Reviewed this week
The fourth release on Jordan Alexander ask Mall Grab's label starts in an ominous mood. "Sleepless" resounds to a cacophony of layered, moody synths that swirl over a thumping techno track, while on "Eucalyptus", he uses slinky, steely electro drums to articulate a similarly dark mood. The title track is also electro-themed, but on this occasion, Alexander opts for a more visceral approach, with a frazzled, searing low end and kettle drums to the fore. Rounding off the release is the aptly named "Temperature Rising", where an amalgamation of driving techno drums and grimy bass underpin epic rave stabs that soar majestically.
Amelie Lens' first break through releases were on Second State, and now she returns to Pan-Pot's label. As befits one of the world's most popular techno artists, this is a heads-down release designed for big room usage. The title track resounds to rough rave stabs and vocal snatches that are played out over a tough, driving rhythm, while on "Access", she opts for an even more streamlined approach; the central rhythm is sleek and relentless, while subtle filters and a dystopian electronic riff guide the arrangement to a heady climax. Joyhauser's version of "Hypnotized" is more epic thanks to its atmospheric, filtered synths, and completes this excellent peak-time package.
Reality is James Ruskin's first solo Ep in a number of years. The Blueprint owner's absence has left techno a poorer place, but as Reality.. shows, he hasn't lost his magic touch. The title track is a streamlined, linear affair that showcases his ability to craft functional but distinctive dance floor tracks. Similarly on "We Are Everywhere", Ruskin carves out a firing techno track that progresses through visceral builds as it peaks and drops. He leaves the best till last: "'Disaffection", with its grimy acid lines and tight rhythm, sounds like the kind of track that you would expect to find on a vintage Lost Recordings release.
Manchester legends 808 State return from a 20 year hiatus with their new Initial Granada Report EP. On digital format only, this will be followed by yet another EP towards the end of August - all leading up to the new album. Features "Ujala" a funky and bouncy tribal house epic with jacked vocals that shows these guys haven't lost their groove at all. The hypnotizing acid mayhem of "Tokyo Tokyo" shows they're still up to old tricks (and still some of the best!) and the fierce breakbeat action of "Bataglia" harks back to the days of big beat - and is like something out of an action movie car chase scene.
The Berlin-based duo Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier aka Booka Shade return to Bedrock to unveil their second EP for John Digweed's imprint. Following up last year's Rosebud EP., the Get Physical staples and Blauefield Music bosses open this new EP with the moody yet evocative dancefloor drama of "Understanding" complimented by some passionate female vocals. This is followed by the slinky and hypnotising tech house cut "Somus" powered by its ethereal melody and razor sharp bassline. Ending with the powerful peak time cut "Retox" with its adrenalised arpeggio that takes it all the way home.
Best known for his work on Vakant, Mathias Kaden now pushes his minimal sound towards the big room with Liberate Drums. Kaden's twitchy, complex programming and deft vocal sampling is audible here, but the groove is more cavernous and the rhythm insistent as he opens up his sound and tailors it to bigger spaces. On "Helicopter", the approach is more functional and utilitarian as he drops a nickel-plated rhythm that provides a backdrop for a frazzled, building riff - like hearing a chopper take off in the middle of the dance floor. For those who like a deeper sound, there's Vril's dense, dubbed out remake and Hiroshi Watanabe's string laden version of the title track
On this occasion, Nineteen shows that the proverb about the apple not falling too far from the tree is correct. The daughter of label owner Robert Hood, Lyric has collaborated with her father on the Floorplan project for the past few years. However, this solo release shows that she has developed a distinctive sound. The title track is a driving, stomping affair that sees Hood junior take inspiration from her father as she deploys insistent filtered stabs. On "11:11", Lyric opts for a tougher approach: the kicks are tougher, the rhythm at a higher pace and the percussive stabs will destroy any dance floor.
Bpitch owner Ellen Allien hands over tracks from her recent Alientronic artist album to be reworked. Apart from a new edit of "Love Distortion", which sees Allien remain focused on a pulsating groove, this is a collection of harder-edged interpretations. Terence Fixmer delivers a searing industrial take on "Distortion" which features noisy riffs, while on his version of the same track,

Introversion delivers a bruising, pummelling remix that has echoes of vintage Joey Beltram. Last but by no means least is the Regal remix of "Electronic Joy", which sees the fast-rising techno producer fuse merciless thunder claps with eerie vocal samples to create a dystopian masterpiece.
