Review: Coyu's Barcelona-based Suara label continues to push the thresholds of hard techno, with this new one by legend Cisco Ferreira under his reknowned The Advent moniker. Brace yourself for The Movement EP, featuring heavy duty sonic artillery that must be handled with extreme caution. From the brutalist dystopian slammer "Witches Spell" to the unrelenting peak time fury of "Live 98 Tour" which is reminiscent of timeless classics like "Bad Boy", to the Detroit style breakneck electro funk of "Same 4" which is a collaboration with his son Zein. Ferreira proves yet again that even after 30 years in the game, he is still miles ahead of the rest - respect!
Review: Baby Ford and Zip need little introduction and debut on Trelik as "BFZ" featuring co-conspiritor Thomas Melchior. The trio originally appeared on the 1999 "Perlondon" 12" for Perlon with Ford and Zip re-uniting for the "Glidin' Along The Riverbed" release then 2010's "Clean Hands" on PAL SL. Thomas Melchior recently appearing on [a:rpia:r] and his own Aspect Music kicks off the 12" with a floor friendly up-beat 9 minute "Melchior Productions LTD" edit remix of "Uff". An "Uffapella" closes the A-side featuring abstract sound design and textured vocals. Side-B's "So They Say" creates a feeling of space and unhurried rhythmatics whilst the title track "Uff" combines deep instrumentals, chord and haunting vox with subtle bass and modulating kick. Recorded in London and Berlin. Mastered at D & M.
Review: Fantastic Twins continue to explore intriguing corners of acid with a third volume of their snappily titled Microdosing label series, following ace contributions thus far from the likes of Smagghe & Cross, Naum Gabo, Gilb'r and Oceanic. This time around Cooper Saver brings arpeggios to die for, Borusiade goes slow and low with a chuggy trip-out, Zillas On Acid builds up a stiff drum jack dripping with tension and Scott Fraser skips off into a frankly stunning curveball of fast-ticking drum machine patter and illustrious synth work. It's the B2 of your dreams - one that makes this record all the more essential.
Zombies Under Stress - "Maan Zal Zijn" (Svengalisghost remix)
Mark Forshaw - "Submission"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
Review: On the latest missive from his energy packed Power House imprint, Rene Pawlowitz - he of Shed and Head High fame - has chosen to showcase tracks from two of his lesser-celebrated alter egos, WK7 and Zigg Gonsalezz. As befits the peak-time ready, party-starting nature of the label, A-side 'Wait' offers an addictive blend of bustling, beefed-up house drums, glassy-eyed female vocal samples and sleazy, rave-igniting riffs. Over on the flip we get two distinctive takes on 'Sunday': the classic New Jersey garage meets Nu Groove style deep house warmth of the '3pm' version, and a stomping late night revision (entitled 'Work It') that peppers a chunky, extra-percussive beat with tight electric piano stabs and booming bass.
Review: Exos' label X/OZ continues to grow as a distinct voice in the world of minimal techno, this time around inviting Russian producer Nikita Zabelin to explore his sound with a sizable EP of finely crafted techno and thought-provoking ambience. "Confusion" is a consummate slice of hypnotic techno crackling with heavily processed energy, while "Pluton" drifts into rich beatless territory. There's more experimental fare afoot with the fractured tumbles of "Curtains", but "Trans Siberian Express" is on hand to lock things back into a sturdy rhythmic framework. Exos also takes the time to remix "Brooklyn Train" into a noirish dub techno workout.
Review: Argentina's Andres Zacco has form with Ilian Tape, debuting on the Zenker Brothers-helmed label back in 2011. Zacco is back in the IT fold, but this time it's through the label's X Series, a chapter reserved to more spontaneous white label action. As such, "Thaw" is a sublime mass of percussion riding solo on a soundscape, before being punched into shape by a powerful kick drum, while "Quirt" is more of a stripped-back techno slitherer for DJ tool use. Flip the wax and you'll find the weighty kicks and morphing sonics of "Beighty", alongside Ilian Tape's Rupcy's distorted, big room reinterpretation of "Thaw". All killer, no filler.
Zarkoff X Cyborgs On Crack - "Penalty For Violation" (4:52)
Review: Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label is back in action with an EP from Croatian darkwave maestro Zarkoff, in conjunction with conspirators such as Ikonal and Cyborgs On Crack. He's been active on the local scene for many years and only now is creeping onto the international radar, but this record should catapult him into the consciousness of all kinds of adventurous spinners. Managing to plunge into murky waters while retaining a propulsive, danceable edge to his sound, the most noticeable quality around this record is the synth work, which unfurls in thick, globulous brushstrokes of noirish melody perfect for the darker kind of dancefloors out there.
