Reviewed this week
So far, the majority of Simon Neale aka Shadow Child's releases have been on his own Food Music imprint, but Dance Trax is sure to raise his profile. Issued on the well-known Unknown to the Unknown label, it also sees Neale's creative focus shift to old school influences. "Renegade Stabz" is a stab-heavy break beat techno affair, while on "Nonsense", a similarly party-themed sound is audible, this time with a rolling groove replacing the crashing breaks. Atypically for Shadow Child, "Don't Lose It" sees him deliver a jacking, minimal techno workout, replete with firing percussion and analogue bleeps. Working under his Geeeman guise, Gert drops a storming minimal house take on "Lose It".
This is Token's 80th release, but the Belgian label shows no sign of running out of steam. Indeed, the opposite is true; Boundary Interactions sees one of its main artists, Phase, deliver an abrasive but highly effective EP. "Search Party" resounds to rattling, incessant bells, firing percussion and a spacey, growling filter. It's a real peak time offering from the UK artist. By contrast, "Microdose" is more stripped back and repetitive, with a steely rhythm underpinning eerie chord sequences. Meanwhile on the title track, Phase drops a bouncy groove and, reliving the trance sound of the 90s, a melancholic melody that does a lot to dispel Token's reputation as solely serving up tough techn
The latest release on Involve brings together some of the most respected names in hard-edged techno. Cleric's "Purge" is led by tough kicks and firing percussive bursts, similar in style to his peer SP-X. On "Left Behind", Setaoc Mass, another UK producer, goes deeper for a rolling, hypnotic groove that still benefits from the power of heavy drums. From there on in, the release veers in a surprising direction: Truncate's "Feel This Way" resounds to a jerky rhythm, jazzed out chords and bleep-y tones, while on "Green Kush", Victor Santana from Chaval lays down a pumping, big-room track, layered in mesmerising chords.
Following a subtle slew of self releases and appearances on the likes of Infinite Machine, London's Truska makes his official EP debut on Jelly Bean Farm. The release marks the on-point label's first year anniversary and it's celebrations all-round as Truska has delivered something seriously special. Grave and glacial, "Lucid" sets the tone with stuttering beats, slurring textures and cavernous moments of deadly pregnant silence. "Intra" continues the trippiness but with a little more tribal edge in the percussion while "Fervour" will have you frothing in suspense with its unhurried pace, otherworldly rhythmic devices and triphoppy break. For added celebration see the dark steppy remix from the fast-rising Bristol beat-sculptor Hodge. Dream time is over...
Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, Tiga is confident that this release is one of his best collaborations to date, up there with his work with Jori Hulkkonen. Certainly, the title track is an unusual affair, with the Turbo boss and Clarian working together to create a left of centre, tripped out acid track. Replete with out there vocals, it's one of the freshest takes on the eternal acid sound you'll hear this year. On "You're So Special", the pair veer further down the paths marked 'inspired off beat techno'; deploying a call and response vocal over a jacking, low-slung groove, it's unusual, entertaining and unforgettable
After a series of releases on Marcel Fengler's label and Unterton, rising techno producer Somewhen makes it onto the main Ostgut label. Part of Berlin's new school of artists, AFL doesn't focus exclusively on one style. Instead, Somewhen varies the release by moving from the storming dark techno of "Ryte" - replete with doomy vocals - to the murky downtempo "Undress", which unravels to the sound of eerie strings and more mysterious voices., Shifting gear again, the title track is a noisy, broken beat workout, while on "Kilo",

a straighter approach prevails. Revolving around a pulsing groove, its acidic undercurrents are sure to have the right impact on the main floors of the German capital's clu
In its original format, "Grace.." resounds to a rolling, system-levelling bass, twitchy percussion and a mournful chord sequence that breaks into the sound of car skidding in the middle of the arrangement. It's one of the most unusual techno tracks to appear in recent months, so it's fair to imagine that it might be a challenge for most producers to remix it. Not so for DarBian. Favouring a tougher sound and a slightly faster tempo, this alternate version centres on a buzzing, electronic bass, skeletal percussion and a cavernous groove that will have the same hypnotic effect as the original version
Former Galaxy 2 Galaxy member Esteban Adame has released on some of modern techno's finest imprints - including Epm and Motech - but he now opts for a more house-based approach for this release on Steffi's label. The title track combines snappy drums, rolling snares and jazzy keys with a snaking bass, making for a classic deep house track. On "Throwing Signs", Adame fuses techy stabs with dreamy synth sequences, while on "Where's The Map Point", the US producer uses disco filters and a rolling groove as a back drop for sweet, symphonic strings. It's only on the Los Hermanos take on the title track that he and his colleagues return to the tough but soulful sound of Detroit techno.
