Review: Hugo Capablanca may be best known for his more disco-minded output from his time on Gomma Records, but increasingly his scattered output and his label have been reaching towards more abrasive material. Nothing will prepare you for the confrontational nature of this daring, 'no label' transmission. The artwork alone is enough to challenge the senses, while the opening track is a metallic drone that gives way to the distended mutant beats of "Top Less". Guy Debord is no less cut throat in delivering a "Disco Punish" remix of "Lap Dance" on the B-side, all deconstructed groove and guttural noise, and then "Dance Less" rounds the record off with another excursion into unsettling, heavily processed noise.
Review: Moopie's A Colourful Storm label launched earlier this year as an extension of the popular online platform that has hosted a rich and diverse stream of mixes from the likes of Imaginary Softwoods, DJ Nobu, Frak and Rabih Beaini to name a few. Pro-tip: do check that latter live mix from the Morphine boss! It was the archival sounds of Denial and their lost Oz classic cover of "California Dreaming" that heralded the arrival of A Colourful Storm, but this second release on the label switches the focus to more contemporary fare. Power Relations is a two track 12" of bad-mannered, f*cked up club trax from Melbourne's Nerve. The stomping, nocturnal techno of the title track is backed with a Photek-meets-Sunn O))) terror stepper entitled "Heads & Ordinary Concrete". For fans of Regis, Emptyset and Blackest Ever Black.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After appearing on Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder with the fiercely infectious "It's Alive!" 12", L.F.T. lands on Eye For An Eye with more gutter-bound sonics from the grungiest corners of the electro scene. There's as much noirish seduction as gnarly distortion going on throughout this deadly record, from the soundtrack steer of "Atomic Enigma" to the brittle minimal wave delights of the title track. Super punky and lo-fi in all the right places, this 12" once again confirms L.F.T. is one of the strongest voices dealing in DIY electro from the darkside.
Review: Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label plunges once more into the grimy underworld of electro and wave music, this time guided by dungeon dweller Morah who debuted on the label in 2015 and has since gone on to great things via Lux Rec, Berceuse Heroique, brokntoys and more. "I Saw, Strained Her Eyes Peering Into The Gloom" is a bittersweet dance with distortion as disheveled as it is catchy, while "Dance When Lights Off" pushes even further into the red with scintillating results. "Against Your Beloved" sounds positively shimmering by comparison, even if on its own it's still a truly dirty slice of jacked up electro. "One Shade The Less, One Ray The More" is a strong closing bout that draws from a similar sound bank and applies it to a more techno-minded structure.
Review: Having crept out of the tape undergrowth and respected haunts like Clan Destine and Always Human to earn more civilized recognition on BANK Records NYC and Bliq, Strahinja Arbutina makes the move to Vivod for yet more of that edgy, leftfield techno business that keeps mothers awake at night from worry. The grit, noise and distortion has been faithfully carried through from the cassette-based roots of Arbutina's sound, but these tracks are more than ready to do the damage in the dance (where you're less likely to find a tape deck). Hold on tight as the likes of "Way Ahead" give the sound engineer a fright when they think the system has overloaded.
Zombies Under Stress - "Maan Zal Zijn" (Svengalisghost remix)
Mark Forshaw - "Submission"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
Review: Bedouin Records enlist Thomas Feriero for some new music from his current industrial period. The former tech house man doesn't shun his roots altogether, laying down functional grooves but haunted by darker and noisier textures and tones. "Onto Duat" is clunking and intense, "Take Nothing With You" is lit up by serrated synths and oversized hi hats tethered to monstrous break beats, while "Change Your Mind" is a sludgy, paranoid cut for marching crowds. "Riot Patrol" is the best of the lot, with slow motion heaviness and a real sense of dystopian atmospherics locking you to the floor.
Review: Dark Entries are no strangers to profiling the prolific work Piscataway duo Mike Mangino and the late Chris Shepard committed to tape as Smersh, issuing a compilation of their material in late 2012 called Cassette Pets. It's fair to say a lot more people know Dark Entries now but might not be that familiar with Smersh so this new Super Solid Heavy Waste collection is a fine introduction to the US outfit. Reflecting the more beat-focused side to Smersh, the tracks were recorded between 1983 and 1993, covering the duo's most prolific period up to the year before Shepard passed away, with just "Under Your Hoop" having previously appeared on vinyl as part of the 1990 LP Emmanuelle Goes To Bangkok. Listening through it's no surprise Smersh appeared on the Borft label operated by Scandinavian pranksters Frak - there are definite sonic parallels between them.
