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: Having debuted on Valcrond Video label last year with the Immured 12" under her familiar Xosar alias, Sheela Rahman now returns to the platform for some "shared make-believe" with founder Luke Wyatt for new project Body Tools. Taking a catalogue number as its title, this two track 12" follows a succession of Body Tools radio broadcasts on Berlin Community Radio and showcases a softer, more hypnotic side which in the case of lead track "Locusts & Lions" hits hard when the poignant piano makes its presence felt. "Brave" channels a strange, modern kosmische vibe that will really hit the spot deep in the mix.
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.
Review: Following on from last year's God Is Change cassette on Opal Tapes, Butler delivers a dance floor EP of sorts for the Black sub-label. "The Chill" is a droning techno track with a difference; underpinned by chattering percussion and mysterious chimes, it also features the sound of iron bars dropping on a concrete floor, looped to infinity. The melancholic synth riffs that soars through the arrangement has some resemblance of Detroit techno, but it is rooted in too much fuzzy abstraction to sound like a retro copy. The mood changes on "Unrepentant"; there, Butler seeks to relive Chicago's glory days, albeit channelled through a degraded Nation filter. Who knows what he'll get up to next?
Review: Hands up who gets the vintage sci-fi reference in Trevor Jackson's latest production alias? For the non-nerds amongst us, Dark There Were & Golden-Eyed is the name of both a legendary short story by Ray Bradbury and a famous London sci-fi bookshop of the 1970s. Musically, the three tracks Jackson has served up this time round tend towards the stripped-back and synthesizer-heavy. They were apparently recorded between 2010 and 2014 using a minimalist set-up of handpicked pieces of analogue gear. While the B-side contains a couple of formidably dark, odd and curious, soundtrack style excursions, it's the epic A-side, "Design Your Dreams" - a fluid, loved-up and hypnotic blend of Terry Riley style cyclical synthesizer motifs and subtle percussion - that stands out.
Review: William J.Youngman's Headless Horseman project has created a new and exciting techno sound that was only an offshoot of EBM and industrial in years past. Stepping out of his own imprint, the dark horseman lands on Tommy Four Seven's excellent 47 label, tearing through the speakers from the get-go thanks to the toxic sounds of "Revelation", and the even nastier sway of "Concussion". Metallic and hard-nosed in absolutely every way, "Locust" follows up on that with a menacing pounce of beats and cavernous bass, while "Gravity" breaks the techno groove for something much more in line with the likes of Powell's Diagonal output. Big boy sounds.
Review: If you're in the market for an otherworldly trip into deep space, this quietly impressive debut from I.M.J.U.S could just be the ticket. Taking the sparse and spacey feel of Drexciyan electro as its' base, the EP saunters between discordant, out-there ambient ("Insomnia"), hypnotic deep techno ("Welcome to Scientology"), wild alien funk masquerading as body-jacking techno ("After Orgie"), slow and slugy, industrial-influenced sleaze ("Untitled 6") and viciously pitched-up madness with added old school bleeps. It's a mixture that makes perfect sonic sense but also remains thrillingly surprising even after multiple listens. Certainly, we'd recommend it to those who like their electronic music tough, out-there and eccentric.
Review: Hot on the heels of Spencer Parker's Different Shapes & Sizes series comes a new set of 12" singles featuring reworks of some of the best tracks. On this first EP, Steffen Laschinski AKA Rising Sun steals the show with two sparkling, floor-filling takes on "Riff Shapes". The first, a swirling and attractive affair that wraps bold electronic motifs around a sweaty, breakbeat-driven groove, is arguably the pick of the pair, though some may prefer the thumping techno bounce of his second interpretation. Over on the B-side, DJ Fett Burger lays down a typically eccentric take on "SIZE: YES" - think bustling hardcore style breakbeats and mind-altering acid lines, before Belgrade-raised Tijana T joins the dots between Patrick Cowley's muscular arpeggio-disco and mind-altering acid techno.
Review: Personable, who goes by the passport name of M. Geddes Gengras, and also the alias of Fantastic Ego, lands on California's Peak Oil after a bunch of enticing escapades on the always excellent Opal Tapes. He brings yet more peripherally-minded house this time around, starting with the broken, jagged groove that is "Bushi", followed by the odd, molecular house sway of "New Balance". Flip to the B-side, and you'll find the coarse techno shock of "Cris Rose" - a masterfully performed bit of cognitive dissonance between sweet melodics and nasty drums - and the tamer, more cerebral flutters of "New Lines". All in all, a smokin' bunch of outsider joints.
Review: Amid whispers of a new album from Unirhythm boss and Three Chairs stalwart Marcellus Pittman, two tracks from his excellent debut LP Pieces finally get committed to wax. It's a shame Pieces never got a vinyl release, but the chance to grip "Sneak Attack" and "Random Acts Of Insanity" on 12" should not be passed up. This 12" was actually released in 'blink and you'll miss it' white label format in 2014, but finally gets a proper issue! For those that don't have the LP, "Sneak Attack" is a curious concoction, with Syclops style electronics occasionally flowering over deep, dusty, intricately programmed rhythms. "Random Acts Of Insanity" feels a little bolder in approach, though its' rich chords and odd, off-kilter rhythm track are contrasted with some notably bonkers electronic touches.
Review: SH2000, a mystery artist whose been busy keeping himself under the radar, returns to Volking Music with another EP (check the guy's Ethereal Sound release for a true lesson in deepness!) and it's two tracks of utter symphonic beauty. "Track 1" releases a steady, driving kick beneath airy, delayed sonics and dreamy melodies, while on the flip, "Track 2" heads into total abstraction thanks to a starry landscape of atmospherics gliding left, right and centre without the help of any beat or bassline. Breathtaking excursions into the ether.
Review: Shielding's Innerlig is viscous, densely detailed, trippy music. Dripping with texture, these are supple tunes that generously expand to fill whatever space they're in, loops stretching towards the lilac virtual horizon. Constantly mutating rhythms, heavily atmospheric grooves. RIYL Harmonious Thelonious, Jan Jelinek, Theo Parrish.
Review: The latest release from "distorted rave and industrial sweat" specialist is something of an epic. It boasts two previously unheard tracks - the pitch-black, red-lined electro/techno intensity of the undeniably creepy "Membresi Ekl", and the all-out, mind-melting dancefloor assault that is "For Varden Pikre" - plus a swathe of remixes. We're particularly enjoying the sparse, industrial-influenced machine funk of Max Durante's rework of "Membresi Ekl", Drvg Cvltvre's psychedelic, acid-driven techno remix of the same track, and Martyn Hare's blistering industrial electro interpretation of "For Varden Pikre". Chris Moss's breakbeat-driven acid-rave version of the latter cut is pretty darn tasty, too.