Review: Default Records has returned with its second release after compiling a roster of artists who are committed to establishing presence in the scene by pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. Camelia starts us off on the A side with *Transferring*, which presents itself in a light and airy atmosphere. Its playful percussive notes are juxtaposed against its hypnotic groove making for a warm and easy listen. Macarie follows with *Flu*, a vibrant and dance-inducing sludge of gritty, piercing elements that seamlessly blooms into an emotional melody that is driven by its tantalizing rhythm. Label boss Exander shows the heavier side of his creative spectrum on the B side with *Odyssey*. The fullness of this cut accompanied by its intriguing and directive vocal is only enhanced by its delicate features and attention to detail. Closing out the compilation is Lulla's *Distort Time* which reveals all its insides with a symphony of glitchy bleeps and blops all reinforced by a cadence of drums and groove that stirs it into an electric soup.
Review: Material by London duo Astrud Steehouder and Nina Bosnic, aka Finders Keepers duo Paper Dollhouse, gets pulled into new rhythmic shapes by Joe Cocherell and Montalk on this compelling record for Resilience. Given his background as drummer in DVA Damas and propulsive techno output on Frozen Border, Cocherell is well placed to reinterpret "Space III" as eleven minutes of kraut addled techno that you could easily visualise James Holden closing out a Sonar performance with. Complementing this, Resilience's in-house mystery production unit Montalk take a more abstract approach to "Drone 1", submerging the vocals of Paper Dollhouse in all manner of spectral delay on a remix that forgoes rhythm in favour of all encompassing atmosphere.
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: 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: Raster Noton's Unun series continues with more droned-out techno goodness, this time by Carl Michael Von Hausswolff and Martin Rossel aka Gomila Park! The likes of Mika Vainio have appeared on this series before and we can safely say that the label has only put out pure heat. "Leipniz" is a nasty, apocalyptic showdown of metallic drones and steel-eyed drums, while on the flip, "Ramon Llul" is a cavernous head-nodder, and "Calculus" heads into deep space thanks to its sudden bursts of alien speech. Wonderful stuff, not to be missed.
Review: Whatever Makes You Feel Safe is a collaboration between Canadian producer and singer Marie Davidson and Berlin based Ukrainian sound designer Invisible Church. They met in Montreal during Red Bull Music Academy festival and shared the idea of exploring the concept of feeling safe both on a personal level and as a part of society. Quite different from what you'd usually associate with Davidson but still worthy of your attention all the same. Beginning on the A side with "Collage" featuring some chilling drone experiments over textural sound design and field recordings which allow Davidson's haunting vocals to carry the track further into the void. Sounds like a cross between OAKE and Lustmord. Next up "Never Release The Tension" delves further into pitch black territory on this contorted downbeat industrial thriller. Finally on the flip, we've got an epic 10 minutes of haunting esoterica in the form of "Ten Years" and features Theo Parrish on cymbals! The label recommends it as for fans the late Mika Vainio, Black Rain, CTI, and the Bladerunner OST. Pretty on point, if we do say so ourselves!
Review: With this release, WOW Signal Records presents a modern view on bass oriented electronic music. From Russian producer Cyberworm's "Breath Slow" (future garage), Kontext's dub techno epic "Doubling Theory (Meteors)" to the techstep of Melotronics' "Launch Pad" and Diagram's leftfield drum & bass on "Orbital Collapse". These genres are united by a uniform deep sound of the planet. They even released it on vinyl, because they are intent on spreading the music that makes them vibe with other bass lovers the world over.
Review: Next up on Bristol's Bokeh Versions is Japan's Mars89 with his second release. He's a crucial member of the Tokyo's Chopstick Killahz: a self-described 'post tribal DJ unit' lurking on the fringes of the city's grime scene, in addition to being a Noods Radio resident. He presents some more of his contorted UK bass and gqom derivatives from the far east on the End Of The Death EP. Influences of Jersey club, dancehall and grime are evident throughout, from the reverberated rapid-fire toms of "Run To Mall" or the industrial edged beats of "Random Coherence" or "Throbbing Pain" to even more desolate soundscapes as heard on the chilling "Visitor From The Ocean".
Review: Arizona based experimental outfit Marshstepper gave one of the most talked about performances at the 2016 edition of Berlin Atonal, and the festival have issued a live recording on their affiliated label. Band members JS Aurelius and Nick Nappa were joined on the evening by Drew McDowall, Varg and Silent Servant - where the collective executed a confronting performance. Employing Coil influenced industrial soundscapes, drone, dark ambient and even some moments of slow-burning techno - they take you on a powerful journey on each side of the record. Aurelius and Nappa run the underground cassette imprint Ascetic House, between Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York City.
Review: Gird yourselves; starting from this month and running through until December, Dutch institution Dekmantel are celebrating a decade in the game with a series of monthly 12"s featuring a seriously all-star cast from Tony Allen to Villalobos. It starts right here as legendary innovative composer Gigi Masin opens with the lilting, delicate "Maja", Vakula brings us down from the clouds and back to the future with the body-jacking ghetto bump of "Robot Fuck The System" while Flugel blows the finale horn with the swampy Amazonian harmonic trip-out "Mice On Stick". This is the start of something very special.
Review: Nathan Melja drew some favourable attention with choice outings on Mister Saturday Night, Black Opal and Technicolour, but now he's steering his own label Dream Real as a vessel for his wayward but warm sonics. This second release keeps the psyched out tone of his previous work intact, offering up four jams of illustrious synth work and fractured beats for the adventurous souls out there. "Ignore" is a vaporous cut of stuttering drums and fuzzy chord shapes, while "Steam" sports a more clearly defined rhythmic pulse for the deepest house heads. "Raindrops" cools things down to a downtempo lilt, and then "That F Sound" nudges towards a leftfield techno domain that Melja ably makes his own.
Review: The incorrigible PAN imprint returns with yet another dosage of fresh, ritualistic electronic sounds conjured by Berlin newcomer Mesh and presented by the unstoppable label-head, Bill Kouligas. The latter has had been on a formidable run of form over the last few years, and the releases he personally handpicks just seem to get better and better! These latest Mesh cuts are no different. "Scythians" itself is an instant PAN classic, a mass of utterly insane and morphed electronics fluttering away with grace and arrogance. But this is in no way a one-track release. Every track is the Berliner's own sound, one that's both bold and fierce but also forward looking. Some parts remind us of the spirit and the essence of the Metalheadz sound throughout the 90s, minus the breaks. Highly recommended.
Review: Romania's newest source of experimental minimalist, Listen2Me, digs up a new talent by the name of MGCH, and shoots him - or her - onto our shelves with this small marvel of an EP. "87" is a delightful tune, a glitchy minimal groove that travels between house, noise and electro with utter ease and pure elegance, a sound that is matured further via the rhythmic sway of the moodier, dubbier folds and clicks of "Is This It". There's a trio of leftfield charmers on the flipside, spear-headed by the warm and placid glow of the near beatless "What For", evolved into something of a lounge house mood on "How You See", and tied off by a dubwise reinterpretation of "87" by Serb. TIP!!
Review: Local Talk hits the rather significant catalogue number of 100 with a forward thinking EP that stays true to its MO over the last few years. It finds MLiR aka Modern Life Is Rubbish joined by Arnau Obiols to serve up a brace of brilliant tunes that blur the lines between a myriad different dance styles. "Lajbans" is a playful, fun tune with tooting arps and cosmic melodies all married to a chugging beat that Todd Terje would be proud of. The Bellaterra dub on the flip reworks it with plenty of space echo, knob twirling effects and sci-fi atmospheres. A tidy little package.