John Wink's esteemed Ovum Recordings has been at the forefront of techno and house for nearly three decades. The Philadelphia-based label has birthed many anthems, all of which will live on in the annals of electronic music history such as Wink's own "How's Your Evening So Far?” (featuring Lil Louis) from the turn of the millenium, Vaggio's 2011 dancefloor smash "Don't You Want Some More" or UK legend Tom Middleton's evocative 2012 offering "Penrose Steps". In more recent years, Ovum has consistently remained on the genre's pulse, with key artists including Gel Abril, Frank Maurel and Amberroom to name but a few.
Review: Josh Wink has been putting out music for 30 years, but his appetite for underground techno hasn't waned. As this release on Ovum demonstrates, Wink still has a passion for crafting twisted dance floor tracks; "Balls Back" combines skewed percussion with his well-documented love of the 303, while on the dub version, the veteran US producer drops a linear rhythm that features another of his production signatures - the pitch-bent vocal sample - to create maximum impact. The release also features a remix from Marco Faraone, with the fast-rising artist underpinning the title track's vocals with steely drums, niggling percussive ticks and dramatic snare rolls.
Review: While Ovum owner Josh Wink and techno producer Truncate had remixed one another's tracks, now they come together to collaborate on new material. In its original form, the title track is a blistering affair that builds gradually to the sound of ponderous vocals, detuned tones and tight, driving percussion. Meanwhile, Truncate's remix sees him deliver a more tripped out version, with frequencies gradually going up the sonic scale until they reach a crescendo, and phased filters augmenting the 'focus on me' vocal sample. There's also an acapella take included for DJs who want to use the original vocal in the mix.
Review: For the latest Ovum installment Taran & Lomov slip into their Queer On Acid guise for two tracks, before reverting to their own names for two more. "Houseum" as QOA is a wonderfully deep, tripped out piece of techno that is redolent of label owner Josh Wink's more musical leanings. Led by swirling chords and a rolling groove, it strikes a near perfect balance between depth and force. On "New Path", also under their alias, the pair keep the focus on a more musical iteration as warbling bass underpins swirling strings and seductive keys.Reverting to their own names, they deliver "Back Door", a more tracky, lean affair, while "Voltage" sees them go deep again, this time deploying woozy synths and a spiky rhythm.
Review: The latest on Josh Wink's long standing imprint comes from Vienna-based Alexander Wirth of Leap Records, with five tracks proving his worth (no pun intended) and why he is likely to appear on the label again in future. Featuring the flanged and dubby groove dynamics of "Everyday Sunday", more late night mood music awaits on the smooth and sensual "Forever Deep", the sunny and balearic tinged "Carmens Rainbow" which we hope to hear on The White Isle (if the summer season reopens) this year, as well as the low slung bass-driven bounce of "Philadelphia Steam". The last track being a wonderful homage to the label's hometown and an all round terrific close to an impressive EP.
Review: Justin Jay has previously released material on Freerange and Dirtybird and for his debut on Josh Wink's label, he conjures up something darker. "Vale of Tempe" is a twisted minimal banger that resounds to barbed percussive slivers and twisted acid lines, while on the title track, he ups the pace to deliver a highly effective metallic track that boasts a churning, spiralling chord-led climax. On "Athens", Jay opts for a deeper, dubbed out groove that sounds expansive and atmospheric, while Ovum has commissioned Viers to rework "Vale..", and the talented, emerging artist turns the original into a stepping, rickety electro affair that sounds like it has arrived from a different planet.
Review: Originally released back in the late 90s, Josh Wink's "Sixth Sense" gets a new lease of life with a fresh set of remixes. First up is a rework from Louie Vega, one half of Masters At Work. The revered US producer delivers a driving, drum-heavy take on "Sense" on his 45 Rpm remix, with house poetess Ursula Rucker's vocals unfolding in an unhurried manner. On Vega's 'Jump Dub' take, the focus is, unsurprisingly, on those tough drums with Rucker's contribution reduced to a single 'jump' sample. Ovum has also recruited Shlomi Aber to contribute a mix, with the Be As One boss upping the tempo and turning the original into a driving techno workout.
Review: For those who've been buying house music since the '90s, "Sixth Sense" may be familiar. It was first released as a single way back in 1997 and saw Josh Wink joining forces with beat poet/spoken word artist Ursula Rucker on a typical deep and dark house workout. These are entirely fresh remixes, with Schlomi Aber and Louie Vega delivering decidedly 21st century revisions. Vega's vocal, dub and instrumental versions are surprisingly moody by his standards, wrapping Wink's acid-style stabs and mind-altering aural textures around a bouncy, cowbell-driven rhythm track rich in live percussion. Aber takes the track into ultra-deep, sub-heavy techno pastures on his clandestine and alluring "Remix", before stripping back the beats and pushing up the bass on the arguably even more intoxicating "Hidden In The Dark Mix".
Review: Ovum revisits its 90s roots with this debut release on the label by Alberto Pascual. The title track is a slinky, hypnotic take on minimalism, with a lone tonal riff working its way through through the arrangement, accompanied only by some looped chords. By contrast, "Arch" is a more gritty, visceral banger that revolves around static hiss and hum as it climaxes and drops. "Coda" is also gritty, but this time the Spanish producer puts a focus on grinding riffs and vocal snatches that served to accentuate the track's out there feeling. Rounding off this fine, accomplished EP is the stripped back minimal house of "Movement".
