Reviewed this week
John Talabot and Axel Boman released their debut album as Talaboman last year, and now R&S are issuing remixes of tracks from The Night Land. First up is Superpitcher, who is tasked with reworking "Dins El Llit". The Kompakt star uses a stripped back, bleepy groove as a basis to conjure up blurry vocal samples and pulsing 303s, making for a subtle, tripped out affair. The same can be said about Samo DJ's take on "The Ghosts Hood". While it is more pacey than Superpitcher's rework, the break beats are understated and the acid line keeps niggling away. The final remix comes from Luke Slater under his LB Dub Corp guise; on his version of ""Brutal Chugga Chugga", the UK veteran delivers a superb, low-slung, jacking Chicago workout.
The second set of remixes from Mount Kimbie's album pick up where the first volume left off. Like Nina Kraviz' remixes, Marfcel Dettmann's take on "Four Years & One Day" is a dense, filtered techno workout, which revolves around a relentless, stepping rhythm. The mood changes with Gerd Janson's take on the same track; the Running Back boss opts for a slower house tempo, with crisp drums underpinning a murky, new wave style bass that is covered in tantalising acid lines. It's the most imaginative remix to feature across both releases and is in contrast to the Ellen Allien reshapes: on the U.F.O. remix of "T.A.M.E.D", the Bpitch boss drops a pulsating, menacing techno groove, while her 'Berlin' take on the same track is an even more malevolent, electro-techno workout.
Proibito and Incienso label boss Anthony Naples inaugurates (presumably) his new imprint ANS, with yet more typically raw and rusty house jams for the basement. The tough jacking groove of "OTT" is powered away by its reduced rhythmic bounce - cracking spitfire rhythms accompanied by euphoric, hands in the air stabs and emotive chords. Then the old school, UK IDM vibe of "ZTL" offers up something much different than what we're used to from the Florida born producer with this early Aphex Twin sounding epic. Following up a great year in 2017 with releases on Japanese imprints P-Vine and City-2 St. Giga, Naples delivers the goods once again.
Randomer follows his 2016 debut release on this Dekmantel offshoot label with the musically diverse Slicing. Like the stage at the festival that it is named after, it moves through the musical spectrum. "Van Pelt" is a dense, stepping affair, its cavernous rhythm providing the back drop for hypnotic, gamelan percussion and half-heard ethnic samples. By contrast, "Shadow Harp" is a utilitarian slice of break beat techno, shot through with razor sharp riffs, while on "Dissolve", he pivots towards a tough but pulsating rhythm track, underpinned by tribal drums. Rounding off this across the board but dance floor friendly EP is the title track's droning, clattering arrangement, tingling like a live electricity wire.
Nearly four years after he put out his last album, Vaudeville, Inigo Kennedy delivers Strata, also on Token. While the UK producer is best known for his skewed, wiry techno, his latest album marks a change of sorts. "Clarion Call (Return To Nothing)" is a serene ambient affair, and could have come from a film sound track, while on "Mood Shift" he allies dreamy textures to a linear club groove. There are also more typical Inigo Kennedy tracks, including the tranced out melodies and broken beats of "Trapezoid" and the pumping, epic groove of "Shudder", but as the melancholic spacey textures of "Stillness Expanded" demonstrate, Inigo Kennedy has revealed a new layer to his musical creativity on this release.
Recently Planet E founder Carl Craig joined forces with Studio K7 to launch Detroit Love, a new label that takes its name from the techno veteran's touring party. To kick things off, Craig asked Motor City veteran Stacey Pullen to lay down a mix that encapsulated the Detroit spirit. In practice, that means a Michigan-heavy tracklist, with rolling, futurist techno, deep house and tech-tinged house cuts from the likes of Craig Sherrad, Delano Smith, Burning Bridges, Patrice Scott and Gary Martin being joined by similarly-minded cuts from international artists (see Soulphiction's fine opening track and Marcellus Pittman's legendary remix of Motor City Drum Ensemble's "Raw Cuts"). Pullen plays around with tempo and intensity throughout, but it's the inherent rawness and sci-fi feel of Detroit music that shines through.
