Review: For their latest No 'Label' release, Rush Hour has turned to "Brussels-based Prince of modern psychedelic electronics" Bear Bones, Lay Low, a prolific producer who has been delivering intriguing, synthesizer-based curiosities on obscure labels for well over a decade. Hacia La Luz begins with the trippy, Tangerine Dream-in-space swirl of "Lightning Eyelids", before heading to the rainforest with Timothy Leary and Terrence McKenna via the hallucinatory drums and humid electronics of "Jewelled Selva Mating Rites". Psychedelic synthesizer lines, exotic melodies and starburst electronics come to the fore on the album's other three tracks, with the magic mushrooms-in-Goa trip of "Crystal Poppies" standing out.
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: For German retroverts Sign Bit Zero, it's "all about the expression of hate, despair, pain, waste, destruction, tristesse and misanthropic in art and music!" and that's good enough for us, really! On offer here are five noisy reinterpretations of some serious industrial unclassics. Hamburg's Wosto (of Fallbeil) takes the razor to UK pioneers Nocturnal Emissions and the raw tonal energy of "Bite Them Back". Label boss Kilian Krings appears also, delivering an edit of vintage EBM classic "Nervous Breakdown" by Suicide Commando and also for short lived Dutch trio S.M. Nurse and their grinding minimal synth anthem "Heinwerker". Some great edits on here for the new industrialists.
Review: Just the fact that the Shahr Farag imprint is from Iran is enough to grab our attention. This is both because it feels like a novelty to the scene, but also because that vast majority of arts that come out of the country are always so interesting. This time, label owners Lenta and Ahu are joined by Romanian minimal expert Vlad Caia, who serves an excellent, Eastern-minded quasi-dance rhythm in "Declination", and a purely abstract barrack of drones and low frequencies on "Neptune". Lenta himself drops a fuzzy wash of sounds and disparate beats through "Your Existence", while Ahu's "Blind By The Sun" has something in common with dub-techno, except that here the sounds that flutter up and down are grainy and imperceptible...and wholly wonderful. Tip!
Roman Flugel - "More Is Not Enough (Heaven Or Hell?)"
Lauer - "Hector"
San Laurentino - "Final Landing"
Tuff City Kids - "People Is A Crackhead" (Tuff Hamlet riddim)
Review: Established as a record label some four years ago, Live At Robert Johnson have really come to the fore as representing the best of contemporary European deep house alongside the likes of Dial and Running Back. Here, the Frankfurt institution returns to their recent triumphant Lifesaver compilation with this addendum 12" release featuring the productions from Roman Flugel, Lauer, San Laurentino and Tuff City Kids. Flugel opens proceedings with the rough and moody "More Is Not Enough" which brandishes a beat that can't help but get in your face. This is complemented by the calmer, sumptuous New Beat stylings of Lauer's "Hector" and the richly colourful "Final Landing" from San Laurentino. "People Is A Crackhead (Tuff Hamlet Riddim)" is not only the best track title in a hot minute but yet another original dancefloor slayer from Gerd Janson and Lauer's Tuff City Kids, opting for the Germanic digi dub meets tuff house route.
Review: We were wondering what Regis' Downwards stable was planning for 2017, but it's clear that the UK techno lynchpin has absolutely everything under control. The year kicks off with a collaborative EP, The Immortal Eye, featuring a special selection of artists whose sounds only tinker with the techno formula, and which will undoubtedly appeal to a whole spectrum of electronic music enthusiasts. Jan Grebenstein and Christine Seefried, the former having already appeared for the label recently, team up on "Wufferfraction", a mid-tempo roller that ticks along at a steady pace amid a sea of electrifying acid sonics, while fellow recent signee Layne delivers a noxious cloud of rhythmic ambient through "Love". On the B-side, the Autumns outfit offer a cold, bleak, pseudo techno groove on "Imposter Syndrome", leaving the excellent DVA Damas to coax the cold out of the wave thanks to an excellent tune by the name of "Shortcut To X". Recommended.
Review: The latest missive from Sex Tags' eccentric Wania offshoot is a multi-artist affair, though as usual co-owner DJ Sotofett is in the thick of the action. On the A-side, the long-serving Norwegian producer offers up his interpretation of "Pohj", a killer cut from Finnish electro sorts Jesse. Sotofett's version is loose, dubby and loved-up, with the graf-loving DJ/producer re-casting the track into a meandering chunk of deep dancefloor hypnotism. While impressive and undoubtedly club-ready, we actually prefer the flipside ambient house bliss of Sotofett's latest hook-up with Freakout Cult artist LNS (AKA Laura Sparrow), "Soft Peak Mix". Built around sparkling, watery electronics and a relentless melody line that bobs and weaves throughout, it's a saucer-eyed chunk of horizontal brilliance.
Kompozyt, Lee Scratch Perry - "Hidden Force" (3:51)
Kompozyt - "Homesick" (4:44)
Review: Poland-born but now residing in London, sibling duo Kompozyt has pulled off something of a coup by securing the talents of mad-as-a-brush dub legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry to appear on "Hidden Force". His familiar Jamaican drawl naturally comes to the fore, ricocheting above a head-nodding future dub rhythm that should appeal to fans of both dubstep and dub techno as well as full-on dub-heads. Almost as impressive is the slightly more experimental and trippy B-side, "Homesick", where echoing orchestral sweeps and distant trumpet solos bob in and out of a sea of pitched-down dub techno textures. Don't miss out on this one - it really is rather good.
Review: Brazilian tech house up and comer L_cio, known to his Mum as Laercio Schwantes Iorio finally gets his day on wax with this new one on the DOC label. On the A-side is "People Talk" with pop induced tech house reminiscent of the Kompakt style, moody as hell and big on atmosphere with uber cool male vocals courtesy of Japan based Brit Aroop Roy. On the flip is the accapella but it's more of a beatless version, keeping the druggy mesmerising melody and said uber cool vocals by Roy. A fine little 7" nugget from DOC.
Review: When not collaborating with former Factory Floorer Dominic Butler as the charmingly titled Green Gums or Bronze Teeth respectively, Richard Smith finds a fitting home for his solo L/F/D/M work on Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving's Ecstatic imprint. There's "Lego Train Crashes" on the A side: this is tough and noisy arpeggio driven techno done properly, placing him up there with masters of the art like Silent Servant and Frak. "Elek F" is straight up Drexciyan electro-funk, but truly one of the better tributes we've heard to the aesthetic in a while. On the flip there's "Take A Chance" and just like its namesake you could really. It's the most restrained effort on here but still pretty crunchy: good to use mid-set perhaps? Finally "Rum & Black" is the kind of crusty and overdriven lo-fi nastiness which has landed him releases for Glaswegian noise merchants Clan Destine Traxx recently.