Review: Throughout the noughties, UK producer John Harvey delivered sporadic bursts of Detroit-influenced, atmospheric techno brilliance on Delsin under the D5 moniker. Here, the long-running Dutch techno imprint looks back on Harvey's often-overlooked career, gathering together a scintillating range of classic, lost and forgotten gems over a sumptuously packaged triple-pack. What shines through most is Harvey's effortless grasp of mood and melody, with each spacey, heart-aching composition coming smothered in classic Motor City melodies, supernova chords and glistening electronics. Whether heading for the dancefloor via hypnotic, rolling groovers, or showcasing his love of IDM and ambient techno for those feeling the post-club sofa vibe, Harvey rarely got it wrong. An essential purchase.
Review: Chicagoan duo Big Mike T and Kenny Gino have used many monikers over the years - Ghetto Godfathers, Le Soul Mediques, Black Ops, Cozmic Jazzz Futurist - but it's been a long time since they wheeled out the Dark Matrix alias. In fact, Gravity Wave is the long-serving duo's first release under the pseudonym since 2002. It sees them paying tribute to the early days of Detroit electronic music, effortlessly joining the dots between futurist techno and outer space electro. Of course, you'll hear other influences across the album, too - Dutch electro, Italo-disco and slightly harder European takes on techno can all be heard within the machine beats and melodies - but it's their love of the Motor City that shines through.
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: Richard Fearless returns with Death In Vegas' sixth album 'Transmission'. Collaborating with artist and writer Sasha Grey, the project is a killer combination of Grey's lyrics with Fearless' signature sound, honed in his Metal Box studio. Said to have bonded over a shared love of Chris & Cosey and Throbbing Gristle, the duo really find their comfort zone on this LP. Alongside lead single 'You Disco I Freak', we particularly enjoyed the very Songs Of Love & Lust sounding "Consequences Of Love", the dark and tunnelling minimal techno of "Flak" and sexy EBM pulsations of "Sequential Analog Memory" .
Review: Israeli duo Deep'A & Biri have been an enduring success story over the last few years. Their trademark style of hypnotic and ethereal techno that has seen them release anywhere from Dutch imprint Balans, the legendary Transmat and of course International Deejay Gigolos - who released the duo's debut album back in 2013. Their sophomore LP however is released on their own Black Crow imprint and is a fine collection of cerebral grooves that impressively discovers many different perspectives of what 'ethereal techno' can actually be. From the strobe-it, freefall tunnel vision of "Voltage" or "False Memories", to heads down tribalist grooves like "Avicenna" or "Flow Diverter" there are also some groove experiments that hit you directly with real impact (such as on the absolutely frantic "Alkalinaty") or moments of sublime ambience like the brilliant closer "Astral Trails".
Review: Prolific dub techno producer Rod Modell has spent much of the last year collaborating with long-term studio buddy Stephen Hitchell under the Echospace alias. Even so, he's still somehow found time to ready another solo album for regular home Soma (his fifth in total for the esteemed Glasgow-based techno label). While the CD version is presented as one continuous audio journey, this double-vinyl edition contains each track in its entirety. There are few surprises, but plenty of highlights: after all, nobody does this kind of hypnotic, meditative, ambient-influenced dub techno quite as well as Modell.
Review: There's not much info out there about My Own Jupiter's latest addition to the roster, though we do know that he's a Spanish producer and that "Morning For Loss" is his debut album. It's a rather impressive set, with the publicity-shy artist offering up a poignant, spacey and quietly picturesque mix of slo-mo melodic electro, intergalactic dancefloor workouts, early '90s style IDM, bleeping ambient techno and shimmering purist electro jams that sound like they've been sat idle on a dusty cassette since 1989. Throughout, Depressor strikes a near perfect balance between bottom end grunt, atmospheric aural textures and tuneful, ear-catching synthesizer motifs.
Review: On his first solo album in five long years, Berlin techno heavyweight Marcel Dettmann is in scintillating form. The six tracks that make up "Test File" are in some ways typical of his output, in other ways surprisingly atypical. Compare and contrast, for example, the title track's buzzing, mind-altering, percussively dense Berghain techno intensity, and the deliciously low-slung, atmospheric and dubby "Torch", where Dettmann dips the tempo and looks towards post-dubstep rhythms, post-punk and gnarled electronica for inspiration. Or, for that matter, the smooth and atmospheric dub techno hypnotism of "Error (1st Take)", the head-nodding dark-room house haziness of "Autumn 77" and the blistering peak-time techno assault of "Ascending". All hit the mark impressively and bear the hallmarks of Dettmann's signature style, even of their aims are impressively varied.
