Review: REPRESS ALERT: Exzakt continues to forge one of the purest totems of classic electro with his Monotone label, and indeed his own output. The latest release is a various artists EP which perfectly sums up everything Monotone is about. The Advent leads the way with the dark, melodic "Eye's Of Envy," produced alongside Zein, before Exzakt himself drops a taut and wiry dancefloor bomb in the shape of "Kreep." 214 fires up the B side with the edgy, minimalist thrust of "Crouch & Turn," before EggFooYoung makes a surprise return to the fray with the more Miami-flavoured stylings of "Bass2Large," a slower, dirtier jam with low end frequencies to get the whole club freaking.
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.
Edi Jpg - "Software Mirrors" (Reflection mix) (5:15)
Jorge Gamarra - "Path5" (6:23)
Fdez - "Titotra" (7:33)
Rough Thought - "Fr4n (In Memoriam)" (7:06)
Review: Berlin's Spaecial Records return with the fourth edition of their new series, following up some great ones by Reedale Rise, Matthias Wagner and Dakpa recently. "Looping Forwardeo" is a wicked various artists EP which features the soulful broken beat of Edi Jpg's "Software Mirrors (Reflection Mix)" that's reminiscent of Slow Life man S. Moreira's work and Jorge Gamarra's (one third of Sur Records) fluttering "Path5". On the flip, Alvaro Fernandez aka FDEZ from Spain gets us all aboard the acid express on the mental "Titotra" and on the flip before Rough Thought delivers some deep and tripped-out electro bass on "Fr4n (In Memoriam)".
Review: Anyone who has seen one of Egyptian Lover's riotous live shows will confirm the role that classic cut "I Need a Freak" plays in proceedings. During performances, he attempts to get female members of the audience going by altering the lyrics to suit the occasion - a tactic that usually gets a rapturous response. Despite being recorded in the '80s (and eventually released in 1994), the track has lost none of its energy or appeal; it should be in the collection of any genuine electro enthusiast. There's another treat on the flip in the shape of the rarely seen extended version of 1984 cut "My House (On The Nile)", which is every bit as essential as the A.
Review: Sex-obsessed electro legend The Egyptian Lover rarely makes a duff record, serving up spacey and intergalactic cuts that tiptoe the fine line between dancefloor sensuality and all-out sleaziness. On his latest record he's joined forces with turntablist hero Q-Bert, who adds tight, on-point cuts and scratches to the Los Angeles' producer's punchy beats and starry-eyed synths on A-side club cut "Beyond The Galaxy". Fittingly, the A-side also boasts a "Scratch Tool" version - an early '80s style stripped-back beat track over which you can add your own crabs, flares and baby scratches. Turn to the flipside for the previously unheard extended version of "5 Cent Camel Ride", a squelchy, acid-flecked electro slammer smothered in snake charmer solos and bleeping electronics.
Review: Under the Ekman name, Dutch producer Roel Dijcks has been in devastating form this year, haunting the finer dancehalls with his own distinct brand of dark and nasty electro and techno for Solar One, Abstract Forms and impressive newcomer Berceuse Heroique. Reform for the latter label is perhaps our favourite of the lot but the Nervous EP, Ekman's debut for the splendidly deranged Gooiland Elektro is serious stuff. Both the lead track "Do I Make You Nervous?" and "Hail To The Big Worm" have that grotty Rotterdam squat party vibe that's so appealing about Ekman's productions whilst "Don't Let Them In" mixes the deepset paranoia of a D'Marc Cantu production with brushes of new beat synthetics.
Review: Following their recent reissue of the Elecktroids' sought after 1995 debut album, Clone offers up a tasty new edition of the shadowy, Drexciya-related outfit's only EP, "Kilohertz". Interestingly, the Clone crew has somehow managed to locate an additional fifth track - the mind-altering vocal electro sleaze of "Digital Warlock" - that was missing from the original Warp Records pressing. It's a neat bonus on top of the other four tracks, and they are all seriously scintillating. Highlights include the "Computer World"-era Kraftwerk style alien bounce of "Remote Control Hornet", the glassy-eyed, synthesizer-fuelled positivity of "Magnetic Field" and the weighty beat-box electrofunk buzz of "Kilohertz".
Review: Transparent Sound label boss Orson Bramley steps up to his long-standing imprint with a new guise, Empty Orchestra, which showcases yet more of his crafty, delicately executed take on electro. "Nervouse Smile" is an impeccable study of the style, loaded with intricate machine funk elements from twitchy drum programming to ethereal pads, and of course a healthy dose of funk for good measure. As well as the original version, there are additional remixes courtesy of rising stars Acidulant and Alero May, the latter of which has an especially infectious bassline ripple and some smart key change moments for a dynamic end result.
