Review: More abrasive and pitch black electronics from France's Nocturnal Frequencies camp. Their new various artists EP sees them debut on vinyl after a series of great digital and cassette releases - and in rather frightful fashion indeed! From the aufnahme + wiedergabe affilated Codex Empire who presents the brooding "Ourang Medan", the guttural analog intensity of American veteran Paul Birken's "Slipper Dimple" comprising the A side- the latter one's a respectful tribute to the old school techno sound. On the flip, a more direct and dancefloor oriented techno represents here- yet be assured that it's as bleak and metal-edged as expected on "NF1" by Spanish duo NX1. One half of Talker Jonathan Krohn aka Stave completes the carnival of lost souls here - reaching right for the jugular on his fierce IDM epic "Shove" reminiscent of the British Murder Boys' sound.
Review: Czech label Detach launched back in 2015 with some low key firepower from Moll+, and now they're back with a split release that showcases some fiery upcoming talent in the field of experimental electronica. The sound DYL is exploring on "Phrases" is rabid and deconstructed, but equally bristling with analogue energy. Senking jumps in with DYL for the more rhythmically structured "Destroyed City Lights", which balances sweet and savage tones beautifully. DYL and DB1 create a stern, percussion led variation of electro on "Uniformity Of Nature" and Senking's solo piece "Launch" jettisons off into misty blue pools of synthetic expression, making this a record that surprises and satisfies at every turn.
Review: Tamed Monsters EP is an inaugural release of the new record label Pandora. New imprint will focus on ambient sounds, music for home-listening and unique artwork. The VA includes works from german producer Benedikt Frey, russian producers Shine Grooves, Unbroken Dub, and an ambient group Kurvenschreiber. Each artist offers a different sound, which lets the music evolve like a story and makes a nice combination of dreamy ambience and mesmerizing repetitive beats.
Review: The third instalment in the Allstars series from Frigio is another selection of murky sonics from a freaky underworld. The opener is a dark trip into intense and underlapping drum grooves and molten synths that crashes from one loop to the next. The rickety drums of 'Bruxism' come with a classic Moby sample that sets it on fire and Negocius Man take us into a world of surveillance and subversion with their tripped out designs and malfunctioning machine sounds. Sons Of Traders offer the most depraved of the lot with a track that is suitably terrifying as the haunting season approaches.
Review: First released in 1986, "Electric World" was the debut single from Ryo Kawasaki and Satellites, a New York-based collective helmed by a computer programmer who built his own MIDI-workstation. Here it gets a timely reissue. It's an intriguing EP, with the title track - which is available in original mix and extended version form - offering a breezy, warm and (whisper it) Balearic mix of cheery synth-pop melodies, addictive female load vocals, dreamy chords, NYC freestyle ticks (the oft-used Fairlight orchestral stab) and beats that sit somewhere between electro and freestyle. Instrumental cut "727" continues on a similar theme, peppering a squelchy bassline and bustling machine drums with spacey chords and oodles of additional percussion sounds.
Review: Raphael Fragil's Fragil Musique has never ceased to stop exploring and innovating through electronic sounds. Since 2011, the imprint has showcased an impressive array of previously unheard talents and, in the process, has given us access to names such as Jafar, Cedric Borghi and Kenny Lane. More recently, the likes of Nummer and Simo Cell have played their part in the label's development, and this latest collaborative EP has come at exactly the right moment to lock these past six years down to a varied and polished release. Nummer, who had first come to light through Going Good, lays down some slick, slow lounge house on his "Nummer's Tribute", followed by the equally wavy and Balearic-leaning "Simo Cell's Tribute". "Jafar's Tribute" is a different kind of affair; the house beats are out in full motion, charged by a glorious minimal-dub energy, which leaves "Bazarov's Tribute" to deliver the funk via some masterfully executed boogie vibes. A splendid EP - TIP!
Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage & Sam Irl - "Faeden" (5:35)
Review: Earlier in the year, Fantastic Twins' Julienne Dessagne offered up the first volume in a new series of multi-artist EPs with a decidedly psychedelic electronic bent. Four months on, she's assembled another team of musical miscreants to deliver more audio "Microdosing". Oceanic kicks things off with the Steve Reich style melodic loops and gently pulsating electronic rhythms of "Parallel Lines Of Stripes", before Versatile Records founder Gilb'R dives deep into swirling ambient waters via the multi-speed oddness of "Cosmogonie". Over on side B, Lucas Croon fuses post-dubstep rhythms, skittish drum solos, twisted acid lines and intergalactic electronics on "Threshold Stimulus", while Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage and Sam Irl join forces for the kosmiche throb of "Faeden".
