Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
Review: 10 Germany seem to get it bang-on each and every time! For a label who has released the likes of Ancient Methods, Perc and Matthew Herbert, among other legends, we'd expect nothing less than the spectacular and this is exactly what we got with this latest collaborative effort by Italy's Daniele Brusachetto, Jansky Noise, Human Larvae and Damaskin. Brusachetto's "Grigi Ma" is weird and wonderful pop tune set against a backdrop of cavernous percussion rattles, while Janksy Noise's "Black Night" is a full-on drone monster. Over on the flip, "Ruined" by Human Larvae is a fuzzy, noise-fuelled scorcher, and "Apocalypse" sees Damaskin produce the EP's only shred of rigidity thanks to its consistent 4/4 kick...accompanied by some rather gnarly power electronics, of course.
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras - "You Laugh At My Face" (Tobias version) (7:15)
Half Hawaii - "Watch The Flash" (6:07)
Review: For the latest release on his quietly impressive Foom label, Ben Freeney has secured the rights to release two killer cuts, both of which are significant in their own way. On the A you'll find a previously unreleased Tobias Freund remix of "You Laugh at My Face", an obscure late '70s proto-new wave collaboration between legendary disco producer Patrick Cowley and art-punk vocalist Jorge Socarras (best known for being part of San Fran band Indoor Life). Freund's version is undulating and evocative, with spacey analogue synth motifs and drowsy vocals rising above a pitched-down breakbeat groove. On the flip, German duo Half Hawaii return to action after a six-year break, offering up a slow-burn delight rich in drowsy, melancholic motifs, shuffling drums and dewy-eyed vocals.
Review: Alexis Georgopoulos and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Fragments Of A Season was one of the highlights of Emotional Response's output in 2017, centred around blissful, Balearic instrumentation that shone a spotlight on the considerable talents of these accomplished artists. Now the label is revisiting the material with a couple of finely selected versions, the first coming from Emotional regulars Woo, who dutifully inject "Marine" with their effervescent, otherworldly expressions and create a glistening masterpiece in the process. Felicia Atkinson then tackles "AA Cleo" and sends it out onto the horizon in a haze of reverb romanticism, muffled percussive rumbles and murmuring vocals.
Review: Existing at the interzone between Zurich, Berlin and Mexico City, Lustpoderosa serve up their fifth release here courtesy of trio Jack Pattern. Taking its cues from the early sounds of coldwave and industrial, the trio deliver a po-faced slo-mo groove on "Nella Notte", then give us the neon-lit and fishnet clad "Animal Transformation" calling to mind the early sounds of Severed Heads. There are some great remixes too, but our favourite was certainly by Sneaker (Ratlife / Uncanny Valley / Frigio) who delivered a trippy and hypnotic rendition of "Animal Transformation" that gets on a percolator style jack in the vein of Green Velvet and keeps those Jim Morrison like vocals to charming effect.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Etwas stirs in die Ostlich. Edits and verks of twist sounds. Synth pop, cold wave, neu wave, minimal wave, industrial, neu beat, soundtracks and a selbst Balearen. Freiheit! Als erstes is hero of old Cybernetic Broadcast (CBS) and (Intergalatic FM) radio. Jonny 5 and his verstorbenen Blindsign blog and mixes were a steigen'n'steigen to rescue us from boring neu disco. Schieben his search and discovery for harder, but musical soundscapes. 4 edits is a geschmack. Start brave on the floor feel with the Neu Beut Euro Pop thumper Kaka Kaka. Geschleift, verdreht thoughts. Black Hole is hours spent in Eastern Bloc basements graben in the search for drahts. Stoned indeed, immaculate synth electronic battle cruiser, hart percussion, cut gesang and break. Ready for the percussive finale in Horizon's Change. Was Auch Immer. Bahnsteig!
Review: Following initial appearances on Bahnsteig 23, Jonny 5 returns on the Pleasure Wave label with more of that well-travelled, groovesome voodoo for all manner of sonic wayfarers. "Apocalypse" in particular is a stunning piece of tom-powered menace, but it's quickly offset by the bubbling cosmic delights of "Electronix". "Firedance" on the B-side channels some righteous 80s industrial and synth pop tropes to create it's own kind of drama, and then "Stardriver" finishes the EP off with some pulsing, noirish wave synths and gaseous atmospherics. With the styles shifting from track to track, Jonny 5 has once again done a sterling job of keeping his options open and keeping us locked expectantly into his delirious sound.
