Review: In line with the timely reappraisal of all things R&S related, the resurgent Apollo have seen the opportunity to bring one of their most celebrated records back for another round. Aphex Twin's ambient recordings mature magnificently with age, sounding ever richer and more emotive as the rest of electronic music continues to play catch up all around. From the gentle breakbeats of "Xtal" to the aquatic techno lure of "Tha", the airy rave of "Pulsewidth" to the heartwrenching composition of "Ageispolis", every track is a perennial example of how far ambient techno could reach even back then. It's just that no-one quite had the arm-span of Richard D. James.
Review: Although Omar S' excellent Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself album was released on CD a few months ago, it's the deluxe vinyl version that the real "Homie's and Tender Roni's" have been waiting for. Only Omar S could get away with spreading all of its 14 tracks across 4 12"s, split into two parts, but for those yet to sample its delights, the album's superb selection of tracks more than justifies the expense; Part 1 features the superb vocal turn from L'Renee on "Rewind", the insanely feelgood house of "The Shit Baby", the experimental dubbiness of "Helter Shelter" and thick set deep house of "Amalthea".
Review: Championed by Richie Hawtin & Ricardo Villalobos (featured on his Cocoon mix CD 'Taka Taka') the A-Side is armed with a highly infectious melody, beefed up with big, bouncy funky bassline. The B-side has trippy hypnotic sounds that echo in & out of the fluid melodies.
Review: Anders Trentemøller is one of the rising stars of the dance music scene, his remixes and productions have gained critical acclaim from a broad range of DJs and producers including Pete Tong, Sasha, John Digweed, Switch, MANDY, Mylo, Nathan Fake and Freeform Five. Released on the influential Poker Flat label this is set to be one of the definitive releases of 2006. Available as a limited edition double CD and double LP. Trentemøller is currently the most in-demand remixer (recently delivering critically acclaimed mixes for The Pet Shop Boys, The Knife, Royksöpp, Sharon Phillips and Moby) with releases on Naked Music, Get Physical, and of course Poker Flat/Audiomatique.
Hit It Bubba (I Want My Dadda's Rekids!!!!) (5:42)
Party Marty (5:47)
Review: The Detroit badman always delivers the goods, but he'd recently focussed on his more house-centric style thanks to a series of sleek, soulful releases. This time, he's come out all guns blazing with this new four-part killer, led by the absolutely nutty groove that is "Sink Holes" - a proper slice of Omar S acid, delivered in fine style and with his inimitable rawness. "HELL ON EARTH" is a moodier, funkier house tip with a jazzy side, while the flipside's "Hit It Bubba (I Want My Dadda's Rekids!!!!)" is a fast, upbeat house bomb with a crazy little disco sample that floats amid the grainy bass drums. "Party Marty" is a no nonsense kind of lick, pouncing away with a steady, yet unmistakably Omar S-style percussion, and a heavy bass blow. This is one hell of a way to make an appearance this early in the year - highly recommended!!
Review: Ever the champion of brains and brawn in equal measure, Maceo Plex makes his debut appearance on Drumcode with this punchy beast of a single. "Conjure Dreams" features plenty of Plex signifiers, from the rounded and rowdy bassline pump to the haunting tone of the synth lines, neatly packaged in a chunky framework of big room drums. "Conjure Floyd" meanwhile burrows into more minimal territory where the tones are amelodic and the percussion takes the lead, calling to mind the restraint and tension of classic M_nus productions where so much could be said with so little.
Review: Skee Mask, who only recently was found out to be called Bryan Muller, comes through with his second LP to date, making a wonderful follow-up to 2016's Shred. Compro is, ironically, comprised of a much more explorative palette of sounds, with many corners of the album veering off into otherworldly ambient, often through a striking new-age sensibility. The most impressive element of this album is its flow and evolution across its 12 tracks, sounding a lot more like one single-minded thought rather than a collection of disparate dance-not-dance tunes. The quality of the recording is noticeable, too, with tracks like "Rev8617" or "Via Sub Mids" sounding professional, both in vision and style. Through an intricate collage of breaks, samples, polyphonies, and subtle electronic manipulations, Skee Mask has truly mastered his own art, and is giving a new direction to the wider 'UK rave' sound. BIG.
