Review: ZamZam Sounds has been killing it of late, with Rider Shafique, Ishan Sound and Kahn's recent "When Shall We Rise" single arguably being one of their most potent releases yet. Here they continue that fine run of form via another must-check "45", this time via the artist formerly known as Deadboy, Al Wooton. A-side "Request" offers a deliciously contemporary take on steppers/dub fusion, with ricocheting electronics, humid aural textures and echoing vocal snippets jumping around above a killer bassline and bustling drums. He continues on a similar theme with "Philo", which is the kind of weighty, club-ready dub excursion that would sit well in many house and techno sets.
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: Donnell Knox and Mark Hawkins, better known as D-Knox and Marquis Hawkes respectfully, team up for a collaborative EP on Sonic Mind that speaks to their respective roots in underground techno reaching back to the 90s. "Kalamazoo" is a tough and clattering jacker with out-of-phase organ lines to send your mind spinning, while "Not The DX100" brings things front and centre for a comparatively direct, acidic workout. "Halfway" ramps up the melodic content as a displaced vocal celebrates Kalamazoo's location between Chicago and Detroit, and then "Just Let Me Go" completes the set with a tough and bumping vocal house cut.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: Carl Finlow, aka electro main-man Silicon Scally, originally released the Boot Loop EP on Billy Nasty's Electrix label back in 2013 - an aeon ago in real terms but a blink of an eye to any electro devotee. Such is the quality of the music that it's well deserving of a repress, not least given the fearsome appetite for this kind of electro now compared to seven years ago. "Conduit" and "Hashtag" are quintessential Finlow cuts, wriggling and writhing with snappy sound design riveted to the machine funk rhythm section. On the flip, Volsoc's "Orange Problem" mix of "Conduit" slips a few more melodic elements into the mix, and Radioactive Man flips "Hashtag" into a gnarly, noisy workout bowling in from leftfield.
Review: Spanish DJ and producer Hector Sandoval aka Tensal has been super busy since his first EP in 2014, turning out tens more on a range of labels including his own self titled outlet. It is the Netherlands' Cabrera that come calling for his fresh techno sounds now and in return he serves up four beauties. "Body Wounds" has gauzy textures and slamming drums as well as a free roaming bassline that rides up and down through the mix. "Super Heavy Steel" gets more industrial and mindless then "Violent Bond" hammers home a tough groove with plenty of acidic textures. Frenzied synth and pure rave goodness make closer "Undesirable" the best of the lot.
Review: Bochum Welt's 2019 album "Seafire" was arguably one of the strongest full-length sets that Central Processing Unit has released to date, which given the Sheffield-based label's track record is high praise indeed. This EP offers fresh interpretations of some of the album's many highlights. First up is a perfectly pitched radio edit of "More Light" a gorgeous slice of IDM bliss that recalls the halcyon days of Boards of Canada, which is later given a slightly chunkier - but no less beautiful - treatment by EOD and a bustling, club-ready electro re-fix, complete with Yorkshire bleeps, by veteran DJ/producer James Zabeila. Elsewhere, the ambient mix of "G1" is as luscious and blissful as you'd expect, while Teflon Tel Aviv's revision of "Color Me" is opaque, sun-kissed and more than a little spaced-out.
Review: Charitable acts carry more significance than ever right now, and Needs are on hand with another instalment in their brilliantly curated series to give something to those in need while also presenting some wonderful, exclusive music. This one leads in with a truly uplifting blast of sunshine from Telephones before dropping into the edgy, swinging tech-funk of Ciel's "Faye Wong Plays The Strings". Al Wootton is on point with another of his fresh and dynamic twists on the soundsystem blueprint, with a dubby, percussive vibe that should appeal to those who miss proper dubstep. Eliphino completes the set with a squashed and feverish garage thumper that sounds like it has an iconic vocalist chopped up somewhere in the signal chain.
Review: Seminal reissue alert! Baby Ford had already been a chart-baiting acid house superstar by the time he launched the PAL SL label in 1996. He'd left behind the major label scene and moved firmly back into the underground with exploratory techno releases on Ifach and collaborations with Mark Broom. This new label marked a shift for Ford though, setting him up for the trips into minimalist club tracks that have been his bread and butter for decades now. From the machine soul trysts of "Slow Hand" to the woozy techno thrust of "Tall For His Height" and the atmospheric house wriggle of "Kez", this release is a classic through and through. Beat the sharks and nab a copy of this long out-of-print gem.
Review: All hail the return of our goal-scoring squelch lord, Roy Of The Ravers. Kicking the grass up back where he belongs on Acid Waxa, the modern acid hero sounds as crucial as ever on this cheeky EP. "MDM Anal" is a sludgy cut revolving around a bloated bass arp and really simple kick-clap beat. "Don't Get Caught" ramps up the 303 action for some smart acid jack with a little extra spring in its step. "Acid Royale" is more of an epic saga for those who like a sense of narrative with their jack, in this case coming on like a late-'80s role-playing book. Rolling the dice and turning to the B2, we're confronted with the simultaneously gorgeous and unhinged "Go Skiing", which sounds like it could stack it on a mogul at any moment.
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: Colin McGraw's MDA Analog project continues to enjoy a renaissance after more than 20 years of silence, serving up the third instalment of vintage techno with a house-spirited warmth. "Lost But Not Broken" capitalises on some particularly soaring synths to create a uniquely uplifting flavour, while "A Theory Of Everything" takes things deeper with dubby pulses underneath an ear-snagging set of keys. "Mimico Creek" has a particularly playful arrangement marked out by nimble arps and bleeps, and "Scavenger Hunt" completes the set with a punchy rhythm section and yet more plush layers of harmonic interplay.
