Review: Copenhagen-based producer Rune Bagge (Northern Electronics/Ectotherm) presents the third installment on Courtesy's Kulor imprint. "Ingen Tak Til Systemet" (English translation: No Gratitude Towards The System) is a four track exercise in pure unadulterated sonic ultraviolence - if we've ever heard such a thing. From the pummeling and strobe-lit warehouse onslaught of opener "Secret Solutions", to the guttural and contorted noise terror of "Repulsion" followed by the frantic peak time mentalism of "I Am The Solution" which then gives way to the hyperspeed IDM of "Coup D'Etat" - there's truly no rest for the wicked on this one!
Review: Fresh from his exploits with King Kashmere, beat alchemist Bambooman crashes the party at Accidental with four more singular experiments; "Shudder" rolls on a stuttering break that's paced in such a way it's as much UKG as it is techno. Both "Grasp" and "M1" show off more of a house side to B's spectrum as the former insists with an almost Detroitian charm while "M1" scrapes strange strings to create unique texture. Finally "Kyrian" takes us on a futurist twist on broken beat with spacious kicks and a warm, fat analogue synth. Some say shudder, we say goosebumps...
Review: At first glance, French enfant terrible Bambounou is a surprising addition to the Diskant impint - now known as just Disk. Known for his techno and house exploits on Clek Clek Boom and 50 Weapons, his knack for intricately programmed rhythms were on display even back then. It kind of figures that he'd be a good choice for the label, come to think of it now. That's certainly proven across the three tracks on the Parametr Perkusja EP, where his sound sits comfortably alongside label mates like Harmonious Thelonious and Durian Brothers. From the slo-mo esoterica of "Dernier Metro" which reaches near tribal moments, the hard hitting polyrhythmic techno of "Kosovo Hardcore" it is great to hear some original productions from him after lengthy absence.
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Essential repress! Tomas Bangalter's stone cold classic Roule 12" Trax On Da Rocks makes a return. The five tracks on offer - "On Da Rocks", "Roule Boule", "What To Do", "Outrun" and "Ventura" - have acquired legendary status, standing as sublime examples of the rough, raw end of the filter-soaked French house sound. Some 17 years since they were first released, these tracks have lost none of their madcap brilliance; if this isn't already a cherished part of your record collection, here's your chance.
Review: Stuart Li, better known as Basic Soul Unit, set up the Lab.our Music label last year as a low-key outlet for vinyl only transmissions from himself and others. Having introduced local Toronto talent Maxwell Church last time round, Li is back behind the buttons for Lab.our 003 which seems to retain the techno orientated slant of much of Basic Soul Unit's work in 2013. Lead track "Head Long" grips control of the A Side, rolling out one long groove of heads down techno, with the sort of windy textures and rolling toms that tend to get Ben UFO all excited. Face down, "Nowhere To Be Found" opts for a more broken feel, with the ghost of hardcore buried deep in it's DNA and the kind of stunted drums that can cause ankle fractures, and "Spiralling Down" will appeal to STL fans.
Review: Brothers From Different Mothers stalwart Basses Terres is a producer to whom easy categorization cannot be applied. For example, on his 2016 debut, he rushed between a quartet of experimental techno, leftfield and electronica excursions, while 2017's "Counting Pulsations" cassette was a druggy trip rich in ambient, dub and "dungeon synth" flavours. So what's on offer here? More intoxicating, otherworldly concoctions, that's what. Highlights include the dark tropical ambient of "665 Moths", the dubbed-out post-dancehall weightiness of "Wilfred Doricent", the slipped and spacey electronica of "Deliae" and the fluid dreaminess of gently percussive closing cut "Sentiment Oceanique".
Review: Otherwise known as one half of the Decas duo, Berlin-based Battista strikes out on his own with Records Hold Memories, an EP of thumping, raw techno tracks in the Restoration/Livejam vein, all recorded straight to tape. "From The Otherground" is all heaving kicks, a chugging angular bassline and distorted vocals buried deep in the mix; John Swing's remix meanwhile subtly flips the energy with a more rolling bassline with the kinds of loose drums that gather energy like a steam train. On the flip, "Natural Instinct" offers more unhinged 4/4, building up to a crescendo of cymbals and vocal noise; "Flowing Through Time" is even more manic, accelerating things up to 134BPM through a flurry of claps, snares and looping bass.
Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
Review: It's been a while since Blackest Ever Black turned the key in their A14 machine but it's clearly in working order as Beneath takes us for late night drive through the murkiest of bass/techno/breakbeat hinterlands. "Cloudy" is a sludgy, warped jam that would sound just as good in an Om Unit set as it would a Radioactiveman selection. For a little more grunt flip for the stripped back and rolling "Outsource" where the industrial strength drums suddenly get wrapped up in a short series of pure chord uplift. Hardboiled just as A14 likes to cook them; let's hope both parties don't leave it so long next time...
Review: Since announcing their debut album on UK institution Ninja Tune earlier this year, Irish duo Bicep present the first single from the album in the form of title track "Aura". Said to have been created via a series of accidents while experimenting with a new studio setup, the track finally came together through trial and error and here is the wonderful result. A dark and sexy serving of dancefloor drama featuring 'hands in the air' style vintage synth melodies, life affirming strings and immaculate drum programming. It is sure to be one of 'those' tracks you're going to be hearing a lot of in the latter part of 2017 and beyond.
Review: Three years in, Blackhall & Bookless' Jaunt label is becoming a serious force for forward thinking, fractured techno exploration. On this split EP with Chad, the duo take the A-side and present two different versions of "Links". The "Battle rework" is a tense and dramatic tumble through dub techno soundscapes, while the "Bleak remix" pares the elements down to a more focused, minimalist thrum. Chad presents a wholly different vibe on the flip, using rich, warm synthesiser tones to draw you in to "Afters", and then Scenery regular ASOK takes up remix duties on the track with an immersive version that borders on breakbeat.
Review: Leeds based Bleaching Agent has been making a racket over at Opal Tapes, Komisch, Overlee Assembly and more in his time, but this appearance on Reposition marks the first we've heard from him in a while. The mood on "Free Fere Fer Fe" is boisterous but dynamic, while "Albeni" is more sharply chiselled. "To Tu Ti Tl H" switches gears with a reduced weirdo disco thrust that could do some serious damage. The D-56M remix of "Free Fere Fer Fe" is a bold reimagining as a trancey industrial deviation with a workable pulse.
Review: Another great EP from the 3 boys from Sweden, the Blotnik Brothers. Strong percussive big room electro, thick melodies and perfectly-timed arrangements are the mark of their second EP. Kraftwerk on steroids!
Review: Blawan's new side project Bored Young Adults is up next on Will Bankhead's label The Trilogy Tapes. The Shy Dancers On Bungalowdorf Beach features some restrained and slow burning techno experiments that differ from Jamie Robert's more usual hard-hitting sounds. The seething title track treads the same path as Kassem Mosse or Vactrol Park. The Fentanyl techno of "But We Need This Bench" sounds like an old Regis record played on -8, while devoted fans of the young UK producer's sound will get something a bit more familiar on the menacing hypnotic techno grinder "Check Up From The Neck Up".
Review: Not On Earth's first release sold out in quick time - unsurprising given the reputation of Frankfurt based founders Bodin & Jacob. Their second is a various artists affair that shows off some of the talents they have unearthed, while Bodin also reappears with "A Walk In The Park." It's a brilliantly militant cut with clipped, marching beats and rasping bass squelches, and elsewhere Philipp Boss opens the EP with the slippery electro rhythms of "Lava". Griezman's "Decheterie" is an uptempo bit of proper first wave tech house a la Terry Francis. Closing out this more than handy EP is the hard edged electro-tech of "Zoober" from Martyne.
Miro SundayMusiq - "From Behind The Corner" (8:39)
Review: Following an excellent EP from Memphis, Animals On Psychedelics returns with more weird and wonderful party fare from the outer reaches. This time it's a various artists release that brings together all the producers involved in the label so far, while also introducing BPMF to the fold with the woozy, rubbery synth shapes of "Liza On Clouds." Jane Fitz and Dom Ahtuam's Invisible Menders project presents the rolling, psyched out melodics of "Three On Three," while Memphis pushes further into experimental territory with the wonderfully fractured "Altered States." That leaves it to Miro SundayMusiq to complete the EP with the wave-meets-Italo tones of "From Behind The Corner," a perfectly noirish flourish to finish a sterling record.
Review: Braiden's material has been slow to come out since he first landed with a bang on Doldrums back in 2010. A turn on Rush Hour confirmed his status as a producer in command of the chops necessary to get a dancefloor shaking, but this year's X Years In London OST cassette was a chance for him to expand into more experimental pastures. Not so on this new 12" for his Off Out label, which finds Braiden turning up the heat with some fiercely modern tech house workouts. "V.O.L.A.T" has the same kind of dangerous earworm armour that made Paul Woolford's "Erotic Discourse" so potent all those years ago. "Hydroplane" meanwhile takes some of the crisp but playful tropes of Pearson Sound et al and straps them to a thrumming motorik beat.
