Review: Christian Wunsch is becoming as much of a formidable force as his fellow Spanish and Pole Group patriarch Oscar Mulero and close cohort Developer. Last year Pole Group released the debut album of Spanish duo Exium and now they move the spotlight over to Wunsch, who shines brightly from the first track onwards. The album is of course full of huge club productions like "Auger Electrons", "Ionized", "Graphene" and "Radioactive Decay" - but Wunsch delivers the type of techno in productions like "When The Process Is Expected", "Nuclear Transition" and "Fixed Fraction" that makes Internal Conversion more than just a heavy weight slab of booming DJ tools. One of the best releases to come from Pole Group yet.
Review: It's been a few years since Christian Wunsch last released on Polegroup, but Mutation shows that he has lost none of his potency. "Organic Molecules" is a dense, drum-heavy workout with little else than clicking, steely percussion joining the monstrous kicks. "Cosmic Radiation" is equally dense, with rickety slivers of percussion bouncing off a central bass and drum combination of concrete weight. By contrast, "Chemical Reactions" has a loose, almost organic rhythm, like the straightest, most clubby iteration of Cosmic / Lost Recordings. Finally, "Microorganisms" sounds like Wunsch has been listening to a lot of Mike Parker, with pneumatic bass and dark bleeps prevailing.
Review: US producer Developer teams up with Mulero's Pole Group label for a fine dancefloor techno release. "1975 A" is a tough rhythm track, its distorted kicks and grinding riffs pushing into Mills-esque territory. "B" is just as dense, but not as visceral. While the central rhythm bangs away, Developer uses swirling filters and dreamy chords to create a deeper sound. The same is true on "C", where snappy percussion and dramatic string stabs unfold over a pulsing, predatory bassline. The label has commissioned a great remix of "A", with Spanish producer Reeko making the original less abrasive thanks to its surging chords and intricate percussive filaments.
Review: Exium continues his strong run of releases. As this four-tracker so ably demonstrates, what's really impressive about the Spanish producer is his ability to integrate existing tropes with his own sound. On "Monopoles", this approach sees him fuse a Function-style linear pulse with a repetitive vocal sample, while "Magnetic Flux" goes further and deeper into this direction, a dank, tunneling rhythm led by tonal bleeps and blips. On the title track, he changes direction again, with the kind of drones that one would associate with Hospital Productions fused with shaking percussion, while "Early Life" brings the release to a close to the sound of Mills-inspired, panel-beating drums.
Review: Exium continue to strengthen their working relationship with Pole Recordings, gracing Oscar Mulero's label with A Sensible Alternative To Emotion, their second studio album. Having spent over a decade refining their own vision of hard edged techno, Exium use this platform of a second album to expand on their established sound, at times easing down the tempos and intensity for a more balanced listen across the 10 tracks. Productions such as the granite heavy "Massless Particle" or tunnelling abstraction of "Absolute Magnitude" demonstrate this is no drastic departure from the Exium sound but there's an equal consideration for melodic arrangements and more subdued moments.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Polegroup calls upon a storied cast of producers to remix Exuim's 2013 album, which begins with this EP's highlight: a fresh, post-punky - supremely techno sounding - Silent Servant remix to "The 12th Planet". Jonas Kopp's remix to "Nucleoid" is a deep vamp of circulating darkness for the warehouse set, while Oscar Mulero turns in a dubby, liquid-coated production of throbbing bass frequencies when reworking "Massless Particle". The digital version of this EP presents two bonus remixes and the first comes from Dark Esser's Tripeo alias with an edit of "Dronid". It's both booming and calm while Mulero provides a second subterranean option of "Massless Particle". Tripeo's official remix of "Parallel Computing" completes the EP with a combination of bleep and chime sequences wavering on top of watery basslines and industrial atmospheres. Something here for every techno DJ.
Review: Pole Recordings, as it was known back in 2014, was one of the first labels to release material by Kwartz aka Mario Campos. Fast forward three years and a number of EPs later, and the Spanish producer returns to Oscar Mulero's renamed imprint. "A Tragic End" starts the release in somewhat reflective mode, as Campos brings together atmospheric textures with a dense, stepping rhythm. There is no musical element on "Right Discipline", where a rolling, hammering groove and metallic drums collide. The release takes an intense turn on "Dissociation of Body and Mind", where waves of electronic fury unfold over a rough, mangled rhythm and pile-driving percussion. By the time he reaches the relatively serene "Theory of Emptiness", Kwartz's fans will be craving its dubbed out nuances.
