Review: AvantRoots apparently spent a year putting together their dub techno focused "Espectrum" compilation prior to its release in 2016. We're not sure how long they spent on this sampler for the expanded, digital sequel, but we can confirm that it's every bit as alluring. Toki Fuko kicks things off with the sparse, Basic Channel style dub techno minimalism of "Druid (Dub)" - all subtle shifts and echoing, ultra-deep motifs - before Segue combines hushed, locked-in drums with fluid ambient textures on the drowsy and picturesque "Stepping Up". Sibling impresses with the similarly opaque and soft-focus flipside opener (and Drhamer collaboration) "Tunnel Vision (Dub)", while Beat Pharmacy's "Hemp (Dub)" brilliantly wraps tactile, tropical-sounding synth riffs around an undulating bassline and ultra-deep drums.
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: Ryan Hunn AKA Illum Sphere has impressively grown and matured as a producer since making his debut on Fat City back in 2009. His 2014 debut album, Ghosts of Then & Now, was something of a watershed moment, tempering his experimental, bass-heavy dancefloor compositions with a newfound love of cinematic sounds. Glass arguably moves further in the latter direction. While there are some nods towards his club-ready past - see the 4/4 shuffle of "Fall Into Water", or the moody electro bounce of "Fuel The Fire" - it's not the beats that dominate, but rather his evocative chord progressions and IDM style melodies. In fact, it's the more sanguine, ambient inspired cuts, of which there are numerous, that really stand out.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Second time around for B12's superb sophomore set, the dystopian, sci-fi themed "Time Tourist". On its initial release in 1996, the album was marketed as a 22nd century "educational soundtrack" to the "primitive past" (I.E the late 20th century). It's a theme entirely in keeping with the original ethos of Detroit techno, and it's no surprise that the accompanying music offered a typically "Artificial Intelligence"-era slant on the Motor City sound, re-imagining the work of the Belleville three as a killer suite of ambient techno, intelligent techno and dreamy ambient cuts. This edition has been expanded by the addition of four previously unheard tracks that originally missed the cut, all of which are as breathtakingly good as those that did. In a word: essential.
Review: It's been some six years since Caroline "Miss Kittin" Herve and Michel "The Hacker" Amato last delivered fresh material together. While we await further news of their long-mooted comeback, there's this tasty EP of previously unheard archive material to enjoy. Made up of tracks recorded between 1997 and '99 - when their production partnership was in its' infancy - The Lost Tracks Volume 1 contains a number of fuzzy, stylish, floor-friendly bangers, from the S&M-themed madness of opener "Leather Forever" and stripped-back electro gem "Nightlife" (a tribute to Berlin clubs of the period, apparently), to the high-tempo acid-loaded freakishness of "Loving The Alien". Top-notch sleaze.
Review: Greyhouse was the first of many aliases adopted by Dutch DJ/producer Marcel Hol. In the late 80's the first signs of 90's optimism and euphoria started. Marcel was young, creative and ambitious because he got his hands on some new equipment like the sampler. Electronic music was within reach. Greyhouse landed a recording contract with Hip Hop Records, a dance label founded by Erik Van Vliet based in Rotterdam. In 1989 he released his debut single "Move To The Groove / New Beats The House." Renaat Vandepapeliere from R & S Records cleverly spotted the record's potential. re-releasing it with "New Beats The House" as the A-side With this new exposure the song became one of the biggest hits of a New Beat sub-genre called Hard Beat.
Review: We are proud to release 'Fortunate Isolation' the sophomore album from Borusiade. Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, Borusiade aka Miruna Boruzescu started DJ-ing in 2002 as one of the very few female DJs in the city's emerging alternative clubbing scene. Influenced by a classical musical education, a bachelor in film direction and fascinated by raw electronic sounds, Borusiade first combined these universes in the construction of her DJ sets and starting 2005 also in her music production. A sound of her own has slowly crystallized, often dark with poignant bass lines, obsessive themes and by all means melodic. She has released EPs on labels like Pinkman, Unterton, Cititrax, Correspondant and Comeme, who released her debut album 'A Body' in 2018. 'Fortunate Isolation' is perhaps Borusiade's most personal release to date.
Massimiliano Pagliara - "I Am Running All My Drum Machines At Once & Dancing"
Mike Dunn - "A Groove"
Playground Productionz - "Orgy"
Eli Escobar - "Tension" (vinyl mix)
Alcatraz Harry - "Ode To Frankfurt"
Lory D - "Deep Acoustic"
Tomahawk - "Forever Free"
Anno Stamm - "A Night Out With Therese"
Denis Sulta - "Dubelle Oh XX"
Konakov - "Clonki" (part II)
Mr G - "Transient"
Basic Channel - "Q11" (part I)
Fango - "Vena Cava"
Tessela - "Up"
Ricardo Villalobos - "Logohitz"
Dean & Deluca - "A2"
Robert Hood - "The Pace"
Overmow - "Convulsions"
POM POM - "POM POM 18 B2"
Review: Up next on DJ Kicks' acclaimed mix series is Numbers doyen and Glaswegian iconJackmaster. In his own words, the 24-track mix sees the charismatic Scot 'delivering an honest journey, unearthing a serious passion for the obscure boundaries of house and techno.' This double LP lifts out eight of the tracks most other DJs will want to get their mitts on, and joins the dots between his hometown of Glasgow with Denis Sulta's festival destroying bass driven epic "MSNJ", then NYC; with Eli Escobar's gutsy EBM-flavoured 'Tension (vinyl mix)". Berlin's status as a dance music mecca is referenced with Dutch transplant Anno Stamm's dark house stomper "A Night Out With Therese" and the legend himself Ricardo Villalobos, with his minimal techno classic from 1996 "Logohitz". DJ Kicks throw in a CD of the mix too!
