Review: For his third full-length for the constantly enduring Kompakt label, Axel Willner has decided to take his enduring brand of Balearic loop techno to grandiose new heights. Sonically, the template remains the same - intoxicating layers of guitar, voice and ambient synth loops atop hypnotic dancefloor grooves - but the resultant tracks are just, well, bigger - cinematic, even. Given Willner's inherent skill at producing this kind of baggy, organic techno, the results are rarely less than impressive. As a result, Looping State of Mind makes for thoroughly enjoyable listening, simultaneously appearing ambitiously big and pleasantly intimate. He deserves enormous credit for pulling it off.
Review: Six brand new shakers from Omar S...This is the sh*t! Never confined to one particular genre, Omar is again blending house, techno and even minimal styles into one big pot of deep Detroit underground funk. There's even some Basic Channel / Deep Chord vibes going on there somewhere. Simply killer.
Review: Originally featured on their celebratory XV compilation back in 2017, Berlin clubbing institution Watergate have reissued one of the the standout tracks here by Hamburger Matthias Meyer and Berlin's Sebastian Waack aka Ryan Davis. The track "Hope" in its original form was a lush and hypnotic drifter, geared for some life-affirming moments on the dancefloor. The rework featured here by the legendary John Digweed takes the track into much more adrenalised and entrancing territory, with its trance arpeggios and tight rhythm arrangement making for great dancefloor dynamics - but the breathtaking orchestral arrangements of the original are left intact. New track "Love Letters From Sicily" could equally have had a home on All Day I Dream - its ethereal daydream qualities make it perfect for a Sunday afternoon rooftop party downtown.
Review: The 110th release from Kompakt Extra comes from Extrawelt, a long-serving electronic band from Hamburg that has previously impressed via albums and singles on Traum Schallplatten, Border Community, Darkroom Dubs and Cocoon Recordings. They naturally hit the ground running with "Pink Panzer", a bustling affair that mixes live drum breakbeats and tough machine percussion with moody, booming bass, creepy strings and evocative, ever-building tech-house electronics. Flipside "Argonaut" is an altogether sleazier and heavier affair full of thrusting, non-stop distorted bass, redlined post-electro drums and all manner of mind-mangling electronic effects. It's effectively the Yang to the A-side's Ying and, like its' predecessor, very good indeed.
Review: Although he's only on his third release to date, Christian Jay is an Idle Hands boy, through and through. This return to the imprint places him in a convenient position, now able to show the world what 'bass' means to him, and exactly how he likes to construct his hybrid cuts. The lead tune "Katalox" is a suave, minimalistic garage stepper with a two-step stance, wrapped in all sorts of airy ambient waves; "Del's Kicks" is a similar sort of groove, this time breaking out yet more percussive glory. Cold, calculated, and utterly excellent.
Review: While the name may be new, A New Line (Related) is supposedly the work of an already established musician, although Kimochi was never a label that cared about hype. The music stands just fine on its own, digging into the kind of dusty and dusky house and techno formations that the label has forged its hand-sprayed identity on. There's plenty of ambient techno twirls to be enjoyed on the likes of "Dancing On Soft Borders", while the beats melt away entirely on "After A Short Illness" and grandiose EP closer "RIYL Failures". Once again Kimochi comes up with the kind of meaningful variations on the 4/4 framework that keep our record bags full and our souls enriched.
Review: Luca Cara's Spacetravel project continues to grow in style and panache, almost surpassing his early LP for Germany's legendary Perlon imprint. The Italian producer is back on Vera & Alexandra's Melliflow label, out of Germany, landing on our shelves with his second studio LP to date, the wonderful Ziusudra. Right from the get-go, it's clear that Cara's ideas are clear, and that his vision of dance music is shaped by the outer fringes of space, often crafting tunes that sound as if they were borne out of alien spaceships. Nonetheless, the best part of these tracks are still shaped by a strong sense for the dancefloor, swaying their beats to the bounce of fat basslines, metallic analogue beats, and a strange sort of tropical futurism. Minimal gear at its best.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Hailing from Ibiza, Beeyou makes its first outing as a label with a strong selection of up and coming talent. Laidlaw is first on the scene with a crafty little minimal number that certainly sounds tailored to the up all night crew with its heady atmosphere, playful swing and micro samples. Ben Ulrich's "Bedun" is equally seductive, playing a trade in stripped down electro that shuns obvious dancefloor moves in favour of pure hypnotism. Kesh holds down the B side with two more maximal offerings that still align with the inventive, sleek aesthetics of the A side tracks. "Enebodiom" is a feel good jam without ever resorting to cheesy melodies or vocal touches - it's a jazzed out variation on positivity in house music. "We Love You Michael" completes the record with a quintessential skittering, swinging house cut that keeps the freakiness in abundance and the drums as funky as possible.
Review: The Beeyou label strikes ahead with its third release, continuing to champion warm, musical deep house from a range of emergent producers. XHZ makes a debut appearance here with the epic "Jazz 2 Jazz", which progresses through a woozy nocturnal mood to wind up in an effervescent, Rhodes-soaked finale. Jake Flory keeps things simmering on the tracky but engaging "14th Groove", before following up with the effortlessly cool chord drops of "Distress". With melodious invention at its heart and the needs of the dancefloor well catered for, the Beeyou crew have delivered another essential package for discerning spinners.
Jon Da Silva & Jozef K - "Maresme" (Da Silva mix) (5:44)
Review: Sasha has done well to re-establish himself with the next generation, and its largely because of the work he puts into his Last Night On Earth label. A haven for producers who like emotionally stripping, melodic sounds, this latest VA package delves into the previously digital-only archives. The boss himself kicks things off with a collab with La Fleur built on a wavy baseline and crisp house rhythm. Fur Coat keep things more mysterious with "Babel" while Hunter/Game keep you in suspense throughout the many melodic and harmonica layers of "Canyons". Jon Da Silva & Jozef K close things down in more purposeful fashion.
Review: Puglia, Italy based imprint Out-Er has had quite a year, with releases by the likes of Detroit minimal techno innovator Terrence Dixon aka Population One, British tech house hero Aubrey and Dutch techno legend Orlando Voorn. The label (run by Simone Gatto) now presents an impressive compilation celebrating five years in business and it is rather impressive, if we do say so ourselves and signifies some brilliant prospects on the horizon for 2017 and beyond. Highlights here weren't limited to: Dial Records and Berghain regular Efdemin with the oddball avant garde/techno crossover of "Don't Bang Your Fingers" where its hypnotic groove supports a bizarrely used dialogue from a cooking show. Then, quick: hide your AIRA because The Analogue Cops are here! They give us the slow burning and dusty hardware jam "Speculation", which is very good. Also, don't forget to check the aforementioned Voorn's collaboration with Motor City don Juan Atkins on "Reloaded" for your fix of hi-tech soul.