Review: With records for Ovum, Pets Recordings and REKIDS of late, Mathias Kaden's quintessential festival sound makes it back to Radio Slave's label following last year's Liberate Drums EP. Delving into synthy, dub techno territory with "Substance" (DJ Pete we hope you're watching), the rest of the record finds itself rooted in classic strands of bigger room Detroit techno and European minimalism, alongside a touch of electro and industrial synth wave in "Control Your Mind" - thinned down and stripped back by Marcel Dettmann's remix. Littered with tougher elements of rave and banging tech house alongside solid bassline progressions in "Conviction" and "Anticipation" too, Mathias Kaden helps us remember what it's going to be like when festivals resume once more. Downloaded for Richie Hawtin!
Review: Deetron follows last year's Body Electric release on Running Back with a fine dance floor-based EP inspired by his formidable DJing. "Ego Rave B" is a seductive, bubbling electronic groove that supports woozy, cosmic synths, while on "Ego Rave D" and its "D1" variant, he goes down a tracky route, with dense drums and snappy percussion providing the basis for old school techno bleeps. There are also remnants of the Swiss DJ's more peak time selections: "Ego Rave A", sees Deetron fuse tranced out hooks with gentle piano keys, while "Ego Rave C" is a wide-eyed, good time electro-techno track.
Review: Robert Hood follows his recent Nothing Stops Detroit debut on Rekids with a full-length artist album. It shows that when it comes to delivering linear dance floor techno Hood has few peers. This talent is audible on lean tracks like "Fear Not" and the pounding kicks and soaring chords of "Falling Apart". But Mirror Man also shows that within an album format. Hood is not afraid to cast a wide creative gaze. "Through A Looking Glass Darkly' and "A Shattered Image" are chilling electronic soundtracks, while on "System of Mirrors", the Detroit veteran drops a hypnotic slice of techno that resounds to a throbbing bass and waves of frazzled percussion.
Review: Mark Broom collaborated with James Ruskin on Domwen back in 2018, and now the pair come together again for Basement Jams. This is a direct dance floor EP and sees the UK techno veterans deliver rough and raw tracks. "Pr1", with its tweaked wiry groove, is a good example of their approach, while on "Ocs", the pair up the tempo and intensity levels to deliver a bubbling, insistent track. On "Tkn", Ruskin and Broom veer into Hood-style territory for a visceral, analogue workout, while closing out the release is a more gritty, restless take on Detroit minimalism in the form of the doubled-up claps of "Sn7".
Review: The ninth edition in Diynamic's Picture series comes from Munich-based producer Innellea, who follows up some impressive releases for Innervisions, TAU and Afterlife. Featuring some fine melodic house incorporating various cinematic and post-apocalyptic soundscapes (with his own voice) as heard on the breathtaking opener "Forced To Bend" and the particular moody "Electricity", to the glassy-eyed and bittersweet breaks of "Sorrow and a moment on the exotic fringes of dark disco as heard on low slung epic "Catanacean". Altogether this is what the label best described themselves as 'an intimate listening experience, that hovers somewhere between isolation and the longing for contact.'
Review: Now we don't know what is in the water up in Manchester right now, but the team at Manuka seem to be able to do no wrong, yet again pulling together a sumptuous new selection, this time from fellow local and dubstep-heavyweight: Biome. He takes us down a much more bass-scentric route with this selection however, kicking off with tech infused percussion and glittering pad work of 'Kitemare' before the title track 'Kora' marches forward with more eerie atmospheric energy and some seriously weighty kick patterns below. Next, we greet the much more high pitched percussive pops and vocal delays of 'Let Me' as they dance above a smoothened sub design below, before rounding off on the much more raucous bass explosions and jittering drum patterns of 'Torah'. As per, another fabulous link up from the Manuka team!
Review: Glasgow-based label Avoidant deserves kudos for bringing together some of the most respected names in electro for this compilation. Annie Hall and Versalife represent deeper ends of the spectrum, with Hall's bubbling "Meido Estetico" in particular standing out. Carl Finlow drops a lean, industrial funk workout in the form of "Syncopated Automated", while on the compilation's title track, The Advent teams up with Zein Ferreira on a bleak trip through discordant synths and popping rhythms. Sharing space on the compilation are label regulars like CYRK, who drop the epic melodies and gurgling bass of "Block" and Kronos Device, a project from Bass Junkie / Dexorcist, which sees concrete weight bass drums connected to wild electronic stabs on "Crisis Point".
