Reviewed this week
This an altogether epic offering from Deetron; a vast collection of un-mixed tracks from his brilliant DJ Kicks mix (naturally included as a bonus cut) that is little less than a lesson in the evolution of techno over the last three decades. Amongst the 38 tracks you'll find fine representatives of a myriad of sub-genres (intelligent techno, dub techno, IDM, ambient techno, gospel techno, and so on), as well as past, present and future classics (Damier and Trent's "Morning Factory", Spacetime Continuum's "Swing Factory", Mark Ernestus's recent Equinoxx remix, the Motor City bliss of Rhythim is Rhythim AKA Derrick May's "Ka-o-tic Harmony", a brilliant old Black Dog Productions workout). In other words, it's a breathlessly brilliant collection of both well-known and obscure gems. It comes heartily recommended.
Tale of Us' label is steadily growing a reputation for championing left of centre dance music and "Ray" is no exception. The work of Swiss pair Adriatique, it brings together unusual sources to create a distinctive vision for contemporary techno. "Voices from the Dawn" boasts the dusty, grainy authenticity of proto-techno and ambient, with the duo integrating droning bleeps with a pulsating, electronic groove. On the title track, they go deeper; the rhythm is low slung and hypnotic and a melancholic synth riff unravels over a sequence of understated kicks. It's another killer release from this fast rising imprint.
Belgian label De:tuned delivers another cracking release after trawling through Luke Vibert's archives. "Balath" sees the maverick UK producer fuse mind-bending acid lines with crisp, up-tempo electro rhythms, while a similar, but somewhat noisier approach applies on "Worry Ledge". There, eerie tones and buzzing acid unfold over a fast, rolling 808-driven groove. "pHIacid" sees Vibert slow down the tempo and introduce what sounds like a mixture between an easy listening arrangement and funfair music, with this unusual fusion daubed in layers of acid. Finally, "Arcadia" resounds to noisy drums and twisted 303 lines. Irrespective of its provenance, the material on Arcadia makes for a fascinating release
Named after the Polish word for 'roots', this great new EP finds Anii threading her way in between subtle deep house and techno folds. Polish music, tribal percussion and elegiac melodies merge wonderfully. Born in Poland and now operating out of London, Ania Iwinska has had previous releases on top labels like Stil Vor Talent, Polymath and Sincopat, but now makes her debut on Cologne powerhouse Kompakt. From the chugging, brooding dancefloor drama of "Working The Root" that will hypnotise you into submission, to the tension and full-on suspense of the title track. Be assured that more late night moodiness awaits on "Cyganka" incorporating traditional strings and Ry Cooder like guitars on this hazy and esoteric trip into the deep.
Wehbba is one of the most prolific contemporary techno producers, but as this release shows, he doesn't sacrifice quantity for quality. The title track is a rolling electronic affair, featuring waves of electronic filters supported by a prowling, predatory bass. "Protocol" is tougher and more visceral, with claps and grainy kicks providing the backdrop for menacing synth builds that sound like they were borrowed from the hardcore playbook. "Glasswerk" also features a menacing bass and pummelling beats but on this occasion, the central elements are subsumed by spacey chord washes and churning filters. The Brazilian producer opts for a different approach on "Framework". While the rhythm is stripped back, the bass still teems with menacing intent.
London imprint Whities presents a brand new track, plus a rare to find gem from their back catalogue, finally available digitally. Bristolian producer Ed Russell aka Tessela delivers a rave deconstruction on "Glisten" via his raw, bass driven techno sound - that rolls with a restrained sense of fury. "Touch Absence" (Intimidating Stillness Mix) by Scottish wunderkind and label staple Calum MacRae aka Lanark Artefax was originally released as a limited edition of 20 copies sold at the South London Record Fair in 2016. An unholy mixture of IDM, electro and jungle - this fierce dystopian epic is yet another fine example of this talented producer's dynamic sound.
The latest release on Involve brings together some of the most respected names in hard-edged techno. Cleric's "Purge" is led by tough kicks and firing percussive bursts, similar in style to his peer SP-X. On "Left Behind", Setaoc Mass, another UK producer, goes deeper for a rolling, hypnotic groove that still benefits from the power of heavy drums. From there on in, the release veers in a surprising direction: Truncate's "Feel This Way" resounds to a jerky rhythm, jazzed out chords and bleep-y tones, while on "Green Kush", Victor Santana from Chaval lays down a pumping, big-room track, layered in mesmerising chords.
