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: After initial outings from phile and Ptwiggs, the Deep Seeded crew welcome phile member Barking into the fold for another excursion into crooked techno from the outer realm. There's a lingering sense of industrial malaise emanating out of "Singularity" thanks to some dense signal processing, while "Clay Passage" pings off into a strange but utterly accomplished trip into Fourth World techno that packs a serious rhythm without the need for obvious drum lines. "Pathos" matches malevolent beats and tones with dominant ambience to create a proper push 'n' pull of a track, and then "Prone" rounds the EP off with some gutsy analogue demolition for the broken techno and electro crowd to get wild to.
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".
Review: Three years in, Blackhall & Bookless' Jaunt label is becoming a serious force for forward thinking, fractured techno exploration. On this split EP with Chad, the duo take the A-side and present two different versions of "Links". The "Battle rework" is a tense and dramatic tumble through dub techno soundscapes, while the "Bleak remix" pares the elements down to a more focused, minimalist thrum. Chad presents a wholly different vibe on the flip, using rich, warm synthesiser tones to draw you in to "Afters", and then Scenery regular ASOK takes up remix duties on the track with an immersive version that borders on breakbeat.
Review: UK techno stalwart Steve Bicknell's Lost Recordings series must be one of the longest running in dance music; the Lost and Cosmic founder has been putting out previous unheard material from his early '90s heyday on and off since 2004. There are few surprises on this 10th edition, but plenty of slamming, no-holds-barred grooves. The hissing, spacey, cymbal-heavy "Track 3" is particularly trippy, while there's a gnarled, ragged intensity about the pulsating heaviness of "Track 1". Arguably best of all, though - ambient interlude "Track 2" aside - is "Track 4", an eerie techno shuffler built around a wonky, off-key electric piano loop and fizzing percussion.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Naura Records presents the third release of the Bleak series.
'Relics' is a full oriented dance floor track, twisted and static in all directions.
'Black Ice' reveals itself as a cataclysmic and intelligent analog tool with pulsating baselines and profound deepness.
Review: Liverpool's Scenery Records has been making a real splash over the last 18 months, delivering the kind of top notch, analogue-heavy deep house gear that invites comparisons with the best labels from Vancouver, Washington D.C and New York. There's plenty more to cheer on this label debut from Liverpudlian producer Binny, not least the immersive melodiousness, dancing synthesizers and rhythmic hustle of "Retrospective". Chicago Skyway delivers two impeccable rubs of that track, with the second - a new-age techno stomper built around beautiful synthesizer arpeggios and drum machine cowbells - standing out. Flip for the glassy-eyed intelligent techno-meets-deep house thrills of "A Moment In Time", which is also given a pulsating acid techno makeover from Scenery veteran Circular Rhythms.
Review: Scott Fraser and Timothy J Fairplay's Crimes Of The Future label has had quite the banner year, ushering in various projects from the pair as well as seeking out like-minded contemporaries such as Perseus Traxx. The latest Crimes of the Future release introduces Bulb, another project bearing the label founder's finger prints along with a high profile third colluder in one William Burnett. Apparently laid down at WT Records HQ in the spring of 2014 whilst Fairplay and Fraser were committing Crimes in NYC, Bulb is a bold offering from the trio with two extended dancefloor workouts taking a side each. "Light It Up" pairs ghetto techno breaks with something from wayward Kosmiche studio experiments in deepest Germany, whilst "Dimmer Switch" plunges into a world of psychedelia and cavernous cave dwellings thanks to some dark ambient synthesis and stabbing drums.
Review: The man behind the track that Move D proclaimed "owned the dome at freerotation" , returns with 3 new tracks of deep machine grooves, his first release since 2013's Analogue Mapping. "Frey'd" is built around a synth patch stumbled upon whilst conducting a test on one of bovill's machines with rennouned Synth engineer Frey Smith. Opening with playful ,bubbling analogue tones and nostelgic pads, before characteristic basslines, percussion and 303 lines join in, ending on a spaced out contemplative groove . " L.A.T. " is a more stripped down track, which ebbs and flows around subtle builds, tweeks, and delays, perfect for the deeper late night dancefloor. Closing the ep is Golden burn, the deepest and most dubbed out of the 3 tracks, sprinkled with emotive keys, and underpinned by distinctive bass lines.
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: Riding high on the success of a second release that introduced A-Scott & Chad to the Constant Sound fold, the third instalment finds Burnski back in the saddle to offer up "Changes", getting into a more techno-oriented frame of mind without losing that warmth and playful sensibility he has made his own over the years.
After strong remixes from Trus'me, Steve O'Sullivan and Cab Drivers on previous releases, Constant Sound 003 gives another opportunity for the label to call upon the finest in the business to reinterpret the original material.
In keeping with the heads-down workout tones of Burnski's original, it makes perfect sense to invite an artist as accomplished as Deadbeat up for a remix. Scott Monteith has long been a stellar example of how to push dub techno in thrilling new directions and it shows on his version of "Changes".
Kris Wadsworth has just as much to say for himself after years spent crafting heavyweight house and techno with a mercenary instinct matched by lashings of machine soul. He reduces the original track into a stripped down techno dub perfect for late at night. His remix will only be available on the vinyl.
