Review: When it comes to frenetic, 90s-influenced techno, Michael Korb aka Klangkuenstler is one of the most recognised producers, and with good reason. As the title track demonstrates, he brings a distinctive approach to his work, and tortured vocals, buzz-saw bass and epic builds all combine to make for a high-octane, thrilling workout. "Wechselspannung" is just as intense, but in a different manner, with Korb drawing on the searing acid of the Pump Panel project and uniting it with a pounding techno workout. Remaining in peak time mode, "Das Ende Der Isolation" sees the Outworld boss deploy an ominous bass with dramatic synth-led breakdowns and noisy percussion to truly devastating effect.
Review: KlangKuenstler and Jiggler join forces and give a nod to the good old rave days on this split EP. KlangKuenstler's "Save The Rave" is a take on the '90s sound, complete with a brooding bassline and 303 acid flourishes. There is an brazen nod to rave, yet the artist manages to carve his own style in its arrangement by adding plenty of energy. "Impact" is a dark journey track where solemn strings build up tension, joined by eerie/hypnotic loops: but just wait for that breakdown. Klangkuenstlers second offering "Exodia" goes for that classic rave aesthetic too, with swirling synths and advanced rhythms. Finally, Jiggler explores a deeper route on the atmospheric "Stairs", a powerful, bass-heavy cut geared for absolute dancefloor drama.
Review: Oliver Koletzki's minimal label pushes the contemporary club sounds that fit right in with the current status quo. Moonwalk and Rafael Cerato's "Phenomena" is a dark, melodic, journey track that would make Tale Of Us or Mind Against stand up and notice. Boy Next Door's killer peak time anthem "Lovely L" features a massive and razor sharp bassline supporting equally fierce elements for dance floor mayhem. Also of honourable mention are Berlin legends Channel X with the wonky and downright epic killer "Supernova" which will no doubt rock the house and KlangKuenstler's dark, rusty and downright bangin' "Drunk In Chicago".
Review: Klangkuenstler aka Michael Korb follows last year's releases for Filth On Acid with this slamming affair. "Lebendige Geister" follows the classic German techno-trance sound of the mid-90s, with pummelling techno drums supporting a haunting, epic synth melody. Streamlined but seductive, it's the kind of track you could imagine Sven Vath spinning back in the day. On "Acid Hotline", Korb goes for a similar approach, but this time his peak-time track is accompanied by a soaring acid line. He maintains the same intensity levels on "Teufels Schneide", but here grinding riffs accompany spiralling, Heckmann-like builds to the inevitable climax.
Review: Next up on Klangkuenstler's label is a rave-fuelled split release that is sure to cause dance floor mayhem. The Outworld kicks off the EP with the growling vocals and visceral riffs of "In Ketten Gelegt", while Blicz' "Still In Hell" continues down a similarly dark, rave-infused route, These intensity levels continue on Exil Der Schatten's "Dystopian Warfare". Drawing on the pounding techno of 90s acts like The Mover for inspiration, the arrangement is also powered by an ominous bass and menacing synth builds. In contrast, DLV's "Der Teufel Gazometer" looks to more contemporary influences, with its steely rhythms underpinning a frazzled vocal sample.
Review: The annual Toolroom statement of intent for Ibiza gets off to a raucous start with the good time house Camelphat remix of Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now". Despite this, the compilation isn't all about peak time pleasure. It features deeper nuggets like the sun-kissed deep techno remix of Bicep's "Opal" by Four Tet and the hypnotic break beat techno Kolsch remix of Nic Fanciulli's "Saying". However, Ibiza 2018 doesn't depart too far from the script, and label boss Mark Knight's "We Get High From the Music" is classic Toolroom - a tough tribal workout descending into filtered, vocal-heavy nirvana. That said, they deserve plaudits for keeping a close eye on new artists and the niggling acid and chimes of Peggy Gou's "It Makes You Forget" is testament to that.
Illyus & Barrientos - "Best Of Toolroom 2018" (continuous House mix) - (1:19:12) 124 BPM
Illyus & Barrientos - "Best Of Toolroom 2018" (continuous Tech House mix) - (1:19:17) 126 BPM
Review: As you'd expect, given the label's runaway success over the past few years, there are plenty of very familiar cuts on this 52-track 'best of' from the all-conquering Toolroom, including GotSome's tribal smash 'Nomad Chat', label boss Mark Knight's infuriatingly catchy, flute-driven Shovell collab 'Selecao', Mendo's sample-heavy G-houser 'Mooving' and CamelPhat's remix of Fatboy Slim. But there are plenty of less heavily rinsed gems on offer too, and with tracks from the likes of D.Ramirez, Leftwing & Kody, Dosem, DJ S.K.T and Dale Howard plus reworks of Sterling Void and Todd Terry classics, it's a no-brainer for tech-house jocks on a budget.
Review: If Mark Knight and Co. aren't busy enough celebrating Toolroom's big 15 year birthday at present (and its global parties in celebration of it), they've also found enough time for another mandatory volume in their esteemed Ibiza Underground series. With another collection of surefire hits and soon to be anthems that are sure to rock The White Isle this summer - this is all you need right here. A wide range of cuts (50 to be exact) that venture into darker territories come from the likes of New York duo Blondes on the fierce and broken "Quality Of Life" (Struction remix), the surprising addition of Scottish IDM wunderkind Lanark Artefax's "Touch Absence" (Intimidating Stillness mix), Dutch techno-bass merchant Martyn on the futuristic "Feel The Magnetism" and American retrovert Matrixxman on the tunnelling acid trip "Horizon". Rest assured that there's faire more typical of the label like Josh Butler, Franky Rizardo, Rick Wakley and birthday guests Booka Shade. For your convenience, the collection comes as two continuous mixes as well.
Andy Caldwell & Adam Johan - "Deep In My Heart" - (6:29) 124 BPM
Review: In preparation for the forthcoming season on the White Island, Mark Knight's label drops this explosive release. David Keno, Stage Rockers & Samantha Nova's "I Like That" shows that house will continue to be Toolroom's main focus, albeit in this instance, a streamlined tribal take. The compilation also demonstrates that an appetite also remains for classic vocal tracks; Mash's "Shooting Brake" recalls the classic garage of early 90s New York, with its dark bass and layered vocal samples, while the infectious stabs, strings and plaintive piano of Playless' "Danser" could be as big as David Morales' late-'90s smash "Needin U".