Review: After appearances in the last 12 months across World Unknown, Let's Play House, Endless Flight and Futureboogie, Geordie trouble starters Last Waltz add Tusk Wax to their canon of labels with the first of two releases. The usual hand stamped, individually numbered, weighty 180g vinyl factors are present and correct yet there's still room for the concluding chapter in the sleeve. The thrusting, lusting "Glamour Things" isn't shy, pairing motorboat arpeggios with satisfyingly weighty drums, whilst the detuned "Tipping the Gulf" tumbles along with a certain lopsided glee. An accompanying Jamie Blanco remix ramps up the original's lead synths with decidedly epic cosmic results, whilst "Beholden (Part 1)" sees Last Waltz play with the work of Foals in calming, cosmic fashion.
Review: HVL seems well thought of by many within the house and techno community, with labels queuing up to secure his services. Bizarre Realms marks his first appearance on Los Angeles' Hesperian Sound Division. It's an undeniably atmospheric affair, with the Georgian keen to show off his noted eye for detail. Check, for example, the spacey, Detroit deep house-goes-acid vibe of "Escape In Time", or the watery, deep space electronics and jazz-flecked rhythm of "Bizarre Realms". He's not afraid to doff a cap to techno, either, as both the deep and dubby "Sio", and the more ragged, mind-bending "Sforzando", so neatly prove.
Review: Transmitting out of Birmingham and representing the cream of the sleek tech house crop, Adam Shelton's One Records continues to forge valuable connections with the global scene while staying true to the label's roots. Shaun Reeves and Tuccillo have been doing their thing for long enough to know how to throw down a surefooted deep groover, and that's just what you get with "Smile". Meanwhile The Mole does a sterling job of working some complex percussion into the bones of the track and creating a hypnotic, understated version that will appeal to the freakier end of the floor.
Review: The Iceland-born, Norway-based producer, B. G. Baarregaard, channels the great tradition of Scandinavian electronic disco on this delectable four-tracker, maintaining a crisp and funky edge to his productions while making sure every inch of the wax is dripping with old-skool warmth. "Tokyo 1988" stands out with its perfect lashings of boogie rubbed into the joints, while "Kick The Burger" slows things right down for a cool and deadly cruise through electro funk of the highest order.
Review: As a staunch representative of Midwest techno since the mid-nineties, Fanon Flowers has always skirted on the periphery of the scene rather than getting placed on the pedestal many of his neighbours do, but this return to UK's Sect Records sees a further widening of his reach, with this particular record embracing his dub techno side with a cavernous chord deployment and plenty of metallic hits. Substance is on deadly form for the remix, trimming said chord down to a fine point and adding some welcome funk into the arrangement to a thoroughly engrossing end.
Review: Newcastle-based producer Traela makes his first appearance on wax with this on-point work out for Hhatri, a London based label who have previously been happily working with the likes of Soichi Terada. There is definitely a sense of feel-good optimism and kinked drum programming hovering over this EP, especially on "Hanging Over A River". "You Know I Can Hide" also stands out with its strafing bass lick and space-scraping synth rolls, but the script gets flipped for EP closer "Uyokuthola" as tribal percussion meets with an ambient atmosphere for a most engrossing end result.
Review: Following choice wares from tape_hiss and Pascal Viscardi, Love Notes stride into winter with a fulsome offering from lesser-known artist Subtenant, who packs just the right balance of classic acid and modernist techno into the three original tracks on this 12". "Evergreen Soul" looks set to turn heads in the club with its playful organ flex hopping around the punchy 303 notes, while "Artisanal Acid" brings some homespun hardware handiwork to the table. "Know How It Feels" drops in at a slower tempo, but it's D'Marc Cantu who steals the show with a dynamic remix of the title track loaded with detail and shot through with dub.
Review: Spain's Slow Town rarely fails to deliver the goods. Split, so called because it contains tracks from numerous artists, more than lives up to the label's rising reputation. It probably helps that the A-side comes from former Bent man and longtime East Midlands deep house stalwart Nail. His "Shake Back" explores similar sonic territory to Pepe Bradock's "Deep Burnt", whilst retaining the chunky, bass-heavy bottom-end recognizable from his releases for Classic, Shabby Doll and Robsoul Recordings. On the flip, there's an equally assured cut from London stalwarts Jonno & Tommo. "Wolf Spirit" is an altogether more tech-tinged affair, built around a restless electronic bassline, hypnotic percussion and woozy, late night chords.
Review: Scott Fraser and Timothy J Fairplay's Crimes Of The Future label has had quite the banner year, ushering in various projects from the pair as well as seeking out like-minded contemporaries such as Perseus Traxx. The latest Crimes of the Future release introduces Bulb, another project bearing the label founder's finger prints along with a high profile third colluder in one William Burnett. Apparently laid down at WT Records HQ in the spring of 2014 whilst Fairplay and Fraser were committing Crimes in NYC, Bulb is a bold offering from the trio with two extended dancefloor workouts taking a side each. "Light It Up" pairs ghetto techno breaks with something from wayward Kosmiche studio experiments in deepest Germany, whilst "Dimmer Switch" plunges into a world of psychedelia and cavernous cave dwellings thanks to some dark ambient synthesis and stabbing drums.
