Reviewed this week
Lauer and Gerd Janson's Tuff City Kids project has been revered for their signature sound that has made them the current toast of the house music scene - neon-lit classic analogue sounds that are evocative enough to be featured on a John Hughes movie soundtrack - if they could go back in a time machine. On the face of it, you'd be surprised by their remix choices: for example Marcel Dettmann? Rest assured they're in good hands here with the Berghain resident - whose recent exploits have also been invested in the early industrial sounds of the '80s recently and that's really evident on his rendition of "Scared". Likewise, fellow Berghain regular and Hotflush boss Scuba dons his more nefarious SCB guise on a perspective of "Nordo", creating a seething and mental warehouse techno jam to lead in to the peak time. Elsewhere, Roman Fluegel impresses as always with his slinky and hypnotic rework of "R-Mancer" while Permanent Vacation boss Benjamin Froelich delivers not one but two remixes of "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard.
Tale of Us' label is steadily growing a reputation for championing left of centre dance music and "Ray" is no exception. The work of Swiss pair Adriatique, it brings together unusual sources to create a distinctive vision for contemporary techno. "Voices from the Dawn" boasts the dusty, grainy authenticity of proto-techno and ambient, with the duo integrating droning bleeps with a pulsating, electronic groove. On the title track, they go deeper; the rhythm is low slung and hypnotic and a melancholic synth riff unravels over a sequence of understated kicks. It's another killer release from this fast rising imprint.
Named after the Polish word for 'roots', this great new EP finds Anii threading her way in between subtle deep house and techno folds. Polish music, tribal percussion and elegiac melodies merge wonderfully. Born in Poland and now operating out of London, Ania Iwinska has had previous releases on top labels like Stil Vor Talent, Polymath and Sincopat, but now makes her debut on Cologne powerhouse Kompakt. From the chugging, brooding dancefloor drama of "Working The Root" that will hypnotise you into submission, to the tension and full-on suspense of the title track. Be assured that more late night moodiness awaits on "Cyganka" incorporating traditional strings and Ry Cooder like guitars on this hazy and esoteric trip into the deep.
It's that time again: Berlin institution Innervisions returns and rounds up this year's melodic techno futurists on Secret Weapons' tenth edition. Indeed it's a big one, but not with the usual suspects, would you believe. Take for instance Marc Romboy: the German tech house legend behind the respected Systematic imprint appears with the spacey and euphoric dancefloor drama of "Infrared", rising star of the Berlin scene Nitam (previously on Ostgut Ton sister label Unterton) appears also with the seething, late night adrenaline of "JS/42" which nails that Panorama Bar vibe so nicely. Elsewhere, the always impressive Southern Italian duo Underspreche make a welcome appearance with "From The Exotism To The Future" yet another example of their contorted take on Afro house, while minimal don Marc Houle reappears, with a nifty rework by German power duo Frankey & Sandrino on the epic journey of "Paligama"
Late last year, the producers behind the Keinemusik label came together to pen an album under the same name. Now the German label and the Keinemusik protagonists - Rampa, Adam Port and &Me - have commissioned remixes of tracks from the long player. First up is Life & Death boss DJ Tennis, who is tasked with reworking "You Are Safe". Using eerie synths, clattering drums and electro bass pulses, he turns the track into a hypnotic house track. For the second remix, Frankey & Sandrino take to the controls. The pair's version of "Guilt Trip" is slower and more understated, but the atmospheric textures and subtle pulses are as memorable as the DJ Tennis remake.
Miami Music Week is undoubtedly one of the most important events on the calendar for the global electronic music community. Berlin powerhouse Get Physical has tapped Bristolian rising star Dubspeeka to soundtrack this year's event on their annual compilation series, bringing (like his name may suggest) some rolling, low end heavy grooves on the glacial and tunnelling tip. Not what you'd usually expect for the sun soaked festivities, but after one listen you'll hear that it certainly does work. From the legend Steve Rachmad's Basic Channel tribute on his remix of M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade's "Home", the deep tribal atmospherics of Floyd Levine's remix of Thor Rixon's "The Clown" through to harder hitting sounds by the CLR affiliated Monoloc on M.A.N.D.Y's- "Gizmo". Also, the inimitable Robert Hood's provides an intense dancefloor weapon via Azari & III's "Extinction Event". These tracks are a bunch of secret weapons for any serious DJ. Comes complete a continuous mic with several of Dubspeeka's own wicked tracks..
There is no doubt that Butch aka Bulent Gurle is one of the biggest names in European dance music- and this release confirms why he is so popular. In essence, "Countach" is a re-invention of 90s German trance. Its central riff contains the same kind of melancholic qualities that the releases on Eye Q, one of Sven Vath's previous labels during the 90s, boasted. Allied with a buzz-saw bass, Butch now gives those melodic characteristics a tough dance food focus. Cocoon has drafted in Butch's peer, Kolsch, to remix the track, and he deploys a mean, rolling rhythm and prowling bass to give "Countach" a more contemporary flavour.
