Review: When Eric Prydz fancies offering up some forthright, warehouse-ready techno, he fires up the Mouseville label and dons the Cirez D alias. Clearly, he's in a rave-igniting mood right now, because this two-tracker is the first Cirez D outing - and Mouseville release - for almost two years. There's a definite "massive room" vibe emerging from A-side "Valborg", where decidedly foreboding lead lines and ghostly chords ride a chunky, Drumcode-friendly techno beat. The saucer-eyed, hands-aloft "festival techno" feel continues on flipside "The Raid", which cleverly peppers a house-tempo rhythm track with the sort of raw, razor-sharp riffs more often found in neo-trance productions.
Review: Earlier this year, Jeff Mills decided to don his occasional Millsart alias for the first time in 17 years, in order to release the fifth volume in the long-running "Every Dog Has Its Day" series. The Motor City stalwart is obviously in a rich vein of form, because he's now ready to serve up volume six, which at nine tracks deep is the series' most expansive release to date. There's much to set the pulse racing throughout, from the hybrid deep house/Detroit techno warmth of opener "Phoenix Rising" and the summery, sun-kissed tech-jazz of "What's So Funny", to the Robert Hood style Motor City minimalism of "Six By Six By Nine" and the classic, sci-fi-fired futurism of "World Wide Whoops".
Review: After making a splash with releases on Twig and Lumbago, Raphael Beneluz brings his classy machine music to Cartulis with the P 12". Things get off to a pumped-up start with the dynamic, detailed thrust of "Xzomet" before the night draws in around the tastefully creepy workout "Darkanethesie". "Hostile Planet" opens up the B-side with more eerie atmospheres and stout box jam beats, and then "System Down" completes the package with another thumping tapestry of nervy acid and old-skool jack. For all the familiar touches, this is music dripping with personality and attitude, bottom-heavy and sure to devastation in the dance, real or virtual.
Andrea Parker & David Morley - "After Dark" (8:51)
Review: Helena Hauff's distinctive musical vision has made her one of techno and electro's most unique and celebrated selectors, and it's this side of her work that's showcased on "Kern Volume 5: Exclusives & Rarities", a triple-vinyl set that focuses on the numerous hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks featured on her new DJ mix for Tresor. As you'd expect the quality threshold remains thrillingly high throughout, with Hauff focusing on fuzzy and scuzzy heavyweight slabs of electro, techno, ghetto tech and industrial-strength hardcore. Amongst the unreleased highlights are tracks from Umwelt, Machino, Galaxian, L.F.T and her good self (alongside Morah), while crate diggers will note the inclusion of rarities from Esoterik, Andrea Parker and David Morley, and DJ Godfather and DJ Starkski.
Review: After a break of four years in which he flirted with other labels - most notably Ekyspia - extended UR crew-member Mark Flash is back on long-time home Underground Resistance. As you'd expect, he hits the ground running with EP opener "Audiofluid", a suitably out there and intergalactic techno number high on sturdy, electro-influenced beats, foreboding riffs, tweaked acid motifs and some suitably sci-fi electronics. Flash next delivers a talbox-laden "Tuneup Beats" version for those who just want to revel in rhythm, before paying tribute to the warehouse-ready, late '80s KMS sound on retro-futurist EP highlight "Synthetic Bump". Rounding things off is "Liquid Drive", a fizzing and clattering affair that explores similar sonic territory as the fine title track.
Review: Anyone who has caught Helena Hauff in action will excitedly tell you that she's one of underground electronic music's top DJs - a mixer who combines top-notch technical skills with an exhaustive knowledge of music to deliver distinctive sets that set her apart from the crowd. It's for this reason that her contribution to Tresor's "Kern" mix series has been so hotly anticipated. Having now given it a listen, we can confirm that the two-disc mix-up is every bit as good as we'd hoped, with Hauff surging through a breathless, 32-track selection built around scuzzy, fuzzy and forthright slabs of electro, techno, ghetto-tech and industrial strength early UK hardcore. Piled high with rare, hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks, it may well end up being the mix of the year by some distance.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally SUED co-founder SVN (real name Sven Rieger) has delivered a debut solo album. Ominously, the accompanying release sheet only features the following words: "the end of an era". Perhaps we'll find out more about what that means in future; for now, we can enjoy "Mechine", because it's as strange, off-kilter, inspired and involving as we've come to expect. Rieger's analogue-rich sound takes elements from a number of styles and sounds - acid, ambient, electronica, ultra-deep house, mid-90s IDM, ghetto-tech, weird slow jams etc - without fully embracing any. As a result, "Mechine" is quirky and curious, but also full-to-bursting with leftfield gems that will variously soothe, seduce and surprise the senses.
Take Down Enemies (Special Request Splurgecore remix) (6:17)
Review: Back in March, Jordon Alexander AKA Mall Grab returned to the Looking For Trouble imprint he founded in 2018 with his first missive of the year. Even by his standards, it was a wild, all-action affair, and this follow-up is no less giddy or sweaty. "Take Down Enemies" is a blistering, all-action affair, with Alexander peppering a stomping industrial techno beat with tight acid motifs and cut-up hip-hop vocals. Under the Special Request alias, Paul Woolford offers up a surging, scintillating rework that adds huge dollops of techno-funk to the Australian's slamming original. Elsewhere, "Alarmed" is a more psychedelic and trance-inducing take on Alexander's big room techno template, while "Smash" is a thunderous voyage through body-popping electro nastiness.
