Review: While George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has released rather a lot of fine material in recent times, we still think that he saves his best for Berceuse Heroique - or at least his darkest and most clandestine aural explorations. For proof, check this inspired double-pack of creepy, pitch-black workouts, which we think contains some of his most potent work to date. There's the triple-time, paranoid deep techno throb of "Void", the faintly threatening dystopian dancefloor shuffle of "Machine", and the clanking, industrial-fired hypnotism of "R24" and "Mechanic". While it tends towards the paranoid and unsettling, Thompson has included one sun-bright shard of light: the blissful, beat-free, intertwined synthesizer lines of closing cut "Mod".
Review: Hearty congratulations to the admirable Berceuse Heroique label, which here celebrates notching up 50 releases with a fine double-vinyl EP from label stalwart Don't DJ (AKA producer Florian Meyer). The first 12" boasts two versions of "Veles": the producer's original version - a slowly unfurling polyrhythmic techno delight rich in shuffling, South American influenced rhythms, poignant chords, fluttering pan pipe lines and foreboding aural textures - and a deep space techno Dub by Newworldaquarium. Over on record two, the broken techno rhythms, chiming melodies and fizzing electronics of "Reapercussion" [sic] are followed by the drowsy and humid ambient throb of foreboding closer "Two Of Pentacles".
Review: Florian Meyer is one of the most experimental artists working in dance music and Gammellan shows why he enjoys that status. The follow-up to 2015's Hexentrix on Berceuse Heroique, it sees him take influence from the Indonesian music referenced in the title to construct a dense, percussive rhythm track replete with chiming, melodic riffs that glisten like dew on a lawn at sunrise. The label has also commissioned a great remix; Acido and SUEd pair Dresvn draw on inspiration from the shimmering melodies of early to mid-90s Warp's back catalogue to create a version that teems with intricate melodies and dramatic strings.
Review: Berceuse Heroique never ceases to disappoint when it comes to a bit of comic relief. That sounds strange for a label which specialises in uncompromising outsider sounds, of all shapes and sizes, and predictably dark shades of music, but there is a surprise at every turn. Now, the Athens-based imprint makes a turn to Duckett, a relatively unsung figure of the early minimal and tech-house scene from the UK. Emperor's New Clothes Part 1 is a varied dance single with six effective cuts riding shotgun; the bounce begins with the trippy bleeps of "Rights", followed by the more broken, off-kilter noise approach of "The Way You Make Me Feel" and the sleepy minimalism of "Tension". The B-Side is similarly hedonistic, with all sorts of chanting making way for yet more tooled-up beats and wayward samples.
Review: Before his much talked about appearance as FRET live at Berlin Atonal last year, not many would associate former Napalm Death main man Mick Harris with the sound of techno. But he was surprisingly active in the Birmingham techno scene, alongside contemporaries such as Surgeon, Regis and Terry Donovan at the legendary House Of God back in the mid '90s. The tracks on Report/Fixed and Process 1 & 2 were originally released in '96 on ZET, but re-released here on Berceuse Heroique and capture the zeitgeist of the club in its heyday - these are just some of the tracks he released under the Monrella moniker up until 2002. They still sound impressive today, with their furious and hypnotic style of stomp that took its cues just as much from classic Purpose Maker and M-Plant as it did from O'Connor's revered Downwards imprint at the time.