Dan Piu & Venus News Network - "Once A While Transforming Into Unity"
Freddy Fresh - "Take Your Time"
QWERTY - "26xm" (Canal Time Shift mix)
Brad P - "Theory Test Level 3"
Darren Nye - "Alienated"
Reedale Rise - "Capricious"
Cygnus - "Vega"
Ewan Jansen - "Space Bar"
Review: While the Childhood Intelligence label has previous form when it comes to offering up multi-artist EPs, little they've released to date is quite as epic, expansive and eclectic as this compilation style double-pack. There's sadly not room to list all of the highlights and subtle variations on offer - it's pretty much fire from start to finish - but our current favourites include the acid-flecked sci-fi techno of Brad P's "Theory Test Level 3", the sparse, bass-heavy shuffle of Dei Sub's "Through Flow", the dreamy but out there ambient dub flex of QWERTY's "26xm (Canal Time Shift Mix)", the 21st century clonk revivalism of Reedale Rise's ace "Capricious" and the glistening analogue electro-meets-Chicago jack pulse of Cygnus' "Vega".
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: It's now been two decades since Gallic producer Joan-Mael Peneau first donned the Maelstrom alias for the very first time. He's been in particularly fine form of late, offering up essential EPs on Cultivated Electronics, Central Processing Unit and Private Persons. Here he makes his debut on Craigie Knowes' hard-wired techno and electro offshoot C-Know-Evil with a formidably tough two-track offering. A-side "Spasm" is a riotous fusion of metallic percussion hits, high-octane electro drums, doom-laden acid lines and bass so raw and intense it was probably made in Scotland from girders. He opts for an even more doom-laden techno sound on fizzing flipside "Turbulence", wrapping increasingly intense electronic motifs around a surging rhythm track.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the sort of music that defines Rave Or Die. Next up with some dynamite club tracks are Stranger and Umwelt, who take one side each of this new marbled 10". Stranger's "Motief" is a techno crescendo that builds on hard hitting techno drums. The urgent synths and increasingly brash hi hats work you into a manic state that is all consuming. Umwelt then gets even more abrasive with caustic synths and retro rave stabs, slapping metallic hits and pounding broken kick drums all forcing you to move on "Shut Up & Dance". This is truly arresting stuff once again from Rave Or Die.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: Firecracker Recordings' Unthank label has been a decidedly intermittent concern since it's eye catching arrival back in 2010 with the Parris Mitchell mangling antics of Berlin dwelling Estonian producer Bakey USTL. It makes for somewhat poetic reading that the label's sixth release should usher in the return of a producer whose last apparent production credit was a contribution to the Fudge Fingas cut "Fidgety Friends" way back in 2007! Quite what the West Yorkshire based Denaji has been doing in the subsequent years is not clear, but your focus should be on his contributions here, with the Wuhti 10" quite sublime. The title track and "Dharma Dharma" are the sort of star gazing boogie and fizzing deep house that fit snugly into the overarching Firecracker sonic canon and do check the wondrous remix of "Wuhti" from Norwegian Sex Tags mastermind DJ Sotofett.
Review: Miltiadis Merentitis is one of the greatest exponents of the underground Greek scene. After several releases on Nous, Echovolt and Synapsis he joins Jose Rico's Spanish imprint Freebeat with the Epitome Of Things EP. Miltiades explores the driest of territories through his characteristic chords, kicks and percussion which will transport you to another world. Take the first cut on the A side for instance: a deep hypnotic techno cut that creates perfect trance induction by relying on the most basic of analogue elements. On the flip, the second track is a gothic lo-fi house jam reminiscent of New York City's Patricia while the final offering channels the spirit of early '90's Detroit on this fine serving of hi-tech soul.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Review: Bristol's finest Jules Smith aka October is back with more reduced EBM mutations following up the dusty and rusted experiments ts as heard on his great Death Drums cassette on No Corner just last year, not to mention 2015's wicked Black Body Radiation. It's the second edition of his new eponymous imprint here. On the A side we have "Repentant (version)" a grotty acid slow burner that squeals away menacingly above the seething dirt of vintage drum computers. On the flip "Judgement Dub" goes for an early Chicago vibe somewhere between Jamie Principle and K. Alexi with its haunting pads and funk bass supported by spitfire rhythm patterns and morose atmosphere that's geared for the early morning hours of a sweaty Berlin basement party.
Review: The meandering and eccentric press release sent out to promote this release describes newcomer Serious A as: "a charming Parisian astronaut with a charming signature sound". It's a fitting description on a number of counts. Although rooted in smouldering late night deep house of the kind that French producers do so well, many of the electronic sounds and percussion elements showcased across the EP are more readily associated with original Detroit techno. We're particularly enjoying the yearning, early morning shuffle of "Dune 2" and gentle bleep techno influences of the chunkier "Aftermath", though jazzy and bumpy closer "A Festa" is also inspired.
