Review: While the name may be new, A New Line (Related) is supposedly the work of an already established musician, although Kimochi was never a label that cared about hype. The music stands just fine on its own, digging into the kind of dusty and dusky house and techno formations that the label has forged its hand-sprayed identity on. There's plenty of ambient techno twirls to be enjoyed on the likes of "Dancing On Soft Borders", while the beats melt away entirely on "After A Short Illness" and grandiose EP closer "RIYL Failures". Once again Kimochi comes up with the kind of meaningful variations on the 4/4 framework that keep our record bags full and our souls enriched.
Review: We're not sure who's behind the mysterious AC-EXP project, but the shadowy figure returns with more of that strange, submerged house music he's been tickling discerning DJs with over the past few years. After taking last year off, "1A" is a fine place to start things up again with a strutting jack track carrying acidic synth pulses that flirt with measured delay processing. It's a jam that sounds steamy and sinister all at once. "1B" maintains this restrained but seductive vibe with the slightly trancey throb of the lead synths pivoting around the snappy drums to great effect.
Shakmat, But Happy (Pauli Psychdelic Breakfast - take 9) (9:25)
Review: German deep house stalwart Martin Gretschmann aka Acid Pauli is back on Ouie, the Berlin-based label he runs with Nico Stojan. This self-deprecatingly titled EP showcases Gretschmann's dancefloor prowess yet again. From the slinky and hypnotic locomotion of "Dancing In The Trunk" which deservedly takes over the entire A side, while B side cut "Goran Utan" goes deep into the afterhours with its shimmering melodies, humming bass and clipped rhythm patterns and rounds off with even more minimal and reduced aesthetics on the disorienting "Shakmat, But Happy" (Pauli Psychdelic Breakfast - Take 9)".
Review: Adam Monti aka ADMNTi heads up 4Plae Records out of London and joins Casey Spillman (who just debuted on Infuse) for his label's fifth release. Monti opens with the hypnotic, bass-driven and swing-fuelled loops of "0207", a sublime groove reminiscent of iO (Mulen) or Jack Wickham, while Spillman's contribution comes in the form of the very UK influenced bounce of "Juice Appeal". This takes the best of 2-step and garage (and even the mandatory "rewind") to create a sexy serving of late night mood music. On the flip they flip the script, with both artists remixing each other's track and for what it's worth we reckon it's all about Spillman's remix of Monti's - tough rolling and functional tech house that's aimed squarely at the main room at peak time!
Review: Well isn't this quite the star pairing. VincentAdrian are none other than Romanian scene heroes VincentIulian and Adrian Niculae aka Priku - who serve up some perfectly minimal and trippy antics (in rather typical Romanian style) on the always reliable Eastenderz. Unlike the experimental leanings usually associated with either producer's work, ENDZ 024 features four functional cuts that are dubby, bouncy and reduced - guaranteed to work on the dancefloor and perfectly suited to the early evening of the afterhours alike. You'll be sure to be hearing these ones on discerning dancefloors from Club Guesthouse to Hoppetosse and beyond. Tip!
Review: French electronic legend Sebastien Devaud returns as Agoria, on his always impressive Sapiens imprint with new single "Remedy" taken from his latest album entitled "Drift". Here we are treated to two wonderful remixes, both blessed with the French touch. Emmanuel 'Manoo' Kossi takes the A side with an emotive and electrifying hi-tech soul rendition while on the flip, legends Cassius make a triumphant return to production by taking the track into deeper and sexier sonic territory.
Review: Swiss producer Alci, also known as Shaolin Fantastic, landed with lauded releases on Robsoul before skipping to other labels like Apollonia and Meander. Following last year's excellent "Diversity" double pack, he lands on his own label Seeingsounds with this pitch perfect slice of dreamy minimal house. "Acid Drip" may be a misleading title - it's more of an unending groove draped in gorgeous, shimmering melodic finery. "Hiragana" takes things in a more twitchy direction, while "Apachi" brings another slant on reduced, oddball funk to get the up all night crowd loose and freaky in all the right ways.
Review: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.
Review: The latest slab from Dutch delights SlapFunk sees a return from regular contributor Julian Alexander. Since he was last on the label, Alexander has been teaming up with Blind Box Series and Rawax, but he comes back home with an assured six track EP that highlights his continued progression as a producer. The release is bookended by short but immersive ambient cuts, with the primary focus being four forthright minimal house burners that continue the fine tradition of SlapFunk as a whole. From the snaking beat and cheeky b-line of "Nibyc" to the hard-stepping thrust of "Asco 52," there is plenty here for fans of the label's sound to lap up.
Review: While he may have been operating in the underground for some time, Darren Allen's music is only just coming to light through his own Underlying Form label now. There's a range of styles on offer across this EP, kicking off with the subtle pulse of "Feel" before moving on to a distinctly French-flavoured micro house groove on "Inmost Cave" that wouldn't sound out of place on Telegraph Records. On the B side, "Routine Kills Inspiration" switches the mood up with a rougher sound palette, even if the arrangement is still a minimally-minded affair. Then it's left to Vid Vai to drop a complex reworking of "MD Habitat" loaded with intricate textures.
Review: Helena is a record label based in Porto run by Goncalo (808). Limited vinyl only releases thus far have come courtesy of Module Werk, Aleks and Ephemeral and it is now over to one Altitude who, to those that know: is none other than Torontonian legend Matt Thibideau, who since the late '90s has been expertly executing dub techno experiments via his Blue Recordings imprint in addition to appearances on Daniel Bell's 7th City and more recently the promising Assemble Music: also from Portugal. A side cut "Transforming" has razor sharp precision in everything from the bass to those super tight dub chords and rhythms: shows the man is still as on-point as ever. Glacial aesthetics prevail well into the B side, with the deep and cavernous journey "Touch Sensor" and its immersive tones which gently scream 'welcome to the North' much in the same vein of Rod Modell or Brian Kage.
Review: The legendary Dutch producer Martijn Hoogendijk aka Alden Tyrell (of Clone Records fame) teams up here for some main room bangers with Berlin based American Kevin McHugh aka Ambivalent: who has had a productive past decade recording for such respected imprints as m_nus, Ovum Recordings and Kompakt in addition to running his Delft and Valence imprints - where he records as acid expert LA-4A. The Detente EP brings the furious warehouse style bounce of the title track (featuring some relentless drum work!), the dusty and greyscale dub techno workout of "Dutchless" and the totally heads down and strobe-lit affair of "Wallfall" that is reminiscent of Jell Mills seminal Waveform Transmissions series.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Mark Ambrose doubles up on his appearance on Was/Is with this strident bout of deep end dwellers, kicking off in style with the charged up strut and punchy mono bass of "Makossa (mix 1)," making a point of stepping into a more peak time sound. "Makossa (mix 2)" takes things in a more bugging direction, but there's still plenty of pressure to be felt in the wriggling low end mess and nagging hi hats. The Teakup mix of "Makossa" is a devilish broken beat track, and then "Wagamama" slips in a loopy melodic hook and lets a firm but freaky slice of techno roll out underneath.