Review: Spanish outpost Polegroup is the archetypal techno label, and Kwartz is a purveyor of the finest techno workouts. After having released artists such as the US' Developer, the nomadic Kwartz touches down on the label with two daring and sublimely bleak tracks for the midnight hour. Both "Form & Void" and "Breakage" are perfect Berghain tracks for the likes of Dettman or Klock, but that's not all - Reeko and Exium remix the former and the latter respectively, turning up the power considerably and making things that little bit heavier.
Review: Mind is Fautzi's third album and follows two long players for Soma as well as a brace of EPs on Figure, Warm Up and Pole. It's a mysterious, textured affair that begins with the ambient noise of "Psychopath" before moving into the eerie sound scape menace of "Entering". The Portuguese producer then shifts his attention towards the dance floor - "Subconscious" is a stripped back, minimal groove laden down with eerie soundscapes, while on "Defracted" and "Rentless", he veers down a tunnelling, acid soaked path, like a murky, visceral version of Sandwell District. "Seasick" is darker and more droning, led by a Mike Parker-style bass, but no matter what style he tuns his hand to, Mind demonstrates that Fautzi is a master.
Review: Spanish producer Oscar Mulero always brings an experimental edge to dancefloor techno, and Like A Wolf is no exception. "In A Silent Way" starts off life as a solid dubby rhythm, but gradually Mulero raises the intensity levels, turning it into a jarring industrial workout, but adding airy atmospheric textures to offset the austerity. "Horses" makes no such concessions, featuring noisy beats and a recoiling bassline from the outset, but "Like A Wolf" sees him revert to an unpredictable approach. Underpinning the evil acid licks are heavy break beats and the kind of eerie sound textures that wouldn't sound out of place on an Autechre album.
Review: Arguably one of Spain's most prolific techno talents, Oscar Mulero returns to the super label PoleGroup with the Electric Storm EP. The title track combines Mulero's trademark throb and reverb-heavy ambience with powerful drums, while "Cave" takes things in an even darker direction, with brittle percussion resonating against reverb-heavy ambience. The remixes aren't too shoddy either; Our Circula Sound boss Sigha delivers a remix of the title track with some prickly yet powerful synth blips, and Tommy Four Seven coats "Cave" with an industrial fuzz and into a broken techno nightmare which will destroy any dancefloor.
Review: Spanish techno stalwart Oscar Mulero trailed this fourth album in as many years with Dualistic Concept, a set of typically dark, hypnotic and ghostly remixes. That can be found on the second disc, and ties in neatly with the robust, forthright and atmospheric sound of the album itself. Muscle & Mind has moments of beauty, of course - see the blissful ambience of "Mental Causation" and enveloping chords and found sounds of "Unconscious" - but for the most part it's concerned with the power of rhythm. Few are better at wringing maximum intensity from loop-heavy jams, and Mulero's love of dusty white noise, trippy melodies and skittering percussion guarantees variety in the grooves throughout.
Review: Spanish techno power clique Oscar Mulero, Reeko, Exium and Christian Wunsch load and fire part six of their Seleccion Natural series out of Mulero's Polegroup canon. The previous five blasts came from Reeko's Mental Disorder, Christian Wunsch's Tsunami Records and Mulero's native Warm Up Recordings. Reeko's "Lynx" is a hi-octane power-trip of scratchy industrialism and gunshot snares jacked with a ferocious pace, as is Mulero's "Reverberation" only to a more bleepy and streamlined effect, with obvious fidelity toward Surgeon, Regis and Jeff Mills. Had Wunsch's booming "Sleep Cell" not been released here, it could easily hold its own among the factory-made releases of Perc Trax. Exium proceed with break-beat drums in "No Sign Of Weakness" which aggressively lends itself to a trove of over-driven bass squelches, piston pushing white noise and a tribal ramshackle of percussion - cabalistic techno at it's most dangerous.
Review: Spanish techno veteran Oscar Mulero goes deeper than usual on Second Skin. The title track is underpinned by a typical Mulero stepping rhythm, but has he added feature of chords flowing and churning overhead. In a similar vein is "Rotar". Based on a straighter arrangement, firing percussion and a rumbling groove underpin synths that soar and swoop like autumn leaves in the wind. The mood changes for the darker with the remixes. Architectural's two versions of the title track are characterised by jagged percussion and intense acid burns, while Tensal's takes on "Rotar" are spring-loaded with churning filters and tough kicks.
