Review: Hot on the heels of the recent Forwardbase Kodai EP, his first Monobox release in seven years, Rob Hood now delivers a new artist album under that guise. Echoes of the project's previous focus run deep on tracks like the minimalist house of "Rise" and the mutant funk bass of "Exoplanet", but there is also a focus on more traditional Detroit house and techno tropes. In places, like on the rolling drums and soulful synths of "Blackwater Canal", the influence of Floorplan is audible, while the acid-tinged sweeps of "Drydock" marks out new territory - both for Monobox and the singular producer behind the project.
Review: The latest release from Developer is a diverse affair; it moves from the deep, atmospheric pulses of "Witchwork" to "Cowards Stay Silent", one of the producer's more typical tracks. Supported by tough kicks and rasping percussion, its purring bass really stands out. The release takes a drastically different turn on "Charm Them With Silence". Led by discordant synths and insistent filters, its pulsating bass and hi hats come together to make a rousing peak-time track. The brilliantly named "Olmec Blood Tool 21" is another intense affair, with Developer painting a grey synth tapestry over steely kicks drums and sharp percussion.
Review: Stef Mendesidis returns to Ben Klock's label with another hard-hitting, angular release. "Stalker" centres on pounding kick drums and a low-slung, predatory bass, while on "Profiler", the emerging producer ups the intensity levels and tempo: focusing on growling acid lines and militaristic bursts of percussion, it makes for a lean, deadly effective club track. On a different note, Mendesidis goes deeper on "Wurlitzer Machinery", where woozy synths and subtle, filtered builds are woven together over a combination of break beats and dubbed out drums. It's only a temporary divergence however, and closing track "Sonica" is a jacking, acid-led banger powered by propulsive percussion.
Review: With the pandemic forcing the Berlin clubbing institution Berghain to close temporarily, the collaborative nature of Funfzehn + 1 provided the Ostgut Ton artist roster to cope with themes of isolation and conjure up 'memories of music and space that had been inaccessible'. Originally slated for release in 2020, the compilation finally sees the light of day with the selected contributors working together in pairs to make music dedicated to the former power plant's five different floors. Club residents such as Ben Klock and Etapp Kyle appear with the deep sonar transmissions of "A Friend Of A Friend" and Marcel Dettmann & Norman Nodge team up on the muscular body music of "The Call", while Panorama Bar regulars Tama Sumo and Lakuti offer up the low slung disco vibe of "An Ode To Audre" and Avalon Emerson and Roi Perez impress with the snaking polyrhythms of "Champu Princess".
Review: Alongside the likes of Peverlist, Asusu and Kowton, it's arguable Hodge and Simo Cell that you would quote next as Livity Sound mainstays. The duo, in collaborative form, have been handed the honour of delivering the influential Bristol label with its 50th catalogued release. Be it presenting fiercely imaginative and upfront club bangers next to dancehall-inspired, 100BPM heavy hitters, the EP drifts into weightless grime territory with sprinkles of technicolour via "You Think Too Much". Staccato industrial techno rears its head in the title track, with "Medusa" a sweet tripper next to the percussive and heavy rave sounds of "Ah Bon". Go west.
Review: Dustin Zahn follows his recent Feed the Fire release on Rekids with his second artist album. As befits a producer who has been making techno for close to two decades, this is a diverse, expertly weighted work. Both "Tell Me About Paradise" and "Lucid Dreams" are insistent, firing grooves that resound to steely percussion, and blasts of Midwest synths. Meanwhile "Tangie Groove" is a looped house track and "Smoking In Silence" sees Zahn go farther down this route, as vocal samples are melded with insistent stabs. "Days Like These" draws on Detroit techno influences with Zahn deploying spaced out pads over rickety drums, while in sharp contrast, "Shark Rodeo" is a slamming peak-time affair, led by wave upon wave of filters.
