Review: It's time to tune into those weird and wonderful frequencies from Alien FM once again. This time the intergalactic space traveller serves up his Monochromatic Images, a five track transmission from outer space that leaves you breathless. The titular track is a busy and bumping electro cut with organic pianos draped over squelchy and synthetic bass. "Recordman" is a much crunchier and more dystopian affair complete with freaky vocals, then "Out There" is a stripped back, sublime electro rhythm that is perfectly mysterious. Two further mixes close out a super tight EP.
Review: Having established himself many moons ago on Alphabet Set, Cignol has gone on to become a firm fixture in the contemporary electro scene with drops on labels like Lunar Disko, Furthur Electronix, Seagrave and many more. Now he appears on 20:20 Vision with an EP that slots perfectly into the electro direction the label has been exploring in the past couple of years. 'Past Futures' pivots around a nagging acid line, a pitched-down vocal hook and an easy tempo, while 'Virtual Array' swerves for the plushest Drexciya-indebted territory. 'Gantm' brings forth more 303 action, matched with all kinds of other playful synth strokes and a tumbling beat. 'Lessened By Lessons' completes the set on a plaintive note, but with a similar palette of expressive synth lines and a keen sense of harmony powering the track.
Review: Three years on from their admirable (but arguably overlooked) debut on Steeplejack Records, Melbourne trio Cutting Room pops up on Brokntoys with an EP of fuzz-soaked industrial electro mutations. Dark, twisted and mind-altering, the set sees them confidently fuse metallic post-punk noises, redlined riffs and clandestine aural textures with clanking, body-popping machine rhythms and buzzing, out-there electronic sounds. It's a blueprint for atmospheric sonic success, as is proved by EP standouts "Night Chemist", "Hum" and "Soul Patch Assailant". The "Esplendor Geometrico" remix of "Always Rock", a sludgy and even more out-there industrial affair, is also well worth a listen.
Review: Motor City artist Detroit's Finest doesn't do things by half - his electro is turbo-charged, with big booty bass and rave sirens underlining hard raps and streetwise swagger. He now finds himself on Casa Voyager outta France, laying out a double 12" vision that is varied and vital. After the urban opener 'Hands Behind Your Back' that is all about snapping snare loops and impromptu block parties, 'Undefeated' veers towards jungle madness. There are also sci-fi excursions, sample heavy and jazz tinged rollers like 'Blaxploitation' and pure ghetto bangers in 'Dis N Dat'. This one might be the mysterious producer's best yet.
Review: By now, Dopplereffekt has released so much music that we feel almost guilty in having to introduce it to you. But, perhaps it's a good thing to highlight just what this project is about, and what it has achieved throughout all these years. Founded by Gerald Donald of Drexciya, and now sidekicked with the help of the lesser known Michaela To-Nhan Bertal, Dopplereffekt has been the only real electro outfit to push the genre beyond the confines of its 80s inception. While many other electro projects repeat the same tried and tested formulas on a weekly basis, these two minds have produced some of the most singular and explorative deviations of the style. This new album, Cellular Automata, comes through for Berlin's Leisure System at a time when the scene is in real need of a fresh perspective, and by that we mean the electronic sphere as a whole. These nine tracks cannot be classed as 'ambient' music, there is too much movement and energy amid its pensive waves but, at the same time, it would be difficult to class it as a dance album. There, right in at the core of it all, Dopplereffekt plant their energetic waves of electrifying bass into vast and desolate soundscapes that transport you into a strange and complex world. A planet we'd very much like to visit more often.
Review: The somewhat mysterious Dopplereffekt project founded by Drexciya's Gerald Donald ends their six year production hiatus with this Tetrahymena EP for Berlin label Leisure System. Established by Donald in the mid '90s, Dopplereffekt remain one of techno's most enigmatic propositions with their brand of cold, stark electro complemented by a bold, Cold War-indebted aesthetic and a general disregard for performing live or giving interviews. Though Donald has remained active production wise, developing the NRSB-11 project with DJ Stingray which recently saw the release of the politically loaded Commodified album, the Tetrahymena EP is a welcome return for Dopplereffekt and undoubtedly the most high profile release yet from Leisure System.
Review: Detroit electro legends Dopplereffekt return to Leisure System for their fourth release on the Berlin based imprint. Athanatos is named after the angel of the planet Mercury in ancient Greek mythology, but that isn't so much the theme. Here the duo again explore subjects related to genetic conditions and chromosomal influences that define mortality across the EP's five tracks. After the brooding sonic landscapes of the title track , it's classic Mitchell & Nhan all the way on the majestic electronic funk of "Hayflick Limit" while devilishly enchanting slow burners like "Telomere" or "Mitosisin" lock you in with their hypnotic grasp. Raster-Noton founders Carsten Nicolai (who did the artwork) and Olaf Bender are said to have collaborated with the pair on this release.
Review: In something of a dream pairing for Leisure System, this split disc spans the old guard of electro and those well versed in pushing it into new contortions. Dopplereffekt is of course one of the most lauded of all post-Drexciya projects, and new material comes few and far between. "Delta Wave" is a lavish, sweeping wonder of celestial voices and sci-fi mystery that satisfies all your desires without sounding like a re-hash of old material. On the flipside Objekt has risen to the occasion and delivered one of his most outright electro-infused belters to date, keeping the beat rigid but funky, and working similar amounts of drawn out pads into the mix while keeping the crafty edits and playful sounds as limber as ever.
