Planetary Assault Systems - "Huddler's Source Of Wonder" - (5:45) 131 BPM
Mark Broom - "Gunna" - (3:29) 130 BPM
Mark Flash - "Voice Of Detroit" - (6:32) 120 BPM
SRVD - "In The Dark" - (8:17) 128 BPM
Rebekah - "Stealing Fire" - (5:13) 142 BPM
Sinistarr X K-Dan - "Apollo" - (5:34) 87 BPM
Oliver Way & Dany Rodriguez - "First Act" - (6:36) 128 BPM
Review: The idea that music should stay away from politics is flawed, and Break The Silence is one of the most convincing counter-arguments against this notion. Featuring unreleased tracks donated by a stellar cast of underground electronic music artists, the compilation seeks to raise funds for Campaign Zero, an initiative that campaigns against police violence in the US. With artists like Rob Hood, 4 Hero and Luke Slater all contributing to Break The Silence, the listener really is spoilt for choice while also supporting a great cause. However, the standouts come from Eddie Fowlkes and Jon Dixon, who both drop superb jazz-influenced house tracks.
Review: Charlotte de Witte returns to her own KNTXT label with another big room release. Both in its title and sound design, there are dystopian undercurrents at play; "Sgadi Li Mi" features an apocalyptic mixture of gritty acid lines and tribal chants - playing out over one of de Witte's typical tribal rhythms - while on " Return To Nowhere" she fuses haunting looped vocals with a similar rhythmic backdrop. While "Emsemble" appears to summon up lost spirits thanks to its fusion of snaking rhythm and ghostly chants, the closing track, "What's In The Past" offers hope for the future thanks to de Witte's use of mesmerising choral loops.
Review: Following on from his recent appearance on the label's A-Sides Vol.9 compilation, Victor Ruiz returns to Drumcode with this lean club techno EP. The title track is based on a muscular bass and firing percussion, while a foreboding industrial riff zings its way over the backing track. "Illusions" is more high-paced and linear, with Ruiz delivering another searing riff, this time realised against the backdrop of a pounding, linear rhythm. On "Senses", he takes inspiration from 90s disco-house loops to create a rolling, highly charged tech workout, underpinned by a frazzled acid bass, while "Existence" is a more stripped back affair, focused on dramatic percussive builds and bleak bass tones.
Review: Blawan has opted for an unhurried schedule for his Ternesc label, putting out an EP a year for the most part. Following this approach, Immulsion follows 2019's Many Many Pings. It gets off to a raucous start with the pounding kicks and gated riffs of "40 Spiral", before Blawan follows it with the rolling break beat-led "Rain". From there, he takes the sound deeper with the 'Come To Me In Full Electric' take on the title track, while the 'That Kind of Kink' version of "Immulsion" sees the respected UK producer up the ante again with a lean but funky tribal rhythm.
Review: Russian born and now Berlin-based Yulia Niko can often be found wowing audiences at her residency for the famous local institution Watergate, in addition to releasing for tastemaker labels such as Get Physical, Hottrax, Rebellion and Subliminal. Not to mention her own imprints TochnoTechno and Libe Vibe. Here she makes her debut for Damian Lazarus' esteemed Crosstown Rebels imprint with the deep and mesmerising arcane energy of "Fatima", which is backed up by the equally spiritual and meditative polyrhythms on "Man From Ubud". If that was not enough, there's also a killer remix by Rominimal maestro Priku, who teams up with homeboy Dinu to increase the energy levels on their powerfully melodic rework.
Review: Bart Skils' association with Drumcode stretches back almost a decade, with the Dutch producer bringing his clubby take on techno to the label on a series of EPs. The same approach is audible again on the title track, where dreamy synths are fused with a dense bass and tough, rolling drums. Meanwhile on "Tropical Heat", haunting vocal samples are interwoven with rough electronic tones as Skils brings the throbbing rhythm to an irresistible climax. "Shiva Says" is just as impactful, but involves a different approach, with a series of filtered drops and wiry acid tones underpinning pounding drums and a rhythm that slams hard.
Review: The latest edition of the the Sum compilation series features a mixture of established and upcoming producers. First up are The Reason Y and T?mas Sinn, who deliver the tough, reverberating groove of "Trip Tales". Meanwhile another emerging act, Risa Taniguchi, impresses with the deep, tunnelling techno of "She" and Eme Kulhnek drops the mesmerising, hypnotic groove of "Efforts". Mindful of electronic music's rich heritage, Second State has also commissioned some of Europe's most established artists to contribute to this edition; Quenum drops the clicky minimalism of "Fact Action" and on "Zurich" the veteran producer Secret Cinema, combines gritty drums with atmospherics to devastating effect.