Review: Pavel Milyakov has largely impressed since making his debut under the Buttechno alias earlier this year, delivering a pair of 12" singles that gather together short, hardware-driven experiments in a variety of dystopian styles. Here, the Russian producer debuts under his given name, once again flitting between dark and spacey dancefloor workouts, bleak broken techno, macabre electro, wonky IDM and panicky ambience. Despite the stylistic shifts, the EP hangs together impressively, thanks in no small part to Milyakov's penchant for industrial textures, tape echo and haunting melodies. If you're into the releases of L.I.E.S and Berceuse Heroique, you need this in your life.
Kaa Antilope - "Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird" (3:59)
Clan Of Xymox - "A Day" (6:40)
Ministry - "Same Old Madness" (5:10)
Fad Gadget - "Back To Nature" (5:51)
Review: With the renewed attention surrounding industrial and EBM in the last few years (and its influence on techno, again), it's important that someone with credentials gives the new generation a decent history lesson. Fitting that Berghain resident and MDR boss Marcel Dettmann curates a compilation of classics from the sound's heyday: here's someone who actually lived through it. As part of Amsterdam imprint Dekmantel's Selectors Series, these gems from yesteryear should certainly set the record straight and provide solid reference points for new school retroverts. Highlights (and there's many) include: Belgian EBM legends Front 242 with "Don't Crash", Philadelphia industrial underdogs Executive Slacks' "So Mote It Be" and the mandatory Cabs track comes in the form of "Low Cool" (the Marcel Dettmann Edit, no less). It wouldn't be a proper industrial comp without a bit of Wax Trax! would it? Label staples Ministry appear with their 1982 song "Same Old Madness", a period in the band's history that some consider their finest.
Review: After slowly building his career over the last few years via well-received singles on Rave Or Die, Khemina Records and, most recently, Perc Trax, Guillaume Labadie delivers his hotly anticipated debut album. It's something of a beast, too, with 12 lengthy tracks spread across two CDs. After scene-setting via a constantly-building blast of symphonic synth strings, new wave style guitars and crashing drum rolls ("The Beginning of the End"), Labadie sprints through bombastic, mind-altering stompers ("Crossing The Mirror"), dark and twisted soundscapes ("Impossible Love"), distorted techno thumpers ("The Night Is Our Kingdom", "You Are Not Alone"), redlined downtempo soundscapes (the filthy "Partner In Crime"), industrial strength insanity ("Romantic Pyscho") and pitch-black throb-jobs ("Eternity Is Burning").
Review: Having made his name during the late '90s and early 2000s as a maker of particularly forthright techno, Oliver Ho has broadened his horizons in recent years. Nowhere is that more obvious on his Broken English Club project, which debuted last year with a pair of industrial and EBM minded releases for Jealous God and Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. Here he returns to the latter, laying down more fuzzy, straight-to-tape journeys into analogue, mid '80s dancefloor experimentalism. There's naturally much to enjoy, from the peak Cabaret Voltaire grittiness of "Drycutting", and the bleak EBM throb of "Ritual Killing", to the ghostly synthesizers, Jaydee bass and droning textures of "Channel 83".
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: It's been a delight to see Oliver Ho's Broken English Club project develop artistically over recent times, with some fine records for Jealous God and Veronica Vasicka's Cititrax label along the way. Suburban Hunting sees Ho deliver his debut Broken English Club album, featuring some 11 tracks of primitive electronics and cinematic pseudo techno cuts. Tunes like "Vacant", "Derelict", or "Scum" all share a loose techno framework, but the real aesthetic is much vaster than that, verging on remnants of post-punk, industrial and all that goodness and hybrid class that came out of the late 1980's. It's another fine addition to the sublime Cititrax discography, and we recommended it just as much as the previous numbers.
The Sixteen Steps - "Signals From The South" (6:28)
The Sixteen Steps - "Promises On The Run" (7:17)
Review: Rampant and 'up for it' as usual, the Cititrax label is back with a new set of wayward technoid experiments for the more trained ears on the dancefloors. This time it's Romania's Borusiade and newcomer The Sixteen Steps who share two sides of a wax plate and, of course, proceed to annihilate any idea of a quiet night in. The former sets off with the mechanical acid bumps of "Infatuation", guided by an eerie set of vocal blurs, and that's followed by the comparatively more beat-centric techno of the apocalyptic "Confutation". On the flip, The Sixteen Steps first lands on "Signals From The South", a house banger with noxious levels of mutant bass at its core, followed by the single-minded industrialism and sheer techno brutality of "Promises On The Run". WOWZAH!
