Review: Another great EP from the 3 boys from Sweden, the Blotnik Brothers. Strong percussive big room electro, thick melodies and perfectly-timed arrangements are the mark of their second EP. Kraftwerk on steroids!
Review: FXHE bloodline member Big Strick continues to excel on his own 7 Days Ent. label, dropping his first 12" of 2012 which has a nice community feel to proceedings. Alpha & Omega introduces us to Generation Next, a rising 16 year old talent from the streets of Detroit who contributes alongside Mr Strickland to all three tracks here. Stylistically, the three tracks here seem equally indebted to Juan Atkins pure techno endeavours as Infiniti and the sub aqueous grooves of Drexciya, not least the restrained title track which shimmers from the murky depths into a finely crafted liquid groove imbued with bubbling elatory Utopian textures. On the flip "Origin" ripples with pressure, its rhythmic elements grappling for your attention as the space between them decreases with Strick and Gen Next expertly layering texture upon texture. A masterful 12" shaped exercise in modern day Detroit sounds is completed with the devious electrofied snap of "Bloodline".
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: Leonard "Big Strick" Strickland is perhaps best known for his family ties with Omar-S (they're cousins), though his productions are well worthy of praise in their own right. Here, he offers up a sampler 12" featuring cuts from his recent (and excellent) Reservoir Dogs LP. Perhaps the most noteworthy cut is "Family Affair", a lovingly constructed chunk of hypnotic, melodic deepness written with Omar-S. That said, Strick's solo effort "Armed & Dangerous" - a winding chunk of voodoo techno - is arguably better. The mazy techno-funk of Reckless Ron Cook's "Night Moves" is also outstanding.
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: Collaborations are often the fortune of timing. With Andy having moved on since closing the Dissident label to launching his Cave Paintings project to Tim's departure from Battant and striking out as Andrew Weatherall's engineer and soon to be co-member of The Asphodells, an alliance was born between the two to undertake a series of live jam sessions at each's respective studios. A love of new wave, new beat, UK Bleep and Detroit techno all feature in B-Ultras and the aptly titled, Neu Beat. Both cuts are heavily soaked in the pitch black, smoke machine funk and strob-laden fug of Andy's (and co-hort Joe Hart) infamous World Unknown dancefloor. Running at around 10 minutes the tracks are essentially an examination of acid house's ideals. Clattering hats, throbbing basslines, stabbing keys and doses of 303. Keeping it pretty simple but all about a pure groove on and on. Backing these up is a remix of B-Ultras from Jamie Paton that accentuates the groove and drags the acid deeper down to some B-boy Dub throwdown - with more to follow from all protagonists in 2014.
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.
Polirican Alarm - "Shelter Or Funkbox" (NY Or Detroit mix)
Senor Ladron - "Bomb Scare"
Bileebob - "Meanwhile"
Bileebob & Marshallito - "Gtr4"
Marshallito - "Prison Diairies"
Review: After only releasing DJ Spider & Marshallito material, SubBASS004 comes as a various artist release that introduces four new characters over the five-track EP. First up is a bar-by-bar house jam by Polirican Alarm that provides all the suggestions it was made by someone that knows their way around a MPC. The same could be said about Senor Ladron's "Bomb Scare" only it's a SH101 that does all the talking this time. Billeebob supplies two tracks, the first a synth-wavy "Meanwhile", while a collaboration with label owner Marshallito, "Gtr4" sounds like a folky Pink Floyd song underlined by the most basic of drum beats: the backbeat. Marshalllito then supplies a rather wonderful solo downtempo piece in the shape of "Prison Diaries" featuring high-pitched piano keys and gospel humming.
