Berlin-based techno label Tresor landed in 1991. The label was born out of one the city’s most-respected underground techno clubs, following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Founded by Dimitri Hegemann, Tresor has been ‘forever re-defining techno as it contorts and manoeuvres around contemporary pressure and technological flux’. From deep, entrancing journeys, to rough, militant stompers, Tresor has released forward-thinking productions from the likes of: Cristian Vogel, Surgeon, Drexciya, Pacou, Mike Huckaby, Marcelus, James Ruskin, Joey Beltram, Robert Hood, Sleeparchive and more.
Review: Following on from an appearance on Tresor's recent 30-year anniversary compilation, Donato Dozzy delivers a full release for the label. Underpinned by the storied producer's ability to tease hypnotic shapes from his machines, this EP is a mesmerising experience from start to finish. "Messy Kafka World" revolves around organic drums and percussion, with Dozzy conjuring up hypnotic synth lines in the background. Changing tact, "Synthi Chase" sees him piecing together layer upon layer of droning tones, while on "Wooden Dolls Don't Cry", he draws up a dense percussive framework as a backdrop for his subtle tones. The wobbling, woozy rhythm of "Cassiopeia 36" closes out this exemplary release.
Review: Hot on the heels of the recent 30-year anniversary compilation, Tresor has another landmark release scheduled - a reissue of the seminal Againstnature album. Originally released back in 2000, this collaboration between Karl O'Connor and Peter Sutton laid the foundations for the distinctive 'Birmingham sound' - and you can hear the evolution of this style on the dense, looped rhythm of "Let Them Bleed", the coruscating, frazzled builds of "Guiltless" and "Hanoi Hanoi", which resounds to steely, chain mail percussion. Apart from these visceral tracks, Againstnature also sees O'Connor and Sutton deliver the neo-classical sound scapes of "Paralyzing" and "Under Skin", tracks that sound as powerful and moving as their unmistakable industrial techno.
Review: As befits one of techno's most revered labels, Tresor 30 is a comprehensive collection that takes in a breath-taking array of artists and sounds. The compilation features classics, such as Underground Resistance's "Final Frontier", remixed here into a clubbier shape, the spellbinding deep techno of Juan Atkins' "I Love You" and Jeff Mills' timeless banger, "Late Night", one of Tresor's signature tracks. These eternal works sit alongside contributions from newer artists: in particular, Afrodeutsche's "Can't Stop" is a wonderfully dreamy affair, while RRoxymore's "Multiplicity" teases new twists from percussive techno. Thirty years after its inception, Tresor is showing no signs of slowing down.
Review: Originally released back in the early 1990s, this reissue shows that 3MB has not aged a day. The work of Thomas Fehlmann, Mortiz Van Oswald and the peerless Juan Atkins, each track still teems with shiny futurism. On "The 4th Quarter", this sensibility takes the form of crashing snares and wild tonal shifts, while in contrast, "Bassmental" sees the trio hitch a ride through the cosmos as subsonic blips and bleeps whoosh past. 3MB also delivers the unexpected: "Die Kosmischen Kuriere" starts with a jacking groove before dropping into one of techno's most distinctive basslines, and then there's "Jazz Is The Teacher", a hyper-speed rhythm that jitters and shakes just enough to provide a glimpse into a parallel universe.
Review: Dave 'Function' Sumner was last seen on Tresor in 2019 with the chilling Existenz album. This return to the storied label could not get off to a more different start, with Sumner dropping the pounding techno of "Misinterpretations Of Reality". He moves closer to the prevailing style of Existenz with the esoteric synths and lithe stepping rhythm of "An Optical Illusion Of Consciousness", while on "Spiritually Unconscious (Dissolve)", the Sandwell District founder changes tact again, delivering a snaking, wiry groove, teeming with melodies that are redolent of vintage Speedy J. Closing out this fine release from one of techno's most respected artists is the malevolent bass and tribal drums of
"Compulsive Thinking: Repetitive and Pointless".
