Review: Liverpool's Scenery Records has been making a real splash over the last 18 months, delivering the kind of top notch, analogue-heavy deep house gear that invites comparisons with the best labels from Vancouver, Washington D.C and New York. There's plenty more to cheer on this label debut from Liverpudlian producer Binny, not least the immersive melodiousness, dancing synthesizers and rhythmic hustle of "Retrospective". Chicago Skyway delivers two impeccable rubs of that track, with the second - a new-age techno stomper built around beautiful synthesizer arpeggios and drum machine cowbells - standing out. Flip for the glassy-eyed intelligent techno-meets-deep house thrills of "A Moment In Time", which is also given a pulsating acid techno makeover from Scenery veteran Circular Rhythms.
Review: It seems Function is a fan of Cassegrain & Tin man material as he's just signed them up for his next release on Infrastructure New York. For this second Berghain 07 sampler, Function's appetite for boomy, acid techno is whetted by the collaboration's "Oxide". Meanwhile, former flatmate Ed Davenport, aka Inland, delivers "Sca Fell", a subaqueous workout that would get the Mike Parker seal of approval. DVS1 throws down some trademark warehouse beats with some caustic stabs to boot, while Steve Bicknell delves even deeper into the abyss than he did on the first sampler, with a track that's as menacing and frenetic as what Drexciya can be.
Review: Featuring unsung heroes of acid house and distorted funk, past and present, Stealth Mission a new project focused on raw, warehouse music. The label's first release sees Mark Ambrose, Andreas Gehm, Naked Eye People and Ben Sims' sought after edit of Donnie Keys which was featured on his Fabric mix early 2014.
Review: It's always a good day for techno when new Steve 'master of the loop' Bicknell material arises, just like it's done here on the first sampler for Function's Berghain 07 mix. "Odyssey #1" is a distorted gyration through fizzy atmospheres and chocked bleeps, while Post Scriptum's rolling "Human Timescales" is a cross between the Hauntologists sound and the beats heard on Tobias' Leaning Over Backwards album, also released on Ostgut Ton. There's some transatlantic vibes on LB Dub Corp's "So Much", while the emerging Blue Hour sees his zapping drum track keep the sustain on his synth locked for the entirety of the B2.
Review: Having initially set out his stall with a fine debut 12" on Mork last year, NTHNG returns with a similarly impressive follow-up. Opener "1996" sets the tone, layering drifting, Larry Heard influenced chords and surprisingly soulful vocal samples atop a rolling techno rhythm. "Vision Us" continues in a similar deep techno vein, with ricocheting percussion hits and dreamy, eyes-closed chords enveloping a chunky, bass-heavy groove. Finally, he lets his melancholy get the better of him on "Vision On", whose drifting, bittersweet ambient chords offer a becalmed counter-point to a jazz-flecked, broken techno groove. It's all impeccably produced, of course, and offers just the right balance between dancefloor nous and mood-altering musicality.
Review: The combination of Sven Weisemann and Delsin Records should be enough to get any serious techno head slightly moist. Somewhat predictably, the Fall of Icarus EP is a fine collection of cuts, with the German producer delivering three fabulous slices of "proper techno". Opener "Nijo" is a real treat, with Weisemann peppering a hissing and rolling drum machine groove with far-sighted Motor City chords and a killer bassline. By contrast, "Icaria" is an altogether deeper proposition, with yearning, ambient style chords - immaculately beautiful, too boot - reclining over a dub-influenced rhythm. He closes proceedings with "Landscape With The Fall of Icarus", an even deeper, dubbier concoction that sounds like a long-lost '90s ambient techno track. In a word: essential.
Review: Since launching last year, Young Turks offshoot Whities has provided listeners with high quality material from Terron and Kowton. For the imprint's fourth release, they've turned to Minor Science, whose 2014 debut on The Trilogy Tapes, Noble Gas, sat somewhere between experimental deep house and shady techno. "Closing Acts" kicks off proceedings, with nagging bleeps, curiously jazzy chords and minor-key electronics tumbling over and undulating, off-kilter groove. Flip for "Glamour", an outer-space deep techno odyssey built around fizzing, alien electronics, spitting drum machine rhythms and sparse, otherworldly melodies. It's this ghostly excursion that stands out, despite the best efforts of the equally impressive A-side.
Review: De Niro Is Concerned is the latest compilation to surface on Nina Kraviz's trip imprint - the Siberian artist's label gaining new momentum in 2015 and diversifying thanks to a selection of fresh artists - and it's an exquisite blend of house, techno and straight-up jack-funk. Among others, you have Iceland's Bjarki with the raw and sparse "Revolution", Millsian Detroit sounds from Deniro on Dumans, and Kraviz herself with Exos on the wavey and hypnotic "No Criminals". All in all, a wildly comprehensive bundle of house-techno hybrids for that 3am slot. Raw and diverse, wild and seductive.
