Review: Thule's dark doppelganger AE Recordings was revived last year with the excellent Freyja EP by NonniMal, and now the saga continues with this devastatingly on-point release from Cold. Much like the vibe on Thule, the music on Thule continues to channel the mood of the icy tundra into refined, modern club tracks, but there's definitely a more sinister intent at work in these tracks from Cold. "Aerials" is a nightmarish chugger loaded with eerie sonics, while "Phased Out" lays down some fine dubby processing over a bed of chilly chord pulses. "Exiles" is a standout track thanks to its crafty groove, coming on a little more housey than its counterparts but still heavier than the average Thule jam.
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.
Review: As Icelandic techno receives recognition like never before, so NonniMal steps up to AE Recordings with a fine EP that sports many of the hallmarks of this particular corner of Scandinavian culture. There's a spacious, dubby minimalism that pervades throughout Freyja, but what really sets the record apart is the considered deployment of found sounds, heavily processed and sticking out in the mix to inject some unpredictable energy into these largely calm oceans of rhythmic hypnosis. Even without such decoration the music is exemplary, as on the haunting lilt of the title track with its subtly shifting pads tuned to the emotional maximum.
Review: AE Recordings turns its attention to Oculus, who they describe as a "titan of the Icelandic techno scene", famed for his live sets that have kept bodies moving for the past decade. He commits some of his sounds to wax here, maintaining the otherworldly emotional lilt that often comes from the scene orbiting AE and Thule Records, but with a bolder sound palette than some of the icy dubbed out artists he rubs shoulders with. "Nostalgia" deals in powerful, swooning chord progressions, while "Rydgad" pings a set of metallic percussion around a sturdy but crooked low end groove. "Morph" takes things deeper, while "Flod" offers up a classy take on the minimal techno aesthetic, with added sound design trysts for good measure.
Review: The resurgence of Icelandic techno continues with the latest release on AE Recordings, seeing Bjarnar Jonsson returning to his long standing Ohm project alongside emergent talent Kvadrant. The pair were last seen on Kvadarant's Kontakt label, and their production partnership is clearly still yielding quality, dubbed out techno in the finest Scandinavian tradition. Even if all the tracks are built with a steely techno focus to them, the synth work and sound design scattered throughout the tracks elevates this to a higher level, not least on the bubbling geisers of signal processing that course through the middle of "Grip".
Review: As Thule Records and AE Records continue to revive their foundational contributions to the Icelandic techno scene, they return our attention to this golden collaboration between key protagonists Thor and Yagya. With the space provided by an LP, Oz Artists stretch themselves out with all kinds of tempos and moods yet still bound together by that seductive frosty finish that makes the music from Iceland so captivating. At times the tracks take on an old-skool techno stance, not least on the utterly grooving "As If The Living Were Moving", whilst elsewhere you can enjoy low slung oddball sonics a la "The Phuture Is Cow", but the common theme throughout is funk. It may come in strange shapes and sizes, but back in 1998 Oz Artists stumbled upon a style that doesn't show its age one bit.