Developer aka Adrian Sandoval delves back into his vaults again for the ninth instalment of the Archive series. Like previous instalments, it shows that the US producer has made a wealth of dark, deep techno. A case in point is "Zodiac Talking". Over a throbbing bass, he lays down a muffled vocal loop and skipping percussion. It's a subtle but heady combination, and a mood that he replicates on "Queen of Arcs". Although the drums are tougher and the looped stabs more dramatic, there is still an understated sensibility at play. While "Severed Ties" sees him return to the rolling, loopy sound he is known for, there is still subtle flair audible here - just check the menacing "Transmissions From The Yucatan" if you are in any doubt.
When he's not re-wiring the techno blueprint under his own name or as Planetary Assault Systems, Luke Slater indulges in a house-based side project, LB Dub Corp. Side Effects is his first output under this alias since the 2013 debut LB Dub Corp album. "Reel One" sees him draw on Chicago house to create a deep, churning bass-led groove, while on "Night Time Hawk", he delivers a slower, dubbed out take on the Planetary Assault Systems sound. While Side Effects showcases Slater's less full-on style, there is a steely intensity present even on vocal sampling tracks like "Edge 7", and more laid back arrangements like "Float When You Can" still resound to a deep-seated trippiness.
Given his previously prolific work rate, Martyn has been surprisingly quiet of late, with last year's digital-only GL Outtakes mini-album being his only release of note since 2015. This first outing on Dolly Dubs, then, is big news. Happily, his grasp of dancefloor dynamics remains in tact, with all three tracks sounding like peak-time smashers in waiting. He predictably hits the ground running with "41w", a mutant roller rich in mind-altering sub-bass, hybrid electro/post dubstep rhythms and dub-wise electronics. Then you will find the slack-tuned breakbeats, rumbling (not to mentioned relentless) bass and creepy IDM electronics of "Body Music", not to mention the crunchy, surprisingly bouncy and melodious metallic techno of "Angels".
"Good Luck" was originally released back in 2004 and was used that year as the theme tune for the BBC's Euro championships coverage. Now it gets the remix treatment from the prolific Butch. The first take sees the German producer focus on the infectious chant and Lisa Kekaula's vocals that are at the heart of the original and use as a back drop a solid, steely rhythm. On the dub version, deep chords and crisp percussion are brought to the fore, with the vocal reduced to a looped snippet, while the 'Drum Tool' version goes a few steps farther. Focusing on grainy kicks, Butch drops a filtered, rolling workout.
Like a long and blurry session at the storied Robert Johnson club, Time Travel brings the listener on a real musical journey. It moves from the low-slung disco of Massimiliano Pagliara's "Sometimes at Night" into the deep, ponderous house of Portable and Maximillion Dunbar, moving into more dance floor focused grooves thanks to Benedikt Frey and Orson Wells before Frankfurt DJ Roman Flugel drops the brilliant wide screen electro of "Girls With Status". While Time Travel does largely document music emanating from the German city, it also goes back to the 80s to include the eternal Italo classic, "Flucht" by Zwischenfall.
Alex Kruger has been releasing electronic music for the past 20 years, and his experience and skills shine through on his latest album. Caves & Cages, his first long player since 2012, moves from the smoky beats of "Ghost Button" into the lush deep house of "King's Cave" and the dubbed out minimalism of "In Air". Kr?ger then moves up the tempo with the deep but angular techno of "Helix" and "Nervana", but it turns out to be only a temporary shift. "Future History" typifies the rich deep house sound that the Dub Taylor project has become synonymous with, and which makes Caves & Cages such a rewarding listen.
DEEMZ is a new four-track EP by UK beat merchant Allen Wooton aka Deadboy, following up great releases on Aus Music, Ten Thousand Yen and New Atlantis. Incorporating techno, house and more, it is one one of his strongest records of late and sees him return to the dancefloor aesthetics of his previous releases. From the jagged, bass-heavy futurism of the title track, the street level tech house shuffle of "R Less" or the splintered industrial beats of "Come Back To The World" the now Montreal based artist further proves that he is a sonic force to be reckoned with.
Raar has released before on lo-fi house labels like Who's Susan, but as Le Pendu demonstrates, his real artistic calling is deep Detroit techno, with a hint of European influences. "L'accomplissement" is based on dubby kicks and supported by frenetic snares, but it's the ghostly synths that soar up through the track which make it sound exceptional. "Le Sacrifice Moral" goes even deeper, with Raar adding some variety thanks to the use of lithe break beats. "Le Sacrifice Physique" is a more heady acid affair, spiralling and building to the sound of gurgling 303s, and the title track further reveals this visceral side to Raar's sound, thanks to its noisy kicks and distorted riffs.
