Review: The wonderful Er + Er imprint has a knack for getting some of the biggest names in electronic music together and jamming the hell out! Some of the works by Ricardo Villalobos for the label have been simply sublime. This time, we got legend Carl Craig going head-to-head with the supremely talented Francesco Tristano in a sort of classical techno vibe. "Luder Pre" combines a mid-tempo percussive beat with some seriously twisted piano work, twisting and contorting into a right old spin. It's a one-sided gem, it's 300 copies limited, so you better get yourself one quick!
Review: Manchester's meandyou. collective take their time over releases, averaging just over a 12" per year. Here they kick off 2016 with another collaborative EP, full of drowsy deep house, crackling techno and tipsy, world-weary ambience. With label conspirator Herron otherwise engaged, it falls to Workshopper Even Tuell to kick things off with the slowly unfurling new age chords, blazed vocal samples and sparse-but-chunky deep house groove of "Boys Truth". Sul "Does It For Andy" on the creepy, discordant dark world ambient track of the same name, before Sensu brings back the beats on the hypnotic, experimental dubby techno shuffle of "Sigmon". Finally, Fabric lays back and lights something fragrant on the similarly dub techno influenced, metallic IDM-goes-ambient of "Pink Grid".
Review: UK techno producer Sigha returns to his experimental project Faugust for the first time since the Devotions (1984 - 2006) EP on the short lived Avian sub label Mira five years ago. Unlike its predecessor, "Parallel Rave Fantasies" resurrects his long-dormant Our Circula Sound imprint and dives into new sonic territory, incorporating more IDM and generative music. Check the mind-mangling and glitchy "Cold Harbour", the demented digitized soundscape of "Process Aesthetics" and the brutalist, body bashing industrial of closer "Definition".
Review: Shadowy London producer Filter Dread returns from Beyond Saturn with four new futurist designs. This time on Seattle newcomer label Tech Startup. Maintaining his stark ravey elements, pneumatic breaks and grainy bass signature, the vibe remains hardcore, rough around the edges throughout. "Rainforest" is near militant with its drum edits and warped, detuned synth washes while "Blizzard" brings a crush sense of decay to the percussion and much more of a subverted electro feel to the mix. Flip for two more weapons: the gnarled, schizoid "Tripping Up" which touches on breakcore but at a much slower tempo and "RX 4 Real" which taps into the classic hardcore aesthetic and flips more switches than Battersea Power Station.
Review: For their first trick, recently launched label Ex Machina presents a selection of tunes extracted from M. Finnkreig's 1988 debut cassette, Exit/Accidental. There's much to admire throughout, from the foreboding, fuzz-laden new beat pulse of "Blank Order" and "Clean State", to the bubby but moody, alternative synth-pop bustle of "Discover The Truth" and high-pitched, manipulated acappella vocal cut "Medium". Elsewhere, "Exit-Accidental" is a cheery and out-there chunk of pitched-down electro rich in moody, post-apocalyptic chords and stuttering sample stabs, and "Liberia" is a woozy collage of layered spoken word snippets, lilting synthesizer melodies and wobbly drum machine programming.
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Review: Last year, Burnt Friedmann and Uwe Schmidt reunited as Flanger for the first time in a decade, releasing the IDM-meets-future jazz full-length Lollopy Dripper. Here the experimental electronica veterans are at it again, delivering three more eccentric chunks of body-popping electronic jazz-fusion. They begin with the spacey throb of "Spinner", where broken computer noises and glitch electronics ride an undulating, off-kilter drum machine groove. "It From Bit" retains the attractive glitches of its' predecessor, blending them with an up-tempo, dub-influenced techno rhythm. Finally, they let their jazz influences run free on the computerized broken beat-meets-IDM-in-dub fizz of "Loose Joints".
Review: For their ninth release, Berlin's mindcolormusic present another stellar release by a debutant, as well as an old schooler. Shane Teal aka Flux is based out in the Pacific Northwest U.S.A. and is said to have been recording music for over a decade, making anything from electro to drum and all that's in between. All these disparate influences can be heard on the unholy mixture of "2linx" which comes off sounding like some broken-beat offworld IDM experiment - and sounds pretty awesome. On the flip, it is over to Eddie Symons: a veteran producer based in the UK, who after releasing on his own Struktur and [d]-tached imprints, made his debut as Bovaflux for the Highpoint Lowlife label back in 2005. Four deep and dystopian electro bass offerings from Symons here, and we particularly enjoyed the Aphex/Autechre spounding melancholia of "Lmp_Nrg".
Review: Detroit based Blair French aka Dial81 is a producer and DJ known for his work in the local groups Cosmic Handshakes, Nois Land and BLKSHRK and has released on labels diverse as Going Good and Claremont 56 - in addition to Amsterdam techno powerhouse Delsin. Since relocating to the Michigan capital Lansing (where he's apparently been collaborating with the city's favourite son: John Beltran) he's also involved in Detroit Electronic Quarterly Magazine. As far as the Public Park EP is concerned, it's all about Afro influenced soul and disco vibes as heard on the sunkissed and spiritual title track, or the deep and dreamy mood lighting of "Spirit Guides". On the flip, strap yourself in for the bass heavy gqom vive of "Public Beach" followed by a tougher Stripped Version.
