Review: Since launching in 2016, Italian label Raw Culture has done much to preserve the militant, industrial-fired energy and intensity that's long been associated with techno in the city it calls home, Rome. While this EP from Sandro Maruani's Security DJ project isn't all-out Lory D style insanity, it's certainly harder-edged than most. He begins by mixing and matching elements of industrial funk, EBM and electro on the growling bounce of "Ramp Age" (which comes complete with vocals by Asymetrical), before fizzing his way through wayward acid-electro on "Domestic XS" - a track subsequently given a darker shade by remixer Cardopusher. "Ghettonite" is a stomping slab of lo-fi industrial techno, while "Nessun Ricordo (Dub)" is a breathlessly raw, bleak and distorted experimental workout. Lory D would definitely approve.
Review: Repress of a much sought after Belgian retro techno classic from 1994. Spokesman was comprised of Andy Bostyn and Luc Devriese, who had only one other release in 1996, but no doubt they'll be remembered for DJ Pierre's strobed-out remix of "Acid Creak" which still retains the zeitgeist of early '90s techno, while the completely mental bang and clatter of D.J.H.S.'s rework is the kind of sonic mayhem you could have heard at one of Richie Hawtin's Packard Plant parties in Detroit back in the day. It then goes out all guns blazing on the psychotic squawk and squelch of "Skittish Sky".
Review: Also known as Stekke or STK Ensemble, the duo of STK had previously impressed with releases on Mentha and Olga LTD, and now they come to Sudd Wax with some of their most intriguing techno abstractions to date. "Senseless" has a steady groove at its heart, but the way this duo steer their machines has a free and expressive style that suggests heady improv sessions on outboard gear were behind this distinctive techno twist. If that sounds exciting already, hold tight for the daring, skittering patterns of "Jazzoriented", which shows how far drum machines can move from standardized beats when they're in the right hands. DJ SCSI takes the twitchy minimalisms of the original and injects it with a ghettotech energy that strangely suits the source material, completing a distinctive and daring 12".
Review: Spanish DJ and producer Hector Sandoval aka Tensal has been super busy since his first EP in 2014, turning out tens more on a range of labels including his own self titled outlet. It is the Netherlands' Cabrera that come calling for his fresh techno sounds now and in return he serves up four beauties. "Body Wounds" has gauzy textures and slamming drums as well as a free roaming bassline that rides up and down through the mix. "Super Heavy Steel" gets more industrial and mindless then "Violent Bond" hammers home a tough groove with plenty of acidic textures. Frenzied synth and pure rave goodness make closer "Undesirable" the best of the lot.
Review: Following her beguiling debut album Draw Me A Silence, Azu Tiwaline continues to join the dots with this four track EP on Livity. Here we find her weaving between dub, techno and her influences from her Saharan homeland. Collaborating with sound artist Cinna Peyghamy, once again Azu wraps us up in a sandstorm of frequencies and textures. Unhurried and spacious yet intense and immersive, each cut takes us deep into the desert from the hypnotic, camel's slouch rhythm and dubby mirages of the opening title track to the gradually unwinding sunset meltdown of "Tessiture". Magnetising.
Review: AvantRoots apparently spent a year putting together their dub techno focused "Espectrum" compilation prior to its release in 2016. We're not sure how long they spent on this sampler for the expanded, digital sequel, but we can confirm that it's every bit as alluring. Toki Fuko kicks things off with the sparse, Basic Channel style dub techno minimalism of "Druid (Dub)" - all subtle shifts and echoing, ultra-deep motifs - before Segue combines hushed, locked-in drums with fluid ambient textures on the drowsy and picturesque "Stepping Up". Sibling impresses with the similarly opaque and soft-focus flipside opener (and Drhamer collaboration) "Tunnel Vision (Dub)", while Beat Pharmacy's "Hemp (Dub)" brilliantly wraps tactile, tropical-sounding synth riffs around an undulating bassline and ultra-deep drums.
Review: Trinidadian Deep's house music isn't just deep, it is spiritual. He layers up synths into oceanic movements that wash over you time and time again, leaving you feeling soothed in golden sounds. His obsessively detailed percussion adds movement and detail to each track, too, and all four cuts here are testament to that once again. "Balls Deep" is a little synth dance and jumbled house groove to make you move, while "Project 5am" slows things down and encourages reflection. "Flux" is more roomy and cosmic before "Bush Rum" closes with far sighted chords and shimmering drums that are deceptively complex.
Review: This ultra stacked remix EP see's artists, Lauren Flax, Josh Wink, Radio Slave, and the 'Missing' remix contest winner Kai Van Dongen. Legend Josh Wink brings his minimalistic approach to the classic 'Concentrate'. Lauren Flax brings her deep jackin acid flavor to 'Culture'. Radio Slave does what he does best and keeps his remix of 'Reflex' stripped down and tough, Rekids style. Lastly, remix contest winner and new comer Kai Van Dongen, balances out the EP with his deep but driving rendition of 'Missing'.
Review: All we know thus far of newcomer Leo Tunik is that he's an Argentinian artist based in Barcelona, making his debut here for Berlin-based imprint My Own Jupiter with 'four absolute floor tracks'. The 'New Beginning' EP is full of wacky retro techno styled cuts that you've come to know and love from Nicolas Lutz' label. From the bleeped-out acid funk of "13" followed by the lysergic energy flash of "The Key Of Joy" - the A side in particular really keeps the euphoria levels high. On the flip, the rave continues: prepared to get weird - old school style - on the frantic "Universum".
Review: V2A is a brand new alias from one of electronic music's most storied studio sorts, '90s progressive house producer turned in-demand mastering engineer Gordon Pohl. The "Rodarte EP" is typical of his 21st century releases, sitting as it does somewhere between lo-fi slowed-down techno, off-kilter IDM and hazy ambient techno bliss. While some of the tracks could entrance the right dancefloors - see the sparse, hypnotic minimalism of spaced-out opener "Eins" and the slow acid pulse of "Drei", which includes a rhythmic element so distant you'll think one of your neighbours is doing DIY - it seems designed primarily for maximum immersive impact in a home listening setting. That's particularly true of closing cut "Vier", where rhythmical pulses underpin long, drawn out chords.
Review: It would be fair to say that Levon Vincent's latest single could well be one of his strongest yet - and that's saying something. We're particularly enjoying A-side "Drum Circle", a near ten-minute outing that subtly builds throughout. Creepy, clandestine and intoxicating, it sees Vincent cloak a hypnotic, cymbal and bells-heavy rhythm track with deep, booming sub-bass pulses and hard-worked, marimba style melodic loops. It's a genuine heads-down treat that packs a punch, despite its hazy and minimalist vibe. There's more atmospheric fun on the flip, where "Space Exploration" sees him conjure up a suitably dark, intergalactic mood via crackling drums, opaque chords and far-sigted electronic melodies.
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.