Review: Deep house veteran Ramon Lisandro Quezada AKA DJ QU makes his debut for Giles Smith and James Priestley's Secretsundaze imprint with a fine EP of woozy, off-kilter house. "SS1" is rolling, hypnotic and trance-like in its' dedication to groove, with darting electronics and looped riffs riding a wonky, late night rhythm. "Fearless", on the other hand, is loose and trippy, all curious vocal samples and swirling strings. Finally, "Loveboxx" offers a dose of saucer-eyed late night fun via a pulsating bassline, cascading chords, delay-laden percussion and dusty, sun-baked melodies.
Review: UK techno stalwart Steve Bicknell's Lost Recordings series must be one of the longest running in dance music; the Lost and Cosmic founder has been putting out previous unheard material from his early '90s heyday on and off since 2004. There are few surprises on this 10th edition, but plenty of slamming, no-holds-barred grooves. The hissing, spacey, cymbal-heavy "Track 3" is particularly trippy, while there's a gnarled, ragged intensity about the pulsating heaviness of "Track 1". Arguably best of all, though - ambient interlude "Track 2" aside - is "Track 4", an eerie techno shuffler built around a wonky, off-key electric piano loop and fizzing percussion.
Review: Contest for Supremacy is DJ Spider and Marshallito's second release for Will Bankhead's label and features three quite mind boggling productions. If you lock into Rinse on the regular you should be familiar with lead cut "Nuclear Winter" which features their trademark sticky programming and bizarre vocal incantations before a midpoint deviation into the most delightful jazz piano breakdown and sampled African chants. The grubby beatdown of "Geiger Count" bristles with kinetic energy and sci fi overtones, just wait for the track to unravel as a voice utters "hello, I am from the planet Mars and I need help". B side hogger "Zero Point" is the nearest thing to a banger here and is rife with more unsettling, post-apocalyptic vocal samples.
Review: Ben Sims reignites his dormant Symbolism imprint for 2015. Last active in 2006, Symbolism is about music with real mood and will continue to impart Sims' vision of techno through releases from newcomers and established acts alike. The first release comes from D_Func and includes an edit from Sims himself.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: Caribou being remixed by much-loved techno titan Head High (an alias of long-serving German producer Rene 'Shed' Pawlowitz). The original version, not included here, was loose, jazzy and bass heavy, and came blessed with some wonderfully exotic flute melodies. The A-side "Core Remix" chops up these melodies and uses them at key points in the track, instead focusing on creating an intense, densely percussive, tech-jazz groove. Flip for something completely different; a warm, rich, evocative, bumpin' house take that re-casts the original as a leftfield chunk of New Jersey garage.
Review: Having previously starred on an unfeasibly large number of labels (including Rush Hour, Ovum, Liebe Detail and Burek), Kink adds another to the growing list. Cloud Generator marks his first appearance on Running Back, and contains, in the words of label boss Gerd Janson: "music for big rooms, wide eyes and small brains". In some ways, it's an apt description. Undeniably old skool in outlook, the EP's four main tracks variously doff a cap to vintage European techno (the blistering title track, which comes complete with many early '90s Belgian trademarks), hands-in-the-air, hardcore influenced techno (the saucer-eyed riffs and booming low end of "Diversion") and twinkling Balearic house ("Pocket Piano", which also gets a rave-era breakbeat re-touch).
Review: Although his productivity has waned in recent years, there was a time when Icelandic producer Thor - AKA Porhallur Skulason - was responsible for some of the most highly regarded deep and dub techno around. Consequences, a timely career retrospective, revisits that period, collecting together the best of his output from the late '80s and early '90s. It features a mix of well-known cuts - most notably the dub techno classic "Aliens Don't Boogie" - with a range of lesser-known jams (the highlight of which is probably the jazzy, becalmed deep techno of "Good Day"). The triple-vinyl set also includes a trio of cuts from Oz Artists, a largely overlooked collaborative project alongside fellow Icelander 42 Cows In Town.