Oliver Huntemann's label returns with more dancefloor drama from the dark side, by some of the scene's most exciting players on Senso Sounds Level 04. French techno producer Bruno Demoeugeot aka Citizen Kain teams up with STAB Virus on "Torium" which ticks all the right boxes for a Senso track: doom laden pads, dark chords, steely rhythms and grinding arpeggios - all compressed into one big, brooding package. German producer Carlo Ruetz cuts to the chase on the aptly titled "Sky's Black" (and strips things back while he's at it) on this tunnelling and sinister epic. Finally, man of the moment Dubspeeka continues on with an impressive streak of releases on International Deejay Gigolo, Knee Deep In Sound and Get Physical recently - the cavernous, bass heavy tech house of "Aakash" further cements his status
Lee Foss' label continues to delve into the party end of techno with Today's News. The work of production pair Solardo this two tracker unites disparate elements such as 90s minimal, mainstream house and irreverent samples. All of these ingredients are audible on the title track, where a vocal intoning the line 'bunch of hookers and cocaine" is looped over a groove that boasts the analogue grit of Dan Bell with the good time raucousness of Fatboy Slim. Achieving that balancing act is impressive, and Solardo do it again on "Give Yourself Up". This time they fuse hardcore stabs with diva vocals and a jacking rhythm to create an unforgettable party tune.
Sunderland born DJ/producer Garry Todd has certainly had an interesting journey thus far - fist making his name within Sydney, Australia's music scene several years ago - with his first release on local imprint BEEF, followed by appearances for homeboys Illusion Recordings and Contemporary Scarecrow. Fast forward to a move back to Europe in 2015, a full length on Berlin institution B Pitch Control (Nora Lillian) soon followed, finally setting him up as one of the most exciting stars in tech house. He's next up on top label Knee Deep In Sound, with the tough bounce of "Wait For Me" featuring Jessica Derrick's sensual vocals over a hypnotic chime melody and a rolling groove. There's also two killer renditions to support it - legendary Swedish duo Zoo Brazil going for a more euphoric yet adrenalised trance version (of sorts!), while rising Bristolian star Dubspeeka's deep tribal atmospherica is sure to cause some dancefloor drama.
So far, the majority of Simon Neale aka Shadow Child's releases have been on his own Food Music imprint, but Dance Trax is sure to raise his profile. Issued on the well-known Unknown to the Unknown label, it also sees Neale's creative focus shift to old school influences. "Renegade Stabz" is a stab-heavy break beat techno affair, while on "Nonsense", a similarly party-themed sound is audible, this time with a rolling groove replacing the crashing breaks. Atypically for Shadow Child, "Don't Lose It" sees him deliver a jacking, minimal techno workout, replete with firing percussion and analogue bleeps. Working under his Geeeman guise, Gert drops a storming minimal house take on "Lose It".
Forgive us for saying, but this is an odd meeting in every aspect - Swedish tech house legend Tiger Stripes teaming up with Italian house hooligan Riva Starr, on Adam Beyer's Truesoul? We know what you're thinking but trust us it works, it really does! The dusty and tough rolling sounds of Starr's revered Snatch! and Brock Wild imprints are all over "Sound Of The Bettest" with its booming 808 bounce, junglist breaks and cheeky ragga samples. Perhaps "Move It" is where Tiger Stripes' more hi-tech sheen shines through - indeed it does, but backed again by Starr's swing fuelled and MPC styled aesthetic. Surefire tools for peak time destruction on the dancefloor guaranteed.
Pleasurekraft are a transatlantic duo comprised of American Kaveh Soroush - a DJ and producer from Washington DC who was also co-founder of Brandnewvibe Recordings, with Sweden's Kalle Ronngardh - a veteran producer since the early noughties. After a few dozen releases over the last decade, the duo finally unveil their first full length album. Friends, Lovers, & Other Constellations sees the duo consolidate their many years experience on their beloved Kraftek imprint, with this collection of epic and euphoric dance floor bombs. From brooding, peak time techno workouts such as "The Day The Earth Stood Still" or "Rigel" (which will appeal to fans of sounds on Drumcode or Suara), there are also moments of evocative trance like on "Interiors", dark ambient on "GOD/Gospel Of Doubt" (part 1 - feat Casey Gerald) and even a bit of synth-pop - like the blissful closer "Last Transmission" (From A Dying Constellation).
Secondcity aka Rowan Harrington teams up with newcomer George Smeddles for an EP on Sola. "Can You.." is not connected to the Mr Fingers classic of the same name. Instead, on the title track, the pair deliver a rolling, linear house groove. Littered with dissected vocal loops, rolling snares and effective filters, it's an effective, tracky affair. On "Groove is In", they follow a relatively similar path; this time, the drums are slightly tougher and the tempo faster, but the pair's love of vocal samples - this time on the more soulful end - and their adherence to crafting tracky, effective rhythms is indisputable.