Review: Here's something to celebrate: a surprise collaboration between R&S regular Lone - a producer now best known for the colourful feel or his shimmering, retro-futurist workouts - and sometime Shall Not Fade and Unknown To The Unknown contributor Kettama (real name Evan Campbell). "The Way That You Feel" genuinely fuses the best of both producer's styles, with kaleidoscopic, neon-lit synth stabs and bubbly, eyes-closed electronic lead lines riding a busy bassline and 130 BPM techno drums that seem to fizz as much as they bang. The results are not only undeniably heavy, but also insatiably ear-pleasing.
Review: Like its previous iterations, the ninth instalment in Drumcode's A-Sides compilation provides an invaluable overview of the big room techno sound. For this edition, that includes sounds as diverse as the tranced out, vocal-sampling "Fierceness" from Joyhauser to Dubfire's menacing, bass-heavy stepper, "Deadbug", and the pumping, exhilarating "Just Close Your Eyes" courtesy of Tronic boss Christian Smith. As these various strands attest, A-Sides is a broad church, but the end game is dance floor impact, and on Thomas Schumacher's "Intuit" and Reset Robot's searing "Grains", that goal is reached using bruising low end and heavy acid lines.
Review: Fear-E aka Scott McKay teams up with The Wasp to follow last year's "Posh End Sponk" release on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams. "The Shining" is a tough stomper that resounds to eerie organ riffs and busy vocal samples, while on "Pax", the collaborators head in a different, darker direction, with eerie stabs and ghetto shout outs underpinned by a steely, shuffling rhythm. "Chucky B" is more abrasive and visceral as they throw down a banging groove that underpins a busy call and shout sample, while "Kokamen" sees them explore the kind of bugged out techno you would expect Green Velvet to deliver.
Review: Hot on the heels of his release for Maceo Plex's Ellum, Raxon aka Ahmed Dawoud drops this two-tracker for Drumcode. "Connection" is a typical track for Adam Beyer's label in that it's designed for the big room, but it comes with a twist; adding in half-heard vocal samples and subtle filters, Dawoud also uses hypnotic, Sleeparchive-style bleeps to create a truly distinctive track. On "Orbit", he opts for a different approach; rolling tribal drums underpin a dense bass and a hiccuping vocal sample that leads the arrangement into a tripped out direction, once again showcasing this producer's diverse talent.
Review: Tronic launches the ninth instalment of its Rockets series, which brings together new and established producers. First up is Oscar L, a veteran of the techno scene, with the rolling "Mesmerised", which breaks into buzzing bass drops and which features a series of snare roll crescendos. On a different tact Kamara, who has released on Tronic before, drops the pulsating acid of "Le Labyrinthe Enchant?", while the label has also enlisted the services of UK techno veteran Daryl Stay for the grimy bass and rolling groove of "Closure". Representing the new breed this time, there's Simina Grigoriu, with the forceful, acid-laced techno of "Brutally Honest" and The Reason Y and T?mas Sinn's tripped out minimal sound on "Illusions".
Review: Reuben 'Rebuke' Keeney follows last year's Jump Ship release on Dirtybird with this fine two-tracker. The title track is as deep as it gets for Claude Von Stroke's label, with hypnotic chords and chopped up vocal samples unravelling over a steely, forceful rhythm that resounds to bursts of white noise percussion. It's linear and hypnotic, and is sure to have a huge dance floor impact. On "Koto", Rebuke opts for a more accessible sound. Infectious melodies are underpinned by rolling snares and a pumping rhythm that features rasping percussion. It underlines once again that Keeney is a diverse, versatile producer.
Review: All time great Alkalino looks to the headlines for a Dark Room Scandal! Sending in deeper house vibes for this three-track release, there's a playful spirit to the dark side of this EP. "Orson Welles" sees the slightest of disco influences maintained in the track's percussion alongside deeper basslines, melodies and tripped out vocals. Dubby bassline house is paired with starry synths loops in "Dancing With Somebody", with the title-track doubling down on its clap-track, industrial atmospheres and suspenseful strings. Alkalino goes deep.
Review: Long before he became one of British dance music's most admired techno party-starters, Mella Dee was educated on the dancefloors of South Yorkshire's bassline clubs, and in particular notorious Sheffield venue Niche. Here he pays tribute to the iconic club in fine fashion on "Sidney Street" (the title is a reference to the club's most famous location). The title track may use thumping techno drums, but the rest of the cut's musical elements - memorable female vocal samples, echoing piano riffs and, most importantly, serious sub-bass pressure - come straight from the bassline playbook. He continues to pay tribute to the sound that shaped him elsewhere on the EP, too, from the bustling beats and memorable riffs of "Dev Green", to the deeper vibes of the dark garage bass-propelled "Copley Road".
