Review: Having established their Ilian Tape label over a wealth of 12" releases these past few years, the brothers Zenker have expanded its remit to include artist albums in the most thrilling of fashions. Their own Immersion LP set the tone early last year, and now it's the turn of fellow Munich-based DJ and producer Skee Mask with the superb Shred. This 12-track set follows a couple of Ilian Tape singles from Skee Mask which marked him out as a producer of real potential but he's really outdone himself on Shred. There is a faint concept for those that want one, an expansion on his interest in snow and glacier caps, but it's easy enough to plunge headfirst and enjoy this LP on the merits of the music alone. Ambient pieces slide into thunderous techno productions and thrilling sideways turns into broken junglist cuts and vintage IDM sounding diversions.
Review: Skee Mask, who only recently was found out to be called Bryan Muller, comes through with his second LP to date, making a wonderful follow-up to 2016's Shred. Compro is, ironically, comprised of a much more explorative palette of sounds, with many corners of the album veering off into otherworldly ambient, often through a striking new-age sensibility. The most impressive element of this album is its flow and evolution across its 12 tracks, sounding a lot more like one single-minded thought rather than a collection of disparate dance-not-dance tunes. The quality of the recording is noticeable, too, with tracks like "Rev8617" or "Via Sub Mids" sounding professional, both in vision and style. Through an intricate collage of breaks, samples, polyphonies, and subtle electronic manipulations, Skee Mask has truly mastered his own art, and is giving a new direction to the wider 'UK rave' sound. BIG.
Review: It's double trouble again from ever reliable Bavarian brethren: Dario and Marco Zenker. The Ilian Tape head honchos seem to look for inspiration from the West Midlands techno scene circa the mid '90s. The splintered, full-throttle machinations of A side cut "Sorting Peanuts" call to mind Force + Form era Surgeon with its stuttered and jarring pace - making equal room for tension and suspense. On the flip, the greyscale factory floor stomp of "Sample Predator" will please fans of the Downwards back catalogue - British Murder Boys and Female in particular.