Review: Long-serving, jungle-loving experimentalist Christoph De Babalon is on a roll. This rock solid EP comes hot on the heels of his latest inspired album, "Exquisite Angst", which slipped out in early December 2018. The four tracks offered up here are typically bolshy and bass-heavy, with De Babalon mixing and mangling IDM and Atari Teenage Riot style "digital D&B" insanity to suit his own twisted ends. In terms of highlights, we're particularly enjoying the bass-weight, skittish breakbeats and ghostly electronics of "Harakiri" and the more loose and languid - but no less bass-heavy - flipside opener "Shakes and Shivers". That said the dark and apocalyptic "Endless Inside" is also superb.
Review: The force is strong in this electrifying new EP from DAED, who last appeared on this label in 2017 on a VA release. There are shades of IDM to his complex synths and melodies, while kinetic broken beat drum programming powers the tracks along. The mood is melancholic on "Aria" which is so frantic it feels like it might eat itself, "Voidal" has fizzing, icy textures that will tie you in knots before "H2FSBF6" really pulls of some impressive synth acrobatics. "Ephemeris" is the warp speed closer that tarps you in a gorgeous digital world.
Review: Sometimes, a single side of vinyl is all you need. That's certainly the case here, as Where To Now regular Beatrice Dillon delivers her most impressive and mind-altering club cut yet. Across a mesmerizing 13-minutes, Dillon distills the essence of Minimal techno, dub, West African rhythms, early jungle and experimental noise into one, constantly evolving dancefloor burner. While the blazed vibe of dub, and the crackle of vintage vinyl are ever-present throughout, it's the subtle shifts in rhythmic emphasis - from 4/4 to breakbeat, via intricate polyrhythms - that make "Can I Change My Mind" such an alluring prospect. Few 13-minute tracks can captivate a dancefloor throughout, but this certainly can.
Review: De:tuned's 10th anniversary series has so far served up killer, previously unreleased material from a whole host of underground heroes, scene pioneers and household names. They're at it again on this sixth volume in the ongoing series, which begins with a now rare - but typically weird and out-there - cut from early 90s ambient/techno/electro fusionists The Future Sound Of London. "Skinny XAM" is peak FSOL and sounds like it could have come from the improvised radio broadcasts that inspired the duo's "ISDN" album. Elsewhere, Monolake AKA Robert Henke does his best Autechre impression on the dark and punchy "ForC160q", while David Morley wraps undulating acid lines and creepy effects around a hypnotic ambient techno groove on "Traytor".
Review: While they might have some catching up to do in terms of competing with the likes of Leipzig greats Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup, the DUR crew are certainly here to stay. Their first three releases have all been revelational, and have finally brought some new artists to the scene, so we've welcomed number 4 in the series with open arms and, importantly, open minds. Beate Furcht and Detlef Diamant both debut with these six 'dance' experiments, a curious collection of rhythmic grooves which never quite unfold into what your typical Saturday night raver would call 'club music'. In our world, that is a good thing, and it leaves plenty of room for these two newcomers to build their names from the ground up. Tracks 1 to 3 are rich in movement, and while they certainly travel across plenty of different genres and moods, all three of them lean towards the more cavernous end of the scale. On the flip, things are just as loose and hazy, with "Track 4" retaining that dubwise outlook amid its off-kilter waves, and "Track 6" providing a scintillating flow of percussive downtempo that feels right in all sorts of ways. What a release!
Review: We are, of course, always keen to receive any new music that comes through from the Don't DJ collective - particularly on their own Diskant imprint - but we'd been waiting on this appearance for Japan's EM Records for a long while now. There's just something unashamedly right about this collaboration, from the music itself right down to the artwork and the rest of the like-minded artists that reside on this wonderful catalogue. The Don't DJ brothers have gone deeper than previous releases here, starting with the Nippon-minded dubbiness of "Hyperspace Is The Place", followed by the earthier, more vibrant melodic textures of the wavy "Forest People Plot". On the B-side, "Hyperspace Is No Place" bangs out a steady kick drum over deep, aqueous bleeps washed amid a sparse ocean of ambient delight, and "Evolve Version" provides the 'housiest' moment on this four-tracker in the form of an ethereal bombshell with a subtle balearic charm. Wonderful - you can't miss it!
Review: The Durian Brothers consist of rising polyrhythmic talent Don't DJ, outernational adventurer Harmonious Thelonious and Salon Des Amateurs resident Marc Matter. Following their excellent outings on Kontra-Musik and Diskant, the experimental trio build on a burgeoning relationship with Emotional Response by gathering together some of the best of their intense, globetrotting sounds. There's a great focus on cyclical rhythms, not least on the wonderful "Planete Sauvage", while "Mille Yeaux" takes a more spacious, groovy route through wooden percussion and pinging organic tones. Considering the scarcity of the original Diskant pressings of these tracks, this collection couldn't come quickly enough.
Review: By now Future Nuggets have surely been established as one of Romania's leading exponents of leftfield electronic oddities, and they don't disappoint on the surprising delights of this new 7" from Renato Din Sala and Ion Din Dorobanai. There's an Eastern lilt to the vocals and melodies on both tracks, but they're framed by some wonderfully quirky synth parts and budget drum machines. "Nu E Injoseala (N-am Carti De Credit)" in particular capitalises on cranky monosynth squelch and organ wails, while "I Love You Viata Mea (Lema)" takes a more energetic approach and works some Rhodes-like sounds into the mix.
