Review: The term 'idiosyncratic' is flippantly bandied about these days, but can be used more appropriately to define legendary producers such as Ann Arbor's John Beltran. For nearly 20 years, Beltran has created some of the most seminal and timeless expressions in hi-tech soul music. It is classic Beltran on The Musical Storm EP, as heard on "Ascending" which harks back to the sounds of his treasured Ten Days Of Blue album on Peacefrog back in '96, the life affirming ambient journey "Barely Beating Within My Chest" is a fast forward to the present and is similar to his work on recent Delsin efforts like Everything At Once or Espais. Always one to surprise us at times, Beltran goes for a more lo-fi and gritty analogue approach to jackin underground house on the gritty "Confuse You" on the flip.
Review: Emergent duo Broken Arrows were previously spotted lurking around Giallo Disco back in 2015, so you should have some idea of the kind of lurid late night machine sleaze they like to get their hands dirty with. They've now slid over to the sympathetic but marginally more techno-minded Vivod imprint with a new clutch of deviant heaters for those adventurous dancefloor spaces where B-movie sounds reign supreme. "Female Predator" is a tough EBM-tinted workout with plenty of jack in its stack, while "Fear Eats The Soul" takes a more synth-wave approach with some speech samples thrown in for good measure. "Edge Of Darkness" is a more tense affair that pings arpeggios around a minor key refrain, and then "Basic Structure" whips out the hardest track on the record, a lithe industrial stomper laden with rhythmic noise and a mean synth bassline that will hit your solar plexus like a battering ram.
William Bendix - "Dallas" (Lucky Koi remix) (5:24)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (3:46)
Lewis J. Force - "Folkestone Nightclub" (Parasols remix) (7:09)
Review: In just three years Ali Renault's Vivod label has managed to release a staggering amount of music from rule-breaking disco mavericks, and so it continues unabated on this new slab from William Bendix and Lewis J Force. The former comes leaping into earshot with the splattering robo-boogie of "Dallas" in all its chaotic glory before switching stance with the dazzling synth glare of "Centurion". Lucky Koi is also on hand to take "Dallas" to task and does so to great, mutant breakbeat effect. On the flip Lewis J Force whips up a bouncy acidic storm with "Folkestone Nightclub", only for Parasols to come bowling in and dismember it in a most sonically gruesome of ways.
Order From Chaos Of The Death (Samuel Kerridge remix) (5:59)
Avoidance Paranoid (Isabella remix) (8:27)
Order From Chaos Of The Death (Ryo Murakami remix) (6:10)
Hissiyat (Svreca remix) (6:35)
Review: Following the release of Tolga Baklacioglu & Dee Grinski's album "Your Secret Face", VENT presents a remix package featuring Samuel Kerridge, Svreca, Ryo Murakami, and Isabella, who are some of the artists who have most inspired and supported the duo's music. These exceptional artists' interpretations refract the industrial rhythms and harrowing vocalisations of the original tracks into caleidoscopic tunnel visions with each remixer's individualistic expression.
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: Techno legend Neil Landstrumm requires no introduction on here, seeing as how he has been present - and largely leading - our charts since we opened shop in the late 90s. He is techno, and techno is him, much like the Detroit or Chicago greats that we all know and love so much. We're glad to see him on Unknown To The Unknown, DJ Haus' imprint, up in the wax with his predictably oddball strain of techno, first launching an off-kilter attack with "DX Madness", before heading into deeper, darker and more subtle territories via "Rectorate Power". On the flip, "Sleep" and "Grape" both feature Brain Rays, with both tracks possessing a much more sparse, 12-bit sound that verges onto vintage electronica. Landstrumm gear.
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: 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: Since first emerging in the late 1980s, Peter Elmaloglou has been one of the mainstays of the Australian techno scene. Derrick May is a fan and has decided to offer Elmaloglou the opportunity to showcase his wares on Transmat. A-side "Set Me Free" offers up an impressive fusion of soft-touch European tech-house tropes (fluid, delay-laden synthesizer motifs, tactile beats etc.), Chicago style psychedelic acid lines and the kind of rumbling, elongated bass tones that were once a feature of Kevin Saunderson's late '80s/early '90s work as Reese. Over on side B, "Don't Stop" is undulating, hypnotic and minimalist in tone, with percussion that both hisses and clicks, while "Autumn Blues" sees him pepper a squeezable techno groove with heady ambient chords and glassy-eyed electronic lead lines.
Review: Tony Rodriguez has many strings to his bow already as Brothers' Vibe and the head of Mixx Records, and now he's embarking on a new venture in the shape of the Toad Red label. Focused on a harder-edged sound than the deep house he's normally associated with, Rodriguez has invited Esther Duijn and youANDme to join in the fun with some finely crafted techno for open-minded dancefloors. Meanwhile there's an original BV jam in the shape of "Dee's Drama", while Rodriguez also unveils a new modular-focused alias named Silent Rodgerz. It's a new chapter for the New Jersey mainstay, and it promises exciting things to come in the future.
Review: Berlin based retrovert Binh returns for another much anticipated edition of his Time Passages series with Lost 'N' Rex EP, which follows up some great ones of late by Evan Baggs, Metamorphic Interface and Omar. Featuring six doses of old fashioned techno and electro that take their cues from the early '90s sound; from wacky and strobed-out jam of "Rice In" which you can imagine him playing at one of his regular marathon sets in his hometown, the old school jack of "Waescherei" that calls to mind Blake Baxter's early sounds on KMS to the nefarious underwater electro of the title track which gives a respectful nod to Motor City legends Drexciya.
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: 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: Current heroes of the industrial techno sound here tend to focus on the industrial side of things for The Cast Project: a vinyl affair from Los Angeles based on the collective sounds from a faction of artists. They are said to gather a few artists; each of them providing several unique audio samples, clips and/or field recordings that best define their sound. They then collect the samples from each artist and redistribute them to the artists as a master pack, at which point they create a unique track. First up fellow Los Angeleno Luis Flores delivers the grinding and guttural first offering, while 138 then delivers some impressive Autechre styled IDM on his/her effort. On the flip, Dutch terroriser Bas Mooy delivers a furious and powerful warehouse techno stormer that blows the doors off as always. Finally Serbian duo Ontal deliver some more of their typically contorted takes on techno.
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: After keeping his counsel for the best part of 12 months, Blawan follows up last year's decidedly robust and forthright "Wet Will Always Dry" album with another suitably searing, all-action EP. Title track and opener "Many Many Pings" adds wild, Aphex Twin style electronics to a driving, dense and deranged techno rhythm, before "Lox" delivers a similarly intense study in charcoal-coloured lo-fi techno insanity. "Gadget" sounds like a Surgeon record with razor-sharp claws - all thumping beats and scuzzy electronic loops - while "Hapexil Rotator" cleverly combines bittersweet and otherworldly electronic flourishes with another mind-mangling distorted techno drum track.