Review: Robin Ball has been on a roll of late, flaunting his wares on the Memory Box label amongst others. He makes a second outing on Groovepressure with four tracks of dynamic, inventive machine jams touching on synthwave influences and a healthy dose of electro. There's atmosphere loaded into each of these forthright, roughly hewn workouts, not least on the eerie, trancey synth strings on "Mr Mumble". The B side features the steadiest material in the shape of two versions of "Satin" that tap into the housier end of Ball's output.
Review: 'The Man-Machine' is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop. Less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, 'Trans-Europe Express', there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of 'The Man-Machine' in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new-romantic movement.
Review: Doing things properly and building up a DIY phenomenon from their base in Zurich, the Les Points crew have brought a fresh, daring originality to the house and techno scene with their gritty outboard approach and a wide range of stylistic tendencies. Taking a break from releasing on their own label, Audino, Barbir, Louh and Nicola Kazimir have been invited to the evergreen Trelik to broach their music to a wider audience. From the blissful space techno groove of "Anubis" to the tightly wound beats of "Housepacer" and on to the cranky acid funk of "Ripstyle", this is yet another distinctive transmission from the plucky Swiss crew.
Review: The undisputed godfather of Australian techno Cam Bianchetti aka DJ HMC has enjoyed a deserved second coming under his Late Nite Tuff Guy guise but this is where it all started with these two classics. First track "6AM" originally released in 1996 is a true mid-nineties zeitgeist that could have been spawned during an evening at the Packard plant in Detroit, but actually conceived in Adelaide. It's overdriven acid backed by the pounding kick and metallic hiss of a 909 just like Plus 8 Records were doing back in the day. What can be said about 'Marauder' that hasn't already? It's resurgence as a Berghain anthem in the last few years is well deserved. This rendition being a much more serious and restrained version than the 2001 version. Get your hands on this timeless piece of history.
Review: Having previously starred on an unfeasibly large number of labels (including Rush Hour, Ovum, Liebe Detail and Burek), Kink adds another to the growing list. Cloud Generator marks his first appearance on Running Back, and contains, in the words of label boss Gerd Janson: "music for big rooms, wide eyes and small brains". In some ways, it's an apt description. Undeniably old skool in outlook, the EP's four main tracks variously doff a cap to vintage European techno (the blistering title track, which comes complete with many early '90s Belgian trademarks), hands-in-the-air, hardcore influenced techno (the saucer-eyed riffs and booming low end of "Diversion") and twinkling Balearic house ("Pocket Piano", which also gets a rave-era breakbeat re-touch).
Review: Despite having already released a 16 track album this year, Detroit's finest, Omar S, proves that there is quite simply nothing stopping him as he issues the four track Nelson County. "Don't Let Dis Be HapNin! Comes on like the classic "Psychotic Photosynthesis" at witnessed through a haze of smoked glass, while "U Heard What Da Man Said Muthafukka!!" is something much more driving, like taking a spin on Detroit's streets after dark in a souped up Dodge Charger, before "Nelson County" sees the tough house-focused denouement take place in a dingy backstreet club. As always with Omar S, this stuff doesn't mess about....
Review: With a title like Annoying Mumbling Alkaholik, you'd expect this three-tracker from the mighty Alex "Omar" Smith to be full of pent-up anger and bitter frustration. Sure, there's a raging rawness about the third track - an undulating trip into spiraling acid territory - but for the most part the EP is a beacon of simple beauty. The opening track is particularly picturesque, with beautiful, new-age influenced melodies and immersive pads riding a cymbal-heavy Detroit deep house groove. There's more Mood Hut/Future Times style synth work on the Tangerine Dream influenced "Track 2", which contrasts deep, sun-kissed melodic loops with a fuzzy drum machine groove.
