Review: Since 2011, or what we could describe as the rebirth of vintage electronic music and the muddled, increasingly convoluted evolution of 'bass' music, Nick Harris aka A Sagittariun has been providing our charts, and the wider scene, with consistently high levels future-proof techno. Slightly Ajar is his third release of 2017 already, and it comes through on his own Elastic Dreams imprint with a squadron of deep and effortlessly mesmerizing electronic shapes. "Stingray" opens with an ocean of euphoric pads and industrial rhythms coming together as one, and is followed elegantly by the much deeper, more reflective broken patterns of "Burning Crystal". On the B-side, "An Infinite Number Of Possibilities" kicks the gears into motion with a much bouncier, club-centric techno groove filled with surreal melodies, and "720 Degrees" buries a load of bleeps into a hypnotic bundle of sci-fi sonics for total dancefloor domination. Effective and ultra-sleek - the lot of them!
Review: Gabriel Reyes Whittaker is The Abstract Eye: an L.A.-based producer also known as GB (Gifted & Blessed) and Frankie Reyes. Regarding the dynamic pace of the music industry, he asks the question, what's real anymore? For him, it comes down to the feelings this music evokes. Last year saw the much needed reissue of his underrated 2011 opus Cool Warm Divine on Holland's Rush Hour, and this new record is another emotive release which explores classic electro and techno sounds - borrowing from the best of the genre's recent past but reinterpreting it in his own distinct way. From the old school deep techno bounce of "Land, Sky & Sea" to the chill groove of "What's Real Anymore?" or the mellow electro of "Butterfly Patterns" - thia is as real as it gets.
Review: The Advent made for a perfect addition to the formidable Thema catalogue, and now he's back with the second volume of his "Dorian Blue" series. There are plentiful loops to get creative with, but the fully-formed tracks have their own cyclical qualities to inspire technically-minded DJs. "Structures" is an urgent, tightly wound piledriver, while "Interactive Loop" and "Digitize" cuts both take a sprightly, Motor City-styled approach to electro. With loops derived from these classy tracks and more besides, there's a lot to get the creative juices flowing as well as bodies popping.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Exzakt continues to forge one of the purest totems of classic electro with his Monotone label, and indeed his own output. The latest release is a various artists EP which perfectly sums up everything Monotone is about. The Advent leads the way with the dark, melodic "Eye's Of Envy," produced alongside Zein, before Exzakt himself drops a taut and wiry dancefloor bomb in the shape of "Kreep." 214 fires up the B side with the edgy, minimalist thrust of "Crouch & Turn," before EggFooYoung makes a surprise return to the fray with the more Miami-flavoured stylings of "Bass2Large," a slower, dirtier jam with low end frequencies to get the whole club freaking.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Review: Exotic Dance Records founder J.Albert has been scouted out by Will Bankhead for the man's The Trilogy Tapes imprint, and we have to say that this feels like the perfect match. Both the label and the artist have a knack for the unexpected, with the former having released an infinite multitude of electronic genres and the latter twisting and turning between techno, electro, and something undefinable. Made up of glitchy breaks and surreal waves of electornic dust, "Money Between Friends" and "Envy Turned Curiosity" both exude an industrial dubbiness that is rarely achieved by others. On the B-side, "Deepstate Riddim" is some neo-jungle badness that evolves the genre magnificently, and "Designer Life" ends on a more sinister note, launching a minimal wave of electronics surrounded by warm blasts of sub-bass. Recommended, naturally...
Review: Last year, one-time R&S Records artist Alma Construct returned to action after a two-year absence, joining forces with J Wiltshire on the freshly minted Super Hexagon Records imprint. Here he flies solo on the same imprint, showcasing his take on Detroit style electro. Opener "River Bed Sleep" is a high octane, funk-fuelled affair, with fizzing synth lines and spacey electronics wrapped around a punchy beat box groove. "Track 2" cleverly mangles electro and experimental D&B flavours, a trick repeated on breathless, acid-fuelled flipside cut "Untitled 1". The slower, more considered "Gahnum" - think cinematic strings, Balearic melodies and crusty drum machine beats - completes a solid package.
Roger Van Lunteren - "On And Dna No (The Sun Riser)" (5:06)
Phil Gerus - "Prelude To Love" (4:37)
Review: The XXX crew are on a mission to celebrate the adventurous and utterly well-informed dance music scene of Amsterdam, and they move to the fourth release on their label with a strong cast of characters that all have something different to say. Alterleo opens up the 12" with the low-throbbing psyche out of "Train To..." before Al Gobi takes over with the aqueous hardware house bubbles of "Rule Of Three". On the B side, Jack Pattern & John Parsley work together to lay down a fierce blend of industrial and disco that will send shivers down your spine. Roger Van Lunteren meanwhile revels in the squelchiest kind of esoteric acid with a new age mystique thrown in for good measure, and then Phil Gerus provides a soothing soliloquy to finish this distinctive record off.
