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: Ben Sims has been busy of late, what with the Tribology compilation and its strong run of companion singles. Now the UK titan is revisiting the project once more with these additional tracks from household names and newcomers alike. Marcu Bruno leads the charge with the frankly massive "Any Given Sunday", which slams a whopping great techno chord front and centre and rides it to perfection. Cadans brings a bit more tribal pressure to "Bite", and it sounds just as mighty. Mark Broom takes things in a simmering, rolling direction on "Loop It" and Avision finishes the record off with shimmering stomper "Rebel".
Review: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.
Review: Following up last year's Moments EP, Dea Dvornik and Enrica aka Eris return to Japanese imprint Cabaret with yet more impressive minimal electro shenanigans. The Italian/Croatian duo are in fine form on the Champions League EP, which kicks off with the deep and trippy bass-driven jam that is the tile track, followed similarly by "Redemption In Friedrichshain". On the flip is the most upbeat and lively track by the pair here named "Moloko" which will mix well with the rest of the label's recent discography - this bleepy and funky old school techno groove is absolutely infectious!
Review: From Patron and Wolfskuil to this first drop on Or:la's new label Cead, Utrecht producer Lewski is fast establishing himself in the buzzing space that exists between techno, electro and more experimental fare. "Guadala" has an uptempo bite, but there's plenty of dubby immersion to be felt in the bubbling synth drops and splashy reverb trails. "Jara" has its own kind of crooked intent, pockmarked with acid swerves and interlocking rhythms to get synapses firing. "Mariachi" takes things back to the peppier end of the tempo spectrum, clearly aiming for the peak time without making any cliched moves - no mean feat - and then "Descacorde" switches things up with a stomping electro house workout that brings a wholly different flavour to this excellent EP.
Review: Fresh from another killer collaboration with regular studio sparring partner E-GZR on Wania, Laura "LNS" Sparrow goes solo and offers up the second volume in her ongoing "Recons" series. It's another confident and hugely entertaining affair, with Sparrow flitting between electro-influenced space funk ("Recon Two"), deep and dubbed out breakbeat shufflers ("Ecumene"), sunrise ready analogue deep house warmth ("Prahvist"), bleep and bass influenced machine techno ("Lehkist") and spacey ambient beauty ("To Be Continued"). Old pal DJ Sotofett is also on hand to remix "37th Degree" in a typically warm and woozy dubbed-out manner.
Review: After a lengthy studio apprenticeship alongside her father Robert in Floorplan, Lyric Hood is finally ready to make her solo production debut. As you'd expect, there are naturally some similarities between her work and that of her legendary father. "11:11", for example, is heavy, driving and claustrophobic, with slowly shifting, hard-wired electronic looks and subtle but panicked stabs buzzing around thumping techno beats and metallic percussion hits. It's the kind of thing Papa Hood may have released on M-Plant back in the day, which is no bad thing. A-side "Nineteen" is arguably even better. Its' sampled drums and loopy, warehouse-ready motifs are funky as hell and twice as hot, while the subtle vocal samples buried in the mix tip a wink to Floorplan's gospel-tinged techno.
Review: Last time we heard from James Ruskin, it was in collaboration with fellow UK techno veteran Mark Broom. Here he flies solo on Blueprint - the label he co-founded way back in 1997 - for the first time in five years. Title track "Reality Broadcast Off" is thrillingly wonky and unsettling, with Ruskin peppering a sturdy late night techno groove with waves upon waves of minor-key arpeggio lines and seemingly out of time motifs. It's great, all told, and most likely capable of inducing hallucinations in suitably refreshed dancers. He continues on a similarly off-kilter theme on the slightly more positive sounding - but no less mind-mangling - "We Are Everywhere", before rounding off a rock solid EP via the squelchy acid motifs and rumbling bass of "Disaffection".
Review: Trustworthy techno outpost Chronicle are the kind of label you can still get behind when they drop an unnamed artist. Whoever's behind Cycle De Motifs, the bar remains reassuringly high for those wanting fresh firepower in the serious techno game. "GPS" is a fist-shaking piledriver, but it's not without its cerebral nuances between the surging low end. Who needs a kick when you can have a relentless sub to carry you through the night? "C-Signature" darts out into equally intriguing territory with a creeping, insectoid array of sound design working around a minimal beat. "Gateway To Infinity" piles the eerie, looping figures on and continues spiraling outwards, and "Nepthys" plies an old-skool drum machine jack in the finest Plastikman tradition.
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: On celebrating 22 years of Josh Wink's cult acid classic "Sixth Sense" on his legendary Ovum imprint, they've invited one half of Masters At Work, Louie Vega, and Israeli techno hero Shlomi Aber for a set of remarkable updates. Vega looks after the A side with a couple of sweltering reworks: from the bouncy, bass-driven groove attitude of the main remix which retains industry veteran Ursula Rucker's powerful vocal performance, to the handy dub version up next. On the flip, Aber certainly has come a long way since the days of Chicago Days/Detroit Nights - it's about spending all weekend at Berlin's Berghain these days - getting on some proper tunnel vision with his steely and austere rework.
Review: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").