Review: Bassiani resident Hector Oaks steps up for a two-part series that shines a light on mesmerising material from the catalogue of his Oaks label. This first part, Ano V-I, focuses on music he has released under his Cadency guise; the broken beats and tense bass of "I Learned That On The Street" opens up the compilation with a menacing tone, before Oaks heads down the relentless but funky dance floor route with tracks like "Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit" and the throbbing pulses of "Cybertunnel" and "Bringing Down Their System". This compilation also serves as a reminder why Oaks is such an acclaimed artist - this is especially audible through the deft use of vocal samples and crafty percussion on "All This Was Fire" and "I'm Talking To You" really set his work apart.
Review: DJ Deep returns to Tresor with his first material for the label in five years. "Swamps" starts the release in relaxed mode, with birds chirping over a drawn-out drum track and gurgling bass, while on "Utrecht", he pushes further away from the dance floor with eerie sound scapes and warbling tones. In stark contrast both "Tommy" and "Escape" are fast-paced, tough dance floor tracks that are based on heavy bass drums and punctuated by dramatic synth builds. In between these two differing approaches there's "Demonstration"; with its pitch-bent vocal samples, analogue riffs and robust kicks, it sounds like Deep's take on 90s techno minimalism.
Review: Terrence Dixon's From the Far Future odyssey began 20 years ago when the first album in the series appeared on Tresor. The second, at times more danceable instalment, followed only in 2012, with another eight-year gap until this latest volume. Like its predecessors, this third long player is a hugely impressive affair and will leave the listener in no doubt that Dixon is a master of the techno form. From the brooding ambience of "Lost Communication Procedure" and "Lost In Space" to the gloomy pointillist abstractions of "We Can Rebuild Him" and "Remarkable Warrior" into the more full blooded club techno on the tough "Spectrum of Light" and the atmospheric, ghostly "Program Weight", "Part 3" once again reveals a true visionary at work.
Review: Minimal Violence kick start a three-record series for Tresor called DESTROY ---> [physical] REALITY [psychic] <--- TRUST, which is due to be released over the course of the next 12 months. This first instalment sees Ash Luk and Lida P draw on a myriad of influences: in its original version "Ravebomb" features epic, trance hooks, followed by the high-speed break beats and searing bass of the 'Fire' version. On "Perfect Rendition", the duo slow down the pace to deliver the kind of cut-up breaks meets old school sampling collage that could easily pass for vintage Meat Beat Manifesto, while this first volume concludes with "The Next Screen Is Death", where the duo deliver more breaks, but this time playing out with epic strings.
Review: Roger Semsroth aka Sleeparchive is one of the world's most singular techno artists, focused on creating looped, repetitive tracks that take influence from archetypal minimalists like the Sahko label. On Trust, his latest long player, Semsroth opts for a more visceral approach. The grated drums of "Needle" comes across like Rob Hood at his most intense, while on peak time rollers such as "Concrete" and "Dust", the Berlin producer reveals shades of Jeff Mills during his looped Purposemaker period. "Leave" sees Sleeparchive venture into deeper territories as snappy drums support a melodic progression, but it's only a temporary divergence and on "Fence", he's back to the raw, looped techno that defines most of Trust.
Review: Existenz is Dave Sumner's third artist album as Function, and it partly ushers in a change in style. While there are echoes of his typical brooding, hypnotic techno on the mysterious, acid-tinged "Nylon Mood" and the heads-down roller, "Golden Dawn" - which features Stefanie Parnow - much of the album comprises a more mellow mood. There's the wonderfully hypnotic 90s ambient of "The Approach" and "Sagittarius A (Right Ascension)", while Function hooks up with vocalist Robert Owens to do deep house on the layered, textured "Growth Cycle". It's without doubt Function's most diverse long player, and ranges from the rickety electro of "Pleasure Discipline" to the dub shanty of "Interdimensional Interference".
Review: It certainly piques anyone's interest when British techno legend James Ruskin releases new material. With an immaculately curated output over the last 20 years, this new addition to an extensive catalogue of works - on established institution Tresor no less - is testament to such. The Siklikal EP demonstrates four careful executions in pure form techno by a true veteran who knows what works on the dancefloor. From the broken body bashing industrial menace of "Nepte", to the hypnotic tunnel vision of "Kn Te 3" and the seething downbeat EBM mutation of "Kn Am 3" - what a way for Tresor to celebrate 25 years in the business with this fine release.