Review: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
Rob Amboule & Manuel Schatz - "Manz Not Hot" (6:30)
Peter Raw - "Brotherhood" (5:52)
HDV - "Digital Delight" (5:44)
Kosh - "The Mess" (5:08)
Review: Sounds Benefit founder Tom Joyce cast his net far and wide when sniffing out cuts to include on the label's latest multi-artist EP. There's plenty of little-known talent on show across the four tracks that make-up the EP, which come from artists based in Frankfurt, Paris and - most surprisingly - Casablanca. We're particularly enjoying the hybrid electro/spacey tech-house bounce of Peter Raw's wonderfully swinging "Brotherhood", though the deep and melodious electro bounce of Kosh's "The Mess" is also really rather good. Elsewhere, Manuel Schatz and Rob Amboule offer up some bold and snappy Motor City techno/acid house fusion, while HDV's "Digital Delight" is raw, analogue, funky and decidedly alien in tone.
Review: Automatik-Datamatik is a label based in western Germany and founded in 2008 by Adalbert C. Kupietz. He would like to present you with this release, which is a tribute to his late father Leszek J. Kupietz. He was passionate drummer in the 70s/80s and is said to have toured intensively with his band all over the world. Although they never had the opportunity to collaborate directly, Adalbert had access to some of his recorded drum skills on this record. Electronically packed with analog synths accompanied by Leszek's Sonor drums. Used extensively on the album were PPG Wave 2.2, Fender Rhodes, Rhodes CHROMA, Hohner Clavinet, Yamaha CS-50VP-330 diverse ARPs, Korg and Roland Synths.
Review: Mancunian lo-fi house heroes Natural Sciences are back with a bang in 2018: now giving us a second serving of throwback electro sounds courtesy of one Antonio Barbetta. He has had some great releases recently as Raw Ambassador on Mannequin and Ortloff. The Germany based Italian producer serves up what the label best described themselves as 'panzer funk and mechanised thrash metal from the shadows of Frankfurt's industrial district' and that's pretty spot on! There's the guttural futurist sludge of opening track "A Violent Collision" that will appeal to fans of Lux Rec or Return To Disorder, not to mention other excursions through heavy dystopian machine funk like on "Destroy This Fucking System". The breakneck "Adriatic Funk" is a full frontal assault that calls to mind the UK sounds of Bass Junkie & Dexorcist from a while back, while "Cyborg" is a fitting tribute to his new hometown's favourite son: the one and only Anthony Rother.
Review: Aphelion is a Greek producer who is part of the Equations Collective, and here he offers up his first ever release. Clearly well schooled in production, the atmospheres of his tracks belie his debutant status as he kicks off with the mutant bass and pounding kicks of "Volatile Radiance". More warped bass characterises the sparse and eerie "Cosmic Vibrations" before Silicon Scally aka Carl Finlow heads off in a more menacing direction on his remix of "What You Want". The original is a more haunting and paranoid affair that has you looking over your shoulder.
Review: The second release on Glasgow imprint Tremors is by Tom Livingstone aka Arctor. He has a way of making music for moments where the crowd has just melted in the palm of the dancefloor. His latest EP entitled Heartless bursts with kaleidoscopic melodies and streamlined percussion From the high octane electro bass of "Exploding Head Syndrome" with its respectful nod to greats like Drexciya or Dopplereffekt, or the more UK electro influenced "Bad Blood" with its heady booming acid vibe, to the emotive B side cut "United" showing the more contemplative side of his sound - the Glaswegian producer continues his run of sophisticated electro euphoria.
Review: The second part of Garage Hermetique's ongoing trawl through the archives of Kirk Degiorgio's acclaimed As One project offers up some classic, previously album-only tracks from 1994 and '97. First up is "Mihara", a wonderfully spacey, positive and dreamy fusion of elongated synth chords, funky, Clavinet style motifs, rich bass and skittish, Detroit-influenced drums. Deep breakbeat-techno cut "Destination Other" showcases two of Degiorgio's primary influences - namely jazz-funk and Motor City electro - while "Shambala" (B2) is a breezy, attractive and aesthetically pleasing chunk of techno/electro fusion. Fittingly, Convextion man Gerard Hansen dons his E.R.P alias to deliver a 2018 update of the latter track, in the process turning it into a warm, yearning and loved up chunk of deep electro full of lilting melodies and drifting pads.
Review: Electro from down under proudly represents here, courtesy of current scene favourites Jensen Interceptor and Assembler Code. The Sydneysiders deliver yet more of their distinct style of darkly dystopian bass on Melbourne's LKR Records. Proudly wearing their Drexciyan influence on their sleeve for "Geralds Aqua Lessons", more sci-fi futurism is catered for on "DIY Action Cinema" and the electro-funk of "Upper Function" which receives a brilliant rework by another ascendant Aussie: Perth's Roza Terenzi.
Review: Assembler Code & Jensen Interceptor are one of electro's most devastating duos right now. Mechatronica welcome them for four more hard hitting jams after their "Vapour Waves" EP on this label got plenty of people talking. These are tunes with an old school feel that will blow up your bass bins and tear apart your tweeters with their mix of low end heaviness and bright melodic patterns. Superbly urgent drum programming sweeps you off your feet and races you through astral skies on "Noise Theory", "Otherwise" has a raggedy-ass broken beat and "Day 1" has a blistering bassline of the highest order.