It's yet another step forwards for a label committed to delivering nothing but the highest quality house and techno for those who seek a touch more depth from their music.
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: 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: 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: 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.
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!
Review: After a quiet 2016 thus far Och's Autoreply label is finally back in action with a frankly fantastic selection of workouts from Mark Broom. In keeping with the style Broom has been exercising in new Perbec jams with Baby Ford, this is more restrained than the muscular techno Broom can also be known for. Instead, you get expressive, satisfying house tracks such as "18.2" and the neatly pumping "10" with its killer array of synths to satisfy the dancefloor and the mind in equal measure. Avoiding unnecessary fireworks in favour of perfectly chosen and shaped elements, this is a glittering demonstration of Broom's cool-headed approach in the studio.
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.
Review: Following an appearance last year on Cabrera, Santiago Naura is back on his own label to expound his vision of modernist techno even further. "Dust (Mix 1)" is a pumped up workout, all muscular drums and bold, chiseled synth hooks shimmering around the rhythmic core. "Dust (Mix 2)" is a more heads-down affair that locks into a cyclical groove for the late night crowd to lose themselves to. "Element" presides over the B side with a deeper approach that makes great use of interplay between different textures and tones to create energy and momentum while keeping the drums on the straight and narrow.
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: The fourth sampler from Ben Sims' mammoth Tribology mix features another four of the must-have exclusives from this crucial document of contemporary techno. Function leads the way with "Introversion", a spooky and sleekly designed deep driver marked out by thin slithers of displaced vocal. Tripeo plays the opposite tact with a bright and bold synth hook front and centre of the mix on "Sequoia", and then Truncate trickles down a pattering array of drum machine rhythms and fluttering melodic chimes on the stunning "Rings." Blasha & Allatt bring the tough stuff to the B2 with the jacked up energy of "Broughton 93" - their debut appearance no less and a very strong one at that.
Review: Braiden's material has been slow to come out since he first landed with a bang on Doldrums back in 2010. A turn on Rush Hour confirmed his status as a producer in command of the chops necessary to get a dancefloor shaking, but this year's X Years In London OST cassette was a chance for him to expand into more experimental pastures. Not so on this new 12" for his Off Out label, which finds Braiden turning up the heat with some fiercely modern tech house workouts. "V.O.L.A.T" has the same kind of dangerous earworm armour that made Paul Woolford's "Erotic Discourse" so potent all those years ago. "Hydroplane" meanwhile takes some of the crisp but playful tropes of Pearson Sound et al and straps them to a thrumming motorik beat.
Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner - "Vulbitch Bazaar"
Review: Minuendo keep things interesting on this latest various artists 12", primarily focusing on Owen Jay and Brian James on the A side for two tracks of adventurous experimentation on the wild frontier of minimal house music. The wobbly synth running through "Niko's Groove" is a real head turner, while "Imagery" nudges the grand tradition of dub house into a new pocket of ambience that draws you in immediately. There's a lovely, classic deep house joint from Untitled called "Seafood", and then Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner completely flip the script on the B2 with rowdy acid burner "Vulbitch Bazaar".
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: Fragrant Harbour once again dig out a cult gem from the seemingly endless vaults of 90s dance music, picking up on a rare and precious gem from a seminal Laurent Garnier mix and giving it the remaster and reissue it deserves. The artists responsible, Broccoli Brothers vs Righteous Men, hailed from Germany and were trying to emulate Mike Dunn. "Catch It (Calm Manoeuvre)" is a spaced out deep house track with all the gritty impact of a classic jam, while "Catch It (Jam)" gets decidedly rowdy with its hefty kick, jacked up swing and wonky bassline. On the B side "Ruhrschnellweg (Last Exit Stahlhausen Mix)" brings a little Detroit flavour into the mix with spectacular, uplifting results.
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.
Review: Leeds based Bleaching Agent has been making a racket over at Opal Tapes, Komisch, Overlee Assembly and more in his time, but this appearance on Reposition marks the first we've heard from him in a while. The mood on "Free Fere Fer Fe" is boisterous but dynamic, while "Albeni" is more sharply chiselled. "To Tu Ti Tl H" switches gears with a reduced weirdo disco thrust that could do some serious damage. The D-56M remix of "Free Fere Fer Fe" is a bold reimagining as a trancey industrial deviation with a workable pulse.
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.
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.
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.
Miro SundayMusiq - "From Behind The Corner" (8:39)
Review: Following an excellent EP from Memphis, Animals On Psychedelics returns with more weird and wonderful party fare from the outer reaches. This time it's a various artists release that brings together all the producers involved in the label so far, while also introducing BPMF to the fold with the woozy, rubbery synth shapes of "Liza On Clouds." Jane Fitz and Dom Ahtuam's Invisible Menders project presents the rolling, psyched out melodics of "Three On Three," while Memphis pushes further into experimental territory with the wonderfully fractured "Altered States." That leaves it to Miro SundayMusiq to complete the EP with the wave-meets-Italo tones of "From Behind The Corner," a perfectly noirish flourish to finish a sterling record.