Review: Ever committed to the techno cause, Dario Zenker returns once more to his own Ilian Tape imprint with four intense statements of how classic and modern elements should be fused to make timeless tracks. "27 Northwest" undoubtedly has a whiff of original Detroit about it, but there's no escaping how much of a hook the lead synth is over the tough but dextrous beat. "Cooking Booking" meanwhile exists somewhere in that discordant realm Kevin Saunderson dipped his toes into before rave emerged as its own offshoot, all the time still pounding out a detailed broken techno pattern. "Growin" gets a little more heady in its use of old-skool chords before "Karlim" softens the edges of the EP with a glorious slice of emotive techno.
Review: In 2012, the Zenker brothers introduced a new series on their Ilian Tape imprint: The Bias Tapes. We are now into the third edition come 2018 and it's a great one, we must say. Like the name may suggest, The Munich Edition features some heroes of the local scene such as Kareem El Morr: who delivers the dark side electro bass of "Eros 404", likewise label boss Dario Z. (ft. Maurice P.) goes down the same toute on "CEJ". Elsewhere, dubby and cyclical warehouse techno in the vein of G-Man can be heard on Konrad Wehrmeister's "CWS" and usual suspects Marco & Stenny hammer the message home in typically bold fashion with the emotive "Imcon".
Review: Illian Tape was responsible for releasing Sciahri's debut EP a couple of years back, so it's fitting that he's returned following a brief flirtation with Black Opal. The Florence-based producer is in a feisty mood, too, as can be heard on sparkling opener "Atonement", which sounds like the mutant offspring of West London broken beat, Detroit futurism and abstract techno. Its' pleasing positivity is removed on the accompanying Pessimist Remix, which brilliantly turns it into a grouchy, moody, bass-heavy shuffler. Flip for the tantalizing creepiness of clandestine ambient shuffler "Enemy Sound", and the deeper, heads-down broken techno grooves of "Departure".
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: Former Playhouse and Bio Rhythm man Roger Reuter has only one previous album to his name, the woozy, edge-of-reason ambience of 2015's Mensch 001. Extended Play is its' follow up, and sees the experienced German producer appear on Ilian Tape for the first time. Rooted in his usual brand of unsettling, otherworldly ambience, the six tracks variously draw influence from early IDM, drone, dub techno, industrial and experimental film soundtracks. Despite these nods to familiar experimental styles, it's an album that can easily be listened to in a variety of situations, and never drags. It's strongest moments, such as the mournful ambient throb of "State IIX Interlude II", are particularly beguiling.
Review: The rise of Ilian Tape has been piloted by Dario and Marco Zenker with a steady assurance, so it makes perfect sense for the brothers to helm the first long player project from the Munich label. Immersion is a vibrant, atmospheric stroll through their various influences and inspirations with plenty to admire amongst the ten tracks. There is the bustling, leftfield breakbeat techno of "TSV WB" and pounding "High Club" (a no-nonsense dancefloor assault blessed with occasional eyes-closed chords), as well as sublime tech-jazz of "Cornel 21" and pitched-down junglisms of "Innef Runs". Interestingly, there are also a number of crusty, distorted ambient interludes, with "Erbquake" sounding particularly potent.
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.