Review: Dusky's first outing for Running Back, "Life Signs", was arguably one of their most euphoric and uplifting releases to date, so it's little surprise to find that this much-anticipated sequel explores similar sonic territory. The future anthem is undoubtedly "Metropolis", a shimmering retro-futurist number that layers bleeping lead lines and spine-tingling pads atop a weighty analogue bassline and heavy beats. You get vocal and dub mixes, with the former making great use of a loved-up female vocal snippet that adds to the cut's old school credentials. Elsewhere, "Seed Tray" is a rushing, warehouse-ready stomper smothered in rave-era piano stabs, "Mushroom Samba" adds bleeps to a suitably psychedelic, all-action backing track, and "Fridge" is a nostalgic, retro-futurist romp that defies easy categorization.
Review: 'Freaks and Beaks' is the fourth album from Dirtybird head honcho Claude VonStroke. Taking inspiration from the sense of humor shared between him and label partner Justin Martin, a love of experimentation with everything from hardware and modular synthesis to iPhone apps, and embracing genres as wide as ghetto tech, drum 'n' bass, hip-hop and breaks - together with his idiosyncratic style of minimal tech house. This is VonStroke's love letter to vibrancy and genre diversity. From the bass-driven acid jack of "Freaks Don't Fail Me Now", the trippy afterhours reductions of "Flubblebuddy" or "Youngblood (ft. Wyatt Marshall) to the influence of Bristol's similarly low-end driven sound as heard on "These Notes In Order" or for something different there's even a bit of blissed-out electronica - as heard on the evocative closer "Alpine Arpline".
Review: The fifth Future Primitive release, Babylon Paralysis, sees the label work with an all-time favourite UK techno artist Steve O'Sullivan. A reissue of a classic slab of late '90s Bluetrain material from Steve in the shape of "Congo Shuffle", which originally surfaced as an untitled track on the timeless Echo Freaks 12". Newly extended and edited by O'Sullivan, "Congo Shuffle" has been lavishly cut at the Exchange giving new life to this bottom feeding monster.
Elsewhere on the EP, Steve blesses us with two brand new productions continuing the sub-heavy theme. "Invisible Guest" steps away from the straight up 4/4 productions nailed in recent years in favour of a stealthy broken dub approach that wouldn't be out of place on go-to Bristol label Idle Hands. "Paralyzed Dub" is both the inspiration for the release title and another classic demonstration of Steve's ability to stun listeners with very few elements. Play loud.
Review: Mella Dee bounces back on his Warehouse Music label with this club-primed release. The title track leads the listener on a journey through 90s minimal techno, with chattering percussion accompanying analogue yelps and a wiry rhythm. The tempo moves up a few gears on "Toast" and "Sidewalk Surfer", with Dee applying roughly the same hardware-driven approach, albeit set to more pace-y backing tracks. "Maplins" resounds to grainy kicks and raw percussive ticks, sounding like it was inspired by Neil Landstrumm's 90s work for Tresor, while on "Rockport Xcs", the singular techno producer delivers detuned chords against a skippy, rolling groove.
Review: With recent releases for Desolat and Whippin' that saw Mason Collective team up with legendary Detroit producer Stacey Pullen, the three piece arrive on Seth Troxler's Play It Say It label with a four-track EP of bassline-centric clubs tracks. "That's Gas" pushes electro swing vocals, bumping basslines and classic old school Chicago percussion with the type of tom-foolery you'd expect from a Yello production in the background. Dirty club vibes make it to "Ready To Work" with an undeniable hi-hat groove while techier workouts set up "Steezin'". With more melody, minimalism and dynamics to be found on the title-track, "Art Is Long" is a perfect cut for those free and easy Sunday after hour sessions.