Review: Alessandro Adriani makes a surprising addition to Berlin techno imprint Stroboscopic Artefacts. The forward thinking label that dwells on the more experimental fringes of dancefloor sounds now taps a fellow Italian and Mannequin Records boss who serves up some fascinating techno derivatives. Harnessed no doubt by his time living in Berlin, but also put in practice as one half of An-I with NYC legend Douglas Lee. Much like Lee, Adriani gives an outsider's perspective on powerful body music by way of industrial sounds and experimentation with analogue electronics. "He Who Harnesses The Soul" opens proceedings in impressive fashion - we've never heard Adriani execute something so direct on this tunnelling and hypnotic stomper that will have huge crossover appeal. It's more like the artist we know on the brooding and powerful stomp of "Rituals" (707 EBM version). Finally we get treated to yet another minimalist and trance inducing number on "Astronomy" reminiscent of Sahko or Sleeparchive's sublime spell casting in the mid noughties.
Review: Embryo is a taster for Alessandro Adriani's forthcoming second album, and suggests that there are more great things to come from the Man-nequin label owner-turned producer. It moves in tempo from the fore-boding drones of "Elapsed Emptiness" into "Symmetry", where Adriani maps out an unflinchingly bleak slice of grungy techno. He recruits like-minded techno experimentalist Beau Wanzer for the stripped back "In-verted Aspects", where a nihilistic ebm bass supports acrid analogue riffs. Keeping his audience guessing till the very end, Adriani's "Aria" (New Beat version) makes for a particularly hypnotic but menacing in-terpretation of the late 80s Belgian sound.
Review: French duo Charlotte Isabelle are up next for Stroboscopic Artefacts' esteemed Monad series and continuing on with its mission of pushing the thresholds in modern techno. First up is the restrained yet suspenseful minimalism of 'Anaba', the speaker shattering broken beat of Geridoo" (which is contrasted by some chilling sound design) and the menacing industrial epic "Desba" which has incredible action film score aesthetic. Closing out the EP in fine fashion is the dark ambient journey "Antakarana" which follows the same ghostly trail as label mates OAKE.
Review: Next up on Stroboscopic Artefacts' Totem series is Denise Rabe, who has so far mainly put out music on her own Rabe label. As Manifesto demonstrates, she manages to strike a balance between abstract industrial shapes and straight up dance floor tracks. On the title track, the approach falls into the latter category, with a pummelling, offbeat rhythm providing the basis for whirring bells and a touch of Millsian darkness. "Don't Leave" is more streamlined and linear, with Rabe dropping a pulsating, pounding groove that supports wild tonal twists and spooky synth lines. "Clouds" sees her opt for a more industrial approach, as slow motion beats and wild electronic textures unravel.
Review: Stroboscopic Artefacts boss Lucy lends his hand to a selection of music taken deep from the label's personal history bringing together a high profile cast of names (of which there are many) with it alongside a floating reinterpretation Xhin's stone cold classic "Link". Highlighting his creative partnership with Ben Klock, "War Lullaby" from 2015 is given a shining, bell-tone rerub while Donato Dozzy's "Sotto Ma Sotto" from the ballistic Terzo Giorno EP (2014) is pitched down into a slower percussion workout alongside droning Mike Parker-esque basslines. Lucy's remake of Caterina Barbieri's "Virgo Rebellion" furthermore is another reminder of how he and his label Stroboscopic Artefacts have been breaking the barrier between experimental and club music for the past 10 years.
Review: Efdemin is not the most name you'd normally associate with Stroboscopic Artefacts, but Wrong Movements is the third in the label's Totem series, which sees selected producers free to experiment how they wish to. "Wrong Movements (Left)" is a wonderfully blurry, techno/house arrangement that is led by swirling, hazy chords and centres on a rolling, groove. On "Wrong Movements (Right)" the Panorama Bar resident forgoes kick drums in favour of washed out ambient textures, while on "Wrong Movements (Circles)", he returns to the dance floor. This time, he uses staccato drums as a basis for a left of centre arrangement with a jazzy undercurrent.
Review: Hyper Opal Mantis marks a significant moment in the career of David Letellier. Since first appearing as Kanding Ray back in 2006, Letellier has released a series of fine albums on Raster-Norton, many of which explore the blurred lines between club-ready techno, off-kilter IDM, and worthy experimentalism. For this latest full-length exploration, Letellier has transferred to Stroboscopic Artefacts, in the process subtly tweaking his sound. While rooted in his established "high definition" style, many of the tracks draw influence from ghostly ambience, industrial textures, and the muscular throb of Electronic Body Music. Despite the subtle variations, Hyper Opal Mantis is still very much a Kanding Ray record.
Review: Luke Slater has worked under an array of guises over the past 30 years, but until recent times, LB Dub Corp was one of his lesser-known aliases. That all changed about a decade ago, when the left field project found a home on Slater's Mote-Evolver label. Having released this music primarily on his own imprint and Ostgut, the veteran artist now brings his sound to the Stroboscopic Artefacts spin-off imprint, Totem. The title track is a low-slung, metallic groove, led by steely drums and wave upon wave of effects, while on "Hard Wax" - presumably a nod to the Berlin record store - Slater slows down the tempo for a bass-heavy electro cut. "Step Sure Dub" opens up a new dimension to the LB Dub Corp sound, with an EBM bass underpinning Chicago drums. It's another unusual release from this idiosyncratic artist.
