Review: There's been plenty of online chatter about the confrontational title of Omar-S's latest full-length outing, and arguably not enough focus on the music itself (or the fact that the guest list contains Rick Wilhite, Norm Talley and OB Ignitt for that matter). This is unfortunate, because as usual Alex 'Omar' Smith has hit the spot. The six untitled tracks are impressively varied, with Smith effortlessly moving between 21st century P-funk (track one), cowbell-powered deep house funk (track 2), sparse and synth-heavy acid house hypnotism (track three), disco-house jack (track four), sub-heavy Detroit-meets-Sheffield minimalism (track five) and sunrise-ready dancefloor dreaminess (track six).
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: Earlier this year, Jeff Mills decided to don his occasional Millsart alias for the first time in 17 years, in order to release the fifth volume in the long-running "Every Dog Has Its Day" series. The Motor City stalwart is obviously in a rich vein of form, because he's now ready to serve up volume six, which at nine tracks deep is the series' most expansive release to date. There's much to set the pulse racing throughout, from the hybrid deep house/Detroit techno warmth of opener "Phoenix Rising" and the summery, sun-kissed tech-jazz of "What's So Funny", to the Robert Hood style Motor City minimalism of "Six By Six By Nine" and the classic, sci-fi-fired futurism of "World Wide Whoops".
Review: Given The Primitive Painter would go on to become Alter Ego it should come as no surprise to anyone that this self titled debut from 1994 still sounds incredibly polished, and manages to hit a multitude of electronic notes in one very impressive swoop - some melancholic, some otherworldly, others punchy and direct. Re-releases like this are enough to convince even the most cynical first-pressing militants of the value in re-releasing. Why shouldn't a new generation of heads be won over by the beautiful acid ravescape painted by 'A Pagan Place', the slamming toybox percussion of 'Click Song', the emotionally charged euphoric downtempo joy of appropriately-titled 'Hope' or the retro futurism of electro-stepper 'Levitation'? As essential today as it would have been 25 years ago.
Andrea Parker & David Morley - "After Dark" (8:51)
Review: Helena Hauff's distinctive musical vision has made her one of techno and electro's most unique and celebrated selectors, and it's this side of her work that's showcased on "Kern Volume 5: Exclusives & Rarities", a triple-vinyl set that focuses on the numerous hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks featured on her new DJ mix for Tresor. As you'd expect the quality threshold remains thrillingly high throughout, with Hauff focusing on fuzzy and scuzzy heavyweight slabs of electro, techno, ghetto tech and industrial-strength hardcore. Amongst the unreleased highlights are tracks from Umwelt, Machino, Galaxian, L.F.T and her good self (alongside Morah), while crate diggers will note the inclusion of rarities from Esoterik, Andrea Parker and David Morley, and DJ Godfather and DJ Starkski.
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.
Review: Not all types of techno suits the album format, though that's not an accusation you could level at Derek Carr's particular brand of melodic, sci-fi-fired retro-futurism. "Pursuit Part 1" (a second volume will drop shortly) proves this point, delivering a suite of mostly club-ready cuts that can easily be listened to from start to finish in the comfort of your own home. It's full to bursting with warm, melodious, bass-heavy tackle, much of which combines his usual starry synths and deep space electronics with grooves which are far more influenced by dub techno than much of Carr's output. Highlights include the two-part "Not Tonight", the TB-303 powered "Acid Bath", and the glistening ambient/IDM lusciousness of "Nightfall".
Review: An absolute future classic album of the incredible Derek Carr on Sushitech's sub label - Pariter.
A long journey of 15 tracks that starts with some deep and dubby chords, acidic grooves and ends up with lush string based ambients.
For the fans of Convextion, Schatrax and of course Derek himself! Huge release!
Review: Italian producer Enrico Sangiuliano may have been serving up dark and intoxicating techno twelves for the best part of a decade, but never before has he turned his hand to the full-length format. Biomorph is not just any old debut album, either, but rather a concept album described by Drumcode as "a journey of evolution". In practice, that means an album that ebbs and flows throughout, opening with a dash of spacey ambient, before charging off on a trip marked out by pulsating techno rhythms (crafted from both straight 4/4 beats and breakbeats), spiraling electronic motifs, booming, elongated basslines, experimental electronic interludes and more future big room techno anthems than the contents of Adam Beyer's USB stick. In other words, if you love Drumcode's particular brand of bombastic techno, you'll love Biomorph.