Review: The fourth installment in the Legwork Records saga sees label heads Lance DeSardi & Leopold come together under the artist moniker LEGWORK. For their first outing under the name they start with BUCK SHOT, a techno-soul chugger featuring a remix by the futurist himself, Matrixxman. On the flip, the boys go in for a straight-ahead killer with MEAN 2 ME and a more musical version of the same tune, KEY 2 ME.
Review: A big Juno bear hug goes to the folks from Tresor for releasing a string of sublime re-issues this year. The latest is Drexciya's seminal Harnessed The Storm long player, generally a much darker affair than Neptune's Lair, which itself was reissued earlier this year. It is hallmarked by longer, more exploratory tracks, full of sinister twists and turns. The stormy electro thunder of "Digital Tsunami" is perhaps the standout moment here, closely followed by the subterranean squelch of "Soul Of The Sea". "Dr Blowfins Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres" has an eerie crackle that predates the current vogue for dark atmospheric techno by nearly a decade, while the robotic key melody on "Song Of The Green Whale" marks it as the LP's most playful moment. Highly recommended for electro and techno purists alike.
Review: As Until My Heart Stops turns 10, we head back across the Atlantic , this time to Boston and a stunning ep from the still hugely under rated DeViere.DeViere is a music producer and radio disc jockey (Progressive Black, 90.3 FM WZBC Newton) based in Boston, Massachusetts. He first came to our attention with the Transcendental Numbers ep on Jamal Moss' Mathematics label in 2012 and we've waited on each release ever since, including last year's huge Future Shock Disco ep (a collaboration with Jamal himself). Here DeViere presents 3 beautiful examples of his deep, soulful craft and a fitting way for UMHS to hit double figures.
Review: Blast away those gloomy clouds with this wonderful set from the Street Edits clan. Having previously been spotted on Lumberjacks In Hell with Rahaan, it's evident that Sean Sounds knows exactly what he's doing when giving classic funk and disco a tasteful re-rub. "Disco Child" on the B-side is likely the big party starter, but there's grade A soul to be soaked up elsewhere too. "Rock Your Bones" is an especially sunny jam with African flair in its bones, while record closer "Get Up & Party" has a classic 70s Motown feel to it. In the face of overly slick re-edits this is a release with a welcome grittiness to it.
Review: Having first surfaced last year with their first various artists release featuring the dearly departed Andreas Gehm, the Stealth Mission label is back with another four-strong salvo of no-nonsense acid, electro and techno. Naked Eye People kicks off proceedings with the punishing jacker "Short Distance" before Barrow Boy whips up a perfect slice of malevolent 303 mischief on "BTB (Demo Mix)". On the B side there's space for a little more reflection with the spacious pings of Bobby Durst's "Shape Shifting" before Mike Storm turns the heat back up on the delightfully unhinged "Dark Sight (Sims JFF Edit)".
Review: Following strong turns from Kasra V last year, this Love Fever spin-off label returns to call upon Al Kassian to drop some electro-pop enchantment on unsuspecting ears. With just one recently released record to his name, Al has positively encouraged the intrigue that emanates from Artificial Emotion. "Roboluv" is a sublime slice of house balladry shot through with a curious line in wobbly electro synths, which then really come to the fore on slower B1 jam "Default". With the heavily vocodered vocals pealing out through the mix, it's quite an arresting end result that culminates with the wonderful curio "Broken Embraces".
Review: Erol Alkan lights the fire when he first played "Ross Ross Ross" in his essential mix. This track became a must have. It's been almost 6 months & since then, Sebastian dropped a dozen remixes. Uffie, Kelis, Daft Punk, Mylo, Editors, Kavinsky and more got the Sebastian treatment. Then he concentrated on his own productions to deliver 2 monsters. The dramatico-cut up beat "Head/Off" & the club banger "Walkman". Those tracks have already been tested by the whole Ed Records crew. "Walkman" was the pick time of Ed Banger X Vice party at Sonar this year. Sebastian will release his first album in 2007.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: REPRESS: The second release from the Hlanganani label lives up to it's MO to provide a platform for talented producers from South Africa to shine, focusing here on Deep Sixty, aka young and fast-rising producer Johannesburg producer Thabiso Mamogwa. Back in 2010, the producer made it to London to take part in the Red Bull Music Academy, which is when the HLANG team first heard the tracks that make up the Mme Hayo EP whilst some studio time on the same trip with Todd 'Soundmurderer' Osborn resulted in the "Thursday Nights" track which Mamogwa previously self-released. In addition to Deep Sixty's own 'Deep Terror' mix of "Mme Hayo", the label have coaxed some fine remixes out of Esa and William Kouam Djoko.
