Review: UK tech house hero Burnski has been serving up some serious heat of late under the Instinct alias, channelling that old school UK vibe of drum & bass, speed garage and 2-step. His exploration into these styles bring about this sixth instalment of his eponymous series with 3 cuts set to cause havoc on dancefloors this year. A side cut "Overthrow" rides on a slick tech house groove before moving into a swing-fuelled rhythm and razor-sharp sub-bass and it's business as usual. On the flip, shadowy stepper "Phased" fuses Artful Dodger's classic swagger with the dark sci-fi aesthetic of Ed Rush & Optical. Finally, put your lighters up for the furious junglist roller that is "Free Life".
Review: British-born producer/DJ Christian 'Jay' Newman who now resides in techno mecca Berlin inaugurates his new Meld imprint (which he runs with some friends) with a four tracker that rides on the new wave of ex-minimal, retro-influenced techno/house. With a decent portfolio of releases for Idle Hands, Butter Side Up and NorthSouth, Newman is in great form here on the "Preservation EP". Whether it's the hyperware bleepy bounce of the title track, lo-slung UK breaks on "Greasy Spoon" or hypnotic afterhours tackle by closer "OJT", we foresee big things from this fledgling label. Fans of Time Passages, Pager or Limousine Dream will love this.
Review: Lauren Lo Sung's star continues to rise as the talented minimal house producer and DJ partners up with the mighty Lazare Hoche. This four track EP is packed with bombs, from the shimmering, metallic deep house finery of "Running" to the cheeky acid wriggle of "Dusty Pink". Things take a darker, deeper turn on the fierce "Fixate," and then lift into fluttering after hours tones for the sublime and ever so slightly trippy "Lara's Dub". Now firmly entrenched in the cut and thrust of the European minimal house scene, Lo Sung's talents spill out in abundance on this assured pack of highly workable and versatile floor filling 4/4 burners.
Review: Having not released an album since starting his recording career almost a decade ago, Mr Tophat clearly thinks he has some catching up to do. His debut full-length is something of an epic, charting an imaginary journey from dusk to dawn inspired by a month the Swedish producer spent living in Ibiza. The first disc (part one) starts sun-kissed, soft-focus and Balearic, before the Swede launches into a series of percussive and punchy, club-ready cuts. He ups the intensity on the more vocal-heavy second disc - look out for a great hook-up with Axel Boman - before he replicates the slow creep of sunrise via a third disc full to bursting with starry ambience, tactile Balearic beats and the odd juddering dancefloor workout.
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: 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: While their obscure disco and Balearic re-edits tend towards the warm and groovy, Psychemagik's original productions have been getting increasingly tough and druggy in tone. "Rattlesnake", a hypnotic chunk of club-ready psychedelic disco rich in wonky electronics, trippy riffs, mind-altering bass and locked-in drums, may well be their most intoxicating and hallucinatory track to date. The duo's out-there original mix is made even weirder - and arguably more alluring - by Magda on her "Blotter Traxion Remix", which sounds like a tripping hippie trying to simultaneously mix electro, tech-house and techno. Vyvyan provides the other rework, wrapping doom-laden electronics and fizzing acid lines around crispy disco drums.