Review: Explosive Korean producer Park Hye Jin finds herself in the headlines right now thanks to this debut release on Ninja Tune, a follow up EP to her 2018 debut for the clipp.art label. Super fresh and super heavy, Park turns in six tracks that take in the boomy aspects of deeper warehouse techno in "NO" alongside slices of dense footwork in "How Come" to some breezy, summery house jams in "Like This". Hip Hop attitudes to soft alt-K-pop and R&B gently shine through the artist's vocals in sweet and bitter love ballads like "How Can I" and "Can You". Super fresh, rough enough, and the best Ninja Tune release since Hieroglyphic Being's "The Disco's Of Imhotep".
Review: Having impressed via EP on some seriously good underground labels - think Lost Palms, EPH White and Shall Not Fade for starters - DJ Boring has been snapped up by Ninja Tune's big bucks Technicolour offshoot. The London-based producer's first outing for the imprint is headed up by title track "Like Water", a busy and bustling deep house number that cloaks rolling house beats in dreamy, sustained chords, colourful unfurling melodies and sharp, trance-like synth sounds. Elsewhere, "Another Day" is a warmer, chunkier and even more kaleidoscopic take on the same pleasingly off-kilter house sound, "Stockholm Syndrome" is a more classical deep house number that boasts weighty sub-bass and sparkling riffs, and "Seems Like Yesterday" is a melodious and ear-pleasing deep neo-trance affair.
Review: Hailing from different countries across Europe but united by label owner Renaat Vandepapeliere's love of percussive tracks, the contributors toVolume 5 deliver a fine dance floor compilation. It starts in introspective mode with the stepping rhythms of Tension's "Pure Black Skies" and Hala Bahma's "My: Emi", before moving into deep tripped out techno courtesy of Primal Code's brooding "Tridimensionale". On "Oracle", Optmst introduces a more accessible approach thanks to the use of dreamy vocal samples, while the human voice also makes an appearance on Hermetics "Escaping Samsara", with dreamy chants unravelling over an undulating tribal rhythm. It makes for a vivid climax to another volume of RV Trax.
Review: Justin Jay has previously released material on Freerange and Dirtybird and for his debut on Josh Wink's label, he conjures up something darker. "Vale of Tempe" is a twisted minimal banger that resounds to barbed percussive slivers and twisted acid lines, while on the title track, he ups the pace to deliver a highly effective metallic track that boasts a churning, spiralling chord-led climax. On "Athens", Jay opts for a deeper, dubbed out groove that sounds expansive and atmospheric, while Ovum has commissioned Viers to rework "Vale..", and the talented, emerging artist turns the original into a stepping, rickety electro affair that sounds like it has arrived from a different planet.
Review: Kr!z follows his 2019 debut by teaming up with the like-minded Pfirter for this no-nonsense split release. Kr!z drops the pounding "Imperative Needs", where rattling chain mail percussion underpins relentless tonal bleep sequences. Meanwhile on "Malice", the Token boss delivers a galloping groove that acts as the basis for a series of droning electronic riffs - it sounds like an early 90s Plus 8 track on steroids. Pfirter goes harder and heavier with "Tomorrow", where pummelling kick drums underpin a firing steel-plated rhythm, while rounding off this peak-time EP are the dense claps and pulsating, dubbed out chords of "Purification".
Review: Following remixes on Suara, Obscuur and Noir Music, Ukranian techno hero Yan Cook is back on his Cooked label with some pounding grooves on the Blades EP. The mentalist tunnel vision of the title track is exactly the kind of tackle you could imagine Boris hammering out during one of his legendary closing sets at Berghain, while the full throttle hypnotiser "Whistleblower" perfectly soundtracks the prelude to a blackout under the strobe lights at an illegal warehouse party. The Kiev-based producer hammers the message home - all guns blazing - on the emotive dub techno thriller "Skyhigh" complete with Aril Brikha style chord progressions.
Review: Prins Thomas follows last year's Ambitions long player with a somewhat different proposition. Inspired by early 90s trance and wrapping this influence around a variety of tempos and grooves, Traens is an interesting departure. The foreboding bass of "Traens 2" and "Traens 3" are sure to appeal to those who want a big room take on sounds of a bygone era, while the pumping, acid-soaked "Traens 6" is a pure, old school track. This only tells half the story however, and on "Traens 4", Thomas draws on his love of sleek disco grooves to create a spaced out, cosmic affair. There are also traces of Balearic flair, and the deep, sensuous house of "Traens 5" shows that while Prins Thomas is caught in a trance moment, he remains rooted in disco.