Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
Review: This steadfastly experimental three-tracker has its origins in a Hamburg instillation by F#X and Nika Son. That installation was created utilizing a battery of tape machines, broken synthesizers, cheap drum machines and their own manipulated vocals. The resultant tracks are dark, woozy, atmospheric, densely layered sonically, and devilishly hard to pin down. So while nine-minute A-side "Geroll" revolves around a manipulated, hip-hop style breakbeat, it's the ghostly electronics and curious effects that catch your ear. Flipside "Diptongues", seemingly created from densely layering up reversed vocal samples and creepy electronics, is even more impressive, even if it may inspire nightmares amongst the squeamish. Bizarre music concrete cut "Tenno" completes a fine package.
Review: Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti serve up another round of top shelf remixes and revisions of John Rees Lewis' mid-late 80s project C Cat Trance, following in the wake of the Screaming Ghosts compilation. First up to bat are Red Axes, who bring a seductive line in loose and limber drumming to "Shake The Mind" that should suit the Fourth World dancefloor massive just fine. Jamie Paton brings a tough, clamouring intensity to "Take Me To The Beach," while Prins Thomas takes a truly spiritual approach when weaving the intricate arpeggios and percussion of "Sudaniyya." Khidja and Borusiade team up on "Simple Helen," presenting a dense and hazy trip into exotic territory with sinister undertones.
Autarkic - "Screaming (To Be With You)" (feat The White Screen)
JD Twitch - "Dalbouka"
Sneaker - "I Looked For You"
Die Orangen - "Rattling Ghosts"
Review: After teaming up to release the scintillating works of C Cat Trance in their original 80s form on Screaming Ghosts, Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti join forces once again to deliver a ludicrously talented roster of remixers who catapult John Rees Lewis' cult group into thrilling new spatial and temporal zones. Autarkic decides to go for the full-tilt cover version on "Screaming (To Be With You)", with ample help from The White Screen, while JD Twitch roughs up "Dalbouka" into a quintessential slab of ethno-motorik body music. Sneaker's take on "I Looked For You" emphasizes the atmospheric tension in the original, giving the track a cinematic scope, and Die Orangen's "Rattling Ghosts" finishes the record on an appropriately ominous, subtly industrial tone.
Review: The wonderful Er + Er imprint has a knack for getting some of the biggest names in electronic music together and jamming the hell out! Some of the works by Ricardo Villalobos for the label have been simply sublime. This time, we got legend Carl Craig going head-to-head with the supremely talented Francesco Tristano in a sort of classical techno vibe. "Luder Pre" combines a mid-tempo percussive beat with some seriously twisted piano work, twisting and contorting into a right old spin. It's a one-sided gem, it's 300 copies limited, so you better get yourself one quick!
Review: Although he built his reputation as party-starting DJ, Mister Saturday Night co-founder Justin Carter has always been a singer-songwriter at heart.This debut solo release sees him delivering evocative, folksy vocals over plucked acoustic guitar lines and ghostly backing vocals. The song's fragile, slightly woozy nature comes to the fore on the flipside "Version" mix, which only emphasizes the weary beauty of Carter's lyrics and vocal performance. It's a bit of a sideways step for Mister Saturday Night, but then the label has never played by the rules.
Review: Certain Creatures in Oliver Chapoy who has appeared previously on Style Upon Styles and was involved in the BM/CC/WW project back in 2014 with Brendon Moeller and Clay Wilson. These five harsh and textural abrasions in greyscale techno are pretty serious; for fans of Shifted and Sigha; pay attention. On the A side it's all about the peak time fury of "Compulsion" which borrows from classic Regis in terms of brutal repetition in all its stripped, compressed and saturated glory like something of his classic Gymnastics LP. On the flip, the title track uses more restraint with its hypnotic and arpeggiated bell melody modulating out of control hysterically, executed as finely as Domenico Crisci has done of late; be warned! Closing track "HTMDML" is guttural electro beats served up as grungy and overdriven as you like and will appeal to Killekill fans.