Toto Chiavetta returns to Innervisions after last years' Harmony Somewhere with another cosmic 12-inch. The title track revolves around a low-slung tribal groove that builds to the sound of an atmospheric synth and a frazzled bass. It's a potent combination that sounds like a halfway house between DJ Harvey and Giallo Disco. "This Does Not Happen Where The Sun Rises" is even more off centre and sees the Italian producer deliver a dubbed out groove that resounds to slightly ominous vocal samples. "Metrica" is more frazzled as Toto picks up the pace to deliver a cavernous but grinding groove. However, it's only a temporary divergence as "Dedication to all the Mothers and their Moons" revolves around Middle Eastern percussion and hypnotic North African vocal samples.
Techno institution Tresor have tapped Pittsburgh veteran Shawn Rudiman for their 311th release. Over his 20 year career, he's released on esteemed imprints such as 7th City, Matrix, Pittsburgh Tracks and Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART) so he's definitely earned his spot here on the Berlin-based label. A stark homage to the recent history of American electronic music, Rudiman pays his respect in a poignant manner. From the moody tension and suspense of "Too Far Gone" calling to mind Landcruising era Carl Craig, bridging the gap between Chicago acid and Florida electro on "Too Far Gone" or the majestic hi-tech soul of first wave Motor City on "Backwards Tomarrows" through to the evocative IDM interludes such as "KNSR" or "Past The Edge" which call to mind the work of Detroit innovators such as John Beltran or Neil Ollivierra - Rudiman proudly wears his influences on his sleeve yet impressively reinterprets them as his own on this fine release.
Nina Kraviz' passion for ghetto is well documented, and she previously remixed a Mitchell track back in 2014. This time the pair have come together to co-produce this EP, which is a taster for a Dance Mania project on Snatch. The original 'ghetto acid' version of "Butterfly" sees the pair unite androgynous vocals and a primal ghetto rhythm track with that other great Chicago sound, the 303, to create a wigged out but insistent banger. The label has recruited the fast-rising DJ Krime to rework the original, and in his hands it turns into a murky, stepping affair.
Following on from last year's Inferno collaboration, Filth On Acid owner Reinier Zonneveld again teams up with Christopher Coe and Carl Cox. On the 'Filth' version of the title track, an ominous bass rolls in, accompanied by acid spirals that build powerfully before a vocal sample announces, 'this is our moment, our time'. The 'Pure' version is less visceral, and is realised against the backdrop of atmospheric synths and lithe break beats. The 'Awesome' version sees the trio head back to the dance floor; after a reflective intro, the synths give way to a pummelling rhythm track and surging chord builds. This release certainly lives up to the claim that its title makes.
The latest release on Mark Broom's label is a tough and powerful affair. The EP starts with "Armani's Ghost", where Absent fuses the distorted kicks of Chicago techno with phased chords. "Thin Leaves" boasts a similar backing, with the mysterious producer teasing out ticking percussion and rough kicks, while on "Another Track", Absent mines another influence, namely the industrial style of Surgeon mixed with Disko B-stye functionalism. "In The Gym" has echoes of the Jeff Mills classics like "Solid Sleep", as a synth riff is looped over a thumping drum sequence, while on "Anime", Absent opts for a slightly less upfront approach, albeit with some razor-sharp percussion to guide the jagged synths.
Shdw and Obscure Shape run From Another Mind and this four-tracker shows why the label has become so well-regarded in hard techno circles. First up, the pair deliver the ebm-tinged title track, where a rough bass and pulsating acid build gradually to a heady climax. 'Bisswunden" is much heavier and faster, as the German pair drop visceral drums and furious percussion, while on "Blick Des Bosen", they drop a stab-heavy groove that drops and builds to the sound of a buzzing siren. "Kein Entkommen" is different again, with a moody bass providing the backdrop for rolling break beats.
Based in Bulgaria but with a truly global outlook, Hristov has released on labels such as Terminal M, Suara and OFF. Now the opportunity comes for him to reach an even wider audience and he doesn't disappoint; the title track is a dramatic, driving tech-house track full of moody synths, muscular bass and ponderous vocal samples. It's sure to ignite any dance floor where it's dropped. "Goa" is another dance floor burner; whether or not it's inspired by the title's reference to the trance scene is unclear, but its pulsating, growling groove, merciless drum rolls and hedonistic builds are sure to endear it to those who like a hint of tie-dye psychedelia.
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