Review: Unlike the best part of this recent wave of electro stunners hitting our charts, Carl Finlow's material dates back to the mid 1990s; the man is an underrated pillar of the genre, and thanks to his days working with Ralph Lawson he has accumulated plenty of respect around these parts. Following up from some killer EPs by the likes of Maceo Plex and Mariel Ito, Finlow lands on Barcelona's Lone Romantic imprint, coming through with four effectively assembled electro deviations. The opening "Romboid Assassin" is a dark, cavernous gunshot of bass and elastic beats, while "Veiled" goes deeper on the euphoric synths, "Phisge" strips it all down to bleeps and hard-edged drums, leaving "Anomaly 2" to keep us dreaming in warm, placid drum-machine jam. That's Finlow for you.
Review: It's no coincidence that Galaxy Lane has chosen this stage name because as Voyager 1 demonstrates, the shadowy producer specialises in esoteric electro. Issued on Lone Romantic, a Spanish label with immaculate pedigree thanks to previous releases from Freddy Fresh and Carl Finlow, this EP includes the high-paced, murky funk of "Landed". However, it really impresses when Galaxy Lane goes off the deep end and into the unknown. The aptly-named "Explore" is a wonderful spaced out piece of esoteric electronic music - led by blips and spacey synths, while "Take Off" resounds to growling robotics, speak and spell tones and a frazzled bass.
Review: Aussie electro wizard Mikey Melas is back as Jensen Interceptor and continuing to create a stir on the scene with his new wave electro antics, that have earned him releases on such esteemed labels like Central Processing Unit, E-Beamz and Boysnoize over the years. His debut full length EP comes courtesy of Maceo Plex's newly launched Lone Romantic imprint and titled Mother: a pulsating ode to the woman who brought him into the world. From the dynamic opener "Ultramax" which channels good old fashioned Detroit electro-funk of old, there are some terrific collaborations such as the darkly dystopian bounce of "Drip Freq" featuring British producer DeFeKT, while "Altered State" featuring fellow Sydneysider Assembler Code channels the very best of the Model 500/Metroplex aesthetic.
Review: UK artist Lord Of The Isles aka Neil McDonald joins the Lone Romantic crew in what is an unexpected turn for both him and the imprint; thus far, the Barcelona-based label has focused on dark and dreary sounds from the likes of Carl Finlow aka Vatican Shadow. LOTI comes through with a more mechanical approach compared to his usual blend of house flavours, with "Irafas" and "Alpha" both wrapped in a cold, industrial electro glaze - the latter being the dreamier of the two. "Q-bit" enters a darker realm, full of dubby nuances and a stripped-back beat structure, whereas "Three Times Eleven" scraps the kick drums in favour of rhythmic synth soundscapes. Brilliant stuff.
Review: Six years have passed since Maceo gave the world his debut album Life Index. In that time he's solidified his status as one of techno's most untouchable soul men who's unapologetically ungoverned by tempos or boxes or any type of formula. He's also become a father, which is what this (and last year's "Journey To Solar") are all about. Rich in sentiment, hope and fear, each cut reveals a deeper layer of Maceo: the star-gazing optimism of "Kepler's Journey", the Bristolesque industrial dub soul of "Indigo", the careful countering of vulnerable emotion and roboticism on "Was Away My Tears", the list goes on. This is Maceo at his most heartfelt and arresting.
Review: Lending touches of dub techno, twinkling techno and pumping Italo-electro to a spread of stadium sized soul vocals, Maneater arrives on Maceo Plex's Lone Romantic with a single pushing harder drums, cosmic atmospheres and the subtle arpeggios of its arrangement. The exclusive remix comes from Alinka, an American-based artist getting some attention at the moment for her work with labels like Classic, Crosstown Rebels and her Twirl Recordings. Two super hits here for a for the full, packed and pumping dancefloor.
Review: Fernando Sanz has been steadfastly dedicated to the craft of beats and breaks since he was 14 years old, in the sun-baked Spanish port city of Algeciras. Under the imprint Orbe Records, Sanz has cultivated his own thriving techno community as an artist and label head. Since 2014, the label has been lashing the block rocking techno of Sanz's comrades Eduardo De La Calle and Steve Stoll, but mostly of Sanz's own prolific moniker: Orbe. As a producer, he's released on top labels like De La Calle's Analog Solutions, Mental Groove and Hivern Discs. His new Hohenheim EP comes courtesy of Maceo Plex's Lone Romantic imprint, and features the epic hi-tech soul journey that is the title track, the tunnelling and mentalist excursion down the vortex as heard on "Shimano's Tribute" and "Edelweiss" which again displays Sanz' impeccable skills when it comes to producing on-point electro sounds.
Review: Sharp Felon is a spin-off project of Italian act Agents of Time, and the project gets off to an impressive start with this EP on Maceo Plex's label. Focused on the electro style, opening track "Devil Trail" is a deep, atmospheric breaker that resounds to spaced out synths, bruising drums and warbling bass. It's an uplifting, powerful piece. On "Telework Titan", Sharp Felon goes down a more nihilistic route; the bass is relentlessly ominous, while the percussive ticks support morose synth lines that drift in over the arrangement. "Cyber Fex" also paints a bleak picture, with Sharp Felon laying down bleeding acid with nocturnal synths that are redolent of Dopplereffekt at their very darkest.
Review: Vectorvision aka Brian Bishop joins underground luminaries such as Carl Finlow and Lord of the Isles on the Lone Romantic roster. Similar in aesthetic to Finlow's work, Star Dwellers is a futuristic, at times bleak electro release. It starts off with the stripped back, metallic funk of "Age of Ruin", its slinky rhythm conjuring up the soundtrack to a crumbling industrial city scape. "City of Illusion" sees Bishop take a turn down an alternate route, with ice cool synths unravelling against a low-slung electronic groove. "Vortex Unknown" is similar in approach to "Ruin", but sees Bishop deliver a tougher workout, with mechanical squelches and blips reverberating against a tough, robotic rhythm.