Review: Brothers Fabio and Marco D'Arcangelo can trace their roots back to Rome's industrial techno revolution of the early 1990s, but are arguably best known for their frequent outings on Rephlex. This EP originally came out on Richard D James and Grant Wilson-Claridge's imprint way back in 1996, when they were still beginning their musical journey. It remains a blisteringly good six-tracker, with highlights including the raw, Aphex Twin-influenced "Somewhere in Time", the guttural, fuzz-drenched post-electro rhythms and Kraftwerk bleeps of "Diagram VII (Milk Mix)", and the pleasingly skuzzy industrial hip-hop of "Skrakt". Arguably best of all, though, is the shimmering "80s Mix" of "Diagram 7", which recasts the track as a melodic chunk of funk-fuelled electro.
Review: The force is strong in this electrifying new EP from DAED, who last appeared on this label in 2017 on a VA release. There are shades of IDM to his complex synths and melodies, while kinetic broken beat drum programming powers the tracks along. The mood is melancholic on "Aria" which is so frantic it feels like it might eat itself, "Voidal" has fizzing, icy textures that will tie you in knots before "H2FSBF6" really pulls of some impressive synth acrobatics. "Ephemeris" is the warp speed closer that tarps you in a gorgeous digital world.
Review: Though now famed as a top-drawer live performer with a string of acclaimed albums to her name, there was a time when Marie Davidson's music was less widely appreciated. In fact, when this eponymous EP first appeared on cassette in 2013, she was pretty much unknown. As you'd expect, it's perhaps a little more lo-fi than some of her more recent work, but that's what makes the EP so appealing. Check, for example, the sleazy vocals, distant drum hits and cascading melodies of creepy opener "Ma Vie Sans Moi", the unsettling lead lines, ricocheting cymbal hits and powerful drone bassline of "L'unique" and the dystopian, high-tempo minimal wave-goes-bleep techno trip that is "Le Lieu Ou Vous Voulez Vous Rendre"; all three remain amongst Davidson's most arresting cuts to date.
Review: Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
Review: Digital Poodle are one of those outfits from the 1980's who happened to stumble onto techno by accident, focusing on making deadly, driving songs rather than fitting into a genre or style. Alongside them there are the likes of Psychik Warriors Ov Goia and a few others, but this stuff is pretty damn hard to come by, and releases like this are few and far between. The impressive Suction label out of Canada has decided to reissue their "Work Terminal" tune - a screeching, venomous bit of screamo EBM - backed by a trio of remixes. OH transform "Work Terminal" into a more direct techno bullet with subtle swarms of the original's screams, while Solvent give it a more aggressive reshape a-la electro. It's the Metro Tekno version that gets our attention, though, and those heavy percussion patterns must surely be total winners on the sound system.
Review: Helena Hauff's label is back, this time presenting a various artists 12" that heralds the start of the No Return series. The release starts on a mystical bent with the Eastern-tinged death electro of "El Carmel", sounding ripe for a Hague-friendly warm-up session. Neud Photo then take over with a dystopian trip through rich synth tones coloured in dark hues for the bleakest of robotic fantasies. Antoni Maiovvi fills the B-side with the slow grinding bombast of "The Dig", bleeding out a noirish take on coldwave for the darkest hearts to swoon to.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one 12" single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
Review: For Missing Tapes, Minimal Wave has managed to unearth a wealth of previously unheard gems from Dutch electro trailblazer Danny Bosten. Dark electro diggers may be aware of Bosten's early 1980s work, which was initially self-released on cassette, but has also been re-issued since by Minimal Wave and others. The material here was recorded in the same period and rediscovered some years back by the producer. It's similar in style, as you'd expect, with Bosten variously exploring otherworldly electro, sci-fi leaning Italo-disco, stylish, new wave synth workouts, and throbbing proto-techno. What impresses most, though, is the seeming freshness of the material; it might be 35 years old, but it still sounds formidably futuristic.
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: It would be fair to say that White Material co-founder DJ Richard's latest full-length excursion is an album of two halves (to mangle a football cliche). Stick on the first slab of wax, and you'll be confronted with a string of dark and moody treats, from creepy ambient interludes to grumpy electro, to mind-altering dark-Italo (see standout "Vanguard") and pulsating, off-kilter electronica (the restless acid pulse, off-kilter drums and paranoid chords of "Tunnel Stalker"). Whack on the second disc, though, and you'll be comforted and calmed by a series of intensely blissful, occasional melancholic compositions that are much lighter and dreamier in tone. Of these, it's the sublime "Final Mercy" and "Ex Aere" that stand out.
Review: In which Mannequin become the latest label to dip into the vast CDr archives of Legowelt's dormant Strange Life Records. Originally released back in 2007, Mons Testaceum was the debut album from MinimalRome co-founder Heinrich Dressel and the onset of a trilogy dedicated to Monte Testaccio, an artificial mound in Rome composed almost entirely of 'testae', fragments of broken amphorae dating from the time of the Roman Empire. Notable for the prominent usage of Elka Synthex, a legendary Roman synthesizer, Mons Testaceum remains a wonderful curio of the Dressel discography and fans of the Italian's work will delight at the chance to own it on vinyl thanks to MNQ!