Review: Three years in, Blackhall & Bookless' Jaunt label is becoming a serious force for forward thinking, fractured techno exploration. On this split EP with Chad, the duo take the A-side and present two different versions of "Links". The "Battle rework" is a tense and dramatic tumble through dub techno soundscapes, while the "Bleak remix" pares the elements down to a more focused, minimalist thrum. Chad presents a wholly different vibe on the flip, using rich, warm synthesiser tones to draw you in to "Afters", and then Scenery regular ASOK takes up remix duties on the track with an immersive version that borders on breakbeat.
Review: Paris talents Armless Kid and Aes are back together sharing a hot slab of wax for the Luud label. Yes takes the a-side and gets us underway with deep cosmic house and sauced out breaks of jazz-tinged gem "Jhonedo." "WAYD" ups the ante with fluttering sheet metal snares and ticking hits that ride over bumpy kicks for a truly sci-fi adventure. Armless Kid goes for a scintillating techno cut with warped acid and manic percussion working you into a lather on"603" then a wonky house kicker on "604" that will unhinge any club.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Fresh off introducing the Bulb project from William Burnett and Crimes Of The Future bosses Tim Fairplay and Scott Fraser, the label adds to its growing roster of artists with the introduction of Tapan. Steeped in Belgrade's club scene as residents at Disco Not Disco, Tapan are evidently well equipped to the Crimes cause on the basis of the two productions presented here; both "Volumes" and "Who's There?" are creeping, slow techno numbers rich with psychedelic qualities with the latter featuring some fine guitar work from Vladimir Djordjevic. Willie Burns and Drvg Cvltvre have been collared to remix the title track and both opt to up the tempo whilst taking "Volumes" in distinctly different directions. The former reimagines the track as heavily processed shoegaze techno that could feasibly have surfaced during the Hacienda's pomp, whilst the latter mutates "Volumes" into an exercise in dank acid.
Review: These days, we're all familiar with Jan Jelinek's trademark brand of dusty, dubbed-out, jazz-sampling downtempo explorations. That wasn't the case when Loop Finding Jazz Records, his acclaimed debut album, first appeared back in 2001. It has since become an in-demand item, making this reissue more than handy. It remains a fine album; a blazed shuffle through a sonic world where dub techno, ambient, minimal house, jazz and downtempo grooves and seductive vinyl crackle merge into one intoxicating hybrid sound. It's not showy and over-the-top, but rather becalmed and subtly seductive. In other words, it's still a brilliant album and if you don't own already own a copy, you should add this to your cart sharpish.
Review: The third Skudge album is here. Dedication to details, attention to structure and a tireless pursuit of that specific and circular sound. The contextual element of 'Time Tracks' seem to be placed in-between the most cordial music that Skudge has presented up until now, as well as bridging the singularity and adrenaline from the previous albums and EP's.
Review: Die Orakel's superb "0114 Series" - a trilogy of 12" singles from Frankfurt artists paying tribute to the turn-of-the-90s Bleep & Bass sound of the Steel City - concludes via a suitably bass-heavy four-tracker from Koga. It's not pure Yorkshire bleep by any means, but the untitled tracks certainly include many knowing nods to the style (think deep and weighty sub-bass, alien electronics and an intoxicating, sci-fi fired late-night mood. Interestingly, Koga's extensive use of breakbeats throughout is perhaps closer in tone to the "Bleep and Breaks" sound that sprung up in London from early 1990 onwards, though the boldness of the bass is thoroughly in keeping with the aesthetics of Warp's early Rob Gordon-mastered releases. Either way, all four cuts are superb, whether or not you're a bleep aficionado.
Review: Welcome to Saike, a new French label that debuts with a collaborative project from Hadone and Shlomo. As Viper Diva the pair brings together their disparate respective backgrounds into brain frying new forms that are part techno, part rave, part trance. Particularly on the thrusty opener "Born To Be Slytherin" (Tbilisi mix) which is an all out assault with bright chords and menacing drums. "En Y" is a frosty and frozen affair, while "Hold Me Back" is a retro white knuckle ride through hardcore techno. "Cold Heart Prediction" closes at 100 miles an hour, with no prisoners taken along the way. This is high octane stuff, for sure.
