Review: The ePM agency, label and distributor celebrates 20 years with a series of split EPs focused on techno, electro and house. First up is the techno release, with ePM attracting a stellar line-up to contribute. Robert Hood drops the eerie "Shadows", where menacing organs and steely percussion come together for a mesmerising slice of minimal techno. Ben Sims conjures up dense, tribal drums, interspersed with haunting wind chimes on "Xotnuc", while James Ruskin delivers the tough, steely rhythm of "There Was A Time". Remaining at the tougher end of the spectrum, the always consistent Mark Broom brings this part of ePM's celebrations to a close with the cavernous, pounding groove of "The Three Swords".
Review: Theiz, real Name Mathijs Schippers, first made his mark on the scene in the mid '90s on seminal Dutch imprint Eevo Lute Muzique, then disappeared into obscurity. Well, he's back now after a 24 year hiatus with this new one on ePM entitled 'Moving Forward Into The Past' - and we can certainly tell you it was worth the wait. The title track, with its immersive cinematic score quality, is proper Detroit influenced futurism in the vein of 'Landrusing' era Carl Craig, while "Motor City Bliss" (like the name suggests) is hi-tech soul all the way - a tougher yet emotive jam with more dancefloor dynamics. "Beauty Of Machines" goes deeper into the afterhours with its cavernous dub techno motifs, and last but not least is a more than welcome remix by the legend Carl Finlow. The scene veteran delivers his singular sound as always with this electro remix, delving deep into sci-fi fantasy realms.
Review: Francesco Terranova returns to ePM after 2018's Forma Mentis release. Fans of purist techno will find much to love here. "Levotus" is powered by insistent drums and ticking percussion, which act as a basis for a pulsating bass and ringing, chiming bells. On "Electromotive", he strips his sound back to deliver a surging, dubbed out groove, featuring powerful filtered builds. Meanwhile on "Sidermec", Terranova revisits his love of pulsating bass tones, this time marrying it with spaced out blips and pounding kick drum. There's also a bruising, industrial take on "Electromotive" by Dekeyden, for those who like it harder and faster.
Review: Athens Computer Underground may not be a well-known name, but if you're looking for atmospheric electronic music, you've come to the right place. Inhabiting a grey area where electro, classic UK techno, electronica and acid all co-habit, All Lovers Young is an impressive, effortless release. It opens with the naive, Plaid-esque melodies of "Cantharidine", before taking a tour of early Black Dog/B12 techno on the 303-soaked poly-rhythms and eerie synths of "V.A.L.I.S.". "Jitter" is a high-paced roller, while also retaining a melodic touch and on "Four O'Clocks", an androgynous vocal is layered over raw 303s to devastating effect.
Review: With releases on Illegal Alien and his own Monotony imprint to his credit, Bryan Chapman now steps up with a killer EP for London's ePM. Featuring Chapman's distinctively dense and tripped out style, it moves from the rumbling, layered groove of "Kala" into the higher-paced "Nimrala", where he effectively deploys a cacophony of chiming bells against a rough rhythm. "Ulu" sees Chapman descend down the wormhole again with droning textures and a powerful supporting rhythm, while he changes tact on closing track "Mato". Slowing down the pace, considerably, the low-slung groove is swathed in grimy dungeon acid textures.
Oliver Way - "Music Is So Special" - (5:33) 128 BPM
Mark Broom - "77" - (5:00) 128 BPM
Paul Mac - "Disc Electronique" - (6:45) 124 BPM
Luis Martinez & Keytone - "Lost At Sea" - (6:31) 124 BPM
Cristian Vogel - "Tyrkisk Peber" - (7:37) 130 BPM
The Third Man - "Pipes At Helios Canyon" - (6:16) 127 BPM
Ben Long - "Simple Soul" - (7:17) 127 BPM
House Of Black Lanterns - "Drown" - (6:33) 125 BPM
Kristian Heikkila - "Konstruktion" - (6:06) 128 BPM
Esteban Adame - "Handed Down" - (5:15) 125 BPM
Review: EPM Music is a label headquartered in Maastricht, the Netherlands that has recently presented terrific work by the likes of Mark Flash, Floorplan and Mark Broom - so it's evident that purist techno sounds are on offer by this fine label. For the seventh edition of their long running EPM Selected series they certainly have a special and well curated compilation on offer that touches on the many shades of the genre- but altogether emotive, soulful and with an undeniable Motor City edge throughout. Highlights not limited to: Detroit veteran Oliver Way's fierce and functional heads-down groove "Music Is So Special", the evocative hypnotism of British legend Paul Mac's fine contribution "Disc Electronique" through to Space DJZ' Ben Long (who's back in fine form) on the adrenalised and cyclical banger "Simple Soul" and the ever impressive Los Angeleno Estaban Adame's hi-tech soul excursion "Handed Down".
