Review: Pathway Traxx's diffusion label OFFPath returns with its fourth installment, featuring four heroes of the minimal house underground curated by label boss Niko Maxen. We have Londoner Adam Monti (4plae) up first with the sunny tech house of "Camberwell Blues", then Dudley Strangeways & Tijn close out the A side with some deep afterhours boompty business. On the flip, Rising star Josh Baker out of Leeds delivers more of his reliably hypnotic and slinky groove action on "Rewriting Old Methods" and Shacklo's "Bermuda" channels the very best of Todd Terry style classic house.
Review: Those stylish minimalists at Meander are back with more of their superbly stripped down sounds. At the helm for this latest trip is Alci, who brings the clipped electronic funk to his opener "Can't Dance" which will surely have many people trying to prove they don't suffer from the same issue. "Sonsuz Seconds" is more airy and deft, with incidental chords floating above a rugged drum line that is nice and rickety. "Kelime Bir" gets into melon twisting late night territory with its bendy tones and freaky pads, then "Kelime Iki" almost falls over itself its drums areas quick and kinetic. Fantastic stuff once more from this label.
Review: This slick package of high grade weaponry is the second and final part of the Gargoyle Classics reissues series. It turns attention to Baltimore in the mid 90s, a time when techno, IDM, electro, rave and breaks were all freely colliding with one another. The result is a four tracker that you would have a hard time placing given its timeless appeal. From the slick electro techno funk of "I Said" to the more bouncy techno remix via the turbo charged bass of "Ten After 3" and freaky sci-fi work out that is "Do You Believe" (Space Evader mix), this is perfectly red hot tackle.
Review: Romana Records 003 Takes a slightly different route this time we got a original from Ted Amber Botanic Minds sunset Series and a remix from Magnus Asberg and a stella remix from TIJN Curte Vache,Moss Co. The original has been been a firm favorite for Arapu for some time now. Early support: Arapu, Vincentlulian, Sepp, Nu Zau, Iuly.B, Viceversa, Silat Beksi, Archie Hamilton, Miroloja, Cesar Merveille, Direkt, Fabrizio Maurizi, Barut.
Review: Shanti Radio's previous multi-artists EPs were all superb, so it's little surprise to see that the latest also consistently hits the spot. Amonita sets the tone via the soft-focus tech-house shuffle of "Lavender Bloom", where lilting strings, dreamy chords and eyes-closed female vocal samples flutter around a hypnotic groove, before RVNZ offers up the similarly breezy and spring-fresh bliss of "Big Red Machine". Over on side B, Hermazez explores the kind of ultra-melodious and atmospheric hybrid progressive house/tech-house sound that the All Day I Dream label does so well ("Flame Keeper"), while Fulltone unfurls warm and ear-catching melodies and sumptuous chords on sunrise-ready closing cut "Woodland Oracle".
Review: Earlier this year, Bruno Schmidt and Robin Ordell rekindled their Asper Bothrop production partnership after two years away. Their comeback EP on Spinning Plates was well-received, and this speedy follow-up on Domesticated is likely to be greeted by a similar level of praise. There's certainly plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the swinging, bass-heavy shuffle of "Everybody Just", where glitchy electronics and ghostly chords ride a thickset tech-house groove, to the crunchy, stargazing electro bounce of closing cut "Body Movement". Sandwiched in between you'll find the warm, spaced-out haziness of "Jumpin' Jack Flash", and "Trenor", a slightly pitched-down tech-house box-jam for those who like to get busy in the mix.
Jared Wilson - "Lynnwood2 Northgate Transit Center" (6:39)
Sohrab - "Sinking" (6:42)
KCLF - "Reloaded 9615" (4:17)
Review: Undersound Recordings hit release number 15 with a various artist EP that packs four vital techno punches. Audio Quest's "The Mental Screen" kicks off with some old school techno that recalls the sound of legendary Dutch label Djax-Up. It's filled with metallic snare sounds and deep space bleeps. Jared Wilson of course brings the acid that has defined his output for years, and Sohrab get busy with a kicking number and some busy melody patterns. KCLF closes out with twisted bass and shiny chords that look back to go forwards with "Reloaded 9615".
Review: Nobody does tough rolling tackle for the peak time quite like the Audiojack boys. The Leeds-based duo head up the revered Gruuv imprint and have left their indelible mark on The White Isle with their legendary parties. Indeed, their sound is a worthy addition to the Mannheim-based 8bit imprint; Jorge and Nick Curly, like Rial & Birkenshaw themselves, churn out proper tech house that is aimed squarely at the main room. The track in question is "Are We Here", that sees them deliver something a bit more restrained than usual. This is a smooth and euphoric slow burner that's perfect to build up to the bangers in your set, harnessing all that 'energy'. Speaking of which, that's the operative word throughout the B side cut "Higher" with its deep and bass-driven pulsation that's sure to get the sweat dripping from the walls.
Review: A couple of months after inaugurating the Outban imprint with a vibrant EP of mind-altering retro-futurism, Bakked returns with a speedy sequel. He first joins the dots between early '90s bleep techno and purist tech-house ("433"), before opting for a deeper and more ghostly take on the same bleeping futurism on "4111". "399" sees him switch tack and offer-up a breakbeat-powered romp laden with warehouse-ready riffs and New Jersey organ licks, while "444" adds sunrise-ready dreaminess to a vintage Detroit techno inspired rhythm track. Arguably best of all though is closing cut "Pullupthetune", a deliciously intergalactic tribute to the more spacey end of mid-'90s drum & bass.
