Review: The heat just keeps coming from the EYA camp as they swiftly follow up LONEWOLF 003 with this crucial care package from Kiev's Zolaa. Moody atmospheres abound on the stripped and stalking electro opener "Silver Needle, Golden Pain" before giving way to the decidedly cheekier acid snapper "Noctivagant". "Horiy Spokiy" broadens the remit of the record too, taking on a widescreen sound that takes in rich layers of melodic counterpoint to create a vivid soundscape that still kicks in all the right places. Then Etienne drops in a remix for the B2 which shakes things up with some breezy, feel good chords to counteract the punchy thrust of the drums.
Review: To mark the 50th release on his now 20-year-old Neroli imprint, head honcho Volcov has asked friends and label artists to deliver "heart-warming melodies and atmospheric songs" that in some way draw inspiration from the Brian Eno piece after which the label was named. It's a neat idea and one that has resulted in a string of superb pieces, many of which sit somewhere between ambient, new age and the "Fourth World" work of Jon Hassell. Highlights include - but are no way limited to - the eyes-closed jazz guitar solos and deep space electronics of Gerald Mitchell, Volcov and Pirahnahead's "Snow", the sun-bright bliss of Patrice Scott's "Untitled", the fretless bass-sporting cinematic rush of Kirk Degiorgio's "Leave Everything Behind" and the ultra-deep liquid techno that is Fred P's "Star Crossed".
Review: Fabrice Lig on DJ Bone's Subject Detroit label backed with killer remixes from Aaron Carl and DJ Bone! Allegedly stored in the Subject archives for some time, "Hmong Dignity" is finally unleashed and the original will be familiar to anyone that's witnessed a DJ Bone set in recent years. Eminently raw, but filled with melody thanks to those chords and restless riffs, "Hmong Dignity" is a fine example of how Detroit influenced European techno. A remix from the late, great Aaron Carl opens the B Side, lending the track a familiar dose of murkiness thanks to some stomach churning bass, whilst that instantly recognisable central melody is wisely retained. The accompanying remix from DJ Bone glides along on a tough techno meets electro vibe, superbly slicing up the melodic element to form an entirely different refrain.
Review: Itokim, aka Tendo-based producer Takuro Ito, aligns with DJ Bone's Subject Detroit label with the Subject Japan: Rhythm Poems EP and his opening gambit certainly leaves a dent. "Motechnique" has been a staple of Bone's 3 deck attacks in recent months and it will have eyebrows raised and mouths open from the off. Weighty but warm kicks start as they mean to go on, bursting with pace and vigour as thrusts and stabs pinprick the brooding chords. The laidback, easy-going connotations of the title to "Roll Up and Shine" are very much the ethos and aesthetic of the production, as a playful, bubbling melody sets a warm and almost sugary tone from the off before being bolstered by a suave melange of full-bodied kick and dexterous percussion. Itokim rounds off his first outing on Subject Detroit with "The Mood Device", a to the point groover that melds elements of the previous productions to stunning effect. A genuine builder of a track with a straight and true trajectory, "The Mood Device" melds innumerable coatings of percussion and synth as stabs are layered and layered again, clotting and coagulating the composition in to one delightfully deep and multidimensional slice of formidable dancefloor composite.
Review: For the sixth release on Final Chapter, Sean Dixon provides three tracks of warm and precise electronic sound complimented by a very deep and full remix from Analog Solutions label boss and director of the electronic music documentary "Beatz," Eduardo de la Calle.
Opening with Yearning and deep feel with Dixon?s trademark scattered percussion building layer by layer as the bass tones are modulated, he weaves then a complex emotion with pads and melodies. Continente takes things more towards Detroit based territory. Definite dance floor action with percussive whistles, as keys and pads seem to meld playfully throughout. Eduardo de la Calle?s take on the same track, drops things back towards the deep, with feeling of pressure and density punctuated with waves of sci-fi sound that give the feeling of being in some kind of great machine, floating in deep space. Roots of Funk provides a very danceable track using vocal samples within the music to put across a more serious idea, as synth piano?s gently echo into the distance and horns gently swell over the track.
Review: Die Orakel's superb "0114 Series" - a trilogy of 12" singles from Frankfurt artists paying tribute to the turn-of-the-90s Bleep & Bass sound of the Steel City - concludes via a suitably bass-heavy four-tracker from Koga. It's not pure Yorkshire bleep by any means, but the untitled tracks certainly include many knowing nods to the style (think deep and weighty sub-bass, alien electronics and an intoxicating, sci-fi fired late-night mood. Interestingly, Koga's extensive use of breakbeats throughout is perhaps closer in tone to the "Bleep and Breaks" sound that sprung up in London from early 1990 onwards, though the boldness of the bass is thoroughly in keeping with the aesthetics of Warp's early Rob Gordon-mastered releases. Either way, all four cuts are superb, whether or not you're a bleep aficionado.
