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: Dutchmen Betonkust and Palmbomen II are back on local institution Dekmantel, following up last year's well received Center Parcs LP - which was recorded in the bunker of an abandoned theme park. The retro, grainy and lo-fi qualities that characterise their work is evident again here on Parallel B. This time recorded in a bungalow somewhere in the Dutch countryside, it finds a distinct middle ground between Palmbomen II a.k.a. Kai Hugo's lo-fi classic house aesthetics and Betonkust a.k.a. Swiere Westveen's taste for gritty electro, acid and Italo sounds. It pays fictional homage to a now deceased famous TV star, who instead on working on the screen, took up a new direction in making music.
Review: Digging deep into the Chicago Rave vaults to re-issue the debut EP from Billy Nightmare aka "Mystic Bill" Torres. Growing up in Miami, Bill was involved in various parts of the music industry, from working at Flamingo Record Pool, to playing guitar for the band Life In Sodom (80's Synth/Goth band). His interest in both House & Industrial music inspired him to make his move to the Windy City. Bill quickly became involved in the night scene with residencies at clubs like Shelter, Crobar, & Smart Bar. His studio work began with a remix of Kay Ladrae's "Lack Of Love" with Vince Lawrence, followed by a string of releases, including an LP on Trax Records. He has recently relaunched two record labels and several releases and remixes out each year.
'Reality Check' was released in 1996 on Woody McBride's label Sounds. Originally the project was to be titled " Billy's Nightmare", but to avoid being jinxed for life, Torres decided to switch it to Billy Nightmare. He put the Mystic Bill alias aside, got a hair cut, changed his sound and became this new persona. 'Reality Check' consists of 4 tracks, recorded at Mirage Studios in Chicago in 1996. Two tracks on the A-side are dark thumpers and will haunt your head for days. Side B has 2 versions of the same song, lighter and funkier in mood both show the diversity Mystic Bill is capable of producing. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each EP is housed in a custom designed jacket by Eloise Leigh featuring a 90s photo of Billy Nightmare staring into TV static and includes a postcard with notes.
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: Drumcode head honcho Adam Beyer and Chicagoan legend Curtis Jones (aka Green Velvet) had discussed writing music together for a long time. Also, Beyer's protege Layton Giordani had admired the mohawked Jones' work for as long as he could remember. When he got to DJ alongside him at Belfast's Shine - the spark and subsequent friendship was immediate. The outcome of this respected trio's musical journey comes in the form of "Space Date" which will be familiar to many who've followed their sets over recent months. Featuring a relentless main room stomp with steely hats and droney synth leads, all accompanied by Green Velvet's trademark vocal delivery. The thunderous peak time energy of "Rome Future" is likewise guaranteed to rock the house - that killer Reese bassline particularly is sure to blow the doors off!
Review: For his first outing of 2019, Adam Beyer has turned over the parts to his 2014 single "Teach Me" to Belgium's first lady of banging, acid-fuelled techno, Amelie Lens. She subsequently serves up two throbbing, peak-time ready revisions, with the A-side "Main Mix" offering a near perfect blend of booming, kick-drum driven beats, military snare fills, cut-up late night vocal samples and distorted, mind-altering riffs. As the title suggests, the flipside "Acid Remix" sees Lens indulge her love of mind-altering TB-303 acid lines, brilliantly wrapping them around a springier drum track, EBM-influenced melodic motifs and more pulsating, manipulated vocal loops.
