Review: BOOM! Our favourites, Cititrax, roll the third editions of Tracks out onto our shelves, and the results are unsurprisingly strong on this excellent various artists comp. It's a mixed bag of skills, as per usual, and the sounds are those of a new NYC, fuelled by a new sort of post-industrial sensibility. Amato Y Mariana open with the tight beats and groove of "Queires Bailar", followed closely by the ominous compositions of the EBM-flavoured "Montgat" from The Sixteen Steps. On the flip, His Dirty Secrets bleeps out some morphed acid on "Structures", and "Another Stranger" from Further Reductions churns out a slow, mild-mannered house experiment with its roots clearly planted in the coldest of waves. Sick.
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: 10 Germany seem to get it bang-on each and every time! For a label who has released the likes of Ancient Methods, Perc and Matthew Herbert, among other legends, we'd expect nothing less than the spectacular and this is exactly what we got with this latest collaborative effort by Italy's Daniele Brusachetto, Jansky Noise, Human Larvae and Damaskin. Brusachetto's "Grigi Ma" is weird and wonderful pop tune set against a backdrop of cavernous percussion rattles, while Janksy Noise's "Black Night" is a full-on drone monster. Over on the flip, "Ruined" by Human Larvae is a fuzzy, noise-fuelled scorcher, and "Apocalypse" sees Damaskin produce the EP's only shred of rigidity thanks to its consistent 4/4 kick...accompanied by some rather gnarly power electronics, of course.
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras - "You Laugh At My Face" (Tobias version) (7:15)
Half Hawaii - "Watch The Flash" (6:07)
Review: For the latest release on his quietly impressive Foom label, Ben Freeney has secured the rights to release two killer cuts, both of which are significant in their own way. On the A you'll find a previously unreleased Tobias Freund remix of "You Laugh at My Face", an obscure late '70s proto-new wave collaboration between legendary disco producer Patrick Cowley and art-punk vocalist Jorge Socarras (best known for being part of San Fran band Indoor Life). Freund's version is undulating and evocative, with spacey analogue synth motifs and drowsy vocals rising above a pitched-down breakbeat groove. On the flip, German duo Half Hawaii return to action after a six-year break, offering up a slow-burn delight rich in drowsy, melancholic motifs, shuffling drums and dewy-eyed vocals.
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro"
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro"
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Review: Honest Jons are our undisputed favourites as far as bringing forth new and unexpected projects goes. One such project is their glorious string of releases which saw several contemporary electronic producers re-interpret the South African electro deluge of Shangaan Electro, a near 10 piece band consisting of wild dancers, freaky masks and ludicrously memorable anthems. This release features the experimental duo of Demdike Stare and the mysterious but wonderful pair that is Hype Williams. Demdike's remix is a sparse and sub-aqueous drone filtered through irregular bongos and melting swirls of voices, whilst the "version" pretty much reduces those already scarce drums to mere memories. Over on the flip, Hype Williams create a sublimely majestic rhythm, those vocals swaying so darn effortlessly over the rugged drum kit pouncing lazily beneath it. Their version injects a severely chopped slice of bass and concentrates primarily on the percussion - mounds of delays and reverbs present in true HW fashion.
Special Long Version (feat Sue Tompkins - demo) (10:02)
Let Suffering Become You (2:46)
Review: We're not gonna lie when we say that we absolutely love Russell Haswell. The UK industrial misfit is among the few who can truly bring the heat in pretty much any situation he's in, or on any record he's unleashing his deathly twists of distortion on. Over recent years, he's struck up a winning partnership with Diagonal boss Powell, and together they've now racked up plenty of releases and DJ sets, both bashing out the hard gear on a constant basis. Haswell is back on Diagonal here, coming through with five harsh, penetrative tracks under the umbrella of Respondent. While none of these tunes could be classified as traditional techno, or even 'dance' music, they do contain enough movement to appeal to a very specific sort of DJ - the ones with the most cojones! This is classic Haswell material at its most cavernous. Recommended.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Having launched in impressive fashion with a reissue of some Greek fire walking music that was complemented well by remixes from Pete Swanson and Vatican Shadow, a second release on the archival minded KEMAL arrives and it's just as good! The focus here is Skew-Whiff, the album inspired by the works of Mark Rothko that celebrated English drummer and experimental musician Charles Hayward released on the Belgian label Sub Rosa in 1990. Taking the title of Smell Of Metal, this second KEMAL release lifts two of the five compositions from Hayward's album and they come accompanied by remixes from Optimo's JD Twitch and Future Times captain Maxmillion Dunbar, with the latter a particularly inspired choice.
