Patrick, Frank & Joe Are Chasing The White Rabbitoh - (4:04) 90 BPM
Names (reprise) - (4:09) 120 BPM
Review: Lars "Anstam" Stoewe has long been part of Modeselektor's extended family of artists, releasing his first two albums on their 50 Weapons label. While those first two sets were characterized by a desire to blend punishing dancefloor rhytms with elements of IDM and dark ambience, Names - his third LP - is a largely more considered affair, with shards of light amongst the gathering gloom. Of course, he's not totally abandoned the skittering rhythms and maudlin basslines - see the sweeping chords and intense beats of "I Stopped Counting" and the rushing post-dubstep blast of "Fragments of the Good Old Days" - but these moments are countered by hazy songs and sweet soundscapes, with the superb "The Obvious & The Impeccable" standing out.
All You Could Do (feat Elizabeth Bernholz) - (4:16) 163 BPM
Initiate - (7:38)
Lights - (4:14)
Phosphorus - (5:56)
A Matter Of Time (feat Elizabeth Bernholz) - (7:06)
Sheya - (5:35) 140 BPM
Hush - (4:21)
Unknown - (7:58)
Review: Alex Banks has endured something of a stop-start career, first hitting record shelves in 2007 under the Munk 777 alias before finally returning - largely as a renowned DJ and remixer - a couple of years back. Here the Brighton producer finally fulfils his early promise with an excellent debut album for Modeselektor's Monkeytown Records. Illuminate sits somewhere between grandiose post-dubstep, sinewy string-laden deep house, jazz-flecked techno, murky glitch-hop and folksy electronica, with grandiose dancefloor moments (the gloriously rushing "Inititate") nestling side by side with woozier, more introspective pieces (the Bonobo-goes-electronic jazz of "Lights"). Immaculately produced and impressively atmospheric throughout, it's the sort of debut album that should propel Banks towards the upper echelons of electronic music.
All You Could Do (feat Elizabeth Bernholz) - (4:23) 163 BPM
Phosphorus - (5:56)
All You Could Do (feat Elizabeth Bernholz - Phon O remix) - (6:07) 140 BPM
All You Could Do (alternate version) - (3:54)
Review: Ahead of his debut album dropping on Monkeytown, Alex Banks gives the world a sneak peek at the sound he has been conjuring up by way of this single. The title track features the haunting vocal tones of Elizabeth Bernholz, whose siren song peals out over a frenetic mash of electronic beat mangling that calls to mind earlier strains of Clark. "Phosphorus" also gets busy in the edit, as infinitesimal sonic details bounce off of each other with the swagger of 2-step and some emotive synth work. Phon O reworks "All You Could Do" with a taut, stepping techno rhythm and a hopeful synth lilt, while Banks himself offers up an alternative version that moves in a slower, more spacious manner compared to the original.
Review: Veteran Berlin outfit Modeselektor take their "selektion" very seriously indeed. Perhaps this is why each instalment of Modeselektion, their painstakingly curated compilation series, takes so long to arrive. Here we finally have another sampler from part three. Highlights of these four tracks include the blissful synth fest of Alex Banks' "Be The One", the quirky, live electro-pop of Heinrik Schwarz's "We Are Bankrupt" and the off-kilter, acidic soulful hip-hop of "Jungle Love". Looks like the full-length album will be worth the wait.
Review: Much like Throwing Shade, the sounds of Berlin's Catnapp have a tendency to blend electronic and r&b in fine style. Neo-pop could go some way in explaining it, but we like to talk in technical terms, and the fact that Monkeytown Records have snapped her up is enough for us to feel safe about the prospects of some reliable bass-weight. In fact, although "No Cover" can be enjoyed as a harmless pop tune, almost hummable in its sway and vocal mannerisms, there resides a wicked gust of bass underneath its wings, while "Easy" much more poignantly stars its position as a cold-cut slice of bass music, twisting and falling apart amid harsh beats and distorted vocals from Catnapp herself.
Review: Catnapp (real name Amparo Battagliaa) is a live act from Buenos Aires, Argentina, now based in Berlin. She combines breakbeat, drum and bass, electronic, pop, rapping and other genres. Amparo cites classic influences like The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, OutKast or Beyonce, while her productions also draw from today's post-internet and post-rap sounds. Her new release for Monkeytown entitled Fear is her most focused and on point release yet, featuring an untamed DIY aesthetic on five tracks ranging from grim slowcore trap like on "Armed" to bright-eyed futurist R&B on Fade (feat Dabow) Fade (feat Dabow).
