Review: Mannheim's Sukhumvit returns after a little time out to focus on brother imprints such as NCSS and Yaji Project, with a release by Mancunian Josh Baker who's on duty for this orange beauty, delivering four fresh cuts for the dancefloor - no remix needed! Four strong cuts on "EP Y": from the ethereal hypnotism of A side cut "In Two Minds" followed by the tough rolling funk attack of "Barge Deluxe" and its subtle French touch (think Djebali!). On the flip, standout track "Laid Back Trax" with it bumpy and swing-fuelled groove hammers the message home in style. Tip!
Review: Disordered Rhythm Metronomy may be a puzzling (and, let's face it, rather strange) artistic alias, but the two men behind the project, Ricardo Villalobos and Edward, have produced some of the most distinctive leftfield techno of the last decade. As a result, you'd expect their first joint EP to be a killer... and it is. A-side "Vormlock" is a rubbery, off-kilter treat, with the experienced duo peppering an elastic synth bassline and sparse, skittish drums with glitchy stabs, tipsy lead lines and all manner of wonky, out-of-this-world noises. Over on the flipside you'll find title track "Down", a deeper and dreamier chunk of spacey minimalism in which typical Villalobos style percussion and softly squelching bass comes cloaked in some suitably intergalactic synthesizer chords.
Review: Times have changed since Jake Williams first donned the Rex The Dog alias for Kompakt in 2004, but his ability to deliver ear-pleasing, synth-heavy dancefloor cuts has never faltered. "Vortex", the lead cut from the producer's first EP on 2019, is a particular potent example of his art, with Williams building and releasing tension via sparse, spacey lead lines, new wave style synth chords, matter-or-fact techno beats, trance-inducing motifs and some suitably mind-altering breakdowns. It's arguably his strongest club cut for years and certainly the most alluring. Over on side B, "Elektromekanik" sees Williams brilliantly alternate between moments of loved-up, rush-inducing dreaminess and thrillingly angular, hard-wired modular electronics.
Review: Having recently impressed with a deliciously off-kilter - and hugely impressive - debut album on Studio Barnhus (last year's must-check "Once Upon A Passion"), Stockholm's Bella Boo dons the alternative BB alias and offers up a cheeky, acid-laden future anthem. In its original A-side form, "Hey Ladies" sees the rising star top a sweaty, all-action house beat with dreamy chords, layered R&B/soul vocals, deliciously dirty bass and waves of angular, mind-altering acid lines. It's a brilliant combination of elements all told, with Boo's smart production and on-point arrangement making it a genuine peak-time banger for underground DJs. The accompanying vocal-free Dub Mix is superb, too, with the Swede replacing sampled R&B snippets with bubbly electronic motifs and even wilder acid lines.
Review: Is East End Dubz the hardest working producer in the 21st century tech-house scene? He's certainly prolific, as his sprawling discography attests, but what's more impressive is the consistent quality of his releases. He's hit the mark yet again on this EP for his self-titled imprint. A-side "Wobble" is particularly potent, featuring as it does a fizzing fusion of insatiably funky bass, surging acid lines and shoulder-swinging beats. "Slammin" is closer in tone and style to the producer's trademark tech-house glitchiness - all mangled electronic motifs, straightened-out Villalobos drums and deep bass - while "Izit" is a tidy, acid-flecked box jam that increases in weight and intensity as the track progresses.
Review: Here comes something fresh for your ears on Lazare Hoche. The Parisian minimal house bastion is experiementing on this release, as Alex Font collaborates with Nils Weimann for a record that explores the synergy between classical minimalism and contemporary dancefloor reductionism. "Ballets" is a striking track that gets creative with violin strikes falling in polyrhythmic patterns to create something truly bewildering for the dancefloor - after all, that experimental sphere is where the magic happens. "Kefta" takes a more traditional approach to minimal tech house, executed in a classy, understated fashion. On the flip, Lizz comes on board for a remix of "Ballets" that places the emphasis back on the beats.
