Review: There's a decidedly rushing, saucer-eyed feel to Ellen Allien's latest album, her eighth since launching the BPitch Control label at the dawn of the century. The Berlin veteran shows no desire to soften her sound or move away from the dancefloor, delivering an eight-track set that giddily charges between neo-trance (the loved-up "Empathy" and tech-trance throb-job "Free Society"), post-dubstep electro (the swirling "MDMA" and atmospheric "Exit To Humanity"), raging acid ("Bowie In Harmony"), decidedly muscular techno (the arpeggio-driven heaviness of acid fired smasher "Love Distortion" and the creepier "Electronic Joy") and bubbly acid electro (superb closing cut "Stimulation").
Review: Despite becoming a serious force in the contemporary techno scene over the last seven years, Antonin Jeanson has never released an album. He's made plenty of killer 12" singles, but for one reason or another has never applied his trademark style to the long-playing format. It's perhaps a surprise then, that his debut album, "Rising", is a near perfect example of a modern techno album. There are quite a few atmospheric and ear-catching dancefloor workouts - see the bustling beats and creepy electronics of "Perchance To Dream", the dark throb of "Duality of Mind" and the slamming psych-techno of "It Follows" - but also more considered, left-of-centre trips into IDM, ambient techno and otherworldly ambient territory. It's these diversions that make the album such an entertaining and rewarding listen.
Review: <3 is a rather pop leaning new album from Atom TM written in collaboration with an "entity" called x1n. The producer himself refers to the sound as "hard code pop" and the entity generated human voice and natural language content. It came with an obtuse message from the entity which is worth finding if you want some extra back story, or else just dive headfirst into the music. It's a flurry of whirring machines and deconstructed electronic sounds, with dehumanised vocals lost in the middle of it all. Despite the cold futurism of it all, there is still plenty of soul to be found in these fascinating tracks.
Review: Space Of Variants recently described this collaboration between label artists Aura Minimum (real name Vladislav Ishkov) and Flying Cobra (Alexander Khaliulin) as "modern deep sound goodies". While that's a little vague, it's certainly accurate. Across a range of solo and jointly produced tracks, the pair explores a warm, hazy, atmospheric and quietly colourful sound that emphasizes meditative ambient electronics - drowsy chords, drifting motifs and yearning melodies - over the hypnotic dub techno and deep techno grooves that nestle below. It's a formula that results in a hugely soothing, ear-pleasing and smile-inducing listening experience.
Review: In recent times Daniel Avery has been busy collaborating with the likes of Alessandro Cortini and Roman Flugel (the latter as Noun), so few expected him to drop a new solo album in 2020. Yet Love & Light, his surprise third full-length, could well be his most sonically stunning set to date. Beginning with the gaseous ambient opaqueness of 'London Island', the set sees him blaze a trail through 1990s style Sabres of Paradise/Sabresonic techno, hazy dub techno, beatless soundscapes and intense drone tones, before switching focus to deep, gentle and melodious mutations of breakbeat, IDM and electronica. The limited-edition CD also comes bundled with a bonus disc containing the music from Falling Light, a sound and vision installation he created for the 2019 Leeds International Festival.
Review: Phantasy Sound's main man Daniel Avery has linked up with modular wizard Alessandro Cortini for a debut full length, "Illusion Of Time". It came together over many years, with no real concept or constraints but it has still managed to make a powerful impact despite its spare, lo-fi, ambient vibes. There are heavier, darker tracks like "Inside The Ruins" that are brilliantly bleak, but also thoughtful meditations like the title track, which has some magical piano playing at its core. It's the rays of light amongst the darkness that make this such a beguiling and beautiful listen, and a perfect soundtrack to long lost days at home during lockdown.