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: Brussels' Cleveland has made a name for himself with excellent, left of centre drops on ESP Institute, Hivern Discs and others in the past. Now he's up on Kalahari Oyster Cult with more adventurous freakery that deals in outsider grooves and playful synth acrobatics that positively demand your attention. "Gamma" comes on with a steady broken beat that carries some wild lead hooks that show off Cleveland's confidence with his kit. "Ora" is equally marked out by dazzling analogue brushstrokes and expertly crafted percussion to send body and mind whirling. Then on the flip Piezo and Beta Librae both remix "Gamma", veering from tough, bass-led drum funk to cosmic incantations respectively.
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: 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: 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: Developer is back on Modularz with more steel-clad techno machinations for your toolkit. "Jive Kept Me Live" has a stern cyclical core, but there's a rich spectrum of tonality pulsing around this rhythmic focus to keep your brain twitching as heartily as your feet. "Over Cold Seas" centres around a particularly unsettling synth hook that sounds as though it's trying to punch through from another plane of existence, and "Headhunter" brings some more overtly melodic themes to the forefront. "Savage Nights" closes things out with the kind of unnerving techno incantations that you might expect to hear from Terrence Dixon - anyone who knows their techno knows that's high praise indeed.
Review: Eusebeia returns to re:st after time spent traversing labels like Mindtrick and Western Lore, bringing that strung out dub techno ambience to bear on four more electronic outliers for the experimental corner of your record collection. "Cardinal" is a slow lurching, hugely atmospheric piece that moves like a sound installation, while "Pray" drops some more discernible beats around haunting fugues that take a little hint of Jon Hassell and twist it to some dark designs. "Lord Have Mercy" keeps the dread up, using choral tones to offset the onset of heavy, heavy bass. "Repose" finishes the set with some lighter ambient electronics marked out with crunchy percussion echoing in the dense but harmonic fog.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Needs is back with its fifth installment of charity-raising goodness from some seriously quality producers. This time the gauntlet is thrown down by the increasingly prolific DJ Normal 4, who wields some of his signature breakbeats over a cheeky synth that nods to Da Hool for a dark and deadly roller. Israeli duo Red Axes pop up fresh from outings on !K7 and Phantasy Sound for the worldly percussion and mystical atmosphere of "Treacksheni" before Bristol bass-wielding techno titan Hodge finishes the package off with the stunning, dramatic undulations of "Signal," making this a collection of tracks that all feed into the same vein of rhythmically adventurous, moody club music.
Review: Carl Finlow, aka electro main-man Silicon Scally, originally released the Boot Loop EP on Billy Nasty's Electrix label back in 2013 - an aeon ago in real terms but a blink of an eye to any electro devotee. Such is the quality of the music that it's well deserving of a repress, not least given the fearsome appetite for this kind of electro now compared to seven years ago. "Conduit" and "Hashtag" are quintessential Finlow cuts, wriggling and writhing with snappy sound design riveted to the machine funk rhythm section. On the flip, Volsoc's "Orange Problem" mix of "Conduit" slips a few more melodic elements into the mix, and Radioactive Man flips "Hashtag" into a gnarly, noisy workout bowling in from leftfield.
Review: London-based producer Nite Fleit has been busy over the past couple of years slinging out rough and ready club cuts with bags of personality on labels like Unknown To The Unknown and Planet Euphorique. Now she returns to Steel City Dance Discs, the Australian label that provided her first break back in 2018, with a new EP, with some rabble rousing rave busters that span styles, gleefully cherry picking the feistiest ingredients to make surefire bangers. "All New Low" is particularly fierce with its massive monosynth bassline grind and ear-snagging sample hooks. Elsewhere there's plenty of electro punishment waiting - don't sleep on B2 belter "Little Monsters" in that regard.
Review: Miles Sagnia has a deep-rooted backstory in the UK underground techno scene. Under his own name and as Miles Atmospheric he's produced consistently compelling techno for labels like Finale Sessions, FireScope, Aesthetic Audio and Applied Rhythmic Technology. Such associations point to the soundworld Sagnia inhabits - a harmonically balanced strain of deep-diving brain food that favours expressive musicality and inventive programming over rigid functionality. Having previously appeared as Miles Sagnia on Ornate back in 2010, he returns to the label as Miles Atmospheric with three cuts that explore melancholic moods through artful interplay between beautifully rendered synth tones and intricate drum machine excursions. These tracks still move with purpose and presence, but the end goal is more cerebral than physical - a perfect fit for the immersive experiences Ornate has always strived to promote.
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: Swiss producer Dan Piu is a true techno veteran, with an expansive catalogue that reaches back to the early '90s. His return to form in recent years has been a delight, with classic tracks and new productions alike resurfacing for a new generation of heads to fawn over. Following recent drops on Childhood Intelligence, Ovnie and Common Dreams, Piu rocks up to Hizou Deep Rooted Music with some stellar machine musings. "Quantum Computing" is a warm and soulful house groover with rich layers of synth work at its core, while "Robots In Rage" takes a more angular approach with skittering techno rhythms and plenty of analogue synth wriggles. "A Machine Will Never Do X" is pristine electro, and "F#UK The World To The Core" completes the set with a sumptuous ambient techno trip oozing sophistication and vintage atmospheres in equal measure.