Review: RAW MT comes through under his Richard Harrow monicker and lands on the ever-growing Lobster Theremin label out of London, and this is something of a banger! In the imprint's usual raw and jacking flavour, Harrow delivers a tailor-made floor missile in the form of "Acid Hammer" and as the name suggests, this clusterbomb is set to cave your speakers in with almighty 303 fury and is likely to be supported by the biggest names in the underground circuits right now. If you're into your LIES, your Chicago house etc then this is a total winner!
Review: Berlin's Dystopian has introduced the European techno world to some of its current maestros - Rodhad and Recondite to name a few - so it's always interesting to hear what the grey-scaled German label is up to. Daribow, a name we know little to nothing about, comes through with four shimmering floor tracks in the label's familiarly cold and bleepy style. Although there are certainly hard beats in tracks like "Eclipse" or "The Darker Stage Of Twilight", the majority of the tracks are made up of complex swarms of modular melodica. "Apostles Of Flame" is a little more minimalistic and stripped, while "Immortal Soul" contains what is probably the most hummable string of sequences in the whole EP. A certified slice of Dystopian goodness.
Review: There's something admirably breezy about the cascading, dub-influenced chords and rolling grooves at the heart of "Stage One", the opening track on this latest EP from Swiss producer Idealist. This faintly picturesque feel comes to the fore on "Winter Sun", which melds the melodious feel of immersive deep house with dub techno textures and unfussy dancefloor-focused rhythms. There's greater depth and a more hypnotic feel about B-side opener "Journey", which increases in intensity throughout sound to some relentless drum machine handclaps. Arguably best of all, though, is "Love Story", a fluid and lovingly toasty stroll through soulful, deep techno pastures.
Review: Oh yes, there's nothing we like more than a new Monolake EP on a cloudy Thursday morning...it's exactly the sort of music which allows you to distract yourself from the perils of urban life and enter your Robocop mode as you walk along the concrete towers surrounding you. As we've probably mentioned on countless occasions, Monolake really doesn't require any introductions and if you're into techno then this is a guy who has all the blueprints - Chain Reaction affiliate and Ableton Live creator - and who has been there since the genre made its way into the European youth back three decades ago. "Icarus" and "Alto" are two classic Monolake licks, two slices of contained, scientific techno which have been processed and tweaked to their limit. There's not much more we can say apart from that it's another essential release and one which you need to pick up!
Review: Through a string of rock-solid releases for Komisch the enigmatic SP-X alias has proven to be a go-to choice for those craving taut muscular techno with a granite edge for their DJ sets. Having debuted on Peter Van Hoesen's Time To Express back in 2011 with Voltage, SP-X returns with the first instalment of a three part Moving Through Mirrors 12" series to be released on a monthly basis. The two tracks on this 12" are pretty much what you would expect from a SP-X record; stripped-down sweatbox grooves whose powers are fully revealed when deployed in front of a packed peaktime dancefloor.
Luciano Lamanna & Daniele Cosmo - "The Darkest Hour" (7:48)
Review: It feels as if Zurich label Lux Rec might finally be getting the wider recognition they deserve for releasing some fine electronic music from both local Swiss artists and more established names. This conceptual compilation will surely help nudge them further towards the spotlight, as the likes of Villa Abo, Echo 106, Drvg Clvtvre and Lux Rec boss Daniele Cosmo all toy with the concept of light. Borft boss Jan Svensson definitely occupies a place of incandescence with his opening Villa Abo contribution, the hypnotic "Luminous" and further highlights come from CCO, and Echo 106 whose "Blackness" sounds like the sort of crazed acid you'd hear in a Hauff set.
Review: If you were left a bit disconsolate at the lack of music released by Danny Wolfers in the aftermath of his Crystal Cult 2080 LP last year, fear not he was clearly spending the time in his studio weaving synthetic magic for all manner of 2015 releases. That and editing an e-zine, directing and starring in a bizarre online TV show with Willie Burns and slipping out free synth patches. Anyway Anaconda Flow is the third Legowelt 12" in as many months and is facilitated via Technicolour, Fotomachine's increasingly influential label. It's all very Legowelt in both sound and titles (our pick is "Evaporate With Me 2 Infinity") and we can always do with more music from the mind of Danny Wolfers in our lives!!
