Review: Senso welcomes a brand new project to its roster for this blistering four tracker. The title track kick-starts the EP with a pumping, steely rhythm and a fuzzy, acid-soaked bass that provide the basis for epic piano keys - an unusual but very effective, club-friendly arrangement. "Hologram" also makes use of musical elements: this time, vivid synths are combined with steely kicks and coruscating riffs to create a peak-time number. Although "Stronger" is somewhat deeper, its throbbing bass and chugging groove is coupled with liquid acid lines for a devastating impact. "Roots" meanwhile, is a sleek, pulsating affair that provides the backdrop for a cacophony of synth sirens.
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: 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: 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: Divide is part of Italy's EVOD crew and he makes his debut on Float with a fine purist techno EP that draws on some of the sound's most notable proponents. "Emersione" starts the release with the kind of pared back drums and subtle percussion that characterised Steve Bicknell's work during the 90s. "Turbolenza" is darker and sees this emerging producer layer eerie tonal sequences over a dubbed out groove. On "Sonar", Divide goes farther down the abstract route as dense offbeats underpin spaced out tones and bleeps, while he pivots back towards the dance floor for the visceral kicks of the Millsian closer, "Immersione".
Review: This is Hush & Sleep's third release on Etruria Beat, and as its title suggests, is an emotional, banging EP. The title track is a peak-time number where buzz saw bass and pounding kicks provide the backdrop for the pair to conjure up a dramatic, string-led melodic sequence. On "Martyr", the Dutch duo take inspiration from hardcore influences, with cheeky 'drop the midrange' vocal samples fused with euphoric filters. Meanwhile, "Origen" sees them head down a darker path, as a juggernaut rhythm provides the basis for screeching sirens and razor sharp percussion. "Elyon" returns to the mood that started this emotional release, drawing on 90s trance melodies for an epic finale.
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: 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.'
Freedom (Never Let You Go) (feat Mella Dee remix) - (3:57) 136 BPM
Freedom (Never Let You Go) (extended mix) - (6:54) 126 BPM
Review: After a hiatus to produce and write for the likes of Aquilo, Octavian and Rudimental, Derbyshire's super producer Sam Knowles returns with his first new music under the Karma Kid moniker in two years. He channels the glory days of late '90s funky house on the anthemic feel good vibe of "Freedom" (Never Let You Go) with its breathtaking brass section and roaring diva vocals that's sure to set the dancefloor on fire. This is followed by a killer remix by South Yorkshire's man of the moment Mella Dee (Warehouse Music) taking the track down a loved-up and energetic rave route, and another original track in the form of the sun kissed and dubbed-out deepness of "Can I Play".
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: Steven Lorenz' label presents an expansive album from Maxim that teases house and techno into new forms. From the ambient opener, "Call", into the dubbed out, mysterious techno of "Secret Society" and "Projections", his dusty collaboration with ENL, Alone Amongst shows that Maxim brings a fresh perspective to electronic music. On the title track, Maxim raises the tempo, but doesn't lose his cavernous sound thanks to the use of found sounds and emotive strings. Meanwhile, at the other end of the tempo spectrum, Maxim delivers a seductive, soft-focus downtempo track on "Of Us". Not even the clubby remix of "Alone Amongst Company" by Tension can trump Maxim's music.
Great Attractor (Setaoc Mass remix) - (5:46) 135 BPM
The Andromeda Manoeuvre - (6:06) 137 BPM
Mission 3,2,1 - (6:19) 136 BPM
Review: For his debut release on Soma, Phara aka Robin De Wolf draws on 90s techno for inspiration. The title track is a firing affair, powered by the kind of sheet-metal percussion and driving rhythm that Space DJz were renowned for. "Mission 3,2,1" is just as intense, with vocal chants soldered to a pumping, electronic groove that keeps on building and building. On "The Andromeda Manoeuvre", De Wolf goes deeper, and its crackled, scuffling textures and tough kicks are sure to appeal to fans of classic Kanzleramt or even Fachwerk material. Soma has also commissioned a remix of the title track from Setaoc Mass, who turns "Attractor" into a linear, tribal workout.
