Review: Having swiftly carved a niche for himself amongst the likes of Perc, Ben Gibson returns to Sect to deliver more of his brooding and engaging techno. There's a great emphasis on sound design and atmospherics in the two tracks on Quien Es?, as ominous clangs and tense tones hang heavy over rugged drum workouts. "Ceased To Gasp" is the more industrial of the two, but still allows for a melodic slant in the cavernous echoes that define the track. "Remain" adopt a swirling, psychedelic approach to sonic decoration that draws you in just as it continues flooring you, like all good techno should. Highly recommended.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally SUED co-founder SVN (real name Sven Rieger) has delivered a debut solo album. Ominously, the accompanying release sheet only features the following words: "the end of an era". Perhaps we'll find out more about what that means in future; for now, we can enjoy "Mechine", because it's as strange, off-kilter, inspired and involving as we've come to expect. Rieger's analogue-rich sound takes elements from a number of styles and sounds - acid, ambient, electronica, ultra-deep house, mid-90s IDM, ghetto-tech, weird slow jams etc - without fully embracing any. As a result, "Mechine" is quirky and curious, but also full-to-bursting with leftfield gems that will variously soothe, seduce and surprise the senses.
Review: Teste are back, but not without reminding us why they are so revered. Their track "The Wipe, originally released in 1992, is often credited as a forbearer to a style of techno described as bassline driven, and a style long championed by Munich label Prologue. So before Teste release any new music, Edit Select has extended their famous cut so the wormhole experience of "The Wipe" can last all the more longer. The real treat though is "Ascender", a brand new production between Teste and Edit Select which is similar to "The Wipe" only it swaps foreboding sounds for something lighter and the results are transcendental.
Review: 2020 marks the 30th birthday of Network Records, a label that did arguably more than any other in the early 90s to champion both US and UK techno. As part of their celebrations they'll be reissuing some key singles and albums from their catalogue, starting with this 1991 compilation of key Derrick May productions. Now stretched across two slabs of wax rather than one to guarantee a louder cut, "Innovator" contains a wealth of vital early Motor City techno classics, from the acid-powered insanity of "Nude Photo" and the rushing, piano-heavy rush of "Strings of Life", to the thrilling sci-fi futurism of "Wiggin" and the deep techno warmth of "Hand Over Hand".
Review: Minilogue member Sebastian Mullaert has been rapidly building on his reputation in recent years, and now he gets to enjoy an expansive double pack release on Default Position with plenty of remixers on board for the ride as well. The "Vocal Expression" of "Samunnati" is a sleek house jam sprinkled with shimmering chords, while the "In That Distorted Light" mix is a more cosmic, arpeggio-filled affair that aligns with the deep techno tendencies of the original. Wa Wu We heads into icy minimal territory on the "Simplification" version, while Knutsson/Berg take a nimble but ultimately simple approach in reducing the track down to a subtle core.
Review: Over the last couple of years, Phase Fatale and Silent Servant have spent a lot of time working together, regularly joining forces for live shows at left-of-centre electronic music events across Europe. This EP is, according to the label releasing it, the duo's attempt to "harness the cathartic energy of the stage into a physical medium". In other words, these are studio versions of regular live favourites. Energy abounds through out, from the Nitzer Ebb-ish stripped-back thump of A-side "Plastic Motion" (all restless arpeggio lines and creepy industrial noises), to the Cabaret Volitaire in full industrial funk mode shenanigans of "Confess". "Tausend Heilige", a particularly metallic, triple time trip into angular industrial territory, completes a fine EP.
Review: Some all-Italian electro action here, as Nicola Laporchio AKA Cosmic Garden joins forces with Lunar Orbiter Program regular CEM3340 for four tracks of intergalactic dancefloor fun. They begin with a spot of "Psychoanalysis", a veritable all-action affair in which melancholic motifs stretch out atop crunchy beats and an aggressive, Drexciyan bassline, before flitting between deeper and darker sections on the similarly forthright "31 Seconds". "Square Wave" sees them opt for a more robotic sound - think tumbling, crystalline lead lines and fizzing analogue bass - while "70100" brilliantly combines the twin attractions of off-kilter electro-funk grooves and shimmering, deep space electronics.
Review: Space Of Variants recently described this collaboration between label artists Aura Minimum (real name Vladislav Ishkov) and Flying Cobra (Alexander Khaliulin) as "modern deep sound goodies". While that's a little vague, it's certainly accurate. Across a range of solo and jointly produced tracks, the pair explores a warm, hazy, atmospheric and quietly colourful sound that emphasizes meditative ambient electronics - drowsy chords, drifting motifs and yearning melodies - over the hypnotic dub techno and deep techno grooves that nestle below. It's a formula that results in a hugely soothing, ear-pleasing and smile-inducing listening experience.
Review: During their time as Nexus 21, Altern-8 pair Mark Archer and Chris Peat were given the opportunity to head to Detroit and record with some of their techno heroes, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May included. "Made In Detroit" presents these rare and significant recordings for the first time, offering a suite of tracks that fix UK-style bleep melodies (all the rage in late 1989/early 1990) to the kind of fizzing rhythms, warm bass and futuristic electronics then popular in the Motor City. There are two versions of house-tempo standout "Don't Do It Like That" (one with a whispered lead vocal by Ann Saunderson), while the clanking and metallic "Nexus" and more ghostly "No Statues" accurately fuse the best bits of both British and American techno at the time.