Review: Anyone who has caught Helena Hauff in action will excitedly tell you that she's one of underground electronic music's top DJs - a mixer who combines top-notch technical skills with an exhaustive knowledge of music to deliver distinctive sets that set her apart from the crowd. It's for this reason that her contribution to Tresor's "Kern" mix series has been so hotly anticipated. Having now given it a listen, we can confirm that the two-disc mix-up is every bit as good as we'd hoped, with Hauff surging through a breathless, 32-track selection built around scuzzy, fuzzy and forthright slabs of electro, techno, ghetto-tech and industrial strength early UK hardcore. Piled high with rare, hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks, it may well end up being the mix of the year by some distance.
Review: Charitable acts carry more significance than ever right now, and Needs are on hand with another instalment in their brilliantly curated series to give something to those in need while also presenting some wonderful, exclusive music. This one leads in with a truly uplifting blast of sunshine from Telephones before dropping into the edgy, swinging tech-funk of Ciel's "Faye Wong Plays The Strings". Al Wootton is on point with another of his fresh and dynamic twists on the soundsystem blueprint, with a dubby, percussive vibe that should appeal to those who miss proper dubstep. Eliphino completes the set with a squashed and feverish garage thumper that sounds like it has an iconic vocalist chopped up somewhere in the signal chain.
Review: The Swedish techno hero Eric Prydz is back under the Cirez D alias, which has kicked into action full throttle recently - alongside music under the Pryda and ToNjA Holma monikers. His new main room thumper "Dare You" comes courtesy of his own esteemed imprint. From the title track and its tunnelling adventure down into the vortex, to the strobe-lit adrenaline of "The Glitch" or "Black Hole" with its druggy mid-noughties style of minimal shuffle: there's something to rock the dancefloor at any time of the morning by this A.M. expert - on Mouseville's 24th vinyl edition.
Review: After five years of on-off collaborations and side projects, Aaron 'FIT' Siegel has finally got round to making a new solo record. It's rather good, with startling A-side "Exist On" delivering a brilliant blend of breakbeat-driven turn of the '90s grooves, chunky bass, ultra-dreamy chords and the kind of bleeping top-end melodies more readily associated with the early releases of Warp Records. Title track "Formula" moves even further towards bleep techno territory via deep space chords, thumping techno beats, Kraftwerkian lead lines and the kind of distorted analogue bass found on LIES releases, while "Wayne County Stomp" sounds like a mutated, mind-altering cover of Steve Poindexter's "Computer Madness".
Review: For Finitude Music's 5th release, label owner Marcel Heese and Alexander Kowalski aka d_func. share their visions on ""Thought Control"".
Both tracks on the EP harbour the same intent, but each of them approaches it in a different way. d_func.'s take revolves around Sahko-like bleeps - if you are into early Mika Vainio or Sleeparchive - look no further! But instead of being loopy, it's definitely a builder. Its original trance track-like structure is sure to rock many an underground dancefloor.
Marcel's vision is slower and less straight-forward but creates and maintains a high tension. Based on dense a bassline and intricate soundscapes, it builds up slowly, only to explode halfway through. An extra payoff also comes at the very end of a track - its noise/ambient outro making a perfect way to wrap up an amazing party at 8AM somewhere deep in the heart of Berlin.
Review: For the sixth release on Final Chapter, Sean Dixon provides three tracks of warm and precise electronic sound complimented by a very deep and full remix from Analog Solutions label boss and director of the electronic music documentary "Beatz," Eduardo de la Calle.