Review: Ukrainian Stanislav Tolkachev has been a little quiet of late - by his productive standards, at least - so it's heartening to see him back in action, returning to M_Rec after a two-year absence. All Night Vigil is a varied affair, moving between the spiraling beatless electronics and cluttered, confused textures of "Vitamin K", the surging angular techno-funk of "That's Where The Dog Is Buried", and the discordant throb of "All Night Vigil", which seemingly utilizes the electronic motifs of the opener in a more dancefloor-centric setting. Best of all, though, is closer "The Chance For Both of Us", an unrelenting sprint through alien melodies, intense acid lines and unfeasibly heavy kick drums.
Review: A lot more eyes are on the brothers Zenker and their Ilian Tape label in the aftermath of Immersion that fine exercise in the art of the techno album but it doesn't seem to be fazing Dario and Marko. If anything they are remaining resolute to the approach, and the artists, that have served them so well as the label as risen these past few years. Junt sees the welcome return of Skee Mask, who delivered a real highlight of Ilian Tape's 2014 schedule in Serum, and the four tracks suggest the unheralded producer is quite the talent. The mood veers from tense dystopian electro on the title track to rolling abstract soundscapes ("Hover") to deft wall shakers ("Larus Canus"). Final track "Start Up Trak (edit)" is quite beautiful!
Review: After previous, if infrequent, transmissions for Electric Minds and Non Plus, Commix producer George Levings returns with some new Endian material for the always impressive Secretsundaze Music. The more attentive out there may well have heard at least one of these tracks in the club or in a mix of late, with Joy Orbison ending his Essential Mix last year on the opening track "Finish Me". Well done to Secretsundaze for facilitating a wider release for them then with "Finish Me" the sort of fiery, low end heavy club track you feel will be heard on dancefloors for some time to come. Don't ignore the B side tracks though as they are equally potent tools for the dancefloor.
Review: Spinning Plates is a brand new vinyl only label set to make wave in 2015. Debuting with an EP by Will & Held and a remix by Prime Numbers owner and highly respected artist Trus'Me. Will & Held use analogue equipment to get their unique sound and say their recording process and focus is on "organic" composition and flow. Experimental, cavernous and non-conformist are words that are conjured up when hearing their take on techno; it's a refreshing and compelling listen.
Trus'Me, the long time house and techno innovator take's a more direct approach with dubbed out chords, fat bass and the original's stunning pianos all coming together in hypnotic and heartfelt fashion. Spinning Plates offer our debut 12" only on 180gram vinyl. Cut and mastered at Curved, London.
Review: Uh oh, Truncate is back onto your subwoofers with the second chapter of his recent remix series...the last outing still pounding its way across the Juno HQ! This time the American techno maverick chooses Par Grindvik and Dustin Zahn to mould "Mira Mar" into bleepy, hi-hat-heavy tool, while Zahn himself strips "Modify" of all its dignity and cuts it down to a beautifully simple kick-beat approach. Grindvik closes this chapter off with a deeper, more mentalist take on "Mira Mar", where the melodies are catapulted into oblivion thanks to intricate FX processing .
Review: UK techno kingpin Truss returns to Perc Trax - a natural home to his relentless mass of beats and squelches - with "Kymin Lea", a sort of AFXian chunk of brain dynamite, an irregular mass of distorted bass, furious steely drums and dreamy background melodies. On the flip, "Clawdd Du" drones and laments its way across a steady four-to-the-floor kicks and hissing percussion shots, while "Wyefield" gargles in a familiar 303 twist, its beat structure being swallowed whole by the cavernous layer of hardware processing circling around it.
Review: Nic Tasker's Whities imprint touches down this week with the return of Terron to the young label, the artists who started off the festivities not too long ago with his debut EP. The A-side, "No 29 Pareto 20/80" is reminiscent of Levon Vincent's output on Deconstruct, where massive layers of delay and reverb clash to form spectral waves of sound, whereas "No 33.1 The Game's Ouverture" winds the machines down to form a cinematic soundscape with an industrial edge. The beats return on the foggy and utterly dubbed-out "No 33.2 Hawk (Part I)", and "No 34 Dove (Part II)" heads further down the rabbit hole thanks to an eerie sci-fi bassline and a whole load of FX trickery. Strong stuff from the young London label!
Review: From the Lands that time forgot Birdie is proud to bring you an EP of the highest quality from the artist currently know as Causa. Hailing somewhere from up in the hills on the border between deepest darkest East Lancashire and West Yorkshire (thats up north to you lot) Causa "Joe" is a long time friend of Trevino "Marcus". Joe is underground and a lover of proper house music and has never been interested in music trends (he is a fisherman for christ sakes). He has been making music under various guises for 15 years with an apparent 6 year gap to go fishing.. He has had releases with 202/20 vision tusk wax and paper recordings to name but a few. As Marcus and Joe still meet regularly for a pie and a pint its no real surprise then that this EP of some of Marcus's favourite music of Joe's has come to pass. Enjoy.
