Review: M_REC keep their foot firmly planted on their 2012 pedal by releasing Spanish producer Aiken's Balance EP, his first release for the label which includes a special remix from UK techno luminary Regis. Aiken's "First Balance" is as trippy and melodic as it is well travelled. A continuous synth loop journeys through a smattering of white noise and hissing percussion, but remains devoid of cheesiness. "Second Balance" is more gracious than the first, although slightly disturbing - think Italian horror film composer Claudio Simonetti meets Jeff Mills Something In The Sky series. Regis' remix hunches the original from its sleek invention, creating a grubby translation of insect chatter and workshop percussion. "Third Balance" is the most visceral of the three as a hectic loop creates a sharp and deranged mantra - proceed with caution.
Review: Milanese techno outpost M_Rec continue to flex hard in 2014, with its seventh release so far this year introducing the talents of US newcomer Allen. Some four tracks deep, the Gravity Assist EP suggests Chris Allen is keenly attuned to the future glancing sounds that characterised much of techno's first wave and how to translate that approach in a manner appealing to the modern techno selectors and collectors. In the case of the opening title track, it's the laser-like bassline that pulses with kinetic energy, with Allen wisely keeping the rhythmic elements to a minimum. The subsequent "EM26" is reminiscent of Something In The Sky era Mills, whilst "MH370" pairs morse code style bleeps with trimmed drum textures. Final track "Kepler" sees Allen unleash something approaching a brooding techno monster to round out a confident debut from this newcomer.
Review: The long-running collaboration between Angelis and Search has resulted in some fine minimal techno over the past decade, and "Diversity" upholds this strong track record. "Species" is a linear, stripped back affair with an austere feeling, like Samuli Kemppi in particularly gloomy form. "Genetic" offers a less intense approach thanks to the housey drums, but the more inviting rhythm is deceptive and the bleeps that at the outset are understated build and build into a shrieking cacophony of demented sound. By contrast, 'Nucleotide' offers fewer surprises, but it does see the duo deliver a linear, percussive affair that teems with menace as it progresses.
Review: Alex Tsiridis and Huseyin Evirgren are Cassegrain, and the duo's third missive comes through Max_M's M_Rec LTD, with their Painter-Palette EP. "Painter Of Modern Life" promotes a lightly trickled bassline, sparking industrial statics, juggled around Sandwell District styled blips. Ed Davenport steps up for what could be his finest work to date, dubbing down Cassegrain's original to deeper cut of underground techno - Davenport's trademark bottom end ensuring maximum club efficiency. On the (digital) flip Cassegrain present their most peak-time production yet with "Palette" - a devilish track, harbouring the muscle to satisfy DJ sets from Len Faki and Chris Liebing.
Review: One of the main artists on digital label Labrynth, Field Transitions sees Coefficient make the move to Italian techno label M_Rec. The brilliantly named "Scale Invariant Spectrum" is a creepy, coruscating minimal workout, its heavy drums building and building, dropping back down and then repeating this approach. "Vacuum Instability" is more pacey and stark, the cold bleeps that litter the arrangement sounding like classic Sahko or Sleeparchive. Finally, Labrynth colleague Michaelangelo delivers a remix of "Instability". Heavier and more industrial sounding than the original, the pile-driving metallic riffs are fused with Coefficient's cold bleeps to form an insane finale, like a juggernaut racing towards a cliff.
Review: After banging out techno for years on Michaelangelo's Labrynth label (whom he formed Telesthesia with) Coefficient seems to have found a new home on Max_M's M_Rec operation. The Blood Red EP is Coefficient's second release on the Italian techno label and it's the type of burrowing deepness we've come to expect from the M_Rec discography. The four tracks here take their cue from classic Detroit techno through the usage of bleeps and lead synths dipped in dystopian intent which results in loopy time tunnels tailor made for the darker spaces late at night. "Tesseract" just edges it in our affections.