Review: 18 months after Perseus Traxx brought Flight Recorder his first E.P, dedicated to four of the nine Muses of ancient Greece, the label now ushers in the second instalment dedicated to four more Muses, on Goddesses Of Inspiration II. The feel is the same as before with jagged cutting tones jammed live then edited down. Heavy synths and scattered drums perform an ode characterising the appropriate Muses, as tangled wires and a pair of hands wrench the overload of inspiration they give from basic machines. Once again Perseus' release on Flight Recorder is a unique set of acid-free sonic experiments, that sometimes feel as cold and edgy, as they do warm and carefree.
Laika (Dantiez Saunderson’s Deep Journeys remix) (7:37)
Review: Stephane Lefrancois & Jameson Gilvarry team up for the latest 12" from the Secret Music label and find inspiration from a canine icon of space travel. "Laika" is named in honour of the first cosmonaut dog, depicted here on the cover art and Lefrancois and Gilvarry convey her journey through an uplifting, rolling techno cut that doesn't seem to stop building. Complementing the original is a remix from Dantiez Saunderson who strips down the groove, while giving it a swung, offbeat feel. Staying true to the original, this version also introduces another layer of melodic synths, extending the journey, making it deeper and moody. The booming, clean low end and bouncy high end keep the groove propelling forward.
Review: SORN002 welcomes another experimental beat maker tot he fold. Asan is likely from another planet. His take on techno is like no other. Expect wild drum patterns, freaky synths and alien grooves. Synth Lord Steve Moore strips things back in a way only he can and creates an arpeggiated synth journey which you'd never tire of, even if it was 45 minutes long!
Review: Fresh off introducing the Bulb project from William Burnett and Crimes Of The Future bosses Tim Fairplay and Scott Fraser, the label adds to its growing roster of artists with the introduction of Tapan. Steeped in Belgrade's club scene as residents at Disco Not Disco, Tapan are evidently well equipped to the Crimes cause on the basis of the two productions presented here; both "Volumes" and "Who's There?" are creeping, slow techno numbers rich with psychedelic qualities with the latter featuring some fine guitar work from Vladimir Djordjevic. Willie Burns and Drvg Cvltvre have been collared to remix the title track and both opt to up the tempo whilst taking "Volumes" in distinctly different directions. The former reimagines the track as heavily processed shoegaze techno that could feasibly have surfaced during the Hacienda's pomp, whilst the latter mutates "Volumes" into an exercise in dank acid.
Review: Valcrond Video invites you into the world of Helmer's "Roccale". Helmer's second release picks up the pummel that began with his first release, and continues the attack with three tracks of thoughtful, pulsing darkness. "You Say I for Me" presents a forbidding metallic landscape, a snake winds through it in the aural form of an eerie growl, making its way among the crunch and clutter to periodically emerge and rear with menace. "Corrib chun Mask" is what they play for prisoners sentenced to hard labor in the gulag of the future, if hard labor = dancing for days. "spry -Env", the closing piece on Roccale, is perhaps Helmer's most masterfully evocative. We have walked in on a ritual, dominated by an incense pendulum that swings and smokes, and carries with it the sound of an ancient transgression.
Review: Electro heads take note, Gaetan Votion is here with his emergent Aquatronics alias looking to celebrate everything Drexciyan. From the project title to the sounds on this latest 12", you can hear the influence of Gerald Donald and James Stinson faithfully channeled - the important thing is Votion has done a good job of it. "Wave Gliders" is awash with rich, sweeping pads and underpinned by chunky bass synths, while "Ocean Myst" takes things under the waves with beautifully rendered aqueous atmospherics. "Deep Horizons" is a sweeter mood with powerful chord progressions at its heart for a highly emotional listening experience. "Twilight Dive" completes the set with a mellow mood for that brings a perfect sense of balance to this top drawer EP.
Review: "Abyssopelagic" is the third release on Tresor Berlin resident Marcel Heeses label Finitude Music. This time he teamed up with d_func. aka legendary Berlin producer Alexander Kowalski who has been around for almost 20 years and surely needs no further introduction. The title track is a slow piece of nautical Techno aiming at the bigger floors. As the title suggests the B-Side includes a stripped-down version of "Abyssopelagic" for the deeper moments on the floor.
