Review: While it would be nice to think that this EP of melodic analogue techno and shuffling deep house was the work of hyperactive British eccentric Richard O'Brien (less so the irritating Ed Tudor-Pole), Crystal Maze is in fact Amsterdam-based duo G-string and Marco Antonio Spaventi. Having previously impressed with releases on aDepth Audio and Bio Rhythm, they now find themselves on Greek imprint Echovolt, a label famed for the depth and variety of their analogue explorations. All three tracks ripple with feverish humidity, from the Mood Hut/Future Times-ish tropical pagan shuffle of "Orchidea Nera" (think Confused House meets the Belleville Three) and sumptuous "DECAY", to the apocalyptic, droning pulse of "XR84".
Review: Greek label Echovolt continue to impress with their output as they coax some all new material from Baltimore based producer Entro Senestre. Responsible for one of our favourite contributions to the WT imprint in the form of "La Caccia", the sense of fragile analogue emotion that ran through that is matched by the four "slamming neo-underground dance tracks" Senestra provides for the sixth Echovolt release. Opening track "Flashbacks" plays brilliantly with elements of rhythmic release, as jackhammer drums build steamily before giving way to the spiralling melodics repeatedly throughout. Alongside this "Sun High" is no less frenetic, with Senestre's attentions focused on the ever cascading hi-hats and effervescent manipulation of those kaleidoscopic melodic touches. "One Time For Your Mind" shows Senestra in a much darker mood, tensely driving through 808 laden industrial techno that ripples with lysergic energy, while "Uncertain Tragedy" is a supreme slalom through a tape saturated future vision of Detroit techno. Senestre might not be as familiar to you as previous Echovolt incumbents such as Legowelt and LIES but this EP fully maintains the standards they set.
Review: Starting to make diversions from his beloved $tinkworx moniker, JT Stewart makes his second outing under his own name for Greece's Echovolt label, dealing in sumptuous analogue synthesis in a strange vein somewhere between house and techno, although certainly not tech house. It's richly melodic stuff, but also detuned just enough to add some excitement and mystery to the mix. "Vandaleur" struts along with a sci-fi-horror tone, while "Forgotten Hauler" gets a bit rougher in the percussion department while the synths pound out a Detroit manifesto. "Ophelia" on the B-Side takes a more relaxed affair as the groove skips playfully and light piano and string pads define the atmosphere.
Review: The traces of mutual influence that can be jotted between the camps in Washington, New York, Den Haag and London via imprints new and old in Creme, Future Times and Long Island Electrical Systems should be expanded to Greece and include fledgling label Echovolt. In its short life, the Athens based imprint has already graced us with releases from LIES, Steve Summers and Professor Genius and their latest is a true mark of their ambition. It sees Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt return to the label for a full release, having remixed the LIES track "Comeback Dust", and continue his rich vein of form this year. The Poverties Paradise EP finds Wolfers in a somewhat pensive mood, splaying utopian next century jack material from his enviable array of analogue synths and drum machines, with "Horizons" the one real departure towards something more electrifying. Despite his prolific nature, it seems like there's plenty of inspiration left inside Danny Wolfer's brain and long may the status quo remain!
Review: Echovolt has released a lot of fine electronic music over the last seven years, but surprisingly Messages From A Better Destiny marks their first foray into the album market. It comes from up-start Greek outfit Templeyard Studios, and marks the duo's recording debut. Apparently "the result of research on another way of understanding the human soul", the album's six thematic tracks mix modular sounding electronics, L.I.E.S style industrial techno crustiness, dystopian electro rhythms and spacey synthesizer textures. It's a mixture that guarantees macabre, end-of-days intensity, but also fleeting moments of sonic beauty.