Review: Following up some great tracks on Pinkman, Mannequin and Malka Tuti in recent times, British synth wizard George Thompson returns under the Black Merlin alias - delivering some bold EBM and electro-noir antics for Berlin imprint She's Lost Kontrol. The rusty grind of analogue arpeggios, with minimal rhythms awash in icy trails of reverb plus guttural howls through walls of distortion shall taunt you throughout the sonic contents of the Noi EP. While Thompson sure has a knack for nailing all the hallmarks of early industrial music, he still finds time for the same tribal meditative minimalism found on his Karamika project as heard on the riveting "Noi 2" - one of the EP's highlights.
Review: While George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has released rather a lot of fine material in recent times, we still think that he saves his best for Berceuse Heroique - or at least his darkest and most clandestine aural explorations. For proof, check this inspired double-pack of creepy, pitch-black workouts, which we think contains some of his most potent work to date. There's the triple-time, paranoid deep techno throb of "Void", the faintly threatening dystopian dancefloor shuffle of "Machine", and the clanking, industrial-fired hypnotism of "R24" and "Mechanic". While it tends towards the paranoid and unsettling, Thompson has included one sun-bright shard of light: the blissful, beat-free, intertwined synthesizer lines of closing cut "Mod".
Review: Edinburgh's Stephen Brown has always (and still is) waving the techno flag way up high for the Scottish nation. The man has been on it since the mid 90s, and it's safe to se late him as a veritable veteran by now. This new EP for the excellent Echocord feels like a natural turn of events, especially given how magnificently dubby "Sandtext" feels like. "Wet" tries to offer a bumpier sort of ride thanks to sliding chords and huge slabs of bass, while "Backstroke" goes in with that classic, Sun-kissed dub techno flex which Brown, among others, helped to solidify.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
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: The good chaps over at Hardwax, Klockworks' own distribution network, are calling this a "perfectionist techno compilation" and, in their own words, it comes "warmly recommended". We agree with both of statements, and believe this to be a fine piece of work from the Ben Klock collective. Perhaps listeners won't hear anything drastically game-changing in here, but it is certainly all dance music of the highest calibre, from a collection of artists who have truly crafted a neat and elegant vision of techno music. On this double, the first in an upcoming series, there's a mixture of old and new faces all coming together to showcase the sound they've been so close to over the years; the wonderful Sterac makes an appearance with a refreshingly off-kilter blur of dub techno on "Lately", while Ben Klock himself comes through with the ice-cold bleeps of "Twenty", and the mighty DVS1 blasts out some penetrative percussion folds on "In The MIddle. Trevino rocks the boat with "Sombre Tones", whereas relative newcomers Etapp Kyle and Jon Hester turn in their own 5am bullets.
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: 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: After a debut 12" on Vanity Press in 2017 and a successful followup on Portage Garage Sounds, Black Noi$e returns for his first solo full length, 'Illusions' spanning 10 tracks, 48 minutes, over 2 discs, with a beautiful full sleeve by Bernard Veyu with a matte finish. Coming into his own, Detroit's Black Noi$e delivers a complete work, traversing styles and sounds from the past while looking far into to the future.
Review: Following two appearances on Adam Beyer's Drumcode, British producer/DJ Boxia and self-confessed "rave anorak" returns to the label with his debut full length "A Night In The Life Of". Nine powerful and highly engineered peak time techno weapons aimed squarely at the main room. Opening with the glassy-eyed title track (feat Lyke), Boxia knuckles down and lunges straight for the jugular via the pummelling "Unofficial Everything", deep sonar transmission of "Primal People", seething and barrelling power of "Sunshine State" before rounding things off with the emotional, ambient IDM number "Last Nightclub".
Review: General Elektro/Atelier founder Daniel Pflumm and DJ Sotofett first crossed swords as Busen way back in 2009, issuing the brilliantly wonky U.S. Import 12" on Sex Tags Mania. Just two subsequent releases from the pair have surfaced, one on Wania in 2010 and the Busen 12" for General Elektro a year later. Those partial to their eccentric electronics will be all over this new self-titled double pack of odd experiments. While there's a whisper of acid, techno and stripped-back house, for the most part they stick to more out-there fare, delivering a range of tracks that variously doff a cap to industrial, drone, ambient and sparse, stripped-back IDM. All, of course, were created using machines - some modular, it seems - rather than computers.
Review: Sometime Trilogy Tapes and Zodiac 44 artist Buttechno (real name Pavel Milyakov) arrives on Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax with his fourth album-length excursion. It could well be his best to date too, as we can confirm it has very few flaws, but plenty of atmospheric, ear catching fare to enjoy. He begins with the fuzzy, metallic mid-tempo techno creepiness of "March Cherskogo", before proceeding to flit between smooth horror-techno ("Back 2 The E"), melodious and spacey electro ("Elektroshirka", the foreboding "AXF"), mind-altering intergalactic chug ("Slow Durk") and sparse, crackling industrial techno (L.I.E.S-ish closer "808 Exec Dirty").