Review: That's right, folks, this ain't no reissue! When the names Chiwax and Robert Armani come together, heads instantly turn and think about what year the tunes might be from, but these four house killers are from late 2016, and it's clear that Armani has absolutely no intentions of slowing down any time soon. "BacardI" has the essence of golden era Armani, but there's something more subtle at play, an polished aesthetic that dives deeper into modern techno while retaining all of his original style and flair; the lead tune "Fourty Nine" reinvents the classic Chi-town sound and bursts through the place with a minimal sort of guise. Over on the B-side, "Give You All My Love" slams some hard-ass drums over a skeletal melodic rift and the man's classic use of repetitive vocal samples, which leaves "Track 2" to deliver that inimitable Armani acid...raw and uncompromising as when we first heard it. BIG!
Review: Another great EP from the 3 boys from Sweden, the Blotnik Brothers. Strong percussive big room electro, thick melodies and perfectly-timed arrangements are the mark of their second EP. Kraftwerk on steroids!
Review: The ever-busy Rod Modell has a new album due on Soma later this month. Ahead of that set - his fourth for Slam's long-running label - he's decided to put out this taster 12". Curiously, though Atmospherica Volume 1 doesn't contain any tracks from that album, instead serving up three new treats. 12-minute A-side "Fargo" is undoubtedly the star attraction, offering a chunkier-than-usual take on his weed-enhanced dub techno grooves, paranoid textures and loopy electronics. "CMOS Therapy" is even more up-tempo in feel, with urgent rhythms, surging motifs and notably fizzing cymbals. Finally, "Night Song" sees Modell trek deep into the jungle for inspiration, returning with a muddy chunk of dub techno humidity.
Review: Some tip-top Transatlantic business here, as EPM Music brings together Motor City legend Robert Hood AKA Floorplan, and veteran UK techno producer Mark Broom. There's a treat on side A as Broom finally allows us access to one of his secret weapons: a previously dubplate-only remix he did of the Floorplan gospel-techno throbber "Never Grow Old". Broom's version is tough and percussive, but also makes great use of rumbling bass, restless organ stabs and glassy-eyed late night rave riffs. Broom's own techno jack-track "Jungle" - a blizzard of distorted percussion and wild electronic noises - opens side B, before Hood offers up a chunky "Re-Plant" of classic Floorplan roller "He Can Save You". It not only features spoken word preacher-man vocals, but also a mind-altering riff reminiscent of Lil' Louis classic "French Kiss".
Ways Of The Sun (Peter Kruder Into The Black Hole remix) (7:22)
Ways Of The Sun (Manuel Fischer remix) (8:38)
Ways Of The Sun (Armitage remix) (6:43)
Review: Second time round for the much-loved "Ways Of The Sun", Frankey and Sandrino's 2015 collaboration with vocalist La Oberg. This time, there's no original mix to admire, but rather a quartet of fresh remixes. Jimi Jules steps up first, wrapping dubbed-out synth splashes and La Oberg's evocative vocal around a loose and languid dub disco-meets-deep house groove, before Peter Kruder re-imagines the track as an acid bass-propelled chunk of analogue deep house goodness. Over on side B, Manuel Fischer dishes up a sunrise-ready organic tech-house take while Armitage slams down a loopy and hypnotic peak-time revision that subtly builds throughout.
Mic Mills - "HAARP" (Francis Inferno Orchestra remix) (11:26)
Review: Melbourne (by way of Adelaide) reppin' hard on the inauguration of new imprint Global Skywatch, following in the tradition of affiliated imprints such as Untzz Twelve Inch, Big Doint and Rhythm Works. For the foreseeable future, they'll be 'releasing audio recordings painstakingly designed to protect your mind and body from government control.' Fair enough then. Features Furious Frank with the deep space transmission of "Victoria Park", the always on-point Dan White - who dons the Rings Of Saturn alias again for the dubby and minimalist stepper "Skywatch Dub" and Mic Mills with "HAARP" but it's all about Francis Inferno Orchestra's deep balearic rendition on the flip that's absolutely terrific.
Spirals Of Smoke Drifting From Scoot Stained Chimneys
Message From Filippo
We Only Want Tragedy
Sea Shore Acid
Review: Before Helena Hauff put her name to recorded material for Werkdiscs and PAN last year and incurred the sneering wrath of a thousand keyboard heroes, she was honing her craft as a Sunday evening selector at Hamburg's Golden Pudel. If you've attended her birds and other instruments night at the venue or listened to any mixes from Hauff - we recommend the 2011 submission for the Modyfier series - and you'll hear her slip in at least one or two cuts from the Bunker back catalogue. All of which ensures her debut on the affiliated Panzerkreuz label makes perfect sense and acts as a perfect riposte to those doubting her blossoming production skills. Commencing with the superbly titled "Spirals of Smoke Drifting from Soot Stained Chimneys", the six track Return To Disorder EP demonstrates Hauff's productions are forever teetering on the brink of all out chaos, with this sense of tension crucial. Both "Message from Filippo" and "Blast" are particularly brutal highlights!