Review: Italian, Treviso-based composer Chevel i aka Dario Tronchin i returns to duty with "Unlimited Drinks" on the secretive Fracture imprint, following his "Always Yours" album on Mumdance's Different Circles label, going further into electronic intimacy, publishing a two-tracks/movements exercise prolonging his researches on sound design poetry. The opener "Floating" progresses into A2 "Unlimited Drinks", and it could go vice-versa, both tracks responding to one another, progressing towards each other, as literally as musically. The latest's respiration i or psyche?i is followed on the b-side by a remix from Raster royalty Byetone, blessing us with Floating's doppelganger. Emo contemporary electronics at its best!
Review: It's the big, bad Joe Claussell, and the master reigns in the new year with this absolute stunner of an EP for the Sacred Rhythm label. This is Claussell at his most daring, however, and while you might be expecting some phat-ass house beats and groovy tribalism, the man goes far left of the field on here. The opening "Dungeon Maggots" is a translucent blend of crystal synths and subtle dub echoing, while "Matter Of Factness" injects a delicate house flow into the mix, propelled into motion by a dubby guitar riff. "Affect", "Nuances", and "Seciov" all act as beatless electronic tools, a trio of synth sways to add extra effect to your DJ mix. Yes, Joe!
Review: Material by London duo Astrud Steehouder and Nina Bosnic, aka Finders Keepers duo Paper Dollhouse, gets pulled into new rhythmic shapes by Joe Cocherell and Montalk on this compelling record for Resilience. Given his background as drummer in DVA Damas and propulsive techno output on Frozen Border, Cocherell is well placed to reinterpret "Space III" as eleven minutes of kraut addled techno that you could easily visualise James Holden closing out a Sonar performance with. Complementing this, Resilience's in-house mystery production unit Montalk take a more abstract approach to "Drone 1", submerging the vocals of Paper Dollhouse in all manner of spectral delay on a remix that forgoes rhythm in favour of all encompassing atmosphere.
Review: Joe Coghill presents his debut release on Transit Valley. A multi-disciplinary artist, musician and experimental publisher based in Edinburgh, he works in an improvised and often haphazard way. It incorporates disparate field recordings, modular synthesis and other sonic ambiences to create unpredictable and ephemeral multi-layer performances. Alongside this, he has been producing music recreationally in his various bedroom studios over the past 14 years. There are some intriguing perspectives on modern dance music here that Coghill provides his perspective on: from entrancing/slow-motion tribal techno workouts, textured and semi-abrasive ambient/noise and even a bit of lo-fi electro - such as on the EP's standout "Exit Lane".
Review: More split action from STROOM, a label that has delivered some killer reissues of late. Heading up this double-feature is Icelandic producer Isar Logi Arnarsson AKA Cold, who offers us another chance to savour his 1995 Berlin Love Parade anthem "Strobe Light Network" - a 15-minute deep techno epic that boasts a lengthy ambient introduction, hushed and hypnotic grooves, undulating electronic motifs, ghostly chords and glacial, rush-inducing lead lines. Over on the flip, James Bernard takes over. "Lapis Lazuli" first surfaced on his 1997 album "Symphony For A Biomechanical Breakdown" and 22 years on it has lost none of its ghostly, otherworldly charms. A chunk of ultra-deep ambient rich in creepy melodies and psychedelic acid lines, it makes a near perfect B-side to Arnarsson's peerless classic.
Review: Largely found bashing out bastardised machine jams on Dark Entries, Bill Converse makes a logical move to Tabernacle for this new double pack of devilishly decent burners for the adventurous end of the night. The nagging hisses and end-of-days bleeps on "Tinnitus" will get right under your skin, while "Permission" stomps out a broken down jack to get the waifs and strays shaking. "Borealis" takes star-gazing techno into a particularly noisy dimension, "Operation" channels the spirit of Jamal Moss-minded acid freakery and "Mutiny" depicts the unkempt groove left after the breakdown of the hardware. "Awakening" ends things on a brighter note, twisting out grubby acid lines through some beautiful but distant chords and a snaking set of blown out drums.