Review: One Records' past decade in the business is celebrated with this second installment curated by label chief Subb-An. On 'Ten Years Of One Part 2', we have got cuts on the A side by the aforementioned Subb-An who teams up with veteran producer Mathew Jonson for a surprising collaboration titled "Red" - an infectious tech house thumper in the proper UK tradition, followed by French label staples Yamen & Eda who get deep down and dirty on the swinging and bass-driven "Mister Proper". On the flip, British up and comers Thomas Bulwer & Anna Wall deliver the infectious "Cap Clap" and the ever reliable Jack Wickham is as hypnotic as always on the handy groove tool "Yin".
Review: Since 2013 Tijn (not to be confused with J. Tijn) has been issuing a steady stream of high grade minimal and tech house for labels like Decay, Memoria, Moss Co and more recently Vuew. Now he comes to Aesthetic for a varied EP that leads in with the dusky, blue-hued tones of "Waves" - a moment for true immersion and introspection. By way of contrast, "CC" captures the energy of classic mid 00s minimal a la labels like Cynosure - all bugging samples hopping around a swinging groove - and we can't get enough of it. "Sundayyzz" takes things in a spookier direction, keeping that stripped back shuffle but holding down a more mellow energy compared to "CC".
Review: Following a sterling first drop from Nick Holder, Selections return in fine style with this EP from Tobi Danton. This is proper deep house in the modern mode - crisp beats and silky smooth synth lines shot through with a spaced-out attitude. Just tune in to "That's Right" and find yourself transported to the dancefloor of your dreams. "1988" is equally light and limber, with a classy vocal sample heralding the Chicago roots of the music, while "Last Dance" takes on a more anthemic tone with its strong melodic core and uplifting bump. Kevin Over comes on board for a remix of "Last Dance" that treats the original with care, edging some 90s motifs, dubby flourishes and a tougher jack into the mix without losing that hazy mood.
Review: Colin Chiddle's Art Of Dark is back with more tripped-out retro techno, following up some great releases of late by the likes of Alec Falconer, Z@P and Santiago Uribe. The 'Mind Control' EP comes from Berlin-based Matthias, who runs Superluminal and co-runs Foundation with Modex. On the A side, we have the bleepy and futuristic banger that is the title track, followed by the strobe-lit energy flash of "The New Dominion". On the flip, the party vibes continue with "Wide Open" hailing 'all aboard the Hoppetosse!', while the acid flashback of "Fatal Crusher" will surely help to get on your tunnel vision. All killer, no filler - tip!
Review: Harry Wills hail from Frankfurt and is making himself an increasingly vital voice in the tech house scene. His latest floor facing missives are as tight as ever on the new 2XYellow label. "Snap & Crackle" goes first and almost falls over itself it is in such a hurry with its tech funk drums and microcosm of pops, clicks and synth daubs. "Rubix" is built on hefty, hard hitting kicks that are perfectly well swung and come with more tripped out synth details that get right under your skin.
Review: In the 11 years that have passed since they made their debut on SK Supreme Records, NTFO have become one of the most consistent tech-house duos around, with a trademark sound that couples typically tactile, smooth grooves with the kind of dreamy and melodic elements more often found in European deep house. This trademark sound comes to the fore on this EP, most notably on superb opener "Overdose" - check the headline-grabbing bassline, bittersweet chords and bubbly lead lines - and the more hypnotic, bass-heavy flex of late night/early morning workout "Aculeus". That track is also given a more robust makeover by Barut, who cloaks a bouncy tech-house group in mildly foreboding chords, angular riffs and trance-inducing sounds.
Review: Colin McGraw's MDA Analog project continues to enjoy a renaissance after more than 20 years of silence, serving up the third instalment of vintage techno with a house-spirited warmth. "Lost But Not Broken" capitalises on some particularly soaring synths to create a uniquely uplifting flavour, while "A Theory Of Everything" takes things deeper with dubby pulses underneath an ear-snagging set of keys. "Mimico Creek" has a particularly playful arrangement marked out by nimble arps and bleeps, and "Scavenger Hunt" completes the set with a punchy rhythm section and yet more plush layers of harmonic interplay.
