Review: It would make for some debate but this More Than Machine compilation by Tronic may well be the label's most impressive release to date. Bringing together an all star cast of legendary, respected and fresh talent indebted to the machinist sounds of electro, Tronic slips out a surreptitious release into 2021 real diggers will recognise. John Selway appears twice with "Highest Order" and the harder edged "Blink Of An Eye" with Christian Smith (who also delivers an italo inspired solo number in "Pressure Drop"). Vince Watson goes both aquatic and cosmic in "Cyclon" next to CJ Bolland's "The Demotic Script", Sterac Electronics' (aka Steve Rachmad) phase driven "Reinstated" and a far flung Zein Ferreira collaboration with The Advent! Fresher vibes still from the UK's Second Storey and new age techno soul vibes from Client_03's "Regression Container". Your secret stash.
Review: Legendary German imprint Poker Flat continues into 2021 with the latest in their B Sides compilation series. As it says on the tin, Chapter Six presents the best of their back catalogue between releases numbered 126 to 150 - which were around 2012 - 2013. Starting off with label boss Steve Bug's 'Tell Me Why" taken from his album Noir, Alex Niggemann's expressive piece of mood music entitled 'Tangram" (The Deep End) from back in 2013, the sexy late night shuffle of Mihai Popoviciu's "Here", Carlos Sanchez getting deep down and dirty on the afterhours bounce of "Conclution", Hamburg heroes Kollektiv Turmstrasse lending a typically emotive and bittersweet vibe to their rework of Daniel Dexter's "Birds" and who could forget the low slung swagger of "Facebook" by Diynamic chief HOSH.
Review: The Poker Flat filter sifts through its immense catalogue to pull up a fresh new 'best of' chapter. Tracks come Boris Dlugosch, Marco Resmann and Steve Bug to Vince Watson, TJ Kong and Alex Niggemann all deliver the goods, be burning italo basslines, techier dub techno and 80s synth to percussive melodies and other minimal actions. Simon Garcia goes deeper into tripper arpeggio mode with "Cavern" while the words of Theo Parrish feature in the Juno-106 house sounds of "Lectures". Get some extended minimal players from Mihai Popoviciu in "Call Me", with Detroit and Chichagoan sounds further permeating the compilation in "My Side". Dope.
Review: Two years on from the release of Vice Watson's eighth studio album, Via, some of the key cuts have been given the remix treatment. First up Joe Claussell gets his hands on 'Progress', re-framing the tech-soul treat and a rich, piano-laden whizz through spiritual deep house territory that rises, falls and rises again for 11 mesmerizing minutes. Osunlade offers an even brighter, breezier and more piano-laden take on the same track, before Steve Bug and Largenberg join the dots between smooth tech-house hypnotism and immersive deep house on a luscious interpretation of 'Via'. Finally, Manoo has his wicked way with 'Progress', delivering an awesomely emotive and life-affirming deep house re-wire that will almost certainly make the hairs on the back of your neck leap to attention.
Review: DnA (Deluxe Edition) is Vince Watson's most ambitious project to date. Comprising close to 20 tracks, it sees him give full vent to his vision for electronic music. Moving between atmospheric ambient pieces such as "Influences" and "(Re)Evolution (A Vision)" at one end of the spectrum and steely, techy dance floor tracks like "Immersion" and "Third Wave" at the other, the album also shows definitively, that when ti comes to deep house an techno, he has few rivals. Shining examples of this craft are audible in the form of the jazzy piano keys on "Affinity" and the soaring, string-led "Universal" and "Second Wave", which make for spellbinding, sublime techno tracks.
Review: Vince Watson has dedicated over twenty years to making his own unique take on musical Detroit techno - and the DnA series are among the most articulate expressions of this passion. This second EP is a taster for a full double album to be released later in 2019 - and based on this EP, it sounds like it will be worth waiting for. "Holographic" sees Watson drop an atmospheric building groove, like his own version of Carl Craig's circa Landcruising. "Immersion" is lighter and uplifting, taking its cue from the more melodic end of the UR canon, while "Hart - Soul" represents a more house-based interpretation, with the storied Scottish producer riding dreamy filtered melodies to the cosmos and back.
Review: Vince Watson returns after last year's Via album with this fine release. This four-tracker underlines the development of his music, which now sits somewhere between its deep techno origins and a more clubby tech-house style. This is audible on "First Wave", where he merges sensuous synths with a pulsating, quivering bass, while on "Second Wave", the airy strings that have long been Watson's stock in trade are fused with a throbbing low end and rickety drums. However, "Affinity" sees him head back down a deeper, more purist route, and is redolent of his work around Moments in Time. There's also diversity on offer, with the sensuous ambience of "Let Dreamers Dream (Daydream)" rounding off this excellent EP.
Review: For the latest excursion on his label, Steve Bug teams up with Langenberg, aka Max Hessen. With releases on Poker Flat's sister imprint, Dessous, as well as Liebe Detail to his credit, it's fair to say that Lagenberg is adept at making deep, hypnotic house. These skills are very much to the fore on "NGC 6240". Working together with Bug, the German artist lays down an ominous bass and overlays it with spacey synths and spiralling acid motifs. It strikes a perfect balance between depth and menace. Poker Flat has also top-tier remixers to rework the collaboration. Tim Engelhardt, who has released frequently on the label in recent years, delivers an evocative but chilling take, while Scottish techno sensation Vince Watson adds his trademark dreamy Detroit take to the original.
Review: The rise of the titans right here! The two biggest hi-tech soul merchants from the United Kingdom team up here on Spanish imprint Suara, for some epic and futurist dancefloor drama on "Rise". Strict rhythms accompany layer upon layer of warm emotive pads and soaring synth leads - as you'd expect from the duo. Their further homage to Detroit (via Glasgow and London) continues on second original offering "Variable Slope" which brings the funk with its bleepy bassline and killer groove for a life affirming dancefloor journey. There's a couple of killer remixes too. French sonic wizardry from the one and only Voiski: who leivers a scorching rendition, plus a lovely neon-lit classic house perspective from the controversial Marquis Hawkes . If that was not enough, a sombre, deep electro re-take on the aforementioned "Rise" by Leipzig's Lake People caters to a more downbeat moment.
Review: Vince Watson is arguably one of a handful of European producers whose approach to techno matches the original ethos of the sound's Detroit pioneers. It's probably for this reason that Derrick May asked him to "remix and remodel" two timeless Rhythim Is Rhythim classics. Pleasingly, Watson's versions of 1991's "Icon" and "Kao-Tic Harmony" (the latter an early collaboration between May and Carl Craig) are both superb, getting just the right balance between respecting the original versions whilst bringing something new to the party. While the evocative, string-drenched version of "Icon" is superb, it is the fizzing, sci-fi fuelled melodiousness of Watson's "Kao-Tic Harmony" revision that really hits home hard. Naturally, both versions sound like breezy Motor City classics.
Review: Sven Vath's Frankfurt based powerhouse Cocoon returns with two legends serving up some surefire anthems to close out this year with a big bang. Scottish hi-tech soul merchant Vince Watson appears first with the emotive and elevating "Speaker Freaker", which sees this veteran producer serve up something much more accessible than what fans would be used to, but fantastic all the same. Next up Frankfurter Frank Lorber appears and although usually more known for his tech house stylings, here he takes a cue from fellow homeboys Lauer and Gerd Janson on the retro feelgood vibes of "L'obscure Objet Du Desir".