Review: For its seventh release, southern Italians Obscura Music return to welcome exciting new talents and core label acts. Head honchos Agents Of Time venture down an electro route with "East Coast", as do the ever impressive London Modular Alliance on the hypnotic "Buck One". Man of the moment Aussie Jensen Interceptor channels classic Drexciyan aesthetics on "Manix" before homeboys and label staples Hiver come through with the slinky and hypnotic tech house of "Stasys" and Detroit veteran Kris Wadsworth makes a surprising appearance with some slow burning minimalism displayed on closer "Abroad".
Rob Amboule & Manuel Schatz - "Manz Not Hot" (6:30)
Peter Raw - "Brotherhood" (5:52)
HDV - "Digital Delight" (5:44)
Kosh - "The Mess" (5:08)
Review: Sounds Benefit founder Tom Joyce cast his net far and wide when sniffing out cuts to include on the label's latest multi-artist EP. There's plenty of little-known talent on show across the four tracks that make-up the EP, which come from artists based in Frankfurt, Paris and - most surprisingly - Casablanca. We're particularly enjoying the hybrid electro/spacey tech-house bounce of Peter Raw's wonderfully swinging "Brotherhood", though the deep and melodious electro bounce of Kosh's "The Mess" is also really rather good. Elsewhere, Manuel Schatz and Rob Amboule offer up some bold and snappy Motor City techno/acid house fusion, while HDV's "Digital Delight" is raw, analogue, funky and decidedly alien in tone.
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.
Review: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
Review: Kalbata has turned his hand to many styles over the years, not least the excellent soundsystem explorations of Congo Beat The Drum, but on this second release for his label Brush & Broom, he's decided to fling himself into the fiery pit of acid while paying tribute to 90s motocross bikes. "Honda" is dripping with 303, punctuated by a twitchy set of drums, while "Yamaha" takes a diversion into moodier territory, letting hazy chords set the tone for an energised but defiantly heads down acid workout. "Suzuki" is a bit spicier, capturing the essence of 'up-for-it' early Trax Records but edging it into more hypnotic, looped up territory. "Toyota" finishes the EP off with an atonal bleep out with an electro undercarriage.
Review: NTS mainstay Kasra V joins Kim Ann Foxman's Firehouse Records for the Akasa EP, where the Iranian-born/London-based producer showcases his broad musical taste and his ability to seamlessly blend genres. He collaborates with Detroit electro legends Dopplereffekt on the absolutely majestic "Bloom", while the title track or the breaks-driven "Otaku" explore old-school beats with a modern twist. Finally on the flip, we have a remix of "Bloom" by American retroverts Mike Servito and Justin Cudmore - who inject more dancefloor dynamics into it with their Kv In Full Mix.
Review: In advance of release, Diagonal and Elon Katz have been particularly mysterious when it comes to the contents of The Human Pet. Instead of the usual press release, they simply emailed journalists a bizarre list of "care instructions" for said mythical companion. Katz, who rose to prominence as part of Streetwalker and White Car, is something of a bombastic, electronic eccentric, and The Human Pet is ostensibly a pop album dragged through several hedges backwards. Expect impassioned, stylized vocals, twisted boogie synths, scattergun electronics, bizarre beats, breakcore style cut-up madness, and crusty special effects. Oh, and discernible nods to EBM, industrial and Autechre.
Review: Despite scouring the Internet for the best part of an afternoon, we've been unable to identify the producer (or producers) behind "Keep Your Mouth Shut 1", an anonymous but quietly impressive four-track EP. While the untitled psychedelic techno shuffler that opens the EP sounds like a peak-time jam in the making, the cut that follows (simply titled "Track 2" here) is an exotic broken techno affair that makes superb use of raw, acid-fired sub-bass and haunting, almost child-like vocal samples. There's more hybrid fun to be found on the flip, where a driving breakbeat cut comes wrapped in shimmering, summery chords ("Track 3"), and a high-octane, acid-fired electro jam threatens to whisk us off to a deep space destination unknown.
Review: For the latest release on her admirable Planet Euphorique imprint, Sophie Sweetland has gathered together a quartet of box-fresh club cuts from up-and-coming artists. As you'd expect, much of the material is psychedelic and intoxicating, reprocessing a range of vintage influences in a myriad of ways. Killer DJ's kick things off via the epic trip that is "Track 1", a saucer-eyed fusion of tropical house drums, ambient techno electronics and humid samples. Dj Donini raises the temperature further via the retro-futurist techno trip of "Donini's Dream", before CCL and Flora FM join forces on the bassbin-bothering tribal shuffle of "Liquify Interference". SMP rounds things off in fine style with "Natty Bop", a similarly bass-heavy fusion of skipping, post two-step beats, spacey sounds and low-end power.
Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
Review: Soundscape Versions delivers its third edition of the various artists series and offers four effective cuts between subtle house breaks, acid house, electro and atmospheric techno. Featuring Kintaro 89, Faune, Arian Alexander and Douala.
Review: While electro and techno pioneers Kraftwerk were obsessed with the humble bicycle, Kaften regular Klorex 55 is more partial to motor vehicles. At least that's what the electro stalwart is celebrating on this first solo 12" in nigh on six years. Opener "In The Back Of My Car" is a punchy, full-throttle affair, with robotic vocoder vocals and tongue-in-cheek vocal samples bouncing giddily above a throbbing four-to-the-floor electro rhythm. "Watch Your Car" is darker but funkier, with more metallic electronics and a more menacing vocal, while "Your Car Is My Car" is a riot of bustling techno-tempo drums, razor-sharp electronics, broken robot riffs and a ghetto-tech style vocal (minus the sleaze and misogyny) to help things move along at a pleasingly frenetic pace.
Review: Casa Voyager's second release comes courtesy of Kosh, a producer who debuted on the label's previous, compilation style 12". The '80s electro revivalist kicks things off with "Catch the Train", where ghostly, Kraftwerk style synth melodies and punchy vocal samples cluster around a Drexciya style rhythm track, before wrapping spacey, Motor City style electronics in crunchy breakbeats on "Null 212". B-side opener "Electronic Setups" is a drifting, intergalactic and evocative shuffle through deep electro pastures, while "Bug in the System" combines snappy electro beats and squeezable acid bass with the kind of beguiling, almost melancholic chords more often found in early '90s ambient records.
Review: The III Rivers crew have put out some serious heat since first transmitting out of the Manchester underground back in 2013. Kvetch X, also known as Voiceless and Ekeko, has been spotted on labels like UntilMyHeartStops before, so you know this chap knows his chops in the studio. Here he's in full deviant machine mode, swerving from the swinging, strafing thrust of "Tool Box" to bugged out boxy techno workout "Purge The Urge" before landing on the wave-riding arp beast "Blue Eyes" that courses through the B side like a noirish B-movie soundtrack joint on uppers, downers, laughers and screamers.
Review: Owen Jay's Batti Batti label has carried a great selection of various artists releases throughout its back catalogue, and the tradition continues with this latest missive. The Palette EP kicks off with the ever-rising talents of Jayson Wynters, who plies a seductive strain of deep house on "Sherella's Kiss" that melts perfectly into the blissful, twinkling keys and gossamer percussion of Duccio's "Absurdation". Kiddmisha leads in on the B side with the sprightly electro of "Healing" before Weakmassive rounds things off with the mellow acid of "Sjhue," which matches a nagging 303 with sumptuous keys for a spine-tingling conclusion to a fantastic 12".