Review: Somewhat confusingly, Dabobert and Masterarp are both alternative aliases of long-serving German producer Dagobert Howe, whose discography stretches right back to the late 1990s. Startopology was first released two years ago, and here gets a fresh pressing on blue marbled vinyl. Across 13 deliciously spacey tracks, Howe does a fine job in combining punchy electro rhythms, mind-bending synthesizer melodies and robotic vocals with elements of synth-wave, intergalactic ambient, warped electrofunk and, on the ear-catching "Kosmic Transmission", vintage hip-hop. It's a hugely listenable set, all told, with enough tried-and-tested dancefloor workouts to suggest that it will work both at home and in the clubs.
Review: For Missing Tapes, Minimal Wave has managed to unearth a wealth of previously unheard gems from Dutch electro trailblazer Danny Bosten. Dark electro diggers may be aware of Bosten's early 1980s work, which was initially self-released on cassette, but has also been re-issued since by Minimal Wave and others. The material here was recorded in the same period and rediscovered some years back by the producer. It's similar in style, as you'd expect, with Bosten variously exploring otherworldly electro, sci-fi leaning Italo-disco, stylish, new wave synth workouts, and throbbing proto-techno. What impresses most, though, is the seeming freshness of the material; it might be 35 years old, but it still sounds formidably futuristic.
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: There's not much info out there about My Own Jupiter's latest addition to the roster, though we do know that he's a Spanish producer and that "Morning For Loss" is his debut album. It's a rather impressive set, with the publicity-shy artist offering up a poignant, spacey and quietly picturesque mix of slo-mo melodic electro, intergalactic dancefloor workouts, early '90s style IDM, bleeping ambient techno and shimmering purist electro jams that sound like they've been sat idle on a dusty cassette since 1989. Throughout, Depressor strikes a near perfect balance between bottom end grunt, atmospheric aural textures and tuneful, ear-catching synthesizer motifs.
Review: It's taken KOOAAD Music 18 months to deliver a follow-up to their inaugural release, a fine EP from Joe Drive. We'll forgive them, though, because Nemesi - a collection of tracks by composer Filippo Diana that were originally intended to be part of the score to an unreleased movie of the same name - is pretty darn good. Seemingly created entirely using vintage synthesizers and drum machines, the seven tracks are undeniably atmospheric and cinematic. Diana seems to be a master of mood and melody, effortlessly blending rhythms and melodies inspired by the throbbing quirkiness of classic Giallo soundtracks, the soundtrack work of John Carpenter, vintage Detroit electro, and the darker end of Italo-disco (see the fantastic "Sequenza Inseguimento".
Review: Detroit's DJ Bone is and always has been one of his city's most underrated producers. In fact, the man is a killer behind the decks too, mashing up house and techno with that inimitable US speed that has also been championed by the likes of DJ Rush et al. His relationship with Bristol's Don't Be Afraid has been a fruitful one of the last year or two, releasing a couple of gnarly 12"s under the Differ-ENT moniker, a sound that expands upon his comparatively more rigid techno sound. This is the debut album under the Differ-ENT alias, and we most certainly agree that It's Good To Be Differ-ENT." There isn't a dud tune on here, and for an LP that focusses primarily on the dancefloor, it manages to convey a strong narrative throughout, built with mastery and dedication by this talented artist. Tunes like "Met Allergic Flew Antsy" or "Marvel Less" are muscly and fast-paced, but there is still plenty of exploration going on at their core, while remnants of electro can be heard on tunes like "Compute Her". This is a vibrant LP, made up of many different guises and shades, all finely tuned around the dancehall, and strangely fitting with the UK's lust for the broken sound. Recommended.
Review: According to hard-working scene stalwart John Dimas, the 14 tracks that make up this belated debut album all reflect his "personal journey on this planet". The Greek producer has long been renowned for producing tasty house and techno treats that look far and wide for inspiration, so it's heartening to find that One Against Time sees him exploring those major influences - think IDM, hip-hop, ambient, D&B, acid house, dub, Detroit techno, tech-funk, Drexciyan electro, two-step garage and wild Chicagoan acid - in far greater detail. It's an approach that pays dividends from start to finish, with Dimas serving up evocative and ear-catching cuts that sound distinctively rich and melodious, despite the variety of styles and tempos on show.