Review: Shanti Radio's previous multi-artists EPs were all superb, so it's little surprise to see that the latest also consistently hits the spot. Amonita sets the tone via the soft-focus tech-house shuffle of "Lavender Bloom", where lilting strings, dreamy chords and eyes-closed female vocal samples flutter around a hypnotic groove, before RVNZ offers up the similarly breezy and spring-fresh bliss of "Big Red Machine". Over on side B, Hermazez explores the kind of ultra-melodious and atmospheric hybrid progressive house/tech-house sound that the All Day I Dream label does so well ("Flame Keeper"), while Fulltone unfurls warm and ear-catching melodies and sumptuous chords on sunrise-ready closing cut "Woodland Oracle".
Review: Rhythm Plate are absolute powerhouses when it comes to delivering top-notch tech house, and they're back once again on Pressed For Time with this sizable payload of classy joints. There's a timeless quality to this stuff, whether it's the late-night swirl of "Sacrement" or the choppy, quirked-up groove of "Every Kind Of People With Any Kind Of Soul". Out of time and out of mind, the Plate just bring the kind of satisfaction to club music that could launch a thousand sessions. For the late night crew, for the mid-morning rollers and the sophisticated toe-tappers in between, sink your ear-teeth into this generous serving but whatever you do, don't call it an album.
Review: Canadian maestro Jay Tripwire is a long time underground stalwart with countless gold-dust releases to his name, and still the modest artist keeps pushing on with more stellar tech house immersion heaters. Here he's been invited to Euphoria for an EP that burrows into the most shadowy corners of his sound. "H3misphere" is a spooky jam driven by a shuffling groove and offset with some dubby flourishes - a perfectly balanced workout for the club with a seductive air of mystery lingering around the rhythm section. "Werqles" is a lighter affair, but it's no slouch in the freaky department as a plethora of disembodied machine wriggles ping around the crisp 4/4 throwdown. The whole B-side is given over to SIT's "Remux" of "H3misphere", which holds the groove down in a more linear manner but keeps that chilling atmosphere intact just behind the beats.
Review: Frankfurt producers and DJs Michael Melchner (Omega Men) and Patrick K (Traffic) formerly teamed up on the KMR project with Dario Reimann, but have returned with their sophomore release as a duo here for Berlin-based Blank Slate. "Critical Mass" sounds like pitched-down jungle until that pumping and hypnotic four-to-the-floor groove comes rushing in. This is followed by the tripped-out and funky retro techno of "DUSTWUN". On the flip, the pair take you deep into the afterhours on the woozy minimal techno affair that is "Nazare Swell" and going out all guns blazing on the acid rave frenzy of "Call Me Freddy" which is reminiscent of second wave Detroit techno classics.
Review: Following on from his Bedrock debut on John Digweeds latest Quattro album, Miles Atmospheric delivers this excellent 3 track EP titled 'Defining Circles' which has had a very limited vinyl pressing. All tracks have been thoroughly road tested by John Digweed amongst many others.
Review: Since launching two years ago, Atipic's "LAB" series of EPs has played host to some of Romania's finest minimal and tech-house talents, including Cosmjn, Arapu and Floog. The latest to showcase his wares via an EP on the series is Direkt, a rising star on the Romanian underground with previous releases on Botanic Minds, Vivus and Abduction to his name. A-side "JJJ" is probably the pick of a pretty strong bunch. Hypnotic, groovy and blessed with an inherent sense of movement, the track includes some particularly punchy percussion, spacey motifs and the most subtle of background acid lines. Elsewhere, "Liquid" is a brighter and breezier chunk of ear-catching tech-house funk, while "End Credits" is deeper, woozier and clearly best appreciated in dark rooms at six in the morning.
Review: Berlin's mysterious Lize imprint have chosen yet another kindred spirit of the most enigmatic kind to present the next release: none other than Tommy Vicari Jr. The Sheffield based producer serves up his idiosyncratic style of deep house on 'Portrait Of Thomas', from the dusty and looped-up emotions of the title track that's reminiscent of Motor City icons like Andres or Big Strick, to the roughed-up and off-kilter jack of "Track 3" (Tribute To RP) on the flip, followed by the dirty, heads-down basement vibe of "Pretend It Didn't Happen". All four cuts are made to play and perfect tackle for any decent open-end afterhours party.