Review: Techno institution Tresor have tapped Pittsburgh veteran Shawn Rudiman for their 311th release. Over his 20 year career, he's released on esteemed imprints such as 7th City, Matrix, Pittsburgh Tracks and Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART) so he's definitely earned his spot here on the Berlin-based label. A stark homage to the recent history of American electronic music, Rudiman pays his respect in a poignant manner. From the moody tension and suspense of "Too Far Gone" calling to mind Landcruising era Carl Craig, bridging the gap between Chicago acid and Florida electro on "Too Far Gone" or the majestic hi-tech soul of first wave Motor City on "Backwards Tomarrows" through to the evocative IDM interludes such as "KNSR" or "Past The Edge" which call to mind the work of Detroit innovators such as John Beltran or Neil Ollivierra - Rudiman proudly wears his influences on his sleeve yet impressively reinterprets them as his own on this fine release.
Review: Tresor is the latest label to fall under Rod Modell's spell with the release of the ninth artist album. While Modell's work as Deepchord largely focused on cavernous dub techno, material under his own name falls firmly into uptempo club mode. Echoes of Deepchord abound on the droning "Triangulation", but the rickety, percussive rhythm of "Reiki" and the high-paced "ITO" and broken beat "Riga" deliver dance floor impact while also weaving textured sounds into each arrangement. "Tracer" marks a new departure for Modell however, as he turns his hand towards the kind of tough, linear track that you'd expect to hear from Luke Slater.
Review: Thirty years after its original release, Tresor puts out a re-mastered version of Moondance. The work of German producer Udo Heitfeld, it draws on mysticism and the human sub-conscious as much as it does on various electronic music sources and references to create a mesmerising work. Tracks like "Strange World" sound like a lounge take on Yello, while on "Rendezvous In Space" and "Mood Dance: The Original", TV Victor moves into the dubbed out space that the Orb inhabited around the early 90s. Meanwhile "They Are Coming" is a brilliantly moody, slowed down techno workout and "Lunatic Creature" is melancholic downtempo affair that pre-dates Mo'Wax. Nearly three decades later, Moondance remains a stellar, atmospheric affair.
Review: Ongoing with his Sleep Cycle series, German minimal techno veteran Roger Semsroth aka Sleeparchive returns with more hypnotic techno experiments in his idiosyncratic style. Revised Recordings begins with the deep sonar transmission of "Frost" with its Millisian melodies and majestic string arrangements that would make even the Wizard himself take notice. Not to mention the digital exclusive "Trust" which is equal parts mesmerising yet aggressive - this is followed by the fittingly titled "Wood" which is dry as bark: a textured and guttural DJ tool in typically greyscale fashion.
Review: Madrid-based techno hero Manuel Anos aka Psyk brings us his second full length release on Berlin institution Tresor. Following up 2014's Time Foundation on Mote-Evolver, his latest LP is a natural progression of his sound. A diverse yet cohesive effort that spans a wide variety of sonic experiences: check the haunting dronescape on opener "Untitled", the strobed-out tunnel vision of the title track, tributes to modern greats such as Mike Parker ("Deep Breath") and Plastikman ("Acid Test"), right through to the deeper strains of techno as heard on "Peace Of Mind" and an emotive take on the electro sound like on the bittersweet closer "Artemis".
Review: One of the residents at famed Berlin club Trevor serves up a fine EP for its label. With releases on Singular, Anderson shows that she is really coming of age as a producer. Those sets at Tresor have clearly paid dividends, and both "Structure" and "Involvement" are low-slung tribal rollers, powered by electronic bass and searing percussion. "H-1 A.p." provides some respite thanks to Anderson's use of frazzled ambience, but it's only a temporary break; straight afterwards, the title track sees her dive back onto the dance floor with a dense, filtered workout before "Momentum" further solidifies her reputation as a creative artist thanks to its low-tempo, ebm prowling groove.
Review: It's hard to believe that Internal Empire is a quarter of a century old. To mark this anniversary - and presumably to bring it to a new generation - Tresor has decided to re-release it. Combining an ability to distill electronic music down to its barest, most hypnotic form, Hood delivers wiry, receptive grooves like "Master Builder" and "Parade", the latter sounding similar to being trapped inside an assembly plant as the machines career out of control. Despite this mechanical precision, Internal Empire is also a masterclass in electronic funk. The glassy percussive bursts on "Within" and the layer-upon-layer tones of "Minus" show that when it comes to futuristic techno few works, past or present, can match it.