Review: Under the Special Request alias, Paul Woolford has released some stellar music this year. Astonishingly, "Offworld" is his third album of 2019; it could well be the best, too. It explores different sonic territory too, drawing heavily on electro, futurist Detroit techno, Boards of Canada style IDM and the slick 1980s productions of Jam and Lewis. The result is a stunningly beautiful, spacey and far-sighted set that contains some of Woolford's most emotion-rich work to date - and that's saying something. It also finishes in stunning style with an impeccable remix/re-make of the Grid's "Floatation" that sounds like the best early 90s Orb remix you've never heard.
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: The latest full-length excursion from the Zake Drone label brings together imprint chief Zake and Past Inside The Present collaborator Slow Dancing Society for a first collaborative outing. Comprising six slow-motion tracks that sit somewhere between drone, academic ambient, sound design, ambient techno and neo-classical, "Mirrored" is an undeniably meditative affair capable of soothing stressed minds and warming aching limbs. There are of course distinctive highlights - see the gently throbbing deep space chords and hypnotic deep techno beats of "Mirrored", the windswept-but-warm pulse of "Anamnesis" and the contemplative late night drift of "Nadir" - but the album's greatest strength is undoubtedly how it sits together as a coherent, mood-enhancing whole.
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: 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: 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: Cititrax present the sinewy synthwave sound of Tornische, a project first showcased on label boss Veronica Vasicka's Resident Advisor mix from earlier this year. We don't know much about them, but neither does it matter when the music is this good. The reference points are clear, but Tornische don't sound bogged down by nostalgia. Their tracks bristle with energy, and the interplay between the vocalists is theatric and ineffably cool in the same breath. Meanwhile the productions are deceptively nuanced even as they stalk in the raw alleyways first traipsed by plucky '80s bedroom studio dreamers.
Review: There's no shortage of great electro around at the moment, but lest we forget Carl Finlow has been dishing out some of the finest for decades now. In many ways 20/20 Vision is his spiritual home too, so it's great to see him imparting his skills for a fresh long player of razor sharp body poppers loaded with robo-funk. From charging opener "Apparatus" to freaky wriggler "Carbon Deposits", restrained creeper "Components" to punchy melodic workout "Ampere", there's a lot to enjoy and so much musical detail to absorb across this record. As if we'd expect any less from Mr. Finlow.
Review: Second time around for David "Move D" Moufang and Benjamin Brunn's first full-length collaboration, a set of unsurprisingly deep, minimalistic house, techno and ambient workouts that first appeared in record stores way back in 2006. It's one of those albums that's arguably best listened to while flat on your back in an intoxicated state, despite the presence of such hypnotic, early morning club workouts as "On The Magic Bus" and the dreamy and delightful "O". You see, the majority of the album's eight tracks are spaced-out in the extreme and all the more alluring for it, as Moufang and Brunn expertly showcase their ability to create impeccable slices of hushed, otherworldly electronic minimalism.
Review: One of the pleasing by-products of the recent electro revival has been the return of Aux 88, a legendary Detroit quartet whose armour plated, bass heavy take on the style made them one of Michigan's finest musical exports in the 1990s. "Counterparts", their first new album in ten years, is therefore big news. After opening with their warm, funk-fuelled take on Motor City techno - the sci-fi brilliance of "Intel" - the four-piece rushes through a range of killer, club-friendly electro jams in their trademark style (tough drums, funky bass, vocoder vocals). Highlights include the moody "My Electro Visions", the foreboding "Stereolized", the ghetto-tech influenced "Pothole Paradise" and the far-sighted, Cybotron-meets-Kraftwerk style goodness of "Electro In Key of Funk".
Review: Marcel Dettmann's Bad Manners label has already yielded some quality drops from the label boss and Exterminador, and now it's the turn of Vril to deliver some of his fiercest material to date. As opening track "Scalar" shows, this is Vril in full-on confrontational mode, slamming down heavyweight rave stabs and noisy drum blasts with a sound that goes beyond big room techno to something experimental in its sheer impact. The pressure remains high on "Biohak", and remains malevolent if a little more stripped down on the deadly jack of "Verkunstungstraktat". Notes of EBM and industrial lurk behind this double pack 12", but really it's just bruising modern techno with an artful twist, which seems to be the Bad Manners M.O. - one we can all get behind.