Review: Amparo Battaglia's Catnapp moniker is really gaining momentum, as of late, and not just for us, but for the wider millennial bass movement. The sounds and tones used are expansive, touching upon many different aspects of rave couture, and it's no wonder that Germany's magnificent Monkeytown Recordings have taken the producer on. Her recent EP, Fear, is remixed by a trio of apt names, starting with Pander Mannerfelt, who comes through with a surprisingly deep and progressive mix, while Umru bangs out the bass bullets good and proper, leaving PAN's MESH to offer the most somber, most pensive version of the original, sounding very close to what we could tag as 'post-wave'.
Review: Favoring emotional expressionism and intense beats, Catnapp is pushing the boundaries of electronic music with a unique and bold take on songwriting and production. Her music and live shows are both challenging and highly relatable, as she combines cutting-edge millennial aesthetics with openhearted lyricism and barely filtered feelings. Very much an Monkeytown alumni, this Damage EP follows her 2019 Break LP with this selection of tracks pushing the limits of vocal distortion, bass mechanics and future trance to R&B and experimental sub-pop. A self-taught sound engineer, her songs speak of toxic relationships and deception, of artistic growth, and standing up for yourself. They denounce fake friends and shallow scenesters; confessional listening from start to finish.
Now & Laters (instrumental version) - (3:07) 135 BPM
Review: Next up on the always surprising Monkeytown imprint out of Berlin is the Malaysia based producer Cee. He has been in the game for two decades now, shaping and contributing to the global club scene with projects like Al-Haca and Bass Sekolah. He delivers a bass heavy assault on "Now & Laters" with some on point rapping by Homeboy Sandman of Stones Throw fame. Story has it that the two met at a show in Kuala Lumpur. Cee crafted some beats in his studio in the Malaysian jungle - in a resort frequently visited by the likes of label head honchos Modeselektor, Africa HiTech, Kode9 and others. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Homeboy laid down his vocals in NYC. This follows up his 'Diversions 01' EP, released in 2016 on Dubai based 264 Records.
Review: Ahead of their long-awaited debut album Imagin, Dark Sky break a year's release-silence with two awesome slices of uncategorisable bass beauty. "Silent Fall" is as delicate as it is heavy. The vocals (which don't sound too far away from Ninja Tune's Stateless) fall lightly on a punctuated heartbeat bass refrain providing the ultimate balance of weight and spirit. "Odyssey", meanwhile, thunders with a more robust full-bodied wave that's slinks and slaps over a solid tech arrangement with nuances of classic electro... A little like Deetron might after eating a lorry load of burgers. Now let us feast on the album!
Review: The lead single from Dark Sky's debut album Imagin has the potential to win them many a fan with its impassioned vocal turn and crisply-realised melancholic step, building into a beautifully crafted melodic crescendo that resonates perfectly with the shortening days. By way of remixes, Trevino is up first with the dramatic "Heartbeat Remix", which interestingly eschews any kick drum in favour of rousing bass swells and stabbing hats. Marcel Dettmann meanwhile takes a long time to fully reveal himself, letting the vocal sit stark on its own and teasing the full thrust of the track in gently with some powerful synth strings to boot.
Review: It's been an exciting ride for both group and listeners alike since Dark Sky first emerged some four years ago on Black Acre, with ever more impressive musical feats getting signed up to ever more respected labels, and now well and truly in the Modeselektor fold on both 50Weapons and Monkeytown, they offer up their debut album. It's an expansive listen, from the rich synth orchestrations of the title track to the catchy band-in-the-room groove of "Vivid", with the focus very much on home-listening interest over club dynamics. There are still some kicking moments such as the rushy arpeggio drop of "Odyssey", but on the whole this is an album of carefully composed melodies and finely chiseled sounds to accompany you in more personal, introspective moments.
Review: After some down time spent in the studio, 2017 will see the British duo Dark Sky return to Monkeytown and present their debut album entitled Othona. Across nine tracks, the album 'is a return to the deeper darker realms of dance music from which Dark Sky emerged.' Heavy on bottom end with subtle melodies and emotive synths, this is Dark Sky's most dynamic and accomplished work to date. Highlights on this tremendous opus include the evocative IDM journey "Domes" which is decorated by soaring and spangling vintage synth flair, the simply gorgeous/pop inflected house of "Angels" and "The Walker" which is guided by angelic vocals and magical arpeggios guiding you triumphantly upwards to the light. The LP will in turn yield a new live show which we're all excited about: stay tuned!
