Review: Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani returns to Stroboscopic Artefacts with 'Embryo' - an immersive four-track micro-odyssey spanning across jagged ambient scopes,unmapped acidic grounds and further leftfield-friendly sonic territories, opening up the path for his forthcoming sophomore LP and first ever for Stroboscopic Artefacts, 'Morphic Dreams'.
Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: It's high time that Berlin's Henning Baer launched his own imprint, and we're surprised that this is only happening now given the success of both his prior productions and of his Berlin club night, Grounded Theory. Manhigh kicks off with Henning Baer himself, gearing up the machines first with the bleeps and sporadic machine tones of "System Test (Nsdxit)", followed by the much more concrete and beat-laden shreds of drums on "Fighting The Dogs". The surprise comes from a rare appearance by Blawan as a remix of "Pan2945", with the Yorkshire native delivering some of his signature thrashing on the drums, and a fuzzy, drugged-out bassline that would have made Regis and Surgeon proud back in the days. The flip continues with more grey-scaled techno in the form of "Moving Ground", the excellent sack of squealing drones that is "The Last Quarter", and finished off tidily by the pouncing kick drums residing on "Copper Skin". Heavy duty gear.
Review: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
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: Both Ike Release and John Barera have been buzzing in the underground community for some time now. Ike with releases on Mister Saturday Night, Finale Sessions, Skudge and MOS and John with releases on Argot, Just Jack and Zakim. Now they turn to Ike's Episodes imprint to supply more of their upfront and dancefloor ready cuts. Starting out on the A side with the new wave acid sensibilities of "Looking Ahead" and the ferocious retro jack of "Lights Out" which are sure to set the night on fire. On the flip, the neon lit aesthetic continues with "Cosmic Divide" and "Winding Up" respectively, which conjure the ghosts from those dusty analogue machines to stunning effect.
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".
Review: When it comes to dub techno, you need look no further than the master of the genre, Basic Channel. It's been a good long while since there was any fresh material on wax from the immortal German outfit, but now they have looked back over their archives and realised that "Q-Loop", originally found on the BCD CD release, never made its way on to vinyl, and so here it is for all the Basic Channel completists out there. There's no need to go into detail about the music, but an extended fourteen minutes of "Q-Loop" stretched across the A side can only be a beautiful thing. On the flip you can also enjoy the aqueous strains of "Q1.2" and "Mutism"s vaporous ambience, both of which are enjoying their first outings on the black stuff.
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: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Since signing with Ransom Note Records in 2016, Bawrut has been on a fine run of form. Remarkably, this is the Madrid-based Italian's fifth EP for the imprint and it's every bit as memorable as its four predecessors. Like much of his work, title track "Pronto Arpeggio" is rich in razor-sharp analogue electronics, with high register arpeggio synthesizer lines rising above punchy beats, manic drum fills and mind-altering acid motifs. It's successfully toughened up by KiNK before Bawrut returns with "Shooreee", another boldly percussive and constantly building exercise in analogue electronics manipulation. Ruf Dug's brilliant remix takes the track to another level entirely via even denser drums, rougher acid riffs and more glistening lead lines, while "Atchu" is a chugging chunk of late night acid sleaze.
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: Welsh techno producer Benjamin Damage is up next on Belgian institution R&S. He has been fairly quiet on the production front - not producing alongside cohort Doc Daneeka so much anymore and since the shutdown of the 50 Weapons imprint - but he did surface on subsequent label Monkeytown with a remix for label bosses Moderat (aka Modeselektor w/ Apparat) last year. "Malfunction" is a hard-hitting and bass driven main room techno workout, that's sure to cause some destruction on the dancefloor. The B side cut "Binary" takes it cues from the school of M-Plant with its hypnotic stabs, cutting through layers of sublime pads and restrained rhythmic sequences.
Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
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: The brilliant Chronicle has been quiet for a minute, but comes back in fine form with this keenly curated various artists 12" that re-affirms the label's vision of cerebral, deep and driving techno. Damon Wild shows his tender side on the gorgeous, immersive "Constant Search", while Ben Sims brings a tougher palette to bear on peak time percussive belter "Vicious Cycle". Steve Bicknell summons a fearsome, metallic dervish on the monolithic "Chapter Of Self", and Tadeo takes things bleepy, loopy and uplifting on "X Marks The Spot". It's a 12" of stunning modern techno from start to finish.
Review: Given he's previously released some seriously creepy, atmospheric techno on Berceuse Heroique and Pinkman, you'd expect Black Merlin's Mannequin Records debut to be similarly unsettling. That's certainly the case with A-side "DEF", a hypnotic and feverish affair where raw and restless, industrial-inspired riffs rise above paranoid, held-note chords and a locked-in drum track. You'll find more brain-melting, razor-sharp modular motifs on the arguably even more intense and wayward "Oba Enka", while closer "Ham" wraps undulating, acid-style electronic motifs around an altogether fuzzier, looser groove. It sounds like it would be capable of inducing vivid hallucinations in early morning dancers, which in our book is no bad thing.
Review: Over the past couple of years, George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has made some of the most intoxicating, otherworldly electronic music around. The genius of his music lies in the way Thompson fixes creepy, paranoid aural textures and faintly haunting lead lines with rhythmic and instrumental elements inspired by trips to South East Asia and Oceania. He's at it again here, too, wrapping chugging polyrhythms and uncomfortable electronics in chiming, Steve Reich style melodic cycles on brilliant opener "DE 2.1". The track that follows, "PKL", is arguably even more unsettling in its hypnotic melodic approach, twinkling sound palette and mind-bending electronic shifts. Arguably best of all, though, is epic B-side "MM5", a sparse and loopy affair that could well be capable of inducing hallucinations in even the most sober of listeners.
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.