Review: Caldera is DJ and producer from Germany, now based in the UK. He is one third of Riviera Club and resident at Brighton institution Patterns. He made his Cassette Library debut on this summer's various artist release We Are Family Vol.3, with the excellent and well received "Techon 2L". He's back with a full EP's worth of tracks that are better than your average. In fact, they're 134% OK. OK? From the pounding and dusty warehouse jack of "Weirdpeoplescavedance", the jagged and disorienting swing of the loopy "Switch" and of course "Don't Ask Me Why" where he pitches down and deconstructs late '90's drum and bass into a paranoid and stupefying experience. Courtesy of West Norwood Cassette Library: bass and bleeps from SE27.
Review: WNCL Recordings is the creative hub for Bob Bhamra's West Norwood Cassette Library project - now almost five years old and always specialising in the more intricate and subtle ends of the house spectrum. Over the years, however, several guests have appeared on the label such as Kevin McPhee and Ekoplekz and this time it's up to newcomer-probably-under-alias, CEO, to make his way down to South London. The Major Edits EP, as the title suggests, is a mashup of high-tek, sound futurism mostly all based beyond the 130bpm mark. The opener, "Screeching", is a fast-paced jungle burner with stripped synths and bouncy kick going off left-right and centre. The rest of the EP follows in a similar vein, where tracks like "Loud" are a truly sublime blend of hardcore, techno and jungle. An ode to rave and a wonderful addition to Bhamra's catalogue.
Review: For the second installment of the WNCL compilation series, a host of label regulars are swapping their parts around and remixing each other for a typically eclectic and positively bumping set of results that truly define where the label is at right now. J Tijn makes a tracky "drum tool" out of Bobby Champs' "Krenshaw", while Knowing Looks takes a rough blade to the label boss' "Drop" and comes out with a decidedly jagged breakbeat workout. Kamikaze Space Programme simmers Kevin McPhee's "In Circles" into a crunchy techno study, and then West Norwood Cassette Library himself takes J Tijn's "Flat" to task with a blissful dub-meets-breakbeat house version.
Review: The two Ekoplekz albums that Nick Edwards released through Planet Mu this year are possibly the most accessible long players issued by the Bristol-based artist in a rich, prolific production career. Pitching up on the West Norwood Cassette Library label is hardly the most expected of moves for an artist more commonly associated with Mego, Further and Mordant Music, but fans of those aforementioned Mu LPs will certainly find much to enjoy in this Rock La Bibliotek EP. The label claims Edwards has long been promising them some club focused material and these 6 tracks are the results, still retaining the sense of abstraction and daring freeform approach that has made Ekoplekz the powerful voice he is. File alongside Container and Hieroglyphic Being in the lurching, slightly foreboding end of the techno scale.
Review: After a quirky low-beat skit-style intro, the Frothy fella bubbles over with "Cosmo". A fly-by breakbeat bust up. Reminiscent of Tyrant circa 2000, there's a really grittiness to the groove. Dig deeper for bleepy two-step ("Dip Dive"), rolling old school amens ("Tools") and a slinky bongo roller that nods respectfully at Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams" ("Live Notes"). We end with "Body X JD", a steaming slab of 23rd century garage. Handshake what your mamma gave you.
Review: London young gun J Tijn is back: look out! In such a short time this guy has fast made a name for himself with some killer releases on Pennyroyal, Power Vaccuum and Bedouin. This time it's for WNCL Recordings and has four cuts of tough and rusty techno for inner city basement parties. Starting off nicely with the deep vibes with "HEHF" but it's no more Mr. Nice Guy after that. "Fat Controller" is a harsh, overdriven drum track whose kick and toms will properly rattle your speaker, but not before its high hats cut right through them. It's more of the same on the flip with "Malaria" whose wacky bird call melody will get some hands in the air at peak time. Finally "Decimated #8" is another awesome drum track with the most raw and vintage high hats and claps this side of a L.I.E.S. or Opal Tapes release.
Review: Former Metro Area and DFA collaborator James Duncan brings his evocative house sound to WNCL. Inspired by the '90s New Jersey garage sound, the emphasis throughout this release is on jittery, rolling drums, swung rhythms and repetitive vocal samples. "Kinsgton Throop Stop" sets the tone with its crisp kicks and looped vocal. "Nostrand Stop" is in a similar vein but adds a more soulful flavour thanks to its soulful vocals and an additional 'yo yo yo' sample. Opting for a different tact, Duncan pays homage to Tony Humphries on "Franklin Stop", with the unnamed vocalist pitched up to squeaky levels and the drums laden down with lead weights. It's as authentic a taste of New York as a visit to the Bunker.
Review: If you are hunting a bag of original newschool breakbeat goodness, then we fear you need look no further as LMajor premieres his awesome new project on the super popular WNCL Recordings imprint. This selection is made up of four pumping creations, the first being a grizzly tech infused goliath by the name of 'Engineer'. On the flip, the pulsating moogish bass subs of 'The Power' then provides pleasing listening. The two tracks also receive vibey remixes, with Boxwork sending 'The Power' to the breakbeat chop shop and West Norwood Cassette Library shuffling 'Engineer' into a shimmering UKG hybrid.
Review: London's Lmajor up next on West Norwood Cassette Library, throwing down some nu-school junglisms from the darkside on "Danger", a proper stepper like from the old days that gets an even more atmospheric rendition by Parisian Tenebre next. A use of cinematic drum & bass that's full of tension and suspense in the vein of greats like Photek and Optical follows on "Raving Cru" while Caldera's deep remix sees the Brighton based German deliver a brooding 'grey area' styled remix - this will appeal to the off-kilter sounds on imprints like Exit Records or Convex Industries.
Review: The breakbeat vibes are good and plentiful throughout this next instalment as we dive into the fourth edition of 'We Are Family', a VA EP hosted by WNCL Recordings. We kick this one off with the colourful atmospheric lashings of 'The Future' from LMajor, before the super drum-heavy grooves and horn ridden soundscapes of 'Ridley Bumps' from Boxwork roll into play. The pleasing organ riffs and writhing sub impulses of Tenebre's 'Nightshift' take the mainstage next, followed by Stavrogin's super choppy creation entitled 'Carpenter's Blood Test', putting the final touches on a pleasing selection.
Review: Our favourite Canadian techno outsider Kevin McPhee returns to London thanks to a ticket by the West Norwood Cassette Library crew, and he's brought over the instantly seductive and hummable "TW", a footwork-charged house banger sporting heavy kick drums, driving vocal chops and toms masquerading as basslines; the acapella is for strict DJ tool use only. Over on the flip, the WNCL boys reshape the original mix into a break-ridden UK monster with added vocal samples and a bursting groove, while CEO takes inspiration from AFX and delivers a seriously twisted remix filled with hardcore nuances and distorted sonics. Heavy stuff.
Review: Earlier this year, experienced French fusionist Paul Tenebre delivered a pair of fine, self-released EPs under the Territory banner. These clearly caught the ear of WNCL Recordings man Bob Bharma (AKA West Norwood Cassette Library), as he's decided to put out part 3. Tenbre kicks things off with "Jungle Frontier", a bustling, techno-tempo tribute to the jungle ear rich in fuzzy snares, heavy sub-bass pulses and intoxicating, intelligent techno era samples. "Density", on the other hand, is a fiendishly distorted broken house shuffler, while "Zone & INterzone" sees the Paris native lay down some redlined tribal house/tech-jazz fusion. The Parisian's love of layered tribal percussion and dusty metallic hits is explored further on fantastic closer "Axe Nord-Sud".