Review: Essential repress! Tomas Bangalter's stone cold classic Roule 12" Trax On Da Rocks makes a return. The five tracks on offer - "On Da Rocks", "Roule Boule", "What To Do", "Outrun" and "Ventura" - have acquired legendary status, standing as sublime examples of the rough, raw end of the filter-soaked French house sound. Some 17 years since they were first released, these tracks have lost none of their madcap brilliance; if this isn't already a cherished part of your record collection, here's your chance.
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: 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.
Review: Steve Bicknell does not muck about on this one. The 25 year techno veteran is a UK mainstay but somehow often rather slips under the radar. Sure, he had a few years away from 2005 to 2013, but he has rarely made a misstep since for fans of hard, dense techno. After EPs on Ostgut Ton and highly touted collabs with Function and Luke Slater as LSD, he's back on his own 6dimensions with an EP that you may have already heard DJ Nobu and Jeff Mills playing in recent sets. Three of the cuts pack a visceral punch, with hammering drums and walls of sheet metal synths and frazzled percussion applying huge amounts of dance floor pressure. Our pick of the bunch: hypnotic and stripped back closer "Undue Identification".
Review: Grenoble-based producer Binary Digit previously plied his trade on Seven Hills offshoot Zeitnot, so it's little surprise to see him popping up on its parent label. "Never Owned A 303" is the Frenchman's most expansive EP to date, with the six included tracks varying in tempo and intensity while making extensive use of razor-sharp synth riffs and mind-altering, TB-303 style acid lines. Highlights include the metallic, Syclops-goes-techno clatter of "ZE7U II", the "Braindance" influenced dancefloor madness of "Virtual Modular 2 Tape", the sprightly acid-electro bounce of opener "Acid Racing Head" and the DJ Funk style ghetto-acid rush of "I Never Owned A 303".
Review: Since first emerging in the late 1980s, Peter Elmaloglou has been one of the mainstays of the Australian techno scene. Derrick May is a fan and has decided to offer Elmaloglou the opportunity to showcase his wares on Transmat. A-side "Set Me Free" offers up an impressive fusion of soft-touch European tech-house tropes (fluid, delay-laden synthesizer motifs, tactile beats etc.), Chicago style psychedelic acid lines and the kind of rumbling, elongated bass tones that were once a feature of Kevin Saunderson's late '80s/early '90s work as Reese. Over on side B, "Don't Stop" is undulating, hypnotic and minimalist in tone, with percussion that both hisses and clicks, while "Autumn Blues" sees him pepper a squeezable techno groove with heady ambient chords and glassy-eyed electronic lead lines.
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.
Review: Following up appearances by veterans such as Josh Wink, Hardfloor and Acid Rain (Milton Bradley), Dame Music takes no prisoners on the third installment of The Melting Pot, delivering another series of unrepentant 303 ultraviolence. Label chief Bloody Mary steps up to deliver the punishing and disorienting psychedelia of "Acetic" awash in gliding resonance from that little silver box plus clattering 909 mayhem. Splice then lunges straight for the jugular on "Tactile", a frantic session where the abrasive overdrive of the kick will have you begging for mercy. Finally, the legend Thomas P. Heckmann returns since his appearance on the series' first episode - he delivers the seething restrained fury of "The Space Between".
Review: UK dub techno maestro Steve O'Sullivan is back with another payload of deep immersion heaters under his Bluetrain guise, this time on the Future Primitive label. There's a deadly restraint at work on "Congo Shuffle", where the elements get reduced to needlepoint precision and the low end rhythm section stalks with purpose. "Invisible Guest" takes things in an explicitly dubwise direction, channelling serious Rhythm & Sound vibes for an immaculate head-nodder, before "Paralyzed Dub" slows down further into an end of the line skank for the weary to find solace in - masterful movements in the echo chamber from start to finish.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
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".
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Review: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: Staggeringly, "What A Mess!" marks Pepe Bradock's first full-length excursion for over two decades. As you might expect, it's unusual in the extreme, with inspirations including a "special diplomatic elephant" and a sound shaped via "a few mundane terms, picked randomly, then coupled with frequencies chosen in a spontaneous way for their presupposed properties or synchonicities". Musically, the LP stretches one continuous suite of title-less tracks over two sides of vinyl, with Bradock cannily combing far-out ambient sounds, deep space electronics, off-kilter rhythms, layered spoken word snippets, mind-altering lo-fi bass and deliciously weird experimental electronics. It's akin to the sort of fuzzy, out-there sample collage you'd get on a Tolouse Low Trax mix tape, but that's no bad thing. In fact, it's a very good thing indeed.