Review: To the Robert Johnson club, Andrew Weatherall was one of the Frankfurt institution's most beloved residents. 'Lifesaver 4' is a compilation dedicated to the memory of the veteran DJ, featuring young talents and seasoned companions that have paid their musical tribute in order to commemorate the club's 21 year anniversary. Highlights not limited to: Perel's psychedelic off-kilter opener "Feuer & Wasser", the low slung sunset sounds of Panorama Bar resident Massimiliano Pagliara on "Before I Let You Go", club mainstay Gerd Janson delivering a typically neon-lit rendition of Portable's "Unity", the surprising addition of nearby Offenbach-based talent Cedric Dekowski on the afterhours minimal funk of "Livius" and Fort Romeau delivering his idiosyncratic style of hypnotic house on "Another Dymention". "Fail we may, sail we must".
Review: Matt Edwards departs from the script for his latest Radio Slave material. Taking influence from old school hardcore and a cut and paste production approach, on "Stay Out.." he delivers twitchy, good-time break beats that are full of hip-hop and soulful vocal samples. It's quite a departure for the creator of linear techno tracks like "Grindhouse" and "Another Club". On "Wait A Minute", Edwards returns to the techno realm; while still containing a repetitive vocal sample that intones the track's title, the rattling percussion, tough kicks and driving rhythm all come together to form a deadly effective big room techno track.
Review: While much of Huxley's material over the last few years has been bold, tech-tinged and druggy, this first appearance on Shall Not Fade is pleasingly celebratory and rooted in classic US house. For proof, check bouncy, bass-heavy opener 'Takeaway', where spine-tingling piano riffs, synth-sax and old school vocal samples catch the ear, and the rushing piano-house largeness of future hands-in-the-air anthem 'Patsy'. In between, he offers up a mix of dark, muscular house (see the Tenaglia-at-Twilo era pump of 'Nothing Works', which features some suitably mind-mangling acid lines) and druggy, early morning intensity ('A Hard Fall Up To The Middle', 'Anxiety').
Review: Ahead of a new album, which is due out at the end of 2020, Robert Hood delivers this blistering debut for Rekids. The title track revolves around a heavy, rolling bass and dubbed out drums, the perfect opening track for this dance floor EP. "7 Mile Dog" sees Hood up the pace and intensity levels, as a looped chord is fused with pounding kicks and a frazzled bass to create an intense peak-time track. "Ignite A War" resounds to a steely rhythm and a pulsating bass, with the veteran Detroit producer lacing the arrangement with insistent stabs for maximum impact, while on "The Cure", Hood drops a pile-driving track that centres on pounding kicks.
Review: Terrence Dixon's From the Far Future odyssey began 20 years ago when the first album in the series appeared on Tresor. The second, at times more danceable instalment, followed only in 2012, with another eight-year gap until this latest volume. Like its predecessors, this third long player is a hugely impressive affair and will leave the listener in no doubt that Dixon is a master of the techno form. From the brooding ambience of "Lost Communication Procedure" and "Lost In Space" to the gloomy pointillist abstractions of "We Can Rebuild Him" and "Remarkable Warrior" into the more full blooded club techno on the tough "Spectrum of Light" and the atmospheric, ghostly "Program Weight", "Part 3" once again reveals a true visionary at work.
Review: Lopezhouse are a duo consisting of David Lopez and Carlos Cruz from La Mancha, Spain. They return to John Digweed's esteemed Bedrock label after some great releases recently on Hafendisko and Sincopat. Their new Sunburst EP features the strobed-out and entrancing title track, which will entice you onto the dancefloor with its slinky aesthetic, the tech house vibe continues on the infectious minimal bounce of "Midnight Sun", the slo-mo chill house of "Strumming Bridges" and closing out this wonderful outing is the evocative mood music of "Pinksauce" which is perfect to hear as the morning sun comes shining through the windows.
Review: Demonstrating again that techno is a deeply political art form, the latest release from Robert Hood was produced against the backdrop of recent events in the US. On "The Struggle", which Hood has put out under his own name, the Detroit artist fuses a searing acid backing track with a sample of a speech from activist Tamika Mallory about police brutality, which was given in the days following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Shifting to his Floorplan alias, Hood continues to focus on politics; sampling a speech by comedian and activist Dick Gregory, "Save The Children" is realised in its original format as a disco-charged stomper, while there is also a chord-heavy Detroit take included.
Review: New Generation is Layton Giordani's second album on Drumcode, following 2017's Where It Begins. Documenting his travels and experiences around the world, it moves from the soothing ambience of "Shinjuku" into lean house grooves like the title track's brooding, bass-led groove and the epic, swooning melodies of "Memory Fragment". Giordani's second album also shows that he has evolved and has really come into his own as a versatile producer. There's the pulsating, ominous groove of "System Majority", on "Nirvana X", he wraps a booming jungle bass over rolling break beats and his collaborations with Cevin Fisher, Green Velvet and Len Faki span party techno, old school house and big-room vocal tracks. It's an inspired second LP.
