Review: For its seventh release, southern Italians Obscura Music return to welcome exciting new talents and core label acts. Head honchos Agents Of Time venture down an electro route with "East Coast", as do the ever impressive London Modular Alliance on the hypnotic "Buck One". Man of the moment Aussie Jensen Interceptor channels classic Drexciyan aesthetics on "Manix" before homeboys and label staples Hiver come through with the slinky and hypnotic tech house of "Stasys" and Detroit veteran Kris Wadsworth makes a surprising appearance with some slow burning minimalism displayed on closer "Abroad".
Review: Somewhat later than initially intended, Pinkman serves up the second volume in its celebratory "Five Years of Tears" series (the first landed back in April 2018). As was the case with its predecessor, the six-track set is made up entirely of previously unreleased material. This time round, the majority of the material is inspired by EBM, industrial, coldwave and other skewed, left-of-centre electronic sounds from the 1980s. The material is uniformly strong, with highlights including the sweaty, percussive, all-action insanity of "Al Batard" by Jann, sleazy, mid-tempo EBM pulse of Kris Baha's superb "Beatthemachine" and the pitch-black, DAF style intensity of Retrograde Youth's "Final Days".
Review: Over two decades into its lifespan, Adam Beyer's Drumcode imprint keeps evolving and excelling, pushing techno forward while remaining wholly respectful of its roots. On Part 3 of A Sides Vol 7, Beyer brings in the scene's top guns to expertly execute some main room peak-time action. On the first side, it's an undeniably Dutch affair with Amsterdam hero Bart Skils stepping up to deliver the deeply hypnotic tunnel vision of "West Of The Moon", while veterans Secret Cinema & Reinier Zonneveld deliver the darkly druggy dancefloor drama of "Pain Thing". On the flip, Pig & Dan should need no introduction and are in fine form as always on the adrenalised "Pushing On" while ascendant Aussie Juliet Fox similarly impresses on "Wanted Me".
Adam Beyer & Enrico Sangiuliano - "Preset Heaven" (8:17)
Timmo - "Muzik" (6:11)
Pig&Dan - "La Bruja" (6:37)
Julian Jeweil - "Nasa" (6:11)
Review: Some serious peak time weapons for the main room on offer here, from the ever reliable Swedish label Drumcode. Usual heroes of the label such as Luigi Madonna, Sam Paganini and Joseph Capriati step aside for some other equally reliable staples. On the A, side label boss Adam Beyer teams up with Enrico Sangiuliano on the evocative and life affirming "Preset Heaven" which takes its cues from early trance with its amazing chord progression. It is something more typical of the label next, on the pummelling warehouse stomp of "Muzik" by Bulgaria's Timmo. On the flip, there's more trance nostalgia on offer again - this time from legends Pig & Dan on the hypnotic/melodic bliss of "La Bruja" which we could imagine melting the minds of festival crowds well into the new year. Finally they save the best for last with French peak time specialist Julian Jeweil, serving up the furious, tunneling and strobe-lit ultraviolence of "Nasa" which will have your adrenaline going from the first beat. It has been a stellar year for the powerhouse label, with great releases by Moby, Dubfire and newcomer Layton Giordani.
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".
Body In The Thames - "Silver Threaded Crystal Beads" (6:02)
Peach - "Silky" (7:13)
Jay - "Balsam Drum" (6:30)
Webstarr - "The Muse" (7:02)
Review: Midland's Graded launches a new diffusion imprint: Intergraded. Featured here are four cuts from emerging producers. With Graded now focusing on the label boss's solo work and ReGraded catering to a different style altogether - the logical progression was to start a new label that could help introduce this music to a wider audience. Body In The Thames kicks things off on the A side - despite the name he's actually Swedish. His track "Silver Threaded Crystal Beads" is an emotive piece that sits somewhere between early Detroit techno and electro, in the vein of the Motor City godfather Juan Atkins. This is followed by the slinky tech house of "Silky" by London's Peach - a sturdy number supported by ethereal elements. On the flip, NTS host Jay (Siren) presents some moody, heads down techno for the late night on "Balsam Drum" while Yorkshire native Webstarr (De Grey/Mistry) goes deep into the afterhours on the darkly hypnotic "The Muse".