Review: London's Dark Sky trio have come a long way over the last three years, first appearing on the mighty 50 Weapons, then jumping on to Mister Saturday Night's catalogue, and now landing most vertically on Germany's Monkeytown - quite impressive if you ask us! The NTS Radio residents serve up "Voyages", a wonky techno side-stepper complete with tribal percussion and a distinct UK feel. Remix duties are taken care of by Francis Inferno Orchestra, who deliver a hypnotic and floor-ready version of the original, and techno God Reshape with his slithering, ultra-stripped back version. Another class act from Monkeytown camp.
Review: Following the release of Iggy Pop's last full length, Post Pop Depression, the much loved punk professional has teamed up with pioneering electronic dance musos Underworld (think "Born Slippy") via the request of Rick Smith. Album opener, "Bells & Circles", sees Iggy relive the days when you could smoke on an aeroplane, and in his case pick up an air hostess, while a rich and throaty yet somewhat forlorn 'hey' in "I'll See Big" offers a classic, almost narrated number of nostalgia, with a hint of reverb adding a sweetness to a not so bitter regalement of times gone by. Meanwhile, "Get Your Shirt" pitches the bliss of 80s new wave with mid-90s rave to create a glittering, electro pop jam fit for the stadium or Soho club. The glory years may be a memory for this formidable tripod however their sounds, combined, still hit the sweet spot.
Review: Dean Meredith’s White Light Circus returns to the 12" format with the celestial funk of "Rocket Ride" (extended version), a synth and drum work out that pays its dues to not only the robo-disco of Giorgio Moroder, but also to the Teutonic modulations of Kraftwerk and their oscillating computer soul. For the B-side, Meredith hands over the controls to Andy Meecham, who re-configures the rocket’s motherboard, presenting us with an Emperor Machine Version that spins us sideways into a meteor shower of insistent rhythms, sputnik melodies and sound effect squiggles. This is the follow up to 2005’s acclaimed "Marching Orders" which had a legion of DJ supporters including The Glimmers, Headman, Trevor Jackson, Soulwax, Prins Thomas, Rub N Tug, Pedro Ed Banger, Idjut Boys, Optimo, Stevie Kotey & Mr Scruff, etc.
Review: Skubi steps into the limelight with his debut release for Modern Ruin, an imprint reserved strictly for the finest in footwork killers. "Brain Music" is basically a modern hip-hop lick with cavernous low-ends and that familiar juke vocal stutter. The same goes for "Wet", a relatively darker, dreamier sort of affair. Remixes comes from none other than Slick Shoota and House Of Black Lanterns, the former opting for a jungle swing while the latter twists and funks that juke into an even nuttier bundle of drums and percussion. Large.
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Lee 'Scratch' Perry - "Exercising" (Horsepower remix)
Review: Notorious dubstep progenitors, the once eight-strong, now four man Horsepower collective return to the airwaves ten years since they first emerged from the murky depths of Croydon in 2000. Benny Ill, the long-serving lynchpin of the group, teams up with Nassis, Lev Jnr and Jay King for the third Horsepower album, Quest For The Sonic Bounty. Much has been written on their enduring legacy and the recent re-emergence of Horsepower Productions after a five year hiatus has reminded us all of dubstep's origins at a time when perhaps we most needed to be reminded. From listening to cuts from the album such as "22 and "Water", you can see these genes passed on into the DNA of Skream's Human Traffic sampling "Rutten" and the work of Benga, Mala, Coki and more. Elsewhere the beautiful, atmospheric intro, crisp percussion and dubbed out soundscape of entree "Rain" sets the tone for the journey, with ricocheting beats recoiling from the sheer pressure of the bass. A moody malaise seems to hover in the background throughout the album which is strangely enthralling. Quest For The Sonic Bounty reaffirms once again, that Horsepower remain one of the most important and genre defining acts of our generation. A must have album to add to your collection.
Review: Adam Marshall has been a part of the worldwide techno movement since about the same time as Mike Dreben; the pair's tunes have been hitting our shelves since the early days of Juno, and so we feel that they have been a special part of our development over the decades. They appear out of nowhere for the BLUE imprint, out of Canada, by slamming down some furiously penetrative techno bruisers with a minimalistic touch and feel. Dreben's first 2 cuts are wild and fast, tumbling over their own kicks and snares as the toxic levels of bass are released over tight, dance-centric grooves. Marshall's "Avalokitesvara" reigns supreme on the B-side, hitting harder and more direct comparted to Dreben's stripped-back feel, with a heavy succession of kicks and snares hitting down extra hard. Finally, some proper techno runnings!
Review: Romania's newest source of experimental minimalist, Listen2Me, digs up a new talent by the name of MGCH, and shoots him - or her - onto our shelves with this small marvel of an EP. "87" is a delightful tune, a glitchy minimal groove that travels between house, noise and electro with utter ease and pure elegance, a sound that is matured further via the rhythmic sway of the moodier, dubbier folds and clicks of "Is This It". There's a trio of leftfield charmers on the flipside, spear-headed by the warm and placid glow of the near beatless "What For", evolved into something of a lounge house mood on "How You See", and tied off by a dubwise reinterpretation of "87" by Serb. TIP!!
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