Review: Long before his Traversable Wormhole project won him acclaim, New Yorker Adam X Mitchell was making intense, industrial techno for his own Sonic Groove label. Shorcut provides a timely reminder of just how dark and menacing the X man can get. The title track is based on a slamming rhythm and pounding beats with doubled up claps supporting dark, tunelling chords and waves of interference. "Diversion to Bangor" is just as insane; the arrangement's slamming sound is harder and more metallic, while at its centre an insane horn riff rises until it dominates the already intense track. Don't listen to it with the lights off.
Review: Despite the fact that Adam 'X' Mitchell has two high-profile projects on the go - ADMX-71 and Traversable Wormhole - he has still managed to craft this hard-hitting release under his own name. Bedeviled starts with "Antagonistic" which yields pile-driving kicks; hissing piston percussion and horror chord stabs. "Psychological Tormentor" comes next. Like Traversable Wormhole on steroids it certainly lives up to its title thanks to its gut-busting bass and malignant stepping rhythm. Rounding off this display of techno ferocity is "Breaking Thru Your Force Field" where Mitchell pits a murderous grungy bass against cold trance riffs for a ride through the darkest alleys of cyber-punk terror.
Review: Always one to charge into more interesting corners of the techno world, Adam X is in fine fettle as he drops his latest album for Sonic Groove, the first on his own label since 1998's Audiobiography. The tone is very much stout and stern, from the industrial-tinged drum hits to the cold and eerie synth content, but of course it's in the rhythmic department where Adam X really shines. At every turn there are intriguing grooves to latch onto, from the drunken lope of the title track with its anthemic hip hop vocal rip, to the opening broken techno drama of "Interchanges". There are more stripped down moments such as the restrained cycles of "Catenary", and some piston pumping bangers like "On The Verge Of Decimation", making this an engaging listen as well as a great collection of techno tracks.
Review: As one would expect from Adam X's label, Sentience is a no holds barred affair. There are of course many contemporary producers dropping hard as nails techno, but few have done it with such bone-crushing panache as Alexander. Calling to mind MPIA3 at his most unforgiving, "Sentience 1" and "Sentience 2" feature pulverising kicks pushed far into the red, aided by percussive slivers and churning filters. "Sentience 3" meanwhile sits somewhere between dense tribal drums and clattering, cold rhythms, its eerie, hushed breakdown uniting these two seemingly incompatible elements. Soon enough though, Alexander returns to heavier sounds and "Sentience 4" is a relentlessly banging, drum-heavy affair.
Review: Joey Blush's Blush Response feels like the perfect blend of two huge, game-changing dynasties in electronic music - the world of New York City, and that of Germany's capital, Berlin. The uncompromising producer now has an impressive catalogue behind him, and also a real reason to claim some of that inimitable EMB flavor, a style that he's managed to warp and twist with utter grace. Interestingly, he appears on Sonic Groove, the legendary NYC techno label, but this feels just right. A bold move for both producer and imprint. "Beyond Flesh" is a poisonous, acid-laden cocktail driven by a rugged sense of industrialism, while "Unclean Spirit" wastes no time, and just rolls the guns out from all angles. "Machine God" is a screaming pile-driver of a tune, bleached in a distorted infusion of machine drums, whereas "Instrumentality" rolls its drums and big-room synth into outer space, leaving the listener wondering why techno hasn't sounded this good in years.
Review: Apparently, Andreas Andreasson aka Diagenetic Origin is a tattoo artist. Whatever about his day work, he certainly leaves his mark with this release for Sonic Groove. The title track is underscored by pummeling, tribal beats, but is laden down with deep textures. It's also not indicative of where Andreasson's mind is at generally on this record. Certainly on "Telepathic Future" it sounds like he is in a foul mood, as broken beats are set to a stepping rhythm, while "Parallel Realities", with its pumping rhythm and booming bass, confirms that he is in a dark place. However, he moves back to a more considered pace for the final track, the slow, hammering beats and resonant bass of "The Awakening".
Review: Totem is proof that Adam X's A&R skills are as sharp as ever. Diagenetic Origin come from Sweden, home to Adam Beyer and Joel Mull, and at times, this release sounds inspired by those 90s producers. The title track, with its driving, rolling rhythm and bombastic drums, could be a tribute to old Drumcode releases, while "Blossom" provides an update on that approach, with its snapping percussion and jarring, industrial beats. But the EP is well-rounded and "Sacred" sees Diagenetic Origin veer into broken beat territory, with eerie soundscapes unfolding over fractured rhythms. Meanwhile, "Landet" sees a lowering of the tempo but no sacrifice in intensity, with concrete beats and whiplash percussion prevailing.
