Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
Following the successful reception of klodio's debut EP, the Tokyo-based producer spent the year playing shows in Japan with various upcoming artists like Fulbert and label co-founder Alixkun, and taking part in disruptive events such as Pow Wow School of Music.
When klodio decided it was time to start recording his second EP, he took a slightly different direction, going from Techno-influenced Detroit House to House-influenced Detroit Techno. "Shinagawa Sunrise" is a fast-paced retro-futuristic Jazz jam which climaxes on a fantastic sax solo by the young and talented Ilia Skibinsky. Daiba goes a step further in this Techno journey, flowing from glowing, light, syncopated chords to a dark and aggressive atmosphere, and back again to the relaxing chords.
More polished, singular, deep, and yet aggressive than "Toktroit", "Rainbow Bridge EP" brings another stone in the Asia-infused universe that the French producer is bringing to the world of electronic music.
Review: P-Balans continues to shed light on the more unusual underbelly of the Romanian scene, taking a few cues from the dominant minimal scene but adding plenty of analogue weirdness into the mix to provide a genuine alternative for those who like a little more spice in their sauce. On this release Khidja and Delusion Men team up for some off-kilter trips into subversive danceability, starting with the subtle, wavey acid of "Strayed" before cartwheeling into the spooky delights of "Recurrent Weakness". The ghoulish theme gets ramped up to 11 on "Ghost Caravan", where a deathly slow beat carries all kinds of undead synth work, and then Borusiade takes "Recurrent Weakness" to task with a pinging, plunging remix for the end of days.
Review: Melbourne's Short Black label has been relatively sporadic with its releases up until now, having started back in 2013 with Matt Kennedy's Together At 2am EP and dropping the third release on the label back in 2016, Rustal's Privilege. Hopefully this excellent new transmission from newcomer Tristan Kino will be the start of more productivity from the crew. The EP starts off in fine style with the nervy, reduced acid twitch of "Yggdrassil", while at the other end of the record "Niddhog" presents a tougher, darker throwdown crafted for seedy techno dancefloors. Johannes Volk has been snapped up for remix duties, and does a sterling service with the metallic clang of his version of "Niddhog".
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After launching Brush & Broom with two solo releases, maverick German producer Kalbata keeps his followers guessing yet again with this collaborative release with the equally unpredictable Maayan Nidam. "The Town" is a surefire party starter made up of catchy bleep lines, quivering rhythmic flashes and lots of shimmering FX sends that suggest this was a live jam from two talented producers locked in the groove. "Chrome Moon" takes a deeper, more meditative approach without losing those heavy echo chamber washes, where the spring reverb and buckwild delay feedback rein supreme. Wonderful, free-tripping results from an unexpected meeting of minds.
Review: Kreon & Lemos continue their exploration of dubby motifs and crafty beat programming on this latest missive for Equivalence, and at this point it's safe to say anything could be possible from the adventurous Greek duo. Each of the artists has a side across which to express their own vision of "Avatone", starting off with Kreon. The urgency of the funky breakbeat rhythms powering both versions is hard to resist, with Kreon's version ramping up the nagging synth lines in between the drums while Lemos opts for a more meditative refrain around the intricate percussion.
Review: After their last release under the labels Ornate Music (UK) and Finale Sessions (US), Ka One & St-Sene are back with a special Flyance Records release. REWORK: the action of redoing, correcting or rebuilding"; that is the spirit they put in this Ep with those four House music anthems of those consider today as the father figures of this music. Without sampling, replaying all the keyboards and arpeggio, they turned thoses anthems into modern acid and techno vibe. From 1989 to 2015 Ka One & St-Sene give great tribute at Lil Louis, Mr Fingers, Kerri Chandler and Laurent Garnier.
Review: Hailing from Crimea, Stas Karpenkov's Krym Mryk label is a direct line into the most intriguing techno-oriented diversions transmitting from Russia and Ukraine. In a similar vein to the likes of Udacha and Ghost Zvuk, Krym Mryk is brimming with the kind of originality and expression that makes records such as these essential purchases. "Entity" presents a calm, icy ambient lead in before the quivering, dubby techno pulse of "Yevpatoriya Satellite". "I've Had Enough To Look Down" is a writhing, biomechanical synth work out of the highest order, and "Windswept" finishes the EP off in a gentle blizzard of drones. A serious draw for this record as well is the Stanislav Tolkachev remix, which nudges "Yevpatoriya Satellite" into dynamic broken techno territory with a powerful synth wave channel coursing through it.
