Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Well respected brothers-about-town Ark and Pit make a long-overdue return to collabo city and the result is a five-strong collection of beautiful leftfield house grooves. "Clark Kent" is the big league pick; an ESG-style post-disco bassline stutters and slurs in the mix with so much funk you feel you need to clean your decks after playing it. Another peak is the pummelling techno groove and soft jazzy chord combo of "They Ruff". Insistent yet warm, it's not far off a Carl Craig production. Need a lie down? Do so to the wonky, sludgy downtempo dreaminess of "BKorizon".
Review: REPRESS! Ann Arbor's D'Marc Cantu has really made a name for himself in the last few years releasing some soulful analogue house and techno workouts that could pass for early '90s originals on labels such as Creme Organization, Nation and M>O>S>. That Love You Feel is Cantu's latest offering and offers us more of his rusty, emotive and sublime takes on purist U.S. sounds. The title track sounds rather reminiscent of 808 State's classic "Pacific State" while the dark tunnelling techno vibe of "Lilk" and the peak time energy of the early Plus 8 Records sounding "1tweleve3one " provides a diverse range of moods and grooves. Final track "Fright Night" though, featuring Rodger Devine, is a warped and dirty epic and probably the real highlight on here.. but there's so much to choose from. Tip!
Review: This year has seen the music making enigma otherwise known as Terrence Dixon return to the production game with admirable gusto; in addition to his stunning From The Far Future 2 album on Tresor we've seen original and reissued EPs on Knotweed Records, Delsin, Rush Hour, Harbour City Sorrow and Chronicle. Here we see three heavyweights tackle Dixon's 1995 cut "Minimalism" for Thema; Mike Huckaby's version ploughs a bleak, linear terrain reminiscent of Jeff Mills, while Silent Servant is back at his wall rattling best on his version. By contrast DVS1's effort is soaked in colour, making full use of the synths used on the towering original version that nestles happily alongside it on the B-Side.
Review: Veteran maverick Elbee Bad pops up in ever-unpredictable places, but somehow he sounds just right on Thema. His fearless, deeply rooted take on house music defies imitation, and so it goes across this full-fat EP. "Request Monster" is a lazy groove embellished with strings protesting the culture of requests in the club, while "A Lot Of Jazz As A Child" doffs its cap to Sun Ra in a subtle way that manages to be both mechanical and free-flowing. "If EYE Was From The D" is a more overtly electronic production that sits somewhere in between acid, techno and deep house. "Crossing Dimensions" is an uplifting workout with a sweet vocal turn from an unknown source, and then "Jami Jam Dubb'd" finishes the record off with a primal set of ingredients working round a stout kick.
Laurine Frost - "Your House" (feat Amiri Baraka) (3:59)
DJ Slip - "X7" (4:20)
Review: Laurine Frost steps outside of his own Not So Secret Party and teams up with the legendary Troy Geary aka DJ Slip - member of the infamous Missile outfit alongside DJ Hyperactive - with a split release for the lovely Them imprint. Frost himself comes through with "Your House", a moody 808-driven house number featuring Amiri Baraka on the vocals, while Slip's "X7" is a pseudo-electro monster complete with growling low-ends and steely-eyed percussion highs...there's a dab of acid in there for you, too...
Review: Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, the Missile imprint was responsible for releasing a slew of blistering techno cuts from production heavy weights DJ Hyperactive, Inigo Kennedy, Frankie Bones and DJ Slip. In 1998 the label released Heiko Laux's Re-Televised EP, which 15 years later (can you believe it) has earned itself a repressing on New York imprint Thema. It has commissioned two 2013 remixes in Donor and Truss, the labels New York connection and Stroboscopic Artefacts boss man Lucy. Haux's original may lack the weight of their modern day reworks, but its stone-crunch kicks certainly don't lack punch. Donor & Truss share the B-Side with Haux's exemplar, creating a quintessential '90s infinity loop, intermittently injecting a rough samples from "Re-Televised". Lucy's remix remains loopy also, only adding dour and industrial atmospherics, unsettling children's voices and Strobo's trademark low end.
Computer Madness (Function vs Jerome Sydenham remix)
Computer Madness (Function remix)
Computer Madness (original 1989 version)
Review: Still recognised as one of the evergreen classics from Chicago and inarguably influential, "Computer Madness" gets another round of treatment at the hands of modern technicians for the Thema stable. First up Function and Jerome Sydenham meld their styles into a simmering techno melting pot that holds back on the jagged angles and instead opts for a linear workout, with just that quintessential bleep synth line lurking in the murk. Function goes it alone on the flip with a more Detroit flavoured workout defined by yearning strings and scattershot drum machine splays, and in case you don't have a copy the original gets tacked on the B2 for good measure.
Martin Bellomo - "Howl" (Konstantin Sibold Miracle mix)
Review: Heralding a celebration of the achievements of New York label Thema, the second installment of the Strength In Numbers series turns to yet more of the labels finest operators for distinctive and adventurous approaches to house and techno. Earl Stine has a warm and fuzzy style of deep house to impart on "Get The Curb", while Kosme takes things into a more abstract headspace with the serene "Red Beard". Ark's irrepressible French flair comes bouncing through on the wonderfully psychedelic "Themark", while Konstantin Sibold delivers a tougher techno-infected remix of Martin Bellomo's "Howl".