Review: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
The First Rebirth (Reinier Zonneveld remix) (6:51)
The First Rebirth (5:54)
Review: Bonzai is one of those labels - if you're familiar then you know exactly which side of the stylistic debate(s) the imprint falls on. A bonafide trance institution that made a name for itself back in the genre's 90s heyday, dedicated followers and disciples will be delighted to know that even with the much more techno-leaning Reinier Zonneveld on remix duties, this one is firmly in the neon end of the dance spectrum. While the alternative version holds little back, including its roots in the laser-reaching mania of the source material, the original still manages to make that seem slow by way of a ferocious and frantic pulse beat which juggernauts its way below sirens and choral samples. One thing's for sure, you're not getting away from either very easily.
Review: Libertine's 14th release is something of a beast: a double-EP from sometime My Own Jupiter Producer Do Or Die that squeezes in nine impressively varied tracks. The fast-rising producer's roots are of course in techno and electro, but he's not shy in exploring every avenue of these wide-ranging genres. For proof, compare and contrast the acid-fired, new wave-influenced bubbliness of "Galactic Bang Bang", the fast-paced acid-electro intensity of "Blackmail", the Italo-disco style throb-job "Morning To Lose", and the chiming, all-action cheeriness of quirky closing cut "Small Town Yoky 11". The rest of the double-pack maintains this interconnected eclecticism, portraying Do Or Die as a producer with a head full of ideas and an eccentric musical vision of his own.
Review: According to Jared Wilson, the debut release on the freshly minted Jason, Jared and Brian's Records imprint is dedicated to (and influenced by), "Roland, Dinsync, Social Entropy Engine and the Pacific Northwest". Musically, it's not a great departure from his usual robust, acid-fired, club-focused style, but that's no bad thing. Perhaps the pick of the bunch is A-side "Acid Remake (Lynwood New mix)", where undulating TB-303 acid lines bubble away atop a snappy house beat and suitably intergalactic, Motor City techno style chords. Elsewhere, "Lynwood 23" is a more boisterous if bittersweet acid techno workout, while "Lynwood Engine" is deep, melancholic and undeniably alien sounding.
Review: There can be nothing finer than a new hit of techno direct from the D. Brian Kage is the man behind the beats here and references the current coronavirus pandemic numerous times, starting with opener "Lockdown." It's a corrugate and jacking cut run through with acid lines and airy hi hats. "Hold On Pain Ends" is a warm dub current awash with subtle synth effects and a hypnotic sense of tension, then "That Woman From Michigan" features spoken word news snippets based on advice to stay at home and stay safe while acid lines undulate below in ever deeper circles. "FU Covid-19" is the tense, angsty techno banger you might expect of such a title.
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: 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: End of Level Boss Records is a joint project from Tusk and Cyclonix celebrating the world of video game technostalgia through electronic music. End Of Level Boss 1 Ganondorf. Ganondorf is the humanoid form of Ganon, the ultimate embodiment of evil and hatred, the nemesis of Link, and the final boss in many of the Legend of Zelda games. Ganondorf is a formidable sorcerer and a shapeshifter. His hatred is so intense that he can survive even the total obliteration of his body and remain conscious. An ultimate bad ass.
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: Presented in 5mm spine, LTD edition full-artwork colour sleeve which fits Parts 1-3. Having scored on Mosiac, Bodyparts and Project London, Kashawar returns to Autoreply to complete his critically acclaimed "Moments & Lost Memories" series. Here the young German star steps up with "Time Cures" a hook driven weapon possibly paying a slower respect to Mill's "Purpose Maker" releases. MPC style swing infects the groove on "Rise and Shine" adding soothing vocals and subtle acid lines to Side A. Flip the disc for deep, funking atmospherics on "Knotting" and "Spheres" adds some of Kashawar's early morning dub magic to the package. Look out for repressed Parts 1 & 2 to complete your collection!
Review: The Heavy Thinker EP finds the legend that is DJ Skull back on SECT to regale our ears and limbs with further precious techno and house gems! "Bazzar" hits the spot with beautifully harmonious synths and a techno funk guitar lick that will keep you dancing forever. "Heavy Thinker" is a delirious peak time dance floor killer, working organic drum programming against techno siren and ominous kalimba hook. "Power" is all about the old school Detroit strings and tones, setting a steady pace to keep the momentum going into the small hours. Finally, "Rise" has those unmistakable Chicago house values emerging once more, as keys and strings lift the spirits to elevate mind and body.
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: 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: 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.