Review: Following on from the equally essential "The End Of" 12" released just recently on For Those That Knoe, Jaime Read is back in the spotlight with more cuts from his 1997 album "The End Of The Beginning". It makes sense then that this 12" is called "The Beginning", but the music is far from amateur material. This is elevated, evolved and exquisite deep house and techno that shows the depth and breadth the genres can reach when the machines are pushed into wild new territory. Just listen to the alien signals embedded in "Itty Bitty Pieces," a stunning electro workout that sounds unlike anything else. For any self-respecting fan of vintage UK house and techno, this release is unmissable.
Review: The sixth installment on Malin Genie's self-titled label welcomes Will & Ink resident Yaleesa Hall into the fold. Regular collaborators Malin and Yaleesa have turned out plenty of joint 12"s in the past on Will & Ink and this very label, and they sound more comfortable and sonically aligned than ever on this mighty record. There's no messing with "Alpha Decay," a loose and lysergic dubby techno workout. "Tachyon" orbits a similar soundworld, but shears the fat away for a minimal palette that sounds powerful echoing around the ample space in the mix. "Muck" slips into freaky after hours house territory, and "Stocha" drops a massive Basic Channel dub techno chord around a whisper of a beat to devastating effect.
Review: There's no doubt that Suara is one of the most popular techno labels in the world at the moment, with boss man Ivan Ramos aka Coyu heading up the imprint out of his Barcelona headquarters - accompanied by a large clowder of felines. Ramos takes charge of proceedings for the third edition in its special vinyl edition series titled 'Post War Era', featuring the thumping and syncopated tribal funk of "Newoldgen" which calls to mind golden age classics by the likes of Oliver Ho and Ben Sims from wayback when. On the flip, you've got the futuristic peak time banger "Descontrol" which is something more familiar of his usual style, and finally the pummelling mentalist tunnel vision of "Altered State" which must be fully realised in a dark warehouse under the strobe lights.
Review: The likes of Steve O'Sullivan, Baby Ford and Norm Talley have appeared on the somewhat overlooked Sushitech sub-label Pariter since 2006. Its latest release comes from Romanian trio Lisiere Collectif, who bring the techno sound of Bucharest to you on the first installment of Unknown Credentials. Member Andu Simion is well known for his rolling and glacial grooves, and in conjunction with Bogdan Ardeleanu and Dan Gheorghe they serve up two emotive and soulful excursions. The untitled A side offering is a driving, hypnotic and overall evocative journey with an undeniable nod to the Motor City sound that you could imagine Delano Smith pumping out in the AM hours. On the B side it is a more parochial affair, yet well worthy - a bumping and funky groove that's right in line with their hometown's renowned sound.
Review: Well Street keep up the heat as one of the most inventive labels operating in the liminal space between techno, dub and rhythmic mysticism. These various artist releases are also a perfect introduction to some essential new talent, and that's clear from the off with the snaking, echo chamber pressure of Box 5ive. Keppel's "Taken For Granted" is a distinctive slice of crooked 21st century soul that sports a whiff of early Kimbie / Blake in the vocals and overall attitude. Henry Greenleaf's "Snide" is a taut drum track that teases as much as it delivers, and Formant Value trips out into a meditative soundscape of pattering percussion and spacious atmospherics.
Review: London-based producer Nite Fleit has been busy over the past couple of years slinging out rough and ready club cuts with bags of personality on labels like Unknown To The Unknown and Planet Euphorique. Now she returns to Steel City Dance Discs, the Australian label that provided her first break back in 2018, with a new EP, with some rabble rousing rave busters that span styles, gleefully cherry picking the feistiest ingredients to make surefire bangers. "All New Low" is particularly fierce with its massive monosynth bassline grind and ear-snagging sample hooks. Elsewhere there's plenty of electro punishment waiting - don't sleep on B2 belter "Little Monsters" in that regard.
Review: Barcelona-based artist Cardopusher makes his bow on Bloody Mary's Dame-Music, serving up "'Conformity Kills' - an ode to all those who go against the norm" with the label head. In cahoots they are double trouble; psychedelic 303 workouts, ragged rhythms, frazzled synths and bowel-bothering bass are constant throughout. If you're looking for unrelenting workouts that will turbocharge your set, look no further. This is an EP full of hard-hitting, acidic EBM weapons.
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: Running Back Double Copy's second installment lovingly re-issues this house classic.The duo of Geoffrey Becker and Philippe Heinenonly only ever had a couple of releases on the short lived Brif Records: and this was the first. Originally released in 1998, right here is some timeless deep house that originally got lumped in with the whole French Touch scene of the time. "Akasha" (re-edit) is an evocative jam reminiscent of Pepe Bradock with its rising chords and tribal percussion really getting that sense of elevation happening. "Thank You Larry" (re-edit) is straight up deep house with diva vocals, as is "Let's Take A Break" (re-edit) but they really are an afterthought in comparison to that epic first offering, As label boss Gerd Janson said it best himself (regarding the original test pressing) "hopefully the Discogs haters won't get their knickers in a twist this time. It's old house music you fools!"
Review: For the latest missive on their fast-rising DET313 label, Gary Martin and Yossi Amoyal have dug deep into the archives of Martin's long-running Teknotika Records imprint. First up on the A-side is a re-mastered version of "A City At Night", a Martin cut from 1990 that mixes the futurist intent of Motor City techno with chunkier, UK style techno grooves and the kind of stabs and musical flourishes more associated with Robert Hood or Terrence Parker records. Side B boasts a freshly extended edit of another Martin gem - this time under the Gigi Galaxy alias - from 1994. "The Dream" more than lives up to its title, with Martin wrapping restless bass, starry lead lines, alien electronics and sumptuous chords around a hypnotic deep techno groove.