Review: Michael Klein has had quite a run lately, with releases on Second State and We Are The Brave. Fans of the techno producer will be happy to hear that this form continues with Shizo. The title track revolves around a barrelling rhythm and crystalline synths, like Mathew Jonson on steroids. In contrast, "Ponzu" is closer to the Fachwerk style. Relentless percussion, insistent stabs and a swung rhythm make for a potent combination. The label has also commissioned a series of remixes. Industrialyzer turns both tracks into lean, linear club workouts, with the firing percussion and chord builds of his take on "Shizo" impressing most. Meanwhile, Confidential Recipe drops a dubby take on "Shizo" and Subradeon's version of "Ponzu" is a chord-heavy Detroit-style makeover.
Ume (A [Phase] Trajectory version) - (5:25) 128 BPM
Spherique (original mix) - (6:12) 129 BPM
Ombra (original mix) - (2:25) 120 BPM
Dark Swing (original mix) - (5:19) 129 BPM
Review: With releases on underground labels like Involve and Suburban Avenue to his credit, Giuseppe Maffei aka Z.I.P.P.O now makes his debut on Ilario Ilicante's label. "Ume" is an atmospheric but dense groove that resounds to tough kicks and evocative synth hooks. It's deeply musical but also boasts a deadly effective dance-floor arrangement. "Spherique" also offers an unusual combination, with Z.I.P.P.O conjuring up billowing dark trance clouds over a strident, driving rhythm, while on "Ombra" he gives full vent to his 90s leanings with a haunted vocal narrative unfolding over ambient textures. However, it's also clear that Z.I.P.P.O is comfortable making techno as the stripped back, moody "Dark Swing" so ably demonstrates.
The Virgo Odissey (original mix) - (10:45) 127 BPM
Review: With releases on Cocoon and Drumcode to his credit, Ilario Alicante's star in the ascent- and Virgo will help to guide him on this upward trajectory. "Rotate" is an unusual arrangement, combining the drone and crackle of IDM and abstract electronics with a thundering rhythm, while on the title track, he fuses trance riffs that have an anthem-like quality with a rolling, big-room groove and effective filters. "Confused", by contrast, is a straight tribal track featuring drops, builds and a hypnotic vocal loop, while digital fans of Alicante will be happy that the ambient "Virgo Odyssey" is included. Factor in a relentless tribal remix from Slam and it's hard not to imagine Alicante becoming an increasingly popular techno artist.
Review: Selected by label owner Ilario Alicante, this split release mines an underground but refreshingly diverse path. Hush & Sleep's "Perceptual Isolation" is a tough, acid-soaked pulser that rolls deep. There are no such niceties on SLV's "Meteor", a propulsive affair that resounds to rolling drums, tough kicks, lone bleeps and a ponderous vocal sample. On "Tentacles", the contribution from Maxime Dangles, a frazzled 303 and fuzzy bass intersect to create a sound not radically different to Sandwell District, while ZIPPO's track is more straightforward. "The Leopard Prey" is heavy, panel-beating techno, led by doubled up claps, steely kicks and discordant riffs.
Review: The second release on Virgo comes from Electric Rescue aka Antoine Husson. The French producer has a sizeable catalogue and has released music on a wide range of labels, including Cocoon and Bedrock. On Face, he strikes a balance between modern and classic sounds. The title track centres on a driving rhythm and rock hard beats but is also shot through with mysterious melodies. Similarly, "Forwer" resounds to 90s chord stabs but boasts the compressed beats and percussive bursts of modern techno, while "Kerken" is a hazy, frazzled electronic cut. Despite being a relatively new label, Virgo has tapped some great remixers, with Setaoc Mass dropping a frenetic, chord-heavy take on "Forwer" and Nima Khak turning "Kerken" into a tunneling, hypnotic track.