Review: Hospital Productions have been around for a hell of a long time, with releases dating back to 1998. For the last fifteen years they've progressed impressively and have grown by expanding their catalogue as far as black metal. Silent Servant, one half of the now defunct Sandwell District label, makes his debut for the American label with sheer elegance and emotion. Negative Fascination is a true LP, with all the productions representing an entity rather than a collection of dancefloor tools. Tracks such as "Invocation Of Lust", which sway effortlessly across desolate plains of synths and distant melodies, fall neatly into place with others; "Moral Divide (Endless)" being its natural epilogue as ghostly sounds and transmuted effects are caught in a whirlpool of rough, analogue beats. Only certain parts such as "The Strange Attractor" could be bracketed as belonging to the techno realm, with most other tracks containing much more than just club antics. "Temptation & Desire" could only be considered techno in so far as its dark approach, but it's the ingenious sound arrangements that fall between their spaces which make this album a true gem. Highly recommended.
Review: Juan Mendez pushes the largely abstract approach on his debut album towards the dance floor. Ironically though, the LP version of "Strange Attractor" was more brutal and upfront. On this version, Mendez lets the chain mail groove throb beneath layer upon layer of eerie chords, abstract whispers and what could be an angle grinder running in the background. This version of "Invocation of Lust" has an eerie, garbled vocal in the background, but fused with spiky metallic percussion and a thumping kick drum and throbbing bass, makes for a compelling club record. Finally, "Utopian Disaster (End)" is the most Sandwell-esque track on offer, its slamming rhythm, droning sounds and reverberating, doubled up claps sounding like a sequel to the Negative Fascination EP that was released on the seminal, now defunct techno label.