Review: The tenth missive on Vortex Traks is full to bursting with tasty treats. As with many of the Berlin-based imprint's previous outings, it's a multi-artist affair. Marshall Applewhite kicks things off via the deep electro/dusty IDM fusion of "Better Do Not", where eight-bit electronics and undulating acid-style motifs rise above a crunchy beat, before Forehard attempts to batter dancefloors into submission via the full-throttle, Klakson-style Rotterdam electro filth of "Rhythm Device". Das Ding invites us to party in deep space via the high-tempo beats and swirling, some would say psychedelic electronics of "Analog Devices", before VCS2600 serves up some seriously punchy, acid-fired electro ("Modular Device").
Review: We're always keen to hear from Berlin label Vortex Traks. This 11th offering sees them eschew their recent run of Various Artists EPs to instead focus on five cuts from Datawave. The Belgian artist's sound operates in some distant galaxy, watched over by his forebearers such as Dopplereffekt and Drexciya. Crashing hits open "Implant" before a serrated lead signals ready for takeoff. The intensity only ramps up through the warp speed synths of "Immune Compound" and corrugated bass rumbles of "Hybrid Structure". "Proceed" is the most alien of the lot, and "Thin Line" closes out on a mysterious vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Review: Having taken the summer off - presumably to recharge their batteries - the robots behind Germany's Varvet label are back. For the label's third release they've enlisted debutants Disabled, a production duo comprising Stockholm's Cynthia Stern and veteran techno producer Tobias Schmidt (Tresor, Vivod, Don't etc.). There's a real "full throttle" feature to the untitled opener, whose fizzing electro synths seemingly buzz around a slamming techno groove. "Track 2" sees them reaching for surging analogue sub-bass, ghostly electronic melodies and jacking 4/4 beats, while "Track 3" is a panicked romp through angular electro pastures. Wisely, they allow listeners a bit of a breather in the shape of closer "Track 4", a far more becalmed chunk of ghostly, horror-influenced deep electro.
Review: While the title evokes images of the Uncanny Valley crew getting up to sitcom-style scrapes while bumbling around Germany in a rickety old bus, there's an altogether simpler explanation for the Uncanny Vacation tag. Basically, it's a hook-up between the Dresden label and their pals from Munich's Permanent Vacation imprint, featuring tracks from both camps. Musically, there are plenty of thrills on offer, from the looped deep house-disco of Jacob Korn's "Eieiei" and bodypoppin' electro-meets-classic Italo of DMX Krew's "Astro Logical", to the woozy, almost Balearic analogue deep house of Drvg Culture's winding "See You Again Someday". It's as off-kilter but on-point as you'd expect. We'd still think the bus trip idea is a goer, mind.
Review: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Review: In the face of all those Clone reissue compilations, Tresor are doing the right thing and digging into their own archive of seminal aquatic machine funk from Detroit electro legends Drexciya, and stepping up with the Hydro Doorways EP is the kind of power move that most labels can only dream of being able to make. From the cinematic drama of "Quantum Hydrodynamics" to the textbook boogie down synth abandon of "Polymono Plexusgel", not forgetting the heavy-on-the-one throwdown of "Lost Vessel" or the alien gurgles and peppy pace of "Species On The Pod", or the... oh you know the drill. This is timeless, essential business for anyone that takes electronic music seriously.
Review: Under the Danced Til Midnight alias, DJ Andy Anderson has always produced music that eschews easy categorization. His two previous 12" singles successfully blended elements of funk, soul, disco, hip-hop, house and Afrobeat. This madcap, all-that-counts-is-the-dancefloor feel is continued on "She Can't Love You", which laces Ijeoma's soulful, R&B style vocal over a backing track that variously doffs a cap to fuzzy funk, boogie, breakbeat and disco-house. Similar could be said about the more breakbeat-minded "Maxx E", which feels like a reworked instrumental dub of the title track. Speaking of reworks, the EPs's highlight is arguably Egyptian Lover's punchy electro remake of "She Can't Love You".
Review: Brothers Fabio and Marco D'Arcangelo can trace their roots back to Rome's industrial techno revolution of the early 1990s, but are arguably best known for their frequent outings on Rephlex. This EP originally came out on Richard D James and Grant Wilson-Claridge's imprint way back in 1996, when they were still beginning their musical journey. It remains a blisteringly good six-tracker, with highlights including the raw, Aphex Twin-influenced "Somewhere in Time", the guttural, fuzz-drenched post-electro rhythms and Kraftwerk bleeps of "Diagram VII (Milk Mix)", and the pleasingly skuzzy industrial hip-hop of "Skrakt". Arguably best of all, though, is the shimmering "80s Mix" of "Diagram 7", which recasts the track as a melodic chunk of funk-fuelled electro.
Review: Digital Poodle are one of those outfits from the 1980's who happened to stumble onto techno by accident, focusing on making deadly, driving songs rather than fitting into a genre or style. Alongside them there are the likes of Psychik Warriors Ov Goia and a few others, but this stuff is pretty damn hard to come by, and releases like this are few and far between. The impressive Suction label out of Canada has decided to reissue their "Work Terminal" tune - a screeching, venomous bit of screamo EBM - backed by a trio of remixes. OH transform "Work Terminal" into a more direct techno bullet with subtle swarms of the original's screams, while Solvent give it a more aggressive reshape a-la electro. It's the Metro Tekno version that gets our attention, though, and those heavy percussion patterns must surely be total winners on the sound system.
