Review: Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani returns to Stroboscopic Artefacts with 'Embryo' - an immersive four-track micro-odyssey spanning across jagged ambient scopes,unmapped acidic grounds and further leftfield-friendly sonic territories, opening up the path for his forthcoming sophomore LP and first ever for Stroboscopic Artefacts, 'Morphic Dreams'.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: You could say that Kodiak Bachine is Brazil's greatest ever Brazilian electronic producer. That would not be an overstatement, it's just a simple fact. It was 1982 when he first released this EP, and it's been a classic, and a favourite of ours, ever since. In fact, "Electricidade" is so powerful because it sounds like it could have been made today; its tenebrous synths filling the airwaves from every angle, giving the track a strange sensation of lust and wonder. The flip, "Espirito Das Maquinas", is another enchanting ride through broken electric cables and abandoned power plants, a place where Bachine clearly thrives and surpasses all expectations. Highly recommend reissue!
Review: Tolga Baklacioglu's releases may not be all that frequent, but when they do arrive they're always worth a listen. Your Secret Face is his first outing of 2018 and sees him join forces fast-rising Russian artist Dee Grinski. The latter's stylish - and heavily distorted - spoken word vocals can be heard on the EP's opening and closing tracks, with the latter - an 11-minute experimental epic that could feasibly soundtrack nuclear Armageddon - also benefitting from her drowsy, improvised singing. No doubt she contributed heavily to the EP's instrumental cuts, too, which are bleak, fuzzy and industrial in the best possible way.
Review: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
Review: At first glance, French enfant terrible Bambounou is a surprising addition to the Diskant impint - now known as just Disk. Known for his techno and house exploits on Clek Clek Boom and 50 Weapons, his knack for intricately programmed rhythms were on display even back then. It kind of figures that he'd be a good choice for the label, come to think of it now. That's certainly proven across the three tracks on the Parametr Perkusja EP, where his sound sits comfortably alongside label mates like Harmonious Thelonious and Durian Brothers. From the slo-mo esoterica of "Dernier Metro" which reaches near tribal moments, the hard hitting polyrhythmic techno of "Kosovo Hardcore" it is great to hear some original productions from him after lengthy absence.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Brothers From Different Mothers stalwart Basses Terres is a producer to whom easy categorization cannot be applied. For example, on his 2016 debut, he rushed between a quartet of experimental techno, leftfield and electronica excursions, while 2017's "Counting Pulsations" cassette was a druggy trip rich in ambient, dub and "dungeon synth" flavours. So what's on offer here? More intoxicating, otherworldly concoctions, that's what. Highlights include the dark tropical ambient of "665 Moths", the dubbed-out post-dancehall weightiness of "Wilfred Doricent", the slipped and spacey electronica of "Deliae" and the fluid dreaminess of gently percussive closing cut "Sentiment Oceanique".
Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Through his glittering catalogue for Public Possession, Bell Towers has proven himself to be a leading light in contemporary house that packs personality and class to match its club dynamics. His irreverent humour comes out in droves on "I'm Moving To Berlin", which thumps with the '80s-tinged energy he does so well. "Sexual Intruder Alert" actually sees the BT sound edge a little more towards techno, perhaps appropriate given the subject matter of the EP, and then "Approach & Identify" takes things in a tense, sleazy direction that jacks with a rawness you could imagine Ron Hardy going absolutely apeshit for.
Review: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
Review: Hot on the heels of the updated DAF stylings of that Schwefelgelb 12", Enfant Terrible / Gooiland Elektro demonstrate the breadth of their output with this plate from Tobias Bernstrup. A decorated contemporary artist from Gothenburg, Bernstrup is one of those annoyingly talented individuals who works across visual, interactive, performance art and electronic music mediums and if there's a new wave of Italo Disco he's definitely amongst the top 5%. The Destruction EP is classic Bernstrup mixing elements of Italo with synth pop and at times it sounds like Bernard Sumner's been in the studio with Ali Renault. Dancefloor hits for the neo-romantics among us!