Review: Simone Tavazzi has released on a slew of labels, including his own Stige and Marco Bailey's MB Electronics, and now he brings his piledriving techno to Planet Rhythm. "Observe" is led by churning chords and piledriving kicks, and has echoes of 90s releases on labels like Force Inc. The title track is more streamlined and contemporary sounding, with Tavazzi fusing a pummelling rhythm with noisy synth lines, while on "Space Research" he reverts to the chord-heavy style, with these musical elements dropping and building dramatically against the backdrop of rolling snares. "Kelp" pushes in a different direction, with a buzzsaw acid line aligned to a pumping, pulsating groove, like UR's The Seawolf mixed with DJ Hell.
Review: Drumcode delivers a heavyweight package to mark its 250th release, commissioning a stellar list of house and techno artists to remix Kevin Saunderson's finest work. Len Faki drops a chugging, tribal take on Saunderson's "World of Deep" as E-Dancer, while Paul Woolford adds menacing sub-bass and frazzled filters to the evergreen late 80s track "Rock To The Beat", recorded as Reese. There's also good representation from Detroit on this compilation, with DJ Bone delivering a rich, chord-heavy take on "Behold", and Robert Hood adding steely drums and swirling pads to Inner City's "Anongay". Drumcode also deserves kudos for providing a platform to rRoxymore, who turns "Human Bond" into a rickety, stripped back affair.
Review: Following on from his contribution to the recent label compilation, Hollden delivers a full-on solo release for Second State. The release starts in dramatic fashion on "Slacker", where dramatic chord stabs billow and build over peak time kicks. While "Physical Provider" is less intense, it still creates a sense of drama thanks to its steely rhythm and dramatic synth builds. At the other end of the spectrum there's "Dandelion Mine", where Hollden delivers a deeper but still dance floor-focused dub techno workout. The Portuguese artist changes gears again on "Garrote", and layers noisy analogue tones and menacing chords over a dense wall of steely percussion.
Review: Ben Sims builds on the first Synchronicity instalment with another compelling collection of emerging techno producers. Kerrie and Szmer's contributions both draw on minimal techno for inspiration, with the former following an acid-laced path and the latter incorporating repetitive bleeps and haunting synths into the arrangement. The compilation takes a Detroit turn on Insolate's "Night Love" - a blurry, jittery slice of techno with shades of Juan Atkins and Terrence Dixon. Meanwhile, a deeper but still dance floor sound is audible on Private Press' "Wiadomo Driven", where bleeps and tones fly off the rigid rhythm at random. Reflecting Sims' own tough but diverse DJ sound, Synchronicity also throws out some curve balls, like the dubbed out "Rectifier Direct" from A Thousand Details.
Review: As befits one of techno's most revered labels, Tresor 30 is a comprehensive collection that takes in a breath-taking array of artists and sounds. The compilation features classics, such as Underground Resistance's "Final Frontier", remixed here into a clubbier shape, the spellbinding deep techno of Juan Atkins' "I Love You" and Jeff Mills' timeless banger, "Late Night", one of Tresor's signature tracks. These eternal works sit alongside contributions from newer artists: in particular, Afrodeutsche's "Can't Stop" is a wonderfully dreamy affair, while RRoxymore's "Multiplicity" teases new twists from percussive techno. Thirty years after its inception, Tresor is showing no signs of slowing down.
Review: Dustin Zahn is releasing an artist album on Rekids, and ahead of that event, he drops this incendiary EP. The title track is a driving slice of analogue techno whose roots lie in the 90s Midwest sound. While "Heresy" also centres on a raw rhythm, on this occasion the style is less intense, with Zahn dropping a series of hypnotic bleeps over rough kicks. The US producer returns to a more intense approach for "Profane Purposes"; there, insistent acid blips and repetitive vocal snatches unfold over a jarring backing track. In contrast, "Golden Hour" is deeper and more mysterious, with a tapestry of eerie synths bringing the release to an esoteric finale.