Review: To date, Santana's music has been largely confined to his own Chaval label, but now he spreads his wings with this powerful release for ePM. Given that the label is home to veteran artists like Rob Hood and Mark Broom, it's no surprise that they have signed up Santana. The Spanish producer's debut is a tough, linear affair; it starts with the rough drums and percussive bursts of "All Stereo Line", before Santana changes style with the pumping, chord-heavy "Mixolydian" and the heads-down minimalism of "The Fucking Clown Stinks", which has echoes of his new label mate Robert Hood. Rounding off this release is the stripped back jacker that is "My Siberian Husky".
Review: Two of techno's biggest names team up for this slamming release. First up, UK veteran Mark Broom delivers a 'dubplate' take on the Flooorplan standard "Never Grow Old". Broom focuses his efforts on snippets of the original vocal and wraps them around a dramatic chord build, making for a fine peak-time workout. Broom's own "Jungle" is next: like a streamlined version of his tribal techno work from the early 00s, a niggling filter and insistent claps weave their way in and out of the rolling rhythm. Hood also drops his own original material with "He Can Save You (Re-plant)", where a preacher man-style vocal is laid over a hammering, grainy rhythm and rickety back beats.
Review: Pearl Vision is a new project from veteran artist Dany Rodriguez, who together with his partner Tindra, maps out a varied path on this debut release. "Clair Obscur" is an atmospheric techno roller with Detroit influences thanks to its chilling strings. In contrast, "Lekesecuress" sees the Belgian duo lay down a rough acid track, populated by doubled up claps and rolling snares. Proving that this project has a real breadth and depth to its sound, "Orizon" is a layered dub techno groove, while on the title track they lay down the kind of visceral minimalism that pioneers like Robert Hood are best known for.
Oliver Way - "Lucky Dip" (Scan X remix) - (6:14) 130 BPM
Esteban Adame - "Out To Get It" (Anthony Parasole & Phil Moffa Reconstruction) - (7:09) 129 BPM
Oliver Way - "Lucky Dip" (Ben Long & Oliver Way Late Night Mix) - (6:24) 130 BPM
Review: London label ePM brings together a who's who of global techno for this remix compilation. Weighing in at the harder end of the spectrum are Truncate, South London Ordnance and Scan X, who deliver blistering re-shapes of Mark Broom, House of Black Lanterns and label boss Oliver way respectively. However, the more interesting versions occur when the chosen remixers opt for less obvious approaches. Claro Intelecto delivers a lush, deep house take on The Third Man; Juan Atkins rewires Esteban Adame's "Descendants" with hyper active electronic funk, while best of all, the brilliant Chris McCormack drops a spellbindingly melodic take on Ben Long's "Open Doors".
Metacentro (Ben Long & Oliver Way remix) - (6:28) 130 BPM
Review: Terranova previously put music out on Bulletdodge and De-Konstrukt, but has really risen to prominence thanks to a string of EPs on ePM. Forma Mentis, his latest outing for the London label, shows why he is gaining so much traction. On one hand, there's the spaced out groove of "Madama", where he utilises organic percussion and dubby undercurrents to create a wonderfully tripped out arrangement. In contrast, "Metacentro" is a menacing, throbbing techno track that shimmers and shakes with a sense of foreboding. Ramping up the intensity is the Ben Long and Oliver Way remix of "Metacentro", where the pair drop a spiky, broken-beat interpretation.
Review: "Stained Glass Shadows" is taken from Oliver Way's recent debut album and this remix package features three prominent US artists. First up is Robert Hood: although he is working under his own name, his take leans heavily on the Floorplan sound through the use of spine-tingling organ playing and a powerful bass. Esteban Adame's version focuses on deep house, and its swirling synths and strings would not sound out of place on a label like Sistrum. Last but certainly not least is DJ 3000's interpretation, where the seasoned Detroit producer lays down a hypnotic chord sequence and rolling groove that will get even the most reluctant dancer emerging from the shadows.
Review: "Z Beats (Mix 1)", which starts this release, comes across like a slightly less intense relative to Robert Hood's classic The Pace. Firing percussion and insistent synth stabs set out the tone for Broom's latest release on ePM; on the second mix, the UK techno veteran uses a more gnarly bass and rasping hats to create a visceral sound. Truncate turns "Z Beats" into a linear, chord-heavy affair that tones down the intensity but doesn't lose sight of the club-friendly approach thanks to its snappy percussion and morse code tones. Rounding off the release and a hugely successful year for Broom is "Ot", a chord-heavy looped track.