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: 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: 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: Since opting to release more music under his given name, DeepChord man Rod Modell has largely stuck to dubbed-out ambience and heady drone soundscapes. His latest full-length is a little different, though, offering up club-focused cuts that mix his usual fuzzy aural textures and dub-fired motifs with up-tempo techno rhythms. By his standards, it's a very forthright set, with highlights including the noise-soaked stomp of "Reiki", the thrusting heaviness of "ITO", the hypnotic slam of "Jade" - where breezy, early morning electronics flutter away above tough drums and a mind-altering bassline - and the boisterous peak-time techno anthem "Scrawler".
Review: Although he first appeared on Tresor back in 2011, "Trust" still marks Roger Semsroth AKA Sleeparchive's first full-length excursion for the legendary German imprint. More surprisingly, it's also his first album to appear on wax. It's a forthright, all-action affair with Semsroth peppering high-tempo, lo-fi techno beats with a variety of unsettling, creepy and mind-altering musical loops. This is fiendishly heavy club techno that takes no prisoners, though there's enough variety and melodic flashes to keep most listeners happy. Check for example the alien bleeps of deeper rub "Leave", the panicked and breathless industrial techno chase of "Fence" and the noisy, ear-pulverising insanity of "Concrete", a track that's as weighty and dense as its title suggests.
Review: During the early-to-mid 1990s, Stefan Robbers released some of the most inspired techno to come out of the Netherlands during the period, mostly under the Florence pseudonym on the Eevo Lute Muzique label he co-founded in 1991. This fine triple-vinyl compilation from Delsin tells the tale of both artist and label, drawing together the best of Robbers' work for the label. You'll find extensive liner notes from fine techno scribe Oli Warwick on the accompanying insert, but it's the music - a mixture of sci-fi flavoured club cuts, dreamy and melodious electronica, heady ambient techno, and tactile, loved-up rhythmic soundscapes - that makes "Analogue Expressions" such an essential listen.
Review: With the exception of Skee Mask and the Zenker brothers, no producer has released more EPs on Ilian Tape than Stenny. For that reason, it would be fair to say that "Upsurge", his first foray into the full-length format, is long overdue. In keeping with the creative opportunities provided by the longer format, the 12-track set is framed as a "journey through the ups and downs", with hazy strolls through ambient, IDM and dub techno sitting side by side with skittish, off-kilter and occasionally dark forays into more club-focused electro, post-jungle and broken techno territory. There are plenty of subtle variations to be found within both broad categories, with Stenny managing to provide a unified front thanks to the pleasingly atmospheric and mood-matching nature of the collected cuts.
Review: Turin techno stalwart Andrea has been serving up slabs of goodness on Ilian Tape since way back in 2012, though "Ritorno" is remarkably his very first full-length excursion. The 12 track set is far more varied than his fine club-focused singles, with the Italian variously turning his hand to swelling, Global Communication style ambient techno ("Attimo"), ultra-deep breakbeat dreaminess ("SKLYN"), melodious, jungle-influenced IDM ("LS September"), bassbin rattlers ("TrackQY", the skittish brilliance of moody roller "Reinf"), dreamy soundscape techno ("LG_Amb"), angular fusions of bass music and dark Italo-techno ("Drumzzy") and picturesque ambient dub slow jams ("Twin Forests").
A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere (4:58)
Review: Paul Woolford has spent a good chunk of his downtime over the last year or two making Special Request tracks in his pants. So much so, in fact, that he's created enough material to fill four albums, all of which will be released this year. "Vortex" is the first and is, in Woolford's own words, high on "bangers" and low on "conceptual guff". In practice, that means lots of gut-busting low-end frequencies, trippy analogue electronics, razor-sharp rave-style riffs and bustling rhythms that variously touch on electro, early '90s progressive house, breakbeat hardcore, slamming Joey Beltram style techno (see album highlight "Fahrenheit 451") and metallic, delightfully mangled drum and bass ("Fett", whose wonky electronic undulations hark back to early Woolford classic "Erotic Discourse").
Review: Following a couple of decent but arguably overlooked 12" singles, Tecwaa has decided the time is right to drop his debut album. The Swedish artist proceeds to languidly shuffle through evocative, occasionally icy tracks that variously draw influence from deep house, 1980s wave music, spiritual jazz, leftfield synth-pop, trippy electronica and chugging psychedelic disco. It's an interesting and entertaining set, with each success delay-laden track delivering a new twist on his hard-to-pigeonhole late night/early morning sound. By the time the bubbly, acid flecked "Those Cosmic Plains" rounds the album off, you'll be ready to listen to it all over again.