Review: Stroboscopic Artefacts's Lucy has arguably been the heart and soul of the label over the last few years, and has helped it go from an interesting boutique techno label, to a direct competitor of other larger-than-life imprints such as Ostgut Ton or Dystopian. The shady Lucy gets down to business with a nine-track LP made up of a vast range of sounds that span from the broken, ambient-laden sketches of "Dissonance Emancipation", to worldly experimental grooves such as "A Millennia Old Adversary". We were expecting a stylish, sleek techno album with plenty of air and mysticism, but instead we have received something even more special, a sort of electronic ritualism that simply cannot be categorised under one genre roof. This is album of the week from us - KILLER.
Review: Lucy's Stroboscopic Artefacts label loves concepts, and its latest series, Totem, is no exception. Aiming to "collapse the artist, their intention and resonance with the public into one object, an artifact of beauty and functionality, the emblemised [sic] transparent 10-inch", it also translates seamlessly to the digital format. First up on the series is the label owner himself. Focusing on a deep, mysterious dub techno sound, the title track has a mesmerising effect thanks to its hypnotic, enveloping chords and a vocal sample in a hard to understand tongue. Lucy also offers a tougher dub take and a mix-friendly acapella, but it's the original version that fans of his spaced-out sound will keep coming back to.
Review: For the best part of a decade, the Monad series has been synonymous with techno from beyond the norm. This 25th release in the series is no exception. Produced by the brilliantly named Pact Infernal - better known for releases on Samurai - it follows the series aesthetic. "Nitimur In Vetitum" starts the release with a death paced dirge, the sound of haunted souls audible in the background. The pace picks up on "Cor Aut Mors", but the overall mood remains the same as frazzled noise, industrial blasts and tortured screeches all unfold over a doom-laden rhythm. "Sapere Aude" sees Pact Infernal continue in this vein, albeit with a more stripped back arrangement, while this brilliantly morose release comes to a close with the broken beats and tortured howls of "Capax Infiniti".
Review: Italian artist Serena Butler returns with some subversive techno on Stroboscopic Artefacts, which follows up a terrific debut on Eerie a while back. We Want Neither Clean Hands Nor Beautiful Souls portrays Butler's 'personal juncture with the Queerverse and his engagement in queer politics, an elaboration on the alternate freedoms and minimal politics of alienation'. The loaded titles tell the story of Butler's crusade against oppressive forces, like on tunnelling and hypnotic faire such as "If Nature Is Unjust, Change Nature" or "Globular Hymen" - the latter reminiscent of Purpose Maker or Modularz style of majestic techno creations. It soon makes way for the sublime minimal house of "Science Is Not An Expression But A Suspension Of Gender".
Review: Guy Brewer's first work as Shifted in a few years serves as a reminder that when it comes to stark, angular techno, few producers are his equal. The title track here is a case in point; tribal drums shuffle incessantly, percussion builds gradually and grimy bass licks are introduced stealthily into the arrangement. It's a powerful combination. On "Seel", the mood is darker and more eerie, with droning texture rising up over a rolling, streamlined rhythm. "Mixen" is just as potent, with Brewer descending down a darker path, where layer upon layer of electronic sounds populate a heads-down drum track.
Review: Well, this is set to be a rather special affair. For starters, we're big fans of Italy's Stroboscopic Artefacts label; the sound and vision has been both consistent and refreshing since their early records were dropping about three years back. On top of that, they have always associated himself with the absolute maestros of modern electronic music, whether danceable or not danceable. As such, the imprint has grouped the very best Italian producers on the market right now, with Andrea Belfi, Marco Shuttle, Alessandro Adriani, Chevel Lucy, and Neel all making an appearance, as well as Rome's legendary techno master Lory D. However, none of them are in a particularly feisty mood. Instead, this is a wonderful compilation made up of one consistent vibe...a deep and wondrous wave of sonics that never truly evolves into techno, but that at the same time never fully dissolves into total abstraction. Recommended.
Review: Israeli producer Yotam Avni started out only a few years ago, making waves on esteemed tech house imprints such as the local Be As One and Californian deep house institution Seasons. Fast forward to now, he's affiliated with such tastemaker labels as Innervisions and Hotflush - a perfect fit for his new darker, tech-influenced sound. Venturing further down the spiral, his latest offering is for Stroboscopic Artefacts - and it is actually his third release on the Berlin based experimental techno imprint. It follows up his impressive contribution to their esteemed Monad series. The A side features the sweaty Carnival vibes of "Avka" (New Life) featuring intense latin polyrhythms assisted by adrenalising rave horns. The rhythms seem to be a recurring theme here, as "Dybbuk" proves, but this time it's a hybrid of steely machine drums thrown in the mix. Finally "Modern Matters" is the most straight head offering: its austere mechanical swagger supported by hypnotic, ethnic prayer chants - and to quite stunning effect.