Review: There is something faintly unsettling about Forest Land, the debut album from Greyscale Mood Series regular Altone. Musically, the ten showcased tracks are rooted in dub techno and feature many musical elements associated with the style - think deep sub-bass, echoing, reggae style piano riffs, ambient electronics, field recordings and incredible sound design. Yet none of these tracks sound like "dub techno by numbers", something we attribute to the producer's frequent use of off-kilter, unorthodox rhythm patters and metallic, almost industrial percussion sounds. In other words, it may be as atmospheric and - at times - meditative as other dub techno releases, but it's also a whole lot creepier too. An album well worth further investigation.
Review: Since vinyl copies of Shinichi Atobe's debut album Butterfly Effect are still in demand, DDS has decided to offer-up a new clear vinyl pressing of the acclaimed set. It remains one of the mysterious, publicity-shy producer's most magnificent and fully-formed works: a singular musical vision that was released some 13 years after his then sole single, 2001's 'Ship-Scope'. Like much of Atobe's work, it offers a particularly atmospheric musical vision where ambient, off-kilter electronica, deep house and dub techno explorations come together to create one distinctive, otherworldly whole. Butterfly Effect has long been revered in certain circles and listening to this new pressing it's easy to see why.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Aubrey's status as a pillar of underground UK techno comes into focus with this reissue of a 1995 classic from the Solid Groove archives. 'Ginger Biscuit' is a riotous party starter, riding a funked up loop and feverish percussion to make for techno perfection. 'Long Player' is a trippier affair awash with heavy reverb, pads and submerged acid bleeps. 'Shimmer' goes even further out with some shimmering dub techno chords riding elongated filter sweeps for pure eyes closed transcendence. 'U Be Dick' seals the deal with a micro-dub excursion that nudges towards house territory with soaring synth strings to boot. Seminal stuff.
Review: Andy Vaz's Background Records has been treating early 00s minimal die hards of late with a run of choice reissues. It was great to see the Smyglyssna getting another outing, and likewise this crucial slice of stripped down surrealism from the mighty Baby Ford. 'One For Sorrow' is a party rocker through and through, with a bubbling bass pulse that hooks you into the groove while the strange vocoder flexing over the top tries to throw you off. 'Rainstorm' uses the subtlest threads of static noise to create a subliminal sense of atmospheric interference around a crisp beatdown, and 'Woody' uses a simple melodic loop to create a mystical energy you could lose yourself in for days.
Review: Break New Soil reaches the not insignificant milestone of release number 70 with a new EP from Carl Bee and a couple of heavyweight remixers. He is a long time friend of the label boss so this is a natural coming together that results in some electric big room melodic techno from the Maltese man. First off is 'Trains', a scintillating cut riding on a slick groove and made all the more dramatic thanks to the drum fills, sweeping synths and tense melodic riffs. The Raw Mix is more stripped back for late night zone outs and Olliver Deutschmann then goes deeper for his remix.
Review: During the 1990s, techno talent Being put out some essential records on the late great andrew Weatherall's Special Emissions label. He also produced for Lord Sabre on works as Two Lone Swordsmen with Keith 'Radioactive Man' Tenniswood and collaborated with Claude Young, so his credentials are unquestionable. Here he distils all that into a moody techno record with machines that brim with soul, rhythm that are full of invention and warm, cavernous grooves as good for home listening sessions as they are club workouts. 'Space Again' is an epic Detroit cut, 'The Akward' is ace new age business and frankly the whole thing needs your attention.
Review: Porter v Brook was a classic welterweight boxing match up in 2014, and Porter Brook the producer brings a sound that is just as powerful and action packed as was that world title fight. This Groundwork release is the second on the label and is techno workout of the highest order. 'True Belief' is an eerie broken beat with misty sound design and grainy synths, then 'Deliverance' again locks you in a mystic world of churning synths, lo-fi textures and cavernous grooves. Closer 'Avec' is the sound of a warehouse in decay, a post-apocalyptic landscape once all human life has left and the machines are starting to take over.
Review: After years DJing and co-running the excellent 50arc parties, Helen Copnall makes her debut appearance on Miles Sagnia's Atmospheric Existence, laying down a refined strain of deep-diving techno with the kind of delicate but driving energy we've come to expect from a truly great, unsung UK techno label. 'Lotuses In A Sea Of Fire' revels in a dubby swirl of processing, as languid keys melt into each other and rippling textures ping out across the feathered but insistent percussion. 'Cedars' is arguably the pick though, deploying a vivid and densely packed sound field ranging from modular bleeps and textured rhythms to dub chord shimmers and low frequency mantras. It's brain food as well as body music, like the best techno should be.
Review: Two Canadian veterans unite here: acclaimed DJ/producer Colin de la Plante aka The Mole, with dub techno expert and BLKRTZ chief Scott Monteith aka Deadbeat. They both cut their teeth on Montreal's techno scene in the early noughties and released music on homegrown imprints such as Wagon Repair and Cynosure. The now Berlin-based pair present an album of 10 tracks here, taking in low slung house ('I'd Rather Be Lonely'/'For All That Was Lost'), dub ('Keep On Goin''), hip hop ('Return To The Towers'/'New Stone') and smoked out sound collages ('Ciao Uncle G') which were all created during the 2020 lockdown.
