Reviewed this week
Efdemin's 2008 mix CD on Curle, Carry On - Pretend We're Not In The Room showed that he was as adept and inventive behind the decks as he was in the studio. A decade later, the same holds true for the follow-up mix, Naif, but this time the boundaries are more blurred. Consisting of 29 unreleased tracks - 10 from the German producer himself and 19 from like-minded artists - the selection runs the gamut, from the hazy, abstract tones of WaWuWe's "Beams" and DIN's noisy "Glide", into hypnotic dance floor techno such as "Laveline", Efdemin's bleep-y collaboration with Konrad Springer, the glorious mid-tempo minimal roller "Watte" - recorded as Sollmann & Gurtler and then 'versioned' by Efdemin and expansive dub tracks from Pom Pom and Marco Shuttle.
SCB had been an alias for Scuba's dance floor-focused techno tracks, but as Caibu and the EPs that preceded it demonstrate, it is now also a vehicle for the UK producer to explore different styles and to articulate his concerns about modern society. Tracks like the bleep-heavy "Test Tubes" and the storming, big room "Manufactured Consent" - the title a riff on the classic Chomsky tome - show that the project remains synonymous with killer techno, but Caibu succeeds largely by showcasing SCB's other side. "The Cut" is a shimmering, widescreen piece of music, the tone-laden breaks of "Freedom for the Fifty" sees Scuba seek justice for a wronged group, while the warbling, off-centre "Extinct" is an understated sound track for end of times.
Lena Willikens is not only the first female DJ to curate a compilation for Dekmantel's Selectors series, but also the first to put the emphasis on previously unreleased music rather than dusty-fingered crate-digging gems. That's not to say there aren't excellent older cuts present - see the decidedly psychedelic brilliance of Sandoz's ambient dub earworm "Morning Star (Dubmix)" and the trippy 2001 industrial dub techno of Vromb's "Amalgame" - just that there are a few more previously unheard killers. These include, but aren't limited too, the drowsy broken techno of Jasss's "Little Lines", Parrish Smith's jacking industrial house shuffler "Minima" and the druggy, mind-altering synthesizer soundtrack throb of Borusiade's intoxicating "Night Drive (An Exercise in Indulgence)".
Hayes is a new label from Portugal and it opens its account with this storming split release. First up is Temudo, who delivers "A1", a gritty, acid-soaked loop that sounds like it was inspired by early Lost releases. Moddullar, who has put out EPs on Planet Rhythm and Dynamic Reflection, opts for a cleaner but still tough loop techno track with "Encrypt", while on Temudo hooks up with ViL and -2. The fruits of their collaboration is "Discordia", which again sees the release towards a slightly more abrasive and mysterious take on dance floor techno. Rounding off this impressive debut is ViL in solo mode, with the tough, percussive "Szandor".
Following releases by Man Power and Kink, Djordje Petrovic aka Satori is the latest artist to release on DGTL. Having put out records for Crosstown Rebels, he's ideally placed to blur the boundaries between house, techno and left of centre influences. Fittingly then, "Fauna" is an unusual but engaging mixture of throbbing acid lines, Middle Eastern chanting and pumping techy rhythms. On the title track, Satori opts for a similar approach and deploys tripped out, melodic riffs and a jerky, off beat rhythm as a back drop for mysterious chants. Rounding off this impressive release is Satori's own take on "Magharibi", where he picks up the tempo deliver a big room techy rhythm, replete with tribal howls.
After debuting on Alan Fitzpatrick's We Are The Brave digital label, Leonardo wastes no time in launching his own label Etheric as a vessel for his own productions, and he serves up a potent brand of tech house built for maximum club damage. "Hieroglyph" has plenty of gaseous tones, but it's a rock solid party track at heart, while "8" matches airy synths with a tough beat in a truly uplifting combination. "Birdcage" shuffles on a stripped down, slightly swung groove and "Land Of Warriors" breaks things open with an adventurous trip into broken rhythms and dramatic musical motifs.
Following on from last year's Flower of Cane EP, Hamburg house duo Adana Twins return to Watergate. The title track is subtle but effective and austere-sounding but also uplifting. It chugs along to a solid groove and features eerie synths that build and build thanks to some effective filtering - and is exactly the type of track one would expect to hear at the feted Berlin club. On the flip side, "Sequence 01" is centred on a different approach. While its groove is also linear, it is powered by a pulsation bass and the kind of evocative, crystalline hooks that sound like the modern embodiment of classic German trance.