Review: Self-proclaimed "techno body music" duo Schwefelgelb seem a neat fit with Cititrax, the Minimal Wave sub-label set up to handle contemporary electronic music rather than reissues. There's something particularly muscular, robust and otherworldly about their label debut, which remarkably is their first EP of original tracks for two years. Opener "Die Dunne Hand" sets the tone, with the pair conjuring up a throbbing, mind-altering EBM-funk workout that sounds like an unlikely Nitzer Ebb cover version of the KLF's "What Time Is Love", while "Auf Die Erde" sees them wrap crunchy percussion and dystopian vocal snippets around a surging EBM bassline. Side B begins with the stripped-back metallic mutant funk of "Die Augen Gehen", before the duo dives into chugging, flash-fried industrial/electro/techno fusion on the mind-bending "Das Blid Das Wiederkehrt".
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.
Review: Minimal Wave present a reissue of Yoshifumi Niinuma's 1980 self-titled debut album, having already released his Automaticism and Plastic Love EP's previously. Produced in his Tokyo living room, Niinuma built his own synthesizers and speakers from scratch to create these 'intense proto-techno soundscapes.' A zeitgeist of early pioneering electronics, it runs the gamut from minimal synth ("A Worm"/"Automatic Type"), noisy industrial beats such as on "Temprament" or early electro sounds as heard on "Quick Starttype".
Review: Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani returns to Stroboscopic Artefacts with 'Embryo' - an immersive four-track micro-odyssey spanning across jagged ambient scopes,unmapped acidic grounds and further leftfield-friendly sonic territories, opening up the path for his forthcoming sophomore LP and first ever for Stroboscopic Artefacts, 'Morphic Dreams'.
Review: Given his prolific nature, we were rather surprised to find that "Shadows of Death & Desire" is actually John Juan Mendez AKA Silent Servant's second album for six years. It's an impressive set, with Mendez offering up a stony-faced, steel-eyed shuffle through industrial-fired machine chug ("Illusion"), mind-altering EBM workouts ("Damage", "Harm In Hand", the throbbing "24 Hours"), icy electronic soundscapes (the vintage Autechre style dancefloor IDM of "Loss Response"), early '80s style Cabaret Voltaire industrial funk (the brilliant "Glass Veil"), and moody compositions where razor-sharp guitars and foreboding electronics envelop particularly skittish electro drums (closing cut "Optimistic Decay").
Review: L.I.E.S latest muscular missive comes courtesy of Dutch scene stalwarts Parrish Smith (previously of Knekelhuis and Dekmantel) and Interstellar Funk (AKA Artificial Dance big cheese Olf van Elden). Rich in machine drums, cranky modular synth sounds and industrial intent, the four-track missive sees them angrily stomp between mind-altering, mid-tempo throb-jobs (the strobe-lit electronics and druggy arpeggio lines of "Misinformation"), buzzing 4/4 electro ("High Gates"), raw, redlined, noise-addled techno ("Macrodosing") and the kind of dark, moody and throbbing dancefloor fare that sits somewhere between angular industrial music and frustrated, lo-fi techno ("Collapsed Buildings"). For want of a better term, this is music for dystopian dancehalls, prorogued parliaments and the children of broken societies.
Review: Brazilian producer Fernando Seixlack has previously impressed with a couple of notably punky albums of experimental techno under the Innyster alias. Here he makes his debut for Ron Morelli's esteemed L.I.E.S imprint with a first full-length under his own name. While still as fuzzy, lo-fi and out-there as its predecessors, "Fernando" is a surprisingly melodious and tuneful affair, with Seixlack wrapping glistening - if distorted and pixilated - guitars and trippy synthesizer motifs around bustling machine beats and wayward electronic percussion. At times it touches on electro, at others IDM and more experimental, abstract pursuits; throughout, the album remains both hugely entertaining and pleasingly atmospheric.
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
Profusion II (Fallofthehouseofagodofbiomechanical)
Who Will Save The Tiger?