Review: Surgeon follows the Golden Sea release on Ilian Tape from earlier this year with this fine four-tracker. "Winged Assassin" is a rolling, stepping affair that resounds to acid-soaked blips and woozy synths. In contrast on "Crater 101", there is a harder sound audible, with visceral kicks underpinning noisy stabs and sheets of steely percussion. But the UK techno veteran is in less abrasive form than usual on this release, and "Place of Angels" resounds to a murky bass and squelching tones. On the title track, Surgeon ventures even farther from the techno path, delivering an abstract atmospheric composition that blurs the boundaries between electronic and post-rock's stream of consciousness.
Review: Deniro follows Mendoza, his 2017 debut on Trip, with this superb techno EP. The title track's jarring synth riff and insistent rhythm come across like a more streamlined take on classic Lost Recordings releases, while "Needles" is a rough analogue jacker that strays into Cristian Vogel-style minimalism. On "Egalize", the Dutch producer goes deeper to deliver hypnotic, chiming bells over a bubbling rhythm, while both "Tainted" and "Zoom 303" see him focus on more dance floor friendly takes on deeper techno as atmospheric synths swirl over dubbed out kicks. Rounding off this great second outing on Trip is the acid-heavy banger, "Boss 303".
Review: Amotik rose to prominence with a series of Eps and an album on his own imprint, and it wasn't long before his linear, hypnotic tracks caught Ellen Allien's attention. Daya, his debut release on Bpitch Control, sees him serve up more of the same crafty dance floor music. There's the title track's dense, tribal drums, while on "Aage", a similar approach is audible, as the Berlin artist drops a linear dance rhythm. On "Peeche", Amotik adds some chilling chords to his heads-down sound, while he changes tact on "Baya", where atmospheric synths swirl over a more gentle but still dance floor focused track.
Review: German label Tronic Soundz drops a compilation that does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing together some of contemporary techno's finest releases. Maceo Plex's edit of Der Dritte Raum's "Hale Bopp" turns the trance classic into a sleek techno affair, while Humantronic's "Invado" is a similar linear rhythm with a focus on the dance floor. Meanwhile, on "Fire", CJ Bolland veers into dark electro territory, while another 90s veteran Frank de Wulf, drops a hypnotic, stripped back rhythm on "Fifth Insight". Ramping up the intensity levels, Sikora's "Plough" is a dark, stepping techno track that has echoes of the Fachwerk catalogue.
Review: Dutch imprint Dynamic Reflection can always be relied on to deliver high-quality club techno, and Deception is no exception. It starts with the high-paced title track, which resounds to a pounding, dense rhythm, eerie synths and firing metallic percussion. On "Consumed", this emerging producer heads down a deeper route, with clicking percussion and swirling textures underpinned by a robust, filtered groove. "Dissolution" is more stripped back as Vagh plots out a path led by tribal drums and steely percussion, like an updated, turbocharged version of early Oliver Ho work. "Hologram" marks another shift in sound, with Vagh dropping a throbbing, pulsating track that has echoes of Mike Parker at his most hypnotic.
Review: Regis aka Karl O'Connor revisits his releases on the now shuttered Blackest Ever Black label for this fine compilation. The rolling, insistent drums on "Blood Witness" from the 2011 In A Syrian Tongue EP still sound fresh, while the droning,'Blinding Horses' from the same release also features. Tongue Box also features a new take on this track, and the frosty sound scapes of the 'Stable Boy Mix' are nothing short of mesmerising. In contrast, O'Connor delivers a tighter, rhythm-heavy version of "Manbait" - the title track of his 2015 compilation on the label - as well as the robust "Masterside" stepper available in two dance floor-primed versions.
Review: Is Endlec's latest release on Bas Mooy's label a soundtrack for these dark days of global uncertainty? Certainly, "Something More Sinister", with its splintered analogue riffs and hammering rhythm, captures the terrifying mood surrounding regime change in the US, while the heads-down, cyber-techno jack of "Dystopian Heart" and "Population Control" act as warnings of further bad things to come. Despite these somewhat chilling titles, the Greek producer knows how to craft a hypnotic sound. "Consistency & Patience" resounds to a mesmerising, layered rhythm, infested with wild electronic blips and bleeps, while the noisy, siren riff-led "Fight for the Power" is the naked, angry sound of the resistance.
