Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Review: AE Recordings turns its attention to Oculus, who they describe as a "titan of the Icelandic techno scene", famed for his live sets that have kept bodies moving for the past decade. He commits some of his sounds to wax here, maintaining the otherworldly emotional lilt that often comes from the scene orbiting AE and Thule Records, but with a bolder sound palette than some of the icy dubbed out artists he rubs shoulders with. "Nostalgia" deals in powerful, swooning chord progressions, while "Rydgad" pings a set of metallic percussion around a sturdy but crooked low end groove. "Morph" takes things deeper, while "Flod" offers up a classy take on the minimal techno aesthetic, with added sound design trysts for good measure.
Review: Very few labels within Romania's storied techno scene can match the wonderful curation of Vlad Caia & Cristi Cons' Amphia Records. The Bucharest-based imprint now presents a full length by NYC-based sonic sorcerer Kamran Sadeghi - considered by many to have one of the most singular takes on the minimal techno sound at present. His most bold and stylistic expressions await you on Ritual Signal and highlights are aplenty: from the ethereal alien transmissions of "More Than Tomorrow", exotic creatures of the deep ("Today"), afterhours reductionism ("Who New") to more leftfield groove expressions, best exemplified by the majestic micro-funk of "May Day" and the splintered/echo-laden hypnotism of EP closer "Decay".
Review: Last spotted on Vakant, Detroit's man of mystery returns to D'Julz' Bass Culture after four years with three more rough, warm Motor City jams. "Castaway" takes off without so much as a compass. Heading towards the light with every added rhythmic element and cascading arpeggio, it drives into the horizon with equal measure of focus and looseness. "Doin It To Ya Baby" takes a subaquatic disco approach - the wide beats are wrapped in subtle slapbass twangs and dubby overlays while "Wara Coco" is a trippier twist into the shadows as raindrop textures trickle over a low and slow groove and incessant humanised loops. Remix-wise Orlando Voorn peppers the lead track with a little analogue funk and mild acid tweaking. After this castaway you'll never want to come home...
Review: The Beeyou label strikes ahead with its third release, continuing to champion warm, musical deep house from a range of emergent producers. XHZ makes a debut appearance here with the epic "Jazz 2 Jazz", which progresses through a woozy nocturnal mood to wind up in an effervescent, Rhodes-soaked finale. Jake Flory keeps things simmering on the tracky but engaging "14th Groove", before following up with the effortlessly cool chord drops of "Distress". With melodious invention at its heart and the needs of the dancefloor well catered for, the Beeyou crew have delivered another essential package for discerning spinners.
Review: Fernando Zapico may have released music on countless imprints over the last 14 years, but he's still keen on notching up more label debuts. The "Mayday EP" marks another, as the Uruguayan brings his distinctive brand of late night electronics to CABARET Recordings for the very first time. He hits the ground running with "Freq From D", a foreboding electro stepper blessed with rich Motor City electronics and turn of the '90s style bleeps. "Winter Nights" sees him built energy and urgency around a groove rich in jazzy analogue bass and rolling, loose-limbed house beats, while flipside "Mayday" wraps ghostly chiming melodies and fizzing electronic noises around a snappy techno groove.
Review: Ever reliable Berlin duo Cab Drivers are back on Cabinet with more boompty minimal house business you've come to expect from the legendary duo. Powered by analogue soul throughout, Daniel Paul and ZKY go deep into the night with the emotive, bass-driven title track before getting freakier and darker on the flip with "Quotes". Well suited for the after-hours, this 12" is packed full of vintage drum machine flair and intoxicating electronics.
Review: Fresh from the success of two top notch EPs on iile, Leo Pol unveils his most ambitious release to date. All I Got In Me is something of a beast, with seven tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. It's a rather pleasingly varied affair, all told, with the experienced producer flitting between Detroit style techno futurism ("BH2"), warm, chunky and occasionally tough deep house ("All I Got In Me", "Live Concrete"), spacey beatbox electro ("Live Love") and the kind of tech-house cuts that look to both the Motor City and Chicago for inspiration. As a bonus, he's also included a collaborative cut under the St Ouen Connection moniker, the deep and hazy, techno-tempo positivity of "Masile".
Review: One of the most singular artists in the Romanian minimal scene, Chiriches Vincentiu Iulian returns with more of his idiosyncratic grooves for new imprint Contemporan following up a great inaugural release by Sublee. "Contempo EP" delivers four diverse yet functional grooves that are aimed squarely at the dance floor, both at peak time and also those creepy dark after-hours moments. Highlights are plentiful throughout; check the smooth and dubby deepness of opener "Fixfue", trippy bass-driven funk of "Sonara" and reduced alien transmissions of "S-ude CV".
Review: Some five years after re-launching his Crayon label via a fine EP of vintage "Tracks From The Vault", original 1990s tech-house producer Mark Ambrose serves up more gems from his bulging archives. The quality threshold remains dizzyingly high throughout. Check first the moody, back room dub of "Nightshift (Deeper Mix)", where gentle, alien synth lines and deep space chords tumble down over a heavy analogue bassline and locked-in beats, before turning your attention to "Space Animals", a deliciously dubbed-out affair rich in sub bass and drifting, deep space chords. If that's not enough, flip over and trance out to B side "Seduction" and finally, the slamming techno beats, looped electronics and mind-mangling TB-303 motifs of closer "Dusty Acid".
Review: The Default project graduates from event series to record label with a strong first installment that features a host of talented producers operating in the field of minimal and tech house. Exander leads the charge with the intricate, bubbling mechanics of "Confuso" before Rojid steps up with the wriggling percussive programming and processed vocal treatments of "Susano". Imbue stretches out over the B-side with the more melodic, subtly psychedelic sounds of "Twotwentyeight", which takes on an organic quality as it simmers away over a steady beat. The sharp focus on proper minimal techno here should appeal to all those craving fresh sounds from rising talents within the scene.