Review: Having set our world alight with his third Ilian Tape 12", 2012, back in the spring, Munich man Skee Mask delivers another essential collection of loose-limbed, broken techno workouts. Typically, he's on point from the word go, enveloping swinging, off-kilter techno breakbeats with swirling chords and cascading melodies on brilliant opener "Inti". His love of African-influenced polyrhythms is explored further on the ghostly, percussion-rich club cut "Kappelberg Chant" (which, incidentally, makes great use of choral chants), while "Routine" is a warm, loved-up and evocative tribute to rave-era British breakbeat-house. His debt to British dance music's formative years also comes to the fore on killer proto-jungle jam "Skreet Lvl Dub".
Review: The second part of Omar S' You For Letting Me Be Myself album in vinyl form sees another 8 tracks across four sides of wax; aside from the '80s inflected sounds of the album's title track, the 303 workout of "Ready My Black Asz" finds itself with the dubbed out loops of "Messier Sixty Eight". As a bonus for those who already have the album, this part contains two vinyl exclusive tracks; the soothing deepness of "She's Sah Hero Nik" and the delayed organ weirdness of "Broken Bamalance Horn" - both more than worth the price of admission alone.
Review: As UR continue to revisit some of their finest hours, the Detroit techno powerhouse stops on one of the most life-affirming of all their releases. "Inspiration" is as jovial as anything you can expect to hear from Mad Mike and co., motoring through a heartfelt lead synth line and fist-pumping disco undercarriage in truly anthemic style. "Transition" meanwhile is a freakier number, combining spiritual lyricism with a righteous bump of house dynamics fuelled by those futuristic melodies that define the seminal label. If you haven't felt the soul power of these timeless jams, do yourself a life-changing favour.
Review: Some 25 years after delivering his debut 12", Richard D James hasn't lost the ability to thrill or inspire. By his obtuse standards, the material that makes up the surprise Cheetah EP is actually rather laidback and melodious. "Cheetah2 (LD Spectrum)", for example, sounds like a slow house jam written by robots, while the even deeper "Cheetah7B" shuffles along in a metronomic fashion, seemingly oblivious to the increasingly aggressive World at large. Of course, those trademark skittish IDM rhythms are present - see the B-side's lead cut - and the Cornishman has thrown in a couple of hazy ambient cuts for good measure.
Review: Six brand new shakers from Omar S...This is the sh*t! Never confined to one particular genre, Omar is again blending house, techno and even minimal styles into one big pot of deep Detroit underground funk. There's even some Basic Channel / Deep Chord vibes going on there somewhere. Simply killer.
Review: FXHE maintain their monthly heat emission for 2012, with label boss Omar S displaying all aspects of his production prowess (as well as skill for a humorous track titles) across four productions - one of which features the button bashing assistance of one Patrik Sjeren. There's something icily brilliant about the restrained "Income Tax Refund Dance" melding a dark piano riff with snapping 808 kicks and rippling lo fi rhythms which only further justifies the title of Omar S's killer 2011 LP. It's complemented by the far rowdier box jam "The White Castle Song" which jackhammers a simple yet highly flammable key riff over low rent percussion for FXHE's most potent ode to the perfect warehouse moment since the all conquering "Here's Your Trance..." Given the lack of additional info, we presume the Patrik Sjeren that produces the B Side "Untitled" track is the same Patrik Sjeren that released in the mid 90s under a multiplicity of aliases, and his contribution is every bit as incendiary as the track preceding it, whilst "3c 273" sees Omar S slip into pensive utopian electro mode with aplomb.