So far, the majority of Simon Neale aka Shadow Child's releases have been on his own Food Music imprint, but Dance Trax is sure to raise his profile. Issued on the well-known Unknown to the Unknown label, it also sees Neale's creative focus shift to old school influences. "Renegade Stabz" is a stab-heavy break beat techno affair, while on "Nonsense", a similarly party-themed sound is audible, this time with a rolling groove replacing the crashing breaks. Atypically for Shadow Child, "Don't Lose It" sees him deliver a jacking, minimal techno workout, replete with firing percussion and analogue bleeps. Working under his Geeeman guise, Gert drops a storming minimal house take on "Lose It".
Oliver Huntemann's label returns with more dancefloor drama from the dark side, by some of the scene's most exciting players on Senso Sounds Level 04. French techno producer Bruno Demoeugeot aka Citizen Kain teams up with STAB Virus on "Torium" which ticks all the right boxes for a Senso track: doom laden pads, dark chords, steely rhythms and grinding arpeggios - all compressed into one big, brooding package. German producer Carlo Ruetz cuts to the chase on the aptly titled "Sky's Black" (and strips things back while he's at it) on this tunnelling and sinister epic. Finally, man of the moment Dubspeeka continues on with an impressive streak of releases on International Deejay Gigolo, Knee Deep In Sound and Get Physical recently - the cavernous, bass heavy tech house of "Aakash" further cements his status
Borusiade is the alter ego of Miruna Boruzescu, who has released Eps on Cititrax and Comeme. A Body, his debut album, gives full vent to his artistic palette. It starts with the slow motion clatter of "Cluster" before moving into the mesmerising Gothic vocals of "Breathe". The tempo picks up somewhat with the dense, bubbling "Dormant", where Boruzescu indulges his love of mysterious electronic music. On both "Silent" and "An Aquarian Feeling", the Romanian producer moves into a world of lo-fi rhythms and drones, one that Sandra Electronics occupies, but showing his diverse approach to composition right to the end, "Undone" is a lush, orchestral affair.
Trance is never too far from Maxime Dangles' sound, and this influence is audible on his latest release for Electric Rescue's label. While "Cloudy River" is built on hammering kicks, it features tranced out melodies that lend it a frazzled, atmospheric feeling. There are no such concessions on "Dazzling Ray"; the drums are grainy and the percussion creaky as the French producer weaves in an acid sequence designed to blow minds. Meanwhile, "Dew of Heaven" marks a return of sorts to trance territories as ghostly vocal tones hang in the air over Dangles' intense percussive workout. Rounding out the release is Antigone's take on "Cloudy River", where the fast-rising techno artist delivers a spiralling, filtered workout.
This is Token's 80th release, but the Belgian label shows no sign of running out of steam. Indeed, the opposite is true; Boundary Interactions sees one of its main artists, Phase, deliver an abrasive but highly effective EP. "Search Party" resounds to rattling, incessant bells, firing percussion and a spacey, growling filter. It's a real peak time offering from the UK artist. By contrast, "Microdose" is more stripped back and repetitive, with a steely rhythm underpinning eerie chord sequences. Meanwhile on the title track, Phase drops a bouncy groove and, reliving the trance sound of the 90s, a melancholic melody that does a lot to dispel Token's reputation as solely serving up tough techn
Following a subtle slew of self releases and appearances on the likes of Infinite Machine, London's Truska makes his official EP debut on Jelly Bean Farm. The release marks the on-point label's first year anniversary and it's celebrations all-round as Truska has delivered something seriously special. Grave and glacial, "Lucid" sets the tone with stuttering beats, slurring textures and cavernous moments of deadly pregnant silence. "Intra" continues the trippiness but with a little more tribal edge in the percussion while "Fervour" will have you frothing in suspense with its unhurried pace, otherworldly rhythmic devices and triphoppy break. For added celebration see the dark steppy remix from the fast-rising Bristol beat-sculptor Hodge. Dream time is over...
Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, Tiga is confident that this release is one of his best collaborations to date, up there with his work with Jori Hulkkonen. Certainly, the title track is an unusual affair, with the Turbo boss and Clarian working together to create a left of centre, tripped out acid track. Replete with out there vocals, it's one of the freshest takes on the eternal acid sound you'll hear this year. On "You're So Special", the pair veer further down the paths marked 'inspired off beat techno'; deploying a call and response vocal over a jacking, low-slung groove, it's unusual, entertaining and unforgettable
Over the past five years, ARTS has become one of techno's most consistent labels. Listening to Dark Matter 002, the latest release from the imprint's owner, Emmanuel, it's not hard to understand why. "Hype Beast" kick starts the EP with a stepping rhythm and filtered chord builds, that are not too far away from Shed's Equalized project. "Rejected" is a far straighter, linear affair, with the Italian producer laying down insistent riffs, tonal stabs and smart filtering, all over banging drums. Leaving the most unusual track to last, "Jungle Ting" sounds like it was inspired by early Oliver Ho, as layered textures and samples unfold over an intricate tribal drum sequenc
This EP on Christian Smith's label dispels any doubt that Umek has not remained true to his underground techno roots. Like the Slovenian producer's earliest releases on labels like Consumer Recreation and Planet Rhythm, the title track resounds to eerie synth lines, tough kicks and firing percussion. Moreover, "Certain Trace" has a visceral, rough feeling to it that is largely absent in modern techno. "Deja Vu" is another peak time affair, but on this occasion, the Slovenian veteran focuses on the rolling, tribal sound that dominated his late 90s/early 00s output. Allied with a jungle bass, it makes for an intense, sonic steam roller.
On his first appearance on Lobster Theremin, sometime Salt Mines, Flux and Of Paradise artist Shedbug has decided to flex his creative muscles. Over the course of five more than tidy tracks, he successfully turns his hand to a variety of underground electronic styles. So, while there are plenty of dancefloor thrills to be found throughout, the EP opens with an immaculate chunk of heady deep space ambient ("2"). The EP's most arresting peak-time moment is the bass-heavy, breakbeat-driven dirtiness of "You Think", where progressively more intense acid lines rise above an aggressive and foreboding backing track, though dark electro workout "Journeyman" and the pitched-up analogue deep house bliss of "For You" are equally as thrilling.
Pleasurekraft are a transatlantic duo comprised of American Kaveh Soroush - a DJ and producer from Washington DC who was also co-founder of Brandnewvibe Recordings, with Sweden's Kalle Ronngardh - a veteran producer since the early noughties. After a few dozen releases over the last decade, the duo finally unveil their first full length album. Friends, Lovers, & Other Constellations sees the duo consolidate their many years experience on their beloved Kraftek imprint, with this collection of epic and euphoric dance floor bombs. From brooding, peak time techno workouts such as "The Day The Earth Stood Still" or "Rigel" (which will appeal to fans of sounds on Drumcode or Suara), there are also moments of evocative trance like on "Interiors", dark ambient on "GOD/Gospel Of Doubt" (part 1 - feat Casey Gerald) and even a bit of synth-pop - like the blissful closer "Last Transmission" (From A Dying Constellation).
Hot on the heels of their first collaborative EP for Vibrant Music - the fine Accumulate Parts I & II - dub techno stalwarts DeepChord (Aka Rod Modell) and Fluxion (Konstantinos Soublis) join forces for a second salvo. The two-part "Bona Fide" is a typically evocative and hazy affair, offering an attractive balance between Modell's audio soup style sound design and the gently unfurling rhythms that have always been a hallmark of Soublis's productions. Both interpretations utilize a range of melodic elements - think twinkling, mixed-down pianos, fuzzy electric piano bass, dreamy chords, and so on - with the slightly livelier "Part 2" also making use of some exotic percussive flourishes. Naturally, both passes are warm, undulating and immaculately produced.
After a series of releases on Marcel Fengler's label and Unterton, rising techno producer Somewhen makes it onto the main Ostgut label. Part of Berlin's new school of artists, AFL doesn't focus exclusively on one style. Instead, Somewhen varies the release by moving from the storming dark techno of "Ryte" - replete with doomy vocals - to the murky downtempo "Undress", which unravels to the sound of eerie strings and more mysterious voices., Shifting gear again, the title track is a noisy, broken beat workout, while on "Kilo",

a straighter approach prevails. Revolving around a pulsing groove, its acidic undercurrents are sure to have the right impact on the main floors of the German capital's clu
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