Review: Ryogo Yamamori follows his 2016 debut on Ovum with this fine three-tracker. As one of the leading acid-friendly labels of the past 20 years, it's no surprise that Wink's label signed "Touch Me". It combines exactly the right mixture of spaced out textures with nagging 303s to make it irresistible for any DJ with a taste of the trippy side of techno. In contrast, the title track is a firing, percussive affair that leans towards the Frozen Border-style of dry, crafty club track. Changing style again, Yamamori opts for a spaced out but driving approach on closing track "Udon".
Review: Thorstenson follows up 2017's Svart on Ovum with this no-nonsense EP. Inspired by US techno, including presumably, label owner Josh Wink's own 303 classics, this is an irresistibly mean and moody release. He kick-starts it with "Right Behind You", where an acid line is tweaked and teased over a moody, menacing bass that could have come from Suburban Knight's studio. "Grains" is more upfront and forceful, with the young Swedish producer dropping dubbed out chords and surging 303s over a rolling, looped rhythm. Rounding off the release is the spaced out minimal groove of the title track, where Thorstenson takes inspiration from Detroit artists like Sean Deason.
Review: For anyone whose gateway to techno came via Josh Wink's mid-90s classics such as Higher State of Consciousness or How's the Music, the 300th release on Ovum is sure to provide a wonderful flashback. The title track hurtles along at 130bpm, underpinned by Wink's trademark gurgling acid lines. But like those 90s classics, Mars also resounds to unpredictable elements, such as nifty break beats and pitch bent vocals. On the "Mars Beats" version, crashing snares and rolling drums provide all of the action, while the 'Vox' take presents a hypnotic a capella. For the most effective version, head straight for the original version.
Review: UK techno hero Reset Robot takes a break from his consistent output on Adam Beyer's mighty Truesoul imprint to unleash his sonic artillery via an alternate outlet. This time it's Josh Wink's equally prolific Ovum serving up his new Bark Orders EP. The title track is more of the same driving main room techno on the evocative tip, with a mesmerising melody, funky bassline and restrained yet sturdy rhythm patterns. Second offering "Croquette" features much more strength and attitude on this reduced and tunnelling cut that slowly introduces some amazingly hypnotic chords. It will no doubt case some strobed out moments on the dancefloor: be prepared for this! More dubbed-out, moody techno and house from a current scene favourite.
Review: Ovum owner Josh Wink has long been associated with the 303 sound, and has successfully teased unexpected shapes and styles from the acid box (witness "I Am Ready", "Don't Laugh" and "Higher State of Consciousness"). On this occasion, he opts for a straighter but no less effective approach, as wired acid lines and the signature pitch-bent Wink vocal sample unfold over firing snares. The "Resist-Apella" version sees him opt for a more stripped back version, while on Truncate's remixes, the dominant acid line turns into a bleeding, gurgling life-form, supported by the kind of linear, lead weight rhythm that the US producer has become synonymous with.
Review: Amberoom may be a new name, but members Manuel Tur, Adrian Hoffmann and Ramin Nouyan are all established producers. As you'd expect, this debut EP is expertly produced, with title track "Rhit" - all Osunlade style rhythms, stretched-out chords and rising electronic melodies - sounding not unlike some of the material on Ame and Dixon's Innervisions imprint. Elsewhere, they show their skills at fusing live instrumentation with electronic beats, first on the gentle and trippy tech-house wooziness of "Hover", and then via the spacey, Afro-electro beats and effects-laden guitars of "Machine". They round things off with a dash of Manuel Gottsching inspired ambient in the shape of the Guitar Beatless Remix of "Hover".
Review: Delft and Valence main man LA-4A aka Ambivalent is back, this time on Josh Wink's institution Ovum for some sure fire tech house in the form of "Substantia" featuring a full octane serving of hi-tech soul with a tough rhythm and hands in the air piano melody. "Reversion" is all about functional peak time techno with its adrenalised hypnotism, while "Closed" is a stripped back and funky acid groover that's perfect for those cool down moments between transitions. We really are loving this guy's stuff at the moment!
Review: Josh Wink's institution is back and giving us a massive forecast for the musical climate on The White Isle this summer and it looks like it's gonna be pretty hot! Sure enough most of this heat is coming from Ovum's current label roster and it's all good on Ovum Over Ibiza 2016. We're pretty sure that New Yorker by way of Los Angeles' MANIK's "Recourse" will be remembered beyond this year due to its slinky deepness, as will Nottingham's Dudley Strangeways with his tunnelling piece"'Keep It Clean". Delft boss Ambivalent also appears with the epic and melodic journey track "Phase Doubt" as does New York City legend Harry Romero, surprisingly, with the peak time techno monster "What What" which really packs a punch!
Review: Israel's finest Gel Abril is back on Ovum with "Raver" nailing that classic late noughties minimal sound of Berlin; is this sound making a comeback or what? It comes complete with woozy pitch-shifted vocals. Next up "Akasa" is a lot more energetic on this loopy, minimal and tunnelling effort which is in the same league as recent work by Julian Juweil or Sian. Finally "Optical Drama" offers something different yet on this high-octane house cut for the peak time that'll get some right hand-in the air moments like any Innervisions track at the moment with its grinding synth ruff, tight rhythm and emotive strings. A return to form!