Review: With this release, the Zenker Brothers' Ilian Tape label has delivered something of a curveball. It sees experimental D&B producer and all round bass head Djrum join the party, sharing space with unknown quantity Struction. Djrum begins with broken techno gem "Untitled 9", cutting up sweaty broken beats, heavy basslines and deep techno electronics. On the flip, we are treated to the sounds of Struction, combining punchy breakbeats with ambient-influenced electronics on the rolling "Don't Blame", before moving further towards beat-less, end-of-night territory with the acid-flecked trip that is "Struktur".
Review: In 2012, the Zenker brothers introduced a new series on their Ilian Tape imprint: The Bias Tapes. We are now into the third edition come 2018 and it's a great one, we must say. Like the name may suggest, The Munich Edition features some heroes of the local scene such as Kareem El Morr: who delivers the dark side electro bass of "Eros 404", likewise label boss Dario Z. (ft. Maurice P.) goes down the same toute on "CEJ". Elsewhere, dubby and cyclical warehouse techno in the vein of G-Man can be heard on Konrad Wehrmeister's "CWS" and usual suspects Marco & Stenny hammer the message home in typically bold fashion with the emotive "Imcon".
Review: Following fine releases on Shipwrec, Natural Sciences and Return To Disorder, masked electro/techno misfit Galaxian (real name Mark Kastner) makes his first appearance on Ilian Tape. The Glasgow-based producer starts in suitably big fashion via "External Observer", where what sounds like an orchestra of synthesizers gets to work over a skittish, bass-heavy electro beat, before exploring more dystopian dancefloor pastures on the moody, alien-sounding and otherworldly "Fuzzy Clouds Of Potential Existence". On side B he gives his out-there interpretation of early jungle ("Coming Up For Air"), batters a broken computer into submission and makes electro gold out of it (the slightly melancholic "Mechanistic Control Fantasies") and soundtracks the end of days (or possibly Brexit) on weirdo closing cut "Terminal Phase".
Review: Ilian Tape continues to be code for "absolutely killing it mate" with the Zenker brothers introducing us and you to the production talents of Sciahri with the Mysterious Love 12". Spend some time with the sound clips here and you'll be hard pushed to believe this is Sciahriar Tavakoli's debut 12" as Sciahri, such is the standard of productions. Tavakoli's stated interest in the loop techno pioneered in 90s era Birmingham is very much evident on a cut like "The Dream Is True" but there's some nice little touches slipped in that give it some true personality such as the spin back in the breakdown. The title cut is a stern faced dubby number that just tunnels and tunnels away, whilst there's a cheeky strut to the way Tavakoli implements the filters on "Mind". The final track "Emblema" is the kind of techno number you want to drop right when everyone has forgotten their names.
Review: Illian Tape was responsible for releasing Sciahri's debut EP a couple of years back, so it's fitting that he's returned following a brief flirtation with Black Opal. The Florence-based producer is in a feisty mood, too, as can be heard on sparkling opener "Atonement", which sounds like the mutant offspring of West London broken beat, Detroit futurism and abstract techno. Its' pleasing positivity is removed on the accompanying Pessimist Remix, which brilliantly turns it into a grouchy, moody, bass-heavy shuffler. Flip for the tantalizing creepiness of clandestine ambient shuffler "Enemy Sound", and the deeper, heads-down broken techno grooves of "Departure".
Review: Stenny has been one of Ilian Tape's most reliable and prolific artists over the last few years. Consume IV marks his fifth appearance of the Zenker brothers' imprint, and sees him joining the dots between hardcore-era breakbeat house, techno and UK garage. Opener "Lights On" brilliantly fuses together loose rave breaks and spacey deep house chords, while "Consumer's Tool" is a bumpin' garage roller complete with skipping New Jersey beats and bass-heavy British attitude. Stenny heads back towards standard techno territory on the heavy and hypnotic "Scanner", before breaking up the beats once more on the bruk-goes-to-Detroit-via-Sheffield loveliness of "Westward".
Review: Ilian Tape overlords the Zenker Brothers have long been fans of Surgeon's brand of no-holds-barred, industrial-strength techno. While the Birmingham-born producer has previously played live at label events, this blistering three-tracker marks his first outing for the Munich based imprint. Interestingly, opener "The Golden Sea" is arguably a little dreamier and warmer than much of his output, with melancholic chords and bubbly electronic motifs riding a forthright and intergalactic techno groove. Elsewhere, "Aqua Marina" wraps more alien-sounding lead lines and shimmering chords around a more stripped-back, redlined rhythm track and "Hostages Of The Deep" sounds like a far-sighted fusion of classic Surgeon, Drexciya and Livity Sound.