Laika (Dantiez Saunderson’s Deep Journeys remix) (7:37)
Review: Stephane Lefrancois & Jameson Gilvarry team up for the latest 12" from the Secret Music label and find inspiration from a canine icon of space travel. "Laika" is named in honour of the first cosmonaut dog, depicted here on the cover art and Lefrancois and Gilvarry convey her journey through an uplifting, rolling techno cut that doesn't seem to stop building. Complementing the original is a remix from Dantiez Saunderson who strips down the groove, while giving it a swung, offbeat feel. Staying true to the original, this version also introduces another layer of melodic synths, extending the journey, making it deeper and moody. The booming, clean low end and bouncy high end keep the groove propelling forward.
Review: A self-titled record on a self-title label, Syne is a new project from Dennis Huddleston who has previously been found twirling out ambient material as 36. There's an elegiac, B12-esque beauty to the tracks on this album, not least swooning opener "Syne 1". Grand synth orchestrations are the order of the day, from the bittersweet "Syne 4" to the looming murk of "Syne 5". At every turn Huddleston's proficiency for richly harmonic composition shines through, and strapped to a set of simply crafted beats it makes for some truly powerful ambient techno.
Review: New York techno mainstay Reade Truth has skirted around widespread recognition with a long-standing commitment to underground techno approaches recognised by those that know as some of the best in the business. This release sees him dust down the first release on his label Path, 20 years after it originally did the business. It's high time tracks like "The Path" that get a fresh airing - the dynamic, detailed approach to drum programming and warm acid undulations sound as relevant now as they did back then. "319" is a more reflective jam that heads into emotive, moody territory that highlights the breadth in Truth's sound, before "Give Me Insanity" round things up by taking it super-deep thanks to expansive pad sweeps and shimmering hats aplenty.
Review: Since 2016, Stockholm outfit Viagra Boys has offered up a swathe of singles that excitedly veer between heavy post-punk, krautrock and angry, riff-powered alternative rock. "Street Worms", their debut album, boasts the same swaggering, lo-fi approach as their previous singles, zipping between the fuzz-fuelled dancefloor stomp of "Amphetanarchy", the growling riffs and razor-sharp solos of "Shrimp Shack", the mangled sax solos, bellowed vocals and tempo-changing insanity of "Sports" and the low-slung brilliance of "Slow Learner", which boasts far more funk than much of the rest of the album put together. This CD edition includes a quintet of bonus cuts, with the skewed Americana-80s alt-rock fusion of "Beijing Taxi" and throbbing "Special Helmet" standing out.
Review: Eric Cloutier has decided to launch a new offshoot to his consistently impressive Palinoia label. The basic idea seems to be limited edition EPs featuring tried-and-tested club cuts from like-minded machine abusers. To begin this sub-label debut in style, he offers up a killer cut from pal Donato Dozzy that's as hypnotic and mind-altering as you'd expect. Built around a rock solid kick-drum pattern, hissing cymbals and a deep bassline, "Aquatica" is sparse, unearthly and intoxicating, with trippy noises, metallic electronics and watery sounds bubbling across the sound space. Cloutier takes over on side B with "Ekpyrosis", a thrusting, muscular mixture of locked-in grooves, faintly foreboding psychedelic acid motifs and the kind of swelling chords that make your synapses snap.
Review: On his first solo release for some three years, Robag Wruhme is in a retrospective kind of mood. "Wuzzelbud FF" has been trailed as a "stylistic follow-up" to 2004 debut album, "Wuzzelbud KK", with the long-serving German producer stating his desire to make some "straightforward music for the dancefloor". It's certainly true that the set contains some genuinely serviceable club cuts - see the mildly foreboding techno growl of "Provol Eto", delightfully metallic and wonky tech-house bump of the title track and creepy stomp of "Veddel Braav" - but there's so much more to it than that. Elsewhere on the set, Wruhme memorably turns his hand to glacial ambient, turn-of-the-90s ambient techno, B12 style IDM and, on the memorable "Maiowu", the kind of Squarepusher and Autechre style madness that would once have been called "drill and bass".
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: Also known as Damaskin or Nino, Seraphim Rytm has been rolling through the underground for some time, shoring up at labels like New York Haunted, Silent Season and Batti Batti. Now the shadowy entity drifts onto the equally shadowy Alpengluhen label with the subliminal throb of Mount Sinai, a four part rumination that will plunge you deep down into the depths of techno meditation. "Part 1" is a sumptuous affair that places the undulating bass front and centre for a long, entrancing ride, while "Part 2" weaves delicate chiming tones and subtle percussive ripples into the mix with ample reverb dripping over everything. "Part 3" is where things really space out with a high frequency wall of sound that has a coruscating effect, and then "Part 4" plunges right back into the depths with a low end pulse and distant dread pads that will leave a distinct chill in the room.
Review: The shadowy, techno oriented CEMENT label launched last year with a split release featuring Owen Jay, Molegrip, Cyan341 and CMNT (most likely someone affiliated with the label). Now they're back for round two, and a similar format follows leading in with Mateo Murphy and the linear dub techno immersion of "Black River". Sonitus Eco comes up next with the more spaced out, back room hypnosis of "Ruffcut", CMNT is back once again with the needling arps of "White Heat" and Fourmatic completes the package with a dark and epic electro extravaganza in the form of "Ectosketch".
Review: Some 20 years after "If" first hit stores, Jeff Mills has decided to get his old pal Terrence Parker to remix it. He's done a rather good job, with both versions making great use of Mills' ghostly original chord sequences and two different variations on the mesmerizing, seemingly drifting scat-style vocals that was arguably the track's most memorable feature. The A-side "Vox Soul Mix" includes new vocals in the original style by Marachka, whose haunting but soulful improvisations brilliantly rise above metronomic techno drums, spacey effects and those now famous chords. The similar sounding "Original Remix" is a little tougher and weightier, with tooled-up percussion (check the restless hi-hats) underpinning Anna F's original scat vocal and Mills' ethereal, ambient style chords.