Review: Having previously showcased his fluid brand of techno and deep house on Suena Hermosa and Beste Modus, Diego Krause decided to launch the Unison Wax label as a vehicle for his productions back in 2013. Here he returns with a fourth volume, seemingly keen to wring maximum atmosphere and deepness via a quartet of smooth, well-produced cuts. He opens with a subtly starry fusion of techno hypnotism and quiet deep house warmth, before concentrating on groove with the late night tech-house throb of "Track 2". Flip for the bass-heavy, stripped-back groove science of "Track 3", and the typically Germanic afterhours pump of "Track 4".
Review: FXHE has been brimming with activity in recent times, with a steadfast flurry of singles refusing to let the quality drop, and now the big bossman delivers another two slices of finely cured business in his inimitable style. The lead track is an arresting piece with just a kick to drive proceedings, leaving ample room for a haunting array of bleeps and a 'speak & spell' vocal until the track slowly ramps up with some more prominent drum programming. "Mayall II" on the flip is a less tense affair, with a cheery string refrain and old school jack-in-the-box beats disseminated in a plain and simple fashion.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: The Swedish techno hero Eric Prydz is back under the Cirez D alias, which has kicked into action full throttle recently - alongside music under the Pryda and ToNjA Holma monikers. His new main room thumper "Dare You" comes courtesy of his own esteemed imprint. From the title track and its tunnelling adventure down into the vortex, to the strobe-lit adrenaline of "The Glitch" or "Black Hole" with its druggy mid-noughties style of minimal shuffle: there's something to rock the dancefloor at any time of the morning by this A.M. expert - on Mouseville's 24th vinyl edition.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Needs is back with its fifth installment of charity-raising goodness from some seriously quality producers. This time the gauntlet is thrown down by the increasingly prolific DJ Normal 4, who wields some of his signature breakbeats over a cheeky synth that nods to Da Hool for a dark and deadly roller. Israeli duo Red Axes pop up fresh from outings on !K7 and Phantasy Sound for the worldly percussion and mystical atmosphere of "Treacksheni" before Bristol bass-wielding techno titan Hodge finishes the package off with the stunning, dramatic undulations of "Signal," making this a collection of tracks that all feed into the same vein of rhythmically adventurous, moody club music.
Review: Earlier this year Minimal Wave offshoot provided one of this year's most visceral dancefloor weapons in Kino-I, the debut from Doug Lee's new An-I project. Taking inspiration from techno, jack, industrial and punk, An-I successfully drew a line under some of the Berlin-based artist's previous disco-flavoured endeavours. And then some! If you like the Kino-I 12" you will love the new triplet of An-I productions housed on this appropriately titled Gutz 12". The title track alone should come with a health warning; such is the furious onslaught of machine funk it contains, whilst the unnerving "Rut" is the most schizophrenic production you will hear this year. Best of all id closing track "Save Us" sounds like a cross between in Aeternam Vale and Silent Servant. Pressed on a rather thick and dashing slab of magenta orange vinyl!
Review: Dark Entries are simply a good record label, enough said. However, we will give you a touch of context on this latest killer, a four-tracker by the mythical Frak trio, still wearing their aluminium hats after twenty years of head-banging. "Sudden Haircut" has been recorded exclusively for the label, and it's a delicious techno lick with a crescendo of XOXBOX acid, while both "Synthfrilla" and "Synthgok" were recorded in 2010, and have previously appeared on the much coveted Sex Tags Mania label out of Bergen, Norway - both essential bangers. The finale is in the shape of "First Glimt I Ogat", another of Frak's classic drum-led house weavers that works both on its own and mixed into just about anything. Recommended gear - be quick!
Review: Having given keen listeners a healthy preview in his Fabric live mix last year, the artist formerly known as Stopmakingme delivers his full-length album for Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound. It's a limber brew that channels a strong dose of analogue trickery through smart and snappy beat constructions, all bubbling, aquatic synths and troubled delays propelled by unfussy drum patterns so that the melodies can do the talking. Primarily this is a dancefloor album, moving from peppy breakbeat driven numbers to gently bumping house, but always the playful, ineffably warm synth work sets the tone, from "Naive Response"s robotic charm to "Drone Logic"s soaring grind. It's an album brimming in confidence and nailed with precision, and it's packed full of incredibly usable floor rockers to boot.