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.
Planet Deep (Vintage Future Planet D-Mix) - (6:18) 125 BPM
Academy (Pezzner remix) - (7:31) 120 BPM
Review: Michigan born Rick Wade finds himself getting remixed on Belgium's Elypsia with each getting more gritty and cosmic minded than you might expect from the deep house stalwart himself. Tresilo certainly grits his teeth for the pixelated melodic workout that is the opener, while things get more smooth and cuddly with American producer David Pezzner at the buttons. The Vintage Future Planet D mix is a thing of meditative beauty ad last of all Pezzner reappears with a second fine remix.
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: 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: 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: 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.
Vivian Koch - "Find Your Way Out" - (8:07) 135 BPM
Luciano Esse - "Lost" - (6:28) 126 BPM
Review: Celebrating ten years of his Life And Death label, DJ Tennis delivers a diverse compilation. Schwarzmann's "Octave Two" is a groovy, stripped back track that resounds to a bubbling groove and dayglo bleeps, while on "Agua", Prins Thomas delivers a searing, 303-led disco track. In stark contrast are Byetone and Gera Akate's electro breakers, while Red Axes veers into punk-funk territory with the wiry guitars and dubbed out FX of "Rasss". There really is something for every tate here, and the slamming techno of Fango's "Trattore", followed by the cosmic Italo of Vivian Koch's"Find Your Way Out" shows that Life And Death is a truly eclectic label.
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".
Charterhouse - "Into The Basement" (Boys Be Kko remix) - (5:57) 120 BPM
Alex Kork - "Terok Nor" - (6:03) 126 BPM
Tuco Perez - "Dancing For Me" - (5:59) 128 BPM
Rod Riot - "Apocalyptica Dancerl" - (5:17) 130 BPM
Sicamset - "Swiggle" - (5:58) 122 BPM
Martin Schulte - "Travels To The Stars" - (6:17) 127 BPM
Basti MNML - "Try Minimal" - (5:30) 128 BPM
Review: Le Bien Et Le Mal is a long running label based out of Stuttgart, Germany that has brought you such impressive compilations such as 'Good Old Days', 'Techno Substance', 'Access Techno', and who could forget 'After Work House Vol. 2'. Their latest addition to the series is 'Minimal Light', featuring two dozen promising artists all delivering their take on tech house of the more deeper, leaner and subtle spectrum. Highlights not limited to: Ixipe's tunneling and hypnotic "Go Down", the bleepy bounce in Shosho's remix of Monsieur Pluspetit's "Waking Dream", Themetique's sensual mood music heard on "Moments" and the soulful Motor City influences heard on Gerwin Van Engelenburg's "Moving Time".
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: The second instalment in Bpitch Control's compilation series gets off to a rousing start, with Rebekah dropping a pounding, hardcore-influenced techno track, "Last Summer". The same intensity levels are audible on Inhalt Der Nacht's "In Lust Verirrt" and Tham's "The Third Kind" but deployed differently, with both acts using swirling acid lines and blustery filters to arrive at the same destination. While keeping the focus on the dance floor, ebm influences loom large on "Herzschlag Der Figur" from German trio Die Selektion. The compilation also embraces ghetto techno as Andrew Moore delivers the slamming "That Makes Me So Horny" and big-room 303 mayhem on Alien Rain's "Dream Interceptor".
Review: Zetacode returns to Alien Technology with a release that focuses on the deeper end of techno. The title track sees the label regular use rasping percussion and solid drums as a backdrop for seductive, hazy hooks and sun-dappled keys. Despite being released in the depths of winter, it's hard not to be taken by its summery feeling. "To Be" revolves around a more upfront rhythm, with Zetacode deploying niggling hi hats and a powerful bass as the backdrop for swirling, spaced out synths. The label has commissioned ACTUM to remix the title track, which in keeping with the overall musical approach, is transformed into a woozy ambient piece.