Kaa Antilope - "Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird" (3:59)
Clan Of Xymox - "A Day" (6:40)
Ministry - "Same Old Madness" (5:10)
Fad Gadget - "Back To Nature" (5:51)
Review: With the renewed attention surrounding industrial and EBM in the last few years (and its influence on techno, again), it's important that someone with credentials gives the new generation a decent history lesson. Fitting that Berghain resident and MDR boss Marcel Dettmann curates a compilation of classics from the sound's heyday: here's someone who actually lived through it. As part of Amsterdam imprint Dekmantel's Selectors Series, these gems from yesteryear should certainly set the record straight and provide solid reference points for new school retroverts. Highlights (and there's many) include: Belgian EBM legends Front 242 with "Don't Crash", Philadelphia industrial underdogs Executive Slacks' "So Mote It Be" and the mandatory Cabs track comes in the form of "Low Cool" (the Marcel Dettmann Edit, no less). It wouldn't be a proper industrial comp without a bit of Wax Trax! would it? Label staples Ministry appear with their 1982 song "Same Old Madness", a period in the band's history that some consider their finest.
Review: Detroit's DJ Bone is and always has been one of his city's most underrated producers. In fact, the man is a killer behind the decks too, mashing up house and techno with that inimitable US speed that has also been championed by the likes of DJ Rush et al. His relationship with Bristol's Don't Be Afraid has been a fruitful one of the last year or two, releasing a couple of gnarly 12"s under the Differ-ENT moniker, a sound that expands upon his comparatively more rigid techno sound. This is the debut album under the Differ-ENT alias, and we most certainly agree that It's Good To Be Differ-ENT." There isn't a dud tune on here, and for an LP that focusses primarily on the dancefloor, it manages to convey a strong narrative throughout, built with mastery and dedication by this talented artist. Tunes like "Met Allergic Flew Antsy" or "Marvel Less" are muscly and fast-paced, but there is still plenty of exploration going on at their core, while remnants of electro can be heard on tunes like "Compute Her". This is a vibrant LP, made up of many different guises and shades, all finely tuned around the dancehall, and strangely fitting with the UK's lust for the broken sound. Recommended.
Review: Detroit techno maestro DJ Bone has been on prolific form of late, from his collaboration with Deetron to his own steady stream of sharply realised output on his Subject Detroit label. Now he's back with a new album, Beyond, and it's as advanced and keenly executed as you'd expect. From the echo chamber synth flourishes of "Multiples Of Self" to the low-end grind of "In The Deep," there is plenty for Bone fans to chew on here, with a continued focus on expressive synth work as first mooted with the "A Piece Of Beyond" LP earlier this year. "Rosedale Park" is a clattering, Rhodes-embellished track primed for damage in the dance, while "Bound To Move" equally brings the peak time heat.
Review: Detroit techno hero DJ Bone is ever prolific these days, with his Differ-Ent alias releasing an epic triple LP release on Don't Be Afraid last year. A Piece Of Beyond marks the second DJ Bone studio album, and it finds him in an exploratory mood. "It Begins" is a unique exercise in synth wobbles and military drum programming, while "The Stalker" heads into the deepest and farthest corners of the quintessential Motor City techno sound. "The Chase" takes on a cosmic, break-infected stance that calls to mind spiritual jazz as much as techno, while there's more classic styles to be enjoyed on "Dreamers 9" and the absolutely stomping "Sweat".
Review: Underground Quality boss Jus Ed is beginning 2017 in fine fettle, with Transition - his first album since 2014 - heading up a spate of vinyl releases. The triple-vinyl set is full of evocative, immaculately produced deep house treats, from the Alton Miller style intricacy of "The Loop 222 Bodin Strasse" and shuffling, yearning "The Day Prince Died", to the rich bass and dancing drum machine hits of "Medellin My New Grooveland" (inspired, apparently, by a recent trip to Colombia), and the low-slung, Motor City grooves of "Sci-Fi Connection". Best of all, though, is the rushing positivity of "Spring is Near", where intertwining synth lines bubble away over a fizzing, techno-influenced rhythm track.