Already supported by DJs as diverse as Adam Beyer and Victor Calderone, this remix package succeeds thanks to its truly contemporary outlook. Petter B, who has released on Drumcode and Modularz, takes on Arjun Vagale's "ModMatrix" with truly impressive results. Underpinned by a rolling, tribal groove, it's the accompanying searing, solder-iron riff that will have a devastating impact in clubs. Coyu, who runs Suara, opts for a slightly more conventional approach for his take on Ramiro Lopez & Andres Campo's "Pachamama". The groove is pumping and linear, augmented by rickety percussion and layer upon layer of reverb, but it's the building filter at the heart of the arrangement that will do the damage with every play.
Like us, you are probably excited yet confused at the same time upon seeing this - Random Noise Generation are Lenny and Lawrence Burden (with their brothers Lorne, Lynell and Lance as revolving members) who are indeed - Octave One! As far as we're concerned, the more of the Burden Brothers the better - these Motor City legends can do no wrong. Be assured that on "N2 The EnFinate" it is tough rolling acid techno that's emotive as much as it is full of dancefloor attitude. For something more funky and with direct impact on the dancers, "Rock My Soul" (Reborn mix) is a groove oriented DJ tool with some seriously syncopated rhythm action reaching near tribal moments.
Although One Step is only Vergilov's second ever release, it proves that she is an impressive new producer. Issued on Dustin Zahn's Enemy imprint, the original material follows a common approach. "Reach Out to Me" is led by chilling strings and rolling drums, while haunting female vocals, presumably from Vergilov herself, intone the track's title. "One Step Ahead" is in a similar vein: based on a shimmering groove, the sensual vocals are fused with a woozy synth line to create a magical effect. At one end of the spectrum, there's the acid-soaked, pulsating groove of Zahn's remix of the title track, while Cosmin TRG turns "Reach Out..." into a chattering percussive workout.
Nuno Dos Santos enjoys referring to the tracks he releases on Something Happening Somewhere as "stories". Thus, NOWHERE01 - the first volume in a new compilation series - is billed as being full of "shards of tales long forgotten". In reality, it's a fine set of previously unreleased tracks and remixes, though Dos Santos's description is much more poetic. While the quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, highlights include Fatama Yamaha's dreamy and lucid, deep house-meets-Balearic synth-pop tweak of Kiani and His Legion's "Electric", the sleazy and percussive techno-jack of Tracey's "Stratosfear", the jazzy deep house dreaminess of Love Over Entropy's "H1" and the deep space electro brilliance of Versalife's interpretation of the same artist's "Off The Grid".
The debut release on Sculptures is a full-on affair. It starts with the pounding, industrial techno of Marla Singer's "Under the Bridge", a belligerent affair that channels the menace of a Helena Hauff DJ set and fuses it with the Blueprint label's most hypnotic rhythms. On "Half Life", newcomer Jamie Haus takes the intensity levels down a few notches for a bleep-heavy minimal workout, while German veteran Falko Brocksieper worships at the altar of 90s techno on the raw percussive "Forsemog". Rounding off the first outing from Sculptures is Liquid Marble with the heads down, loop techno of "Extension".
Here's a somewhat unusual release for Tresor: Second Woman is a collaboration between Turk Dietrich and Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, and on "Instant 1", the pair showcase an abstract, IDM side to their sound, with massive sub bass unravelling over a rickety, stuttering arrangement. "Instant 2" is much more straightforward, comprising a hypnotic dub techno workout that's similar in sound to Tresor signings like Savvas Ysatis. However, the pair quickly revert to a more abstract approach on "Apart 1", where a sliver of mangled percussion is woven through the spacey groove, while the second version of "Apart" is an atmospheric, beat less piece. Props to Tresor for putting out this record.
Not much is known about Ersatz Olfolks, the latest artist to release on Berlin-based ARTS, but whoever is behind the project certainly has a taste for techno's more extreme side. "Proxima Centauri" resounds to distorted kicks and electronic discordance, while on "Gamma Aquarii", the low-profile producer applies the same approach to rolling electro rhythms, with devastating effect. "Irradiated" is even more extreme: paying tribute to the hard acid of 90s acts like Acid Junkies, it features layers of distorted 303s vying for the listener's attention over a pounding kick drums. Unexpectedly, the artist shows their softer side on "Laminar Flow", an introspective, mellow alternative to the preceding abrasive sounds.