Review: After a quiet 2016 thus far Och's Autoreply label is finally back in action with a frankly fantastic selection of workouts from Mark Broom. In keeping with the style Broom has been exercising in new Perbec jams with Baby Ford, this is more restrained than the muscular techno Broom can also be known for. Instead, you get expressive, satisfying house tracks such as "18.2" and the neatly pumping "10" with its killer array of synths to satisfy the dancefloor and the mind in equal measure. Avoiding unnecessary fireworks in favour of perfectly chosen and shaped elements, this is a glittering demonstration of Broom's cool-headed approach in the studio.
Review: Stephen Brown's "Deep In" first surfaced last summer, delivering a breezy dancefloor punch to the guts full of bouncy techno drums, analogue synth-bass and fluttering vocal samples. A year on it returns, this time reworked by long serving Berlin producer Len Faki. On the A-style you'll find the "Hardspace Mix", in which Faki puts a rocket under the Edinborough producer's original. While it remains bouncy and the female vocal samples take pride of place, the percussion is tougher and closer in feel to classic Motor City rhythms. Turn to side B and you'll find the "Deepsace Mix", a thrillingly hypnotic interpretation seemingly tailor made to cause commotion in German clubs at 7am. Deep, driving and percussive, it's a real Teutonic treat.
Review: Argy's These Days label is an occasional treat in the world of stripped down tech house, and it makes its first appearance for 2016 with a selection of club-ready remixes from the label boss, tackling various productions from German techno mainstay Paul Brtschitsch. The "Floor Adaptation" of "Green" heads into subterranean pastures, albeit with a powerful beat propelling it, and "Eternal Aspects" maintains that underground mood with a warmer synth repertoire. On the more flamboyant B-side, "Squeezed" takes on a wild old-skool quality perfect for more fiery moments on the floor before "Subbass" continues the jacking theme in fine style.
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: Scott Fraser and Timothy J Fairplay's Crimes Of The Future label has had quite the banner year, ushering in various projects from the pair as well as seeking out like-minded contemporaries such as Perseus Traxx. The latest Crimes of the Future release introduces Bulb, another project bearing the label founder's finger prints along with a high profile third colluder in one William Burnett. Apparently laid down at WT Records HQ in the spring of 2014 whilst Fairplay and Fraser were committing Crimes in NYC, Bulb is a bold offering from the trio with two extended dancefloor workouts taking a side each. "Light It Up" pairs ghetto techno breaks with something from wayward Kosmiche studio experiments in deepest Germany, whilst "Dimmer Switch" plunges into a world of psychedelia and cavernous cave dwellings thanks to some dark ambient synthesis and stabbing drums.
Review: Having lurked around murky corners of the grubby industrial techno realm for the past year or so, Pavel Milyakov builds on his rapidly swelling discography with this transmission for Public System. It's the second release on the label following a strong opening salvo from DJ Spider and Greypeople, and this 12" offers up further forthright club-wreckers that balance taut functionality with production flair. Opening cut "Strainn" delivers bludgeoning electro from the netherworld, which Ekman then dutifully reworks with an added eerie tension. There are edgy arpeggios aplenty on "Trance T" and warmer tones in "Augusts 13", rounding out an essential slab of serious techno tackle.
Review: Bwana aka Nathan Micay has already seen a release on Will Saul's Aus Music and his fluid, freeform house music returns with "Tengo", a melodic progressive house nugget that's both spacey and fit for any dancefloor. The same goes for "Drop Mechanism", an ethereal house stepper, while "Due West" goes in a lot harder with a vicious bundle of Power House drums punching and kicking their way across its chords. Effective floor bombs.
Review: Italy's TGP label has been a strong presence in the more wayward division of the house and techno game since 2010, and this has been thanks to the persistence and unifying vision of its most regular artists. Here, they team up in fine style on the label's third instalment of the TGPEXTRA series, with Claudio PRC and UNC leading the pack with "CXXV", a sombre, minimalistic techno deviation with just the right hint of dubby haze. "III" by Blazej Malinowski is an equally sparse and aqueous affair, stretching cold beats and placid stars of bass over a consistently shifting backdrop of soft harmonies and industrial sonics.