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmopsherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
Review: If there's one guy from Detroit who has never lost his principles or ideas, it's certainly Mike Huckaby, the likeable producer who has always been open about his work, and who has always helped the younger generation of talent come through. He's back on his own sublime Synth imprint, and "Wavetable No.9" sees the man go deeper and spacier than his other recent productions, and the same can be said for the tranquil sea of jazzy melodies that envelop "Fantasy". "Jupiter", most probably named after the iconic synth, is what martians would be making if they'd been listening to Art Blakey and Charles Mingus - three solid house tunes with a distinctive Huckaby edge.
Review: Miltiadis Merentitis is one of the greatest exponents of the underground Greek scene. After several releases on Nous, Echovolt and Synapsis he joins Jose Rico's Spanish imprint Freebeat with the Epitome Of Things EP. Miltiades explores the driest of territories through his characteristic chords, kicks and percussion which will transport you to another world. Take the first cut on the A side for instance: a deep hypnotic techno cut that creates perfect trance induction by relying on the most basic of analogue elements. On the flip, the second track is a gothic lo-fi house jam reminiscent of New York City's Patricia while the final offering channels the spirit of early '90's Detroit on this fine serving of hi-tech soul.
Review: Richard Zepezauer's Nysde label was founded back in 2010 to deliver "timeless techno, true house and beyond". While that's a bold claim, there's certainly something timeless about Kevin Reynolds 2011 release on the label and N Syde's latest is just as impressive. Mobach's "At The Mines of Planet" is particularly spacious, coming on like an effortlessly hypnotic fusion of Motor City futurism and trance-inducing German dub techno. It's the aural equivalent of drifting through space with the sound of tactile techno rhythms ringing in your ears. Reade Truth's "Blessings of Luh" continues the sci-fi theme, layering what sounds like recordings of astronauts and evocative, subdued melodies over a chunky, acid-flecked groove.
Review: These days, there are quite a few vintage Borft releases that attract big money in the second hand market. This may have been a factor in the label's decision to kick off a new "Classics" series showcasing rare and sought-after gems from the vaults. Volume one focuses on tracks released between 1996 and '98, first showcasing the Detroit techno/spacey deep house fusion of Pher's "Tja Boo" (one of the highlights of the producer's now rare-as-hen's-teeth Dans Vid Iglasjon double-pack), before switching to the slower, darker and druggier vibes of Dan Fun's "DFSS1". On the flipside, there's another chance to savour the rubbery, pitched-up New Jersey deep house grooves of Crinan's "Kilimanjaro" and U's "Smooth Lover", a classic chunk of sci-fi techno blessed with some brilliant organ solos.
Review: Reade Truth, the legendary NY DJ who has graced just about any historic dancefloor with his unpredictable mixing, has already appeared on the excellent NSyde before, but if we're to do this guy any justice then we should mention the fact that he was one of Sonic Groove's pride and joys back in the day. However, let's fast-forward to 2016, where Reade is still delivering hazardous levels of shuffled-out techno in the form of "A Juno 909 Reflection", and sublime concoctions of pseudo acid with "Eye In The Oil". "Jib Me", on the flip, is a kind of ode to the early 90's, a mid-tempo house tune that verges on the EBM sphere. All in all, a tasty f****ing tip for you.
Review: Following up DJ Barbo$$a's absolutely awesome Mystical Teachings EP, Melbourne's Salt Mines are back with yet more lo-fi house shenanigans courtesy of the label bosses: Shedbug and Rudolph C (Neo Violence/X-Kalay/Lost Palms). The latter serves up the tribal raindance of "Indian Rope"and the saturated acid house of "Granite State". On the flip, Shedbug (who had a great track on Polish imprint PLAY !T LOUD earlier this year) serves up some dirty rave breaks on "Unwavering" featuring a massive Reese bassline and... panpipes! It's not altogether unpleasant though, believe us. Less introspective and more dancefloor oriented on the hi-NRG antics of "Dust Off" though - a right epic and featuring some euphoric arpeggios, cosmic synth leads plus the best of vintage drum machines. This will truly elevate the crowd and just begs to be played somewhere like their local festival Rainbow Serpent this year!