Review: Analogue synthesizer enthusiast Bezier first surfaced on Dark Entries in 2012, delivering the hard-wired retro-futurist fantasy Ensconced. Two years on, he's finally ready to release the follow-up, the similarly sharp and sci-fi themed Telemores. As with his previous output, the influences are obvious - think Radiophonic Workshop, electro, minimal, new wave and Italo-disco - but he smartly steers clear of pastiche and empty revivalism. Instead, we're treated to a range of dancefloor-friendly instrumental cuts, cyborg jams, and intoxicating robot rinse-outs. Closer "Fukushima", in which he doffs a cap to the synthesized horror-disco of John Carpenter, is particularly potent.
Review: You wait ages for a Bezier record, and two come along at once. Following hot on the heels from his excellent Telemores mini-album for Dark Entries, synthesizer enthusiast Bezier drops a surprise 12" for the affiliated Honey Soundsystem. As usual, the French producer has his sights set on mining the past for inspiration. "Mina (Everywhere)" begins in typical fashion - all spacey synthesizers and twinkling melodies - before morphing into a relentless chunk of dirty, Italo-and-EBM inspired house. The pleasingly sunny "Serengeti Drive" is more of a stripped-back Italo-disco bubbler (admittedly with dream-wave flourishes), while "Mysteries of the Deep" offers an intergalactic romp through cold-wave pastures with only cheap old synths and drum machines for company.
Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
Review: Stupendously rare Italo gem from the criminally under-prolific Trieste-based Big Ben Tribe, this quirky poplet first came our way in 1984 on Gong. Last spotted changing hands for hundreds on auction sites, Dark Entries have done the disco world a favour and licensed a reissue. Untouched and naked in all its 80s glory, the synth patterns, abstract lyrics and arrangement were way ahead of their time and clearly influenced many electronic pop and Balearic bands who followed. Vocals just a bit too much for you? No worries, just flip for the instrumental. Tarzan loves summer nights, and we love Dark Entries for unearthing this utter classic.
Review: Big Hands, big heart, big ideas; Milan man now based in London Andrea Bonalumi blesses us with his biggest release to date on Beat Machine. Fractured, frazzled and fried in future innovation, we're blindsided by the offbeat bubbles on "Prequel" and shunted and stuttered by disco freakery on "More Than Love". Elsewhere the title track boils things down to a much sludgier, warped and weird shuffle, "Tensegrity" reimagines rave for a modern day jilted generation while "Kick Blood" kicks us down a twisted UKG rabbit hole. "Blood" concludes this extensive extended player both in its breakbeat original form and gun-toting instrumental grime take from Walton. Big.
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
Review: New York's Black Dice had to land on their native LIES imprint at some point. It was only a matter of time before label head Ron Morelli picked them up, and he's done so in fine style. The American Tapes, DFA, and Paw Tracks casuals are made up of Eric Copeland, Aaron Warren and Bjorn Copeland, and the trio like to get a little wacky over their coldwave grooves. "Big Deal" is a true post-punk reincarnation, a track that manages to pick out everything that was right about the early 80's by adding in elements of noise, rock, and a little techno. A monumental tune. "Last Laugh" is more dubwise in its approach, where a distorted guitar sways from side to side amid a fuzzy whirlpool of aqueous sonics and dusty percussion. A great release from LIES, and a fresh addition to their more usual house and techno onslaught.
Review: Following up some great tracks on Pinkman, Mannequin and Malka Tuti in recent times, British synth wizard George Thompson returns under the Black Merlin alias - delivering some bold EBM and electro-noir antics for Berlin imprint She's Lost Kontrol. The rusty grind of analogue arpeggios, with minimal rhythms awash in icy trails of reverb plus guttural howls through walls of distortion shall taunt you throughout the sonic contents of the Noi EP. While Thompson sure has a knack for nailing all the hallmarks of early industrial music, he still finds time for the same tribal meditative minimalism found on his Karamika project as heard on the riveting "Noi 2" - one of the EP's highlights.