Review: Kalbata has turned his hand to many styles over the years, not least the excellent soundsystem explorations of Congo Beat The Drum, but on this second release for his label Brush & Broom, he's decided to fling himself into the fiery pit of acid while paying tribute to 90s motocross bikes. "Honda" is dripping with 303, punctuated by a twitchy set of drums, while "Yamaha" takes a diversion into moodier territory, letting hazy chords set the tone for an energised but defiantly heads down acid workout. "Suzuki" is a bit spicier, capturing the essence of 'up-for-it' early Trax Records but edging it into more hypnotic, looped up territory. "Toyota" finishes the EP off with an atonal bleep out with an electro undercarriage.
Review: Brit in Melbourne Kloke follows up previous releases on this impressive NYC label (and sterling effort in 2014 on Sub Squared) with something different. The intense Latin percussion workout of "PHONE" sounds like Sergio Mendes on steroids in this relentless epic, while "Rhythm #1" is more restrained in its exotic execution. Jamal Moss does an impressive job as ever on the remix. His analogue hardware jam turning the track into something else completely.
Review: The resurgence of Icelandic techno continues with the latest release on AE Recordings, seeing Bjarnar Jonsson returning to his long standing Ohm project alongside emergent talent Kvadrant. The pair were last seen on Kvadarant's Kontakt label, and their production partnership is clearly still yielding quality, dubbed out techno in the finest Scandinavian tradition. Even if all the tracks are built with a steely techno focus to them, the synth work and sound design scattered throughout the tracks elevates this to a higher level, not least on the bubbling geisers of signal processing that course through the middle of "Grip".
Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Following rock solid entries from Ben Sims, Markus Suckut and Alan Fitzpatrick, Mosaic's Red Series continues apace in 2017 with a firing three-tracker from German scene stalwart Andre Kronert. "A Track Called Jinx" is a slow and nervy slice of bleepy techno that says a lot with the barest of ingredients. "The Bottom Line" is a more feisty concern, raising the tempo and the intensity without losing that loopy quality that shoots straight into the dark heart of the night. "Pressure Dub" represents the more experimental side of Kronert's output, using sparse materials to create a minimalist megalith.
Review: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
K'Alexi Shelby - "That Old Chicago" (Sims JFF edit)
Scott Franka - "Francine" (Acid mix)
Barrow Boy - "Shacid"
Review: Stealth Mission has a rugged, old skool approach to acid techno that makes it seriously potent material for those who like their parties dark and nasty. The likes of Andreas Gehm (RIP) and Mark Ambrose have appeared on the label before, and now there's a third selection of scuffed and scraped warehouse belters to feast your ears on. Naked Eye People are back once again with an understated breakbeat roll and a devilish 303 line on "Jungle Acid," while K'Alexi Shelby takes no prisoners on the brittle drum jacker "That Old Chicago." Scott Franka's "Francine" is a surprisingly emotive but no less gritty acid trip, and then Barrow Boy ramps up the intensity with squelchy techno beast "Shacid."
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: For 22 years now Zhark Recordings Berlin has been operating relentlessly on an alternative technoid vision. The keystone of this vision is an approach of full artistic autonomy in full front against the demons of the momentariness, reproduction and stagnation, which were ever present in these past 20 years. This endeavor intensified over the years leading to numerous releases on all types of medium. With the vinyl catalogue number 30 the big K is setting out ONE more TIME to settle the score presenting yet another wrenching collection of DANCE Variations. The Haunting chains of a demoralized sorcerer in HINRICH, the shattering congas of a sinister entity in RATTLE DISCO, the euphoric bawling of a merciless god in LET ME FLY AWAY FROM YOU, the alternating motives of growing tension, clarity and unavoidable obscuration in the UNDERNEATH the 4th Alignment. All these motives are entangled in layers of a fierce percussive bombardment.
Review: 47016 is Killawatt's third solo EP on 47. The 12" vinyl and digital formats will be released on July 20th 2018. A1 'Accupunk' thrashes and beats with complex rhythm programming. A2 'The Roamer' continues with high-velocity alien minimalism. B1 'Polar Polemic' slows the pace to heavy stepping with cyborg talk. And B2 'Glacia Systemic' decelerates even more so the voices and synth-lines are glaciers twisting in space. Portsmouth, UK-based producer and DJ Killawatt released the solo EPs 47010 and 47012 in 2017, and featured on the label's first release 47001 with label head Tommy Four Seven.