Review: Vlad Arapasu's debut comes both at the right time and on the right label, not to mention marking the entrance of yet another masterful Romanian artist to the minimal-tech landscape. Landing on Germany's Subtil Records, this EP will surely earn the man some gigs down at Watergate or Club De Visionaire but, we're happy to say, that the music is pretty killer, too! "Jamies Run" is stripped-back and glitchy on the top end, leaving plenty of funk and drive in its bass; "Healing" pushes further out into the ether thanks to a wacky, shimmering bass, and "Sisco" wobbles its metallic beats amid eerie voices and sharp, corrosive hi-hats. 'Effective' is surely the word...
Review: Inaugurated last year by Vlad Radu & Andrei Ciubuc's VRAC project, the Subtil label has swiftly found favour with those minimal selectors who prefer their vinyl to brandish a range of spacious grooves from linear patterns to breakbeat flows. Crisp sound design, and a talent for abstraction and experimentation seem integral to who Subtil choose to work with also, as demonstrated on the Naiti Nait EP. Produced by Cosmjn, aka Romanian artist Cosmin Nastasa, this two track 12" represents his apparent debut release but there's a refinement to both the groove heavy long form productions that would suggest otherwise. Early support by Rhadoo and Barac!
Review: Nothing but good vibrations: Romanian vibe maestro Cosmjn returns to vinyl-only imprint Subtil with three more warm, focused, timeless tech grooves. Title track "Vibr8" takes us back 20 years where the lines between genres were barely visible as an elastic analogue bassline pings around linear drums with unhurried momentum. "Bottle" flips for a deeper housier groove with a gradually developing shuffle that wouldn't have gone amiss on MFF 10 years ago. Finally "Gottasay" takes us deeper again with a lush 12 minute chamber piece that's soft in build but mighty in pay-off thanks to a focused groove and deft use of white noise as a melodic texture. Gr8 m8, let's vibr8.
Review: Since making his debut back in 2012, Iulian Bivolaru has giddily charged between labels, showcasing his tech-house wares on such well-regarded imprints as Visionquest, Infuse and, most recently, Constant Sound. Here the Romanian label-hopper adds another imprint to his belt via a tidy three-tracker on Subtil. There's something wonderfully wonky about opener "Imaginary Forms", a druggy but pleasingly melodious mid-tempo workout rich in snappy machine drums and skewed analogue electronics, though the more foreboding and trippy "Gateway" is arguably equally as inebriated. Over on side B you'll find the delightfully spacey "Timeworn", a hypnotic and chiming affair that sits somewhere between IDM era ambient techno and mind-altering late night tech-house.
Review: Berlin imprint Subtil's mission statement is 'QUALITY UNDERGROUND MUSIC/VINYL ONLY' and that's good enough for us.. They're not wrong either. This time it's the turn of Iulian Ganovici aka Julian from, yes, Bucharest! This follows up his debut on London's FarFromNormal last year. On the A side we've got "Shades" which rolls along delightfully in reduced fashion until that muted bleep melody folds into the fray, joined by some infectiously dusty shuffle. On the flip is "Amburg" which is much darker and atmospheric. There's a lot of restraint in the kick and bass to make way for the creepy monologue and hypnotic pads to do most of the great work. Perfect for the mid-set breather but equally guaranteed to cause a headrush.
Review: Subtil is run by Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz. The latter teams up with label stalwart Martin Glowacz for the Berlin label's twelfth release, following up some great ones by Romanian tech house heroes Piktor and Vlad Arapasu. The A side features the slinky and hypnotic groove of "Frankonia", followed by the rolling and esoteric sorcery of "Lower". The flip belongs to an epic 13 minute long remix of "Frankonia" by Paul Agripa - of the trio Sahau with Dan Andrei and Serban Goanta. The Bucharest based producer's trippy daydream of a rendition is pure magic and exactly the kind of thing we could have imagined the crowd at Sunwaves 23 trancing out to last week.
Review: Piktor is the latest in a long line of Romanian producers to make their mark in the worlds of tech-house and minimal techno. Previously, he's released just one well-received EP - last year's Lokomtiv 12" on Acid Space - but the signs moving forward are good. Certainly, this follow-up for Subtil is quietly impressively. A-side "Onion Belt" is particularly potent, which the Vienna-based producer working a rolling, tech-tinged groove and wavy, softly spacey loops for 11 mesmerizing minutes. On the flipside, the chunkier, deep house influenced box jam "Juno" boasts some delicious synth motifs and crispy drum machine hits, while 'Senin" sees Piktor wrap a restless bassline and darting electronics around a swinging, Villalobos-inspired groove.
Review: It's the first light of day for both Vrac and Subtil Records, so with no background to go on it's pure face value for this new production partnership. In line with the strong current of minimal records of recent times, there's a range of grooves from linear patterns to breakbeat flows, with plenty of space for sound design and experimentation around those featherweight frameworks. "Pertu" in particular features some playful sounds and samples that echo out in the plentiful space afforded, while "Amp" gets into a more techy frame of mind with its sci-fi synth sounds. "Boariam" rounds things out with a more rolling rhythm and plenty of dubby textures for a less surgical approach to production.