Review: Hoary Ukraine has kept up a busy rate of release since first appearing in the world, and as was the case with their eighth EP in April, this ninth offering is a various artists affair that calls on some slick tech house talents. Nick Beringer's "AI" is tight and crisp, with an old school feel thanks to the neon baseline, the Sota really pumps the party with his effervescing, fist pumping "Zerosandones". "UXB" on the flip is Nolga's clipped, bass driven tech-garage shuffler, then closing things out is Diego Krause with "Touchstone", a darker jam with some fresh sound designs.
Review: Since launching last year, Mexcian label Honne Music has so far offered up two multi-artist EPs packed with tidy tech-house and atmospheric minimal techno. The imprint's third outing explores similar sonic territory, showcasing tracks from a mixture of local and international artists. Old hand Lee Burton kicks things off via the intoxicating shuffle of "MAO" - all swirling sci-fi chords, minor key melodies and bubbly bass - before Niko Maxen delivers a fuzzier, slightly weirder take on intergalactic tech-house ("Homecoming"). Over on side B, Sarko emphasizes mind-mangling bass on the trippy tech-funk of "How Did I Get Here", while Moett C and Migueleto invite us to drift through deep space on the weightless, early morning warmth of EP highlight "Derriere".
Review: Cassy has largely been focusing on her own Kwench label in the past few years, exploring the crossover between pop sensibilities and underground dance music culture. She's carrying that through to her appearance on Pressure Traxx, while clearly nodding to her roots in the minimal scene with the elegant, spellbinding "Strong Sense", all underpinned by her subdued vocal. Tobias steps up for a remix on the B side which takes the track in a shivering techno direction that provides the perfect urgent foil to the cosy house demeanour of the original.
Review: Barely two weeks have passed since Andrei Popa AKA Direkt delivered a strong contribution to the Atipic Lab series, but the Romanian producer is already back in action. "Language Point" is, of course, another rock-solid outing, this time on debutant label Thinc. Check first the deliciously spacey, sci-fi sounds of purist tech-house opener "Language Point", a slick, synth-heavy and far-sighted affair that's later given a glitchier, more contemporary tech-tinged makeover by remixer Vincentiulian. Direkt continues to dance his way through distant constellations on hypnotic EP highlight "Ephemeris", before combining chunkier tech-house beats, bubblier electronics and broken computer sounds on trippy, heads-down closing cut "Nova".
Review: Disordered Rhythm Metronomy may be a puzzling (and, let's face it, rather strange) artistic alias, but the two men behind the project, Ricardo Villalobos and Edward, have produced some of the most distinctive leftfield techno of the last decade. As a result, you'd expect their first joint EP to be a killer... and it is. A-side "Vormlock" is a rubbery, off-kilter treat, with the experienced duo peppering an elastic synth bassline and sparse, skittish drums with glitchy stabs, tipsy lead lines and all manner of wonky, out-of-this-world noises. Over on the flipside you'll find title track "Down", a deeper and dreamier chunk of spacey minimalism in which typical Villalobos style percussion and softly squelching bass comes cloaked in some suitably intergalactic synthesizer chords.
Review: Debutant Drew is up next on Fabrizio Sala's Animae LTD. The mysterious producer, who we assume to be a fellow named Andrew, presents two bouncy minimal tech house grooves here that are guaranteed to work the dancefloor. A-side cut "God Seducing Me" is exactly the kind of mesmerising and bass-driven tackle that will mix well with Northern tech house sounds by Jack Wickham or Josh Walker, while on the flip "Devil Catch Me Tonight" will hypnotise you into submission with its ethereal charm and is perfect for the afterhours dancefloor.
Review: Is East End Dubz the hardest working producer in the 21st century tech-house scene? He's certainly prolific, as his sprawling discography attests, but what's more impressive is the consistent quality of his releases. He's hit the mark yet again on this EP for his self-titled imprint. A-side "Wobble" is particularly potent, featuring as it does a fizzing fusion of insatiably funky bass, surging acid lines and shoulder-swinging beats. "Slammin" is closer in tone and style to the producer's trademark tech-house glitchiness - all mangled electronic motifs, straightened-out Villalobos drums and deep bass - while "Izit" is a tidy, acid-flecked box jam that increases in weight and intensity as the track progresses.
Review: Graded, Regraded and now Intergraded? Label chief Midland has stated that it is a new label intended to focus on releasing music by new artists; whether unknown, emerging or established but working under different aliases. For the sixth release, we have Em and Stav. Well established in the vanguard of Bristol and beyond's electronic music scene, both individually in their own right and as a duo, they are partners in real life and behind the decks. Great stuff on this one: from the hypnotic and bass-driven broken beat of "Afterglow", to the soulful futurist electro of "Inner Space" and the emotive off-kilter IDM of B-side cut "Atmospheric Love" - this is a terrific effort from the promising pair.
Review: Mannheim's Fabian Winkels is somewhat of a hero within his local scene, having long been an active DJ and producer that headed up the now defunct local institution Parker Lewis, operating his own Salty Nuts label and having been involved with local names such as Sukhumvit, BE9, Valioso and of course Kusi. He once again blazes the analogue signal path in wonky and minimalist fashion on his new cut titled "Def Yours", a typically bass driven and tripped-out jam that's perfect for Sunday mornings aboard the Hoppetosse. On the flip, there's a remix by Rominimal godfather Rhadoo, who works his unmistakable magic as always.
Review: Here comes something fresh for your ears on Lazare Hoche. The Parisian minimal house bastion is experiementing on this release, as Alex Font collaborates with Nils Weimann for a record that explores the synergy between classical minimalism and contemporary dancefloor reductionism. "Ballets" is a striking track that gets creative with violin strikes falling in polyrhythmic patterns to create something truly bewildering for the dancefloor - after all, that experimental sphere is where the magic happens. "Kefta" takes a more traditional approach to minimal tech house, executed in a classy, understated fashion. On the flip, Lizz comes on board for a remix of "Ballets" that places the emphasis back on the beats.