Review: Admittedly, there are plenty of outfits named DIN, in the left field music scene, but this Los Angeles based duo, made up of Greg And and Josie Vand, have been causing havoc on our 'out of stock' front. Each time we get a batch of music from these guys, it's gone before we know it, and it looks like this latest glitchy IDM will continue that trend! Out through DKA, Real Dirt is perfect for the sound of now, that is, a stuttery, biopic blend of minimalistic electro a'la Autechre. However, the tracks on this new LP, much like their previous work, is much more body-rocking, calling all dancers and posers to the floor, and bubbling up its wacky synths amid tough drum patterns. The heart of this magnetic album is certainly Detroit electro, but the brains reside very much in the UK glitch territory. A marvellous concoction for the new year!
Review: Detroit techno hero DJ Bone is ever prolific these days, with his Differ-Ent alias releasing an epic triple LP release on Don't Be Afraid last year. A Piece Of Beyond marks the second DJ Bone studio album, and it finds him in an exploratory mood. "It Begins" is a unique exercise in synth wobbles and military drum programming, while "The Stalker" heads into the deepest and farthest corners of the quintessential Motor City techno sound. "The Chase" takes on a cosmic, break-infected stance that calls to mind spiritual jazz as much as techno, while there's more classic styles to be enjoyed on "Dreamers 9" and the absolutely stomping "Sweat".
Review: It would be fair to say that White Material co-founder DJ Richard's latest full-length excursion is an album of two halves (to mangle a football cliche). Stick on the first slab of wax, and you'll be confronted with a string of dark and moody treats, from creepy ambient interludes to grumpy electro, to mind-altering dark-Italo (see standout "Vanguard") and pulsating, off-kilter electronica (the restless acid pulse, off-kilter drums and paranoid chords of "Tunnel Stalker"). Whack on the second disc, though, and you'll be comforted and calmed by a series of intensely blissful, occasional melancholic compositions that are much lighter and dreamier in tone. Of these, it's the sublime "Final Mercy" and "Ex Aere" that stand out.
Review: Whereas Ed Upton's previous DMX Krew album for Hypercolour explored the bittersweet world of electronic melancholia and laidback futurism, his latest full-length outing charges towards the dancefloor with a giddy grin and an adrenaline-fuelled lust for life. From start to finish, the untitled set is a throbbing rush of futurist techno, fizzing electro and muscular Italo-disco workouts, with Upton's trademark sound - think funk-fuelled synth-bass, psychedelic acid lines, intergalactic chord sequences and inspired electronic flourishes - guaranteeing countless cuts of timeless electronic music. Best of all, while most of the tracks are crying out for club plays, the album can be enjoyed as a single musical journey that stands up to repeated listens.
Review: The first release of 2017 from Edume and Nicolas Lutz's "multi-disciplinary art platform" (that's a record label, kids) My Own Own Jupiter comes from Spanish analogue freak Do Or Die. It's an expansive, intergalactic debut album featuring nine scorching, tried-and-tested dancefloor treats. Highlights come thick and fast, from the racing deep space bleeps and razor-sharp acid lines of body-jacker "Mr Insane" and psychedelic-minded electro-acid shuffler "Brahmsstrat", to the deep and galactic techno/electro hum of "Osst" and rush-inducing deep house bliss of "Posthuman (Part 1)". Also worth a listen is "Norse", in which Do or Die fuses bleep-era Biosphere with the mechanical funk of vintage Chicago jack.
Review: In which Mannequin become the latest label to dip into the vast CDr archives of Legowelt's dormant Strange Life Records. Originally released back in 2007, Mons Testaceum was the debut album from MinimalRome co-founder Heinrich Dressel and the onset of a trilogy dedicated to Monte Testaccio, an artificial mound in Rome composed almost entirely of 'testae', fragments of broken amphorae dating from the time of the Roman Empire. Notable for the prominent usage of Elka Synthex, a legendary Roman synthesizer, Mons Testaceum remains a wonderful curio of the Dressel discography and fans of the Italian's work will delight at the chance to own it on vinyl thanks to MNQ!
Review: A big Juno bear hug goes to the folks from Tresor for releasing a string of sublime re-issues this year. The latest is Drexciya's seminal Harnessed The Storm long player, generally a much darker affair than Neptune's Lair, which itself was reissued earlier this year. It is hallmarked by longer, more exploratory tracks, full of sinister twists and turns. The stormy electro thunder of "Digital Tsunami" is perhaps the standout moment here, closely followed by the subterranean squelch of "Soul Of The Sea". "Dr Blowfins Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres" has an eerie crackle that predates the current vogue for dark atmospheric techno by nearly a decade, while the robotic key melody on "Song Of The Green Whale" marks it as the LP's most playful moment. Highly recommended for electro and techno purists alike.