Review: Following on from an appearance on Tresor's recent 30-year anniversary compilation, Donato Dozzy delivers a full release for the label. Underpinned by the storied producer's ability to tease hypnotic shapes from his machines, this EP is a mesmerising experience from start to finish. "Messy Kafka World" revolves around organic drums and percussion, with Dozzy conjuring up hypnotic synth lines in the background. Changing tact, "Synthi Chase" sees him piecing together layer upon layer of droning tones, while on "Wooden Dolls Don't Cry", he draws up a dense percussive framework as a backdrop for his subtle tones. The wobbling, woozy rhythm of "Cassiopeia 36" closes out this exemplary release.
Review: Based in Buenos Aires but taking a global view, for its latest release SRIE serves up an excellent, diverse compilation. Jonas Kopp's "Dyslexic" is a nocturnal affair, powered by a raw metallic rhythm and rough kicks, while on "Shadow Weaver", Echelon serves up an equally dystopian take on the form, with eerie riffs unravelling over a spiky rhythm. In stark contrast, there are more understated tracks like Temudo's dubbed out "Out of Place" and the purring bass and hypnotic synths of Linear System's "Applied Physics". There are also some fine abstract tracks included here, with the bleak, gurgling bass of Pulso's "The Outsider" and the dark tones of Translate's "Synaptic Area" really impressing.
Review: It's hard to believe that it's been four years since Ilario Alicante last appeared on Drumcode, but his brand of club-primed techno will never fall out of favour. On "Rave Atlas", Alicante proves why he has released on high profile labels like Soma and Cocoon. Fuelled by a booming bass, the arrangement also features cheeky, rave-sampling vocals. It's an alluring combination that sees Alicante carve out a distinct musical sound. Vocal samples also feature on "Again", but in this instance they are aligned to thunder-claps and the kind of menacing acid squiggles that call to mind old school Joey Beltram records. Rounding off this fine EP is "Rave Soul", which sees Alicante fuse rave piano lines with a jacking rhythm.
Review: This release is the first Monobox material from Robert Hood in seven years and marks a change of direction. Like his Floorplan work, the title track is direct and impactful: revolving around a rolling bass and ominous, steely chords, it's the clubbiest material that this Hood project has yielded. The remixes follow a similar path: Phase ups the tempo with a jittery rhythm that acts as the backdrop for muffled vocal samples, while Hood's own reshape teases those steely chords into filtered intensity over a pounding groove. The only concession to Monobox's stripped back, nuanced past comes on "Homestead", where a more subtle rhythm underpins chiming melodies.
Review: Next up on Flash Recordings is an impressive collection of label owner Florian Mendl's work. While it is called minimal, this does not tell the whole story: "Desert Times", remixed here and featuring Ricardo Phillips' ponderous tones, is a spacious, dubbed out affair, while Stephan Bodzin's version of "The Beginning" is a dreamy but still effective slice of trancey techno. There are more stripped back tracks included, such as the rickety drums and repetitive samples of "Desire" and the metallic rhythms of "Natural Juice", but this compilation contains enough individualism and diversity - audible on the throbbing bass of "The Theorem" and the jacking "The Journey" to ensure it never veers into one-dimensional minimalism.
Review: Juan Pablo Pfirter's second album starts with dramatic synth washes and repetitive vocal snatches on "Venus". It sets the scene for what comes next - a series of futuristic techno tracks that sound like they emanated from another dimension. The pounding "A Future in Chaos" and "Commitment" are redolent of classic 90s Planetary Assault Systems, with sleek, pulsating rhythms housing piledriving percussion and mind-altering filters. Meanwhile on the title track, Pfirter delivers the kind of searing, tonal tracks that characterised the more brutal end of Hawtin's FUSE project. That's not to suggest Pfirter only looks backwards: the rolling break beats of "Boiler", which house ghostly textures, and "Unilateral", a compelling piece of dramatic metallic techno, are truly futuristic.
