Review: It's hard to think of a DJ with the global profile of Nina Kraviz who runs a label as underground and innovative as trip. The latest comes from Shadowax, who has previously contributed to the label's compilations but now makes her full label debut. Unlike much of the frantic and frenetic material trip has dealt with in the past, this EP slows the tempos and explores more moody and hypnotic techno. Opener "Nikolai Reptile" is a super slow motion and dub rhythm with searching synth lines gently riding up and down the scale, while "Ochen" recalls the icy minimal perfection of Daniel Bell. "What About Me" has spoken word mutterings and paranoid, pressurised kicks that hurry you along and lastly "Mortal Talking" is a flurry of hyper-speed drums and synth loops to fully flip you out.
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.
Review: 30drop debuts on Token with From Beyond The Unknown -- a six-track journey that evokes an excommunicative sense of splendor from the outer reaches of worlds beyond. Beginning with Surrender an immediacy pulsates from the outset and dances towards the playful exuberance of The Informant -- calibrating the gears for what frequencies are to be heard in the interim. Space Beacons delights with elegant pads and wry rhythmic evocations, while Mathematical Language bursts with energies that have been long dormant since the days of Jeff Mills' The Purpose Maker. In that same vein, Visitors From The Stars is an entropic message from above, seeking out a communicative line that's emotive and conductive -- leading towards the last track of this journey. Sagan's Implication is an adroit homage to the legendary astrophysicist; leaning into melodics that are both marvelous and mysterious all at once -- similar to finding the answers that lie above us. All in all, a journey that begins by looking past what's diegetic and looking for answers past the narrative presented.
Review: According to their Discogs entry, The Final Experiment is "More stuff out of the galaxy called "Hard Wax Berlin". Seelow is actually another alias of the now legendary Rene Pawlowitz, so you know already that it's going to be pretty damn good, right? The A side track "TFExx4A" is proper, nasty peak time business; we all know Pawlowitz' great knack for revisiting nostalgic dance music sounds and this track is built around a grating, doom-laden hoover and as always has a monstrous and shuffling rhythm. On the flip "TFExx4B" sounds like something more familiar from the artist, namely under his infamous Shed alias. With its catchy, dreamy pad melody and that signature warehouse techno beat with the perfect amount of hiss and dust in it. Nice one!
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: Few producers do the dub techno sound better than Rod Modell and on this second Atmospherica instalment, he shows why he is so revered. "Exploring The North" is dense and subdued, the hisses and crackles ebbing and flowing fluidly over a powerful sub-bass. "Pinewood Lodge" is more atmospheric and floaty, its chords flitting about like fireflies over a camp fire on the first night of autumn. Rounding out the release is "Shot Point". Immersive, hypnotic and ghostly, it washes through the speakers like waves crashing on a deserted beach at midnight. This is electronic music that is designed to get lost in.
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!
Cage & Aviary - "Lean On Me" (Felix Dickinson Foolish dub)
Posthuman - "Make More Man"
Review: Just as the new football season settles into it's groove, the fourth edition of the highly collectable Rothmans arrives sporting some high profile signings! Leading the way on The Claudio Gentile Release is a Foolish Felix dub of Cage & Aviary's "Lean On Me" whose deranged acid gurglings provide a nice contrast to the thrusting Escape From East London stylings of Posthuman's "Make More Men". On the flip Ali Renault returns for Rothmans duty with the Weatherall worthy "The Black Heart" whilst Iron Blu is loaned from Flight Recorder for the synthy swamp of orchestral drama that is "Oiche Shamhna"
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: 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.