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: 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: 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: Nemo Vachez and GrooveGuy take care of one side each on this superb new EP for Record Store Demo. "Cyan" from Vachez is a track defined by busy melodies that hiccup and pop over a shimmering line of steely percussion and tech-funk kicks. Roomy breakdowns add to the sci-fi vibes and make for colourful listening. Grooveguy's "Andromeda" gets a little more squelchy thanks to a superbly wet bassline, while crispy snapping snares and tripped put pads lend a space breaks feel. These are two perfectly contemporary, floor ready cuts that pair style and function in equal measure.
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: 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.
Review: Is there a techno producer quite as capable of crafting melodious, far-sighted and wonderfully positive techno workouts as Derek Carr? If there is, we've yet to find them. There's perhaps slightly more of an audible tech-house influence at work on his latest EP, but the producer's alluring obsession with colourful electronic motifs, glassy-eyed pads and spacey sci-fi sounds remains. The A-side is all about "Tiger", a glittering sprint through swelling chords, snappy machine beats and lilting sunrise melodies that's subsequently given a chunkier, funkier tech-house makeover (with added deep bleeps) by Giuliano Lomonte. Over on side B, Carr deftly joins the dots between bittersweet melancholia and sun-kissed warmth on deep electro number "Technopolis", before painting broad brush strokes of aural colour on emotive techno gem "Remain".
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: Lyon might be known as the gastronomical capital of France, but the Undergroove label is doing a fine job of putting the city on the radar of tech house fans. This fourth release is another futuristic trip that kicks off with the punchy drum programming but squelchy synths of Feel the Jam's "UK Breakfast." Keraw gets you in a spin with the quickened and sleek grooves of his "Keutra" then Oden & Fatzo combine to triumphant effect on the high speed tech funk cut that is "Titontesttu" with its gorgeously freeform bassline taking centre stage. Herr Krank's "Fight Your Fears" closes out the adventure with an ever rising acid line that eventually leads to intergalactic tech house lift off. You best strap in!
Review: Despite his truly idiosyncratic sound, Zefzeed has long been one of the most underrated talents within Romania's prolific minimal techno scene. Having a consistent output over the years on mainly smaller imprints, it's nice to see him getting the recognition he deserves on an established label here - returning to Cluj-Napoca's Midi Records. The 'Strip Tease' EP features two typically arcane and complex tracks in the style you've come to expect from the Timisoara-based producer and DJ. On the A side, we have the mesmerising and otherworldly bounce of "Sloppy From Two Fingers" which is perfect tackle for getting weird at the after hours. On the flip, "Stripped To The Bones" is a similarly subdued affair and bordering on near psychedelic moments, complete with the huge bassline, clipped drum programming and woozy sound design that will intensify the effects of sleep deprivation and paranoia. Tip!
Review: Oliver Moon introduces the Dancing With Strangers record label, alongside good friend and fellow DJ/Producer Paul Louth aka Agile Kind - who inaugurates the label here. While it may have been a long time between drinks for the veteran DJ on the production front (he's intermittently created music under aliases like Water Walk and Soulfish over the years) he proves that slow and steady wins the race on the "Pyramid EP". The emotive vibe of early '90s British IDM and US techno-soul is eminent throughout. From the sensual deepness of the title track or B side cut "Mime" which are reminiscent of classics by the likes of DaRandLand, not to mention the full throttle rework by legend Kirk Degiorgio under the As One moniker on the flip.
Review: Since he made his debut five years ago, Johannes Kolter AKA Djoko has happily flitted between labels, in the process offering up a string of rock-solid releases. "Endless Explorations", his first vinyl outing of 2020, sees Kolter add another label to his discography, French dub techno imprint Berg Audio. Kolter sets the tone perfectly on opener "Ikarus", where fluttering, pleasingly spacey dub techno riffs and sustained chords ride a crunchy tech-house groove, before joining forces with T JACQUES on the acid-sporting, late '90s style tech-house-funk of "Instincts". The funk-fuelled, acid-sporting fun continues on bold, melodious, intergalactic and hugely enjoyable flipside opener "In Flavour" - check the jazzy keys and garage-influenced swing - while deep space closing cut "Asteroids" is smoother than a baby's backside and every bit as potent.
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: 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: After some great EPs for tap labels such as Metereze, Half Baked and Tavera Tracks in recent times, Greek wunderkind John Dimas is back to inaugurate new imprint Synq with the 'Rave Wave' EP. As the name may suggest, there are retro-tinted party tunes that see Dimas make the journey into classic techno sounds like many others in the minimal house fraternity have tuned into in recent years - and he does a damn fine job if we do say so. On the A side, we have "Transmatik" and there's a clear enough reference found in the title, incorporating Rhythim is Rhythim style syncopated drums effectively for Motor City inspired number. While on the flip, the hi-tech soul themes continue on the acid-laced future funk of the title track.
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: Ukranian tech house hero Andrew Guyvoronsky aka Tripmastaz is back, with more boompty and swing-fuelled business after the label's two year hiatus - and it's his most personal one yet. On the A side of '06', we have the groovy heads-down stomper that is "My B Is Better Than Your B" and while that may be a subjective thing, broadly speaking - we can sure give him the benefit of the doubt there. This one will mix in well with any of your Cab Drivers records for sure! On the flip, we have the smooth deep house of "Grime-O-Licious' and it's proper mood music if we've ever heard it. This chilled and dubby jam is perfect tackle for the afterhours.
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: 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: 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: The most surprising release this week comes from Thomas Melchior's newly inaugurated My King Is Light label, presenting its sophomore release courtesy of veteran U.S. producer Amir Alexander. The Vanguard Sound main man isn't usually known for his minimal house exploits, but sure proves his talent for it here on the 'Wisdom' EP. A side "Catacombs2" treads along a ghostly trail similar to Melchior's own work, with all its deep and hypnotic elements aimed squarely at the afterhours dancefloor. On the flip, we have the lean and subtle groove of "Globus" which continues with the arcane and 'magickal' vibes; its bouncy melodic bass works your feet, while the warped/operatic vocal tones flip your mind!