Reviewed this week
Biomorph is the debut album from Enrico Sangiuliano, an artist who has previously featured on Adam Beyer's label. As the industrial drones of "Functional Basic Unit of Life" and the rugged electro on "Generative Model" and "Arboreal" all demonstrate, he has mapped out a route that stops off at many diversions. However, at his heart, the Italian producer remains a dance floor techno lover - and he expresses this passion most eloquently on Biomorph with the epic, trance-influenced "Cosmic Ratio" and "Hidden T" as well as "Multicellular", a storming big-room affair that is led by a tearing, system-levelling bass.
Frey follows up Reframe, his 2015 release on Live At Robert Johnson, with this left of centre affair. "Looking Back" is a drawn out, acid-heavy affair that resounds to steely snares and a feeling that the listener is being sucked backwards down a tunnel to Alice in Wonderland. By contrast, "Clown Time" is a high tempo affair that has echoes of Woody McBride's acid sound, aligned here with break beats and vocal snippets. Finally, there's the title track; different to the preceding arrangements, it's a sprawling affair, led by a buzz saw bass and featuring indistinct, new-wave vocals - the kind of jam that Intergalactic Gary will spin.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Berlin label has tapped its 'beloved family members, favourite artists and bestest friends' for this compilation. Certainly, it's an impressive line-up. MMM, the studio partnership between Fiedel and Errorsmith, delivers the insane acid of "Infinity Crash", Neil Landstrumm teams up with Brian Rays for a master class in wonky techno on "Talkin' Shit" and there are brilliantly moody, bass-heavy tracks from the likes of Swarm Intelligence and Poison Green. This being a Killekill release, there is no shortage of madness on offer, and Dez Williams delivers the deranged industrial banger, "Lord Prophet", while hardcore legend The Mover drops the chilling "Final Distance". Here's to another ten years.
Tusk is the second outing on ESP Institute by Cleveland, an alias for the Brussels-based producer Andrea Mancini. While it does not have the immediacy of some of the label's output, it does tingle and sparkle with understated brilliance. On "Aku", Mancini conjures up a vivid, complex rhythm track, peppered with reverberating tropical animal sounds, hollowed out drums and a dash of intelligent techno melancholia. The title track is even more impressive; similar in rhythmic construct to "Aku", it is imbued with glorious, jazzed out melodies and tinkling bells and is shot through with a wonderfully hypnotic bass that insinuates itself into the listener's consciousness.
Hissman is the alter ego for Fabio Monesi, who runs the Hardmoon label - and now he delivers some raw, machine techno for Dixon Avenue Basement Jams. The title track kick-starts the release with a low-slung, grinding jam, centred on a bleak bass, while on "Forest Wave", Monesi ups the ante for a linear, steely rhythm that is supported by hammering kicks and populated by alien squeaks and squiggles. "Fragment" is a mean jacker featuring percussive blasts and deft filters, while on closing track "Zulu Tribe", Hissman retreats to deeper terrain with the kind of layered, deep techno that calls to mind classic UR.
Following releases on MB Electronics and Toolroom, Loco & Jam debuted on Tronic back in 2016. Now they return with another perfectly executed big room release. The title track fuses vocal snippets and dramatic chord builds with stomping kicks, while on "Warped", the Northern Irish duo go deeper. The same attention to detail is there - audible on the subtle siren riffs and insistent percussion - but it takes longer for the same impact to take effect. "The End of It All" marks another shift, with the pair delivering a stripped back, metallic rhythm and eerie synth lines that seductively insinuate themselves into the arrangement.
With releases on Hot Creations and Seth Troxler's Say It Play It to his credit, Richy Ahmed now makes his debut on Hot Since 82's label. The title track is an irresistible slice of tech-house, with the UK producer dropping an ominous bass over a tight, jacking groove. On "Technique", a more rudimentary approach applies, as Ahmed deploys a horn riff and pitch-bent vocals to create a moody sound. The label has tapped D'Julz to rework "Technique" and in the Bass Culture boss' hands it turns into a pumping, percussive affair, supported by menacing low end. Jesse Perez also provides a rework of the title track, turning it into a bubbling, percussive workout supported by an eerie synth build.