For the fourth instalment of its From The Vault series, Paul Boex' label opts for a less banging than usual approach. Area Forty One's 'Sunday Morning cut' of Abstract Division's "Deformation" sets the tone for the release with its deep groove, while Deepbass & Ness come together to create the rolling groove and atmospheric tones of "Flight 103". Stefan Vincent's contribution, "Aro", is similarly deep, with some tropical samples embedded in its lithe rhythm, while remixers Milton Bradley and Delta Funktionen also use the opportunity to take Abstract Division on a more esoteric path. In the case of the former, it is articulated on the churning, dubby "Shifted Reality", while on the latter's re-work of "Floating Point", a jerky, angular rhythm prevails.
Having previously appeared on Vibraphone with the Isole Del Tramonto EP back in 2016, Nick Anthony Simoncino returns to the perennial Italian deep house label with a full album, his fourth following previous turns on Thug, Mathematic and Creme Organization. As you would expect, Mystic Adventures is a masterclass of classic drum machines and synthesisers, loaded with the passion and mystery that Simoncino has always managed to imbue his music with. The highlights are too many to list - if you're familiar with his other work, then Simoncino has everything you need on this album. If you're not already wise, these nine new tracks are a wonderful introduction.
The latest singing on Pleasurekraft's label are Beico & MT93, an Argentine act. The title track is not dissimilar from the Kraftek owner's own approach; revolving around an intense, pumping groove and a razor-sharp percussive accompaniment, it sees snare rolls, break downs and a visceral rave riff all coming together to create dance floor chaos. "Polaris" is also highly effective, but uses a slightly different approach; although it is centred on grainy, steely drums and a pumping groove that house insistent vocal snippets, it too features dramatic break downs and the kind of rave-addled bass that will guarantee it gets played in big rooms across the globe.
This remix package is quite a coup for Death In Vegas. Featuring tracks from the band's sixth album, Transmission, Drone has managed to secure not just the services of Silent Servant, but also former Drexciya member and Dopplereffekt founder Gerald Donald, working here under his lesser-known Rudolf Klorzeiger alias. Silent Servant delivers two interpretations of "You Disco I Freak". The first remix is a heads down, hypnotic techno pulser, while on his 'Version", the LA-based producer opts for a noisy, take, with the rolling groove laden down with screeching riffs and eerie shrieks. Meanwhile, Donald does his own version of "Metal Box", where found sounds and creaky samples unravel over a linear rhythm.
Having released two Eps on Jon Digweed's Bedrock last year, Jeremy Olander made the decision to return to his own label, Vivrant. Olander's timing was good, and Karusell is among his finest work to date. The title track revolves around the kind of lopsided minimal rhythm that Olander has become synonymous with, but it also features a spacey, enveloping melody that is high on melancholia and sccompanied by a searing bass. It's a powerful combination and shows that he's not solely focused on the dance floor. On "Andkoln" the Vivrant boss delivers a more streamlined, linear groove, but it'll still stand out thanks to its tripped out hooks and building, layered filters.
Here's some real techno history. FBK originally released his debut EP on Anthony Shakir's Frictional back in 1997, but despite the passage of over two decades, it still sounds fresh. Knobs moves in style between the raw, analogue rhythms of "Feedback" and "Rolling on a 6/4" - the latter is reminiscent of Shakir himself, thanks to its panning effects and subtle tonal shifts - to the deeper, high-paced techno soul of "Reservations & Misgivings". Meanwhile, "The Tet Offensive" sees FBK veer into a reverb-heavy wormhole, accompanied by a stripped back, insistent drum track. It's a reminder of how unpredictable techno can be and offers a salutary lesson fro the new generation of electronic music producers.
Exclusives
REBEKAH - My Heart Bleeds Black EP (MORD)
NICK ANTHONY SIMONCINO - Mystic Adventures (Vibraphone) - exclusive 30-04-2018
SCB/SCUBA - Caibu (Hotflush Recordings)
Exclusives
ADANA TWINS - Jupiter EP (Watergate)
MONOLOC/BEAUTY OF INCONSEQUENZ - Storyline EP (Unterland)
LEONARDO - Origin E (Etheric Recordings) - exclusive 30-04-2018
Top Labels
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