Review: Just under 12 months ago, French imprint Arpege launched with a multi-artist EP rich in far-sighted and futuristic takes on tech-house. For the follow-up they've decided to flip the script, instead offering up a quartet of electro-focused cuts. The headline attraction comes from British electro titan Carl Finlow, whose "Fmseq" is a spacey and melodious mixture of body-popping beats, throbbing bass, lilting lead lines and sparkling chords. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP though, from the heady deep space bleeps and hybrid electro/tech-house grooves of Harry Wills' "Estren", to the drowsy electronic warmth, bubbly acid bass and skittish beats of A2's "Plonk".
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.
Heidi Sabertoorh - "So You Want To Take Back Your Will" (6:37)
Synapse - "Shiny" (locked groove) (0:30)
Somatic Responses - "Strategy Of Desire" (5:22)
John Selway - "Brainchild" (5:29)
Pointsman - "Dirty Shirt" (locked groove) (0:30)
Review: Seminal New York City imprint Serotonin lives on. John Selway and Jason Szostek present It's What We Live For: Volume 2 - the second in a series of compilations sharing their vision of sounds of tomorrow. Szostek himself dons the well known BPMF alias again for some fierce breakbeat techno action on "Zu Heib Fur Uns", the equally legendary Healy brothers aka Somatic Response still going strong - as heard on the slo-mo acid trance journey "Strategy Of Desire" and relative newcomer Heidi Sabertooth of Opal Onyx delivers some sludgy electro-punk antics on "So You Want To Take Back Your Will". There's some handy locked grooves on the electro-bass tip featured too by Synapse and Pointsman, which were pretty wicked too.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Slovenian imprint Svemir is the new offshoot on minimal house imprint Kanja and they are back with their third various artists compilation following previous editions featuring artists such as Gosub, Perseus Traxx and Olvap. This time round, Leipzig's Eoism (Pulse Drift/Undersound) explores some emotive smack electro on "Minor Alchemy", the enigmatic Hawaiian Surfer channels the distinct style of Motor City soul on "Parabolic Lens" and on the flip Croatia's Zagrebacki Elektric pump up the dark energy of "Ichi Ni Chi Cni".
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Walid - "Human Injection" (Western World mix) (6:13)
Hank Rideau - "Tape 1" (5:10)
Review: Seuil's Eklo imprint returns, riding the post minimal wave of electro-techno on this fine three tracker by various artists. The Unknown Cities Of Gold Vol 1 is the first release from the Paris based imprint in 2018 thus far, and features the mysterious France 98 (a member of Tearss) who delivers a deeply meditative bleep techno excursion on "July 7" following the tradition of B12. We're loving Walid's trippy retro-tech jam "Human Injection" (Western World mix), which is the kind of track you'd hear at a Berlin party like Libertine or Melliflow alike. On the flip, it's TB-303 vs SP 1200 on the deep down and dirty "Tape 1".
Review: Cong Burn is a new label that features a range of producers plying a more interesting twist on the standard deep house formula. Take opening case in point Haddon, who uses oodles of processing to create a slippery, shifting tripper out of "Not Coming To The Club" and instantly stepping aside from the run of the mill milieu. Howes then pops up with the snaking, ultra-deep electro abstractions of "Untitled". L Pearson is in a particularly cheeky mood with the scratchy micro-sampling fun of "PSR1170", calling to mind the crafty chops of Paradroid et al, and then Perfume Advert book end the release with some beautifully horizontal deep house for the subliminally minded to revel in.
Review: Yaleesa Hall returns to his Will & Ink imprint with some fascinating techno derivatives on the Hayley Laura EP, although these are much more straight ahead than his usual stripped down experiments - best heard on his 2016 debut album. Beginning with the electro-bass assault of "Zoe Price" bringing that UK style sound popularised by Carl Finlow or Radioactive Man in true style. "Hayley Roach" with its splintered beats and and tunnelling sequences are reminiscent of Regis' output in the late '90s, while "Laura Pomeroy" being the the most atmospheric cut on offer here - going down a more lush and hypnotic route. This is the first solo output from the Amsterdam based producer on the label.
Review: More oddball grooves from Down Under, courtesy of new Aussie imprint Vulcan Venti - which follows up a great debut by Tambo's House earlier in the year. The Melbournians present Perth's Hamish Rahm aka Hame DJ, whose Dog Swamp EP features three tracks carefully constructed for the discerning disc jockey. Enjoy the throwback sounds of '90s rave on "LL", the frantic yet rather evocative electro bass of the title track and "Exe" which goes for that classic West Yorkshire techno sound of yesteryear.