Review: It's been a long time coming, but finally Beatrice Dillon has delivered her debut album - and it's a peach. It sees her "Workaround" a set rhythmic idea - 150 BPM percussive polyrhythms influenced by various global drumming styles - to create a suite of tracks rooted in bass-heavy UK style "broken techno" but vastly different in tone and style. Thanks to a range of impressive guest musicians (techno experimentalists Batu and Laurel Halo both contributed alongside veteran jazz players, one of Britain's best bhangra drummers and a cellist), there's a fantastic hybrid electronic/acoustic vibe throughout, with Dillon's experimental instincts combining with her grasp of mood and melody to create a suite of impossible-to-pigeonhole tracks that genuinely sound like nothing else around. In a word: superb
Review: DJ Loser's style of extreme noise terror has been unveiled previously on such risk taking imprints as Veyl, Clan Destine and Live Adult Entertainment. It is now over to Swiss imprint Novi Svijet, who present the Greek producer's latest adventures in modern dance music on Stealth Hope. From the adrenaline fuelled strobe-lit euphoria of 'Morality Erotica', more hardstyle awaits on the pounding rave dystopia of 'Triumph Of Will' (featuring DJ Valentimes), while mid 90s acid warehouse techno will pummel you into submission on 'Fatal Flaws', paving the way for more punishment in the form of the off-kilter body basher 'Beyond Demise'. Mastered by Lawrence English.
Review: Arsenik serve up a fantastic split EP here with Dold and Blue Hour taking two tracks each. It's high speed techno from the off when Dold opens up with 'Track 1' and its fiery hi hats and hurried kicks. His second offering moves just a s swiftly, but sinks down into a more deft, deep, autumnal and dubbed out groove with feathery hi hats and Basic Channel chords. For his part, Blue Hour kick off with synths fired out of a machine gun, layered up over a stuttering beat. 'Track 4' then brings a new age flute sound to techno and it actually sounds surprisingly good as those drum barrel on.
Review: Ambien Baby's Isla label is back at it with a new release from Dosis, and it's a hot one. Steeped in noirish electro and minimal wave moods, the lead track 'Confusion' strikes a mood somewhere between vintage Dopplereffekt, Front 242 and Doxa Sinistra with Spanish vocals. 'Copas' is more evocative, using an electro template to express a melancholy which stands apart from the gutter-dwelling creepiness found elsewhere on the EP. 'Sombras' strikes a balance between the two extremes, whereas 'Delirio' submits to a more pure machine-rooted abandon punctuated by a tough rhythm, and does so in style.
Review: The second Murder Records EP is another uncompromising collection of brutalist techno. The Tbilisian label enlists Fractions & Zanias to open up with a stormy flurry of synths and frosted drums then Alessandro Adriani layers up more mechanical drums that demand you march while the brine frying synths melt your mind up top. Years of Denial then looks to EBM for its inspiration on 'Reverie' with deadpan vocals and haunting cold wave synths. This is caustic and coruscated stuff from start to finish that is best heard loud, in a super blackened and raw space.
Review: Freek Fabricius is at the buttons for the next one on Utrecht's vital Something Happening Somewhere. He is a school teacher, dedicated DJ, label boss and party organiser who also makes cyber rave tunes of the sort found on this EP, which makes his first full release. It's fill with glistening video-game electronics, metallic electro beats and edgy soundscapes that are so bright they almost make you wince. 'Melancholia (Future Is Cancelledit)' is a mix of bristling synths and more plaintive chords while 'Bai Bai Babi' is broken beat body music from a tribe on another planet.
Review: Berlin-based Japanese producer Kosei Fukuda presents his 13th release, in the form of his debut album on Reiten: an experimental platform for electronic music beyond the dancefloor. The two albums, Ruten - and + respectively are meant to represent the two elemental forces of yin/yang. The first volume featured here (-) expresses Fukuda's concept with a collection of introverted IDM experiments, altogether conveying a strong metaphorical intent and harmonic flow. From the hypnotic downbeats of 'Kiri', to the texturised greyscale industrial zones of 'Rinshi' and the hyperaware trance induction of 'Tenkan' - expect the unexpected.
Review: I Am a Vowel is the solo project of Nelly Larguier, a London based, French born artist who layers up heavy drones made from natural sounds and from her own voice. Last year's Lo EP on
Coriolis Sounds offered four more brilliantly experimental fusions of abstract, house and minimal sounds that warrant further comparisons with the likes of Laurie Anderson. 'Everyday Is Coriolis' is freaky, low slung dub to melt your mind, 'Aude Adore Les Emeraudes' gets more dark and eerie with its hooky loops and menacing vocal whispers and 'Elle Saute A L'envers Dans Le Ciel' is icy cold futuristic techno minimalism of the highest order.
Review: Psy-fi Sounds Vol.1 is a compilation featuring collaborations with several artists from Canada and beyond. Influences span the history of electronic music and focus on Progressive House, Trance, Techno and Ambient. Each track will take you on a journey through the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the song writer.