Review: Sometime Andrew Weatherall collaborator, long time guitar enthusiast and always innovative studio talent Timothy J FairPlay can do just about anything. After standout dark disco and techno offerings in the past, here he is electro mode, and is as essential as ever. 'Cerro El Condor' is an electric opera that surges on waves of acid while disquieting vocal sounds shimmer next to glassy chords. 'Sad Magic' is high grade sonic sorcery and 'Skylark II' cuts utterly loose, with crashing hits and withering chords, frenzied arps and more all adding up to an intergalactic battle royale. 'Superstition Springs' has a dark, more gritty palette but is no less cosmic or compelling.
Richard Bone - "Alternate Music For The Hindenberg Lounge"
Review: Over the last few years, Interstellar Funk (real name Olf van Elden) has become one of the Netherlands most enthusiastic collectors of what he calls "wave music" - that hard-to-define, synthesiser-heavy style that first emerged at the turn-of-the-80s and has been evolving ever since. Artificial Dancers, his first compilation, continues this trend by gathering together personal favourites and rarities spanning 40 years of wave music. It's a brilliant collection, with highlights including the moody dancefloor brilliance of Clan Of Xymox's 'Stranger (Demo)', the Human League's exceedingly rare 1979 tribute to JG Ballard ('4JG'), a killer live recording of 'Dias Cortas' by EBM kings Liaisons Dangereuse and the Norwegian eccentricity of Det Gylne Triangel's wayward post-punk synth-pop classic 'Maskindans'.
Jensen Interceptor X Assembler Code - "Red Cell" (5:51)
CKFT (Keith Tucker X Carl Finlow) - "Coder" (4:55)
Voigtmann - "Subtopia" (6:07)
Cignol - "51D" (5:13)
Review: 20/20 Vision's electro mission continues unabated with this second compilation drop in the Exit Planet Earth series. The record opens up with Jensen Interceptor working alongside Assemble Code for a darkside workout heavy on the details and rude around the low end. Carl Finlow and Keith Tucker form a mini-supergroup for a new partnership CKFT, displaying their formidable chops with the body-rocking dystopia of 'Coder'. Voigtmann keeps things closer to the 4/4 spectrum on 'Subtopia', but with plenty of machine funk tropes woven into the mix. Cignol completes the set with a widescreen sound that's steeped in emotion and sci-fi noir from a dazzling array of finely tuned synths (including some essential 303, of course).
Review: 2020 has been a successful year so far for improvised electro specialists London Modular Alliance, who followed a killer EP on Brokntoys with similarly inspired outings on Infiltrate and Electrix. Predictably, there's much to admire on this surprise single on Censor. Check first the foreboding, hard-wired electro throb of "Glass Cannon" - an undeniably alien-sounding affair that comes accompanied by a chunkier, club-ready Alex Jann rework - before admiring the swinging, sub-heavy deepness of "Mom's Knife". Elsewhere, "Super Hang On" is a growling, up-tempo affair full of high-octane rhythms and aggressive stabs, while "Low Slung" is spacey and bass-heavy, with just the right amount of loose-limbed, UKG-inspired swing.
Review: The 10th release on EYA comes from French producer Master Flashhh, who delivers punchy, cool-headed house music with a strong early 90s slant. 'Too Big To Fail' keeps things stripped back and weighty, with a bassline so thick you could sink your teeth into it. 'Beat Boxxx' has a more psychedelic, slow-techno slant to it, not least thanks to the ranging 303 gurgles sliding around the track. 'Boulevard Mystere' adds a little cinematic spookiness to the mix for an ear-snagging warm up track, and 'Enigma' completes the set with the kind of eerie mood and crisp box jam sounds that make artists like RVDS so compelling. Highly recommended for those who like their machine music with personality and punch in equal measure.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: Move quick on this one as its a super limited red vinyl of rugged and ragged electro sounds from French label Radio Mars. It finds Red Arremer exploring new ground on some distant interplanetary body on 'La Forge D'isengard'. Busted kicks scuff along the ground while circling synths ride up and down the scale, while 'Masters Of Steel' recalls 90s video game soundtracks with its pixelated melodic rain. The variation continue on 'The Dark Mines Slave', a naught bit of bass driven electro with oversized sounds jumping from the speaker before a closing bonus takes off on a serrated bassline and crisp, crashing hits.
Review: Ste Roberts builds on the stellar run of form on his own Ste label with a new drop on Burnski's Infiltrate electro outpost. In keeping with the gritty, inventive sound he's been exploring lately, these machine funk cuts ooze vibe and flair to match their absolute workability in the dance. From the sparse cityscape's of "Optical Illusion" to the tightly wound thrust of "Tom Was In The Diner", this is high-grade electro done the right way. There's a lot of the style around at the moment, but Roberts' tracks are a cut above.
Anthony Rother - "Stellarator" (Plasma mix) (3:43)
Sync 24 - "Hyperway" (4:20)
Sync 24 - "Hyper Loop 1" (2:14)
Sync 24 - "Hyper Loop 2" (2:08)
Review: Electro might be having a big moment in the spotlight but for Anthony Rother, it has been his way of life for decades. Here he serves up a crisp and kicking single 'Stellarator' that's built on booming analogue drums and has molten, Millsian melodies rippling through its core to mind altering effect. A Plasma mix makes even more of those magically modulated synths. On the flip, Sync 24 gets more aggressive with his frazzled 'Hyperway', which rough rides on slapping hits and alien synth life forms. Also included are a pair of tense, teeth clenching intergalactic electro loops.
Review: It's clear from the 13th offering from Basic Moves that Signal Kommt has long been a student of UK tech house, breakbeats, electro and acid. His timeless sound is well infused with the classic styles but also has plenty of his own identity. This super sweet, staunchly underground sound kicks off with the bumping "Reverse" and its knotted bassline. The slick future feels continue on "Invasion" with its prying bass and darker atmosphere and then standout "Emphasis" hits hard, with trippy effects and plenty of intergalactic drama. Slower styles and more pensive grooves take over on the second slab.