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Continuez Mon Enfant Vous Serez Traite En Consequence (4:53)
Review: The seemingly unstoppable rise of Helena Hauff continues apace. After previously shining on Ninja Tune's Actress-helmed Werk Discs offshoot, the Hamburg-based DJ/producer has now graduated to the parent label. As usual, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the punchy drum machine percussion, tumbling synthesizer melodies and foreboding chords of opener "Nothing Is What I Know" and thrillingly intense, end-of-days techno jam "Do You Really Think Like That", to the lo-fi, intergalactic brilliance of closer "Gift". Perhaps most impressive, though, is "Continuez Mon Enfant Vous Serez Traite En Consequence", a thrillingly wonky trip into dark, acid-fired electronica. In a word: essential.
Oceans (Tolouse Low Trax - Drahcira Last dance mix) (6:53)
Homecoming (MR TC remix) (7:56)
Review: Australian label Hole In The Sky pride themselves on 'releasing the unusual'. That means never sticking to the same thing, and always, repeat, always diversifying their catalogue; after all, they are responsible for bringing the likes of Tame Impala on the scene, so they should be treated with the upmost respect. This time it's Heart People's Homecoming to receive the remix treatment, and London veteran Andrew Weatherall proceeds to transform "Voices" into a pounding, acid-driven house banger still intact with the original's poppy vocals. On the flip, our main man Toulouse Low Trax drops a magnificently leftfield groove to transform "Oceans" into a strange little percussive number filled with murky sub-tones, which leaves MR TC to reframe "Homecoming" into a slow, pulsating glow of bass and abstract melodies lingering like fireflies in mid-air. We've been taken in by the light...
Review: The first release from R.A.N.D Muzik Recordings, a new venture from Gunnar Heuschkel and Jan Freund's Leipzig-based pressing plant, is either a statement of intent or a collection of killer cuts from artists they've previously dealt with. Either way, it's something of a treat from start to finish. For proof, check the early Orbital-goes-electro positivity of Varum's "Das Busch", the psychedelic, acid-fired electro trip of Perm's thoroughly intoxicated "All", and the low-slung, pitched-down, lo-fi electro swing of Uncanny Valley regular Credit 00's fine "On Hold". If that's not enough to sway you, Robyrt Hecht and XY0185 do a passable impression of Drexciya on bustling opener "The Left Lane".
Review: In some ways, And Silently Vanish Away is an odd title for an EP packed with tracks that linger long in the memory. Certainly, electro heads will appreciate the heavy 808 hits, droning bass and fluttering, deep space electronics of Exterminador's brilliant "Alien Soundscapes", not to mention the trippy, delay-laden vocal samples, warped hardware melodies and scuttling drum machine rhythms of NGLY and Exterminador's "Broken Flowers". We're big fans, too, of Hinode's bustling, razor-sharp opener "Mission4" - the kind of track that would leap out of a DJ mix and send you rushing online to find out its identity - and the fuzzy, dust-encrusted techno hum of DJ Nephil's hypnotic "Codex".
Review: This is the end of Rivulet Records after seven years of existence. Over the years, they have presented fabulous works by the likes of Jonas Palzer, Momo and Skipless. The very last release comes from co-founder Stanley Schmidt, who collaborates with his long time friend Hobor on the Made In Paint LP. For these two Leipzig based artists, it had been a long time in the making and to present this work as the final product felt just right. A captivating collection of downbeat electronica and ambient, that is for the most part textured and melancholic in its expression - while at time other lush and uplifting, There are even a few moments of dancefloor friendly techno, such as the soulful acid stomp of "Swirling Paranoia" or the ecstatic junglist stepper "From Outside".
Review: HVL has landed on many different labels in recent years, but Rough House Rosie will always be something of a spiritual home for the adventurous deep electro and techno craftsman. Across the Hidden Valley EP he displays a fluid, instinctive approach to composition - "Enslaver" rolls out like a live jam but the detail and control embedded in the track is astounding. "Distom Spook" is charged with nervous acidic energy, while "Lemon Stealer" takes things in a more experimental direction with all manner of snaking synth voices wriggling around a crisp electro beat. "Crow Hill" finishes the EP off with a slow, rolling breakbeat groove and hazy pads for a quintessential B2 wind-down session.
