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: As usual, 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 Soma (his fifth in total for the esteemed Glasgow imprint). This CD version is presented as a continuous audio journey, with tracks seamlessly segueing into each other to create a hazy and hypnotic sound soup. As you'd expect, it's a hugely atmospheric and attractive affair that dozily drifts between meditative ambience and texture-laden dub techno. Pleasingly, much of the material is more melodious and positive in feel than some of Modell's work, which can often tend towards the dense and claustrophobic.
Paperclip People - "Country Boy Goes Dub" (Marcel Dettmann remix)
Norman Nodge - "BB 1.0"
Francois X - "Rising"
Marcel Dettmann - "Lightworks" (Phase remix)
Lockertmatik - "M Lock 4"
Wincent Kunth - "Carlre"
Joey Anderson - "Repulsive" (Marcel Dettmann edit)
Marcelus - "Flash"
Vril - "Torus XXXII"
Review: When it comes to DJing there aren't many names as trusted as Marcel Dettmann to provide the essential mix, be it in CD or podcast format. To date he's curated the second installment of Ostgut's in-house Berghain mix series and the Conducted mix for Belgian label Music Man. So it's about time Fabric invited the Berghain resident to participate in their own mix series, with this 77th edition providing a selection mostly based on unreleased MDR demo tracks that Dettmann's been utilising in his sets for years. The result is a good primer for what to expect from his label in the future, with Answer Code Request, Norman Nodge, Ilian Taper Dario Zenker and French producer Marcelus amongst the high-profile names contributing unreleased productions.
Review: Zak Khutoresky AKA DVS1 famously doesn't do many mixes. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that he apparently initially struggled to know how to approach this contribution to Fabric's now legendary mix series. Really, he shouldn't have worried. The finished mix - completed using three turntables and a mixer - is something of a gem; an all-action techno assault on the senses with Khutoresky whipping through 29 tracks in less than 80 minutes. Impressively, every track is an unreleased exclusive, with some 16 of these forthcoming on the DJ/producer's HUSH and Mistress labels. In many ways, it's a near perfect package for those who enjoy Khutoresky's muscular style; certainly, the inclusion of so many unheard gems makes the first listen a genuine voyage of discovery.
Review: Last year's excellent Drexciya retrospective, Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller, was rightly heralded as a must-buy for anyone with even the smallest interest in the history of underground dance music. This second volume offers more of the same, conclusively proving - though few would argue otherwise - that Drexciya remain one of the most forthright, intriguing and forward-thinking acts ever to emerge from Detroit. The material here largely centres around their own peculiar take on proper electro, from the liquid synths and bouncing grooves of "Anti Vapour Waves" and "Journey Home", to the excitable, steel-hard rhythms and naked funk of "Positron Island".
Review: The people who got to know Niels 'Delta Funktionen' Luinenberg through his ponderous Electromagnetic Radiation release or the adeptly programmed warm-up sets posted online may be surprised by the approach on Inertia. However, its direction could hardly be described as unexpected. The second volume of Electromagnetic Radiation and the grimy warehouse techno of Silhouette make perfectly clear that the Dutch DJ/producer likes to play it hard as well as deep. In that regard, Niels is not alone, and this mix, which consists solely of exclusive material, shows that a whole new wave of European techno producers is on the same wavelength. The mixture of the musical and forceful is audible from the outset, with textured chords unfolding over an angular rhythm on Sascha Rydell's "Rainy Days", a few tracks later as Cosmin TRG does his best mid to late 90s Ian Pooley techno impersonation over a rolling, warm bass and midway through on Peter Van Hoesen's "Last One at 1080", where evocative but eerie pads build to the backdrop of a prowling groove. It's a stunning finish to a mix that effortlessly balances the hard and the soulful.
Review: There should be more than a few techno fans getting rather excited right now. You see, Donato Dozzy and Nuel's Aquaplano Sessions is something of a "holy grail" for tribal-influenced minimal techno collectors. Originally released over two 12" singles on the short-lived Aquaplano label in 2008 and 2009, the material has long been held in high regard - so much so, in fact, that copies of the original vinyl pressings are extremely hard to find. This reissue from Spectrum Spools is great news for anyone who missed out first time round. While there are some immaculate deeper moments (see the becalmed dreaminess of "Aqua 8"), it's the robust, aggressive, bass-heavy and occasionally intense tracks that really stand out.
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: Berlin-based Canadian Scott Monteith has released many albums over the course of a near two-decade career, though few are quite as focused and laden with meaning as Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve. At heart, it's a political record, with each track featuring spoken word pieces or poetry written and delivered (in a variety of languages) by one of Monteith's music pals. Whether his collaborators are musing on the nature of democracy or telling a political parable, their words subtly rise above a sequence of brilliant backing tracks that variously touch on dub techno, melodic deep house/techno fusion, basement bothering post-dancehall riddims, hypnotic organic/electronic fusion and hazy, early morning ambient. As a result, this could well be the most varied and enjoyable Deadbeat album yet.
Review: Somewhat surprisingly, this collaborative album had its roots in a 2013 request from Michael Mantra for dub techno and ambient dub stalwart Mr. Cloudy to remix tracks from his Silent Season-released 2013 LP "Light In My Head". Six years later, and after sending parts and versions back and forth, the pair has conjured this set of lengthy, deep and mind-altering excursions. Mr. Cloudy provides versions of the collaborative "White Dub": an ultra-deep, spaced-out "Remix" that smothers a gentle, slowly shifting ambient dub rhythm in heavily processed snatches of field recordings and atmospheric aural textures around and a sparser, more spaced-out "Edit" that's closer in tone to Mantra's otherworldly, dub-influenced soundscapes. Sandwiched in between you'll find a hypnotic version by Mantra that was partly created using music concrete techniques.