Review: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
I Can See It In My Dreams (Orgue Electronique remix) (6:04)
Review: The ever-impressive Organic Analogue returns with another crucial excursion into seductive hardware jams from the deeper end of the electronic gene pool. Marvis Dee is an alias for Dutch electro champ Jeremiah R, and finds the promising upstart on impeccable form. There's something seedy in the air on killer opening jam "Alpha", while "Dipper" makes no bones about its classic, Drexciya-informed electro intentions. "I Can See It In My Dreams" is a wistful trip into Chicago house territory, which Orgue Electronique dutifully remixes in his warm, effervescent manner. With "Intervention" and "Cygnus" taking a deeper direction it's a record with depth to match the other excellent releases on OA, and one of the strongest sleeve designs we've seen in some time.
Review: After equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.
Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
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: 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: Eddie Fowlkes is one of Detroit's finest, still working doggedly to push his own distinct spin on the Motor City sound. He's taking no prisoners on this latest 12" on his own Detroit Wax label, bringing a tough and righteous rhythm to the foreground on "Give It Up For My DJ" with some of those head-spinning melodic flourishes that are his trademark. "Love Works" is a crooked groover that piles the bass on generously and keeps the swing up high - if this one doesn't get bodies jerking then nothing will. No-one does it quite like Fowlkes, and he's on impeccable form here.
Review: Having cut their teeth on crucial releases for Lux Rec, Pinkman, Broken Dreams and more, Savage Grounds come to Mosaique with more of their dark, spiky industrial and minimal wave deviations. The pair are more than qualified, with Daniele Cosmo being the Lux Rec boss and CCO being a veteran of the punky underground techno scene. This latest release matches up to what they've achieved so far, with "Schnell Ausser Kontrolle" especially standing out with its chunky, forward-thrusting synth hooks matching edginess with catchiness in a most artful of ways. There's plenty of lo-fi experimentation going on, not least on the dystopian gurgle of "Parasomnia", to keep all denizens of the night shocking out under the moon.
Review: The Shahr Farang label is always an interesting one to check in with, sometimes veering towards fragile ambience as much as intriguing beat constructions. Here, label mainstay Sohrab invites Erik Jahaali to join in on the tough yet atmospheric thrust of "Industriegebiet", before he goes it alone on the moody beatless blanket of sound that is "Fasseleh". Jahaali is back on board for "Skypainter," which pivots around dusty pads and subtle, snaking rhythms in the deepest techno tradition. "Dayi Mohsen" is the surprise of the record, dropping into a Mo Wax style funk that should soothe all manner of chill out room scenarios.
Review: AUX88 The 1990's launched an onslaught of projects and musical influences to a new generation of listeners to a re-emergence of electro. Paying homage to those before, a four-man crew from the east side of Detroit, AUX88, laid down the foundation of the gritty sound of the streets, and made their presence known via urban radio, dance clubs, and overseas venues. The time has come for those who were major influences to add their touch to the continuation of that sonic pallet.
Freakenstein - "Feakin' Time (+ Freak-A-Pella)" (7:24)
Review: Leeds-born session Hearlucinate makes the leap to wax with a special series of 12"s that correspond to line-ups for parties in London, spearheaded by resident Tristan da Cunha. On this first release, Dawl shores up on the A side and sets the bar very high indeed with the killer bleep techno stylings of "Energy Overdrive" and the tough, punchy electro of "Cyborg". Da Cunha himself follows up on the B side with the equally tough and thumping "Move (Let Me See U)", a seedy and sensual peak timer if we ever heard one. Freakenstein completes the set with a rabble-rousing booty bass beat down that will appeal to those who likes their electro fast and nasty.
Review: In the face of all those Clone reissue compilations, Tresor are doing the right thing and digging into their own archive of seminal aquatic machine funk from Detroit electro legends Drexciya, and stepping up with the Hydro Doorways EP is the kind of power move that most labels can only dream of being able to make. From the cinematic drama of "Quantum Hydrodynamics" to the textbook boogie down synth abandon of "Polymono Plexusgel", not forgetting the heavy-on-the-one throwdown of "Lost Vessel" or the alien gurgles and peppy pace of "Species On The Pod", or the... oh you know the drill. This is timeless, essential business for anyone that takes electronic music seriously.
Review: Thus far all we know about Wilson Phoenix is pressed into the previous two records the anonymous operator has released so far in 2018. That should be enough for techno heads with their ears to the ground - this is rough and ready hardware business for those who like it nasty. While not perhaps as willfully unhinged as Neil Landstrumm, it's very much in that sonic ballpark, not least on relentless acidic opener "Between Mars." Things get a little freakier with the pinging electro delights of "Moon Machine" before the rowdy rave beast "Exo Planet" levels the landscape with some brutal synth stabs that would sound at home on an early The Prodigy record.
