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: Madonna, Depeche Mode and Kelis - what do East End Edits have in store for us next? This seventh instalment harks back to the charming deep jazzy house of their inaugural release - think of the legendary St. Germain and that should give you a fairly good idea. The track's smoky, late night jazz bar vibe is complemented by a rolling bass and swinging rhythms that should appeal to the likes of Rhadoo or Petre Inspirescu - legends of the Romanian scene who themselves have lent their deft hand to the French producer's work as remixers in the past, too.
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: 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: 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: 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.
Review: Nobody does tough rolling tackle for the peak time quite like the Audiojack boys. The Leeds-based duo head up the revered Gruuv imprint and have left their indelible mark on The White Isle with their legendary parties. Indeed, their sound is a worthy addition to the Mannheim-based 8bit imprint; Jorge and Nick Curly, like Rial & Birkenshaw themselves, churn out proper tech house that is aimed squarely at the main room. The track in question is "Are We Here", that sees them deliver something a bit more restrained than usual. This is a smooth and euphoric slow burner that's perfect to build up to the bangers in your set, harnessing all that 'energy'. Speaking of which, that's the operative word throughout the B side cut "Higher" with its deep and bass-driven pulsation that's sure to get the sweat dripping from the walls.
Review: Jackmate, the king of off-kilter house, makes a welcome addition to Matthew Herbert's Accidental catalogue - matter of fact his style is right at home! The 'Werk' EP is the Philpot co-chief's first release in six years and he's in fine form as always. From the dry and disjointed shuffle of the title track, to the smooth and sensual deepness of B-side cut "Skeletones" - a Moodymann-ish cut which is perfect mood music for the warm-up or afterhours alike. Closing out the EP is something much more offbeat for the Sunday afternoon slot - the boppy summertime groove of "The Clarinettes' which like its namesake has some irresistible wind instrument action to get you on your feet and shaking your behind.
Review: This slick package of high grade weaponry is the second and final part of the Gargoyle Classics reissues series. It turns attention to Baltimore in the mid 90s, a time when techno, IDM, electro, rave and breaks were all freely colliding with one another. The result is a four tracker that you would have a hard time placing given its timeless appeal. From the slick electro techno funk of "I Said" to the more bouncy techno remix via the turbo charged bass of "Ten After 3" and freaky sci-fi work out that is "Do You Believe" (Space Evader mix), this is perfectly red hot tackle.
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: The heat just keeps coming from the EYA camp as they swiftly follow up LONEWOLF 003 with this crucial care package from Kiev's Zolaa. Moody atmospheres abound on the stripped and stalking electro opener "Silver Needle, Golden Pain" before giving way to the decidedly cheekier acid snapper "Noctivagant". "Horiy Spokiy" broadens the remit of the record too, taking on a widescreen sound that takes in rich layers of melodic counterpoint to create a vivid soundscape that still kicks in all the right places. Then Etienne drops in a remix for the B2 which shakes things up with some breezy, feel good chords to counteract the punchy thrust of the drums.
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: The Atipic catalogue has certainly grown exponentially in the last couple of years, with some particularly fantastic releases coming from Rominimal scene heroes like Vincentiulian, Vlad Arapasu and Cosmijn. The latest addition comes from Bucharest-based newcomer Florin Serban aka Aparte, who label boss Priku has chosen to present a smashing debut here on "ATIPICLAB 007". Teaming up with fellow debutante Dan Blatov on the sparse and hypnotic Sunday morning vibe of "Guidance", before going solo on the flip with the moody bass-driven groove of "Distant Thunder".
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: 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: 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: 2019 was a breakthrough year for Adam Longman Parker AKA Afriqua, thanks in no small part to the release of his brilliant debut album on R&S (the mixed-up and imaginative "Colored"). It's a curious quirk then that his latest single features tracks not recorded last year, but rather way back in 2017. It shows a producer trying to take tech-house in interesting new directions whilst still maintaining the club-focused rhythms and late night hypnotism frequently associated with the style. We're particularly enjoying the melancholic, funk-fuelled deep-tech eccentricity of "Haven" and the colourful melodies of the decidedly druggy "Noga", though lolloping and layered opener "Moonspa" may well be the best of an off-kilter bunch.
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: Talk about the power of pure rhythms. 'Yek 166-3', to reference just one of four iterations here, is as propellant as anything you're likely to hear in a club, but if heard mid-party would be one of the most challenging curveballs you could ask for. Comprised entirely of tribal-like top end percussive structures set at breakneck pace, it's a great place to start with this release overall - a package that's as much about artistically accomplished complete tracks as it is providing workable elements for use in something larger. A DJ's delight, this isn't to say all four arrangements don't deserve to be heard individually. '134-17' growls and shimmers in a way that's subtly complex, ideal for headphone or big rig play. '128-10' is more about poised dark tech atmosphere, while '127-17' exists within looser frameworks, leading to more serene and relaxed results.
Review: Berlin scene stalwart Nico Stojan is back on his respected Ouie imprint that he co-runs with Acid Pauli, with their seventeenth edition here. On the 'Cardano' EP you can sure bet that it is jam packed with glassy-eyed and bittersweet dancefloor narratives, as evident on the sublime title A side title track. Soothing melodies, warm bass and subtle rhythms underpin this melodic deep house journey throughout. On the flip, we have two more numbers aimed squarely at the Sunday morning dancefloor in the form of "Together" and "Inhale", the latter in particular will take you into the exotic with its chilled-out summertime island vibes.
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: 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.