Review: Spanish producer Reeko impresses with a killer three-tracker for Oscar Mulero's label. "Cyberpunk" starts off with a high-paced, pulsing electronic rhythm featuring snappy percussion, which midway through veers towards jarring, industrial riff-led intensity. The end product sounds like the soundtrack to a chase scene in a sci-fi movie. Despite its title, "Dystopic Futures" is less frenetic but still sees Reeko test the limits of techno acceptability with repetitive metallic jabs. Finally, the title track features the bassy menace of Orphx, but is combined with an evil filter that could only be the work of this maverick talent.
Review: Spain's Reeko returns to the dance floor for his latest excursion on Oscar Mulero's label. Tough, tribal beats, rolling grooves and insistent rhythms are on offer across these four tracks. However, to describe Reeko's music in such simplistic terms is to do it a disservice. Each track on this release has an extra layer, an added dimension that makes it stand out from the increasingly crowded tough techno scene. On "Empty Streets", this manifests itself in the form of niggling percussion, the title track is characterised by its tough tribal beats and best of all, "Dishonest Thoughts" resonates to gut-wrenching sub-bass.
Review: Reeko's reputation as a hard techno producer takes something of a battering - in the best possible way - on Momentum. The title track starts with ticking percussion and a squelchy, cavernous rhythm, but rather than intensify, it leads into a mellow, filtered denouement ending in textured ambience. "Miracle" maintains and builds on this approach, its beats softer and its chord sequence sounding like it would be more at home on a deep house release. Reeko reverts to type on "Indonesian's Dream". There, tight rhythms play out over dense, dubby beats, but the inclusion of dreamy, Detroit-style pads shows that for this release at least, Reeko is leaving his banging sensibilities at the studio door.
Review: The only question that arises from this collaborative release is: why did it take so long? As this split release shows, Perc's label and Oscar Mulero's Pole Group share a lot of common ground, but the key difference is that the UK operation has an underlying grittiness. This is evident on the sweeping chords and grinding rhythms of Sawf's "Trivoli" and Perc's "405", the latter a stomping, slamming affair led by distorted kicks and a ferocious, militaristic rhythm. By contrast, the Pole Group material is more considered. Reeko's "Recharger" is a drummy affair led by a tapestry of hissing percussion, while Christian Wunsch's "Alpha Particle" is a deep space serving of alien, acid-led techno.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Polegroup label closes the year with a mammoth compilation that defines the current state of the techno nation. As Unknown Landscapes shows, it is a diverse place. There's droning ambience from Daphne RXX, while Reeko, Reggy Van Oers and Mike Parker deliver bleep-heavy, hypnotic groove that draw on the influence of F.U.S.E and Sandwell District. Heads-down loopy fare is also catered for - with the spiky percussion and bleak filters of Jonas Koop's "Fu Factor" standing out - and the form also revisits the rough, analogue sound of the 90s thanks to Karl Bult and American scene veteran DJ Hyperactive's contributions.
Review: Berlin-based Refracted has released on a range of labels, including Silent Season and Slow Life, but no matter where he puts out material, the result is the same - hypnotic, mesmerizing techno. This debut on Polegroup is a case in point; "Expedition 1" takes its cues from Mike Parker and even Hawtin's FUSE project, but Refracted uses 303s to build and build over a fathomic sub-bass and hissing, lean percussion. "Expedition 2" uses a similar approach, as Refracted substitutes the pulsing acid with chiming chords. On the third "Expedition", the sound is more earthy, with heavy kicks providing the backing for Refracted's percussive bursts, while Exium's take on the first "Expedition" completes the release with dubby effects and a cavernous bass.
Review: As its title suggests, Digital Bonus is an EP designed for non-vinyl fans of Seleccion Natural, the techno super group comprising Reeko, Tensal and Oscar Mulero. The good news for digital DJs is that this is not something that has been rushed out or released as an afterthought. "Negative Selection" catches them in full flight, with tough, steely drums and pounding kicks delivering the kind of killer, punchy techno that they are best known for. "Struggle for Existence" is better still, with Seleccion Natural combing surging chord sequences with a murky, meat bass that will level sound systems. Overall, it's a great digital selection.