After a hiatus, Spanish producer Rob Clouth returns with this remix package on Max Cooper's label. Cooper himself is first up with stepping, grinding take on "Shedding Layers". Broken beats and grungy bass tones provide the backdrop for Clouth's spacey synths, but on this occasion, it's all about Cooper's distinctive rhythms. On a totally different tact is Ben Lukas Boysen's version of "Transition". The storied producer forsakes kick drums in favour of a dreamy tapestry of interwoven textures and melodies that swoops into a cacophony of synth dreaminess. It sounds like the soundtrack to an as yet produced sci-fi movie. Brecon's take on "Silica" sees him deliver woozy textures over a seductive, languid back beat, while rounding off the package is Chihei Hatakeyama's ambient version of the same track.
Berlin's Kapote has fast become a staple of local label Toy Tonics - this will be his fifth release on the imprint in as little as three years. These remixes by some of the top names in house music are equally as worth your while: "Temptation" from last year's EP of the same name gets a remix by Real J: dusty, blissful lo-fi shenanigans from the street in typical Berliner style - much like Money $ex et al. "LOVE" from the Body Move EP (also from 2017) receives a makeover from Swedish wunderkind Art Alfie and is a right stompin' affair that you could imagine hearing up at Panorama Bar on a Sunday night. Then we get treated to a journey down the cosmic hole by Italians Marvin & Guy on their Obscure mix of "Tonite", while FYI Chris' remix of "Salvation" goes down a deeper route on this emotive and swing fuelled number that gallops along quite nicely.
Anika Zeising aka Bebetta releases her third EP on Monaberry. Not to be confused with the 90s techno act of the same name, Megalon showcases her considerable production prowess. On the title track, this talent is articulated through steely, rolling drums and spiralling, tranced out melodies, as Zeising replicates the sound of a church organ trapped inside a day-glo techno arrangement. On "Hedorah", the German producer opts for a different approach; the drums are dense but understated and effective, while steely percussion helps to underpin mournful piano keys and reflective break downs. It makes for a more considered approach, and shows that Bebetta isn't just about tough club tracks.
The latest release on Alex Niggeman's label comes from Italian pair Speaking Minds and Amarcord, a new producer. By navigating a path that runs between techno, minimal and the more atmospheric end of trance, the collaborators deliver the pumping but still esoteric "Odissea". On "Hit Me", there is a somewhat darker tone. The tribal drums and percussion seethe with an understated menace, an ominous bass soars up through the arrangement and even the trance hooks inhabit a darker dimension. Bawrut, who has released on Ransom Note and Hard Fist, is tasked with reworking "Hit Me". In his hands, it turns into a stripped back percussive affair, with the bass oozing its way through a wiry rhythm.
It's been a hot minute since we heard something new from Och, but he's back on Autoreply with an album of high-grade, stripped back tech house shot through with oodles of imagination. "Panamax" is the consummate dubby house track, a true immersion chamber of a track, while "The Sadness" brings a shuffling groove and some peppy key stabs to the table. "The Healer" is a more overtly minimal affair that would sound at home on PAL SL, while "Linear Response Function" keeps things tight and focused with a sturdy rhythmic framework and some spartan piano notes. "Incompressible Flow" has a submerged jazzy undercurrent to it, and "Lovers Roll" gets into that freaky house bounce heard on "The Sadness". Overall, it's another sterling grip of refined tracks from a seasoned pro.
Moustache Records is a Rotterdam based label run by David Vunk. Over the years it has flaunted wares by the likes of Cute Heels, Neil Landstrumm, Third Side and many other all analogue styled retroverts. There's more of where they came from on Moustache Homo Club Series One, where Vunk himself steps up to the challenge on the hilariously titled "Hetero Girl" (Six Lines Of Speed version), a grinding and guttural expression in slow motion 303 acid. Elsewhere, stomping old school techno comes courtesy of Dax Jax on "MaDMAn", sludgy L.I.E.S. styled techno-punk on BRZ's "YOKO 1" and the mysterious Parasols with the seething and slow burning "Extort" that's sure to cause some tunnelling and strobe-lit moments on the dancefloor.
LAZARE HOCHE & TRAUMER - Seascape (Lazare Hoche)
VARIOUS - Secret Weapons Part 10 (Innervisions Germany)
OCH - Linear Response Function (Autoreply) - exclusive 21-03-2018
SECRET STATE - Zero Zero One (Central Processing Unit)
ROB CLOUTH - Transition Remixes (Mesh)
STROKA - Phobophobia EP (MEMNTGN) - exclusive 23-03-2018
Top Labels
20:20 Vision
kling klong
Get Physical Germany