Belgian label De:tuned delivers another cracking release after trawling through Luke Vibert's archives. "Balath" sees the maverick UK producer fuse mind-bending acid lines with crisp, up-tempo electro rhythms, while a similar, but somewhat noisier approach applies on "Worry Ledge". There, eerie tones and buzzing acid unfold over a fast, rolling 808-driven groove. "pHIacid" sees Vibert slow down the tempo and introduce what sounds like a mixture between an easy listening arrangement and funfair music, with this unusual fusion daubed in layers of acid. Finally, "Arcadia" resounds to noisy drums and twisted 303 lines. Irrespective of its provenance, the material on Arcadia makes for a fascinating release
It would be fair to say that "Lick Wid Nit Wit" is not one of the better-known tracks by the Sabres of Paradise, Andrew Weatherall's once high profile 1990s techno trio. The track, a wild re-imagining of their "Wilmot" single rich in clanking, metallic percussion hits, snaking Middle Eastern inspired melodies and copious amounts of dub delay, was only ever released on an obscure compilation. Happily, Elastic Dreams has decided to give it a new lease of life, with label boss A Sagittariun delivering two thrillingly intense new interpretations. There's a "Sabresonic Re-Dream" (named in honour of the trio's label/club night, Sabresonic) that mixes fast-paced rhythms and distorted bass with some particularly hallucinatory sounds, and a more straightforward - but no less trippy - techno take (the Friday Night At Happy Jacks Remix).
"Blue Train..." is a taster for Mount Kimbie's third album, Love What Survives, and sees the production pair make the move into angst ridden electronic pop. Teaming up with singer King Krule, Mount Kimbie put down layer upon layer on white noise and drones as a back drop for the UK singer's howling, haunting vocals. Followed by rolling break beats and humming guitars, it's exactly the kind of track that will win them a while new fan base in the live music scene. Despite King Krule's claim that "I mighta seen it all", rest assured that thanks to Blue Train Lines, most of Mount Kimbie's highlights lay ahead of them.
US techno wizard Developer is back on his trusted Modularz imprint, this time alongside the lesser known DJ Surgeles, and the duo pack quite the punch with these five cold-hearted dance burners. Developer's "Infinite Numbers" opens on a bit of a cavernous tip, unleashing whole swarms of chilling bleeps over a stripped-back techno beat, and "Glimmer" ups the ante with yet more speed - and by that we mean velocity, not the powdered type! DJ Surgeles' "Hidden Places" follows with an echoing, hollow mass of drums and bass, while "Pulsating Orbs" bounces up and down with a distorted tone of voice, and "Out Of This World" steadies the ships by forming a thick, oozing layer of beatless ambience. A dish best served cold...
Planet Rhythm has been around for longer than some of its artists have been alive, but the label still knows how to spot talent. The latest embodiment of its A&R skills is Wisna, who previously just had two releases to his credit. On "Static 909", this new artist shows his talents. "E-Communication" is a spiralling, tranced out acid techno banger, led by pile-driving percussion and wild filters, while on the title track, Wisna drops doubled-up claps and a linear, bleep-laden groove. "Quiet Room" sees him return to the same kind of tranced out sound that prevailed on "E-Communication", while "Black Optical" marks another shift as this emerging producer drops a stomping, Millsian affair, led by tough 909 kicks and insistent tonal waves.
Best known for his releases on Lobster Boy and Eats Everything's Edible label, Mele now delivers a raucous release on DJ Haus' imprint. It starts with the bleep-heavy tones and rolling snares of "Moog Beat", which eventually descends into acid-soaked madness. On "Larry's Beat", the UK producer tries his hand at emulating Chicago house. Featuring a "rocking the house" vocal sample alongside a dark bass and firing percussion, he adds his own clanging drums and tough kicks, lending it a unique signature. As its name suggests, "Tribal Layers" is a dense, percussive roller. The remixes are also impressive; DJ Boring turns "Moog.." into a tougher workout, led by doubled up claps and pressure cooker climaxes, while the Bontan take on "Tribal Layers" is a raucous, bleepy affair.
