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: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: Toki Fuko has quietly slipped out some high-grade ambient electronics over the past 10 years, but this double-vinyl drop on the ever excellent Silent Season represents some his most striking work to date. In line with the label's aesthetic, gauzy dub techno atmospheres prevail in the main, as thick billowing clouds of chord drift over submerged, stripped down rhythms. There is also space for other moods to infect the process though - there's a laconic 90s chill-out room groove to "Spring Ray (Outtake)", which then gets reshaped as a pattering percussive meditation on the EP's closing mix. Stunning, immersive approaches from start to finish.
Review: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.
Review: 21 years have passed since Silverlining (aka Asad Rizvi) and Nathan Coles first joined forces as Two Right Wrongans and released "The Not Quite Right EP", a brilliant three-track collection of pioneering tech-house treats. That 12" has long been tricky to find - unless, of course, you're willing to fork out rather a lot to purchase an original copy online - so it's great to see the EP's two standout tracks getting the reissue treatment. A-side "System Error" is particularly potent, with fizzing sci-fi electronics and gently pulsing chords rising above a techno-tempo, house style rhythm track. "Straight Ahead Then Take The Next Wrong" is more hypnotic in tone, sounding like a blueprint for today's glitchy, bass-heavy tech-house tracks.
Review: Rominimal veteran Barac Nicolae returns, and this time on Felipe Venegas' esteemed imprint Drumma with a pair of tight, infectious minimal tech house productions. The rolling and hypnotic main room grooves that he's built his reputation on can be heard loud and clear on the powerful "The Mirror Of Spirit", while the flipside houses a deeper, after-hours vibe via "909". Despite its name, the beats produced by the trusty Roland drum machine aren't the main attraction. We think "303" might be more well suited for this acid entrancer!
Review: In recent times, demand has soared for a trilogy of 12" singles that Matthew "Bushwacka!" Benjamin released on Sound As A Pound Recordings in 1996. This must-have 12" gathers together some of the series' most in-demand moments. Opener "8" is warm, positive and hypnotic, with marimba style memories and sun-kissed synth chords riding layered drums and a rich bassline, while "11" is a game-changing fusion of off-kilter breakbeats, heavy sub-bass and some seriously dreamy chords and lead lines. Flipside opener "5" adds sunrise-ready deep house chords and melodies to a funk-fuelled techno groove and is therefore the purest representation here of the early UK tech-house sound. As a bonus, Desert Sound Colony offers a tough and chunky peak-time revision of "8" that's altogether denser and heavier than Benjamin's original mix.
Review: After brief dalliances with Metereze, Meander and Serialism, Stefan Nicu aka Sublee brings his idiosyncratic, sublime and ethereal tones to inaugurate new Sao Paulo / Berlin / London-based imprint Moving People with the Moving Spaces EP. Quite possibly the most in-demand producer to have emerged from Bucharest's blossoming but elusive music scene recently, Nicu delivers the four-tracker in confident fashion beginning with the sublime yet tough rolling tech-funk of "Still About You", "Rokit" and the title track before going in deep with the hypnotic and evocative breakbeat action of "Miurshinis".
Review: For its 15th year anniversary, Mule Musiq will release twelve 12" by close artists, with collectable artwork by Stefan Marx. The seventh edition presented here is by the label's 'hero' Roman Flugel, who presents his debut single for the label. Quite possibly named after the legendary producer's hometown, "Fun Fort" sees the man from Frankfurt deliver two emotive and hypnotic journeys on this two tracker: the title track on the A side transmits some seriously good vibes with its bouncy bassline and catchy blips and bleeps, plus an infectious shuffle throughout. On the flip, he goes further down the spiral on the moody dub techno excursion of "In Your Wardrobe (Part 2)" where long, drawn out dub chords lurk beneath some dusty late night jazz bar sounds.
Review: Varme continues its musical exploration, with the purpose of releasing and promoting under the radar artists, carefully selected by its founder Paul Popa. Second release is by Crump, a rising producer from UK, who provided 3 tracks with a minimalistic touch + a breaksy remix by long-time friend Christian Jay.