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: 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: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: Monnom Black welcome back Fractions for more of their sonic disturbances, will acid and rugged techno weapons. For those who like hard edge, brain frying sounds with an instant impact these are perfect tunes: "NITE NRG" has a prowling synth and dystopian vibe that is impossible to escape, while "Do You Believe" is a twisted and distorted techno stomper that will make your fists and teeth clench. "All The Streets Are Silent" sounds like it is straight from Wipeout in the original Playstation console and "Hive Mind" then explodes over and over with maximal drums driving it along.
Review: The third Skudge album is here. Dedication to details, attention to structure and a tireless pursuit of that specific and circular sound. The contextual element of 'Time Tracks' seem to be placed in-between the most cordial music that Skudge has presented up until now, as well as bridging the singularity and adrenaline from the previous albums and EP's.
The First Rebirth (Reinier Zonneveld remix) (6:51)
The First Rebirth (5:54)
Review: Bonzai is one of those labels - if you're familiar then you know exactly which side of the stylistic debate(s) the imprint falls on. A bonafide trance institution that made a name for itself back in the genre's 90s heyday, dedicated followers and disciples will be delighted to know that even with the much more techno-leaning Reinier Zonneveld on remix duties, this one is firmly in the neon end of the dance spectrum. While the alternative version holds little back, including its roots in the laser-reaching mania of the source material, the original still manages to make that seem slow by way of a ferocious and frantic pulse beat which juggernauts its way below sirens and choral samples. One thing's for sure, you're not getting away from either very easily.
Review: Leeds lad Chekov was one of the first artists Shanti Celeste turned to when she launched Peach Discs with Housework pal Gramrcy back in 2017. Here he returns to action with his first solo EP since and it's a bit of a beauty. He beginnings with the immersive, sunrise-ready ambient swell of "Blanked Out", where layered synthesizer motifs flutter atop the sound of what sounds like a heavily processed recording of a babbling brook, before skipping towards the dancefloor via the beefy broken techno drums, 16-bit melodies and spacey electronic sounds of "Flote". "Swerl" is a near perfect fusion of immersive chords, bittersweet motifs, chiming melodies and crunchy house drums, while "SMP" is a deliciously wonky, low-slunk chunk of lo-fi electronica that defies easy categorization.
Review: There can be nothing finer than a new hit of techno direct from the D. Brian Kage is the man behind the beats here and references the current coronavirus pandemic numerous times, starting with opener "Lockdown." It's a corrugate and jacking cut run through with acid lines and airy hi hats. "Hold On Pain Ends" is a warm dub current awash with subtle synth effects and a hypnotic sense of tension, then "That Woman From Michigan" features spoken word news snippets based on advice to stay at home and stay safe while acid lines undulate below in ever deeper circles. "FU Covid-19" is the tense, angsty techno banger you might expect of such a title.
Review: Libertine's 14th release is something of a beast: a double-EP from sometime My Own Jupiter Producer Do Or Die that squeezes in nine impressively varied tracks. The fast-rising producer's roots are of course in techno and electro, but he's not shy in exploring every avenue of these wide-ranging genres. For proof, compare and contrast the acid-fired, new wave-influenced bubbliness of "Galactic Bang Bang", the fast-paced acid-electro intensity of "Blackmail", the Italo-disco style throb-job "Morning To Lose", and the chiming, all-action cheeriness of quirky closing cut "Small Town Yoky 11". The rest of the double-pack maintains this interconnected eclecticism, portraying Do Or Die as a producer with a head full of ideas and an eccentric musical vision of his own.
Review: Donnell Knox and Mark Hawkins, better known as D-Knox and Marquis Hawkes respectfully, team up for a collaborative EP on Sonic Mind that speaks to their respective roots in underground techno reaching back to the 90s. "Kalamazoo" is a tough and clattering jacker with out-of-phase organ lines to send your mind spinning, while "Not The DX100" brings things front and centre for a comparatively direct, acidic workout. "Halfway" ramps up the melodic content as a displaced vocal celebrates Kalamazoo's location between Chicago and Detroit, and then "Just Let Me Go" completes the set with a tough and bumping vocal house cut.
Review: One of the joys of Pugilist's productions is that you never quite know what you're going to get, though there's a fair chance it will boast extraordinary amounts of sub-bass. It's this inventive and off-kilter approach to bass music that makes many of his releases essential. We'd put this first outing for Martyn's 3024 label in that category. A-side "Blue Planet" is particularly potent, with the Melbourne-based producer wrapping tribal style hand percussion, tweaked acid lines and occasionally creepy chords around a bombastic bassline and a funk-fuelled, trickily tweaked two-step rhythm. TB-303 acid lines are also a headline-grabbing feature of the similarly weighty and loose-limbed "Acid Flange", while Tamen hook-up "Guidance" is a surprisingly spacey tribute to the early days of UK jungle culture.
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.
Jared Wilson - "Lynnwood2 Northgate Transit Center" (6:39)
Sohrab - "Sinking" (6:42)
KCLF - "Reloaded 9615" (4:17)
Review: Undersound Recordings hit release number 15 with a various artist EP that packs four vital techno punches. Audio Quest's "The Mental Screen" kicks off with some old school techno that recalls the sound of legendary Dutch label Djax-Up. It's filled with metallic snare sounds and deep space bleeps. Jared Wilson of course brings the acid that has defined his output for years, and Sohrab get busy with a kicking number and some busy melody patterns. KCLF closes out with twisted bass and shiny chords that look back to go forwards with "Reloaded 9615".