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.
Review: When Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia launched the Amphia label way back in 2011, they talked about creating "a world with no boundaries" and "an infinite ocean of musical shapes and ideas". It's the sort of wide-ranging, open-ended remit that seems tailor made for Amorf, an "experimental live techno" trio whose fluid and otherworldly tracks are deliciously hard to pigeonhole. For proof, check "Recall", the A-side to their second Amphia outing. Built on loose and languid tech-house drums and a similarly undulating bassline, the cut bobs and weaves through waves of restless piano motifs, deep space chords and out-there electronics. Further evidence of the threesome's hybrid style arrives via "Momentum", where poignant electric piano motifs and melancholic deep house chords envelop a crunchy, minimalist rhythm track.
Review: The brilliantly monikered Big Strick - familial elder to Omar S and responsible for the odd killer release on his younger cousin's FXHE imprint - belatedly sates the appetite of record collectors keen to indulge in his recent album Detroit Heat with a six track selection of the choicest cuts spread across this twelve inch. Seemingly drawing influence from a myriad of Motor City influences, Detroit Heat impressively flits between murky deep house, tracky techno and hypnotic jack-tracks. Like many of his contemporaries, Strick is a sucker for 'cement mixer' production - that distinctly Detroitian sound where every beat, groove or bassline sounds like the master tapes have been marinated in grit. That trademark sound, alongside a solid selection of floor-friendly grooves, makes Detroit Heat an excellent addition to the Motor City house canon. The rubbery spinal atmospherics of "Under Tone" and the Tony Coates vocally assisted jack of "Maybe 1 Day" are particular highlights!
Review: There's much to enjoy about the output of the Kimochi label, not least the bespoke, spray-painted sleeves and their habit of releasing only the deepest, most hypnotic electronic music. Their latest must-have release is another super-limited affair that drifts lazily between ultra-deep cuts shot through with dub-wise rhythms, atmospheric shoegaze motifs, echoing ambient chords and beats straight out of the early '90s ambient techno playbook. It's utterly gorgeous and deliciously hazy, with slow-burn melodies and undulating electronics slowly rising above reverb-laden chords, warm basslines and occasionally skittish rhythms. There's something particularly special about the locked-in drums and hypnotic bassline of "Elljus", but the ambient soundscapes "Heden" and "Inland" are also superb.
Generation Next - "Like Father, Like Son" (feat Big Strick)
Review: Like Father, Like Son sees Big Strick and his prodigious son Generation Next team up for a split 12" showcasing this pair of criminally underappreciated Detroit producers. "Rain Dance" sees the elder of the two deliver a deep techno journey filled with abstracted textures and organic chimes that sound, while the young Generation Next shows a remarkable maturity beyond his years on "And You Too", where sparse, subtle chords and the simplest of melodies drift by on a light rhythm. On "Like Father, Like Son" the two pair up for the most gently uplifting of deep piano jams. Just like pretty much everything on 7 Days Entertainment, this is some nigh on essential material.
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: Thomas Berg's Soundscape Versions has Berlin very much at its heart; we're not talking street creds or look here, but purely musical aesthetic. It's champion artist, Octaedre, makes gorgeous swirls of dub techno and is named after one of Basic Channel's infamous 12"s, a totally fitting chice once you hear the fine groove of "M Nature II". Following the shadowy producer is E110 and the majestic glide of "Empty", another dubbed-out slammer, and while Mirage Man retains a form of dubbiness to his sonic manipulation, "6AM" is significantly more stripped-down and beat-heavy; "Tascam Loops" by Kuf takes a grainy palate of beats and bleeps, washes them over a fading glow of a bassline and wraps it all up in a nice techno package for you - probably the best tune on an already stellar EP. TIP!
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: REPRESS ALERT: Mandar are back on Oscillat Music following their stunning five-disc LP from last year, and the deep house super group are sounding as vital as ever. "String Theory" holds court over the A side and promises to be the soundtrack to many a heart-stirring moment under starry skies this summer. The titular strings are a powerful force in this track, bringing a classy brand of emotion to the slinky dancefloor tones Mandar are best known for. "Poisoned Worlds" is a deeper club cut that places the emphasis on crafty drum science for after hours crew, providing a neat balance to the show-stopping tones of the A side.
Review: Keinemusik co-founder Gregor Sutterlin AKA Rampa is the latest addition to the Innervisions roster. His debut EP for the imprint is dancefloor-friendly and for the most part club ready, but also slightly more experimental and off-kilter in ethos than you'd perhaps expect from Ame and Dixon's long-running label. Check first the non-stop A-side suite of tracks, where the oddball electronics and effects-laden looped vocals of "79249 (Intro)" seamlessly segues into the ghostly lead lines, thrusting arpeggio bass, creepy effects and locked-in techno drums of "They Will". Radiohead-influenced vocal number "Tell Me Are We" is a glassy-eyed outsider tech-house collaboration with WhoMadeWho, while "Lavender Boogie" is a richly percussive affair rich in ice cream van chimes, dense African percussion and hushed tech-house tones.