Review: New label Pointillisme Music return after some great releases by Disuasiv (Andi Parlogea & Dragosh) and the always impressive Ukrainian KiRiK. It's now over to Esoteric Workshop, who has released previously on Sensual and 87 Records and rest assured that the Zern EP certainly follows in suit. Starting out with the deeply hypnotic subtlety of "Travers" featuring a gentle broken beat, emotive pads and tripped out atmospherics: this one ticks all the right boxes. The remix of said track up next by Anestie Gomez stays faithful to the original, but gets dubbier by injecting more tempo and shuffle into the rhythm complete with a rolling bassline which works even better. On the flip, the mysterious producer experiments further with broken beats, like on is the classic Chicago deep house sounds of "Loren" and then back to four/four with the tough, electro-infused analogue driven groove of "Sera".
Review: Modular techno maestro and Freerotation big cheese Steevio is on fine form on "Zephyr", his first EP of 2019. He kicks things off with "Brawd", where undulating electronic motifs and faintly foreboding snatches of melody wind their way around a rolling techno groove, before offering up a swinging, off-kilter take on tropical techno rich in darting minor key melodies and jazzy sub-bass. Turn to the flip and you'll encounter two more chunks of modular dancefloor hypnotism: the slowly shifting, head-in-the-clouds throb of "Cysuron" and the melodious but off-kilter tech-jazz flex of hard-to-pigeonhole EP highlight "Rhyddid".
Review: Joe Montana aka Edoardo Fatovich is an Italian musician, DJ and producer who has been releasing music since 1993 across many seminal and now defunct labels - but more recently on Mindshake, 8bit and Claque Musique. Presenting the fifth release on fellow Italian imprint Pick.Sel here, we aren't sure whether these are some more unearthed gems from Fatovich archives or freshly made creations, but that's exactly our point - this is some timeless music on offer here. The A side features the emotive minimal tech house trip "Nute50" which could call comparisons to like minded legends such as Stewart S Walker or Akufen's earliest output. On the flip, "Little Ur Ex" is an exercise in reduced boompty business - the kind of micro-house that was popular in the mid noughties.
Review: Yoyaku Distribution's matter-of-fact YYY series continues to impress, delivering a third "mystery" 12" of the year to date. The un-credited producer gets straight down to business on side A, wrapping darting melodies and liquid electronics around fizzing cymbals, undulating kick drums and warm bass in an outer-space tech-house style. There's a slightly darker and more energy-packed feel to the flipside track, whose staccato percussion hits, restless drum machine handclaps and back-alley stabs sound like they were created with sweaty basement dancefloors in mind (despite the presence of the series' usual fluid chords).
Review: The high grade, leftfield approach to house music Lyssna have set out as their MO continues in fine style on this new Colours series, starting with the Yellow EP and a strong cast of characters from the outer reaches. Riciar Ghir opens up proceedings with the tumbling deep house of "Cargo", making the keys dance with distinction and injection a subby rumble where it counts. Minimal Afrika follow that up with a percussive tryst entitled "Drakma Queen" that blossoms into a sumptuous ambient excursion. Robotalco takes a very different approach with some classically pumping sample-powered house music to shake feel-good fists to, and then Klubbhuset finishes up with an impassioned romp through peak time disco licks for the peak of the night.
Review: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is the perfect companion to Burnt Friedman's steely, minimalistic shades of broken dub techno. The Iranian percussionist comes as a surprise addition to the Nonplace catalogue, but he certainly makes for an even more cerebral drumming experience than the already off-kilter world of Friedman's tunes. Both the A-side's mixes of "Yek" are just on the right side of dark, combining Eastern influences together with colder, more industrial executions from the West. On the B-side, we have a similarly frenetic experience, where metallic drums collide with deep baselines and polyrhythmic flows spanning the full circle. Well, this might just be our favourite Nonplace yet!
Review: If you're a minimal fan and don't know Yama Music, you've been sleeping. Their first three EPs flew off the shelves and into crates of heady DJs across Europe. Once again the eponymous Yama Music is or are behind the beats and it's forward thinking, no nonsense dancing music of the highest order. "Acisaronno" is proper tech house with delicate hi hats and steel plated drums making for a frictionless groove, while "Chinchilla Shuffle" is the sort of slightly wonky and oddball track that Craig Richard drops on the regular. Freaky, spaced out and atmospheric, tech house doesn't get much better.
Review: For the fourth release on his nascent label, Frankfurt-based Baba Osman has turned to two producers still finding their feet: debutant collaborators Nicolas Etorena and Santiago Uribe. There's much to admire on their first EP, not least fine opener "24-25". A bouncy peak-time roller propelled by raging acid bass, ear-pleasing bleeps and chunky house drums, it perfectly sets the tone for a 12" rich in nods to vintage UK techno. This is particularly evident on X2, where early hardcore breakbeats and a gargantuan sub-bass line are peppered with metallic chords and early Warp style bleep melodies. You'll find more heavy, LFO-influenced sub-bass and the more straight up bleep techno snappiness of B-side "Zazzia".
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: Despite the pastoral, park-based imagery utilized on the sleeve, Denis Morin's Working K is hardly a paragon of gentle beauty. While the main mix does make use of some picturesque elements - twinkling pianos, cascading guitar lines and birdsong - these have been heavily effected with delay and reverb, and tumble down over a restless kick drum pattern and wild electronics. The trippy Work It Out Mix begins as a field recording-heavy ambient house number, before morphing into a chunk of quirky, tropical-fired oddness midway through. Elsewhere, Krikor turns it into a lo-fi EBM throbber, while the EB Forgotten Sounds Mix teases maximum beauty from Morin's original sounds whilst ensuring a steady dancefloor pulse.
Catch Me If You Can (Jorge Savoretti Ethereal dub) (7:08)
Review: Michael James' "Winds Of Change" EP was a big look for Constant Black, and now the eminent minimal house label draws on a hit list of sharp shooters to deliver some deadly remixes. Huerta is up first with an angular but rolling dub twist on "Catch Me If You Can", before Nick Beringer pings things in a wonderfully hazy direction with his "7am Dub" of "Stormy Skies". Pascal Benjamin gets into a tight, focused funk on his version of "Reservoir", and then Jorge Savoretti flies in an "Ethereal Dub" of "Catch Me If You Can".
Review: Having made his debut on Roots For Bloom back in 2013, Michael James was made to wait for another opportunity to impress. That came last year via a trio of highly regarded releases on Constant Sound and its Constant Black offshoot. Things are clearly going well, because he's now served up his most expansive collection of tracks to date: a seven-track double-pack featuring a variety of club-ready treats. Check, for example, the low-slung, bass-heavy tech house creepiness of "Catch Me If You Can" and "Winds of Change", the gently spacey bump of "Stormy Skies" and the fluttering late night dreaminess of "Dog Day Afternoon", where stretched-out chords recline over a chunky, dub-influenced bassline.