Review: Vince Watson has commissioned a stellar line-up of producers to remix tracks from his DnA series. Carl Craig's take on "Holographic" bubbles with atmospheric synths, while fellow Motor City artist Jon Dixon drops a dubbed out take on "(Re)Evolution". Watson's "Second Wave" is the subject of a number of interpretations - Steve Rachmad drops a tough, linear version; John Beltran's 'Pan Am' take sees him inject the track with breathy synths and gentle back beats, while Stephan Lopkin's reshape echoes classic Detroit techno, led by a snaking bass and widescreen melodies. The fact that Watson has teased an electro remix of "Universal Language" from Claude Young and Shawn Rudiman's wide-eyed take on "Metamorphosis" make this collection all the more impressive.
Review: For Drumcode's latest limited release, the veteran techno producer Dubfire hooks up with Flug, who has won acclaim for his releases on Suara and Rekids. As should be expected, this partnership yields two underground techno bangers. "Rubber" resounds to clanking percussion and a pulsating, swampy bass, with these elements swathed in a layer of grimy acid. On "Metanoia", the pair opt for a slightly more subdued approach: the drums are hollowed out and sparse and provide the backdrop for the pair to add in hissing hats, a growling, croaking riff, layering all of these elements over an irresistibly shuffling groove.
Review: Originally released back in 1995, Parallel 9 is a side project from techno innovator Steve Rachmad, and this two-tracker is the first material that he released under this pseudonym. Re-issued on Delsin, both tracks have really stood the test of time: "Helix" is a rolling track with a hypnotic, dubby rhythm at its heart and swathed in swirling synths. Meanwhile on "Gnosis", Rachmad opts for a tougher approach: led by barrelling beats and doubled up claps, it makes for a more clubby version of the dub techno that Basic Channel were pioneering around the same time. Hopefully this re-release will ensure that Rachmad enjoys the same type of adulation that the output on Moritz Van Oswald's label commands.
Review: The latest release on MindTrip is a visceral affair, with Madrid's _Asstnt and Roll Dann collaborating on four incendiary tracks. The title track is a dense, noisy arrangement, with loose, raw percussion playing host to powerful filters and stinging synths, while a similar approach applies on "Old Crescent", where incessant stabs become the focus of the duo's incessant wall of percussive noise. Although "Red Rhythms" is sparser than both of these arrangements, it doesn't forgo intensity and resounds to hypnotic, clanging drums, while "Drunkenness of the Deep" sees the dynamic techno duo deliver a pared back but driving dance floor track, punctuated by high-pitched tones.
Review: While this EP was recorded during the pandemic, the latest Drumcode offering from Tiger Stripes still brims with positive energy. The title track alternates between a buzzing groove and robust break beats, with the arrangement peppered with a sweet vocal sample informing us 'I get high'. On "Fire", the Swedish producer opts for a straight clubby release, but here too he peppers the rolling rhythm with intense riffs and a vocal intoning the track's title. Meanwhile, "We Love You" is powered by a throbbing, rave-influenced bass, with Tiger Stripes adding further levity by using vocoder-led samples. Rounding off this infectious EP are the pumping but atmospheric strains of "Song for Debbie".
Review: Kolsch continues his prolific run on Kompakt - last year he delivered four EPs and an album - with a blistering release for the Speicher sub-label. Powered by a pulsating bass and hollowed out drums, "Woohman" is laced with gurgling acid lines that guarantee the track reaches Plastikman-like levels of intensity, albeit in its own nuanced manner. There's a very different dynamic at play on "Speicherband": here, Kolsch conjures up a grungy groove that resounds to layered horn samples, with the arrangement breaking down unexpectedly before it resumes again on its shuffling path. It shows that despite his mainstream status, Kolsch continues to innovate.
Review: Following on from 2020's Fire In Negative EP, Perc delivers another storming release. The title track is a peak-time juggernaut, with pummelling kicks underpinning looped vocals, bursts of white noise and shredded percussive bursts. "Resistor" also deploys the human voice, but this time it's a shrieking human voice set to intense alarm bell riffs, with Perc providing a relentless rhythm as the backing. "240 Volts" is less intense, but only by a slight degree; it sees the UK techno producer fuse chilling synth stabs with the kind of intense, pounding kicks that were last heard on Jeff Mills' X-101 release.