Opening with Yearning and deep feel with Dixon?s trademark scattered percussion building layer by layer as the bass tones are modulated, he weaves then a complex emotion with pads and melodies. Continente takes things more towards Detroit based territory. Definite dance floor action with percussive whistles, as keys and pads seem to meld playfully throughout. Eduardo de la Calle?s take on the same track, drops things back towards the deep, with feeling of pressure and density punctuated with waves of sci-fi sound that give the feeling of being in some kind of great machine, floating in deep space. Roots of Funk provides a very danceable track using vocal samples within the music to put across a more serious idea, as synth piano?s gently echo into the distance and horns gently swell over the track.
Review: After a bit of a hiatus, Roots Unit return with some deep house hybrids from their bulging vaults. "Learn To Love" is a melodic dub-house / techno infused big sound system warmer that comes from a studio session with former 2 Lone Swordsman Keith Tenniswood and will be familiar to those who tune into Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space show on the regular. "Morning Sequence" is a lovely early morning hypnotic slinky electronic house jam that gets under your skin and into your mind. This latter track is mutated into a heavy floor filler by Mark E in full on peak time mode.
Review: Turin techno stalwart Andrea has been serving up slabs of goodness on Ilian Tape since way back in 2012, though "Ritorno" is remarkably his very first full-length excursion. The 12 track set is far more varied than his fine club-focused singles, with the Italian variously turning his hand to swelling, Global Communication style ambient techno ("Attimo"), ultra-deep breakbeat dreaminess ("SKLYN"), melodious, jungle-influenced IDM ("LS September"), bassbin rattlers ("TrackQY", the skittish brilliance of moody roller "Reinf"), dreamy soundscape techno ("LG_Amb"), angular fusions of bass music and dark Italo-techno ("Drumzzy") and picturesque ambient dub slow jams ("Twin Forests").
Review: Ghetto-house originator DJ Deeon continues to dish up devilishly dancefloor-friendly material a quarter of a century after making his debut on Dance Mania. This first ChiWax outing is really rather good. As with much of his output, all bar one of the six cuts (the curiously off-beat, pitched-down "Much Respect") are powered forward by beats and basslines so springy that you'd think they were made with some future fusion of rubber and elastic. There are a few cuts that boast chopped and looped vocal stabs (see "In This House" and the classic late night ghetto-house jack of "Da Bomb"), while the A-side's three booming cuts offer subtly different takes on percussion-rich, bass-heavy ghetto-tech.
Review: Second time around for David "Move D" Moufang and Benjamin Brunn's first full-length collaboration, a set of unsurprisingly deep, minimalistic house, techno and ambient workouts that first appeared in record stores way back in 2006. It's one of those albums that's arguably best listened to while flat on your back in an intoxicated state, despite the presence of such hypnotic, early morning club workouts as "On The Magic Bus" and the dreamy and delightful "O". You see, the majority of the album's eight tracks are spaced-out in the extreme and all the more alluring for it, as Moufang and Brunn expertly showcase their ability to create impeccable slices of hushed, otherworldly electronic minimalism.
Review: The heat just keeps coming from the EYA camp as they swiftly follow up LONEWOLF 003 with this crucial care package from Kiev's Zolaa. Moody atmospheres abound on the stripped and stalking electro opener "Silver Needle, Golden Pain" before giving way to the decidedly cheekier acid snapper "Noctivagant". "Horiy Spokiy" broadens the remit of the record too, taking on a widescreen sound that takes in rich layers of melodic counterpoint to create a vivid soundscape that still kicks in all the right places. Then Etienne drops in a remix for the B2 which shakes things up with some breezy, feel good chords to counteract the punchy thrust of the drums.
Review: Electro titan Zeta Reticula, otherwise known as Slovenian hero Umek, is back with another salvo of heavy-hitting belters for your bag. "Digital Card" is a highly strung workout loaded with searing lead lines to stir up all kinds of intense emotions, which Exzakt and BFX rework into a bleep laden, low-blowing machine funk fest. "Endless Clue" finds Reticula amping up the dystopian theatrics even harder, while "Message In Code" takes a leaner approach with a mean tempered low-end synth and some gnarly acid to get you freakin' in all the right ways.
