Review: The MUSIC INSTITUTE was Detroit's answer to legendary house and garage clubs like Music Box in the Windy City and Paradise Garage in New York. Now it is a label putting out the sort of raw, direct music you would have heard in the club. This time out it is famous Chicago producer and vocalist Alton Miller who steps up under his Aphrodisiac alias with cuts made on an MPC and Yamaha keyboard in Studio B of KMS. They are jacking, of course, but with plenty of musicality in the chords and though now a few years old having beenfirsst put out on Transmat's sub-label Fragile, they still bang.
Review: Germany's Kopf Bei Fuss brings the brilliance once more after a fine first outing a year ago. This one licks off with the hugely likeable and high speed techno funk of "Nani Kore". It has a rubbery bassline that is busy and off balance, and scintillating hi hats and drum programming that are clean and serene. A wonky melody line and weird vocal stabs all add plenty of the sort of eccentricities that are all too often missing in modern techno. "Palmenhouze" is another characterful track, this time pairing ambient pads and keys with acid undulations and high speed, spaced out house beats. Completing a varied package are the loopy breaks and bendy sine waves of "Radio Exercise". A fine EP.
Review: Trauma Collective returns with four cuts of decidedly hypnotic and abstract techno from ever-prolific ASC. Rounding out the last decade with a string of stand-out releases on his own imprint, Auxiliary, the San Diego producer brings his cerebral sonic aesthetic to the fledgling Madrid label. "Loop Research" showcases a singular artist unbound by tempo and at the top of their game.
Review: Aubrey's status as a pillar of underground UK techno comes into focus with this reissue of a 1995 classic from the Solid Groove archives. 'Ginger Biscuit' is a riotous party starter, riding a funked up loop and feverish percussion to make for techno perfection. 'Long Player' is a trippier affair awash with heavy reverb, pads and submerged acid bleeps. 'Shimmer' goes even further out with some shimmering dub techno chords riding elongated filter sweeps for pure eyes closed transcendence. 'U Be Dick' seals the deal with a micro-dub excursion that nudges towards house territory with soaring synth strings to boot. Seminal stuff.
Review: 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Allen "Aubrey" Saei's first 12" release as Panic. Because of this, it seems a fitting time for the long-serving techno producer to return with his first solo single for two years. He begins by wrapping delay-laden synth stabs and tipsy chords around a heavyweight bassline and crunchy machine drums on 'Sleeze Funk', before further exploring dub-tinged alien techno pastures on the similarly impressive 'Break'. B-side opener 'Jazz Sunrise' expertly combines driving drums and insanely weighty bass with drowsy deep house chords and jazzy synth flourishes, while 'Buddy's Groove' is on off-key trip into strange (but brilliant) loop-house/deep techno fusion.
Review: Berlin-based Italian producer Audri has been scattering his smart, fine-tuned machine soul across a handful of labels over the past four years. Picking up the thread from the emotive and inventive end of the 90s techno spectrum, his latest drop on Albion should appeal to all those who can't get enough of that B12-flavoured sound. 'Inner Movement' sports plenty of classic Motor City influences, but given a crisp modern finish. 'Dizzy Freq' has a deeper demeanour that jacks and jives in equal measure, with a nod to the formative sound of bleep techno. Domenica Rosa delivers a fun and freaky twist on the original, before the legendary Titonton Duvante dubs things out nicely on his version of 'Inner Movement'.
Review: Audri (real name Adriano Sorrentino) is an Italian DJ and producer based in Berlin and owner of DEMUT, which he inaugurated last year. Sorrentino serves up some tough minimal jams with a strong nod to Detroit techno and Yorkshire bleep on his new release for London's Opia - their eighth release. An integral part of the label/party from its early stages as a resident DJ, the 'Tappo Di Ferro' has an aesthetic right in line with their vibe. They've managed to cram three cuts onto the A side: the futurist thump of "Background Radiation" with its syncopated 909 clatter, or the hypnotic "Zisco United" were our picks. On the flip, there's the off-kilter freak funk of "9 Evolution" with rhythms reminiscent of Thomas Barnett or Suburban Knight - tip!
Review: Bam Bam is an old school techno legend and 'Where is Your Child?' is one of his most essential acid cuts. Back to Life is a young label but by reissuing this one on vital one sided 12", it continues its early run of form. Originally released on Bam Bam's own Westbrook Records in 1988, this is the records only fully licensed repress after more than thirty years, and it also includes a Bonus Beat tune. The original is of course where its at - scintillating drums, dark and lacking percussion and haunting vocals, all run through with a caustic acid line. Pure rave perfection.
