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: Berlin based retrovert Binh returns for another much anticipated edition of his Time Passages series with Lost 'N' Rex EP, which follows up some great ones of late by Evan Baggs, Metamorphic Interface and Omar. Featuring six doses of old fashioned techno and electro that take their cues from the early '90s sound; from wacky and strobed-out jam of "Rice In" which you can imagine him playing at one of his regular marathon sets in his hometown, the old school jack of "Waescherei" that calls to mind Blake Baxter's early sounds on KMS to the nefarious underwater electro of the title track which gives a respectful nod to Motor City legends Drexciya.
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: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
Review: Ed Davenport's Counterchange imprint is back with a label compilation that demonstrates a wide variety of techno derivatives by a stellar cast. From scene legends such as UK innovator Boddika (with his hypnotic and textural epic "Broken Wave)" and elder statesman Patrik Skoog with the functional, peak-time cyclicality of "Mind Control". For more heady and atmospheric flavours, they have you covered courtesy of Puglia's Distant Echoes on the utterly sublime "Under The Influence" while Acing Seas main men Cassegrain team up with the inimitable Tin Man on the heady acid epic "Opal Stare".The harder edged, dancefloor ready weapons are provided by label head honcho Davenport on the retro, bleep driven "Fluxus", while BNJMN's abrasive "Red Tide" hammers the message home on this true beast that reaches near tribal moments.
The Sixteen Steps - "Signals From The South" (6:28)
The Sixteen Steps - "Promises On The Run" (7:17)
Review: Rampant and 'up for it' as usual, the Cititrax label is back with a new set of wayward technoid experiments for the more trained ears on the dancefloors. This time it's Romania's Borusiade and newcomer The Sixteen Steps who share two sides of a wax plate and, of course, proceed to annihilate any idea of a quiet night in. The former sets off with the mechanical acid bumps of "Infatuation", guided by an eerie set of vocal blurs, and that's followed by the comparatively more beat-centric techno of the apocalyptic "Confutation". On the flip, The Sixteen Steps first lands on "Signals From The South", a house banger with noxious levels of mutant bass at its core, followed by the single-minded industrialism and sheer techno brutality of "Promises On The Run". WOWZAH!
Review: The good chaps over at Hardwax, Klockworks' own distribution network, are calling this a "perfectionist techno compilation" and, in their own words, it comes "warmly recommended". We agree with both of statements, and believe this to be a fine piece of work from the Ben Klock collective. Perhaps listeners won't hear anything drastically game-changing in here, but it is certainly all dance music of the highest calibre, from a collection of artists who have truly crafted a neat and elegant vision of techno music. On this double, the first in an upcoming series, there's a mixture of old and new faces all coming together to showcase the sound they've been so close to over the years; the wonderful Sterac makes an appearance with a refreshingly off-kilter blur of dub techno on "Lately", while Ben Klock himself comes through with the ice-cold bleeps of "Twenty", and the mighty DVS1 blasts out some penetrative percussion folds on "In The MIddle. Trevino rocks the boat with "Sombre Tones", whereas relative newcomers Etapp Kyle and Jon Hester turn in their own 5am bullets.
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: While George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has released rather a lot of fine material in recent times, we still think that he saves his best for Berceuse Heroique - or at least his darkest and most clandestine aural explorations. For proof, check this inspired double-pack of creepy, pitch-black workouts, which we think contains some of his most potent work to date. There's the triple-time, paranoid deep techno throb of "Void", the faintly threatening dystopian dancefloor shuffle of "Machine", and the clanking, industrial-fired hypnotism of "R24" and "Mechanic". While it tends towards the paranoid and unsettling, Thompson has included one sun-bright shard of light: the blissful, beat-free, intertwined synthesizer lines of closing cut "Mod".
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: Following up some great tracks on Pinkman, Mannequin and Malka Tuti in recent times, British synth wizard George Thompson returns under the Black Merlin alias - delivering some bold EBM and electro-noir antics for Berlin imprint She's Lost Kontrol. The rusty grind of analogue arpeggios, with minimal rhythms awash in icy trails of reverb plus guttural howls through walls of distortion shall taunt you throughout the sonic contents of the Noi EP. While Thompson sure has a knack for nailing all the hallmarks of early industrial music, he still finds time for the same tribal meditative minimalism found on his Karamika project as heard on the riveting "Noi 2" - one of the EP's highlights.