Review: LFT has already made a sizable impact on his gnarly, muscular brand of weathered electro and techno, and now he's been snapped up by Zement to deliver another four rowdy roundhousers. "Nucleon" channels the best of minimal wave and gives it a deadly dose of modern acid revelry that will incite fevered responses on the floor, while "Wounds" takes things in a spookier B-movie direction without shaking off those powerful 303 demons. "The Cure For My Kind" manifests as a kind of nightmarish electro, and "Hypno Haniwa" takes another route into machine funk for malevolent souls, with stunning results.
Review: Prolific Dutch producer Boris Bunnik wears several hats: Conforce, Silent Harbour and Vernon Felicity, but some of his most exciting music is produced under the Versalife alias where he delves deep into the electro sound. He makes his debut here for Leeds institution 20/20 Vision with "Machine Life", taking the classic electro sound further but with a modern twist. We're going deep underwater on the moody title track, before coming up for air via the soulful android funk of "MO5". On the flip, the eerie dystopian themes continue on the sombre "Monospace" and the seething reductionist electro-bass of "Axion".
Review: Orson Bramley has a long-standing legacy in UK electro history as part of the Transparent Sound production crew, and he's been recently aligned with Robin Ball's Memory Box parties in London where he's been able to display his years of experience whipping machines into funky configurations in a live environment. This release speaks to that experience, with the various versions of "Then Again" punching out an irresistible sermon of crafty synth lines, swooping strings and crisp beats. Ball steps up for two remixes on the flip that equally reside in the electro realm, but come at the component parts from a different rhythmic angle. One refined idea done five ways - what more do you need to know?
Review: After the stunning Ostati album released on Organic Analogue last year, Georgia's HVL is back with a new album on the label for his home turf, Bassiani. As a resident of the infamous Tbilisi club, he knows innately how to communicate the vibe of one of the world's most widely discussed techno clubs, only this time he's taken a slightly tougher stance. "Eyes In The Sky" has a fierce, paranoid acid edge, while "F12 (Korg Patch Mix)" gets into freaky, cerebral techno territory. There are intriguing interludes and skits, and plenty more dancefloor heaters delivered with an inventiveness that once again affirms HVL's status as one of the brightest talents operating in the loosely defined field of deep techno.
Review: When it comes to exploring the full potential of Roland's iconic TB-303 bass synthesizer, few are quite as capable of I Love Acid and Balkan Vinyl chiefs Posthuman. Here the long-serving duo pops up on X-Kalay with a particularly robust and club-friendly three-tracker. For straight-up heaviness you can't beat "King Rat", a muscular and sweaty fusion of booming beats, clanking drum fills, outer-space effects and energy-packed acid lines. Arguably more exciting, though, is A-side "Airwave Uranium", an acid-electro bubbler rich in psychedelic TB-303 lines, moody chords and bleeping electronics. X-Kalay artist Lou Karsh provides the accompanying remix, giddily emphasizing Posthuman's razor-sharp acid lines while subtly beefing up the beats.
Si Begg & Neil Landstrumm - "The Pusher (M)" (3:59)
The Exaltics - "00045.00.2" (3:53)
Amato - "Sueur Et Poussiere" (6:13)
DJ Overdose - "Industry Repeats" (4:55)
Review: As ways to introduce a new label go, this first outing from Hearse is pretty special. It's something of an all-star affair, with cuts from scene stalwarts and a lovely screen-printed sleeve. To kick things off, old pals Neil Landstrumm and Si Begg join forces on talkbox-sporting ja, "The Pusher (M)", where bleeping melodies and intergalactic electronics cluster around a mind-altering electro groove. The Exaltics offer up a razor-sharp slab of arpeggio-driven 4/4 electro insanity ("00045.00.2"), while Amato smothers an EBM/industrial funk style beat in foreboding electronic riffs and suitably wonky modular motifs. It's left to DJ Overdose to close proceedings, something he does in style via the distorted drums and mangled electronics of industrial electro workout "Industry Repeats".
Electro Music Union - "Electroshock Mountain" (5:55)
Sinoesin - "Static Bodies" (4:57)
Sinoesin - "Angels Of Altitude" (part 2) (7:55)
Electro Music Union - "Immortal Cities" (4:30)
Review: For a brief period in 1993 and 1994, British imprint Metatone released some seriously good electronic music. The label was the work of former Jack Trax man Damon D'Cruz and J.M.Atkins, who wrote and produced almost all of the releases under aliases including Electro Music Union, Sinoesin and Xonox. This fine compilation from Cold Blow and AVA. Records showcases the best of this work, drifting between deep and intergalactic workouts (see the spacey ambient influences and pitched-down grooves of "Angels of Altitude (Part 1)"), blissful ambient techno ("Structures 1"), rush-inducing dancefloor positivity (the overwhelmingly good "Structures 3"), spacey ambient ("Descent") and heavyweight, post-bleep brilliance ("Electroshock Mountain").
