Review: Marcel Dettman's mighty MDR label doesn't offer a huge amount of releases every year, but what does get put out is always pure and utter quality. The Berghain resident pick out Ryan James Ford for number 17 in the catalogue, a young producer which we know little to nothing about at this point. We do, however, know that he makes seriously effective techno in the label's familiar style. There's five cuts spread across the two sides on here, all representative of Dettman's marathon sets in which he spans the full circle. Aside from all the techno bashings, there are also moments of tranquillity, manifested in the beatless ambience of "Hoodlam Klothe", and "Lempt Jarkarin", in particular. Do check "Rjiyen Orandim" for some serious percussive action, though. An impressive debut.
Review: Hospital Productions is a non-stop operation and following this year's long-players from Alessandro Cortini, Ninos Du Brasil and Ron Morelli, Vatican Shadow's latest swoop is this ambient album produced with Function. The seven-track LP was recorded between Berlin and New York, and it's described as best suited for after-hours home listening, but whether you really want to listen to this after a big night is up to you. Indeed "A Year Has Passed" and "A Year Has Gone By" are downbeat and melancholic, whereas other tracks lean more towards industrial ambient, similar to fellow Hospital artist Lussuria's work. "The Nemesis Flower" is a darker highlight while "Red Opium" and "Bejewelled Body" is where the house and techno beats lie.
Review: Yes! Styles Upon Styles step it up and drop their very first album length project and do so in their own inimitable style with this conceptual long player from the superb (and superbly named) Gut Nose. The NYC label have swiftly built a rep for introducing the unheralded or the lesser known (Clay Wilson, Certain Creatures, White Visitation and Kloke) and it's great to see them maintain that approach with Filthy City. Aside from one cassette release and a prior SUS 12", there is little to form an opinion on Gut Nose out there, and that works in his favour on this album. The traditional LP format has been thrown out completely in favour of two extended pieces made up of movements with the A Side, sub-titled Filthy City, a dizzying array of paranoid stuttering instrumental beats reminiscent to the late 90s work of El P and Cannibal Ox. Gut Nose flips it completely with the B-side's Filthnoid Mixx which ups the tempo markedly to a queasy fairground ride through a nightmarish techno landscape. You won't hear another LP like Filthy City this year.
Review: Although she's offered up plenty of high-grade DJ mixes in the past, this volume in the "DJ Kicks" series marks Laurel Halo's first commercially available mix-up. The sometime Hyperdub producer has dutifully delivered something rather special, somehow joining the dots between 29 diverse and disparate cuts in the manner of a true turntable maestro. Beginning with the melodious experimentalism of her own "Public Art", Halo giddily charges between mutant industrial funk (Stallone The Reducer, Final Cut), thrusting electronic disco (Red Axes), deep techno (Parris), mind-altering acid-style intensity (Rrose), stomping, sweat-soaked peak-time techno (Machinewoman, FIT Siegel), polyrhythmic bass music (Facta, one of her Livity Sound collabs with Hodge) and an impressive array of cuts that defy easy categorization. The resultant all-action mix is nothing less than stunning.
Review: Since 1984, Laurent Prot has been putting out music as In Aeternam Vale, a project which has given us some of the best experimental beat music, the finest in darkwave and paved the way for many contemporary artists to do their thing. Although Prot had long periods of hiatus, the last five years have seen renewed interest in his work thanks to the efforts of Veronica Vasicka whose Minimal Wave label has issued several outstanding In Aeternam Vale retrospectives. Following his excellent Jealous God release, Prot now appears on the newly formed Linda Records with a devilish 10" containing three tracks that sounds as fresh and captivating as any of the music made by twenty-something year-olds now. "Self-Destruct" is an electrifying techno driver riding at a slow pace; "Non" ups the speed and drops in a heavy layer of pseudo-acid to the equation; "Inside" ties things off with a cavernous swarm of drones, sounding like the inside of a jet engine. DO NOT SLEEP.
Review: Under-rated Detroit innovator Gary Martin is back. Not on his legendary Hypnotika imprint, rather DJ 3000's Motech which equally has been rather quiet of late. Who cares; they're here once again and in good form. The Robert Hood remix of "Well" is the kind of sure-fire, peak time cyclical treatment that this legend could lend a version to, but not of typical of him as you'd think.. It's great! The original (on the flip) is damn good too; a smooth and sleazy slow burner with enough atmosphere for those cool down moments. "We Get Down" is the usual sound of Martin; tribal and esoteric. The DJ 3000 remix getting possibly more minimal and soulful than the Hood remix heard previously.
Review: Given that they not only share space on the same label, but also both explore the deeper end of the dub techno spectrum, we were rather surprised to learn that "Hypnotic Dub Season" marks the first collaboration between musical cosmonauts Mr Cloudy (AKA Sergey Barkalov) and Gradient (Igor Arsenjev). So, was it worth the wait? If you're into dub techno, then certainly. The album is made up of three epic workouts (the last of which runs to an astonishing 30 minutes) in which the pair wrap hissing aural textures, echoing melodic motifs and sumptuous, huggable ambient electronics around chunky, slowly shifting dub techno rhythms. If you like your music hazy, spaced-out and - as the title promises - hypnotic, then you need this in your life.
Review: Spanish techno stalwart Oscar Mulero trailed this fourth album in as many years with Dualistic Concept, a set of typically dark, hypnotic and ghostly remixes. That can be found on the second disc, and ties in neatly with the robust, forthright and atmospheric sound of the album itself. Muscle & Mind has moments of beauty, of course - see the blissful ambience of "Mental Causation" and enveloping chords and found sounds of "Unconscious" - but for the most part it's concerned with the power of rhythm. Few are better at wringing maximum intensity from loop-heavy jams, and Mulero's love of dusty white noise, trippy melodies and skittering percussion guarantees variety in the grooves throughout.
Review: Raphael Fragil's Fragil Musique has never ceased to stop exploring and innovating through electronic sounds. Since 2011, the imprint has showcased an impressive array of previously unheard talents and, in the process, has given us access to names such as Jafar, Cedric Borghi and Kenny Lane. More recently, the likes of Nummer and Simo Cell have played their part in the label's development, and this latest collaborative EP has come at exactly the right moment to lock these past six years down to a varied and polished release. Nummer, who had first come to light through Going Good, lays down some slick, slow lounge house on his "Nummer's Tribute", followed by the equally wavy and Balearic-leaning "Simo Cell's Tribute". "Jafar's Tribute" is a different kind of affair; the house beats are out in full motion, charged by a glorious minimal-dub energy, which leaves "Bazarov's Tribute" to deliver the funk via some masterfully executed boogie vibes. A splendid EP - TIP!
Review: Random XS was founded in 1991, when DJ Zero One (Sander Friedeman) joined forces with Arno Peeters to perform live at a small underground party in Utrecht before the latter left three years later and was replaced by Frank de Groodt. After the long awaited re-release of their 1992 Djax-Up-Beats classic "Give Your Body" last year on Delsin, they return with a pair of unreleased jams for fellow Dutch imprint MOS Recordings. Both tracks are said to be recorded in the early '90s, but reworked and remastered for "heavy club impact". On the A side is some proper minimal mentalism on the frantic and tunnel vision "Centrifuge", followed by the sublime 303 wizardry of "Relic Reworked" on the flip, which hails "all aboard the acid express!" better than any other.