Heidi Sabertoorh - "So You Want To Take Back Your Will" (6:37)
Synapse - "Shiny" (locked groove) (0:30)
Somatic Responses - "Strategy Of Desire" (5:22)
John Selway - "Brainchild" (5:29)
Pointsman - "Dirty Shirt" (locked groove) (0:30)
Review: Seminal New York City imprint Serotonin lives on. John Selway and Jason Szostek present It's What We Live For: Volume 2 - the second in a series of compilations sharing their vision of sounds of tomorrow. Szostek himself dons the well known BPMF alias again for some fierce breakbeat techno action on "Zu Heib Fur Uns", the equally legendary Healy brothers aka Somatic Response still going strong - as heard on the slo-mo acid trance journey "Strategy Of Desire" and relative newcomer Heidi Sabertooth of Opal Onyx delivers some sludgy electro-punk antics on "So You Want To Take Back Your Will". There's some handy locked grooves on the electro-bass tip featured too by Synapse and Pointsman, which were pretty wicked too.
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: A dream team line up for this four way that heads off in various directions across detailed and trippy techno landscapes. Those who have been following these heads will understand what we mean- with the quartet all beginning to rise to prominence now and finally claiming the kind of respect they deserve. Saverio Celestri brings 'Ethereal', packed with direct cymbal work, lilting reversed organs creating leftfield-but-dancefloor business with plenty of usability. Midgar label manager Jacopo, toughest from the names here, takes us down an arpeggiated acid route, never quite unleashing but acting as precursor to whatever bangs come next. Otis' 'Axes of Continuity' has a simple three-four note melody mirrored by bumbling bass, and should sound ideal at anything with a free party vibe. Finally, Fede Lijt's 'Deflexion' goes deepest, twinkling chimes, submerged lows, plenty of snares.
Sean Dixon - "Reconcile" (Palms Trax remix) (6:38)
John Barera - "Black Snake" (6:26)
John Barera - "Space Station" (7:18)
Review: Final Chapter was started in 2013 by Stockholm's Sean Dixon, along with support from Perseus Traxx. A label which is happy to let the music do the talking, Final Chapter is now on it's fifth release, and shows no sign of being prepared to letting the book close. The journey of Detroit and Chicago influenced house and techno continues on this release as label head Sean Dixon presents an EP split between himself and Boston's John Barera, who's previous releases outside of his own label, Supply Records, have issues fourth on Soul Clap and Dolly, as well as Steffi's Panorama Bar Mix CD on Ostgut Ton. Remix duties come courtesy of Berlin based producer, Palms Trax, who's first outing was in 2013 on Lobster Theramin.
Review: First volume of house tracks picked from the Velocet catalogue, Nail's previous label, which he ran very badly between 1995 and 1997. Most of the unsold, OG copies now lay in his ex-wife's cellar, covered in mushrooms.
300 on clear vinyl, no repress.
Review: If the smiley face clad centre label wasn't a sizeable enough clue, Happy Family is a new project from New York staples Eric Duncan and Justin Vandervolgen which sees the pair try their hand at acid house. Both are closely associated with disco edits of course, but if you've seen either DJ you'll know they are well up on all forms of dance music. This expertise is deployed perfectly on the two tracks here, with "Burnt" a relentless exercise in strobelit 303 madness that is a no brainer for the sweatiest part of a DJ set. They tone it down a bit on "Hard To Breathe" which despite the title is an altogether looser production with plenty of room between the tumbling drums and hypnotic lead synth lines.
Review: It's quite remarkable just how much quality Ben Sims has managed to pack into the Tribology mix and its accompanying series of vinyl samplers. The fifth round shows no signs of going soft as it leads in with the sledgehammer thump of Marcel Fengler's "Cortex", showing the Berghain resident to be on formidable form. Alienata shakes things up with the slick yet sinister electro strains of "The 8th Passenger", and James Ruskin lands some heavy blows with the delirious synth cycles of "TZR". Psyk finishes things off in his signature style, looping up some nervy blips and bleeps around a restrained set of drums for the ultimate in techno hypnotism.
Review: A fine example of Pan-European collaboration here, as the Brighton-based Furthur Electronix label buddies up with Berlin stable Libertine Records for a very special joint release. Shad T. Scott kicks things off (under his now familiar Gosub alias) with the deep, sparkling and picturesque electro shuffle of "Take Your Time", before ACEW + Ghost Ride layer spacey, minor-key synths over skittish drums on the rather fine "Mind The Gap". The quality threshold remains high on side B, where Cignol's inspired, acid-flecked electro workout "Chorus Envy" - which to these ears is as rush-inducing as any similarly melodic early Orbital record - is followed by the stomping, fuzz-fuelled lo-fi techno thump of Jared Wilson's "Toughskined".