Review: 10 Germany seem to get it bang-on each and every time! For a label who has released the likes of Ancient Methods, Perc and Matthew Herbert, among other legends, we'd expect nothing less than the spectacular and this is exactly what we got with this latest collaborative effort by Italy's Daniele Brusachetto, Jansky Noise, Human Larvae and Damaskin. Brusachetto's "Grigi Ma" is weird and wonderful pop tune set against a backdrop of cavernous percussion rattles, while Janksy Noise's "Black Night" is a full-on drone monster. Over on the flip, "Ruined" by Human Larvae is a fuzzy, noise-fuelled scorcher, and "Apocalypse" sees Damaskin produce the EP's only shred of rigidity thanks to its consistent 4/4 kick...accompanied by some rather gnarly power electronics, of course.
Review: Having made his name during the late '90s and early 2000s as a maker of particularly forthright techno, Oliver Ho has broadened his horizons in recent years. Nowhere is that more obvious on his Broken English Club project, which debuted last year with a pair of industrial and EBM minded releases for Jealous God and Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. Here he returns to the latter, laying down more fuzzy, straight-to-tape journeys into analogue, mid '80s dancefloor experimentalism. There's naturally much to enjoy, from the peak Cabaret Voltaire grittiness of "Drycutting", and the bleak EBM throb of "Ritual Killing", to the ghostly synthesizers, Jaydee bass and droning textures of "Channel 83".
Review: The second volume of Bushwick Is Melting features original unreleased material by Brooklyn-based producers Black Meteoric Star, Lorna Dune, and J. Slusher. Gavin Russom apparently has a new Black Meteoric Start LP on the way and we can't wait based on the epic, sweeping grandness that is the 18 minute A-side hogger "Unearthed Arcana" which is quite hypnotic when in full flight. The B-side finds Lorna Dune putting her experiments with the piano to one side to focus on some celestial house moves with "Reflux" which will appeal to fans of Legowelt's more star gazing moments whilst the wonderfully named J. Slusher closes out the record with the face melting techno cut "Night Train".
Review: Bwana aka Nathan Micay has already seen a release on Will Saul's Aus Music and his fluid, freeform house music returns with "Tengo", a melodic progressive house nugget that's both spacey and fit for any dancefloor. The same goes for "Drop Mechanism", an ethereal house stepper, while "Due West" goes in a lot harder with a vicious bundle of Power House drums punching and kicking their way across its chords. Effective floor bombs.
Review: UK techno stalwart Steve Bicknell's Lost Recordings series must be one of the longest running in dance music; the Lost and Cosmic founder has been putting out previous unheard material from his early '90s heyday on and off since 2004. There are few surprises on this 10th edition, but plenty of slamming, no-holds-barred grooves. The hissing, spacey, cymbal-heavy "Track 3" is particularly trippy, while there's a gnarled, ragged intensity about the pulsating heaviness of "Track 1". Arguably best of all, though - ambient interlude "Track 2" aside - is "Track 4", an eerie techno shuffler built around a wonky, off-key electric piano loop and fizzing percussion.
Review: Liverpool's Scenery Records has been making a real splash over the last 18 months, delivering the kind of top notch, analogue-heavy deep house gear that invites comparisons with the best labels from Vancouver, Washington D.C and New York. There's plenty more to cheer on this label debut from Liverpudlian producer Binny, not least the immersive melodiousness, dancing synthesizers and rhythmic hustle of "Retrospective". Chicago Skyway delivers two impeccable rubs of that track, with the second - a new-age techno stomper built around beautiful synthesizer arpeggios and drum machine cowbells - standing out. Flip for the glassy-eyed intelligent techno-meets-deep house thrills of "A Moment In Time", which is also given a pulsating acid techno makeover from Scenery veteran Circular Rhythms.
Review: Always a man with his hand on the swing button, Stephen Brown knows a thing or two about funk in a techno world, but on this single for Technorama there's a distinctly house finish to the track. That's helped in no small part by the soulful vocal lick that runs through the middle of the track, even if the beats still bump with the roughness that he has made his name on. Don Williams ups the ante on his remix by slicing the remix up into fine slithers and fattening up the drums to make for a big room beast of the highest calibre.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: Sweden's Hypnus Records has been going strong since last year, delivering an impressive 10 records in this period! Although the label is coated in the Northern hemisphere's cold outlook, they've scouted a number of artists from different regions of Europe. Their latest offering brings a second volume of their Adepts series, lead by label casual Luigi Tozzi and "Hierophant" which finds the Italian in a deep, ethereal mood with those lamenting pads and gently cascading beats. On the flip, "Kykeon" by Feral brings some subtle bursts of acid to the fore over calming deep techno rhythms, with BLNDR's "Tomb" occupying a similar, mood enhancing mindscape.