Review: The belated release of New York industrial ambient crew Black Rain's early '90s soundtrack work in 2011 sparked something in founder Stuart Argabright. It inspired a belated return to the studio and this surprise album, Black Rain's first for 18 years. Given how long they've been away, Dark Pool is a pleasingly accomplished set. Like their previous material, it wades in dark waters, joining the dots between droning electronic textures, skittish, IDM-inspired rhythms, horror chic, industrial noise and bleak electronica. It's hugely atmospheric, of course, but also strangely claustrophobic. It's a brilliant set, all told, but one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Review: Blackest Ever Black's unwavering commitment to gracing 2014 with some of the most distinct sounds continues apace as their latest long player sees the return of William Bennett's Cut Hands project. Entitled Festival Of The Dead, this new album feels like the next logical progression in the Cut Hands sound, with the label describing it as "most potent distillation yet" of Bennett's "malign percussive energy". If you checked lead track "The Claw" which was made available to stream when BEB first announced the album, you will no doubt have an idea of what to expect but this relentless, bracing approach shown there is not the only card played by Bennett across the album. Indeed it's the moments where the sonics get twisted and chewed up (such as the suitably named "Parataxic Distortion") that prove most memorable.
Review: Having built its name on various artist releases featuring old and new artists, Contort Yourself is branching out with a new series that focuses on one contemporary act per release. In this instance it's Coletivo Vandalismo getting some much-deserved attention. The Portuguese industrial punk outfit have a visceral sound that favours noise and distortion, but most importantly they know how to wield these sonic tools for maximum impact. The snarl of the synths and the crunch of the drums on "Hostages Of Society" could easily be too much in the wrong hands, but here the errant tones find their own space in the mix, making the impact of the track all the more on-point.
Review: LA Club Resource's Innsyter helps carry Contort Yourself into this new realm of dedicated solo releases from contemporary artists (their previous form was to split releases between archival and new tracks). The snarling, industrial palette is much the same, and the years of origin are as ambiguous here as they've ever been on the label, making Innsyter the perfect addition to the catalogue. From acid-dipped synth pop to nightmarish wave contortions, this record is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you already love the dark and deadly world of Contort Yourself then this brilliantly-realised, consistently inventive record can't fail to hit the spot.
Review: Contort Yourself continue to widen their scope of operations with this, their first dedicated reissue, and they've come in strong. Eschewing the grotty industrial tones of many earlier releases, the label have turned their attention to Dutch curio Muziekkamer, who self-released a small clutch of cassettes at some undisclosed point in the past. The unthinking experimentation contained within these tape jams is shockingly prescient - jagged rhythms, surreal sampling, techno atmospheres and more from a period well before such tropes became common tools for electronic expression. Take a trip into the vivid, imaginative and utterly unpredictable world of Muziekkamer.
Review: Guy Tavares makes a rare appearance on his own Bunker outlet under the Schmerzlabor alias. We're pretty excited to say the least given the fact that Tavares releases music once in a blue moon, and instead prefers to use the label as a platform for other sewer dwellers to excel. Four tracks of bitterly uncompromising steel funk, noise-fuelled techno driller-thrillers. Sounding like the inside of one of Tavares' famous bunker raves, the air is humid and drenched with fuzzy distortion, where beats collide and contort into sweltering bundles of dancefloor noise. A bloody bunch of chest-bursters, hawk-nosed and machine-licked. Viciously recommended and ludicrously unmissable. Bunker wins again.
Review: The latest volume in Brokntoys consistently excellent DDQ series comes courtesy of Elements of Joy, one of the lesser-known aliases of UVB producer Sebastien Michel. All four tracks originally slipped out on a limited cassette on Michel's own Body Theory label back in 2016, and here appear on vinyl for the very first time. Built around the producer's love of industrial, experimental new wave and dark ambient, all four cuts are fuzzy, dystopian and thoroughly alluring. Highlights include the foreboding, distorted shuffle of "Les Consequences De Mes Actes", the throbbing industrial-funk heaviness of opener "In Every Man" and the droning, guitar-laden growl of closing cut "The Great Struggle".
Review: Founded last year by Regis, James Ruskin and Juan Mendez, Jealous God's initial 'issues' fell very much within the remit of the expertly sculpted techno that the now defunct Sandwell District pioneered. However the label's focus has seemingly become a lot more open ended and willing to exploring the trio's well documented love for DIY post punk and industrial sounds and it's something that continues here with the debut of Broken English Club. The latest project from UK techno producer Oliver Ho, Broken English Club seems to be his most confident expression of his post punk and industrial influences, which have previously manifested themselves to varying degrees in the Raudive guise and his work as The Eyes In The Heat. His five track Jealous God debut features the excellent "Plastic Bag" and is complemented by a dub heavy mix CD from Taylor Burch of DVA DAMAS.