Review: 23 years have passed since Edward Upton first donned the DMX Krew alias, but the prolific British producer shows no signs of slowing down. Astonishingly, Strange Directions is the electro stalwart's 21st full-length excursion. Predictably, it's rather good, with Upton delivering a set that effortlessly body-pops between vocoder-laced electro workouts, melodious IDM, bass-heavy intelligent techno, gnarled Drexciyan throbbers, Artificial Intelligence style home listening fare and even a dash of muscular, tongue-in-cheek Italo-disco (the deliciously sleazy "Soft Networks"). As usual, the distinctive, off-kilter swing of original analogue hardware is present throughout, as Upton showcases his full range of talents. Recommended.
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: 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: Over the last couple of years, Aussie Katie Campbell has delivered a string of well-regarded EPs and 12" singles steeped in retro-futurist flavours. Here she delivers here most expansive release to date, a double-pack that officially counts as the Roza Terenzi debut album. Her usual aural trademarks are all present - think deep bass, dreamy synths, fluttering electronic melodies, euphoric melodic motifs, breakbeats and bustling beats that are anything but conformist - alongside nods towards turn-of-the-90s techno, weighty electro rhythms and snappy, ghetto-house inspired workouts. It's undeniably a Roza Terenzi release, and there's enough variety - coupled with smart sequencing - to make it hang together as an album. Oh, and bass-heavy, Bleep-inspired closer "My Reality Cheque Bounced" is one of the best things Campbell has released to date.
Review: Dreamy Harbour celebrates 25 years of Berlin institution Tresor with several new and unreleased cuts by staples of the club and its seminal in house label alike. Featuring work of artists from the US, Germany, China, France, Austria, Italy and the UK, it is worth dwelling on how the cultural conditions that birthed Detroit techno (ie economic neglect and broken industry) were mirrored by the disused bunkers and impromptu parties of post-unification East Berlin. Techno a found new, vigorous expression. "Without Tresor, Berlin would not be what it is today," concludes founder Dimitri Hegemann. "Even though it sounds a bit pretentious, it is true. Tresor was the prototype for an extraordinary club. It was only possible as a combination of the right time, the right place, the right content and determined people." Excerpt of liner notes, by Rob Sharp - November 2016.