Review: Having released on labels such as Blueprint and Planet Rhythm, the mysterious Gotshell debuts on ePM. Not much is known about this producer, but as "Aswan" demonstrates, he is adept at striking a balance between the visceral and esoteric - in this instance with a dense, rolling rhythm and sharp percussion proven a backing for eerie synths. On "Fayum", there is an absence of musical sounds, with a grungy, grinding bass and firing hats articulating a particularly rugged take on club techno. "Coptos" completes the release, with hammering kicks and cold, building bleeps making for a particularly mechanical but powerful peak-time bomb.
Review: This is the second part of a trilogy that Mark Broom is releasing on ePM. The techno veteran's ear for crafting straightforward but effective tracks clearly has not diminished over the years and the title track presents the listener with a stab-heavy arrangement, played out against the backdrop of heavy kicks and niggling percussion. "77" sees Broom take influence from tracky US house, riding a shuffling, looped groove to infinity, while "LX" continues in a similar vein, led by chiming piano keys and an insistent, filtered rhythm. Striking a balance between house and techno, ePM have recruited Gary Bek to remix the title, which revolves around an organ stab and a rolling, looped arrangement.
Open Doors (Chris McCormack remix) - (5:39) 129 BPM
Review: Taken from Long's recent artist album, this remix collection is a reminder of the esteem in which the UK producer is held. He works with his erstwhile Space DJz collaborator Jamie Bissmire to turn "Fading" into a dark, dubby percussive groove. Bissmire flies solo on the rework of "Calling Broadsword". Tougher than the previous remix, it unravels to the sound of screeching sirens, cavernous break downs and big room filters. However, the real surprise is left till last; the label has coaxed seminal producer Chris McCormack back into the studio. Unlike some of his searing back catalogue, his take on "Open Doors" is melodic and playful, as blissed out melodies unfold over a gentle, metallic back beat.
Review: Mark Broom should need no introduction, a legend on the UK electronic music scene, he is internationally renowned for both his production capabilities and outstanding DJ skills. It's no wonder that his tracks have graced the likes of Ifach (with Baby Ford), Blueprint, NON Series, M-Plant, Material and more. Not to mention his collaboration with James Ruskin as The Fear Ratio. "One Sound" is adrenalised and powerful techno that is so precise in its restraint: geared for some real tunneling moments on the dancefloor. The remix up next by Midwest hero DJ Hyperactive injects far more fury and futurism into it: perfect for the peak time transition. Finally "Myth" gets those Mr. Hood vibes happening with powerful in your face cyclicality and those mandatory claps on the kicks: wicked!
Review: Adame is one of the new school of Detroit techno producers, and has enjoyed a long relationship with London's ePM. On the title track, his ability to merge the soulful sounds of the Motor City with modern techno structures is apparent; strings soar and soar to reach an epic crescendo as a rough, rolling rhythm plays out. Newcomer Tresillo's version lacks the original's musical elements, instead putting a focus on a tough, acid-fuelled arrangement. In a neat twist, ePM has commissioned first-wave Detroit pioneer Juan Atkins to rework "Descendants". Despite techno becoming a global sound, Atkins' approach is still highly distinctive and the wiry, snaking reshape he delivers would be impossible for any other producer to emulate.
Review: Basic Frame is the studio project for Davide Nannini and Alessio Mascia, two Italian DJs of long standing. Manual Screening makes clear that they have a love of purist, underground techno. "Age" sees a relentless rhythm underscoring tranced out synths, while "Ing" is more abrasive. Based on a similarly utilitarian minimal groove, it sees the pair strip away melody in favour of clanging, hypnotic riffs. The most impressive track is "Nks". Once again, the focus is on minimalism; taking their cues from Rob Hood and the late 90s output of James Ruskin, they manage to strike a balance between complex percussion and pounding club sensibilities.
Review: Sometime UR collaborator Esteban Adame gets one of the tracks from last year's Day Labor album remixed. In its original form, "Rise & Shine" is a beautiful, string-soaked ambient piece of mood music, while the 'Beat' mix adds a rolling rhythm to these musical elements. Frequencia Decon ventures further down this path with a heavier, dense rhythm track, while Mark Flash's take is a glorious Detroit techno workout, the strings to the fore and the melodies unfolding over a jerky rhythm. Finally it's the turn of UR themselves and they don't disappoint, turning Adame's ambience into a stripped back, dark electro number.