Review: Diabla Diezco is a collaboration between Mord owner Bas Mooy and Charlton, who has previously released on the label. The project has yielded a few EPs, but Memento Mori is their most impressive release to date. "Wenkbrauw" hits like a sledgehammer to the head with its pummelling kicks and layer upon layer of sheet metal percussion. Opting for a different tact but achieving the same outcome, the pair drop broken beats and swirling filters on "Karkas and "Sixth", while "Graveyard" is a heads-down banger that resounds to tortured shrieks and panel beating rhythms. As industrial techno releases go, Diabla Diezco is out on its own.
Review: Throughout the latter part of 2015, some anonymous Plus 8 white labels started to appear in Hard Wax, leading to some speculation. If the rumours were anything to go by, the legendary Richie Hawtin may have ventured back into the studio. And here we have it, a new album by Hawtin entitled "From My Mind To Yours" featuring some new material, the first in many years as well as some revised classics. Hawtin is said to have invested in and sought inspiration from the new AIRA series of Roland machines such as the TR-8 and the results speak for themselves. From the 13-minute long acid epic "No Way Back" to classic material from his old FUSE moniker featuring the rusty and high octane sounds of Detroit in the early nineties, there's some real gems on here. New Plastikman tracks such as "Purrkussiv" explore his stripped back rhythmic minimalism that he's famous for, while his new alias 80xx explores new acid capabilities like on the droning and hypnotic "Creatur" or "Grindr".
Ancient Methods & Tommy Four Seven - "XIX" - (4:10) 133 BPM
Scalameriya - "Havoc & Despair" - (4:51) 134 BPM
VSK - "Fear Index" - (6:42) 140 BPM
Motive Power - "Physics" - (5:03) 86 BPM
SNTS - "Last Ceremony" - (4:35) 125 BPM
Shards - "HHH888" - (4:57) 143 BPM
Swarm Intelligence - "Deepfake" - (5:43) 95 BPM
EKORS - "Applemash" - (4:36) 92 BPM
Review: Tommy Four Seven's label celebrates five years of releasing uncompromising techno with this fine compilation. It gets off to a clubby start with Killawatt's rumbling, tribal "Champagne Prerogative", while on "Threads", Carrier drops a Regis-style broken beat stepper that resounds to rumbling bass and ghostly textures. Meanwhile, Headless Horseman occupies the middle ground between straight techno and stepping rhythms on the multi-layered, mesmerising "Sand Mountain". NN takes this approach to its brutal, logical conclusion on the electronic feedback and cranium crushing kicks of "Deception", while the label owner teams up with Ancient Methods to deliver the pounding industrial rhythm and static crackle percussion of "XIX".
Review: Cologne institution Traum Schallplatten are excited to release the brand new 'Little We Know' EP from Hamburg's techno veterans Extrawelt. If you have ever seen one of the pair's live acts, this EP very much embodies the experience with the flow of energy it generates - and it's highly addictive. The bumping and rolling groove of opening track "Mr Wednesday" harks back to their output in the mid-noughties: a wicked mixture of minimal and electro house's best elements. The title track follows and flips the script a bit on this deep and highly emotive tech house journey, and finally the hypnotic "Sem" is perfect for those heads down moments under the strobe lights.
Review: Luigi Madonna follows his recent release on Redimension with this collaboration with Roberto Capuano for Drumcode. The title track is a lean affair that centres on a pulsating bass and subtle bursts of glitchy percussion, striking the perfect balance between functionality while offering a highly distinctive take on club techno. On "System Alert", the pair opt for a similar approach but increase the intensity levels through the addition of screeching synth riffs and crescendo-inducing snares. Meanwhile, "Headquarter" marks another shift in sound from these talented Italian producers: featuring an ominous vocal sample, it resounds to bristling percussion and pounding drums that build suddenly, creating maximum impact.
Review: Continuing in a proud tradition that stretches back two decades and includes artists like Anderson Noise and Renato Cohen, Marcal delivers a killer Brazilian techno EP for Rekids. Reduction Pt 1 follows his releases on Phobiq and Sam Paganini's JAM, and shows why this emerging artist is gaining recognition: "'Ainozama" is a fast-paced tribal roller laced with rave stabs, while on "Cherry On Top", he goes down a deeper route, with filtered chords and ticking percussion unfolding over a lithe rhythm. "Heart Race" sees him head down the kind of dense, bleeps route that Sleeparchive and Mike Parker usually inhabit, while on "Estado de Transe", a collaboration with Andc and Gabal, Marcal effortlessly straddles the tribal and minimal dimensions with considerable aplomb.