Review: The godfather of Detroit techno Juan Atkins has released under the alias Infiniti since 1993, on defining imprints such as Tresor, Hyperspace and his own Metroplex operation. However it is his full length opus from 1998 named Skynet which is the most storied release of all. From the hypnotic title track and its energetic polyrhythms that reach near tribal moments, his trademark soulful techno sound as heard on walking on water, equally idiosyncratic sounds as heard on the minimal electro of "Electric Circus" and unadulterated hi-tech soul on "Subterrania" this is one right classic
Review: Marcelus has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with techno institution Tresor over the past six years, issuing a series of EPs and his debut album on the label. For his first release of 2018, the French artist makes a sideways shift. The title track is an organic-sounding affair, revolving around loose drums and intricate percussive twists and turns. Most notably, it eschews a direct dance floor approach. On "Parenthesis", the French producer goes deeper, with layered textures unfolding over a languid groove, while on "Descent" a watery, minimal sound prevails. It's not all subtle sounds however, and "Say It Again" is an uptempo, rattling workout, which is sure to keep Tresor's core constituents very happy.
Review: London based Manni Dee returns after some full-on explorations in extremity, for the likes of Perc Trax, Layla and Emetic with this brand new killer for the esteemed Tresor. The production of The Residue EP was inspired by his home city, the British capital and its general living conditions. Topics such as social cleansing, inequality and the general political situation and how this in turn 'informs internal and external locus of control'. From the abrasive factory floor assault of "Subterranean Choke", the repulsive dark ambient of "At The Mercy Of The Muse" and its uneasy narrative, or the blistering title track with its pounding industrial rhythms and textural noise - all reaching straight for the jugular!
Review: One would immediately not pair Thomas Fehlman, the renowned German experimentalist, with techno minimalist Terrence Dixon, but this album still makes perfect artistic sense. Although the pair had never met before they recorded it around the time of last year's Detroit's Movement festival, their sensibilities overlap seamlessly from the outset. Fehlmann's playful abstract nuances and Dixon's pointillist sense of repetition make tracks like "The Corner" and "Patterns & Senses" danceable but also deeply experimental. While Dixon's hypnotic approach takes over on the driving "Strings In Space", in the main, this is an work of creative equals, as the steppy "Experiment 3" and the deep space ambience of "Landline" demonstrate.
Review: Here's a somewhat unusual release for Tresor: Second Woman is a collaboration between Turk Dietrich and Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, and on "Instant 1", the pair showcase an abstract, IDM side to their sound, with massive sub bass unravelling over a rickety, stuttering arrangement. "Instant 2" is much more straightforward, comprising a hypnotic dub techno workout that's similar in sound to Tresor signings like Savvas Ysatis. However, the pair quickly revert to a more abstract approach on "Apart 1", where a sliver of mangled percussion is woven through the spacey groove, while the second version of "Apart" is an atmospheric, beat less piece. Props to Tresor for putting out this record.
Review: Detroit godfather Juan Atkins and Berlin techno legend Moritz Von Oswald return as Borderland, one of several collaborations since 1992 and following up their 2016 album for Tresor: the Transport album which again consolidated both respective artist's solid studio experience, honed over the last 30 years. The funky, slightly bumpin' and absolutely addictive hi-tech soul of "Concave 1" will have you grooving away on a late night dancefloor in Berlin or beyond with its evocative and life affirming vibes. "Concave 2" further explores their studio refined sequences on this heady and hypnotic journey full of woozy arpeggios, steely rhythms and dubby bass frequencies.
Review: When they first made their mark in the late 1990s, Berlin duo Porter Ricks was renowned for making Basic Channel style dub techno. Following their reunification and return to action last year, the veteran production duo has largely delivered material that's more forthright, creepy and dystopian in tone, if still accompanied by the kind of mind-altering sound design that's long marked out dub techno productions. Anguilla Electrica, their first album since 1999, continues this trend, ambling between glitch-laden, industrial-themed dub techno workouts, apocalyptic club techno, hypnotic, drone-influenced dancefloor positivity, and more experimental moments that defy neat categorization. The results are wholeheartedly impressive, making Anguilla Electrica one of the best comeback albums of recent times.