Adam Beyer & Enrico Sangiuliano - "Preset Heaven" (8:17)
Timmo - "Muzik" (6:11)
Pig&Dan - "La Bruja" (6:37)
Julian Jeweil - "Nasa" (6:11)
Review: Some serious peak time weapons for the main room on offer here, from the ever reliable Swedish label Drumcode. Usual heroes of the label such as Luigi Madonna, Sam Paganini and Joseph Capriati step aside for some other equally reliable staples. On the A, side label boss Adam Beyer teams up with Enrico Sangiuliano on the evocative and life affirming "Preset Heaven" which takes its cues from early trance with its amazing chord progression. It is something more typical of the label next, on the pummelling warehouse stomp of "Muzik" by Bulgaria's Timmo. On the flip, there's more trance nostalgia on offer again - this time from legends Pig & Dan on the hypnotic/melodic bliss of "La Bruja" which we could imagine melting the minds of festival crowds well into the new year. Finally they save the best for last with French peak time specialist Julian Jeweil, serving up the furious, tunneling and strobe-lit ultraviolence of "Nasa" which will have your adrenaline going from the first beat. It has been a stellar year for the powerhouse label, with great releases by Moby, Dubfire and newcomer Layton Giordani.
Review: Adam Beyer teams up with Pig & Dan on the new Capsule EP and they sure aren't messing around. The Drumcode boss knew he could call upon his label stalwarts for EP packed full of main room power tools with the peak time in mind. The adrenalised, forceful stomp and grind of the title track gets things off to a good start, while the druggy and head rush inducing muscle of "In Love" is bound for some real hands in the air moments. On the flip "We Are E" leaves little to the imagination on this heady and bass driven trip through the early hours of a heaving stadium dancefloor... where things are starting to get real weird. Then those ravey church organs come in and it starts getting right crazy!
Review: Emotional Response reach out to another fine selection of sonic voyagers to take Brain Machine's excellent Peaks LP to task, leading in with the warm discoid undulations of Rollmottle who refigures "To The Stars" as a gentle, groovy warm-up joint. Die Wilde Jagd takes on "Mercury Ripples" and fashion a bombastic breaks jam out of it, and Merrick Adams pushes "Alpha Moon" into a curious but ultimately cosmic space somewhere beyond the titular lunar body. Cass takes the prize with the bittersweet synth tones that course through the two-part remix of "Nexus Vox".
Junior Fairplay - "End Of Love" (Roy Of The Ravers remix 2) (4:46)
Freeform Five - "Throwing Stones" (Jamie Paton remix) (7:23)
Red Axes - "Waiting For A Surprise" (Kris Baha remix) (7:21)
Bal5000 - "Kids" (7:26)
Review: (Emotional) Especial heralds its 30th release with a killer package from an all-star cast that takes in label regulars and newcomers alike. The vibe starts heated and heavy with modern acid champ Roy Of The Ravers taking a blunt instrument or two to Junior Fairplay's "End Of Love," firing off the kind of bludgeoning b-line and fizzing drums that makes his direct approach to the dancefloor so potent. It's somewhat surprising to see Freeform Five pop up on this 12", but Jamie Paton's remix of "Throwing Stones" sounds utterly natural in the habitat - a brooding, simmering trip shot through with noirish synths. Kris Baha gets busy with Red Axes' "Waiting For A Surprise," twisting out an exotic bubbler perfect for the low tempo chugging crowd, and then Bal5000 wraps things up with the gorgeous electro-disco delights of "Kids".
Review: Collaborations are often the fortune of timing. With Andy having moved on since closing the Dissident label to launching his Cave Paintings project to Tim's departure from Battant and striking out as Andrew Weatherall's engineer and soon to be co-member of The Asphodells, an alliance was born between the two to undertake a series of live jam sessions at each's respective studios. A love of new wave, new beat, UK Bleep and Detroit techno all feature in B-Ultras and the aptly titled, Neu Beat. Both cuts are heavily soaked in the pitch black, smoke machine funk and strob-laden fug of Andy's (and co-hort Joe Hart) infamous World Unknown dancefloor. Running at around 10 minutes the tracks are essentially an examination of acid house's ideals. Clattering hats, throbbing basslines, stabbing keys and doses of 303. Keeping it pretty simple but all about a pure groove on and on. Backing these up is a remix of B-Ultras from Jamie Paton that accentuates the groove and drags the acid deeper down to some B-boy Dub throwdown - with more to follow from all protagonists in 2014.
