Review: The follow up to last year's first chapter sees Niels Luinenberg again effortlessly blur the boundaries between classic electro and techno. The brilliant, aptly named "Black Endlessness" sees him fuse dark bass tones and rolling 808s with some searing Detroit techno melodies. However, the Dutch producer keeps the balance towards electro thanks to the introduction of some ponderous vocals. "Pusher" is a gritty, stepping track, littered with mad bleeps and anchored by tight claps. The pendulum swings fully towards techno on "a drone killed my bunny;" kettle drums support dense tonal bleeps and the kind of swampy rhythm that Gesloten Cirkel is known for. It's another perfectly balanced release.
Review: Niels Luinenberg reaches the third chapter of his Wasteland series with more fresh interpretations on techno and electro. The release starts with "Phantom", which as its title suggests, follows a path that knocks on the doors of the netherworld. From its slow-motion start, supernatural sounds swirl in from the ether, joined by heavy claps. Eventually, it settles into a pulsing electronic groove. Is "Bunker" inspired by the label of the same name? It's hard to say, but certainly its mixture of acid and synth discordance will appeal to fans of the Dutch imprint. As a parting salvo, Luinenberg drops "Mutant Society", where evil synth sounds map out a trip through the netherworld.
Review: Following a near two-year hiatus, Delta Funktionen resurfaces in order to invite us on his Junior High School Excursion To The Parallel World. While the title evokes images of bad 1980s teen movies, musically the Dutch producer has delivered a double-pack full of what we would describe as "proper" techno and electro. That means thrusting rhythms, bold and restless basslines, intergalactic electronics and melodies that sound like they've been beamed down from, well, a parallel world. There's naturally plenty of subtle variation - compare and contrast, for example, the booming rhythmic intensity and creepy melodies of "Torpedo" and the winding late night acid trip that is "Stingoperation" - but Delta Funktionen keeps his eyes firmly fixed on the dancefloor throughout.
Review: Niels Luinenburg's Delta Funktionen project has always been sharply focused on the sci-fi end of techno, with 2012 debut album Traces sounding like a long-lost, Drexciya-era Detroit classic. On this follow-up, he's gone further, with the accompanying press release suggesting that the album's title refers to a mythical planet inhabited by a race of mutant outcasts. The accompanying music - a mix of vintage Motor City techno and electro influences, with added Chicagoan acid lines, Kraftwerkian vocoder vocals and occasional nods to Italo and proto-house - certainly fits the concept. It makes for a hugely enjoyable listen, and should appeal to more than just sci-fi daydreamers and UFO conspiracy theorists.
Review: Subtitled Lifewater Oasis, the name of the latest release in Delta Funktionen's series could be mis-construed as a paean to Drexciya. However, as soon as the grimy, acid soaked riffs and robotic drums of "Korath System" hover into earshot, it is clear that yet again, the Dutch producer has gone his own way. "Lost in a Dream" is the most impressive track on the release; with its ghostly harpsichord unraveling over tight claps and featuring a surging bass and eerie synths it maps out an individualistic alternative for Detroit techno. The only real hint at Drexciya's legacy comes on the closing track, "The Last Game", where ghostly synths light up a buzzing bass, but the groove is far more linear than the Detroit duo would ever have conjured up.
Review: Earlier in 2015, Samuel Van Dijk once again donned the VC-118A guise to deliver arguably his strongest release to date, Propulse on Tabernacle Records. Happily, B76 Over Land maintains a similar standard, with Van Dijk serving up a pleasingly cold batch of machine jams. Highlights include the fuzzy, cowbell-heavy Rotterdam electro of "Vapor", the skittering techno drone of "Vex", and the frankly wayward, dark ambience of closer "Din". That said, we're also fans of the superb title track, which expertly combines fluid, watery melodies and drifting chords with clattering, mechanical percussion.