Review: To mark the 50th release on PoleGroup, its owner Oscar Mulero has teamed up with Exium and Reeko to create the Selecci?n Natural project. Beginning with the stepping rhythm and bleak acid of "Expression Gnt", this release defines everything that the Spanish label stands for. There's the pile-driving tribal beats and swooshing filters of "Molecular Genetics", while on "Hox Genes", the trio veer into dense broken beats and wild, psychedelic reverberations. "Biological Fitness" is a straighter, more industrial groove, while a reminder that the Spanish label is nothing if not diverse comes in the shape of banging, tranced out peak-time "Random Mutations". Here's to 50 more releases.
Review: Seleccion Natural is the third EP to mark the milestone of Polegroup's 50th release - and it's a thrilling affair. Seleccion Natural, the techno super group comprising Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, starts the release with the atmospheric broken beats of "Necton", before taking the tempo up with the dense "Prokaryotic", which is still led by hammering kicks. On "Replicant Isolation", the trio shift the focus again back to broken beats, but this time the filters are more powerful and the drums steelier. Rounding off the release is "Transmutation": different to the preceding tracks, it's underpinned by a menacing, ebm bass and firing, razor sharp percussion.
Review: Selecci?n Natural, a collaborative project between Spanish techno veterans Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, serves up another visceral EP. A taster for their forthcoming debut long player, it draws on classic influences such as Mills and the catalogue of New York label Synewave but also features the contributors' stream lined approach. This is audible on the title track, where scuffled kicks and distorted kicks are underpinned by a rolling, filtered rhythm. On the flip side, "A New Description of Hell" offers an even more brutal take on this style; upping the tempo, the trio drop pounding drums and waves of electronic riffs that keep on building.
Review: The producer behind Polar Angle probably won't win any prizes for track titles, but in the world of underground techno, such small issues don't matter. All that counts is that SCMWY-01" is a rolling, dense affair, supported by dense claps, while SCMWY-02 opts for an alternate approach, favouring more tranced out chords and grimy beats. But neither track can prepare the listener for SCMWY-03". Its thundering drums come hurtling in over a high paced groove, like a juggernaut veering out of control, while the fourth installment is the hardest track of them all thanks to its searing, aggressive drums.
Review: Oscar Mulero and Christian Wunsch's Spherical Coordinates collaboration may have a home away from home in Belgian techno titans Token, but their HQ will always be Pole Group. After two releases on Token, Mulero and Wunsch return to Spain for their fifth Spherical Coordinates record together and another masterclass in burrowing club constructions. Those techno selectors whose every weekend is spent in the booths testing the soundsystems and dancefloors of basements and warehouses will naturally gravitate towards these four cuts, where relentless drums and deep, ever evolving atmospheres rule at large.
Review: Hector Sandoval's Tensal has been brewing the brood since 2014 and he's played a significant role in shaping the current aesthetic of Developer's Modularz label in recent years. Closely aligned with Modularz is Oscar Mulero's formidable Pole Group, and now Tensal brings his aggression to the label for the first time. The EP provides two "Cause" and two "Effects" tracks with both halves definable by their sound; "Cause 1" is cold and bleepy, Cause 2" a little warmer and electronic, while "Effect 1" is some serious heat for the Tresor vault. But for us all roads lead to "Effect 2", a bombastic wave of techno terror with a deathly arpeggio of staccato synths. Bomb.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Pole Group closes out the year with a collection from some of techno's most respected producers. While the overall tone on Unknown Landscapes is dark and at times unsettling, it never strays into the plodding furrowed-brow seriousness that often besets contemporary techno. DVS1's "Strobe" sees the US DJ deliver churning chords over a grinding, metallic rhythm, while Reeko's "Enlightenment Process" shifts from pounding broken beats into a spacey, filtered segue. That's not to suggest that the label or its owner have gone soft either; the squelchy acid and stinging riffs of Jonas Kopp's "M31" is as intense as it gets, but at the same time, contributions from Adam X and Forward Strategy Group tingle and pulse in a dubby, fuzzy afterglow.
Review: Oscar Mulero's label consistently puts out forward thinking techno - and this compilation is no exception. It may start with a surprise for some fans of the Spanish producer's broken beat sounds, with Reeko's "Miracle" delivering ghostly synths over a snaking bass line and Exium's "Mantra" featuring the kind of warbling trance melodies that one would associate with deep Detroit techno. Mulero's own "Tidal Acceleration" heralds a shift back towards more typical sounds as distorted, mangled drums support cold bleeps and a stepping rhythm, while Rolando drops a firing, percussive take on Exium's "Complex". Still, there is enough room for diversity as the skewed metallic rhythms and broken beats of Christian Wunsch's "Complete Surrender" demonstrate.