Review: Jeff Derringer may be a relative newcomer to the world of electronic music production, but as this release shows, it hasn't taken him long to reach a high standard. "Ambition" is a killer shot of contemporary techno, its scary riffs and reverberated claps housed in a rolling, DJ-friendly groove. "Shame" sees Derringer bring the bass to the fore with a growling low end riding choppy percussion. Best of all though is Compassion: the drums are clipped and reduced-sounding, but it's all about the trancey, old school riff at its heart. Like early Underworld jacked up on ket, it's a truly trippy experience.
Review: It's been a while since we've seen FSG in full flight and for M_Rec they really take off. But they're not high flying, instead they burrow down with rigid Ancient Methods styled drums and a freaked out synth shot which continually morphs like a blob with a brain of its own. Things get more industrial on "Levity" as its groove falls out of rhythm with the beats but it works, especially during the breakdown, while "Learned" is a caustic slab of dubby club techno. One for concrete clubs that's fore sure.
Review: UK producer Ben Gibson impressed with a visceral take on techno for Jeff Mills's 6277 label, but the cold, austere tones on Milk are ultimately more seductive. "Implex" sets the tone with a surging bass, heavy claps and hissing percussion supporting a series of cold, pitch-bent bleeps. Gibson uses the same approach on "Stereoscope", where a plunging bassline and insidious bleeps provide for a cold but thrilling experience. Meanwhile, Gibson reverts to a more visceral approach on "Florentine", which is fuelled by distorted drums - and Samuli Kemppi's version of "Implex" provides a stepping, stripped back alternative to the aura of bleakness that prevails on More Than Milk.
Review: Having had a long and illustrious career releasing on labels such as his own Zooloft and Prologue, on this 12" Italian producer Giorgio Gigli brings his dark sound to M_Rec Ltd with two wildly different productions. "Indifferent Sight" is built around a driving motorik bassline, while unpredictable percussive elements reverberate in the background. "Individual Unconscious" meanwhile is a totally beatless production which layers echoing drones over a warm filtered bass pulse; the mood is less aggressive than its counterpart, but no less alienating. On the B-Side, kindred spirit of dark techno Terence Fixmer remixes "Indifferent Sight", taking the original's already substantial bassline and adding more bite to it, with a texture resembling EBM; he gives the track of bit of breathing space in the middle with an ambient interlude, but this only serves to heighten the fury when the bass returns.
Review: There must be something in the water up in northern Europe: following in the proud tradition started by seminal 90s minimal label Sahko and the weird soundscapes of Biosphere is Finnish techno producer Samuli Kemppi. With releases in the past few years on Prologue, Komisch, Luke Slater's Mote Evolver and the mighty Ostgut - which commissioned him to appear on Marcel Dettmann's mix CD - Samuli's star is in the ascent thanks to his distinctive brand of spooky, spaced out techno. Certainly, this release on the oddly named M-Rec Ltd Cue label will win him more praise, thanks to his ability to tease new shapes out of previous narratives. Both "Bang" and "Crunch" reverberate to the sound of thundering claps and slamming, stripped back rhythms. Both are testament to Samuli's skills as a techno producer, but neither prepare the listener for the second half of the release. "Bounce" features more musical pads, but the track's most distinguishing feature is its panning, insistent hook that sounds like an update of Dave Angel's 1992 classic, "Bounce Back". Changing tact completely, Kemppi finishes with "Expand", a gloriously evocative synth piece that sounds like he's following the northern lights' path through the cosmos.
Review: Samuli Kemppi is a master of the ice-cool, stripped back techno groove, and on Parallax, he squeezes new possibilities from minimalism. "Extragalactic" is built on dense, shuffling rhythms that shift and morph continuously and deep beautiful tones. "Astrometric Precision" is closer in sound and spirit to Jeff Mills' Something in the Sky releases, its spaced out tones and reduced rhythm sounding both understated and powerful. "More Than Parsec" sees the Finnish producer reveal his harder side, with heavy drums and metallic percussion crashing in, but soon afterwards he returns to a more reduced approach; "Less Than Planck" is an eerie groove, filled with weird and wonderful plink-plonk tones.
