Review: For the latest single on Umwelt's essential Rave or Die label, the Lyon-based producer finds himself sharing vinyl space with Perc Trax regular Ansome. The South London producer handles side A, assaulting the senses via distorted breakbeats, chilling, held-note horror strings and gory electronic riffs on the industrial techno insanity of "Vakuum". Umwelt's track, "Affres", explores similar sonic territory, though his use of macabre audio loops, redlined electronics and rapid-fire, ray gun drumbeats gives the track a much more rolling and hypnotic feel. Both cuts are wild-eyed and aggressive in tone, even if they are every bit as sci-fi as classic Detroit cuts.
Five Times Of Dust - "Computer Bank" (The Floor mix) (7:12)
Five Times Of Dust - "Armoured Car" (6:57)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" (The Floor mix) (7:11)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Imponative" (3:28)
Review: Thanks to the eternally revered Minimal Wave imprint, out of NYC, Mark Phillips and Robert Lawrence's Five Times Of Dust project is going through a bit of a revival. The duo had first released some post-punk cassettes back in the 80s, and they clearly have not been forgotten. On this new remix EP, "Computer Bank" is given a makeover in the form of a The Floor remix, who proceeds to add all sorts of quirkiness over the tune's tough, heavy bass and driving rhythm; "Armoured Car" breaks the 4/4 in favour of something much closer to the band's original drum machine style. Once again, on the flip, we have a remix of "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" by The Floor, who throws up a gnarly electro bass onto shady, neo-romantic vocals, and the whole things is finished off by "Imponative" from Unovodual and Tara Cross, who produce a slow, heady industrial groove for the dancefloor.
Review: For the second outing on their offshoot label, London's Art of Dark crew has handed over the reigns to Uruguayan artist Omar Chibbaro (best known for his outings on CABARET and My Own Jupiter) and Cartulis Music co-owner Unai Trotti. Chibbaro handles side A, first offering up the rubbery bleep techno/Drexciyan electro-funk fusion of "Zum" before slamming down the blackened beats, hypnotizing bleeps and twisted acid lines of "Adheuz". Over on side B, Trotti offers two tasty peak-time workouts: the snappy, bleeping retro-futurism of "Thisorden" and "Pirupipi", where deep space chords and angular electronics cluster around a weighty, forthright groove.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the sort of music that defines Rave Or Die. Next up with some dynamite club tracks are Stranger and Umwelt, who take one side each of this new marbled 10". Stranger's "Motief" is a techno crescendo that builds on hard hitting techno drums. The urgent synths and increasingly brash hi hats work you into a manic state that is all consuming. Umwelt then gets even more abrasive with caustic synths and retro rave stabs, slapping metallic hits and pounding broken kick drums all forcing you to move on "Shut Up & Dance". This is truly arresting stuff once again from Rave Or Die.
Review: It's now accepted that label anniversary compilations and EPs should be stacked with high-grade cuts, preferably offered up by sizable or notable artists. Even so, there's something extra-special about this first part of Digbeth-based One Records' 10th anniversary EP series. Fittingly, it begins with a fresh cut from label stalwart Subb-an, a suitably heavy chunk of locked-in, early morning techno titled "Sunrise Mood", before continuing via the cut-up breakbeat fills, spacey electronics and warehouse-ready analogue bass of Adam Pits' "Pungent Method". Over on side B, Los Angeles-based Steve Urulu serves up the groovy, percussion-rich deep house/techno fusion of retro-futurist treat "Mollare Qualcuno", while Yamen & Eda drift their way through the deep breakbeat-house shuffle of "Last Dance".
After The Cremation (Area Green Green Grass version) (4:23)
Pankow (SW Electrofunk mix) (5:36)
Steamed Up Window (Skookum Reminiscence) (4:06)
Review: Mystery production unit UD returns to Kimochi, one of the more overlooked imprints of the last few years, with four new cuts and a rather fine selection of remixers to boot! The mood is pensive and the sounds are atmospheric throughout, where tracks like "Lollipop Robot" or "Adapter" stand somewhere between ambient and electro-acoustic. The remixes give the tracks slightly more dancefloor weight, and both Area Green Grass and label regular Skookum contribute with a set of pretty killer reinterpretations a-la outsider house, but the silent killer is most certainly SW's remix of "Pankow". The SUED records co-owner fixes up a wonderfully bizarre concoction of sounds and shapes, moulding them into a dubby, sparse and cinematic twister. Another fine slice of Kimochi, beautiful artwork and all.
Review: Russian label Mosaique has thus far carried some serious heat from artists like JASSS, Caron and Savage Grounds, and now they're shifting their nightmarish electro tendencies back to the various artists format of their Universe series. Umwelt leads the charge on this second installment with the eerie machine snarl of "Fallen Empire", followed up by two versions of the devilish "Sleep When You Die" by Moralez & The Horrorist. Alessandro Adriani is first up on the B side with the driving, noirish techno pulse of "Cosmic Transmissions," and then Morah rounds things off with the squelchy, spiky workout "Track 5".
Review: Material from Russian producer Unbroken Dub has been somewhat limited in recent times compared to his prolific emergence five years ago, but he resurfaces to kick off the Resonance Moscow label with more of his singular, daring techno variations. "Lullaby Arp" is certainly a bold A-side track, eschewing a beat in favour of the titular arpeggio, and amazingly he manages to make it an engrossing listen. "RX303" may have some more detectable percussion, but it's by no means a de rigeur dance track. The acid line seems to lope on its own terms while all else remains utterly restrained in its demeanour. "Factory Presets Improvisation" too heads far out with its distorted bleep tones and deconstructed electro exoskeleton.
Review: As UR continue to revisit some of their finest hours, the Detroit techno powerhouse stops on one of the most life-affirming of all their releases. "Inspiration" is as jovial as anything you can expect to hear from Mad Mike and co., motoring through a heartfelt lead synth line and fist-pumping disco undercarriage in truly anthemic style. "Transition" meanwhile is a freakier number, combining spiritual lyricism with a righteous bump of house dynamics fuelled by those futuristic melodies that define the seminal label. If you haven't felt the soul power of these timeless jams, do yourself a life-changing favour.
Review: Trustworthy techno outpost Chronicle are the kind of label you can still get behind when they drop an unnamed artist. Whoever's behind Cycle De Motifs, the bar remains reassuringly high for those wanting fresh firepower in the serious techno game. "GPS" is a fist-shaking piledriver, but it's not without its cerebral nuances between the surging low end. Who needs a kick when you can have a relentless sub to carry you through the night? "C-Signature" darts out into equally intriguing territory with a creeping, insectoid array of sound design working around a minimal beat. "Gateway To Infinity" piles the eerie, looping figures on and continues spiraling outwards, and "Nepthys" plies an old-skool drum machine jack in the finest Plastikman tradition.