Review: At some point over the course of their career, almost every techno producer has begun to look beyond the confines of the club for inspiration. It appears that Lewis Fautzi has reached that point. While his previous singles and albums for the likes of Soma, Figure, BPitch Control and Pole Recordings have largely been rugged, dancefloor-focused affairs, "Insanity Department" is an altogether different beast. Altogether deeper, melodious and introspective, the album's seven atmospheric tracks draw considerable influence from deep electro, IDM, krautrock, neo-classical and off-kilter movie soundtracks. As a result, it makes for beguiling, creepy and often poignant listening.
Review: In accordance to the original concept of Polegroup founder Oscar Mulero, the latest volume in the label's ongoing Unknown Landscapes mix series offers up an "atmospheric and distinctive" journey through previously unheard music, this time mixed by label regular Lewis Fautzi. Beginning with the dark, intense and slowly creeping intensity of Christinne's "3562", Fautzi brilliantly joins the dots between clandestine, mind-altering dancefloor techno, buzzing rhythmic workouts, hypnotic psychedelic soundscapes, distorted drum jams, wild acid tracks and industrial strength body music, before concluding with arguably the most gripping and mind-altering cut of all: Adriana Lopez's pitch-black "In Mist".
Review: In the words of Axel Willner himself regarding his fifth studio album "The Follower is about old myths, finding utopia and how mankind repeatedly makes the same mistakes over and over". The title track is fairly stomping acid techno that hypnotises you with its loopy and sinister repetition until the snare drum and organ sets in around the five minute mark; transforming the track dramatically. There's also some stylish electro-pop noir in the form of "Pink Sun" while "Monte Verita" or "Soft Streams" have that classic Kompakt sound ie: ethereal and dreamy house journeys. We particularly enjoyed the droney shoegaze electronics of "Raise The Dead" and the 14 minute long closing epic "Reflecting Lights", an ambient house journey that even The Orb would be impressed by.
Review: Kompakt staple Axel Willner returns to present his sixth full-length effort for Kompakt, following up 2016's rather brilliant LP The Follower. On his latest outing, Willner is said to have looked for inspiration outside of the studio, which opened up fresh perspectives on the creation of new music. Moreover, he has stated that in a current climate of hopelessness, the album provided a sense of relief and comfort to him - providing feel good moments that he did not want to end. Indeed, Infinite Moment is a much more introspective affair than previous releases, from the brooding/slow burning opener "Made Of Steel. Made Of Stone", the smoky and glacial dub techno of "Hear Your Voice" to more evocative moments as heard on "Divide Now" or the life-affirming feel of the title track - which closes the impressive release on an optimistic note.
Review: French techno legend Terence Fixmer returns with another killer EP for Ostgut Ton since 2017's Force EP. The Planete Rouge head honcho follows up releases on aufnahme + wiedergabe, Novamute and Jealous God - so you know what to expect from the man here: bold, industrial techno loaded stright off the factory floor. From the grinding and textural hypnotism of "Shout In A Black Hole", the Millsian sci-fi aesthetics of "Fury" or the classic industrial noir of "Accelerate" to the slow burning EBM sleaze of "Expedition" - Fixmer displays yet again that he's competently consistent at whatever style he chooses throughout this riveting extended EP.
Review: Fresh from a series of 12" collaborations with Deepchord, Konstantonis Soublis AKA Fkuxion drops his first solo album in two years. As you'd expect, Ripple Effect is packed to the rafters with exceedingly atmospheric fare, as Soublis drowsily floats between melancholic deep techno, spliff-sporting dub techno haziness and moments of intense ambient bliss, some of which - not least standout "The Idea" - fix twinkling pianos and dusty samples to sweeping cinematic movements. That he achieves a balance between softly spoken dancefloor fare and head-in-the-clouds beat-less moments is no great surprise, though the album's musical richness and deeply emotive vibe may raise a few eyebrows. Recommended.
Review: Fluxion's Vibrant Forms series was launched by Basic Channel offshoot Chain Reaction at the tail end of the '90s, and gathered together previously vinyl-only cuts and previously unreleased tracks. On this third volume, the Greek producer has decided to take a different approach. In his words, this is a "proper album" rather than a compilation. It's typically atmospheric and immersive, offering up tracks that nestle somewhere between minimal techno hypnotism, smoker-friendly dub techno, and deliciously spaced out ambient dub. Rhythmically, it's a little more eclectic and mixed-up than we've come to expect, but his core values - use of space, tape delay and lo-fi aural textures - remain in tact throughout.
Review: Alexander Khaliulin first donned the Flying Cobra alias earlier this year for an album on Space Of Variants that neatly showcased his seemingly innate grasp of atmospheric dub techno soundscapes. "Flowers Decay Quickly" is the producer's surprisingly speedy follow-up. It's another heady and intoxicating affair, with Khaliulin sashaying between the languid, head-in-the-clouds ambient of "Emanation", the gentle but hypnotic dub techno shapes of "Sleepless" and "Way Above", the sun-kissed laziness of "Night Walk" and the fantastically dubbed-out, slow motion soundscapes such as yearning closing cut "Light Of Truth Has Gone Out".
Review: Given that Four Tet's recent 0181 LP was comprised of material from Kieran Hebden's archives, and last year's Pink was largely compiled of tracks from the previous 18 months of 12" releases, it seems fair to say that Beautiful Rewind is his first proper album since 2010's There Is Love In You, and as such, it arrives with some degree of expectation. The past few years have seen the producer engage increasingly with the dancefloor, and these rhythms are most definitely present across the LP, particularly in the jungle breaks of "Kool FM", pirate radio-influenced techno of "Buchla" and hesitant dubstep style rhythms of "Parallel Jalebi". For the most part however Beautiful Rewind is as varied as the likes of Rounds and There Is Love In You, with the minimalist kosmische of "Ba Teaches Yoga", analogue gurgles of "Crush" and dawn chorus sounds of closer "Your Body Feels" all as beautiful as his most enduring tracks.