Review: FXHE bloodline member Big Strick continues to excel on his own 7 Days Ent. label, dropping his first 12" of 2012 which has a nice community feel to proceedings. Alpha & Omega introduces us to Generation Next, a rising 16 year old talent from the streets of Detroit who contributes alongside Mr Strickland to all three tracks here. Stylistically, the three tracks here seem equally indebted to Juan Atkins pure techno endeavours as Infiniti and the sub aqueous grooves of Drexciya, not least the restrained title track which shimmers from the murky depths into a finely crafted liquid groove imbued with bubbling elatory Utopian textures. On the flip "Origin" ripples with pressure, its rhythmic elements grappling for your attention as the space between them decreases with Strick and Gen Next expertly layering texture upon texture. A masterful 12" shaped exercise in modern day Detroit sounds is completed with the devious electrofied snap of "Bloodline".
Review: Leonard "Big Strick" Strickland is perhaps best known for his family ties with Omar-S (they're cousins), though his productions are well worthy of praise in their own right. Here, he offers up a sampler 12" featuring cuts from his recent (and excellent) Reservoir Dogs LP. Perhaps the most noteworthy cut is "Family Affair", a lovingly constructed chunk of hypnotic, melodic deepness written with Omar-S. That said, Strick's solo effort "Armed & Dangerous" - a winding chunk of voodoo techno - is arguably better. The mazy techno-funk of Reckless Ron Cook's "Night Moves" is also outstanding.
Review: Aubrey's Don Gardon alias was a one-shot decoy deployed in 1997 with the now highly sought-after "Textures" 12" on Aubrey's own Textures label. While the provenance of these new tracks is a little foggy at this stage, what you can be sure of is the grade of techno we're dealing with here. Aubrey's illustrious career speaks for itself, and so do these tracks in the first Textures release since 2001. "The Phase" is an effervescent, funk laced race to the stars, while "Vari Tube" takes a more intimate route through dusty house that wouldn't sound out of place in the Workshop stratosphere. "Slam Dunk" is a cheeky, jazzy affair while "Dons Slide" gets a little more freaky and far out in the finest tradition of B2 tracks.
Review: Laurent Garnier began the LBS (Live Booth Sessions or Loud Bass & Samples) concept in 2010, as a means of experimenting with live techniques. The crew incorporates Garnier himself, as well as Benjamin Rippert on keyboards and Scan X on machines. The Timeless EP begins with "Jacques In The Box" delivering a full-impact slice of techno sprinkled with surging synthesisers and climbing polyphonic key strokes. The percussion seems to melt into one element as the kick drum drives this fast, hard and slightly euphoric techno jam. Loud Disco's mix of "Our Futur" will surely capture the ears of any large crowd caught in the reverie of a darkened nightclub, with a notable chord progression and sharp, saturated snare drum.
Review: Geena is Frenchman Nicolas Molina, who appears for Parisian purveyors of obscure and exotic oddball grooves Antinote for his fifth album. The album will appeal to fans of retro flavoured balearic house made popular at the moment by the likes of Black Spuma, Tuff City Kids or stuff on Paramida's Love On The Rocks imprint. The '80s pan-pipe preset on the groovy "KG Voice" is a great example, or the funk, Amazonian acid house vibes of "Blue Transfer" more particularly; think 808 State. "Keep" goes for some thumping early' 90s UK techno vibes but lush ambient passages like "Natural High" and "La Isla" balance out the EP nicely.
Review: Apparently, Rene Pawlowitz doesn't already have enough production aliases. Having already released killer material as Shed, Head High, Craft, WK7, The Traveller and War Easy Made (to name a few), he's now adopted another moniker: Zigg Gonzalezz. "High Jackin" sees him expertly doffing a cap to Nuyorican Soul-era Masters At Work and similarly loose-limbed US house from the turn of the millennium, layering sparkling deep house chords and sweaty vocal samples over a bustling, Africanism-style rhythm. "The Kind" explores similarly territory, though it feels a little deeper despite the presence of denser, tribal-influenced rhythms. As for "The Kind (Storm Dub"), it feels like a long lost DJ Duke jam from the tail end of the '90s.
Review: Over the course of his career, Max Graef has proved to be rather adaptable, variously turning his hand to dusty deep house, revivalist jazz-funk, drowsy hip-hop beats and nu-jazz. On this EP he touches on many of those styles, but it's the angular, techno-influenced analogue electronics, Motor City chords and shuffling beats of opener "Thrillhouse & Bonus Beat" that really sets the pulse racing. Graef's obsession with raw, lo-fi sounds is further explored on "2 Cool 4 U", which sounds like a cross between tropical house, early UK bleep and wayward techno, while closer "Bunds" sees him wrap deep space electronics around a sparse, pitched-up, high-register drum machine beat. As for the rest of the EP, it's deep, dusty, jazzy and really rather good.
Review: There's much to enjoy about the output of the Kimochi label, not least the bespoke, spray-painted sleeves and their habit of releasing only the deepest, most hypnotic electronic music. Their latest must-have release is another super-limited affair that drifts lazily between ultra-deep cuts shot through with dub-wise rhythms, atmospheric shoegaze motifs, echoing ambient chords and beats straight out of the early '90s ambient techno playbook. It's utterly gorgeous and deliciously hazy, with slow-burn melodies and undulating electronics slowly rising above reverb-laden chords, warm basslines and occasionally skittish rhythms. There's something particularly special about the locked-in drums and hypnotic bassline of "Elljus", but the ambient soundscapes "Heden" and "Inland" are also superb.
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix) (8:25)
Deniro - "Epirus" (6:34)
Psyche - "Crackdown" (5:59)
Hiver - "Paert" (7:04)
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn" (4:46)
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica, throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism, main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro, classic breakbeat hardcore, post-dubstep, dark tribal drum jams and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
Review: Jan Jelinek has made many fine albums over the years, under both his given name and a handful of occasional aliases. One such pseudonym was Gramm, a handle he plucked out of thin air for the release of the now celebrated 1999 full-length "Personal Rock". Here that set is given a deserved 20th anniversary vinyl reissue, allowing a whole new generation to investigate the dusty nooks and crannies of one of the producer's most techno-centric releases. It is every bit as sample-heavy, glitchy and crackling as his other work, whereas other outings explored skewed hip-hop beats and downtempo grooves, "Personal Rock" was more informed by the steady pulse of dub techno, the deep space fluidity of ambient techno and the locked-in hypnotism of original era minimal techno. The results are out of this world.
Review: Jeremy Greenspan and Taraval have been floating around in the Caribou / Four Tet domains over the last few years, with the former having released a sequence of EPs on Jialong and the latter making an appearance on the mighty Text imprint. This new collaboration on Geej, however, is an ambitious mission that neither artist has been in before; each tune on Greenspan & Taraval has been recorded live and direct, with no overdubs or lengthy editing. These analogue synth-drum experiments have simply been cut down to fit onto vinyl format, but this is about as improvisational as you can get with club music, and the results spread out across minimalistic strains of techno, beat-heavy swarms of electronica, and even a little bass science for good measure. A highly recommended affair...
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