Review: Hamid's HPLS label has been strangely quiet this year, so it's welcome news to see one of the most intriguing operators on the outer reaches of the minimal house scene back in action with a new talent to share with the world. DCHA-DCHA makes a bold arrival with a two-pronged release comprising of ten tracks in total. On this first part of Opus Incertum, the title track makes a bold statement of intent with its low slung groove carrying all kinds of splaying, splashing and otherwise spaced out sonic trysts. There's a more discernible strut to "Te Lubesc," while "The Age Of Solon" invites Planet X into the mix for a spaced out slice of machine boogie. With the abundance of ideas spilling out of part one, it promises a lot for part two to follow.
Review: With Hamid's HPLS label reigniting with the fresh, untethered sounds of DCHA-DCHA, we arrive at the second instalment of Opus Incertum already expecting some wild sounds. Fortunately label and artist don't disappoint, and we dive straight in with the unhinged aqua-industro-funk of "Morning Mimosa." That's swiftly followed up by "AGLS," which keeps the vibe liquid while welcoming a richer variety of marine life into the studio. "GalerianPlatz" makes the leap towards electro, with the surrealism tap still pouring wonderfully unexpected colours, tones and textures into the mix. At every turn this record, like its part one counterpart, surprises and delights with its original approaches.
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro"
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro"
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Review: Honest Jons are our undisputed favourites as far as bringing forth new and unexpected projects goes. One such project is their glorious string of releases which saw several contemporary electronic producers re-interpret the South African electro deluge of Shangaan Electro, a near 10 piece band consisting of wild dancers, freaky masks and ludicrously memorable anthems. This release features the experimental duo of Demdike Stare and the mysterious but wonderful pair that is Hype Williams. Demdike's remix is a sparse and sub-aqueous drone filtered through irregular bongos and melting swirls of voices, whilst the "version" pretty much reduces those already scarce drums to mere memories. Over on the flip, Hype Williams create a sublimely majestic rhythm, those vocals swaying so darn effortlessly over the rugged drum kit pouncing lazily beneath it. Their version injects a severely chopped slice of bass and concentrates primarily on the percussion - mounds of delays and reverbs present in true HW fashion.
Review: When it comes to crafting distinctively off-kilter "ethno-techno" built around hypnotic, polyrhythmic drums, there's nobody quite as good as Florian Meyer AKA Don't DJ. Further proof of his majesty in this regard arrives via "Eternal Return", the epic, peak-time-focused opening track from the producer's latest double-pack excursion. Those seeking percussive, floor-friendly fare should also check "Circular Time", another bongo-laden tribal techno workout that sees Meyer get locked into an attractively organic drum groove for the best part of 12 minutes. Meyer's ability to conjure up odd but brilliant home listening fare is explored elsewhere on the EP, with the noisy, abstract weirdness of "Perpetual Flow" being joined by the chiming, hedgerow-fresh ambient bliss of awe-inspiring closing cut "Perseus-Pieces".
Mersey River (Gordon Pohl Reimagination part 1 & 2) (16:07)
Review: Tel-Aviv label Malka Tuti, ran by Asaf Samuel and Katzele, is an imprint too often overlooked and underrated, even for its iconic aesthetic and single-mindedness. However, we don't mean that to say they are predictable - far from it. The label has constantly provided us with new artists and new forms of experimental dance, with this latest EP from Die Orangen providing even more food for the ears. The duo haven't put out too much music, as of yet, but their mystical shade of techno sounds full of interesting influences and ethereal nuances, much like the opening rhythm of "Yaranabe (live version)", along with the stuttering, off-kilter tribalism of Tapan's version of "Metal Man". The Gordon Pohl 'Reimagination' of "Mersey River" comes in two parts, culminating in a deep and dubby rhythmic dance with an ambient stance. Strong. Tipped.
Review: Meander boss David Koch AKA DeWalta has been a busy boy of late. Hot on the heels of his well received "Lyra" album comes "Lyra Pi", an expansive EP that's apparently meant to be a "partner piece" (or, as some in the Juno office called it, "an encore to the album"). Intriguingly, it sees him dispense with beats altogether; instead, he offers up a quintet of spacey, otherworldly ambient and experimental electronic cuts of the highest order. Highlights include the unsettling, wayward synthesizer arpeggio lines of "Fugacity", the dub techno style deep space hypnotism of "Lyra Pi", the droning darkness and buzzing, end-of-days electronics of "Pulses", and the fluid bliss of mind-altering closing cut "Photons".
Review: Previously spotted on Udacha and sharing an excellent LP with A.E.M., Dices has already demonstrated a knack for wonderfully delicate ambient compositions and off-kilter 4/4, and the goods just keep on coming via this stunning 12" for Rough House Rosie offshoot Pandora. "Part 1" is a wonderful opening gambit powered by lightly pattering percussion, while "Part 7" enlists the help of Nick Ossia to float off into the swirliest of liquid synth baths. Ossia is also on hand to help with the more abstract sonic shapes of "Part 5", while "Part 3" provides a wonderfully energised, drum-rich ending to a truly standout EP.
Review: Helena Hauff's label is back, this time presenting a various artists 12" that heralds the start of the No Return series. The release starts on a mystical bent with the Eastern-tinged death electro of "El Carmel", sounding ripe for a Hague-friendly warm-up session. Neud Photo then take over with a dystopian trip through rich synth tones coloured in dark hues for the bleakest of robotic fantasies. Antoni Maiovvi fills the B-side with the slow grinding bombast of "The Dig", bleeding out a noirish take on coldwave for the darkest hearts to swoon to.