Review: Some three years on from his last outing under the alias, Orlando Voorn dons the occasional Basic Bastard pseudonym for another giddy trip into soulful and melodious techno territory. Title track "Signals" is typical of the Dutch veteran's work, with attractive and futuristic chords, riffs and melodies dancing jauntily above a high-tempo techno groove and some seriously funky acid lines. It gets the remix treatment on the B-side, where Gallegos Yoga re-casts it as an acid fired slab of techno-funk before Unknown Detroit twists it into a ghostly, unearthly stomper. Bonus cut "Deep City", a colourful and ultra-melodious affair, is also superb.
Review: Stuart Li, better known as Basic Soul Unit, set up the Lab.our Music label last year as a low-key outlet for vinyl only transmissions from himself and others. Having introduced local Toronto talent Maxwell Church last time round, Li is back behind the buttons for Lab.our 003 which seems to retain the techno orientated slant of much of Basic Soul Unit's work in 2013. Lead track "Head Long" grips control of the A Side, rolling out one long groove of heads down techno, with the sort of windy textures and rolling toms that tend to get Ben UFO all excited. Face down, "Nowhere To Be Found" opts for a more broken feel, with the ghost of hardcore buried deep in it's DNA and the kind of stunted drums that can cause ankle fractures, and "Spiralling Down" will appeal to STL fans.
Review: Brothers From Different Mothers stalwart Basses Terres is a producer to whom easy categorization cannot be applied. For example, on his 2016 debut, he rushed between a quartet of experimental techno, leftfield and electronica excursions, while 2017's "Counting Pulsations" cassette was a druggy trip rich in ambient, dub and "dungeon synth" flavours. So what's on offer here? More intoxicating, otherworldly concoctions, that's what. Highlights include the dark tropical ambient of "665 Moths", the dubbed-out post-dancehall weightiness of "Wilfred Doricent", the slipped and spacey electronica of "Deliae" and the fluid dreaminess of gently percussive closing cut "Sentiment Oceanique".
Review: Otherwise known as one half of the Decas duo, Berlin-based Battista strikes out on his own with Records Hold Memories, an EP of thumping, raw techno tracks in the Restoration/Livejam vein, all recorded straight to tape. "From The Otherground" is all heaving kicks, a chugging angular bassline and distorted vocals buried deep in the mix; John Swing's remix meanwhile subtly flips the energy with a more rolling bassline with the kinds of loose drums that gather energy like a steam train. On the flip, "Natural Instinct" offers more unhinged 4/4, building up to a crescendo of cymbals and vocal noise; "Flowing Through Time" is even more manic, accelerating things up to 134BPM through a flurry of claps, snares and looping bass.
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Since signing with Ransom Note Records in 2016, Bawrut has been on a fine run of form. Remarkably, this is the Madrid-based Italian's fifth EP for the imprint and it's every bit as memorable as its four predecessors. Like much of his work, title track "Pronto Arpeggio" is rich in razor-sharp analogue electronics, with high register arpeggio synthesizer lines rising above punchy beats, manic drum fills and mind-altering acid motifs. It's successfully toughened up by KiNK before Bawrut returns with "Shooreee", another boldly percussive and constantly building exercise in analogue electronics manipulation. Ruf Dug's brilliant remix takes the track to another level entirely via even denser drums, rougher acid riffs and more glistening lead lines, while "Atchu" is a chugging chunk of late night acid sleaze.
Review: Former L.I.E.S. and Apron regular Greg Beato struck out on his own in 2017, establishing the Ni Un Pero label as an outlet for his work. He's not released all that much since, though last month's "Cum In Peace" two-tracker suggested there was more to come. At five tracks deep, the "Dade EP" is the producer's most action-packed release for some time. There's plenty to enjoy throughout, from the ricocheting percussion, jaunty electro bass and spacey electronics of opener "Tres" and the deep lo-fi techno shimmer of "Cero", to the restless percussion, alien electronics and clanking industrial drums of EP highlight "Hasta". Wonky closer "El Fin", a kind of deep space electro/lo-fi P-funk fusion cut, is also inspired.
Review: The term 'idiosyncratic' is flippantly bandied about these days, but can be used more appropriately to define legendary producers such as Ann Arbor's John Beltran. For nearly 20 years, Beltran has created some of the most seminal and timeless expressions in hi-tech soul music. It is classic Beltran on The Musical Storm EP, as heard on "Ascending" which harks back to the sounds of his treasured Ten Days Of Blue album on Peacefrog back in '96, the life affirming ambient journey "Barely Beating Within My Chest" is a fast forward to the present and is similar to his work on recent Delsin efforts like Everything At Once or Espais. Always one to surprise us at times, Beltran goes for a more lo-fi and gritty analogue approach to jackin underground house on the gritty "Confuse You" on the flip.
Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
William Bendix - "Dallas" (Lucky Koi remix) (5:24)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (3:46)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (Parasols remix) (7:09)
Review: In just three years Ali Renault's Vivod label has managed to release a staggering amount of music from rule-breaking disco mavericks, and so it continues unabated on this new slab from William Bendix and Lewis J Force. The former comes leaping into earshot with the splattering robo-boogie of "Dallas" in all its chaotic glory before switching stance with the dazzling synth glare of "Centurion". Lucky Koi is also on hand to take "Dallas" to task and does so to great, mutant breakbeat effect. On the flip Lewis J Force whips up a bouncy acidic storm with "Folkestone Nightclub", only for Parasols to come bowling in and dismember it in a most sonically gruesome of ways.
Review: It's been a while since Blackest Ever Black turned the key in their A14 machine but it's clearly in working order as Beneath takes us for late night drive through the murkiest of bass/techno/breakbeat hinterlands. "Cloudy" is a sludgy, warped jam that would sound just as good in an Om Unit set as it would a Radioactiveman selection. For a little more grunt flip for the stripped back and rolling "Outsource" where the industrial strength drums suddenly get wrapped up in a short series of pure chord uplift. Hardboiled just as A14 likes to cook them; let's hope both parties don't leave it so long next time...
Review: Welsh techno producer Benjamin Damage is up next on Belgian institution R&S. He has been fairly quiet on the production front - not producing alongside cohort Doc Daneeka so much anymore and since the shutdown of the 50 Weapons imprint - but he did surface on subsequent label Monkeytown with a remix for label bosses Moderat (aka Modeselektor w/ Apparat) last year. "Malfunction" is a hard-hitting and bass driven main room techno workout, that's sure to cause some destruction on the dancefloor. The B side cut "Binary" takes it cues from the school of M-Plant with its hypnotic stabs, cutting through layers of sublime pads and restrained rhythmic sequences.