Review: For the first volume in the "Secret Sun" series, Open Channel For Dreamers offers up a first retrospective of Jeroen Borrenbergs' now sought-after work as Ballet Mechanique, all of which was originally released between 1992 and '99. First up is "See You", a cheery, bass-heavy electro track rich in cheery IDM melodies, which is quickly followed by the intergalactic ambient techno bliss of "Zoo Is Out", where mangled analogue bass and Black Dog style electronics buzz around a bustling dancefloor groove. Elsewhere, "Electro" is a razor-sharp, funk-fuelled electro-acid workout, while "Under The Surface" sounds like "In Sides"-era Orbital after a fistful of sleeping pills.
Review: Crisp Recordings is a record label and production company founded by legend DJ Ra-Soul and Chicago by way of Memphis' Don Crisp. Black in Time is the moniker used by the pair which has resulted in three previous collaborative releases on the label, and they're back with the fourth after a long hiatus. Now they present the politically charged "Democracy Is Hypocrisy" with its powerful narrative fuelled by a groovy minimal acid arrangement. Comes with a handy instrumental version on the flip, in addition to a rough and ready acid dub that's perfect for getting weird at the afterhours. Much crossover appeal anticipated on this little treasure -tip!
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: Over the course of TTT's rise to fame over the last 7 or so years, UK dance deviant Bass Clef has been an important part of the label, putting out his most daring work through Will Bankhead's imprint. He's back in future-mode with this new EP, kicking off with the spaced-out waves of "Celescalating", a deep tech wormhole that gets more hypnotic by the bar. On the flip, "Iridescending" falls under the same pretext yet here the vibe is more on a house tip, with large folds of bass forming a Mr Fingers-style groove; "Unlundone" strips the melodies down in favour of more itchy percussion, a growling Chicago bass and a distant, ethereal wave of subtle atmospherics. Beautiful. And recommended.
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: At first glance, French enfant terrible Bambounou is a surprising addition to the Diskant impint - now known as just Disk. Known for his techno and house exploits on Clek Clek Boom and 50 Weapons, his knack for intricately programmed rhythms were on display even back then. It kind of figures that he'd be a good choice for the label, come to think of it now. That's certainly proven across the three tracks on the Parametr Perkusja EP, where his sound sits comfortably alongside label mates like Harmonious Thelonious and Durian Brothers. From the slo-mo esoterica of "Dernier Metro" which reaches near tribal moments, the hard hitting polyrhythmic techno of "Kosovo Hardcore" it is great to hear some original productions from him after lengthy absence.
Review: Luke Standing aka Blue Hour is clearly a producer with a personal agenda. One which he's adamant about fulfilling. To give you some context, Blue Hour has self-released a dozen EPs since his debut in 2013, and he's showing no signs of stopping, if this new 3-tracker is anything to go by. Keeping in line with his characteristically jagged and angular techno approach, "Beyond The Void" is a hypnotic techno bullet with a cascade of raining synths, followed by the gentler, more melodic approach of the sublime "Shimmer" (Dreamscape)". "Radiance/Limelight", on the B-side, opens the doors to the warehouse rave, or festival, by laying down a rolling groove that is bound to leave its dancers in a state of utter trance. Solid techno works, direct from the source.
Review: From the minds of Direct Beat and Detroit Bass Classics, comes the first initial compilation of electro/techno heat. "Electro In The Key Of Detroit Vol 1" presents 4 proven dance floor dope and record crate staples that provide the hungry ears of masses the groove to move. A Side features two sure-fire steppers - a rare AUX 88 voyage entitled "Phantom Power" and Blak Tony's tempo-pushing "Holla Holla" finally see the light of day on this wax collectable, giving praise to Motor City footwork culture. On the flip, DJ K-1's "Erase The Time" rocked the airwaves and global clubs with its signature thumping style laced beneath alien-like melody and repetitive vocal structure while Posatronix's mutant-rhythm mantra, "Pure Techno Sound" pulls the weight of Detroit's street dance roots down to the origin of how to boogie in space. This collection of re-issued jams and new explorations is the must-have for the electro/techno & bass aficionado.
Review: Not On Earth's first release sold out in quick time - unsurprising given the reputation of Frankfurt based founders Bodin & Jacob. Their second is a various artists affair that shows off some of the talents they have unearthed, while Bodin also reappears with "A Walk In The Park." It's a brilliantly militant cut with clipped, marching beats and rasping bass squelches, and elsewhere Philipp Boss opens the EP with the slippery electro rhythms of "Lava". Griezman's "Decheterie" is an uptempo bit of proper first wave tech house a la Terry Francis. Closing out this more than handy EP is the hard edged electro-tech of "Zoober" from Martyne.