The latest release from Pan-Pot is far removed from the pair's minimal house roots. "Spitzer" is a hypnotic, deep techno affair that revolves around pumping kicks and glorious electronic hooks. On the title track, Pan-Pot opt for an even more uncompromising approach; centred on a chilling, predatory bass and pounding drums, it sounds like a contemporary, peak time take on Detroit producer Suburban Knight's stealthy sub-bass sound. Petter B, best known for his work on Bond and Drumcode, supplies a remix of "Spitzer", and this version is markedly different, with a more direct rhythm supporting chilling strings.
While there has been much debate around Regal's claim that techno should be treated as a business, "Fenix" harks back to a wilder time in electronic music's past. Combining spacey trance riffs and a surging rave bass over pummelling beats, it does a fine job at capturing the raw energy of the early 90s. Amelie Lens manages to refine and streamline Regal's track on her remix, while the Belgian DJ's own "Render" is a rolling, tribal affair, punctuated at occasional shrieks. Rounding off the release is Regal in remix mode, turning "Render" into a menacing, rave-fuelled banger - the opposite of soulless techno.
Rising star Carlo Ruetz steps up to the plate next on Rukus for some brooding and hard hitting techno weapons - which are deadset on the peak time. Following up some top releases on m_nus, SCI+TEC and Senso Sounds, his sonic aesthetic is right at home here on Matador's imprint. From the seething, dystopian atmosphere of the slow burning "Dimensions", or the tunnelling and strobe-lit tension of "Stars" through to the industrial-edges peak time onslaught of "Dusk" - this highly respected producer from Northern Germany continues to impress with his tightly engineered groove experiments.
Next up on Whities' new Blue series are a couple of terrific offerings. On the A side is SMX: a duo comprised of Max O'Brien and Sam Purcell, who serve up the hypnotic and emotive techno journey "Sleep". It's a reduced take on the early '90s bleep techno sound that is said to have been a recorded live jam (circa 2015) and 'explores themes of discordance and euphoria'. Berlin based Bristolian Daniel Koehler, who has previously displayed his contorted takes on techno via labels such as Die Orakel and Diagonal - serves up the frantic rave deconstruction of "Thief" which is jam packed full of breakneck rhythms, snarling sub bass exploitations and wonky synth stabs.
By now, Bristol's Livity Sound was the only noted Bristol label that FACTA hadn't released on yet. He's appeared on the ever-impressive Idle Hands, of course, as well as the 'consciously off-kilter' Berceuse Heroique from Athens, so he has plenty of experience with the mass audience of bass-headz worldwide. "Dumb Hummer" is an abstract affair, its uplifting bleeps and clicks merging perfectly with the tune's bitter low-end waves that take it to a more dubwise stance; "All The Time" is certainly more of a 'house' ting, with its broken beats forming a peculiar strain of off-balance 4/4 - rife with that Bristol charisma. We love it.
I Love Acid overlords Posthuman divert from their usual jacking course to lay down a pair of surprisingly sleazy and far-sighted jams for Holland's consistent Shipwrec imprint. Naturally, their ever-present TB-303 lines make their presence felt on gnarly "Netflix and Kill", but this time they're stretching out above a bouncy, tribal-tinged backing track rich in wide-eyed rave stabs and hip-house style sampled whoops. If you're in the mood for something a little looser and more laidback, we'd recommend the spacey synths, undulating acid bass and picturesque deep house flourishes of title track "The Damocles Syndicate", which thrillingly just gets heavier as it progresses.
BASEMENT JAXX feat LISA KEKAULA - Good Luck (Butch Remixes) (Rekids)
INIGO KENNEDY - Strata (Token Belgium)
LB DUB CORP - Side Effects (Mote Evolver)
DANIEL AVERY - Projector (Phantasy Sound)
MOUNT KIMBIE - Love What Survives (Remixes Part 2) (Warp)
VARIOUS - Time Travel (Live At Robert Johnson Germany)
Top Labels
Token Belgium
50 weapons
Stroboscopic Artefacts Germany
Sonic Groove