Review: William J.Youngman's Headless Horseman project has created a new and exciting techno sound that was only an offshoot of EBM and industrial in years past. Stepping out of his own imprint, the dark horseman lands on Tommy Four Seven's excellent 47 label, tearing through the speakers from the get-go thanks to the toxic sounds of "Revelation", and the even nastier sway of "Concussion". Metallic and hard-nosed in absolutely every way, "Locust" follows up on that with a menacing pounce of beats and cavernous bass, while "Gravity" breaks the techno groove for something much more in line with the likes of Powell's Diagonal output. Big boy sounds.
Review: Antonio Marini aka Healing Force Project is back with the Tranhumanism EP on Ambiwa. Starting out with the ever mysterious "Methodical Ear", it's more of the same later on "Sinapsi Sonora" which like the previously mentioned track sounds like the dusty and emotive deepness of early Sound Signature via the tough and rusty swing of fellow Italians Relative; a nice touch indeed. He then gives us the brooding and hypnotic "Shadow Manipulation Of The Mind" awash in delay drenched organs and skeletal vintage drum machine flair. But the fierce yet restrained functionalism of "State Of Induced Hibernation" with its near tribal moments supported by a series of exotic and mindbending drones is pure bliss. We'll say it again: Marini is undoubtedly one of the most underrated producers in techno at the moment!
Review: Italy's Antonio Marini last came through on Wicked Bass in 2016, and this new EP for his own On Board Music marks the artist's first release of 2017. We'd been waiting impatiently. Like he often does, Marini appears alongside and strange and wonderful blend of mystical sonics that seem to possess to tangible source and, by that, we mean that the sounds seem to have been made by Mother Earth herself. For example, the subtly acidic harmonies of "Abduction" breathe life into the rest of the sparse beat formula that surrounds them, with the following "Harmony Of The Spheres" similarly crafting a wonderful bed of organic melodies which come together into one glorious bundle of sound. On the B-side, "Alternative Currents" forms a majestic wave of improvised percussion knots and blurry cosmic rays, while "Persec City" jazzes up the mood with some very 'free' movements, and "Seven Transmutations" ties the EP to a close with a distant, opaque cocktail of classic Healing Force vibes. Wonderful stuff, as always.
Review: Lyon's Julien Viallet, only recently baptised under the HLM38 moniker, lands with his debut EP for France's KUMP label, making it the imprint's second EP to date. Representative of the cultural shift that has taken France over nowadays, "Illicite Song" is a wonderfully dextrous blend of Eastern chimes and slow, meandering beat music that only subtly references techno or house. "French Dudu" is a little more tech-friendly, albeit grounded in the same form of percussive experimentation, while "Exit" references the sounds of bands like Throbbing Gristle, spewing industrial oddities from every orifice. Remixes come from Front De Cadeaux and Kris Baha, respectively, dropping yet more additive rhythms to the collection. Recommended!
Review: This is the end of Rivulet Records after seven years of existence. Over the years, they have presented fabulous works by the likes of Jonas Palzer, Momo and Skipless. The very last release comes from co-founder Stanley Schmidt, who collaborates with his long time friend Hobor on the Made In Paint LP. For these two Leipzig based artists, it had been a long time in the making and to present this work as the final product felt just right. A captivating collection of downbeat electronica and ambient, that is for the most part textured and melancholic in its expression - while at time other lush and uplifting, There are even a few moments of dancefloor friendly techno, such as the soulful acid stomp of "Swirling Paranoia" or the ecstatic junglist stepper "From Outside".