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.
Review: The build-up to Wilkins & X's latest Cowboy Rhythmbox EP has been smouldering throughout the summer with mischievous one-track dispatches. First came the jittering technoid EBM pulsations and analog grit of "Scream", then came the soothing harmonic wooziness and concrete shattering 80s drum machine beats of "Catsa Invasion", a tune laced with toxic textures and a subtle sense of industrial euphoria. Now we have "Tanz Exotique", an obscene slab of bleep-funked electro that's all glitched, subverted and supercharged with energy and detail. Strong enough to be filed next to your Soulwax records.
Review: Nathan Gregory Wilkins and Richard X are back under their awesome Cowboy Rhythmbox guise where the two London legends serve up some more of their typically retroactive indie dance grooves. The second track taken from their Tanz Exotique EP is the darkly seductive dancefloor drama of "Ctsa Invasion" featuring some militaristic '80's drum grooves beneath tunneling bleep melody and some nasty bass pulsations that signal a switch of gears in the selectors set. Speaking of which: we'd imagine the likes of Ivan Smagghe, Jennifer Cardini or Barnt smashing this killer out in the latter part of 2017.
Review: Ghost Culture is UK producer James Greenwood who back in 2012 got singed to Phantasy on the strength of one track on Soundlcoud and the rest as they say.. is history. He's now a staple of the London label with nearly a dozen releases thus far to his name and the Nucleus EP sees the young producer hone his sound further more although it still sits in the interesting space between acid house, EBM and techno. There's a certain sense of soul and emotion throughout. Highlights on here are the bittersweet electro of "ICO130" and "NGC1275" respectively, while the deep broken beat house of "NGC1265" offers a change of aesthetic while still exploring some sublime vintage synth textures like the rest of the tracks. Great effort!
Review: The shady U is a bit of a maverick. Not only because we still have no idea as to this artist's true identity, but also because he (or she!) travels from label to label with nothing but quality material. The producer is back on Phantasy Sound, and these two tunes are by far the best that we've heard from him. It's hard to know where the groove of "Friendly Ghost" starts and ends, but what we can say is that it's a deep and singular tribal tune with plenty of warm, hazy FX trickery, whereas "Ascension Hymn" bashes out the techno drums amid a woozy, hypnotic swarm of sonics that circle up and down with a startling, ritualistic sort of energy. A massive TIP, right here!
Review: Nathan Wilkins hooks up with Richard X again for the third Cowboy Rhythmbox outing on Erol Alkan's label. The title track is a stop-start jacking affair that resounds to a rude electronic bass. It's exactly the kind of upfront track one would expect to hear in one of the label owner's DJ sets. In stark contrast is "Children of the Monolith"; slower, dreamier and more complex, it features hypnotic chants unfolding over a mid-tempo tribal groove. The duo returns to the dance floor for "Soda Jerk". While not quite a direct as the title track, its relentless pulse and filtered percussion make it just as effective.
Review: The romping stomping Daniel Avery, is back on Phantasy Sound with a new two-track 12" which doubles up as the label's 50th, and continues the English producer and DJ's path down a streamlined, hard-edge techno path. Unsurprisingly, "Sensation" is a total juggernaut, a heady techno track that slithers its percussion sway amid huge mounds of delays and atmospherics. Over on the flip, "Clear" sticks to a techno formula insofar as its mid-to-fast tempo, but the melodies and chimes emanating from its underbelly are something wilder and altogether more ethereal. Conniving DJ tools!
Review: One-track affair from Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound that pits the Cowboy Rhythmbox project of Richard X and Nathan Gregory Wilkins up against the production skills of Livity Sound main man Kowton. First released last year, the original version of "Fantasma" summed up the project's slightly tongue in cheek approach, pairing outlandish synth motifs with thundering percussive excess and thick EBM basslines. It was understandably a hit with the Comeme crew and it's likely Kowton's remix will crossover into many DJ sets too. The Livity man remains quite faithful to Cowboy Rhythmbox's intentions, but cranks the pressure up somewhat for a near-perfect five minute DJ tool.
Review: Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound returns with more killer dancefloor business following up great releases by Daniel Avery and Cowboy Rhythmbox. This time it's courtesy of Frenchman Kamera who delivers a fine selection of moods and grooves on the Ventoux EP. Conceived during a series of gruelling training sessions while cycling Mont Ventoux. First track "Consignia" sits somewhere between house and techno with its rapid fire house keys, bleeps and shuffling beat which is pretty fierce; this would sound great pitched down too. The title track goes for the same vibe on this soulful and melodic journey track that is reminiscent of John Tejada's early works. "MF15" is the real stomper on here; a roaring, peak time acid techno track. Finally "Voodoo Canape" explore the sinister and esoteric on this darkly studding ambient piece.