Review: Delroy Edward's LA Club Resource finally drops its next bombshell, this time a collaborative effort that includes three newcomers, possibly riding low-key under different aliases. Riding shotgun, you got Chicago legend Gene Hunt with the minimal and freaky vibes of "OW (Drum Beat)", a woman's scream darting in and out of the stripped-back groove, and the heavily filtered "S Sonics" by the mysterious Wrecking Project. Over on the flip of the wax plate you have Blacktail's old-school lick "Now Muzik", while "Blimp Works" by Innsyter is a pumping techno gunshot that goes dirty and heavy on the percussive rattle. Raw, dirty, and messed up from the start.
Review: After launching with a buttechno 12", Russia's leading exponent of leftfield techno fires up his RASSVET label under his own name with a trip into the strange middle ground between trance and coldwave. "Main Loop" is certainly obscure in its leaning, coming on like an 80s soundtrack refrain, but there's no mistaking the dazzling leads undergoing surgery in "Chording". This is deconstructed trance mangled for the post club generation, all the euphoria straining against aggressive digital processing to create a very unsettling listening experience indeed. Trance aficionados will be aghast, techno snobs will be up in arms, and the new wave of heads drawing on all genres great and small will be relishing in the post modern madness of it all.
Review: Having first surfaced last year with their first various artists release featuring the dearly departed Andreas Gehm, the Stealth Mission label is back with another four-strong salvo of no-nonsense acid, electro and techno. Naked Eye People kicks off proceedings with the punishing jacker "Short Distance" before Barrow Boy whips up a perfect slice of malevolent 303 mischief on "BTB (Demo Mix)". On the B side there's space for a little more reflection with the spacious pings of Bobby Durst's "Shape Shifting" before Mike Storm turns the heat back up on the delightfully unhinged "Dark Sight (Sims JFF Edit)".
Phantom Planet Outlaws - "Muscles From Outer Space" (6:35)
John Heckle - "Hybrid 1" (5:32)
Mark Forshaw - "Flash Back" (7:52)
Binny - "The Return" (5:32)
Review: Boss Tracks gets ignited as a vessel for the work of three nefarious cartoon individuals who may or may not relate to three Liverpudlians with a penchant for jacking hardware tackle. John Heckle, Mark Forshaw and Binny are formidable enough on their own, so combined as Phantom Planet Outlaws there's no shock to hear the acid raining down in a most expressive of ways. "Hybrid 1" finds Heckle squeezing atonal hooks out of his gear like a free jazz maverick while Forshaw fires off the whipcrack tones on "Flash Back". Binny meanwhile brings a malevolent twist on searing loopy techno to bare on "The Return" making this a record for only the toughest heads to drop.
Polirican Alarm - "Shelter Or Funkbox" (NY Or Detroit mix)
Senor Ladron - "Bomb Scare"
Bileebob - "Meanwhile"
Bileebob & Marshallito - "Gtr4"
Marshallito - "Prison Diairies"
Review: After only releasing DJ Spider & Marshallito material, SubBASS004 comes as a various artist release that introduces four new characters over the five-track EP. First up is a bar-by-bar house jam by Polirican Alarm that provides all the suggestions it was made by someone that knows their way around a MPC. The same could be said about Senor Ladron's "Bomb Scare" only it's a SH101 that does all the talking this time. Billeebob supplies two tracks, the first a synth-wavy "Meanwhile", while a collaboration with label owner Marshallito, "Gtr4" sounds like a folky Pink Floyd song underlined by the most basic of drum beats: the backbeat. Marshalllito then supplies a rather wonderful solo downtempo piece in the shape of "Prison Diaries" featuring high-pitched piano keys and gospel humming.
Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: Honey Soundsystem's Dezier comes correct with this immaculately detailed debut album. From the circuit board presentation to the album narrative itself Parler Music is a lavish affair that stretches the perception of everything we've learnt about him on labels such as Cin Cin, HNYTRX and Public Release. Back again on Dark Entities (where it all began for this alias five years ago) Parler Music is a fluorescent romp through tempos and emotions; the white knuckle synthwave of "Un Subalterne Insubordonne", the iced-out electro of "Teleconference", the sleazy off-beat slinks and triumphant chords of "Entr'acte", the pregnant cosmosis of "Une Salade Oblongue", the list of immersive synthscapes and stories goes on. A genuinely beautiful debut album.
