Review: Serenity is a new label geared towards raising money and awareness around mental health in the music industry. The label kicks off in fine style with the supple, expressive techno of John Shima and Mihail P offering up two tracks each. Shima takes the A side with the warm and bubbling synth expressions of "Seasons" before taking things in a more hypnotic direction on the ever-so-slightly trancey "Hunter Mind". Mihail P maintains a similar vintage techno sound palette, but pings for positive constellations with the jubilant "Momentum" before veering into blissful breakbeat on "Neon Hologarden".
Review: Disordered Rhythm Metronomy may be a puzzling (and, let's face it, rather strange) artistic alias, but the two men behind the project, Ricardo Villalobos and Edward, have produced some of the most distinctive leftfield techno of the last decade. As a result, you'd expect their first joint EP to be a killer... and it is. A-side "Vormlock" is a rubbery, off-kilter treat, with the experienced duo peppering an elastic synth bassline and sparse, skittish drums with glitchy stabs, tipsy lead lines and all manner of wonky, out-of-this-world noises. Over on the flipside you'll find title track "Down", a deeper and dreamier chunk of spacey minimalism in which typical Villalobos style percussion and softly squelching bass comes cloaked in some suitably intergalactic synthesizer chords.
Review: Despite his truly idiosyncratic sound, Zefzeed has long been one of the most underrated talents within Romania's prolific minimal techno scene. Having a consistent output over the years on mainly smaller imprints, it's nice to see him getting the recognition he deserves on an established label here - returning to Cluj-Napoca's Midi Records. The 'Strip Tease' EP features two typically arcane and complex tracks in the style you've come to expect from the Timisoara-based producer and DJ. On the A side, we have the mesmerising and otherworldly bounce of "Sloppy From Two Fingers" which is perfect tackle for getting weird at the after hours. On the flip, "Stripped To The Bones" is a similarly subdued affair and bordering on near psychedelic moments, complete with the huge bassline, clipped drum programming and woozy sound design that will intensify the effects of sleep deprivation and paranoia. Tip!
Review: Malin Genie welcomes an extensive EP treat from Lava Lap, an emergent producer with an affinity for the kind of braindance that will have fans of Jodey Kendrick beating their drum machines with approval. The acid is slippery, the structures ever-shifting and a wealth of expression spills out of every bar. There are faster drum & bass paced bits, melancholy detuned electro and much more besides. Far from just being clever music though, it's also amazingly emotional and so impeccably produced. Any electronica head should be all over this.
Review: Mannheim's Fabian Winkels is somewhat of a hero within his local scene, having long been an active DJ and producer that headed up the now defunct local institution Parker Lewis, operating his own Salty Nuts label and having been involved with local names such as Sukhumvit, BE9, Valioso and of course Kusi. He once again blazes the analogue signal path in wonky and minimalist fashion on his new cut titled "Def Yours", a typically bass driven and tripped-out jam that's perfect for Sunday mornings aboard the Hoppetosse. On the flip, there's a remix by Rominimal godfather Rhadoo, who works his unmistakable magic as always.
Review: Ukranian producer Kirik is the second fixture on J Room, bringing a plush and melodic sound for his fifth EP of the year (look out for other sterling turns on Colors Of Crocus and Bosom LTD amongst others). "No Boys Club" leads the way with expressive keys darting around a crisp minimal house groove, while "Be Easy" ups the shuffle while maintaining the plush melodic content. JALE are on hand to remix "No Boys Club", turning the original into an addictive, wriggling minimal cut that gets right under the skin, and then "Furtive Footsteps" closes the EP out with a more mechanical workout peppered with artful sound design.
Review: This slick package of high grade weaponry is the second and final part of the Gargoyle Classics reissues series. It turns attention to Baltimore in the mid 90s, a time when techno, IDM, electro, rave and breaks were all freely colliding with one another. The result is a four tracker that you would have a hard time placing given its timeless appeal. From the slick electro techno funk of "I Said" to the more bouncy techno remix via the turbo charged bass of "Ten After 3" and freaky sci-fi work out that is "Do You Believe" (Space Evader mix), this is perfectly red hot tackle.
Review: Is East End Dubz the hardest working producer in the 21st century tech-house scene? He's certainly prolific, as his sprawling discography attests, but what's more impressive is the consistent quality of his releases. He's hit the mark yet again on this EP for his self-titled imprint. A-side "Wobble" is particularly potent, featuring as it does a fizzing fusion of insatiably funky bass, surging acid lines and shoulder-swinging beats. "Slammin" is closer in tone and style to the producer's trademark tech-house glitchiness - all mangled electronic motifs, straightened-out Villalobos drums and deep bass - while "Izit" is a tidy, acid-flecked box jam that increases in weight and intensity as the track progresses.
Review: Since he made his debut five years ago, Johannes Kolter AKA Djoko has happily flitted between labels, in the process offering up a string of rock-solid releases. "Endless Explorations", his first vinyl outing of 2020, sees Kolter add another label to his discography, French dub techno imprint Berg Audio. Kolter sets the tone perfectly on opener "Ikarus", where fluttering, pleasingly spacey dub techno riffs and sustained chords ride a crunchy tech-house groove, before joining forces with T JACQUES on the acid-sporting, late '90s style tech-house-funk of "Instincts". The funk-fuelled, acid-sporting fun continues on bold, melodious, intergalactic and hugely enjoyable flipside opener "In Flavour" - check the jazzy keys and garage-influenced swing - while deep space closing cut "Asteroids" is smoother than a baby's backside and every bit as potent.
Review: Nobody does tough rolling tackle for the peak time quite like the Audiojack boys. The Leeds-based duo head up the revered Gruuv imprint and have left their indelible mark on The White Isle with their legendary parties. Indeed, their sound is a worthy addition to the Mannheim-based 8bit imprint; Jorge and Nick Curly, like Rial & Birkenshaw themselves, churn out proper tech house that is aimed squarely at the main room. The track in question is "Are We Here", that sees them deliver something a bit more restrained than usual. This is a smooth and euphoric slow burner that's perfect to build up to the bangers in your set, harnessing all that 'energy'. Speaking of which, that's the operative word throughout the B side cut "Higher" with its deep and bass-driven pulsation that's sure to get the sweat dripping from the walls.
Review: UK IDM stalwart Luke Vibert presents part two of a trilogy which sees him delve deep into his floppy disc collection for a glorious ride through familiar motifs. Much like its title would suggest. 'Modern Rave' is a mish-mash of early '90s dance music cliches, revisited and reinterpreted in delightfully infectious and entertaining fashion. He refernces classic Todd Terry style house, D-Mob and the glory days of early UK hardcore on tracks like "Beef" or "Feel One", while homages to Detroit and evident, particualry Underground Resistance who meets orbital under the M1 circa '92 on "Dream" while jungle meets ghettotech on the frantic "Ladies". Have fun guessing and joining the dots on this wonderful audio collage of electronic music's recent history by quite the historian.