Review: It's common knowledge now that #.4.26. is Ilian Tape mainman Dario Zenker, who under this alias released a slew of hard hitting DJ tools on cult label Frozen Border - and this is his first new material under the name since five years. From the sheer terror of dynamic opener "Mono Middle", a dystopian electro number saturated in dense lo-fi fuzz, the broken beats continue on the minimal boom and thump of "Whenever Voi". But it's the B side that proclaims no more Mr. Nice Guy here, with the slamming old school energy of "Free Upload" calling to mind the early '90s sound of Djax or Pro-Jex, while "Van Cul" again demonstrates Zenker's fine ability to weave broken beat arrangements into epic, big room techno bangers.
Review: 30drop debuts on Token with From Beyond The Unknown -- a six-track journey that evokes an excommunicative sense of splendor from the outer reaches of worlds beyond. Beginning with Surrender an immediacy pulsates from the outset and dances towards the playful exuberance of The Informant -- calibrating the gears for what frequencies are to be heard in the interim. Space Beacons delights with elegant pads and wry rhythmic evocations, while Mathematical Language bursts with energies that have been long dormant since the days of Jeff Mills' The Purpose Maker. In that same vein, Visitors From The Stars is an entropic message from above, seeking out a communicative line that's emotive and conductive -- leading towards the last track of this journey. Sagan's Implication is an adroit homage to the legendary astrophysicist; leaning into melodics that are both marvelous and mysterious all at once -- similar to finding the answers that lie above us. All in all, a journey that begins by looking past what's diegetic and looking for answers past the narrative presented.
Review: Surface Records has never pulled any punches as one of the UK's toughest techno labels, and The 65D Mavericks have embodied the same spirit with their charged, lyrically provocative approach. After a lengthy hiatus label and artist are back in action, and sounding as fierce as ever. "False Prophets" is not for the faint hearted - an avalanche of thunderous drums and expletive-laden diatribes. "Cosmic Drift" is marginally more meditative, but still positively unhinged in its execution. "You Lost Your Mind" flails around a muddy, punky swamp of deviant sonic behaviour, and "Immovable (dub)" throws one last curveball into the long grass, stripping out the bark without losing the bite of this proudly individual group of techno marauders.
Review: Often found spiraling amongst the stars, A Sagittariun takes a turn inwards for this formidable foray into tougher techno realms for MPX. The drum jack pressure is real on "No Drama", which also sports a wonderfully psychoactive synth line to wriggle into your nerve endings with potent results. Mor Elian does a killer job on the remix too, chopping up the groove to create some dynamic syncopation around that nagging synth hook. "Loose Fit" and "Hand Of Eris" on the flip keep up the percussive pressure, but there's also plenty of character rubbed into these rhythmic ripples to make it far more than a set of DJ tools.
Review: The Innate label made a sizable impact with its first release - a killer various artists 12" with Mark Hand, Lerosa and others. Now it returns with another balanced mix of established and emergent artists, leading in with a stunning A side cut from A Sagittariun delivering what might be his most beautiful production to date - a swooning, snaking slice of melodious techno that brims with emotion and canny programming. After turning heads on the first Innate release, Gilbert returns with "Polynoid," a punchy, Lately bass-powered workout with lashings of Motor City soul heaped on top. Sean Dixon completes the package with "Our Love For Music," a pointed machine mantra that maintains the classic techno tone Innate is shaping up as its MO.
Review: The Abstract Eye is Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, a producer who releases music most using the monikers GB, The Reflektor, Frankie Reyes and Julian Abelar. Five prolific, soulful/melodic tracks originally released in 2011 on Valentine Connexion, now available again courtesy of Amsterdam's always reliable Rush Hour. The extraordinarily gifted Los Angeleno creates striking electronic songs here which integrate the technological with the spiritual and ancestral. There's respectful nods to Motor City greats like Japanese Telecom ("Cool Warm Divine") and John Beltran ("Nobody Else") on here. "Nobody Else Pt. 2" channels the cyclical/minimal soul of Internal Empire era Robert Hood: absolutely sublime!
Review: Native New Yorker Adam "X" Mitchell has long been a fan of collaboration, with a long list previous sparring partners including Ancient Methods, Navario Suaro and, of course, his brother Frankie Bones. For Mutiny & Disorder, he's joined forces again with fellow techno veteran Alistair "Perc" Wells. The duo begin in typically retro-futurist fashion on "Mutiny", whose rising and falling synth lines, dense beats and clanking hits recall the early days of Roman techno. The "back-to-the-future" feel continues with the warped riffs, spacey electronics, apocalyptic textures, surging sub-bass and thunderous rhythms of flipside workout "Disorder".
Review: This time last year, Rome-based DJ/producer Adiel joined forces with fellow Italian techno heavyweight Donato Dozzy to deliver the first collaborative release on her Danza Tribale label. 12 months on she's back with another joint effort, this time in cahoots with Northern Electronics artist Anthony Linell. The pair conjure feverish, mind-altering aural textures, psychedelic acid motifs and restless drums on opener "Raso", before opting for a denser and arguably even more intense, moody and throbbing techno sound on "Decoro". Arguably best of all, though, is flipside "Punto In Aria", a surging fusion of chugging industrial bass, ghostly chords, metallic sounds and foreboding, brain-melting bass.
Review: African Nightlife is a pair of Dutch producers who cook up some intriguing and hugely original material back in the mid-nineties. Opener "4Rest" is a melange of drunken synths and hurried drums with tribal claps that sounds like little else, "Brubaker's Slide" and "Brubaker's Skank" is dub in the style of Adrian Sherwood, and closer "Make Up Your Mind" is a dark, pressurised and bass heavy rhythm detailed with myriad effects and percussive sounds that are bleak and otherworldly. That these tracks are all more than 20 years old is hard to believe because they still very much sound from the future.
Review: Par Avion collective member Agrippa returns with his first full release since last year's "Mygraine Urgraine". Once again getting playful with his titles, once again covering some vast and unforgiving terrains, each of the four cuts takes you to a different corner; "Squid Girls" is an aquatic bashy piece with its techno tendrils lashing wildly, "Dead Wait" is pure crushed stomps with a crunchy warehouse vibe while "Spice Raiders" takes us deep into techno territory; loopy, paranoid and laced with unnerving sound designs before "Scabs" brings us to a fractured close as the 'hot pick' of the EP (not sorry). Time to get Agrippa yourselves...