Review: It would be fair to say that White Material co-founder DJ Richard's latest full-length excursion is an album of two halves (to mangle a football cliche). Stick on the first slab of wax, and you'll be confronted with a string of dark and moody treats, from creepy ambient interludes to grumpy electro, to mind-altering dark-Italo (see standout "Vanguard") and pulsating, off-kilter electronica (the restless acid pulse, off-kilter drums and paranoid chords of "Tunnel Stalker"). Whack on the second disc, though, and you'll be comforted and calmed by a series of intensely blissful, occasional melancholic compositions that are much lighter and dreamier in tone. Of these, it's the sublime "Final Mercy" and "Ex Aere" that stand out.
Review: The mighty DJ Spider lands on Green Village after delivering a 12" to the Jersey City label a couple of years back. Spider's deadly combination of the weird and tough is whisked into a canny blend on this record - the synths have a warm, melodious quality that complements his crooked drum craft, not least on sterling opener "Kill Your TV". "Warhead" is a muscular payload of flanging techno, while "1984" aims for psycho-acoustic devastation with its own arsenal of ranging tones. The smell of war is in the air, with politically charged samples to boot, but Spider's vibrant production skills lift the whole experience to make it all the more impactful, and indeed memorable.
Review: Whereas Ed Upton's previous DMX Krew album for Hypercolour explored the bittersweet world of electronic melancholia and laidback futurism, his latest full-length outing charges towards the dancefloor with a giddy grin and an adrenaline-fuelled lust for life. From start to finish, the untitled set is a throbbing rush of futurist techno, fizzing electro and muscular Italo-disco workouts, with Upton's trademark sound - think funk-fuelled synth-bass, psychedelic acid lines, intergalactic chord sequences and inspired electronic flourishes - guaranteeing countless cuts of timeless electronic music. Best of all, while most of the tracks are crying out for club plays, the album can be enjoyed as a single musical journey that stands up to repeated listens.
Review: The first release of 2017 from Edume and Nicolas Lutz's "multi-disciplinary art platform" (that's a record label, kids) My Own Own Jupiter comes from Spanish analogue freak Do Or Die. It's an expansive, intergalactic debut album featuring nine scorching, tried-and-tested dancefloor treats. Highlights come thick and fast, from the racing deep space bleeps and razor-sharp acid lines of body-jacker "Mr Insane" and psychedelic-minded electro-acid shuffler "Brahmsstrat", to the deep and galactic techno/electro hum of "Osst" and rush-inducing deep house bliss of "Posthuman (Part 1)". Also worth a listen is "Norse", in which Do or Die fuses bleep-era Biosphere with the mechanical funk of vintage Chicago jack.
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: Jean-Louis Huhta is a long-standing veteran of the Swedish underground, from roots in punk and industrial through to an illustrious if somewhat low key life in techno. His Dungeon Acid alias heralded a return to the fundamentals of machine music, and gets more intriguing with every release. This self-titled album on iDEAL gives a wonderfully widescreen impression of his style, where atmosphere and textural individuality are just as important as the beats. At times the electronics are joyously weird, as on unhinged acid burner "7Y02", and elsewhere a more exotic, head-nodding melange emerges. Just stick on "4R01" and find yourself transported to a most curious, utterly wonderful synthetic tropicalia.
Review: With previous releases by Tin Man, Veiled and King Blood, Philadelphia based White Denim are back with the debut LP by Graham Dunning: a self-taught artist and musician based in London. His live work explores sound as texture, timbre and tangibility - drawing on bedroom production, tinkering and recycling found objects. Much of the work evolves through experimentation with different processes: considering the methods by which sounds become music, process as a continuum encompassing both improvisational and procedural methods, and testing analogous processes across different media. Dunning provides two immersive minimal techno workouts on the Tentation EP, with the slow burning and dubbed-out echomania of "Another Rhythem" and the further reductions of "Ping Pong Rhythem" on the flip - reminiscent of Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia or Plastikman's early exploits. Highly recommended.
Review: Brighton based producer Richard Smith aka L/F/D/M who first emerged in 2013, inaugurating the Optimo Trax series with the Purple Maps EP before going on to release two EP's of hardware-driven atonal techno on Powell's Diagonal Records makes his bow on Cititrax "Dream Bleeds". Overflowing with body jerking industrial, raw acid/techno, the album hints of the warehouse sound of the late '90s and the caustic spirit of EBM. From opener "Cru" to "One Terminal", the eight tracks thread together; each starting point completely open, each new step informed by the last, shaped by emotion, inspiration and time.