Review: Vox Populi's Field Works Vol.II sees the Berlin based label travelling to different parts of the world in order to collect sounds and archive some of the finest musical traditions. This record is the result of a trip to Japan led by Swiss anthropologist and label founder Fred Scharf. It was inspired by academic methods: particularly ethnomusicology and incorporates everything from field recordings, studio recordings, religious rituals, fighting championships and even wedding ceremonies. From the slo-mo acid of Japan Blues (Berceuse Heroique) seductive "Chapter V" to Frenchman Tim Karbon's exotic polythyrhms that hypnotise you on "Chapter VI" and Shizka (aka Inoue Shirabe) getting into some abstract groove theory on his splendid offering "Chapter VIII".
Review: The Electronic Leatherette label shows its hand straight away with a pointed nod to The Normal and the foundations of Mute Records. Sure enough there's an industrial, new wave and electro fog hanging over the nocturnal transmissions that make up this first release, although it's far from one dimensional throwback music. Vessel In Distress has a chilly sci-fi leaning to its brand of gloomy electro, but that's contrasted by the sprightly robo-funk of Franck Kartell's "Sigma Octantis". MSRG brings the party with the feisty stomp and gnarly synth lines of "Elliptical Wave", and Heinrich Dressel rolls out an evocative night crawler of a track in "Down Upsight", as is his customary style.
Review: There's a certain mysticism that hovers around Piramide Registrazioni, with its occult symbolism, mysterious artists and fuzzy, vintage sound. Label protagonist Xinner has been previously spotted alongside S. Moreira on Phonica Records, but here is sharing valuable wax space on Piramide 2 with Autre and Hawaiian Chips. Autre's version of old-skool deep house has an interesting urgency about it, and Hawaiian Chips turns out shimmering electro of the highest order. It's Xinner's tracks that stand out the most though, with synths straining under the weight of their own wobblyness and beats that punch out in clouds of reverb fog.
Review: 2017 has been a good year for fans of The Hacker AKA long-serving producer Michel Amato. Having already impressed via rock solid EPs on Stilleben and Bordello a Parigi, Amato delivers his first full-length excursion since 2014. As you'd probably expect, Les Theatre Des Operations tends towards the alien and intergalactic, with Amato serving up a range of tracks rich in bleeping electronic melodies, unfussy drum machine rhythms and angular, TB-303 style basslines. As usual, the eight tracks neatly blur the boundaries between techno and electro - both rhythmically and sonically - while regular collaborator Miss Kittin lends a hand on moody and mind-altering LP highlight "Time X", adding some typically sleazy and stylish spoken word vocals.
Johnny Dynell & New York 88 - "Jam Hot (Rhumba Rock)" (7:22)
Art Zoyd - "Sortie 134" (part 2) (3:45)
Adiche - "Chuka-Ja (Get Ready)" (6:56)
Class Action - "Weekend" (Larry Levan mix) (8:15)
Gray - "Cut It Up High Priest" (4:23)
Golden Flamingo Orchestra - "The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us" (6:50)
Extra T's - "ET Boogie" (5:30)
Fab 5 Freddy - "Change The Beat" (7:31)
Convertion - "Let's Do It" (6:40)
Yoko Ono - "Walking On The Thin Ice" (5:55)
Review: Curated as part of the iconic street artist's Tate exhibition this year, The World Of Keith Haring unites many of the talented souls Keith knew, or was inspired by, during his prolific rise as one of the most vital cultural spokesmen through the 70s and 80s. Soundtracking the gritty downtown NYC streets he made his first mark on, this limited collection captures the whole melting pot from b-boy culture with cuts such as "E.T Boogie" and "Bump N Grind", raw boogie and soul ("Over & Over") and pure drama ("The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us"). A powerful collection as striking and relatable as his own signature.
What Doesn't Kill You Doesn't Make You Anything (4:09)
Darkly Down The Cellar Steps Again (5:02)
Review: John Heckle last released an album on Tabernacle three years ago, but he's been far from quiet since then with his Head Front Panel project diverting his attention towards blistering hard techno. Tone To Voice then represents a return to more melodic pastures with a more diverse selection of tempos and moods to choose from, but still Heckle's innate gift for expressive, dynamic machine music shines through. "Sonic Spectrometer" is a joyous slice of techno-jazz, while "Potential Life" whips up stunning cascading synth lines and pattering hats. At times, there's no need for a kick, and with ample ambient excursions woven into the mix this stands as one of Heckle's most accomplished releases yet.