Solid Space - "Destination Moon" (Red Axes edit) (5:37)
X Ray Pop - "La Machine A Rever" (Red Axes edit) (5:08)
Review: There's much to admire on this latest 12" excursion from hard-working Israeli duo Red Axes. On the A-side you'll find two brand new collaborations, the most notable of which is "NYX Tape" - a clandestine, mind-altering chunk of minimal wave drug-chug featuring the distinctive spoken word vocals of original no wave star Gina X (she of "No GDM" fame). Chloe Raunet AKA C.A.R lends her similarly stylish spoken word vocals to the EP's other original production, the acid-fired electro filthiness that is "5 Min". On the flipside you'll find two tasty re-edits of tracks from the Dark Entries catalogue: a dub-tinged, dancefloor-friendly take on Solid Moon's spacey "Destination Moon" and a rolling, club-ready tweak of X-Ray Pop's quirky electronic bubbler "La Machine a Rever".
Review: All that we know about the enigmatically named Sa Pa is they are affiliated with Weimar crew Giegling, emerging earlier this year with the Fuubutsushi album on the Forum sublabel that garnered comparisons with Prince Of Denmark. Sa Pa's penchant for subaqueous techno now lands the producer a 12" debut on Marcel Dettmann Recordings. Lead track "We Can Be Friends" is so dubbed-out and murky that it could almost run as a background percussive piece in your mix - that's not to say that we don't think it's absolutely killer, because it is! "Morocco" is completely in a world of its own, crackly feedback and sparse sonics abound, while "Fast Jam" is a heady techno stomper with a punchy low-end and sublime percussion, a track that is followed by another murky load of swamped atmospherics in the form of "Untitled 11". If we have to be completely honest, this has been our favourite MDR 12" in a long time, and it comes with a heartfelt recommendation. Killer.
Review: Gary Caruth's Sad City project has progressively attracted ever more praise, not least since his Shapes In Formation album landed last year. Straddling purest ambient and abstract rhythmical electronica with a unique approach that is all his own, Caruth is returning to Emotional Rescue with a 10" that revisits three of the tracks from Shapes In Formation and magnifies them as the longer form versions they originally were. "Music Removed" was a particularly strong track on the album, and this new extended version lets the pneumatic percussion and soulful vocal croon bleed together in the most captivating of ways. "Patterns" sounds even more elegant in its pagan ambient finery with a longer run time, and "Vexillations" flits between poised static and cascading chimes with the deft touch that has come to define the Sad City sound.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto's latest collaborative release sees him join forces with Kukangendai, a Tokyo-based experimental rock trio who've been putting odd and inspired releases in their native Japan since 2006. A-side "Zureru" offers a perfect blend of both parties' styles, with Sakamoto adding trippy production and mind-altering effects to Kukangendai's loose, post-rock sounds, free-jazz drums and wayward vocalizations. Over on side B, we're treated to two versions of "Suuji": Kukangendai's hypnotic, wayward and ear-pleasing original take, and a sublime re-interpretation by Sakamoto that re-imagines the track as a slowly pulsing journey into intergalactic ambient territory, where ghostly vocal snippets and shards of re-contextualized guitar drift across the sound space.
Review: John Talabot's Hivern Discs could be a case study in suggestive dance music. Made for serious soundystems, finely tuned to perfection, the spectacular level of detail means even when there's a hint rather than definitely defined beat, there's always a sense of rhythm that's easy to feel with feet, while the arrangements themselves are aiming straight for the mind. An expansive six tracks form this EP, which pretty much define that idea. Oma Totem's "Amb Minus", for example, uses tom-style drums to create urgency, with scarcely a kick in earshot. "Center Of Things", by Mioclono, counters that by bringing the 80s vibes via a purposeful punch, reverbed synth line and low-bleeps, threatening to put you in a trance. Closer "Bretonn", meanwhile, sees Odopt adopt a dark, desolate mood that sounds as though it was born on a factory floor.
Jochen Heym - "The Final Transmission" (Chip Tronic remix) (4:32)
Chip Tronic - "Dunkel 18" (5:21)
Review: German label Bombtrap Records have been operating sublabel Stonedwave since 2006. Restless Breed 3.0 is the next issue; a various artists compilation on the label providing you with a new bunch of material, showcasing the label on all sides. From the harsh and rusty electro experiment by Sane entitled "The Hangover" which will appeal to fans of sounds on Lux Rec or Clan Destine, to the gutsy electro bass onslaught of Chordata's "Silent Singer" which goes straight for the jugular. On the flip, we are treated to two cuts by Jochem Heyn. The mysterious newcomer treats us to the melancholic IDM of "Floating Soul" (reminiscent of early Autechre) while Chip Trnics "Dunkel 18" was best described by the label themselves as 'dark techno rhythms for wonky minds who love it more distorted.'
Review: Sometime FTP contributor Sansibar is the latest experimentalist to make his bow on Natural Sciences, a label that we reckon is amongst the most vital and interesting around right now. The Finland-based producer starts in confident fashion on "White Swan", a pleasingly spacey chunk of electro/new wave fusion full of punchy beats, glacial electronics and industrial/EBM style male spoken vocals. The producer's EBM influences come further to the fore on the bubbly and mind-altering "Mandate My Ass", while "Nolla" sounds like an apocalyptic collaboration between Kraftwerk and Nitzer Ebb (with added Yorkshire bleeps). Arguably best of all, though, is the acid-flecked drug chug that is closing cut "Wallah (SANS DJ mix)".