Review: After years of releasing uncompromising, bleepy minimal techno, Finland's Samuli Kemppi finally steps up to the album format with this twelve-track collection for M_Rec. Existing in the same mind state as Robert Hood and Daniel Bell, Kemppi's distinction comes through his embrace of atmospherics and a willingness to disorientate. "250 Days" represents one of the most immediate cuts on the album with its snappy synth riffs, while the likes of "Agitated" represent the chunkier side of his sound. There is also space here for some ambient experimentation as on "Water Lake", but by and large this is a collection of proper techno tracks for those who like it stern and slender.
Review: Fresh from teaming up with Wrong Assessment on Parachute, Italian techno veteran returns to the familiar surroundings of his own M Records imprint, the label he used to launch his career some 15 years ago. Opener "Exceeding Brightness" sets the tone, with nagging, intergalactic loop melodies riding a forthright, heavily compressed techno groove. He opts for a deeper approach on "Architectural Lie", with woozy, near dreamy melodies, thumping kick drums and trippy top-end percussion creating a hypnotic, locked-in groove. Finally, he indulges his melodious side with "Scape Sequences", where looped Marimba melodies tussle with hissing cymbals and stretched-out percussive builds.
Review: For his first release of 2015, Moerbeck delivers a killer release for M_Rec. The label, which has just put out Samuli Kemppi's debut album, has picked three hard-hitting but diverse cuts from the Berlin-based artist. The title track centres on a pounding rhythm and snapping percussion as bells chime menacingly in the background, while "Arrival Of The Stranger" has the same kind of linear, visceral sound as classic Robert Hood M-Plant releases. Best of all though is "Geometrix", its dubby drums and hazy textures are combined with a crackling, snapping backing rhythm track, making for an ideal balance of functionality and depth.
Review: Across their releases for esteemed labels like Semantica, Modularz and their own eponymous imprint, NX1 have shown themselves to masters of the kind of throbbing techno so beloved of producers like Function and Developer, and this release sees them arrive on M_Rec with four of their most devastating productions to date. Keeping their track titles typically brief, they opt to use the "MR" prefix this time round; "MR1" rolls forward with the inevitability of an out of control juggernaut, as pulsing bass slips between clattering percussion, while "MR2" offers abstract modular noise in conjunction with Fachwerk-style house touches. "MR3" offers a rasping bass and tumbling rhythm akin to Shifted's recent OCS banger "Chapter", while "MR4" combines subtly swung yet whiplash-inducing percussion with an ominous sequence of swelling chords and abstract drones.
Review: After a superb year of EPs, particularly those from Stanislav Tolkachev and Samuli Kemppi, M_Rec delivers one final release for 2013. It comes from PVS, a hard working Italian producer who's been a key figure in Gynoid Audio's output this year. The Fugitive EP is the Italian's highest profile release to date, and with it comes a remix from the label boss Max_M's, but also Ctrls, the other guy from Northern Structures and Token newest recruit. The A-side presents "Arsenal" which sounds like something Abdulla Rashim might produce, only more solidified; so if the original is solidified - that makes Ctrls' remix rock hard. "Intercellar" sees PVS stick to a similar theme of haunted techno - thanks to bleeps and reverberation - which Max_M tones, strips and settles, to provide a clever reconstruction of its best elements.
Review: The direction that Sawf takes on Skotos may surprise anyone who heard his work for Perc. The title track is positively upbeat as he drops lithe, skipping beats and a purring bass. However, as the track progresses, it becomes more intense, with the bassline getting gloomier and darker, and a dissected vocal, pitched down and indistinct, running through the arrangement. Milton Brdley's version meanwhile pushes the track into a minimal direction - the 90s variant - with yelping industrial riffs flying off the insistent rhythm track. If listeners are looking for something intense, then they should check the Henning Baer version, where distorted drums and a darker take on the vocal, prevail.