Review: For the first reference, Sounds of The City is happy to welcome the mysterious Spirit Of The Black 808, responsible for one of the hottest pieces of wax in 2013 for Eargasmic Recordings in Chicago. Invasion Of The Black Bass is also following the Eargasmic record in terms of style. It's warm in every way and infectious. Let's get invaded with Invasion of the Black Bass and Invasion of the Black House. Both tracks share the same chords grid, one could be a re-interpretation of the other. Both are very warm and melodic. Frenzy In Firenze on the other side demonstrates SB8's skills for groovy tools and more DJ oriented tunes.
Notes: Houghton Festival has become a symbolic reminder of the integrity and resilience of the dance and electronic music community in the face of sometimes challenging and unprecedented circumstances. This much is clear following the cancellation of the festival several weeks back...
Upon arrival each guest was due to be provided with a book showcasing the creative values and personality behind what has become much more than a festival. Whilst originally intended as a gift for festival attendees we are now happy to present this as a cultural offering: a book spanning 147 pages featuring hand drawn illustrations, photography, long form interviews, think pieces, musical reflection and beyond...
The annual is a collaboration between Ransom Note and Houghton.
Review: Last month Arthur Robert delivered the first part of his "Arrival" project, a club-focussed, four-track romp that combined kickdrum-powered techno rhythms with melodic elements more often found in deep house, IDM and electronica. He continues on a similar theme on part two, first peppering a hushed and clandestine techno groove with hypnotic, minor key melodies on "Cataract", before clothing a thrusting techno beat in loopy bleep motifs on "Cautious". Over on side B, "Forceful" is a moody and alien-sounding techno thumper that more than lives up to its name, while "Forever" sees Robert adding creepy and mind-altering modular sounds to an eccentric, off-beat electro rhythm.
Review: German artist Lowtec operates in the shadows, on the fringes of traditional genres where everything becomes weird, wonky and wonderful. Since 2016 he has been doing so for Swedish label Blundar, and after putting out their first EP he now returns for another that is just as unusual and otherworldly. It is made from busted drum loops, distant church bell sounds, deconstructed percussion and off grid rhythm. All four of the untiled cuts here are dark but beautiful, subtle but profound. The opener is the most intense, "Track 2" is filled with mystery and the flip takes in haunting house and rhythmic noise. This EP proves that few are more adventurous or inventive than Lowtec.
Review: Colin McGraw's MDA Analog project continues to enjoy a renaissance after more than 20 years of silence, serving up the third instalment of vintage techno with a house-spirited warmth. "Lost But Not Broken" capitalises on some particularly soaring synths to create a uniquely uplifting flavour, while "A Theory Of Everything" takes things deeper with dubby pulses underneath an ear-snagging set of keys. "Mimico Creek" has a particularly playful arrangement marked out by nimble arps and bleeps, and "Scavenger Hunt" completes the set with a punchy rhythm section and yet more plush layers of harmonic interplay.
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: 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: Parisian label Lowless follow up the stellar Svarog 12" with this intriguing paddlesteam through deepest techno waters via apparent newcomer Ameeva. The mood is resolutely ambient at the front end of this album, even as the soft-hitting, blown out beats creep in on "Hidden Inertia". There's a grubby, lo-fi quality to the sounds on offer, but they're offset by the depth of composition to create an engaging sonic environment that wraps itself around you. Plenty of dub processing and a preference for languid, subtly wielded pads adds to the gauzy finish of the record,
Review: When a white label launches from an artist called MPX with single letters for track titles, you know there's some serious techno incoming. This four track EP is brimming with rugged, street-tough energy; from the slapping drum jack and throbbing b-line pulse of opener "G" to the crunchy strut of "J." There's plenty of psychoactive flair to match the classic drum machine flourishes though - "L" has a wicked arp coursing through its veins, while "K" takes the same rhythm section and boils it down to a hypnotising whirl of techno perfection.