Review: Coup d'etat is a collaborative project from Kane Ikin and Harvey Sutherland. Working from their respective fringes of electronic music and produced in moments of respite between extensive touring and recording commitments, the project offers a glimpse into the pair's mutual influences and inspirations; part Maurizio, part Moroder. Kane Ikin, a meticulous producer of abstract forms and polyrhythms, weaves percussive static and drone amongst Sutherland's considered syntheziser work - a leftfield turn from Harvey's brighter moments. Ikin also traverses new rhythmic territory and signals a departure from earlier ambient works. The inaugural release for new imprint CDT, the 12" was mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy and features full sleeve artwork from Traianos Pakioufakis.
Review: While Netherfield Works might, on first listen, sound a bit like the cosmic side of German rock music pioneered by the likes of Can or Cluster back in the early 70s, the album is very much a product of post-industrial Britain. To be precise, Craven Faults are from Yorkshire, and this is their protest - their view of an existential future laid bare by the downfalls of industrialist culture. Debuting via the newly formed Lowfold Works, this lot sound like they know exactly what they want to say, with two 15+ minute voyages showcasing their skills as musicians, and their vision as an outfit. "Eller Ghyll" bounces off the walls with its supremely echoed riffs and meandering basslines, sounding like an ode to the powers that be; "Tenter Ground" is comparatively gentler in its approach, launching a barricade of starry harmonies up into the sky along with a driving, hypnotic percussive roll that could well slot this into the deeper of DJ sets across the board. TIP!
Review: With a passion for bleak, post-industrial landscapes, drawn-out experimental compositions and mind-altering modular electronics, Craven Faults may well be the 21st century's answer to early Cabaret Voltaire. Certainly, we could imagine Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson being impressed by "Intakes", the foreboding, paranoid and slowly shifting A-side to the self-consciously mysterious outfit's second vinyl outing. It ebbs and flows impressively over the course of 14 minutes, offering a dusk-to-dawn journey that evokes mental images of shuttered factories and boarded up housing estates. Flipside "Ings" is arguably even better, with pulsating, Tangerine Dream style arpeggio synthesizer melodies bobbing and weaving for 17 mesmerizing minutes.
Review: Crotocosm is an occasional collaboration between Jordan Czamanski (Juju & Jordash) and Willie Burns of WT Records. The tracks on Setting The Scene For An Island Battle were recorded together live in Amsterdam and Brooklyn over the last 21 years and are some of the most experimental pieces that we have heard from either producer yet. From freeform synth improvisations and dark ambient soundscapes, through to slow burning industrial noir and deeply hypnotic slo-mo techno - there certainly are some fascinating sonic perspectives to be heard here.
Review: CS + Kreme are the duo of Melbournians Conrad Standish (Standish/Carlyon) and Sam Karmel of Bum Creek and F ingers (Blackest Ever Black), serving up some sexy late night instrumentals on the Cold Shoulder 12". The A side features the spooky mood lighting of "Eyes On Ceiling" awash in sombre and celestial FM synth tones, while on the flip we have smooth saxophone-led ambient of "Husk". This fine record follows up releases by the pair on Vancouver's Total Stasis and The Hague's Wichelroede (R.I.P.)
Review: Rather unexpectedly, the third CVX release, to date, comes through on Berceuse Heroique, an imprint which seems to be following and replicating just about any genre or sub-culture form the past, making it a perfect example of post-post-modernism in action. Zibaldone III of CVX, a serious previously restricted to the Laura Lies In label, is undoubtedly a wild and wicked concoction of nebulous sonics that are all driven by a toxic, merciless percussion which spews from all angles with a certain mechanical fashion. It's an honourable third edition of the series, and we hope this marks a beginning of a new dawn for CVX. Wicked style.