Review: Techno powerhouse Charlotte De Witte did not let the pandemic put her off, and she bounces back with a huge new EP. "Doppler" is a pounding, peak-time affair that resounds to dramatic rave hooks and a relentless bass. On "RPM", the KNTXT boss takes influence from 90s acid techno to deliver layer upon layer of gurgling 303 lines that unfold over a pounding rhythm. While De Witte's focus is entirely on the peak time, her approach is more nuanced than most producers in this field - an approach that is audible on the title track's combination of searing acid and intense kick drums.
Review: It's been over a year since their Ayu EP on Diynamic and now Catz 'n Dogz return with another infectious release. The title track is available in two versions, and despite its name, the "Existential Mix" is an infectious affair: based on a niggling groove, it features searing acid lines that accompany catchy vocal samples. On the "Reality Mix", the Polish pair opt for a more heads-down approach; utilising dense tribal drums and a pulsating bass, they still include the vocal samples. This combination makes for a tripped out but highly effective track that will rock late night dance floors.
Review: Veteran producer S-File returns to his own GND label for this killer techno collection. Alternating between a wide range of sounds and styles, it showcases S-File's deep knowledge of the modern techno form. I Am gets off to a jacking start on the rough, analogue "Straight Ahead", before the release heads down a deeper, dubbed out route on the title track and the layered techno of "Part of Me". "Better Life" sees S-File up the pace and draw on the legacy of loop techno for a dense, peak-time arrangement, while in contrast "Accent" sees him drop a bugged out acid track, followed by the emotive electro of "Polemic".
Review: It's been a while since Roman Flugel last delivered an album, and that was the all-ambient Themes I-XIII in 2018. Eating Darkness, the German veteran's fifth solo full-length, is therefore well overdue. It's a quietly confident and undeniably entertaining affair, with the former Alter Ego man smartly sashaying between evocative IDM ('Magic Briefcase', 'The Best is Yet To Come', the Autechre-ish 'Eating Darkness'), druggy slo-mo fare ('Chemicals'), raw new wave throb-jobs ('Wow'), acid-flecked jack-tracks ('Jocks & Freaks'), hypnotic late night minimal techno ('Cluttered Homes'), drowsy downtempo cheeriness ('Locked'), beautiful ambient synth-scapes ('Charles') and revivalist Euro-disco pump ('D.I.S.C.O'). Throughout, Flugel reaches for vintage analogue and modular synthesizer sounds, giving the album a distinctively timeless feel.
Review: Linear System follows a series of releases for Edit Select, including last year's debut album, with this superb purist EP. "Inanimate Things" sees this mysterious producer venture into spaced out bleep techno territory, guided by a series of tones. A more intense take on this approach is audible on "Thermodynamics", which is powered by acid-fuelled bleeps and eerie synths. The title track sees Linear System forge a darker path, with a driving rhythm providing the basis for searing, noisy riffs. Meanwhile "Mercury" marks another shift in style and focus - the time towards a layered metallic groove that is as hypnotic as it is understated.
Review: Label regulars Drunken Kong release their first EP of the year on Tronic and it's a heady affair. The title track revolves around tough, pounding kicks and menacing air raid sirens that swoop in at regular intervals, while "Phase One" is a high-paced roller populated by wiry acid tones and rasping percussion. In contrast, "One Day" is more subtle, with doubled up claps and a linear rhythm laying the basis for moody synth stabs and a gurgling bass, while "Non Stop" sees the duo venture down a tripped out route as a straight rhythm provides the backdrop for eerie synth riffs and powerful filtered builds.
Review: Waltervelt follows 2019's Lunar Operation with another fine release for Maceo Plex's Ellum imprint. The title track resounds to steely kicks drums and moody bass that unfold with understated menace over the course of the arrangement. "The Sideral" sees Waltervelt plot a similarly eerie course, with metallic percussive bursts and a stepping electro rhythm supporting radio signal sequences and evocative synths beamed in from outer space. "Magman Pt2" is more accessible, thanks largely to the pulsating bass at its core. Meanwhile on "Invisible". Waltervelt once again disappears down an electro wormhole - this time his journey is powered by a throbbing bass.
Review: Two techno heavyweights come together for their debut collaboration - and naturally Drumcode is the perfect outlet. In its original format, "We Don't Know.." draws on Fitzpatrick's trademark drums and and Mull's ability to craft searing, impactful basslines. Combined with Frangie's ponderous vocal narrative and tranced out synths, these elements all come together to create a compelling track. The release is also remarkable in that it features the first remix in over two years from label boss Adam Beyer. In his hands, it morphs into a lean, linear affair. Centred on dubbed out drum, snappy percussion and a menacing bass - the perfect backdrop for those alluring vocals.
Review: Responsible for dance floor burners like "Der Sturm Kommt" and "Hoisin", Michael Klein was one of last year's most impressive artists on Second State. Based on his latest EP, that status is unlikely to change. The title track is a mean, lean acid track, with its central sawtooth riff and rolling snares designed for peak-time use. On "Joker Smile", he opts for a somewhat more subtle approach, with a rolling bass and insistent percussion underpinning grimy riffs that keep building and building. Klein remains in the same territory for "Sticky", where dense drums and rasping hi hats support ominous, hardcore-inspired riffs.
Review: After 15 years putting out dance floor techno, Jay Lumen finally makes his solo debut for Drumcode. While it's hard to believe that this is the first time he has flown solo for Adam Beyer's imprint, rest assured that the Footwork Audio boss doesn't disappoint: the title track upholds the label's tradition of using powerful, moody bass. In this instance, Lumen combines a rumbling low end with dramatic chords, subtle vocal snatches and a succession of impactful drops and filters. Meanwhile, "Mind" is more intense: Lumen deploys insistent acid bleeps and repetitive vocal samples over doubled up claps and a jacking, pile-driving rhythm.
