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: Following an appearance last year on Cabrera, Santiago Naura is back on his own label to expound his vision of modernist techno even further. "Dust (Mix 1)" is a pumped up workout, all muscular drums and bold, chiseled synth hooks shimmering around the rhythmic core. "Dust (Mix 2)" is a more heads-down affair that locks into a cyclical groove for the late night crowd to lose themselves to. "Element" presides over the B side with a deeper approach that makes great use of interplay between different textures and tones to create energy and momentum while keeping the drums on the straight and narrow.
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: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
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: 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: 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: The fourth sampler from Ben Sims' mammoth Tribology mix features another four of the must-have exclusives from this crucial document of contemporary techno. Function leads the way with "Introversion", a spooky and sleekly designed deep driver marked out by thin slithers of displaced vocal. Tripeo plays the opposite tact with a bright and bold synth hook front and centre of the mix on "Sequoia", and then Truncate trickles down a pattering array of drum machine rhythms and fluttering melodic chimes on the stunning "Rings." Blasha & Allatt bring the tough stuff to the B2 with the jacked up energy of "Broughton 93" - their debut appearance no less and a very strong one at that.
Review: The third sampler from Ben Sims' barnstorming Machine mix compilation presents another four cuts of militant, unrelenting techno from some of the finest operators in the field. Oscar Mulero heads up the A side with the spacious, ominous march of "The Calling," which contrasts sharply with the jacked up, tense energy of "Distorted Logic" by O Aka Phase. Tasha's "In The Zone" kicks of the B side in a head-spinning loop of rasping drums and disorienting layers, and then Sims himself rounds off the record with the poised and deadly "Drop Out." If you're after a potent collection of chiseled techno bombs guaranteed to do the business, then look no further.