Review: Fluid Electronics is a new sister label to the boogie-focused Fluid Funk imprint, though it's focus will naturally be more contemporary variations of electronic music. To kick things off, they've smartly recruited Dutch producer Rob Belleville, an artist who previously impressed via releases on Symmetric Records, Common Dreams and, most recently, Guangzhou Underground. This time round he's in a contemplative mood, flitting between the IDM-influenced deep and melodic shuffle of title track 'Still Waters', the rushing, Motor City techno inspired sci-fi positivity of 'The Golden Hour' and the bustling, extra-emotive sweetness of retro-futurist treat 'Lost From View'. The EP also boasts a superb rework of 'Still Waters' from fellow Dutch producer Conforce, who thrillingly re-imgaines it as a dark and foreboding electro-techno stepper.
Review: Michigan artist John Beltran has long embodied the evocative, richly textured techno sound that has so long been synonymous with Detroit. He is in particularly majestic form on this one, however, with opener 'Love Freq' bringing scintillating hi hats and synths over dancing beats that are brilliantly restless. 'Epic Soulmate' has that sombre synth sound that has you gaming off into the distance, rueful for a love you once knew, then 'Controller' brings you back down to earth on a more punishing groove laced with darker bass notes. The manic and freeform 'El Conquistador' is a perfect end to this EP, which journeys much further than most techno albums ever do.
Review: After capturing the imagination of many late last year, bespoke cutter returns with 5 cuts of skeletal club futurism. Raw yet polished, experimental yet undeniably danceable, stripped bare yet brimming with funk, every sound on this meticulously crafted record hangs in its rightful place. An invigorating release - highly recommended.
Review: Since debuting on Bird Scarer in 2012, George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has delivered some of the most intoxicating, percussive and otherworldly electronic music around, much of it shot through with exotic South East Asian instrumentation, feverish percussion and plenty of atmospheric field recordings. He continues this invigorating approach on the Mod Ik EP, confidently strutting between seriously hallucinatory techno (the heavy and hypnotic title track), mind-mangling ambient acid (the beat-free electronic psychedelia of 'Miea'), dark and foreboding modular intensity ('PK9', whose lead lines and breathless bass are both unusual and inspired) and feverish early morning chuggers ('HL').
Review: It's been a while between drinks for Alexander Green, who has not released a solo record under the Boddika alias for nearly seven years (his most recent outing was a 2016 collaboration with Joy Orbison). The Walk Talk EP, which marks his return to the Nonplus label he founded 11 years ago, is therefore something of an 'event release' - in certain circles at least. Interestingly, opener 'Walk Talk' is a creepy and clandestine chunk of brooding analogue techno in its most traditional form, while the track that follows, 'Croak', adds buzzing and brain-melting bass to an otherwise similarly moody groove. Over on the flip '808 (Hacked)' doffs a cap to the polyrhythmic techno sparseness of Livity Sound, while 'Metal Forest' is as weird, wonky and mind-altering as they come.
Review: Sound the alarm, Borai is back with another essential drop of rough n' tough breakbeat business on his Higher Level label. In the same vein as his celebrated Club Glow work with Denham Audio, these are well-schooled rollers with sonics to make the sternest soundboy shock out. 'Sanctuary' calls to mind the earliest strains of Good Looking Records in its dreamy moments, with ample space afforded for the amens to get gnarly too. 'Carpet Bagger' strikes a deadly blow in the hardcore vein, piling on the darkside synths for a rave-ready showstopper to get synapses tingling and jaws clenching.
Review: When ambient soundscapes and electro design combine as well as they do on the opening track here, 'Il Tempo E Lo Spazio', you cannot fail to be impressed. It's a scene setting opener from Roberto Bosco and Il Cornonauta that immediately wins you over before 'Accelerazione' takes you to a higher level of electro funk on 'Velocita' Costante' which might just be the EP highlight. The high speed and high tech electro soul of 'Wolf 359' sure does give it a run for its money, though.
Review: Detroit native Mathew Dear can do no wrong. The man known as Jabberjaw, Audion, False, Asa Breed and himself here introduces another new alias, The Brain, with a well crafted double 12" on Planet E. "Boss" from it was first heard on Carl Craig's Detroit Love Vol. 2 compilation and seems to draw on all his various other projects - it is heady techno with dark, heavily filtered vocals that take you to the dead night. Elsewhere there is dubby tackle, hyper-speed minimal and warped tech house, all of which adds up to another winning project.
Review: New York label and party Mister Saturday always brings roughed up, raw and steamy house grooves. This new one is no exception to that unwritten rule and it comes from Russell El Butler who serves up four platters that matter. 'Blah Blah' is a brilliantly brainless house romp with vocal loops and distorted kicks making you march. 'Kruymska' is more tight and taught thanks to the pinging kick drums and molten melodies up top, while 'Tout Va Bien' is a late night cut that glistens thanks to its prickly bass and razor sharp hats. 'Alone At Pisecka 12' closes out in malfunctioning fashion to round out a wide-ranging EP.