Backbone Of The Night (feat Riga Symphony Orchestra) (6:58)
My Mind (5:32)
Natural Cosmic Relief (3:31)
Theme Sax (3:31)
Outta Space (6:22)
Review: Those who've discovered Jimi Tenor in the last two decades would be well advised to check out this fine early retrospective from the eccentric Finnish musician. It focuses on the early years of his career (1994-2001), when he was known for serving up a bizarre but brilliant take on jazz, easy listening and lounge music - sometimes mixed with contemporary electronic sounds - for both Sahko and Warp Records. The collection contains a number of skewed, must-have late '90s underground hits (see "Outta Space", "Year Of The Apocalypse", "Sugardaddy" and the wonderfully sleazy "Take Me Baby") but also some lesser-known gems, experimental outings and even a track made with the Riga Symphony Orchestra.
The Empire Line - "Traet Av Lagen, Traet Av Systembolage" (4:33)
Puce Mary - "Violent & Delusional" (feat Varg2tm) (6:13)
Fatal - "Indolent" (4:10)
Tusagi - "Swetti" (4:36)
E-Saggila - "Blue Amps" (4:12)
JS Aurelius - "Crime Is The Highest Form Of Sensuality" (3:30)
Mischa Pavlovski - "Fra Midt Til Slutning II" (7:34)
Free The ID - "Red Fall Foliage" (5:38)
Evigt Morker - "Stege" (4:55)
Ulwhednar - "Dimman Runt Borgen" (5:01)
BHMF - "Morkertal" (4:19)
CA2 - "Taki Patch-Out" (5:02)
Age Coin - "No Corner, No Devil" (6:07)
Review: Five years after the first volume of Northern Electronics' "Scandinavian Swords" series was released, the series most expansive instalment yet hits record stores. This time round, the label is releasing it in two tripe-vinyl volumes. This is the first part and is every bit as thrilling and otherworldly as you'd expect. Across the collection you'll find all manner of wayward treats, from the thumping techno growl of Varg2tm Vtss's "VARGTSS1 (Do The Roar)" and the pitch-black EBM horror of Exploited Body's "She Blames The River", to the buzzing modular psychedelia of "Indolent" by Fatal, and the savagely cut-up jungle mutations of E-Saggila and The Pellican Company.
Review: Throughout his four year recording career, Larry "Bruce" McCarthy has managed to carve out a sonic space all of his own - one that mangles dystopian analogue techno, post-dubstep grooves, Young Echo style soundscapes, trippy electro and dub-wise sounds into thrilling new audio shapes. This unique musical mixture is the key to the success of debut album "Sonder Somatic", which cannily emphasizes the intoxicating, otherworldly side of McCarthy's output. Although there are a few dancefloor-focussed workouts on show - see the deep creep of "Baychimo", percussively punchy "What" and rugged "Cacao" - the majority of the album is more atmospheric and unusual, with clear nods towards fellow Bristol residents Young Echo, vintage IDM and the dub-fired electronica of Jay Glass Dubs.
Review: Barely six weeks after dropping her debut single on River Rapid, Henrietta Smith-Rolla pops up on Skam with a surprise debut album. As first full length excursions go, "Break Before Make" is undeniably impressive. Beginning with the spooky, minor key electronics and angular IDM rhythms of "Day Turner", the 14 track set sees Smith-Rolla successfully turn her hand to bittersweet synth-wave ("And!"), dystopian pitched-down electronica ("Guess What"), spacey electro ("Work It", "Wtfwtfwtf"), clandestine electronic soundscapes (the panicked shuffle of "Blanket Ban") and grandiose sci-fi soundtrack fare ("The Middle Middle"). Throughout, the Manchester-based producer consistently delivers otherworldly musical melancholia with a panache not associated with a producer of her relative inexperience.
Review: Back in 2008, noted experimentalist Alva Noto began a sporadic series of albums that were far more focused on dancefloor-inspired rhythms than his usual eccentric and inspiring fare. Unieqav is the third and, we're told, final part of the series. The album is apparently meant to be a sonic representation of an underwater dive, a conceptual theme which manifests itself through the storied producer's use of deep and atmospheric chords, fluid and occasionally glistening electronics, and rhythms that evoke images of ever-deeper dives into the dark, cold depths. Rhytmically, there are nods to electro, IDM, dub techno and Autechre, though the mood remains laidback and intoxicated throughout.