Review: Argentina's Andres Zacco has form with Ilian Tape, debuting on the Zenker Brothers-helmed label back in 2011. Zacco is back in the IT fold, but this time it's through the label's X Series, a chapter reserved to more spontaneous white label action. As such, "Thaw" is a sublime mass of percussion riding solo on a soundscape, before being punched into shape by a powerful kick drum, while "Quirt" is more of a stripped-back techno slitherer for DJ tool use. Flip the wax and you'll find the weighty kicks and morphing sonics of "Beighty", alongside Ilian Tape's Rupcy's distorted, big room reinterpretation of "Thaw". All killer, no filler.
Review: Ilian Tape welcomes a new artist to the roster here, as Zeki 808 offers up an EP that defies easy categorization. Check first opener "Present", where ghostly techno chords and bubbly electro style melodies ride stuttering sub-bass and elastic post-dubstep beats, before admiring the even more prominent analogue bass and echoing drum hits of "Hole Flow". "Mersh" is a full-throttle number built around military-strength Belgian "hoover bass" and skittish beats, while "Live Wire" looks to Grime and mangled 21st century digi-dub for inspiration. To round things off, "White Label" brings the ruffneck breakbeat heat while dubstep number "The Beach" takes deep sub-bass and Sheffield style bleep noises to epic new levels. Impressive stuff all told.
Review: In recent times the Zenker Brothers seem to have spent more time running their inspired Ilian Tape imprint than they have producing music. While we'd hardly criticize their choices - Ilian Tape goes from strength to strength - it's certainly good to have them back. The Munich-based siblings begin their first outing of 2020 with the melodious, far-sighted electro shuffle of "Shaketown", before wrapping mangled, mind-altering electronic riffs around a crunchy techno groove of "Chi Boost". "Bengel Mode" sees the siblings successfully combine alien-sounding riffs with a denser techno rhythm track, while closing cut "Outside" is a sparkling trip into hypnotic, slow-release ambient techno territory with nary a kick-drum in sight.
Review: It's double trouble again from ever reliable Bavarian brethren: Dario and Marco Zenker. The Ilian Tape head honchos seem to look for inspiration from the West Midlands techno scene circa the mid '90s. The splintered, full-throttle machinations of A side cut "Sorting Peanuts" call to mind Force + Form era Surgeon with its stuttered and jarring pace - making equal room for tension and suspense. On the flip, the greyscale factory floor stomp of "Sample Predator" will please fans of the Downwards back catalogue - British Murder Boys and Female in particular.
Review: The Zenker Brothers and their Ilian Tape venture get stronger by the minute, and here Marco flies solo with this latest EP, sounding in utterly rude health with it. "Geezin" is a distinctive opener, ditching standard 4/4 propulsion in favour of an airy drum machine arrangement infected with the slightest flurries of hardcore breaks and offset by wistful synth patterns. It's a curious combination that works magnificently, but for those wanting something a little more direct "Splifer" is on hand to deliver a more classically Zenker techno mantra. "Darai" brings the swing back in fine style, throwing down a chunky stomp to match the sizzling hats, and then "Lubiana" wrecks the surroundings with its magnificent pummel of low end percussion and gritty production values.
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").
Review: Having established their Ilian Tape label over a wealth of 12" releases these past few years, the brothers Zenker have expanded its remit to include artist albums in the most thrilling of fashions. Their own Immersion LP set the tone early last year, and now it's the turn of fellow Munich-based DJ and producer Skee Mask with the superb Shred. This 12-track set follows a couple of Ilian Tape singles from Skee Mask which marked him out as a producer of real potential but he's really outdone himself on Shred. There is a faint concept for those that want one, an expansion on his interest in snow and glacier caps, but it's easy enough to plunge headfirst and enjoy this LP on the merits of the music alone. Ambient pieces slide into thunderous techno productions and thrilling sideways turns into broken junglist cuts and vintage IDM sounding diversions.
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: The rise of Ilian Tape has been piloted by Dario and Marco Zenker with a steady assurance, so it makes perfect sense for the brothers to helm the first long player project from the Munich label. Immersion is a vibrant, atmospheric stroll through their various influences and inspirations with plenty to admire amongst the ten tracks. There is the bustling, leftfield breakbeat techno of "TSV WB" and pounding "High Club" (a no-nonsense dancefloor assault blessed with occasional eyes-closed chords), as well as sublime tech-jazz of "Cornel 21" and pitched-down junglisms of "Innef Runs". Interestingly, there are also a number of crusty, distorted ambient interludes, with "Erbquake" sounding particularly potent.