Review: According to the accompany information, VRIL and Rodhad's first collaborative full-length was dually inspired by a desire to "subvert the expectations of their previous work" and the real world phenomena of unusual artefacts that baffle both archaeologists and historians (in their words, "strange anomalies scattered throughout the world"). Musically, the album is something of a slown-burn treat, with the pair slowly ambling between heady ambient soundscapes, buzzing, slow-motion psychedelic techno, creepy and bass-heavy electronic experiments, acid-flecked IDM, deep dub techno and productions that cannily blur the boundaries between these various stylistic touchpoints. As a result, Out of Place Artefacts is a startling and hugely enjoyable collection of mysterious musical movements.
Review: There's an undeniably far-out feel to the Zenker Brothers' second album, Cosmic Transmission, which adds further layers of trippy textures, hallucinatory sounds and smoky intensity to the aural blueprint first explored on their 2015 debut full-length Immersion. There's much to admire throughout, from the mind-bending ambient weirdness of opener 'When Nothing is Safe', and the slipped dub haze of 'Whose In Control', to the drug-addled IDM of 'Natural Connection', and the polyrhythmic techno trip of 'Divided Society'. Most striking of all is the trio of tracks that close the album, all of which are powered forwards not by heavy techno beats (or even their usual crunchy, off-kilter breakbeats) but rather a series of ear-catching, fuzz-soaked synthesizer arpeggio lines.
Review: Naming records after colours is nothing new; in fact, British tech-house pioneers Circulation spent much of their career delivering tracks named in honour of Pantone colours. Perhaps it was this that inspired Alex Falconer and Jean-Pierre Ahtuam to follow a similar pattern with releases on their 2X label. Circulation certainly would have been proud of 'Stray', the flipside cut on Tim Schlockermann's 2X Orange 12" (his first for the imprint). Featuring meditative ambient chords, pulsing and pleasing synthesizer melodies, chunky synth-bass and snappy, hypnotic machine drums, it sits somewhere between early 2000s tech-house and machine-made deep house. Over on side A, Schlockermann opts for a fuzzier, quirkier and more lo-fi sound on the analogue house sweetness that is 'Measuring Trips'.
Review: While 1990s Italian techno duo Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono may have called themselves Quiet Men, the music showcased on this first EP in 21 years is anything but. It's made up of tracks recorded - but largely not released - between 1994 and '97, which the pair recently rediscovered on dusty DATs. There's much to enjoy across the five tracks, from the angular acid bass, heavy beats and angular, post-bleep melodies of 'Doubled', and the aptly-named, early Moby style techno immersion of 'Deep', to the stomping, buzzing intensity of 'HE', and the introspective dreaminess of stripped-back ambient techno number 'Brain'. The latter comes accompanied by a stunning, previously unheard, beat-free revision.
Review: Two Shell impressed us with their 2019 debut on Livity Sound, Access, an EP that saw them brilliantly join the dots between turn-of-the-Millennium South London sounds, contemporary Bristol bass music and hazy dub techno. There's much to admire too on this follow-up for Mainframe, from the urgent, soft-touch techno beats, subtle UK Funky swing and shimmering sci-fi synth sounds of title track 'Touchpad', to the sludgy, slow-motion, Autechre-influenced nastiness of urgent-sounding closing cut 'Force'. Sandwiched in between you'll find the spaced-out, polyrhythmic techno depth of 'Fracture' and the EP's most bass-heavy beast, the sublime fusion of high-tempo electronic melodies, post-UKG beats and sub-pressure that is 'Oil Slick'.
Review: Belgium's Arkham Audio, run by Cri Du Coeur, delivers its latest release which comes from Frenchman Electric Rescue, whose new EP follows on from a recent album on Bedrock Records. Dream Warriors firmly establishes Antoine Husson's hypnotising yet adrenalising sound, with ascendant techno heroine Denise Rabe also getting on board for a pummelling peak time rework of the track. On the flip, Dutch duo TWR72 (Float Records) bring that hypnotic Purposemaker sound to their perspective of 'Einoeino' which expands on the original version's dry and industrial aesthetic.
Review: Budapest's young talent CT Kidobo debuts on local imprint Earth Plates with some fierce electro futurism on the Exboyfriend EP. The title track takes the sound of the Motor City and launches into the stratosphere with a breakneck tempo (there's also a sublime remix by Douala on the flip) until he brings you back down to earth with the down and dirty alien funk of "Asymmetrical Ingroup Bias" - which also receives a funky breaks-driven rendition by label boss Gnork afterwards.
Review: The 2nd release for Verdant in 2020 'Limbic Resonance' is a double A side 12 sharing the hearts and minds of 2 talented producers. The imprint once again provides a stage for a nascent artist; Nesa Azadikhah from Iran is a key voice for the underground scene in Tehran. Her unique style of music assimilates her culture and personal experiences with a worldly and studious appreciation of deep techno. Alison Marks, an established producer from London has an enviable catalogue of releases as herself, Lumina and as a member of Wallflower with Leah Floyeurs. Notably heard on Rebirth and Dogmatik her music is typically filled with warmth and soul.
Review: The Masaala label are laying claim to a unique curio from the '90s here, unearthing the forgotten sounds of Cutmaster Singh from Leicester. This unsung DJ legend was amongst those trying to fuse acid house and bhangra, and on this 12" we're treated to a selection of edits that do a mighty fine job of crossing the cultural divide to bring the infectious energy of Indian music into a dancefloor context. First up is a dubplate from 1994 titled 'Acid Agah', which rides a bubbling 303 and resplendent strings to create a jaw-dropping showpiece. 'Rani' is steeped in bashy '80s drums and more of that lysergic throbbing, offset by a stunning female vocal, while 'Nachdi Drums' unsurprisingly leans in hard on percussion to whip up a frenetic energy that is as much techno as it is bhangra. 'Balle Shava' takes things back to a kind of new beat freakiness which will appeal to old-skool diggers looking for something spicy in their sets.
Review: Mixing Engineer, DJ and producer Yossi Amoyal is the man behind Sushitech Records. The label turned 15 years old in 2020 and to celebrate this milestone Yossi has compiled Fluere across four discs (plus an extended Part V - Fatum). The compilation shares some of his story through the records that inspired him and continue to do so. The tracks mark more than two decades of buying records. Starting in a time when new music had to be actively sought out and ending with the abundance of new releases available online today. Fluere marks the end of a chapter and is a very personal collection featuring forgotten tracks remastered for today next to exclusive and unreleased music. As the name Fluere would suggest, the tracks it contains are the glue that hold a set together. They are special, hypnotic, mood setters from artists who specialise in subtlety, from Two Lone Swordsmen and Baby Ford to Steve O Sullivan and Mathew Jonson. Each part of the compilation tells its own story, both through the music on offer and with an exclusive insert written by Yossi himself. The tracks themselves represent over three decades of moving dance floors. Starting with Mark Broom's Gira first released in 1995 and right up to Brawther's Serpent, produced in 2020, Fluere creates its own unique journey through this period of dance music history.
Review: Malin Genie is back with the second instalment in his immersive 12" project, Vixere. This edition kicks off with an instantly tougher demeanour compared to the supremely chilled first one, as witnessed by the straight-up tech thump of "Troglodyte Party". "Drek" teases things back down to a heady murmur with some squashed and subliminal minimal house for the back room crowd, while "Mastodon" brings back some of those vibrant industrial textures that stood out on "Duppy" from Vixere I/II. "The Foolish & The Senseless Alike" is a more chirpy, synth rich groover and "Bodie" closes this quality project out with a richly rendered ambient sound bath.