Review: Canada's Junior Boys have been running the synth-pop game since the late 90s and, in our eyes, they're as fundamental to the scene as other outfits like Hot Chip or Simian Mobile Disco. They are now made up of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, and this time they return with a follow-up EP to their recent album for Christof Ellinghaus' City Slang. "Yes" is a delightful pseudo-house number with the boys' vocals riding the crest of the wave, and "Baby Fat" feels like a natural progression thanks to its soft house beats and watery lyrics. The B-side features "Some People Are Crazy", a sublime electronica piece with a sunken, moody tone that encapsulates them perfectly as a group, while "Kiss Me All Night" flaps its stuttering beats and sonic waves to a rigged husk of vocals. Bang.
Altar [Native States] (feat Scientific Dreamz Of U)
Review: Junior Loves has previously been spotted alongside Scientific Dreamz Of U on the excellent The Dreamcode cassette for 1080p back in 2015, and now the spiritually charged producer is stepping out on SDOU-friendly label Tabernacle to impart some well-travelled rhythm science to all astral journeypeople. There's definitely a psyched-out drum circle vibe to "Light/New Faith," but it's shot through with foreboding that makes it all the more alluring. "Hallowed (0.E.P)" is a strafing exercise in space age arpeggios and eerie chords, and the Scientific one lends a hand on the thrumming cosmic engine of "Altar [Native States]."
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
Review: And just like that, France's Kump label is born. The newly formed crew make for some pretty promising prospects if this debut EP is anything to go by, and they've started flying off our shelves with the same sort of zesty energy found across its five killers! Thankfully, this isn't yet another deep house joint and, one the contrary, it provides us with some seriously fresh strains of house music built for the next decade. Ricco's opener "Gilbert & George" is a punchy, mid-tempo pulser with a subtly acidic flow, and Pletnev's "Thunder" follows beautifully with the same sort of beat, but comparatively tamer harmonies. On the flip, Ju-Ju83 gets all sombre and industrial on "Untimely End", while "Nirvana" by Roe Deers offers a totally different sort of 'sad', and Markus Gibbs's "Dernier Souffle" manages to blend mid-90's acid with something that, well, we can't quite put our finger on...
Jochen Heym - "The Final Transmission" (Chip Tronic remix) (4:32)
Chip Tronic - "Dunkel 18" (5:21)
Review: German label Bombtrap Records have been operating sublabel Stonedwave since 2006. Restless Breed 3.0 is the next issue; a various artists compilation on the label providing you with a new bunch of material, showcasing the label on all sides. From the harsh and rusty electro experiment by Sane entitled "The Hangover" which will appeal to fans of sounds on Lux Rec or Clan Destine, to the gutsy electro bass onslaught of Chordata's "Silent Singer" which goes straight for the jugular. On the flip, we are treated to two cuts by Jochem Heyn. The mysterious newcomer treats us to the melancholic IDM of "Floating Soul" (reminiscent of early Autechre) while Chip Trnics "Dunkel 18" was best described by the label themselves as 'dark techno rhythms for wonky minds who love it more distorted.'
Review: The Sun God aka Hieroglyphic Being aka Jamal Moss is a difficult guy to keep up with, that's for damn sure. Spreading his signature trademark of gritty, fuzzed out pseudo-techno across so many aliases and labels, it's as if the dude is making music 24/7. For his latest excursion Mr. Moss appears as The Sun God - a tribute name to his idol Sun Ra - for Copenhagen's always-on-the-money Cejero imprint. The A-side, "Cosmic Chords One", is classic Moss with its stumbling, alcoholic drum pattern and beautifully distorted chords - one of his finest moments and surely the winner from this year, so far. The B-side, "Cosmic Chords Two" continues Moss' devious sounds but takes them onto more distant plateaus, where the beats have now fallen into place and the synths have taken a less abstract form. Warmly recommended.