Review: Soundscape Versions delivers its third edition of the various artists series and offers four effective cuts between subtle house breaks, acid house, electro and atmospheric techno. Featuring Kintaro 89, Faune, Arian Alexander and Douala.
Review: Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: In some ways, And Silently Vanish Away is an odd title for an EP packed with tracks that linger long in the memory. Certainly, electro heads will appreciate the heavy 808 hits, droning bass and fluttering, deep space electronics of Exterminador's brilliant "Alien Soundscapes", not to mention the trippy, delay-laden vocal samples, warped hardware melodies and scuttling drum machine rhythms of NGLY and Exterminador's "Broken Flowers". We're big fans, too, of Hinode's bustling, razor-sharp opener "Mission4" - the kind of track that would leap out of a DJ mix and send you rushing online to find out its identity - and the fuzzy, dust-encrusted techno hum of DJ Nephil's hypnotic "Codex".
Review: Helena Hauff's label is back, this time presenting a various artists 12" that heralds the start of the No Return series. The release starts on a mystical bent with the Eastern-tinged death electro of "El Carmel", sounding ripe for a Hague-friendly warm-up session. Neud Photo then take over with a dystopian trip through rich synth tones coloured in dark hues for the bleakest of robotic fantasies. Antoni Maiovvi fills the B-side with the slow grinding bombast of "The Dig", bleeding out a noirish take on coldwave for the darkest hearts to swoon to.
Review: Prolific but underrated Motor City producer Detroit's Filthiest makes a comment on the falsehoods of society with his latest EP. But there is nothing fake about his talent: he manipulates his machines in compelling fashion here, pairing perfectly squelchy bass and synthetic synth textures with the most gorgeous and organic piano keys imaginable. "Baby Makin Music" is laden with romantic chords, while "Mothership Has Landed" is more edgy and unsettled. On the flip, "No Strings Attached" is a playful and jazzy electro cut that makes way for the equally excellent "Social Engineering". In these times of electro trendiness, this EP still manages to stand out.
Review: Ovine build on the momentum of their first EP with another new house offering that is beautifully deep. It features two tracks each from Dan Piu and Pohl, and they all hack back to dreamy Italo, classic Mr Fingers and the more pensive Chicago greats. "Depresismatica" is a real highlight with its meandering basslines and infinite cosmic horizons. "Mello Phone" offers more pixelated melodies and busy beats and "Space In The Distance" has the sort of freaky edges and dusty analog textures house lovers always fall for. Already, then, this is a label that is setting a high standard.
I Can See It In My Dreams (Orgue Electronique remix) (6:04)
Review: The ever-impressive Organic Analogue returns with another crucial excursion into seductive hardware jams from the deeper end of the electronic gene pool. Marvis Dee is an alias for Dutch electro champ Jeremiah R, and finds the promising upstart on impeccable form. There's something seedy in the air on killer opening jam "Alpha", while "Dipper" makes no bones about its classic, Drexciya-informed electro intentions. "I Can See It In My Dreams" is a wistful trip into Chicago house territory, which Orgue Electronique dutifully remixes in his warm, effervescent manner. With "Intervention" and "Cygnus" taking a deeper direction it's a record with depth to match the other excellent releases on OA, and one of the strongest sleeve designs we've seen in some time.
Review: New label Nuances de Nuit kick off in fine style with a various artists 12" that draws on some emergent names to lay out a vision of cross-style dance music that favours the deeper end of the pool. Things get going with an organ-rich house bumper from DJ Steaw that pumps in all the right places, before Armless Kid switches things up with an untitled slice of dynamic, richly layered electro. T. Jacques thumps out a crafty, swinging cut with techy inclinations and oodles of groove, and E. Wan takes things in a more linear, deep techno direction laden with gorgeous synth work and plenty of artful effects processing.
Review: Datawave is the project of Brussels based Gaetan Votion, who returns to Natural Sciences for the first time since 2017's "Submersion" - which was featured on their V/A Future Works Vol 3 compilation. Taking up where he left off last time, Votion explores the dark and dystopian realms of electro bass on this self-titled EP, taking the best of the genre's classic aesthetic, while delivering a stylish and contemporary edge. From the A side's introverted and futuristic thriller "Hidden Outpost", through to the high energy workout of "Stellar Wind" on the flip, this certainly proves to be one of the week's highlights in our electro releases.
Review: The latest audio missive from the My Own Jupiter camp brings together debutant Nicholas Lutz (here using the previously unused Draculas Lutz alias) and former CABARET Recordings producer Omar Chibarro. They pair begins proceedings with arresting A-side "Instrumento", a bold, bass-heavy and angular electro jam packed with mind-altering acid lines and shimmering, deep space motifs. They change tack on the flipside, accompanying snappy, organ-laced NYC garage bumper "Tschuss" with the hybrid acid-jack/spacey house bluster of quality closer "Gerogliftko". While stylistically varied, the EP's three tracks are united by an attractive looseness that only emphasizes the thrillingly wayward nature of the duo's otherworldly electronics.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one 12" single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.