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: Matt Cheon & Co. unearth yet more rare gems from old school electro fiends Caroline Herve & Michael Amato here, on the second volume of Lost Trax. As story has it, after the French duo met at a rave in their native Grenoble in the early '90s, they made music heavily influenced by 80s synth, post-punk and Italo disco. Bored by the techno scene at the time, they set out out to lighten the serious tone and bring a campy sexiness to the dour musical landscape. From the sexy, four-to-the-floor EBM of "Upstart", the Drexciyan style "Love On" with its aquatic bass assault, or the classic Miss Kittin & The Hacker sound of old on the monochromatic" The Building" featuring the former's trademark deadpan vocal delivery.
Review: The vital Dark Entries label welcome Lisbon producer Photonz for his debut album here. The esteemed artist has been making moves for a decade now but none so big as this comprehensive and subversive long player. "Nuit" is an album of cold wave synths and shimmering industrialism, of skittish beat patterns and cosmic melodies like "Shifting Symbols" and the more jacking drum patterns and celestial keys of "Shakti", as well as tender piano pieces and tripped out electronics such as "Lusting". It's a widescreen affair that takes in a whole range of moods and grooves with equal elan.
Review: While the cover may lead you into thinking this is another crucial cult drop from the forgotten '80s on Dark Entries, Sepehr Alimagham is in fact a contemporary cat operating out of San Francisco with a steadily swelling catalogue to his name. This album follows up a sizable EP for Berlin label Spe:c last year, and draws you in fast and effectively with its seductive brand of nightwalker electro. From the slithering drum machine beats to the artful reverb deployment, there's a tangible atmosphere Sepehr seems keen to draw you into - one where the streets are lit by flickering neon lights and disembodied voices echo down haunted alleyways. It's sinister, but not excessively gloomy - the kind of creepy electro that Dark Entries was built for.
Review: "Grey Skies In A Dear Green Place" is the debut Dark Entries release from Fear-E aka Glasgow's Scott McKay. It comes after 10 years of hard hitting DJ sets and productions on labels like Dixon Avenue Basement Jams and is packed from to back with rib-rattling, foundation-shaking techno. There are raw jack tracks like "Acid Conversion 5", deep but frenzied bangers like "Craig's Wee Sweet Shop" and mechanical melodic explorations like "Approach It Like A '90s DnB Banger". There's even a bit of hyper speed electro in closer "The Mouth From The South" that shows another equally effective side to McKay's sound.
Review: Hugo Capablanca may be best known for his more disco-minded output from his time on Gomma Records, but increasingly his scattered output and his label have been reaching towards more abrasive material. Nothing will prepare you for the confrontational nature of this daring, 'no label' transmission. The artwork alone is enough to challenge the senses, while the opening track is a metallic drone that gives way to the distended mutant beats of "Top Less". Guy Debord is no less cut throat in delivering a "Disco Punish" remix of "Lap Dance" on the B-side, all deconstructed groove and guttural noise, and then "Dance Less" rounds the record off with another excursion into unsettling, heavily processed noise.
Review: Smersh was the New Jersey duo Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard, who started out in the late 1970s. By 1981, their improvised live jams had already produced countless recordings and the duo began releasing cassettes via their own Atlas King label. Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond their native Piscataway, N.J. as their tapes made their way across the world and led to releases on dozens of other labels internationally. Josh Cheon & Co. describe the pair's sound as 'a lush hybrid of techno, industrial, dance, and experimental' although "Sideways" is an 18 minute long epic that dwells on the border between acid techno and breakneck electro in our opinion. There's a couple of modern reshapes too that are worth mentioning: James T Cotton's rave rendition injects some Amen breakbeats into it and comes off sounding like early U.R. circa '92. After all, he is from Detroit himself and would have lived through the period. He then dons the Charles Manier alias once again for an early EBM styled remix which was the winner for us.
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: The more Omar S material we get onto our shelves, the better off we all are. We love him, as you probably well know. The Detroit misfit has this knack for making simple house and techno sound rich and full of soul. That's not to say that he can't lay down some roughness and, in fact, that's exactly what we love about him. This EP, in particular, is one we've been wanting for a while' it's Alex O Smith at his damn best the whole way through, providing the dirt and the shine simultaneously. "Blown Valvetrane" is an absolute beat of an EP, a classic Detroit killer with an FX-drenched percussion, a simple drum machine groove and a whole heap of supreme nastiness - an absolute winner! "Busaru Beats" is a murky, distorted monster that lays in the shadows of its more aggressive A-side sibling, and "Deep Valve Cover" provides that classic Omar S hit; a joint that'll blow your mind with its utter simplicity and shady demeanour. SICK and BACK IN.