Review: Haunted Doorbell are Timothy J. Fairplay and Matilda Tristram who released 'Xylophone' together last year on Astro Lab Recordings. Picking up where Xylophone left off 'Unconnected thoughts on jacking' is four tracks of naive melodies, rough slamjack drums, and new age atmospheres. 'Starclash' kicks off side A, with its dramatic arpeggios and SID chip crashes, Techno to soundtrack the Saturday night laser show at the planetarium. Following is 'A night of adventure' with its eastern scales and washy broken chorus unit hiss. On side B we have 'Beautiful Sheffield' - an ode to electronic music's (possibly) most important British city and the title track rounds of the EP - house music for listening to while looking out to sea.
Review: A fine full debut on LIES for Antenes, the production handle of Brooklyn DJ and modular explorer Lori Napolean, whose "PBX-555" contribution to the label's 2013 compilation Music For Shut ins was a real highlight. It's worth digging further on the internet into the self-built modular production methods Antenes employs for her recordings, but the three tracks on display here show a thrilling abstract approach that has you pulling back the needle again and again. A-side hogger "The Track Of A Storm" hones in on a similar minimalist approach to recent Mix Mup outings, whilst "Fire Rises" is a wholly unpredictable drum track. Final cut "St Antoine" sees Antenes veer off into fizzing stripped back electro replete with corroded bleeps.
Review: Although New York's Nicuri has received less attention and praise compared to his East Coast peers such as Joey Anderson and DJ Qu, the house and techno maverick has the ability to produce the deepest and most mesmerising of tracks - his "Navigation 8th Density" track on the Exchange Place series is still ringing in our ears. This time he inaugurates the birth of a new label, Growin Music, with a bountiful three-tracker in his usual style and class. "Holding The Four Winds" takes over the entirety of the A-side with swamped beats and cinematic soundscape, "Digital Crush" leans more onto the minimal side of things, while "Walks On The Boulevard" is true Nicuri, where chunky and rolling low-ends collide with futuristic pads and bleepy melodies.
Review: Fair play to JS Zeiter, few other anonymous techno acts have been doing it as long as this guy whose productions date back almost two decades across numerous aliases and projects. The latest JS Zeiter productions arrive through his own MCMLXV label, and should prove as popular with the heads down dub techno crowd as previous transmissions. Lead track "Pulse" is akin to a nine minute saunter down a dark tunnel, with unexpected twists as it progresses and the intensity grows and grows. "Submerge" adopts a lighter tone, presenting a deeper side to the JS Zeiter production palette but it will be an equally effective production when deployed at the right time.
Review: Periodically, labels get a little fascinated with reissuing material from certain previously overlooked scenes. Recently, that's meant a surprising re-focus on the Icelandic dub techno scene of the late '90s early 2000s. The chief beneficiary of this has been Arnvidur "Exos" Snorrason, whose pioneering 1998 12", Q-Box, recently resurfaced on Thule. Here, his 2001 album My Home Is Sonic gets the reissue treatment on Delsin. Sat somewhere between hypnotic German minimal, the relentless loops of Robert Hood, the dubwise Berlin antics of Rhythm & Sound, and classic Motor City futurism, the album remains a timeless example of dub techno at its' very best.
Review: At last, our UK compatriot Sigha reappears on the excellent Avian label, pretty much the most consistent techno label to have surfaced over the last five years...and we deeply thank Shifted and Ventress for their continuity. Techno Derivatives is more daring than Sigha's other work for the imprint, where the EP is split into six parts, six segments of broken analogue techno - not for chin-strokers but for open-minded dancers! The beats are grainy, almost sandy, and they rarely fall into a steady 4/4 pattern as usually expected from the both the artist and the label. The tunes almost feel like pieces of noise loops that have been torn down and reassembled into some sort of techno flavour and there's a clear sense of rising climax, where the stuttering strands of percussion grow and retract with utter ease. This LP is something else, a real breath of fresh air in a genre that can become so easily sterile. Ya need this!
Review: We actually had to check that Beach Hotel De Haan was, as Meakusma have stated, a label debut for Leipzig's superb Mix Mup, such is the similar approach to the art of techno both have taken over the years. If you enjoyed Lorenz Lindner's recent outing on Sir Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes you will definitely find much to savour in the four tracks presented here. Leading the way, "Seaweed" is a restrained underwater excursion with intermittent kicks that almost sound like crabs scrabbling across the sea bed, whilst "Wellpappe" sounds like Lindner has let a bit of the devil loose in his hardware. Great track this one. On the flip, "Plastic Bag" develops artfully over eight minutes into a procession of well-tuned clipped electronics and "De Balkons" ends the release on a soul infused beatless note. Do check Mix Mup's weekly show on Berlin Community Radio too!
Review: The title of this release could sum up Steve Rachmad's diverse career. From the deep techno of the early Sterac releases through the widescreen electro of Sterac Electronics and the tougher projects like Scorp, he has brought his expertise and finesse to a range of styles. For this outing on Luke Slater's label, the Dutch artist remains in harder territory. "Stroke 1" sees clipped drums underpin a dark, ebm bass, while "Stroke 2" explores this sound in more depth, as a grinding low end is fused with hissing percussive ticks. "Stroke 3" and "Stroke 4" return to more typical Sterac territory, with swaggering rhythms unfolding to the sound of bubbly bass tones and dubbed out drums.