubt" and it wouldn't be a proper Harthouse compilation without the inclusion of a trance oriented track, would it? Chris Maico Schmidt fills that vacancy on the euphoric energy of "Nachbarn" (feat Angie Taylor - Noah Levin edit).
Review: Next up on the long running Harthouse label is Breitenstein, with a diverse techno EP. The title track takes inspiration from ebm and industrial. with Breitenstein crafting a dense, throbbing bass that drives the arrangement. In contrast, "Kalik" is influenced by more melodic sources: based on a shuffling rhythm, its layered synths create a deep, hypnotic effect. On "Basalt", this emerging artist changes gear: focusing on a stripped back approach, the combination of lead weight drums with sharp, metallic percussion makes for a deadly effective peak time track. Meanwhile, "Quarz" marks another departure, with Breitenstein focusing on spooky, building chords and a menacing bass, with a succession of drops making this track especially impactful.
Review: Issued on the seminal Harthouse imprint, Beeast is the result of a truly international meeting of minds, with DJ Lion from Serbia hooking up with Berliner Britta Arnold and Just Julien, the resident at the Lost Paradise in Thailand. You can really hear all of these influences come through on the title track, with its snaking rhythm providing the basis for squelchy tones and dubbed out drums. Meanwhile, "Parasite" draws on the stripped back sound of modern minimalism, with a series of vocal samples stretched and woven over a niggling, tripped out groove. "Unsustainable", a collaboration between DJ Lion and Just Julien is in a similar mould, with dry percussion underpinning a driving arrangement.
Review: CJ Bolland is one of techno's true pioneers and produced benchmark records like Ravesignal III and Camargue during the 90s. Over the past year, he has started to put out techno records again, and The Fire follows recent releases on Drumcode. Sound-wise, this three-tracker is a mixed affair. The title track pays homage to his late 90s style, with slower beats and a teased out groove underpinning a rambling vocal narrative. In contrast, "Destitute" is a hard-as-nails metallic banger that wouldn't sound out of place in a purist 90s techno set, while on "Down All The Way", insistent chord stabs and gurgling acid lines combine for a tough workout.
Review: Ahead of the release of his debut album, DJ Lion aka ?ivorad Milić drops this hard-hitting two-tracker on the resurgent Harthouse. The title track is based on solid kicks that underpin out there tonal shifts and a series of wild drops and builds. This combination serves to create a tripped out feeling that will still work on the dance floor. On "Orgulous", the Serbian DJ opts for a similar approach; while the bass rolls powerfully and with menacing intent, the arrangement is shot through with eerie synth lines. Functional and brutal, but still teeming with eerie undercurrents, Reticulation is his strongest release to date.