Review: Culled from Monkeytown's second album, Othona, as well as the preceding single, "The Walker" and "Kilter" get reshaped by two of electronic music's most respected emerging artists. First up is Miami's Danny Daze; his take on "The Walker" starts inauspiciously with ghostly electronic chants, but they are soon joined by a pulsing, acid-soaked bass that pushes the original track into a tripped out disco finale. Meanwhile, the German techno duo the Zenker Brothers get to rework "Killer". Grainy percussion drizzles over a steppy rhythm and billowing chords, while metallic drums knock out the clanging beat. With the addition of grandiose woodwind, it makes for an epic treatment
Review: Across its nine tracks, the London duo's recent opus entitled Othona was a return to the deeper darker realms of dance music from which they are said to have emerged. Heavy on bottom end, with subtle melodies and emotive synths; it was Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards' most dynamic and accomplished work to date. Their new single follows in suit: "The Passenger" featuring an epic arrangement full of tight elements and much suspense: it's sure geared for some proper dancefloor drama. "The Walker" is taken from the aforementioned album but is remixed by Frankfurt legend Roman Fluegel, whose trance inducing version is bleepy and evocative as always. Finally there is a wonderful live version of "Angels".
Review: London's Dark Sky trio have come a long way over the last three years, first appearing on the mighty 50 Weapons, then jumping on to Mister Saturday Night's catalogue, and now landing most vertically on Germany's Monkeytown - quite impressive if you ask us! The NTS Radio residents serve up "Voyages", a wonky techno side-stepper complete with tribal percussion and a distinct UK feel. Remix duties are taken care of by Francis Inferno Orchestra, who deliver a hypnotic and floor-ready version of the original, and techno God Reshape with his slithering, ultra-stripped back version. Another class act from Monkeytown camp.
Review: Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards are the London based production duo Dark Sky. Having met at secondary school, Dark Sky formed out of a mutual love for the ever evolving London electronic music scene; a love that the duo have always explored through not only their DJ sets but also their productions. The new single "Kilter" is a dark journey track engineered for maximum dancefloor drama. Yes it has the mandatory wonky synth lead happening, but it's a wicked one, bearing the true grit of analogue and backed by some rusty rhythm patterns that work a treat. Second offering "Acacia" is more deep and gentle to an extent, with its sublime pads and hypnotic bleep melody backed by some sultry vocal samples and dusty barely there rhythms.
Review: As if releasing their third album wasn't enough, Modeselektor are also busy releasing music on their label, and Elan steps up to deliver some flavoursome electro stylings. "Blackout" is a joyful mixture of dystopian sci-fi grind rubbing up against treated boogie bass in an undeniably funky melting pot. If you ever got down to Dabrye, just you try resisting this release. "Down 4 You" particularly shines with its insistent bump and gently detuning VHS synths. Meanwhile the bossmen (Modeselektor) turn in a surprisingly short and sweet remix that serves as a pleasant bookend rather than a show stealer.
Shoot The Beam (Fitz Ambrose remix) - (2:31) 86 BPM
Saccharin On Top (Anstam remix) - (4:57) 96 BPM
Review: The relentless tidal wave of chunky electronica coming out of the Monkeytown borough shows no signs of letting up with the release of eLan's debut album proper. Funk is most definitely the order of the day, with the West-coast producer's beats clearly indebted to the swagger of g-funk and boogie. Much like his fellow conspirators such as Shlohmo, plenty of space is allowed for the, darewesayit, wonky grooves to strut and tumble around Moog basslines and dreamy samples. While maybe not as wild as some of the Californian beat scene output, Next 2 Last is a thoroughly satisfying record to bump when you want that low-slung jam fix.
Review: Both 50 Weapons and the Monkeytown massives would not be where they are if it weren't for the dedication and continuously high-calibre music of artists like Fjaak. The Berlin trio are total music junkies, preferring to spend their days with their heads in hardware manuals rather than in clubs or being seen at parties. We love that kind of dedication; it's what the underground community has always been about. Their new album, out on Monkeytown, of course, is self-titled and fully representative of their rugged, amorphous blends of bass and breakbeat science. In fact, there isn't a tune on here that could be categorized under one genre, and even heavy techno tunes like "Wolves" contain something new and curious, whether that be weird and wonderful melodies, or even a little injection of jungle juice. Techno viking Rodhad appears on the dark and mysterious glow of "Offline", but even that tune is drenched in enough experimentalism to render it utterly singular. Check and indulge.