Review: The big man on campus returns! Fast becoming a staple on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, the Glaswegian producer throws down an impressive full length demonstrating the diversity within his musical repertoire - and count us in as fans. From the deep and soulful late night house of "Our House" which will have you 'doin' the wiggly worm', Afrobeat meets Innervisions styled melodic house on "Hammond Groove" while "High Heavens" explores classic neon-lit electro aesthetics from the '80s. There's even some harder stuff in there, like demonstrated on "The Great Beast" that's a slow burning early '90s style techno jam (which blows the bloody doors off!) and "Gear Tension" which throws in more hallmarks of the golden era such as 303 acid and Joey Beltram styled mentasms.
Review: Moto Music round off a cracking year with this essential collection of deep diving techno finery from Bigeneric, one of Marco Repetto's many long-lasting aliases. The Swiss polymath is a dab hand at wringing illustrious machine soul out of his machines, whether it be crafty, head-snagging rhythms or plush and expressive threads of synth work, and on this double pack you get an abundance of both. With one foot firmly in the heritage of Detroit and the other gazing into the stellar orbit of the finest European techno dreamers, this is elegant, thoughtful electronic music of the highest order.
Review: Since the first pressing of Binh's Ship of Imagination double-pack sold out at the tail end of 2016, demand for the record has rocketed online. Happily, My Own Jupiter owners Edume and Nicolas Lutz has bowed to demand and quickly sorted out this re-press. It's a fine record, with the producer effortlessly blending elements of Detroit techno, electro and chunky deep house rhythms with the kind of spacey synthesizer sounds and razor-sharp TB-303 lines most commonly found in early '90s British "intelligent techno" records. In other words, it's sounds like the kind of set that could have been released around 1994 by one of the greats of our scene.
Review: Luscious, densely layered dub techno here from Germany's Patrick Wurster on a full length release. There's the reverberated downbeat bliss of "Playground Mystery", the impressive homage to Basic Channel on "Unite" (complete with Tikiman soundalike Ray Darwin) and "Ear Traffic Control". "Reduce Resist" and "Turquoise Blue" are the kind of sublime and immersive exercises in deep bass therapy that would impress Rod Modell himself. The title track closes out proceedings with the kind of delightfully smoked out vibes learned from listening to Rhythm & Sound that are often imitated but never matched. Biodub puts in a pretty damn fine effort though, we'll say!
Review: Originally released in 1994, Biosphere's second album Patashnik, as we would later find out, was only the beginning. Geir Jenssen's Biosphere project has since become a name that rolls off the tongue alongside Brian Eno when talk of ambient comes to the table, and the use of vocals in tracks like "Phantasm" and "Startoucher" are as memory jogging as Marshall Jefferson's "Mushrooms". The music here provides a snapshot of Biosphere's sound before he committed a decade's worth of albums to UK label Touch. For a '90s take on things, you could day "SETI Project" has aged better than "Mestigoth", while the nebulous to deep classical tones and bluey-hues of productions like "Decryption", "Patashnik" and "Mir" remain timeless.
Review: While Hendrick Grothe's Blac Kolor output is usually reserved for his own Basic Unit Productions, he has recently stepped out onto new, and highly suitable, imprints that span the entirety of the wider 'industrial' domain. Hands Productions, from Germany, is one such label that seems to work very well with Grothe's bottomless array of deathly sonics, and Awakening marks his first LP outside of BUP. These 14 tracks are well-balanced and well-placed, rising in momentum with each new kick drum; our favourites have to be "Loneliness", a downpour of industrial dread ike no other, "Awakening" itself for the quasi-techno approach, and the harsh, violent kicks of "Nano Creator". All together, this is shaping up to be a rather special affair to have on our shelves. 500 numbered copies, so act fast!
Review: Throughout his four year recording career, Larry "Bruce" McCarthy has managed to carve out a sonic space all of his own - one that mangles dystopian analogue techno, post-dubstep grooves, Young Echo style soundscapes, trippy electro and dub-wise sounds into thrilling new audio shapes. This unique musical mixture is the key to the success of debut album "Sonder Somatic", which cannily emphasizes the intoxicating, otherworldly side of McCarthy's output. Although there are a few dancefloor-focussed workouts on show - see the deep creep of "Baychimo", percussively punchy "What" and rugged "Cacao" - the majority of the album is more atmospheric and unusual, with clear nods towards fellow Bristol residents Young Echo, vintage IDM and the dub-fired electronica of Jay Glass Dubs.