Review: Dave 'Function' Sumner was last seen on Tresor in 2019 with the chilling Existenz album. This return to the storied label could not get off to a more different start, with Sumner dropping the pounding techno of "Misinterpretations Of Reality". He moves closer to the prevailing style of Existenz with the esoteric synths and lithe stepping rhythm of "An Optical Illusion Of Consciousness", while on "Spiritually Unconscious (Dissolve)", the Sandwell District founder changes tact again, delivering a snaking, wiry groove, teeming with melodies that are redolent of vintage Speedy J. Closing out this fine release from one of techno's most respected artists is the malevolent bass and tribal drums of
"Compulsive Thinking: Repetitive and Pointless".
Review: A confirmed presence within the landscape of UK dance music for the best part of 15 years, Hypercolour has cultivated its own constellation of artists while becoming a port of call for those hitting their peak within pseudo-mainstream house music. It's Patterns compilation series has always offered rare cuts and remixes from its roster of artists and from the get go here a lesser known Zodiac impresses out of the blocks with a banging dub techno joint "GhostNet". Sebastian Mullaert & Boelja go hardcore Swedish bleeptronic in "Who Are You Really?" with FRAK also included with an old school and lo-fi 909 workout "Berga Magic". Roman Flugel hits a sweetspot as usual next to some lowly jackin tracks by London Modular Alliance, a vocal breakbeat number of classical drum and bass refrain by Mathew Herbert to some tongue cheek rave by Luke Vibert and much much more! Approved.
Review: If you're into spacey, analogue-rich deep house, you will no doubt be aware of Holland's MOS Recordings imprint. The label specialises in cosmic, classic-sounding deep house, and their latest EP from Jeroen Bohm fits neatly into this label-wide trademark sound. The sometime Gestalt Records contributor hits the ground running with analogue-rich opener 'Lost City', which sounds like a long-lost Larry Heard production from 1988, before opting for bolder bass, crunchier drums and moodier chords on the equally inspired 'Disrupted'. Undulating TB-303 acid lines, spacey pads and jacking machine drums are the order of the day on 'Nightlife', while 'City Secrets' is an immersive chunk of Fingers Inc-style deep house dreaminess.
Review: Anika Kunst is a relatively new artist with just a few releases so far, but she demonstrates considerable prowess on this debut release for Rekids. The title track is a brooding affair that resonates to swirling chords and powerful kicks, while on "Tales From The Loop", she ups the pace to deliver the kind of layered, menacing techno that one would normally associate with Floorplan. In contrast, "Prism" is deeper, with Kunst dropping a rolling, dubbed out groove that's underpinned by insistent percussion. She returns to the peak time for "Constant Change", a dense tribal track that will appeal to fans of Mark Broom and Ben Sims.
Review: Following his debut release Dreams To Reality, which dropped on Hot Creations in 2019, rising star Joseph Edmund is back onboard with "Baewatch". It's one seriously boompty and minimal groove peppered with infectious R&B vocals atop, that is perfect tackle for the warm-up or after hours alike. Second offering "Aphrodites" is a tougher and more bass-driven tech house tool aimed squarely at the main room dancefloor, in the tradition of the classic Freak 'N Chic sound. Edmund's sound makes him unquestionably one to watch, with a plethora of unreleased tracks being sent out to key labels for the remainder of this year.
Review: Having previously released on Drumcode's A-Sides compilations, Thomas Hoffknecht now gets a full EP on the label. Combining tough drums with musical elements, this fast rising producer's work shines brightly here. "Sirius" combines tranced out synths with dreamy vocal samples, while on the title track, whooshing filters roll in over a pounding groove. "Comet" is based on a similar rhythm track, but this time the musical elements are darker, with synth stabs and razor sharp percussion hitting hard. "Wega" is more understated, but the power of its belching acid line and vocal snatches should not be underestimated, while "Regulus" rounds out this fine Drumcode debut with chiming bells and dramatic synths.
Review: La Fraicheur has been winning praise thanks to a series of releases on Infin?, and now she delivers a blistering EP for Lobster Theremin. "La Fin Du Debut" is a frazzled, stuttering affair, led by fuzzy percussion, while on "Garbage", she layers a stream of consciousness vocal over a niggling groove and ominous bass. On "Renouveau", La Fraicheur goes for an entirely different approach, with menacing, buzz-saw bass unravelling over a stepping rhythm, while the closing track, "Freezing", is the most forceful. Centred on an industrial strength rhythm and visceral low end, it sounds like La Fraicheur's own take on ebm.
Review: Two of modern techno's most singular artists team up for this raw and lean techno release on Ruskin's Blueprint. "Shortcut" is a twitchy, frenetic minimal track that resounds to dynamic percussion and freaked out electronic stabs. On "Hang Up", the Blueprint owner and Truncate focus their efforts on dense drums and gradually building, electronic tones for a measured but effective arrangement. But all bets are off on the closing track "Drums Eyes". Based on visceral industrial drums and a pile-driving rhythm, it sees the duo draw on Mills during his Waveform Transmissions period for inspiration, delivering an intense, intoxicating track.
Review: Next up on Triple Vision offshoot Patterns is newcomer Chrizjae with this fine techno release. "Morning Sun" resounds to insistent thunder claps and chord stabs, and has echoes of Rob Hood style minimalism. On "No Need To Care About Me", Chrizjae offers up a radically different approach to hard techno: this time the focus is on dense, concrete weight kicks and the kind of hypnotic tones you'd be likely to hear on a Sleeparchive record. "Tell Me Your Secret" is faster and more discordant, as Chrizjae drops a cacophony of buzzing riffs, while the title track is a fats-paced, hypnotic affair, led by chiming bells.