Review: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is the perfect companion to Burnt Friedman's steely, minimalistic shades of broken dub techno. The Iranian percussionist comes as a surprise addition to the Nonplace catalogue, but he certainly makes for an even more cerebral drumming experience than the already off-kilter world of Friedman's tunes. Both the A-side's mixes of "Yek" are just on the right side of dark, combining Eastern influences together with colder, more industrial executions from the West. On the B-side, we have a similarly frenetic experience, where metallic drums collide with deep baselines and polyrhythmic flows spanning the full circle. Well, this might just be our favourite Nonplace yet!
Review: One of the great joys of Matthew Puffett's Future Beat Alliance productions is the stargazing futurism that oozes from each far-sighted melody, intergalactic chord and impeccably programmed beat. That sci-fi-centric positivity is evident throughout this EP, from the smooth and emotive goodness of opener "Truth?" and the sharp, spiraling alien melodies of "Leave This Planet (Alone)", to the ghostly ambient techno bliss of "Enter 030" and the becalmed, beat-free electronic fluidity of sublime ambient composition "Virtual Shoulder (To Cry On)". Elsewhere, "Zuidas" wraps ethereal electronics and funky acid bass around snappy broken beats, while "Bitten" is a dusty chunk of hip-hop/electronica fusion.
Review: De:tuned's 10th anniversary series has so far served up killer, previously unreleased material from a whole host of underground heroes, scene pioneers and household names. They're at it again on this sixth volume in the ongoing series, which begins with a now rare - but typically weird and out-there - cut from early 90s ambient/techno/electro fusionists The Future Sound Of London. "Skinny XAM" is peak FSOL and sounds like it could have come from the improvised radio broadcasts that inspired the duo's "ISDN" album. Elsewhere, Monolake AKA Robert Henke does his best Autechre impression on the dark and punchy "ForC160q", while David Morley wraps undulating acid lines and creepy effects around a hypnotic ambient techno groove on "Traytor".
Review: Producer Alexander P.J Geiger was very active during the noughties, releasing a string of singles and albums (both as Geiger and Nass) before all but disappearing from view. Fahrland is his latest artistic incarnation and this, the project's debut outing, marks the producer's first release for eight years. The title, Mixtape Volume 1, hints at the album's construction; this is a set of disparate tracks that showcase Geiger's ability to turn his hand to a myriad of genres. So becalmed ambient cuts are followed, in sequence, by tracks that variously doff a cap to Balearic synth-pop, lo-fi electronic soul, ultra-deep house, jammed-out intergalactic techno, krautrock, hip-hop and dream pop.
Review: More Than Human are based in Canada and have previously released records by Pye Corner Audio, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ekoplekz. Their next release comes from Faten Kanaan, a Brooklyn based artist who slowly builds songs by live-looping them into a narrative, without the use of sequencers or arpeggiators. His third full-length Foxes is loosely inspired by early Surrealist automatism, made-up languages, Middle-Eastern Hakawati storytellers, and the minimalist poignancy of mimes. Here, Fatan uses sound as an intuitive gesture to tell a wordless story, exploring intimacy, anxiety, mischief and restlessness.
Review: Faust stand among the most influential creative forces to have emerged from Germany in the late '60s and early '70s. Along with Can, Agitation Free, Neu! and others, they rejected the Anglo-American norms of rock 'n' roll to start a back-to-basics and uniquely Teutonic revolution in sound - later dubbed by the UK press as 'Krautrock'. Comprised of twenty odd tape manipulation experiments and freak-out jams, this LP stashes away some of the band's best-known songs.
Review: At some point over the course of their career, almost every techno producer has begun to look beyond the confines of the club for inspiration. It appears that Lewis Fautzi has reached that point. While his previous singles and albums for the likes of Soma, Figure, BPitch Control and Pole Recordings have largely been rugged, dancefloor-focused affairs, "Insanity Department" is an altogether different beast. Altogether deeper, melodious and introspective, the album's seven atmospheric tracks draw considerable influence from deep electro, IDM, krautrock, neo-classical and off-kilter movie soundtracks. As a result, it makes for beguiling, creepy and often poignant listening.
Review: Brazilian producer Fernando Seixlack has previously impressed with a couple of notably punky albums of experimental techno under the Innyster alias. Here he makes his debut for Ron Morelli's esteemed L.I.E.S imprint with a first full-length under his own name. While still as fuzzy, lo-fi and out-there as its predecessors, "Fernando" is a surprisingly melodious and tuneful affair, with Seixlack wrapping glistening - if distorted and pixilated - guitars and trippy synthesizer motifs around bustling machine beats and wayward electronic percussion. At times it touches on electro, at others IDM and more experimental, abstract pursuits; throughout, the album remains both hugely entertaining and pleasingly atmospheric.