I Love Him So (feat Jay Jay Johanson) - (3:12) 150 BPM
KRKTR - (0:19) 143 BPM
The Other Way Round (feat Anothr) - (4:46) 50 BPM
Review: Funkstorung have been releasing acid-driven techno since the mid 1990's and although they've kept a below-commercial status over the last few years, they certainly haven't gone anywhere. Germany's Monkeytown welcomes them back to the surface of the scene with their latest LP, a fourteen-track journey through vast planes of electronica and sparse bass explorations. Compared to their older material, tracks like "IATC", "So Simple" featuring Jamie Lidell, and "CHNNL" are considerably softer and more pensive, opting instead to delve into your mind by means of melody and soulfulness rather than brute beat anger. A breath of fresh air!
Review: Funkstorung, who by now have amassed a rather impressive back catalogue of productions, recently released an album for Germany's Monkeytown which featured a track named "Laid Out". The duo, Chris De Luca and Michael Fakesch, see their tune morphed and reshaped by a couple of the Monkeytown casuals, and that's always a cause for excitement around these parts. Brighton-based multi-instrumentalist Alex Banks is first up, and brother caresses the tune into a docile, break-ridden jam featuring the original's vocals; Funkstorung themselves strip the tune back into a mass of stuttering drums and wavy, fading voices; Cologne's Mouse On Mars duo break the groove up and go for the half-step approach on their reinterpretation; the ever-mesmerising Anstam duly delivers some of his signature weirdness with his own utterly broken, and beautifully abstract version.
Spark (In A Sea Of Echoes) (feat Audego) - (3:37) 100 BPM
I Can't Love You (feat Sanders Bohlke) - (4:36) 65 BPM
Pseudonyms (feat Anothr) - (3:58) 150 BPM
Killers (instrumental) - (3:30) 115 BPM
Review: The Funkstorung duo have been active on the techno scene since the mid 1990s, and their productions gained significant approval from the underground heads, courtesy of imprints such as Acid Planet and even Studio !K7. The Monkeytown collective have unearthed their talents and they presented the pair's first LP in almost ten years, this year, and now a follow-up EP. "Killers" features the vocal talents of Taprikk Sweezee and a gorgeous half-step rhythm with plenty of warm sonics and a hip-hop edge; the tune is followed by the watery synths and docile voices of "Spark (In A Sea Of Echoes)", "I Can't Love You" and "Pseudonyms", but "Killers" is the oddest and most alluring of the lot - a winding belter of a tune complete with sci-fi melodies and deep, twisted beats.
Review: Matti Gajek, or simply known as Gajek, is a recent Monkeytown signing who released an LP as his debut, back last year. Two of the tracks from that Restless Shapes album, "Curved Engines 04" and "Restless Water Shapes 05", are remixed and juiced up by two special guests on the label. The former is reinterpreted by techno legends Plaid, who made a name for themselves on a little old label by the name of Warp, and the duo shape the tune into a lovely electronica ballad filled with starry melodies and subtle percussive twists; the latter sees Raster-Noton's legendary Alva Noto morph Gajek's original into a broken, pulsating techno drifter with a dubby edge. Excellent as always from the Monkeytown crew.
Review: Modeselektor's Monkeytown label has never shied away from releasing music that's a little eccentric and left-of-centre. Even so, few would have expected them to release a minimal techno-inspired atmospheric deep house cover of Nirvana's grunge classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The men responsible are - somewhat surprisingly - RY X and Ame's Frank Wiedemann, who don the Howling alias for the first time since their eponymous debut on Transmodern. Their interpretation is one of those records that will divide opinions; those who love it will claim it's a nine-minute chunk of winding, atmospheric house with a beguiling, haunting vocal atop. Certainly, you can feel the pain and anguish in the vocal.
Review: After the triumph of their debut album, Low Limit and Lando Kal are back in action under their Lazer Sword alias, this time on 50 Weapons. It makes total sense to see guest spots from Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum on here, but it's more remarkable how much the duo have switched up their approach from the last LP. There's a much more footworking influence at work, and a lot more ambience and textural ambience where they were once so enamoured with plush, glossy beats and chunky synths. The same attention to detail remains, but now shot through with a moody slant that perhaps reflects their individual evolution as artists.