Review: Since first launching their particular brand of grubby analogue techno back in 2006, Click Box have alternated between the Minus and Items & Things labels. Here they return to the latter, laying down a house EP of vintage acid sounds overlaid with the kind of fluid synth-futurism and darkroom grit that was once a hallmark of early '90s techno. There's plenty of variety, with the vintage electro-goes-dub pulse of "Last Day" and acid rinse-out of "Stop Down"/ "Styop Over" contrasting nicely with the Benoit and Sergio on downers vibes of "Something Wrong". Madato's loose, fluid remix of the latter is also a highlight.
Review: The title track on Marc Houle's Undercover EP, coming on the freshly revived Items & Things label features some neat vocal vs instrumentation interplay, with a chuggy bassline and tough drums marking it out as a certified fabric floor filler circa 4am Sunday morning. "Triple E" is bouncier, with cheeky bass stabs and vocal stutters leading into more perfectly tweaked low frequencies. There are two fine remixes of "Undercover" to choose from, with Miro Pajic beefing up his version to paranoia-inducing effect, while the Bruno Electric Blanket dub goes subterranean with deep-as-you-can-get bass bringing the most out of that vocal line. Recommended.
Review: After years of making the most stripped back music imaginable, Undercover sees Houle go back to dance music's roots. Inspired by Detroit electro and Chicago house, the album is the ideal antidote for those tired of hiccupping, stuttering rhythms and white noise FX. "Juno 6660" and "Hearing" offer tripped out takes on classic electro with shufflimg 808s laying the basis for time-stretched basslines, woozy synths and muffled vocals. The title track sees Houle deliver his verison of jack, albeit cloaked in icy synths and brooding robo vocals, while "Mooder" offers an alluring combination, as heavy claps and a nagging rhythm support brooding synth sequenes. As reinventions go, it's up there with Dylan's conversion to the electric guitar.
Review: The latest release on Magda and Troy Pierce's label focuses on Italo, electro and acid trax. The title track features a neat vocoder vocal over a slinky funk bass and sad synths. "Astronewta" explores this terrain further, only this time the robot's voice sounds more paranoid and confused and the bassline is tougher, more direct and in your face. "Disconsolated" also does a neat line in eerie synths and pulsing bass licks, but Madato changes tact on "Cheater" and "Claire" to deliver stripped back, acid-laced minimalism, while "Sam Collingway" resonates to the sound of bassy Detroit electro. It's a long way from hiccupping mnml.
Review: Houle is one of the most quietly prolific techno producers out there and on his latest album for Items & Things sees him push in a deeper direction than before. There are echoes of Houle's minimal past throughout Sinister Mind - and it is most evident on the rickety "Conbular" - but the strength of this work lies in its author's abilities to fuse precise, dissected rhythms with diverse sound pallettes. This results in the Aril Brikha meets Minus deep techno of "Paligama"; the title track, where Dave Gahan-style vocals are merged with evocative chords and the ebm-influenced groove of "Maskatron". Houle even turns his hand to underground electro on "Bassoffific", where bugged out 808s come together with his microscopic percussion to form an unusual, highly distinctive arrangement.