Review: BOOM! Our favourites, Cititrax, roll the third editions of Tracks out onto our shelves, and the results are unsurprisingly strong on this excellent various artists comp. It's a mixed bag of skills, as per usual, and the sounds are those of a new NYC, fuelled by a new sort of post-industrial sensibility. Amato Y Mariana open with the tight beats and groove of "Queires Bailar", followed closely by the ominous compositions of the EBM-flavoured "Montgat" from The Sixteen Steps. On the flip, His Dirty Secrets bleeps out some morphed acid on "Structures", and "Another Stranger" from Further Reductions churns out a slow, mild-mannered house experiment with its roots clearly planted in the coldest of waves. Sick.
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.
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.
Heidi Sabertoorh - "So You Want To Take Back Your Will" (6:37)
Synapse - "Shiny" (locked groove) (0:30)
Somatic Responses - "Strategy Of Desire" (5:22)
John Selway - "Brainchild" (5:29)
Pointsman - "Dirty Shirt" (locked groove) (0:30)
Review: Seminal New York City imprint Serotonin lives on. John Selway and Jason Szostek present It's What We Live For: Volume 2 - the second in a series of compilations sharing their vision of sounds of tomorrow. Szostek himself dons the well known BPMF alias again for some fierce breakbeat techno action on "Zu Heib Fur Uns", the equally legendary Healy brothers aka Somatic Response still going strong - as heard on the slo-mo acid trance journey "Strategy Of Desire" and relative newcomer Heidi Sabertooth of Opal Onyx delivers some sludgy electro-punk antics on "So You Want To Take Back Your Will". There's some handy locked grooves on the electro-bass tip featured too by Synapse and Pointsman, which were pretty wicked too.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
Heretic - "We Are Left To Dance In The Ashes" (7:45)
Review: In Celebration of 10 years of Modularz We present a very special 40th vinyl release, focusing more on the deeper side of the label pushing a more melodic and chord progressive sound. Written and produced by label head Developer, Ukrainian producer Rhomb and new comers Astronomical Telegram from Colombia and Heretic from the UK. Together compile a great compilation that will destroy floors for years to come.
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: If the smiley face clad centre label wasn't a sizeable enough clue, Happy Family is a new project from New York staples Eric Duncan and Justin Vandervolgen which sees the pair try their hand at acid house. Both are closely associated with disco edits of course, but if you've seen either DJ you'll know they are well up on all forms of dance music. This expertise is deployed perfectly on the two tracks here, with "Burnt" a relentless exercise in strobelit 303 madness that is a no brainer for the sweatiest part of a DJ set. They tone it down a bit on "Hard To Breathe" which despite the title is an altogether looser production with plenty of room between the tumbling drums and hypnotic lead synth lines.
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Review: 20/20 Vision have firmly gaffa taped their flag to the electro antennae with "Exit Planet Earth", a new compilation series celebrating veterans and newcomers in the business of tweaked out machine funk. The Hacker is up first with "Positif/Negatif", a rubbery, FX-laden workout with plenty of uneasy space around the core rhythm section. 214 follows up with the decidedly creepy, sound design-embellished "Testy Robot". On the flip Reedale Rise brings something a bit livelier with the plush synth flex pinging through "Lux". Derek Carr completes the set with "The Gap", a lush slice of melancholic machine dreaming for mellower moments.
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Review: For his first outing of 2020, Kyle Hall returns to the label he founded last year, Forget The Clock, with a suitably strong five-track missive. Check first languid opener "Shark", a splash around in crystal clear waters where simmering chords, luscious pads and glassy-eyed melodic motifs stretch out over bubbly, Latin-tinged drum machine beats and a dubby bassline. Hall makes bolder strides towards the dancefloor on lo-fi house cut "Vexed", before doffing a cap to Larry Heard and Ron Trent on the gorgeous deep house positivity of "Distant". Elsewhere, "Slam Deep" joins the dots between Steve Poindexter and the 2000 Black style of jazzy broken beat, while "Channel & Transmission" is a skewed skip through wonky deep house/jazz-funk fusion.
Review: It's been a little while since Kyle Hall dropped his album The Boat Party, but now the Detroit powerhouse is back on Hyperdub to indulge the freakier end of his studio output inline with his previous Kaychunk 12" for Kode 9's outpost. "Girl U So Strong" is a stirring beast of a track, starting in scattered fragments of bass patterns, vocal snippets and woodblock hits, gradually forming into a starlit stepper of the highest calibre. "Take Me Away" comes on like a Detroit take on the Purple phenomenon, all sticky synth lines and Mega Drive melodies but roughed up with ample grittiness.
Review: Yaleesa Hall returns to his Will & Ink imprint with some fascinating techno derivatives on the Hayley Laura EP, although these are much more straight ahead than his usual stripped down experiments - best heard on his 2016 debut album. Beginning with the electro-bass assault of "Zoe Price" bringing that UK style sound popularised by Carl Finlow or Radioactive Man in true style. "Hayley Roach" with its splintered beats and and tunnelling sequences are reminiscent of Regis' output in the late '90s, while "Laura Pomeroy" being the the most atmospheric cut on offer here - going down a more lush and hypnotic route. This is the first solo output from the Amsterdam based producer on the label.
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: Colin Volvert's Kalahari Oyster Cult label continues to feed our minds with devilishly decent dance music that joyously grapples with classic rave tropes while bringing an undeniable freshness. Following a recent single from Nathan Melija and the excellent Systems E.P. 1 various artists 12", they're welcoming Hame DJ to the label for some tripped-out, trance-speckled breakbeat rollers from the surrealist dimension. "On 1" is a taut and punchy workout with loom bird samples, sharp chord stabs and sensual atmospherics, while "Zoot" takes things in a classic chill-out room direction with dubby bass and pinging synth modulations cascading through a sparse rhythmic terrain. "Nightlife" is a lusher strain of ambient techno with a smattering of acid, and "Erosion" rides a slow breakbeat and amps up the moody meditations to get the chuggy crowd going even deeper inside.
Review: Josefine Hellstrom Hansson's debut track "Water Cave" on HMWLA received ADJ support from AIlario Alicante, Robert Babicz, Piemont, Slam, Paco Osuna, Horse Meat Disco, Nick Warren, Gabriel Ananda and Ame. Now the Malmo-based producer and DJ readies a three track techno / house EP on HMWL's vinyl sublabel Heartbreak Records. On A-side alongside "Water Cave" Josefine offers a peak hour techno weapon called "Sensus". On B-side we find the smooth melodic "Volcanics" at 118 BPM while fellow swede Martinez deconstructs Sensus into a jazzy, mellow piece of minimal tech.
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