Review: Sweden's Hypnus Records has been going strong since last year, delivering an impressive 10 records in this period! Although the label is coated in the Northern hemisphere's cold outlook, they've scouted a number of artists from different regions of Europe. Their latest offering brings a second volume of their Adepts series, lead by label casual Luigi Tozzi and "Hierophant" which finds the Italian in a deep, ethereal mood with those lamenting pads and gently cascading beats. On the flip, "Kykeon" by Feral brings some subtle bursts of acid to the fore over calming deep techno rhythms, with BLNDR's "Tomb" occupying a similar, mood enhancing mindscape.
Review: Norwegian label Sommeroya enters the fray with a strong cast of Scandinavian sound scientists spread across a lucky dip range coloured vinyl. Skatebard leads the charge with the emotive electro tones of "Early Morning", all warm and fuzzy synth lines wobbling across the frequency range, while Fredrik Bekkassen brings a more militant brand of techno to the table with "Shroud". Bjorn Svin's "Clay Penalty" is equally tough and mechanical, although splashing through a generous helping of effects processing too. Then Christian Tilt finishes the EP off with a dubby dancefloor excursion entitled "It's Too Much Light In Here".
Review: Here's something of a surprise treat for techno fans: a first 12" in 20 years from legendary Dutch acid techno combo Random XS. The two tracks featured were originally recorded, but never released, in the '90s, and have been brought back to life by Random XS in collaboration with other producers. "Errant", which was co-produced by fellow Djax-Up Beats graduate Binaural, is a spacey affair, with undulating acid lines working in tandem with woozy chords, bubbling electronic melodies and clattering analogue percussion. Lost Trax lends a hand on flipside cut "Truant", which explores deeper techno territory via relentless rhythms, percussive builds, darkly ambient chords and deep space electronics.
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.
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.
K'Alexi Shelby - "That Old Chicago" (Sims JFF edit)
Scott Franka - "Francine" (Acid mix)
Barrow Boy - "Shacid"
Review: Stealth Mission has a rugged, old skool approach to acid techno that makes it seriously potent material for those who like their parties dark and nasty. The likes of Andreas Gehm (RIP) and Mark Ambrose have appeared on the label before, and now there's a third selection of scuffed and scraped warehouse belters to feast your ears on. Naked Eye People are back once again with an understated breakbeat roll and a devilish 303 line on "Jungle Acid," while K'Alexi Shelby takes no prisoners on the brittle drum jacker "That Old Chicago." Scott Franka's "Francine" is a surprisingly emotive but no less gritty acid trip, and then Barrow Boy ramps up the intensity with squelchy techno beast "Shacid."
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)".
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.
Bitch & Bites - "Techdrea In Andromeda (Time/Space)"
Bouhouz - "Fairy Tale"
Review: Tabernacle have an enviable instinct for visionary talents in the well-ploughed field of purist machine-powered techno and house, and their various artist releases can be a goldmine for new names to add to your watch list. So it goes on this latest transmission, kicking off with the dusty Chicago house styles of Models Over 18 before switching stance drastically to the splayed out tonal investigations of Paradize. Bitch & Bites are equally subversive, shirking dancefloor demands to apply classic techno motifs to a fractured but ultimately inviting strain of hardware-honed techno. That leaves it to Bouhouz to round the EP off with a gentle murmur of synth patterns carefully composed for a spiritual, subliminal end result.
Review: Pavel Milyakov has largely impressed since making his debut under the Buttechno alias earlier this year, delivering a pair of 12" singles that gather together short, hardware-driven experiments in a variety of dystopian styles. Here, the Russian producer debuts under his given name, once again flitting between dark and spacey dancefloor workouts, bleak broken techno, macabre electro, wonky IDM and panicky ambience. Despite the stylistic shifts, the EP hangs together impressively, thanks in no small part to Milyakov's penchant for industrial textures, tape echo and haunting melodies. If you're into the releases of L.I.E.S and Berceuse Heroique, you need this in your life.
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.