Review: Kalita's obligatory Record Store Day offering is something rather special: synth-funk visionary couple Emerson and Leora Sandidge's mythical unreleased album finally sees the light of day, following Emerson's sole private press seven-inch single release way back in 1988. Those two tunes ("Sending All My Love Out" and "Why Are You So Cold?") make the cut on this belated debut set, alongside six other previously unreleased recordings from the same sessions. Their take on electrofunk, boogie and '80s soul is colourful, soulful and synth-heavy, with the included tracks veering from up-tempo club workouts (see "Raw Deal Cocaine Kills") and fizzing dancefloor pop workouts, to sugary ballads and seductive slow jams. In other words, it's a more than tidy selection of rare and unheard gems.
Review: Analogue hardware enthusiasts London Modular Alliance return to Kirk Degiorgio's storied Applied Rhythmic Technology label following a string of fine outings on Private Persons and Dimensions Recordings. Interesting, LMA believe that the EP boasts their strongest collection of cuts to date and we tend to agree. Opener "Peach Heat" sets the tone via rubbery but rock solid electro beats, wild electronics and echoing deep space sounds, before they pitch down the tempo on the sparse, spaced-out heaviness of "Harnessed Black Holes". Further body-rocking dancefloor explorations are provided on the flip, first by the Dexter style heavy electro throb of "Lavendah" and then via the booming bass, foreboding tribal drums and razor-sharp TB-303 pulses of "Precious Materials".
Review: Hailing from the fertile community they have built up around them in Bucharest, Delusion Men and their label Future Nuggets represent a very different twist on the contemporary Romanian electronic music scene. This album is a prime case in point, dealing in off-kilter wavey synths, intriguing rhythmic approaches and spooked out atmospheres that speak as much to the folkloric mystery of the East as any electronic traditions from other parts of the world. If you're drawn to music that sends you to exotic new places on the fringes of your imagination, then Stuck On The Border is the album for you.
Review: Back in March, Icelandic techno stalwart Felix Leifur inaugurated Lagaffe Tales' BROT series with a quartet of decidedly punishing cuts that joined the dots between icy electro and bustling, rave-era breakbeat. He's at it again here, opening with bass-heavy hedonism of "Brot 5" - a sweaty fusion of energy-packed breakbeats, dubbed-out chords and weighty sub bass - before brilliantly fusing dub techno and club electro on the deep and spaced-out "Brot 6". Over on the flip, "Brot 7" is a crunchy electro box jam and "Brot 8" is a rolling mixture of locked-in beats, rubbery bass tones, trippy aural textures and mind-mangling electronics.
Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Circling Vultures - "Frothing Over The Fruit Of Original Sin" (7:30)
Israfil - "Psy ~ K" (5:56)
Locked In Blue - "Say God" (4:17)
Years Of Denial - "You Should Worry" (5:38)
Joshua Cordova & Sam De La Rosa - "El Gusano Pendejito" (4:34)
Raum-Zeit - "Toni Fahrt Motorrad" (3:46)
Champagne Mirrors - "Evelyn's Doll" (4:02)
Review: The latest in the synth-heavy sludgedown from Public System Recordings, invites a new cast of characters into the dungeon dance. The common theme throughout this sampler of titans of industrial the world over, seems to be wide, slowed down melancholy. Some tracks take a floor-friendly jump, while others demand the attentive consumption of a more serene setting. These two discs are packed with dynamic, chugging, and forward thinking jams that make you mesh all things PSR is passionate for.
Review: Distorted Sensory Perception is a new label emerging out of the Bristol underground to represent the deeper end of the techno and electro scene. The first release is a various artists affair that kicks off with the bold and expressive sound of rising talent Gilbert, last spotted on two excellent Innate releases. Mindless Evolving Objects takes a similar approach laden with harmonious pads and twinkling arps, while Datawave takes things in a darker direction without losing that melodic nous. Label founder Zobol has an emotive bent in his track "Scatterbrain," and Nikolay Sunak completes the set with the illustrious "Dance & Cry Baby."