Review: Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic train keeps on rolling, this time via the LTDX series which reaches its second station stop with two more dubbed out dancefloor delights for the deepest divers. O'Sullivan dons his Bluetrain guise to deliver the UK steppers-indebted "Armchair Analyst," which artfully folds subtle dubwise influences into its minimal techno construction. On the flip side, Roger Gerressen spaces things out good and proper with the slow-stalking groove of "Long Overdue," fusing the best elements of contemporary minimal and classic dub to create a fine extension of the Rhythm & Sound blueprint.
Review: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
Review: Having made his name during the late '90s and early 2000s as a maker of particularly forthright techno, Oliver Ho has broadened his horizons in recent years. Nowhere is that more obvious on his Broken English Club project, which debuted last year with a pair of industrial and EBM minded releases for Jealous God and Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. Here he returns to the latter, laying down more fuzzy, straight-to-tape journeys into analogue, mid '80s dancefloor experimentalism. There's naturally much to enjoy, from the peak Cabaret Voltaire grittiness of "Drycutting", and the bleak EBM throb of "Ritual Killing", to the ghostly synthesizers, Jaydee bass and droning textures of "Channel 83".
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
The Sixteen Steps - "Signals From The South" (6:28)
The Sixteen Steps - "Promises On The Run" (7:17)
Review: Rampant and 'up for it' as usual, the Cititrax label is back with a new set of wayward technoid experiments for the more trained ears on the dancefloors. This time it's Romania's Borusiade and newcomer The Sixteen Steps who share two sides of a wax plate and, of course, proceed to annihilate any idea of a quiet night in. The former sets off with the mechanical acid bumps of "Infatuation", guided by an eerie set of vocal blurs, and that's followed by the comparatively more beat-centric techno of the apocalyptic "Confutation". On the flip, The Sixteen Steps first lands on "Signals From The South", a house banger with noxious levels of mutant bass at its core, followed by the single-minded industrialism and sheer techno brutality of "Promises On The Run". WOWZAH!
Review: More dark, throbbing and unearthly antics from the Dynamic Reflection camp as they offer up a third collection of cuts from their expansive "Continuum" box set. Donato Dozzy and Mike Parker clearly got the memo, because their forthright opener "Patagotitan" is an alien club-jacker rich in razor-sharp, mind-altering electronics and hustling drum machine percussion. Abstract Division's "Dissonance" sounds like a dystopian, acid-fired tribute to Orbital's "Chime", while Deepbass and Ness' superb "Les Planes" is deep, atmospheric techno straight from the top drawer. As if that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, Ben Buitendijk's "Vortex" is a perfectly pitched chunk of horror-techno hypnotism.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Review: Over the course of TTT's rise to fame over the last 7 or so years, UK dance deviant Bass Clef has been an important part of the label, putting out his most daring work through Will Bankhead's imprint. He's back in future-mode with this new EP, kicking off with the spaced-out waves of "Celescalating", a deep tech wormhole that gets more hypnotic by the bar. On the flip, "Iridescending" falls under the same pretext yet here the vibe is more on a house tip, with large folds of bass forming a Mr Fingers-style groove; "Unlundone" strips the melodies down in favour of more itchy percussion, a growling Chicago bass and a distant, ethereal wave of subtle atmospherics. Beautiful. And recommended.
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: Having made a strong impression with the first two releases on BROMUR, Bogdan steps over to Not An Animal to flex his discoid pecs once again. He leads in with the understated Italo thrum of "Parovoznikov," riding a stuttering arpeggio and leaving plenty of room for the punchy drums and fluttering synth touches. Justin Van Der Volgen does a sensitive job of the remix, embellishing the core of the track with delicate chime refrains that add a tenderness to this muscular club jam. "Listopad" is a more mellow affair, but there's no shortage of fuzzy, vintage lead lines to bathe your ears in. Kito Jempere does a more drastic reinterpretation with his version of "Listopad," injecting a little acid and proto house bite into the track.
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: 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!