Review: Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti serve up another round of top shelf remixes and revisions of John Rees Lewis' mid-late 80s project C Cat Trance, following in the wake of the Screaming Ghosts compilation. First up to bat are Red Axes, who bring a seductive line in loose and limber drumming to "Shake The Mind" that should suit the Fourth World dancefloor massive just fine. Jamie Paton brings a tough, clamouring intensity to "Take Me To The Beach," while Prins Thomas takes a truly spiritual approach when weaving the intricate arpeggios and percussion of "Sudaniyya." Khidja and Borusiade team up on "Simple Helen," presenting a dense and hazy trip into exotic territory with sinister undertones.
Review: It's been a hot minute since Timothy J. Fairplay slipped on his Junior Fairplay guise, but he's done just that for this bleep-tastic new 12" on (Emotional) Especial. "End Of Love" is unabashed in its embrace of early Yorkshire techno tones, making a fine job of resurrecting the bleep spectre and letting it shake up the dance once more. Roy Of The Ravers is a smart choice of remixer, and he brings an off-kilter acid rub to the table in his idiosyncratic, braindance-inflected style. The B-side is equal laden with purposefully dusty dance grooves transplanted from the late 80s / early 90s, with "Faxes From The Future" hitting a particularly sharp point in its lazy breakbeat roll and the clanging harmonies of the stabs.
Review: Donato Dozzy has surely booked his place at the top of the techno game by now, thanks to an impressive catalogue spanning over ten years and an exquisite selection of labels. Although he has been focusing on his collaborative projects over the last few years - check Voices From The Lake in case you've been living under a rock - his solo productions are always an absolute pleasure. For his latest outing he lands on compatriot Carola Pisaturo's Claque Musique, a label that floats between house and techno at its own pace. The A-side, "Cassandra", is more laid-back compared to Dozzy's recent performances, its mid-tempo swagger gives the percussion and floating melodies enough space to mould into a skin-tight groove. "II" on the B-side is totally different, where Dozzy eliminates beats, basslines and sonics in favour of Asia-sounding didgeridoo's, all electronically treated and tripped out, of course. Recommended, particularly for those wishing to hear something new from the man.
Review: Sound Signature are at it again with their dark, driving and jackin' grooves. Every time Theo Parrish decides a tune is worth pressing up nice and loud on vinyl, it's wise to pay attention. And so it proves here, with Chicago native Spekter dropping one-sided 12" "Pipe Bomb", a deadly and pounding excursion into the murkier corners of house music. It's not one for the faint hearted either, as an overwhelming sense of moodiness pushes ever forward, dripping in twisted samples and heavy techno kicks.
Review: Omar S has always been something of a maverick, but even by his own high standards, surprise second album It Can Be Done, But Only I Can Do It is something else. Like much of his work, it's an album of acute contrasts: tough and aggressive on one hand (the ragging acid of the opener and "Ganymede"), soft, calming and blissful on the other ("Nite's Over Comption"). Along the way, highlights are plentiful, from the heady deep house of "You Wish", sparse porno beatdown of "Look Hear Watch" and hypnotic rhythms of "Bobien Larkin", to the next generation Motor City techno of "Over You Two" and near-anthemic simplicity of "Here's Your Trance, Now Dance".
Review: The Quadrant EP, originally released in 1993 on Carl Craig's Planet E label, was a one-off project by producer duo Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, also known from their work as Basic Channel, Maurizio/M-Series, Rhythm & Sound and others. Out of print for nearly half a decade, this reissue features the two main titles that reverberate an early 90s Detroit techno vibe and combine it with an early imprint of Basic Channel's timeless trademark sound aesthetic.
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"