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: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
Review: Pavel Milyakov has largely impressed since making his debut under the Buttechno alias earlier this year, delivering a pair of 12" singles that gather together short, hardware-driven experiments in a variety of dystopian styles. Here, the Russian producer debuts under his given name, once again flitting between dark and spacey dancefloor workouts, bleak broken techno, macabre electro, wonky IDM and panicky ambience. Despite the stylistic shifts, the EP hangs together impressively, thanks in no small part to Milyakov's penchant for industrial textures, tape echo and haunting melodies. If you're into the releases of L.I.E.S and Berceuse Heroique, you need this in your life.
Review: Delroy Edward's LA Club Resource finally drops its next bombshell, this time a collaborative effort that includes three newcomers, possibly riding low-key under different aliases. Riding shotgun, you got Chicago legend Gene Hunt with the minimal and freaky vibes of "OW (Drum Beat)", a woman's scream darting in and out of the stripped-back groove, and the heavily filtered "S Sonics" by the mysterious Wrecking Project. Over on the flip of the wax plate you have Blacktail's old-school lick "Now Muzik", while "Blimp Works" by Innsyter is a pumping techno gunshot that goes dirty and heavy on the percussive rattle. Raw, dirty, and messed up from the start.
Review: Here's something of a surprise treat for techno fans: a first 12" in 20 years from legendary Dutch acid techno combo Random XS. The two tracks featured were originally recorded, but never released, in the '90s, and have been brought back to life by Random XS in collaboration with other producers. "Errant", which was co-produced by fellow Djax-Up Beats graduate Binaural, is a spacey affair, with undulating acid lines working in tandem with woozy chords, bubbling electronic melodies and clattering analogue percussion. Lost Trax lends a hand on flipside cut "Truant", which explores deeper techno territory via relentless rhythms, percussive builds, darkly ambient chords and deep space electronics.
Review: It's high time that Berlin's Henning Baer launched his own imprint, and we're surprised that this is only happening now given the success of both his prior productions and of his Berlin club night, Grounded Theory. Manhigh kicks off with Henning Baer himself, gearing up the machines first with the bleeps and sporadic machine tones of "System Test (Nsdxit)", followed by the much more concrete and beat-laden shreds of drums on "Fighting The Dogs". The surprise comes from a rare appearance by Blawan as a remix of "Pan2945", with the Yorkshire native delivering some of his signature thrashing on the drums, and a fuzzy, drugged-out bassline that would have made Regis and Surgeon proud back in the days. The flip continues with more grey-scaled techno in the form of "Moving Ground", the excellent sack of squealing drones that is "The Last Quarter", and finished off tidily by the pouncing kick drums residing on "Copper Skin". Heavy duty gear.
Review: More re-issues of seminal tech house classics by Josh Brent aka Schatrax from the eponymous imprint, mainly active through the late nineties. For those that know, yes we're preaching to the choir, to those that don't: listen and learn! Up there with legends of the UK sound such as Silicone Soul, Pure Science and early 20:20 Vision. This release was originally known as Schatrax #10 and released in 1997. On side A we've got "The Same Fury" which likes its name suggests is probably the most ferocious track Brent probably ever made: this is some pretty hard jacking and functional techno on here for serious DJ use only. "Giddy Up" is equally as cyclical a DJ tool, with its tribal loops work out hypnotising you into submission much like his other classic "Dizzy". Finally on the flip we've got "East", a more straightforward techno stomper with some fierce 909 driven energy supporting some killer synth stabs.