Italian production pair Hiver specialise in blurring the boundaries between deep house and techno, audible on a string of acclaimed EPs for Vidab and Curle. Now they make their debut on Obscura and a similar approach applies. Both "Inverted Scale" and "RJ45" are driving but tranced out affairs, while at the other end of the spectrum, there's the glorious ambience of the title track and "Glass Effect". Both arrangements have a depth and atmospheric sensibility rarely heard in modern electronic music. Orbe is given the challenging task of reworking "Spiritual Machines", but succeeds in turning it into a rolling house workout. It's another deep masterclass from Hiver.
Fur Coat have released EPs on some of techno and house music's biggest labels, including Crosstown Rebels and Hot Creations. Now they consolidate their relationship with a second EP for Berlin imprint Watergate. The Venezuelan pair's strength lies in their ability to effortlessly blur underground sound design with a big room sensibility and this approach is evident in spades on Immersion. The title track features slamming kicks providing the backdrop for chords that loop and filter their way hypnotically over the course of eight minutes, but without once sounding repetitive. "Inner Circle" is more understated, and sees the duo drop a pulsating, tranced out groove that is sure to dawn DJ sets ablaze with its electronic intensity.
Gavin Sutherland aka Fudge Fingas is back under a new alias for Edinburgh based house oddballs Firecracker. A long known staple of the Scottish imprint, they themselves seem equally as perplexed as we are- but we can all agree that it's certainly not altogether unpleasant. Boss man Lindsay Todd describes it as 'occupying the space between alien-revisited exotica, classic jacking house workouts and a BoC 'Chromakey Dreamcoat' kinda vibe'. From the swirling and hypnotic esoterica of "Descent Into Nasqueron" to the brooding journey into the abyss that is "Chapel Perilous Closed". Then comes the EP's most accessible track "Late Feeling Yourself", a smoky, sexed-up, late-night deep house jam that calls to mind his usual work or that by label staple Linkwood.
Over the past five years, ARTS has become one of techno's most consistent labels. Listening to Dark Matter 002, the latest release from the imprint's owner, Emmanuel, it's not hard to understand why. "Hype Beast" kick starts the EP with a stepping rhythm and filtered chord builds, that are not too far away from Shed's Equalized project. "Rejected" is a far straighter, linear affair, with the Italian producer laying down insistent riffs, tonal stabs and smart filtering, all over banging drums. Leaving the most unusual track to last, "Jungle Ting" sounds like it was inspired by early Oliver Ho, as layered textures and samples unfold over an intricate tribal drum sequenc
Dutch label Mary Go Wild Black is fast becoming known as one of the most consistent club techno labels, and this release will serve to bolster its reputation. The work of Patrick Siech, who has released before on Drumcode and Minus, it starts with the deep, spaced out rhythms and tonal bleeps of "Tetrahedron Cluster", which sounds similar to P.God and Mike Parker. "Bubbli" is more abrasive and sees Siech pick up the pace to deliver a grimy, bruising workout. The remixes are also of a high quality. Fabrizio Lapiana's version of "Tetrahedron Cluster" mines a similar path to "Bubbli", with a hypnotic groove led by hammering drums, while on the Abstract Division version of "Bubbli", spacey synths are fused with a growling acid line.
Much like imprints cuh as In Paradisum a few years back, the Leyla imprtin is killing it on the space that resides between house, techno and noise, with artists from all three disciplines working together for a sound that is both unique to the label and highly representative of the times we're living in. It's a various artists compilation this time around, with names like Mondkopf, Codex Empire, Von Grall and Manni Dee all bursting through the speakers with their inimitably tenebrous approach to crafting dark, underground industrial music with a techno edge. Although you'll undoubtedly be peddled some hyped releases from other labels, you should not walk away from here without having listened to this because, in our opinion, this is the cr?me-de-la-cr?me right now. Sick.
MELE - Tribal Trax (Unknown To The Unknown)
STRANGER BOYS - Berlin (Resopal Schallware Germany)
MISS KITTIN - Zone 33: 1993 EACID (Zone)
MOUNT KIMBIE - Blue Train Lines (Warp)
ESTEBAN ADAME - Unofficial Discourse EP (Dolly)
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