Review: A couple of months after inaugurating the Outban imprint with a vibrant EP of mind-altering retro-futurism, Bakked returns with a speedy sequel. He first joins the dots between early '90s bleep techno and purist tech-house ("433"), before opting for a deeper and more ghostly take on the same bleeping futurism on "4111". "399" sees him switch tack and offer-up a breakbeat-powered romp laden with warehouse-ready riffs and New Jersey organ licks, while "444" adds sunrise-ready dreaminess to a vintage Detroit techno inspired rhythm track. Arguably best of all though is closing cut "Pullupthetune", a deliciously intergalactic tribute to the more spacey end of mid-'90s drum & bass.
Review: Ascendant Romanian producer Dinu Pancov aka Suolo continues his prolific output here with his third release for Bucharest-based Capodopere, following up some great ones in recent times on More Than Music, Aforisme and RORA. "No Proof" is totally on point: a deep, groovy and hypnotic roller from a dub techno state of mind and perfect tackle for the afterhours. On the flip, we have the ethereal and mesmerising drifter that is "Rudiment", while "Oasis" is an eerie minimal tech house tool that will appeal to fans of fellow homeboy Sublee, Alci or even Ion Ludwig.
Review: Hoary Ukraine has kept up a busy rate of release since first appearing in the world, and as was the case with their eighth EP in April, this ninth offering is a various artists affair that calls on some slick tech house talents. Nick Beringer's "AI" is tight and crisp, with an old school feel thanks to the neon baseline, the Sota really pumps the party with his effervescing, fist pumping "Zerosandones". "UXB" on the flip is Nolga's clipped, bass driven tech-garage shuffler, then closing things out is Diego Krause with "Touchstone", a darker jam with some fresh sound designs.
Review: Andalucian imprint Rationalism is back with its first EP for 2020, featuring straight-up club beats from two young and prominent electronic music producers. Homeboy Cajal (Madtech) takes care of the A side with the groovy and swingin' minimal funk of "Housy Beat" which reminds us of that classic Minibar vibe, while second offering "Morning" is classic deep house for the afterhours - just like the name suggests. On the flip, we have Argentinian Juzel (Frost Plates) who delivers the Todd Terry influenced tool that is "Esouh" followed by the lean and trippy boompty-boomp of "Tetris In The Club". Basically, more great tunes from Martin Bellomo's respected label.
Review: Malin Genie welcomes an extensive EP treat from Lava Lap, an emergent producer with an affinity for the kind of braindance that will have fans of Jodey Kendrick beating their drum machines with approval. The acid is slippery, the structures ever-shifting and a wealth of expression spills out of every bar. There are faster drum & bass paced bits, melancholy detuned electro and much more besides. Far from just being clever music though, it's also amazingly emotional and so impeccably produced. Any electronica head should be all over this.
Jared Wilson - "Lynnwood2 Northgate Transit Center" (6:39)
Sohrab - "Sinking" (6:42)
KCLF - "Reloaded 9615" (4:17)
Review: Undersound Recordings hit release number 15 with a various artist EP that packs four vital techno punches. Audio Quest's "The Mental Screen" kicks off with some old school techno that recalls the sound of legendary Dutch label Djax-Up. It's filled with metallic snare sounds and deep space bleeps. Jared Wilson of course brings the acid that has defined his output for years, and Sohrab get busy with a kicking number and some busy melody patterns. KCLF closes out with twisted bass and shiny chords that look back to go forwards with "Reloaded 9615".
Review: Strap in for a wild techno ride on the first ever offering from Psionic. The new label kicks off with an EP from Astral Travel. The aptly named artist reaches for beyond the event horizon on "Sky's The Limit", with its punchy kicks and relentlessly wobbly bass. "As One" gets into a nicely mechanical groove built on stomping kicks and rigid synth movements that make for perfectly robotic funk and the trip closes out with "Orbiting." With its urgent drums that are smooth and silky and serene synth work, it's one for peak time techno cruising.