Review: Boom! Detroit's prodigal son Luke Hess returns on his own label with three cuts containing his signature brand of grainy, hissing analogue house and techno. As the name gives away, "Dimension D" is an interstellar house tune with a 90's sci-fi kinda feel to its synths, a progressive groove with a deep and subby bassline dominating its epicentre. There's also a VOX Reshape for all your DJ needs, and on over on the flipside, "Mission. 106" gives us another fine slice of molecular space funk, all phat, all hardware-based and straight out of the machines with minimal or no processing. Essential house goodness from the underground to you.
Review: It was about time that Hakim Murphy and Ike Release aka Innerspace Halflife teamed up for another one of their sci-fi-schooled house escapades on Machining Dreams. The last three years have been rather productive for the pair and with releases on everything from Skudge to MOS and even an album on Syncrophone, they are on a tight roll. As expected, these latest four cuts are a little slice of a wormhole, where melodies are twisted and knotted into squelching bundles of blade running funk. Analogue drum machine beats, polyphonic melodies and hardly any digital processing make for another sublime foray into deep outer space. We love these guys...
Review: Keeping up with Rene "Shed" Pawlowitz's many aliases is almost a full-time job in itself. Here, he dons the WK7 guise last used in 2012 for an EP that happily joins the dots between the sensual shuffle of house, and the rigid thump of techno. A-side "Washer" leads the way, with curious synth refrains and off-kilter electronics riding a delightfully bumpin', extra-percussive, 125 BPM groove. Flipside "More Music" successfully doffs a cap to vintage US and UK garage - feel the swing of those beats, with the added intensity of his usual techno kicks - with warm chords and vocal samples emphasizing the classic inspirations.
Review: New techno household 47 debuts with a pounding collaborative EP from four of Europe's nastiest beat-makers. First and foremost, CLR regular Tommy Four Seven drops "131", a nasty, vicious, ringing 4/4 number tailor-made for that Berghain floor, but the shadowier Kwarts is nonetheless punishing with his "Locked Target" pulveriser. On the flip, Killawatt goes all hypnotic on "Tensile", while "Obsid" by Isolated Lines is a straight-up face melter with some of that rickety percussion for your early morning horseplay.
Review: Paris labrl Taapion Records comes through correct with an all-star various artists mini-compilation. You got all the label regulars on here, including Shlomo and his "Radioactive Sin" - a rather scalding bundle of percussion and synths - and even the legendary Francois X who delivers "Dreaming Of The Tesseract", a brutalist techno sculpture, owl-eyed and built for the kill. A winnig bundle!
Review: LA Club Resources dip into the archives of another US house legend that has undoubtedly influenced label owner Delroy Edwards, presenting a four track EP of lost cuts from Steve Poindexter. A name immediately familiar to anyone with a modicum of Chicago house music, Poindexter recorded the four tracks on Streetfighter in his mid '90s pomp but they never saw the physical release the music merits until now. It's all quite raw and to the bone as you'd expect with the manic "Blazing Saddles", a collaborative production done with Johnny Key and Trackmaster Scott, a body jacking highlight of the record.
Review: WOW! Upon The Gates Of The Great Depth is the latest DJ Spider long player and it's been keeping the Juno office stereo busy all week. The New Yorker has kept himself busy throughout the last few years, releasing on everything from Will Bankhead's TTT together with Marshallito to Nord Records and Killekill. As we expected, this LP is a perfect representation of what Spider does best in the studio, making chunky analogue techno with a house appeal. Put simply, this isn't the sort of techno that's become associated with Berlin's dancefloors, for example, but it's something a lot darker, a lot more complex and filled to the brim with the Big Apple's grit and urban paranoia. Recommended