Review: The Israeli duo of Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi bring us an EP that, like much of their canon, evidences a wide range of influences from across the musical spectrum. It's 'Rhythm Passage' itself that sits most comfortably under the 'disco' banner, with its Italo-esque synths, vocodered male vocal and female "rhythm!" interjections. Elsewhere, the Clangers-tastic 'Oh My Arp' could just as easily be filed under 'techno' or 'progressive house', while '20 Min' drops down into an entrancing tribal groove but also packs plenty of space-y beeps n' bleeps. Put together, the three make for quite a journey - and one hell of an EP!
Review: New on Phantasy Sound this week is the return of Berlin-based Irishman Chris McCormick aka Cromby, who follows up last year's Que Sientes ft. Tee Amara, and is also hot off relesses on REKIDS and the launch of his Potency imprint. "Loving' is a stomping techno cut, featuring hardcore chords and an infectious vocal sample that's perfect for those heads down moments. It is followed by a remix from the Hardwax affiliated Berlin veteran Rene Pawlowitz, who under his esteemed Head High alias serves up a fierce dose of 'power house' in inimitable fashion, followed by one more original by McCormick who shuffles you aboard the 303 express on "Acid Trifle"
Review: Having lent a couple of the label's finest moments previously such as the Sipoor and Sound Test EPs, not to mention a killer self-titled full length last year, esteemed Israeli duo Red Axes return to Phantasy with another bunch of leftfield club tracks on the Some Lights EP. Features the tunnelling, acid house-inspired stomp of the title track, which leads into the transcendental and psychedelic dark disco journey of "Skulls" and proving there's plenty in the duo's sonic repertoire, they close it out on a low slung tip with the deep down and dirty "Professor Grasstov".
Review: Following up an impressive debut on Midland's ReGraded label last year, London-based DJ and producer Jay Duncan collaborates with saxophonist Ben Vince on her debut release for Phantasy. "In Limbo" continues in her pursuit of trippy and minimalistic grooves, on which immaculately programmed polyrhythms play centre stage. Similarly, the splintered beat attack of "Anti-Purgatorio" is at once disorienting as it is mesmerising. If those two tracks were not impressive enough on their own, it comes with a deeply meditative remix by legend Ricardo Villabos, who as you could imagine adds his midas touch as always.
Review: Originally conceived as part of Erol Alkan's Fabriclive mix back in 2014, "Sub Conscious" now gets its own separate release. It serves as a reminder that the iconic UK DJ is also an adept producer, and "Sub Conscious" features gurgling acid lines that are overlaid against crashing snares and swinging drums, making for an alluring slice of woozy techno. Respected underground DJ Manfredas has been tapped to rework the track and he delivers two remixes; the first version is a dubbed out groove that swings and twists seductively, while the "Stream of Consciousness" version is a balmy, beatsy affair that is shot through with languid guitar licks.
Review: All the aspects you could possibly want from two London legends of the scene here in Paul Woolford's Special Request mixes of Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, Erol Alkan. This extra special suite follows previous remixes of the same single from Mano le Tough, Matrixxman and Machine Woman of Alkan's latest solo release for Phantasy Sound. Like the aforementioned, Woolford's Special Request project opts for the synthesized rave chords and deeper melodies of "Spectrum", with the 'Kaleidoscope' mix plunging deeper into bassline territory while the 'Double Vision' mix goes hard on the phasers for a stripped back dub version of hissing snares and white noise. Arpeggio heaven.
Review: Earlier in the decade, Berlin-based Brazilian Daniela Caldellas made her mark via a trio of tasty 12" singles on Hotflush. Here she deviates from her left-of-centre techno path to successfully turn her hand to sleazy disco. In its original form, "Tale of Devotion" is breathy and breathless, with Caldellas adding impactful, headline-grabbing vocals to a throbbing, spacey backing track that wraps razor-sharp disco strings to a thrusting, Patrick Cowley-esque groove. Caldellas' accompanying "Dub" wisely concentrates on the killer groove and intergalactic electronic effects, while Norwegian legend Prins Thomas offers up typically epic vocal and instrumental takes in his usual "Discomiks" style. In practice, that means heavy post-punk bass guitar, krautrock-goes-disco drums and an even more prominent role for Caldellas' strings.
Review: He's not the most prolific electronic music producer, but Erol Alkan is certainly one of the most distinctive. For once though, he cedes control to two fellow mavericks for remixes of last year's Spectrum release on Phantasy. Mano Le Tough's version sees the Irish producer add some spacey sound scapes and cascading filters to Alkan's French Kiss-on-acid original. It makes for a vivid, out there version, replete with slowed-down drops and build ups. Baris K is also tasked with reworking "Spectrum" and he opts for a more esoteric approach, dropping a sub-aquatic disco groove with a touch of eastern mystery embedded in the arrangement.
Review: This is Erol Alkan's first solo material in about half a decade, and fans of the veteran DJ are in for a treat. "Spectrum" is a loopy, acidic affair that is caked in the kind of gritty basement vibes that defined his residency at the infamous Trash. In stark contrast is "Silver Echoes". It may come as a surprise to some that Alkan is adept at making more purist techno, but its building, fluid chords and tight, angular rhythm show that he is every bit as talented as some of the form's most revered practitioners. It leaves the listener guessing as to what this iconic artist will try next.