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: In recent times the Zenker Brothers seem to have spent more time running their inspired Ilian Tape imprint than they have producing music. While we'd hardly criticize their choices - Ilian Tape goes from strength to strength - it's certainly good to have them back. The Munich-based siblings begin their first outing of 2020 with the melodious, far-sighted electro shuffle of "Shaketown", before wrapping mangled, mind-altering electronic riffs around a crunchy techno groove of "Chi Boost". "Bengel Mode" sees the siblings successfully combine alien-sounding riffs with a denser techno rhythm track, while closing cut "Outside" is a sparkling trip into hypnotic, slow-release ambient techno territory with nary a kick-drum in sight.
Review: ZamZam Sounds has been killing it of late, with Rider Shafique, Ishan Sound and Kahn's recent "When Shall We Rise" single arguably being one of their most potent releases yet. Here they continue that fine run of form via another must-check "45", this time via the artist formerly known as Deadboy, Al Wooton. A-side "Request" offers a deliciously contemporary take on steppers/dub fusion, with ricocheting electronics, humid aural textures and echoing vocal snippets jumping around above a killer bassline and bustling drums. He continues on a similar theme with "Philo", which is the kind of weighty, club-ready dub excursion that would sit well in many house and techno sets.
Review: Polish club-wear specialists MSBHV have previously put on a number of parties and events, so it's not that surprising to see them launch their own vinyl series in association with King of Kong Records. They've called in some heavy hitters for this debut outing, offering up unheard tracks from both Wolfram and DJ Hell. The former handles side A, opening with the industrial-strength, low-register acid riffs, hybrid electro/techno beats and whispered vocals of "Rein (MCNZI Remix)". DJ Hell re-edits his own remix of the same track, dipping the tempo and boosting the bass while retaining the acid-fired feel. Over on side B, Hell offers up a heavily mutilated chunk of chopped-up disco-jack ("Copa"), which is then turned into a sludgy slab of lo-fi disco-house by re-editor Wirski.
Review: According to Jared Wilson, the debut release on the freshly minted Jason, Jared and Brian's Records imprint is dedicated to (and influenced by), "Roland, Dinsync, Social Entropy Engine and the Pacific Northwest". Musically, it's not a great departure from his usual robust, acid-fired, club-focused style, but that's no bad thing. Perhaps the pick of the bunch is A-side "Acid Remake (Lynwood New mix)", where undulating TB-303 acid lines bubble away atop a snappy house beat and suitably intergalactic, Motor City techno style chords. Elsewhere, "Lynwood 23" is a more boisterous if bittersweet acid techno workout, while "Lynwood Engine" is deep, melancholic and undeniably alien sounding.
Review: Blind Allies are an unstoppable force in the slimy underbelly of electro right now, and they're back with another shell shocker on the bounce from Zeta Reticula's "Sonic Assault". This time around Void Cells (Bristol-based Latvian producer Aleksejs Apolskis) makes a pointed return following the digital release Perception Model back in 2018. The drums rain down hard on this record, not least on punchy electro bruiser "SHE". NX1 offers up a rabble rousing techno twist on the original, before "Saturated Faces" opens up the B side with another fist-shaking slab of 4/4. Behind the grubby demeanour of the music lies some serious craft, making this a must-check for those looking in the more interesting corners of the electro boom.
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: 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: 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: After putting it on hiatus three years ago, Detroit electro legend Keith Tucker has decided to bring back the Puzzlebox label he launched with Anthony 'Shake' Shakir way back in 1995. He's at the controls for this comeback release, which astonishingly is also the sometime Aux88 member's first solo single since 2015. He kicks things off with "Modular World", a creepy but funk-fuelled slab of intergalactic electro that boasts whispered vocals, spacey sounds and the same up-tempo energy levels as Aux88's 1990s output. Over on the flip it's all about "Schematixs", a bleeping and unearthly affair that sits somewhere between Kraftwerk and Egyptian Lover.
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: Number 20 drops on Truncate and plunges us back into a world of chiseled, deadly serious techno. "Repeat" opens things up with some slowly modulating themes that teasingly evolve from veiled threat to clear and present danger. Luis Flores takes on a remix of the track that adds some industrial heft to the rhythm section and leaves a generous dose of white noise debris in its wake. "El Sonido" is a wound up jacker dreaming of peak time - a tight but swinging groove bringing the funk and end of the world interplay between the nervy synth line and the displaced vocal snippets. There's also a "No Vox" version of the track if that voice doesn't do it for you.
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: 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: 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.