As the temperatures get warmer, you can rest assured that Petar Dundov will release new music. The Croatian producer has been releasing deeply melodic techno for the best part of two decades, but his latest missive for Music Man is among his most impressive work. "Dalmatina" sounds like a low-slung, techy take on "Sueno Latino", with Dundov laying down evocative melodies over a tight, techy rhythm. On "Once We Were Here", he ups the tempo, but the mood remains the same as ponderous piano lines flow over tight back beats. It's the perfect, atmospheric sound track for those dramatic Dalmatian sunsets.
Melbournian producer Katie Campbell has turned a few heads since donning the Roza Terenzi alias last year. She's yet to put out a duff release and this latest excursion - her first for Aussie label Voyage - is every bit as alluring as its predecessors. Check, for example, the rubbery deep house funk of opener "Weakest Link", where far-sighted bleep melodies and alien synths dance gently above an elastic groove, or the far-out late night hustle of analogue-rich workout "Seminyak Dream", which sounds like the Mood Hut crew making 1990 bleep techno. The EP also boasts a luscious slab of dusty deepness (the wonderfully spacey "Lill's Dream") and a bustling, sub-bass heavy tweak of "Weakest Link" by regular Campbell collaborator D. Tiffany.
21 year old Elliot Adamson is from near Newcastle and his star is rising. He has released previously on Edible, Weapons and Need You but this will be his second for Man Power's Me Me Me imprint. Both parts of "Froaja" are heady, deep and atmospheric exercises in tribal house that are perfect for those introspective dancefloor moments. "No Chill" gets on to things with more bounce and funk, but it's really all about that wicked rendition later by homeboy Ben Caldwell - that takes things it into tunnelling acid-like territory. We also have the jagged electro experiment "No Rest/For The Wicked" witch gets a terrific rework by Work Them Records head honcho Spencer Parker. His Workmix giving it a tunnelling and hypnotic techno edge.
L/F/D/M, the warped musical project of Richard Smith, has been busy in 2018, with an album and an EP both appearing in cassette format. Now Smith spreads his sonic plague with the release of "X-Enter-O" on Singapore imprint Midnight Shift. "Sixteen Snakes" is led by insistent, doubled up claps, churning filters and wild acid lines, while on the title track, Smith enters into a world of paranoid discordance, with the bass and kicks pushed into the reds and militaristic snares riding roughshod over the resulting chaos. "Silver Grain" sees L/F/D/M veer into tripped out electro, but Smith is never too far from the primal dance floor sound, as evidenced by the lo-fi ghetto D-56M Poverty reshape of "Grain".
Hemka follows 707 Collision, her debut on Balans from earlier this year, with a killer four-track EP. Favouring a purist approach to techno throughout, the first "Familiar" is a stripped back affair, led by tight claps and a series of niggling acid lines and broken glass minimal riffs. On "Familiar 2", the French producer moves into the kind of murky space that Jeff Mills' Purposemaker series has mapped out, with grimy, pounding kicks and eerie filter sweeps prevailing. The third instalment sees Hemka veer into Mike Parker's hypnotic, bleep-heavy territory, as an uptempo, steely rhythm track is supported by steely hi hats, while on the fourth and final "Familiar", a pumping, cavernous arrangement, supported by relentless claps, prevails.
"Honey" is the second collaboration between Death In Vegas and Sasha Grey and is a seductive affair. Revolving around a warbling synth, an understated groove and Grey's understated but distinctive tones, it will find favour on more discerning dance floors. On the flip, there is "Witchdance Dub", Richard Fearless' remix of 'Witchdance' from the 2011 Death In Vegas album, Trans-Love Energies. Unavailable until now, it's a low-slung workout, led by hushed vocals and a gently niggling acid line that gradually reaches a tripped out denouement. If you're looking for slow-burning, electronic disco grooves, you've come to the right place.
With close to 100 EPs in his catalogue, Samuel L Session is one of the undisputed but possibly lesser known practitioners of the tribal techno sound. As Voltaic, his latest release on Sleaze demonstrates, he is also one of the sound's most talented artists. The tile track unravels to repetitive, hypnotic filters and rolling, steely drums, while on "Cypher", he heads down a more driving, grinding route, led by insistent bleeps and rasping percussive ticks. "Trinidad Steel" sees the Swedish producer offer a more understated take on his style, with loose drums and twitching hi hats prevailing, but overall, Voltaic is an impressive demonstration of Session's sound.