Review: We've already been treated to one bonafide classic Entro Senestre 12" this year in the shape of the WT Records released ES ("Rosegold" being the standout) and the producer really spoils us with another superb record in the shape of this Dekmantel debut. The producer, real name Jon Beall, is quite the talent. "The Screen" is Drexciyan-like frenetic electro with a trance, gothic-like glow, while "Hit The Road" is grubby and downright dirty; that's until those delayed chords hit. Chi-town influences, synths and emotional progressions fuel "Trails Of Love", while for some hardcore techno action check out "Slow Motion Disaster". Each track is as good as the next on this record, and yeah it's versatile, but we prefer the word: killer.
Review: Bjarki's BBBBBB label has carved out its own unique niche in the techno world and next to occupy it is core label artist Stian "EOD" Gjevik. The former Rephlex artist shows off his magnificently complex and busy yet harmonic and melodic sound across five fantastically restless cuts that has lead synths taking you down a number of rabbit holes. Calming pads vie for your attention on "(Untitled) (W-R6)" while the acid laced "The Battery Poles (Are Conic!)" is so bright and shiny it'll have you reaching for your sunglasses. Few people speak so freely through their machines as this man right now.
Review: Slovenian imprint Svemir is the new offshoot on minimal house imprint Kanja and they are back with their third various artists compilation following previous editions featuring artists such as Gosub, Perseus Traxx and Olvap. This time round, Leipzig's Eoism (Pulse Drift/Undersound) explores some emotive smack electro on "Minor Alchemy", the enigmatic Hawaiian Surfer channels the distinct style of Motor City soul on "Parabolic Lens" and on the flip Croatia's Zagrebacki Elektric pump up the dark energy of "Ichi Ni Chi Cni".
Review: We've been rather spoiled this year with new Convextion material. His 2845 full-length on Artless is arguably one of the best electronic albums of 2016, while his ambient-leaning 12" on Acido was also breathtakingly good. Here, he rounds off the year with a fine 7" single containing two terrific tracks. The veteran producer begins with new road, a delightfully spacey combination of cascading melody lines, similarly tumbling bass, and punchy but laidback electro beats. It's evocative and emotion-rich like much of his best work. Similar accolades could be heaped upon flispide "Summer Nights", a warmer and woozier concoction that sounds like Larry Heard in electro mode.
Review: Frustrated Funk's latest missive boasts cuts from two of electro's most reliable artists: Convextion man Gerard Hanson (under the deep electro E.R.P. guise) and Rotterdam scene stalwarts Duplex. Hanson handles the A-side, delivering a punchy, club-ready electro workout rich in intergalactic electronics, Egyptian Lover style synth flourishes and restless drum machine cowbells. Interestingly, it's a far bolder and retro-futurist affair than we've come to expect from the dreamy and emotion-rich E.R.P. project. Ironically, Duplex's atmospheric and spacey "Molecular (Ovatow Reclock)" is undeniably deep and sumptuous, matching Hanson's most melodious and evocative moments.
Review: "Supernature" is Escape Artist's sophomore EP on Salt Mines and is another stylish intersection between breaks, electro, techno and ambient. The music here is crisp and clean, with sleek lines and sharp edges making it all the more pure and serene sounding. "Carpentaria" is a scene-setting opener that builds on smeared pads without ever fully taking off, and "The Earth" repeats the trick but with more bubbling and organic percussion. "Silicone Valium" is a brilliantly trippy electro cut on fat and heavy kicks and the title track marks full lift off with a surging future-techno groove detailed with some old school breaks.
Review: Not An Animal regulars Ess O Ess are back with an effervescent 12" that spans starry-eyed electro and pastoral electronica. "Voice Inside" comes in French and English versions, depending on what flavour you want from the sultry spoken word turn on the top of the plush harmonics of the production. As well as the killer original track, there's choice remixes on offer too from The Backwoods and Craig Richards. The former takes a cosmic, trippy approach to the track, but keeps the focus sharp thanks to a snapping 4/4 beat. Craig Richards meanwhile takes things far away from the original with a brilliant slice of discordant electro weirdness for the after hours crowd.
Review: To date the Electronic Leatherette releases have featured a whole spread of noirish synth brandishing producers on two split 12"s, including Heinrich Dressel and Plant43. This third trip out into the grubby climes of the wave-inspired scene comes courtesy of Exhausted Modern and CCO, both of whom know a thing or two about channeling sinister monosynths and brittle drum machine rhythms that bridge the gap between the DIY 80s and these hardware abundant times. Exhausted Modern's "Loss Of Self-Identity" is especially strong, while CCO's "Serendipity " struts with a satisfyingly deep and nagging acid twist.
Review: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.