Review: Latvian label Blind Allies have been on a roll since first committing to their various artists series to wax two years ago. On their latest release, the A side is given over to UK producer Dexterous Numerics, who offers up two tracks of dark and emotive electro heavy on leads and atmospherics. On the flip, Lectromagnetique takes a freakier turn into sparse, dungeon-ready acid electro that should appeal to fans of Bunker Records et al. Davide Piras has a lighter touch on "Arcade" that draws from the Drexciya school of thought, and DVS NME's "Song For The Doomed" rolls out an expressive strain of braindance as considered as it is punchy.
Review: Back in 2012, C.P. Smith's Central Processing Unit label launched via a fine EP from Texas-based producer Philip Washington AKA Cygnus. Having continued their relationship via an album and further EPs, it would be fair to say that the American is one of the Sheffield label's most significant acts. "Deep Analysis" is Washington's first release on CPU for four years and delivers a sextet of high-grade electro cuts. There's much to admire throughout, from the bustling computer beats and deep space chords of "Decent Of Man" and the angry vocoder vocals of bona-fide club-rocker "Sheffield Bleep", to the Drexciya style intensity of the title track and bubbly brilliance of EP opener "Her Majesty (The Universe)".
Review: Under the SolarX alias, Roman Belavkin was one of the leading lights of the Russian IDM scene in the mid-to-late '90s, though very few copies of his cassette and CD releases ever made it in to record stores outside the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, this is the first ever reissue of Belavkin's 1997 sophomore set, "X-Rated", an album that remains a firm favourite in the Russian electronic underground. There's much to admire throughout, with Belavkin effortlessly joining the dots between the skittish, angular rhythms of Autechre, Rephlex-esque "Braindance", Aphex Twin style ambient, early Squarepusher-esque "drill and bass" business and hypnotic ambient techno.
Review: Some nine months on from the last album release under the Exaltics alias - the acid-fuelled electro of "Das Heise Experiment 2" - Robert Witschakowski is back with another full-length effort. While there are some sonic similarities to its predecessor, Witschakowski has really ratcheted up the intergalactic influences, with the vast majority of the material on show sitting somewhere between the undersea heaviness of Drexciya and the futurist, sci-fi-fired deep space vibes that have long been associated with electro. There are a few downtempo moments, but for the most part the storied producer keeps his sights set on the dancefloor. Highlights are plentiful and include the crystalline creepiness of "One", the throbbing intensity of "Skyway Chase" and the moody, ERP style deep electro of "Missing Places".
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.
Review: Simon Keat has been slipping out devastatingly funky electro cuts as Reedale Rise for a few years now. He's put out records on such esteemed labels as Frustrated Funk and Subwax, and now he's landing on the mighty 20:20 Vision, who have been showing a renewed interest in electro with recent releases from 214 and others. The EP leads in with the whipcrack beats of "Hydraulics" before settling into the lilting acid inflections of "Arkeme," while on the flip "Pressure Drop" presents the deeper side of electro and "Naria" takes things in an upbeat, almost jazzy direction.
Review: When John Selway brought his dancing hands to the keyboard to begin work on his first full EP on Serotonin Records since 'Zoids Vol 2' in 1998, he channelled cosmic soul to create the next generation of intergalactic funk. His EP 'Light Language' surfs the solar winds to the space between breaks and electro where his musical adventures are free to explore the frontiers of dance. 'Light Language' permeates with the angelic voices of our true selves. The voice is the primary and complete musical instrument. When John was not yet born his mother sang to him in utero. A musical soul so innate it resonates celestial tonalities. All captured here on this twelve inch disk delivered by the galaxian voyager and pressed for human kind by Serotonin Records.
Review: Proof of the rude health of the Australian underground abounds with this new label from Phile, who step out with a self-titled debut EP that tells you all you need to know. This is searing, brutalist techno crafted with invention and imagination - the dense crackle of the beats and scorched peals of synth on "Found In Blood" are a visceral force to behold. "Marauder" is mellow by comparison, furnishing a minimal beat with live bass, dramatic string licks and steadily building atmospherics. The analogue dirt of "Abhor" is positively evil, and that's before Karina Utomo's none-scarier vocals come into play. Brimming with personality and demanding of your attention, Phile made themselves a duo to watch in one fell swoop.
Review: Best described as 'outer rim junkyard elektro', Ghostride The Drift is an American/Canadian alliance: a collaboration between house music outsiders Shy (also known as Uon, Caveman, LSD among others), Naemi (Exael) and of course Brian Leeds aka Huerco S./Pendant. Recorded in Berlin 2018, expect leftfield techno experiments, lo-fi ambient drifters, slo-mo dubs and challenging soundscapes dwelling on the outer limits. A fantastic inaugural release brought to you by D. Tiffany & Uon's XPQ? - a subsidiary of Plush Managements Inc. & Experiences LTD. out of Montreal.