Review: Adam X's Sonic Groove label delivers its latest slice of hard-hitting techno, with another EP from Diagenetic Origin. Despite sounding like its connected to L.Ron Hubbard's dubious self-help system of a very similar name, this producer is all about hard, industrial and acid influences; "Third Dimension" covers its rattling, broken rhythms in a suitably gothic atmosphere, while the appropriately named "Entity" seems to writhe with an living energy, with 303 tendrils flicking out from around dense kicks. Although "Council Of Nine" is as hard a techno tool as they come, the closing title track has just enough fragile melody lurking in the background of its mechanical clutter to show that there's a human side to the Diagenetic Origin name.
Review: Swedish producer Andreas Andrasson returns to Adam X's label with a third instalment of punishing, relentless grooves. "Cycles" kick-starts the release with a tough, pumping rhythm and dark swarms of chords, while "Question" follows in a similar vein, its robust, jacking groove strengthened by distorted beats, firing percussion and a disturbing vocal sample. "Galaxy" sees Andrasson up the tempo even more, as deranged stabs and insane percussive volleys propel the groove onwards and upwards. Finally, on "Heart" Andrasson reveals his more abrasive and experimental side; crunchy beats and stepping rhythms are subsumed by waves of distorted noise as the Swedish producer rips up the rulebook.
Review: Italian producer Durante delivers an intense, brooding work for Adam X's label. "Italian Decay" would have been an apt name for a release which stays on the darker side of the techno sound, and that track's stepping rhythm and dark, snappy drums set the tone for this bleak three-tracker. The mood darkens considerably on "Kreuzberg", where a similar rhythm is fused with razor sharp hi hats and lumbering kicks. However, the track that really encapsulates Durante's mood is "Ansia"; starting with a brooding sound scape, it gradually descends into the kind of intense, claustrophobic rhythm track that could easily pass as a soundtrack to Dante's seventh level of hell.
Review: Terence Fixmer and Douglas McCarthy are what you would class as big dawgs in the house and techno game. The two have been present and very much in the frontline since the turn of the millennium, but their collaborative project under the Fixmer/McCarthy banner has been more of a recent conception. They've released plenty of effective dance material for Fixmer's own Planet Rouge imprint so, it was time to branch out, and what better way to do that then release an EP for Adam X's gnarly Sonic Groove? The label's been a staple of the NYC techno diet since the 90s, and it really is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down as it reaches its 30 year birthday. There's two cuts to the electrifying "Chemicals" tune, a first version with the vocals intact, and a second instrumental cut; the base of the tune is high-powered techno with a bubbling electro bass line, and a malevolent flurry of punked-out vocalism. "Wrong Planet" is a stranger sort of beast, a tune that lurks in the depths of the techno underbelly, but that has no problems in launching continuous arial threats in the form of sinister screams and spectral melodies. Enter if you dare...
Review: "Acrophobia" - meaning an extreme or irrational fear of heights - is the latest showing from G-Man & Rob Strobe. Adam X's venerable Sonic Groove imprint is the first of the techno majors to snap up the rising duo, and it's a decision that pays immediate dividends: the linear groove of "Courage" will see any hip high fist pumper down the last of their drink and steer themselves toward the dance floor. "Skotch" ups the ante but dims in mood as rolling drums accompany wistful leanings of dub techno, whilst "Fit" sees G-Man & Rob Strobe opt for a lift in consciousness via resonating dub techno atmospherics that resemble a more abrasive version of Wincent Kunth's remix to Marcel Dettmann's "Wound Up".
Review: The Grounded Theory resident continues his fruitful relationship with Adam X's label. At one end of the spectrum there's "Everyday Life", a stripped back minimal track that features spaced out vocals moving in and out of the arrangement. "Empire Down" is Baer's interpretation of acid, with a grinding bass and eerie soundscapes fused with insistent bleeps, while "Say Nothing To No One" marks the harder end of his sound as screeching riffs and broken rhythms are underpinned by punishing kicks. However, the standout track is "On Craft (SFT mix)", where Baer combines relentless claps and 909s for the kind of analogue workout you'd expect to hear on an old Djax-Up Beats record.
Review: Grounded Theory chief Henning Baer is on the verge of big things, and here he makes his debut on Adam X's iconic Sonic Groove imprint with an EP that sees abrasive industrial tones rub up menacingly against solid funk in a curious matching of audio devices. "Folsom" celebrates its graininess, but the beat remains an addictive and accessible one in the vein of the Live Jam collective. "The Spies" is more dangerous in its demeanour, as the stop-start groove does battle with decaying bleeps and kettle drum bass hits. "You Rhyth Me" on the flip ups the ante even more with a positively gruesome slow techno throwdown designed purely to terrify. Highly recommended.
Review: Durante has been one of the leading lights in Rome's techno scene since the early '90s, and this release relives those heady days. Like an update of the pounding techno from that period, Durante's second EP on Adam X's label is a proper heads down affair. The aptly named "Human Rage" and "Riot R94" revolve around relentless kick drums and noisy, repetitive stabs. "The Resistance" sees Durante slow down the tempo and add in some eerie, atmospheric textures, but this release's natural home is on the barricades with fists raised as the break beat-led peak time of "Tension on Rigaer Strasse" demonstrates.