Review: Russian enfant terrible Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno appears next on Gost Zvuk: an imprint dedicated exclusively to the Russian and ex-USSR scene and only releasing music of producers from these regions. The label's seventh release (known elsewhere as 'Swamp Tracks') showcases the diverse array of Milyakov's sonic repertoire, that has seen his release on labels as diverse as Cititrax, Incienso and Zodiac 44. The fierce sonar transmission of "Project Loop 1" or "Subsonic II" will no doubt bear comparisons to Berlin legend Sleeparchive, but still hold their own. Milyakov is really in his element when delving deep into electro mutations as heard on "Industrial Acid" or the tripped-out minimal techno cut (and our favorite) "2x Clouds".
Review: Brooklyn label Razor-N-Tape get in on the Record Store Day action with this 10" edition of Beatin Tha Breaks from Nashville-based Magic In Threes. It's the remixes that come first, with Dutch artist Fouk going into similar house territory to Kenny Dope with plenty of live instrumental touches blessing the bristling percussion. It's a totally different vibe on the Freddie Joachem remix, with the Californian opting for some midtempo funk breaks that stay closer to the sound of Magic In Threes' original version . This closes out the RSD release on the B-side and is an easy-breezy affair dripping with soulful guitars and harmonies.
Review: For the latest single on Umwelt's essential Rave or Die label, the Lyon-based producer finds himself sharing vinyl space with Perc Trax regular Ansome. The South London producer handles side A, assaulting the senses via distorted breakbeats, chilling, held-note horror strings and gory electronic riffs on the industrial techno insanity of "Vakuum". Umwelt's track, "Affres", explores similar sonic territory, though his use of macabre audio loops, redlined electronics and rapid-fire, ray gun drumbeats gives the track a much more rolling and hypnotic feel. Both cuts are wild-eyed and aggressive in tone, even if they are every bit as sci-fi as classic Detroit cuts.
Review: Chevals, who brilliantly describes himself as a "French house producer, disco cutter and horse", came to our attention last year via a fine debut on Better Listen. You'll find further proof of his "rising star" status on this tasty, two-track contribution to Kolour LTD's 10-inch series. Both tracks are essentially re-edits, though there are enough additional touches and new musical elements to elevate them way beyond your average scalpel re-arrangement. The Frenchman kicks thing off with "I Can Prove It", a gently tooled-up and reworked version of a soaring, glassy-eyed disco-soul gem that will sound fantastic at this summer's open-air events. Flipside "Free Love" is an altogether more low-slung affair, with a fizzing, funk-fuelled groove building towards a rush-inducing Philadelphia Soul-goes-disco-house conclusion.
Review: Berlin-based DJ and producer Denise Rabe has become something of a cult heroine since her first releases in 2015. The years since have found her operate in her own parallel techno world, where psychoactive sounds and heavy drones permeate your ears, then your brain, then your whole being. Now she steps away from her own Rabe label for a debut on Stroboscopic Artefacts, which finds her take charge of the Totem series. Opener "Manifesto" is a driving techno groover with ghoulish synth designs and keys from the 5th dimension, then "Don't Leave" will utterly trip you out with its panning pads and mysterious leads. "Clouds" completes the journey with doom laden and wide spread kick drums that lurch over and over through some ruined post-human world. Tip!
Review: This is Adam Wickens' - aka ADMIN - first appearance for Kolour LTD, and we're happy to see the UK deep house producer continuing his steady path to maturity. This two-tracker is part of the label's 'LTD 10s' series, and this particular one is the fourth instalment; we love it not only for the quality that has graced the releases up till now, but also because we're fools for the ten inch format. "Reach For Love" sounds like it could be on Moodymann's Mahogani, a sensual house charmer complete with gorgeous piano keys and assembled with pure hypnotic delight. Side B's "You've Got Me" is similarly cool and laid-back, but the beat is speedier here, the percussion more floor-centric and the vocals sexier than ever. What a gorgeous little tip - cop it!
Review: Seleccion Natural is Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, a techno dream team who have a new album on the way this autumn. Before that they offer up two tracks from it on a tidy 10" that brims with modular synthesisers, samplers and drum machines. "Split Didactics" will rewire your brain with squeaking lines and cantering kicks making for a real techno riot, and "A New Description Of Hell" layers up hammering kicks with howling synths into a rigid and unrelenting groove. Making this extra special is artwork by none other than Silent Servant.