Review: Five years on since their last joint outing in Stroboscopic Artefacts Monad series, Speedy J and Lucy team up again as Zeitgeber on 'Seventeen Zero Four', a new three-tracker descending deep into the filthy,tenebrous outskirts of club music.
Review: In recent times the Zenker Brothers seem to have spent more time running their inspired Ilian Tape imprint than they have producing music. While we'd hardly criticize their choices - Ilian Tape goes from strength to strength - it's certainly good to have them back. The Munich-based siblings begin their first outing of 2020 with the melodious, far-sighted electro shuffle of "Shaketown", before wrapping mangled, mind-altering electronic riffs around a crunchy techno groove of "Chi Boost". "Bengel Mode" sees the siblings successfully combine alien-sounding riffs with a denser techno rhythm track, while closing cut "Outside" is a sparkling trip into hypnotic, slow-release ambient techno territory with nary a kick-drum in sight.
Review: It's double trouble again from ever reliable Bavarian brethren: Dario and Marco Zenker. The Ilian Tape head honchos seem to look for inspiration from the West Midlands techno scene circa the mid '90s. The splintered, full-throttle machinations of A side cut "Sorting Peanuts" call to mind Force + Form era Surgeon with its stuttered and jarring pace - making equal room for tension and suspense. On the flip, the greyscale factory floor stomp of "Sample Predator" will please fans of the Downwards back catalogue - British Murder Boys and Female in particular.
Review: The Zenker Brothers and their Ilian Tape venture get stronger by the minute, and here Marco flies solo with this latest EP, sounding in utterly rude health with it. "Geezin" is a distinctive opener, ditching standard 4/4 propulsion in favour of an airy drum machine arrangement infected with the slightest flurries of hardcore breaks and offset by wistful synth patterns. It's a curious combination that works magnificently, but for those wanting something a little more direct "Splifer" is on hand to deliver a more classically Zenker techno mantra. "Darai" brings the swing back in fine style, throwing down a chunky stomp to match the sizzling hats, and then "Lubiana" wrecks the surroundings with its magnificent pummel of low end percussion and gritty production values.
Review: Slovenian electro master Zeta Reticula has been on the rampage over the past few years, spraying machine funk bullets all over the shop on labels like Bass Agenda, Electrix and Mechatronica. Now the man otherwise known as Umek lands on the rapid-rising Latvian label Blind Allies with the first dedicated artist EP after a string of various artist 12"s. The vibe is nocturnal and noirish across these five bombs, staying true to both the Reticula sound and Blind Allies. There are plenty of playful synth blips and bleeps wriggling their way through the mix too - this is far from morose dungeon electro, but something more like mutant body poppers for darkened souls.
Review: The heat just keeps coming from the EYA camp as they swiftly follow up LONEWOLF 003 with this crucial care package from Kiev's Zolaa. Moody atmospheres abound on the stripped and stalking electro opener "Silver Needle, Golden Pain" before giving way to the decidedly cheekier acid snapper "Noctivagant". "Horiy Spokiy" broadens the remit of the record too, taking on a widescreen sound that takes in rich layers of melodic counterpoint to create a vivid soundscape that still kicks in all the right places. Then Etienne drops in a remix for the B2 which shakes things up with some breezy, feel good chords to counteract the punchy thrust of the drums.
Review: Noiztank co-founder Zosima has been surprisingly quiet of late, with his last release of note - the suitably intense and dystopian "Apropos Of The Wet Snow" - dropping back in 2017. As the title suggests "Live Cuts I" is made up of fuzzy, lo-fi workouts that were recorded to tape during live shows in Madrid, Berlin and Vienna. All four are suitably atmospheric and spontaneous in feel, in keeping with the producer's sweaty, hardware-driven performances. What you get is full-throttle industrial techno full of head-mangling distorted drums, rhythmic white noise and - on the clandestine "LC3" and paranoid "LC1" - a sliver of wild-eyed melodic intent. Not for the faint hearted, but well worth your attention if you like your grooves raw, ragged and full-throttle.
Review: Having previously impressed with two suitably atmospheric EPs on Propersound, Zug has decided to launch his own imprint. This label debut is naturally rather delicious, with the producer offering up a quartet of analogue-rich cuts that effortlessly combine the sci-fi sounding futurism of Detroit with the comforting melodiousness of Larry Heard. Such is the quality throughout that picking highlights is tough, though we're particularly enjoying the gentle grooves and alien melodies of "Constancia" and the suitably dubby, intergalactic pulse of EP opener "Alegria". Elsewhere, "Bienestar" combines bleeping melodies, dreamy chords and shuffling, tech-house style beats, while "Celebracion" sees him wrap far-sighted electronics around a bustling, two-step influenced rhythm track.