Psyk has been releasing high-quality underground techno for the best part of a decade and celebrates the 30th instalment on his Non Series imprint with this edgy EP. The title track balances tearing bass sounds with a subtle, stepping rhythm, while on "Night Currents", the Spanish producer heads down a different path. Redolent of vintage Sandwell District, it's a moody, tunnelling affair, supported by a morose low end. Psyk changes gear again for "Falling", delivering a lean, minimal techno workout that has echoes of Robert Hood. With DVS1 including "Falling" on his recent Fabric mix CD, it may not be too long before Psyk finally becomes a household name.
Betonkust has been spotted lurking in the realm of seedy late night body music alongside artists such as Palmbomen II, landing his noirish wares on 1080p, Pinkman and most notably Dekmantel. Now he makes the logical leap to Crimes of The Future alongside equally accomplished Belgian producer Innershades, previously spotted on Wicked Bass, Creme Organization, Hot Haus and many more besides. The sound on Forever In Boccaccio is totally fitting for Crimes of The Future, all muscular drum machines beats and analogue synth lines angled to send a shiver down your spine. Watch out for the unexpected rave hit of "Jambers At Carat Afterclub" which comes on strong with some fist-shaking peak time Euro techno motifs.
This second split release on Siamese follows last year's first Anthology instalment and focuses again on melodic, electronic house. Label owners Adriatique's "Grinding Rhythm" sets the tone, with its subtle, intricate rhythm and understated melodies. It's the kind of track that will work in a number of settings from warm up to peak time, albeit for a more discerning crowd. Soel's "Oberon" is more dubby but is also shot through with a moody undercurrent, thanks to the ominous riffs that accompany the rolling arrangement throughout. Marino Canal's "Men of No Purpose" is somewhat deeper and even veers toward an epic sensibility thanks to its frosty synths, but retains its dance floor focus thanks to a tricky supporting rhythm. if you're looking for a refined, futuristic take on house, check this release.
Philthtrax is a Toronto based ghettotech label serving up DJ friendly tracks in a timeless catalogue. For their next release, they have Athens/Munich based 'sonic mangler' Simjon Spengler aka LeTryp appearing for them with the Particles In Motion EP. This will be his second appearance for the label. From the hyperactive booty bounce of "Dance With Me", an unholy mixture of hardcore rave, DJ Funk and Detroit on "Rave Motion" and the DJ Godfather referencing "Particles" getting those Twilight76 vibes of old in the house - this EP is solid. Follows up some great jams by the fledgling producer self-released on his Bandcamp and we hope to see him get picked up by more labels in 2018.
La Chinerie is based on the concept of social media-led digging and for this compilation, the French label has cast its gaze far and wide into Italy's techno underground. The selection starts with break beat techno from Wrong Assessment and Alfredo Mazzilli - the latter's dreamy "Reminiscenza" is especially tantalising, before disappearing down a bruised, battered wormhole for Daniele Paduano's high octane "Permissions" and ADT's noisy, Autechre-influenced "Control of Your Brain". Edanticonf's "Le Lacrime di Freya" marks a shift towards straighter deep techno, while Ruhig's "Tacita" features the kind of dreamy, home-listening electronic music that is tailor made to accompany long, late night searches for obscure tracks.
Keeno18 aka Reggie Johnson follows last year's acclaimed Hidden Temple album on Ultramajic with this tripped out EP. Bearing some resemblance to classic European minimal house is "Chlorophyll Intel", but its pointillist riffs and unflinching vision wouldn't sound out of place on a Terrence Dixon record. "Dances with Leaf" is more menacing as Johnson picks up the pace and brings the listener down a tunnelling techno rhythm that resounds to thinly contained discordance. "Inquiry" sees the project swing back towards minimalism, but on this occasion, Johnson sounds like a slowed down but still intense interpretation of Steve Stoll's Ausgang project. "Mist Of Renown" is more experimental and again the similarities to Terrence Dixon are striking, as insistent bleeps and gasping filters come together over an abstract rhythm.
Exclusives
ENRICO SANGIULIANO - Biomorph (Drumcode Sweden)
BENEDIKT FREY - New Now (Live At Robert Johnson Germany)
BETONKUST/INNERSHADES - Forever In Boccaccio (Crimes Of The Future) - exclusive 25-06-2018
Exclusives
SAD GIRL - Nyx EP (Mary Go Wild Black)
DESROI - Dwell In Motion (Avian)
KEENO18 - Los Green (Ultramajic)
Top Labels
Ostgut Ton Germany
Planet E US
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