Review: Northern Electronics return here with their fourteenth release and it comes from an unexpected source in Dorisburg. Also known as one half of Genius Of Time, Alexander Berg's solo project is not a name one would immediately associate with the frosted sonic vistas of Northern Electronics on the basis of previous output for Aniara and Bossmusik. However the three tracks present on Splade certainly suggest Berg doesn't look out of place on the NE roster alongside Abdulla Rashim, Varg, Acronym and the others. "Splade" finds Berg expertly toying with delay and effects over a refined dub techno groove that bristles with detailed abstraction, whilst the excellent "Business Propaganda" brings a touch of the West Country steppers vibe to proceedings. B-side hugger "Uncertainly" is the kind of dubby terrain you want to lose yourself in.
Review: It's astonishing to think that Frak's Borft Records has now notched up three decades. The Swedish imprint remains as eccentric and essential as ever, as this label debut from inspired Norwegian oddball DJ Sotofett proves. By his standards, "Ol Pa Ibiza" and the stripped back "Ol Pa Klubb" are pretty straightforward, with the Sex Tags man laying ricocheting dub notes and percussion hits over a rock solid drum track and booming bassline. "Ol Pa SM-Art Bar" sees him channel the spirit of early British bleep techno and the darker end of Belgian new beat on a clandestine mid-tempo chugger, while "Drikkepause" is a quick-fire shot of ambience built around echoing bells. Finally, he heads for a dirty warehouse on the acid-laden, EBM informed sleaziness of "Nekta Ol Par City Club".
Review: This new collaborative EP from Russia's Private Persons provides a healthy dose of twisted electro-minded tech that should appeal to all sorts of DJs seeking that 'raw' edge. This new pile driver comes from the minds of Locked Club and RLGN, both of them new to the scene and hungrily to deliver some good old dread into the dance floor. "Bosozoku" and "Baikal Boogie" are both made of the same, twisted sort of highly abrasive metallic percussion, and should light up more than a few light bulbs to fans of the Bunker stable. Over on the B-side, Locked Club appears on his own for "80.8 FM", an FX-heavy juggernaut with nothing but merciless energy at its core, whereas the duo are back together on the punchy warehouse techno of "Tsukare". Cold and effective.
Massimiliano Pagliara - "I Am Running All My Drum Machines At Once & Dancing"
Mike Dunn - "A Groove"
Playground Productionz - "Orgy"
Eli Escobar - "Tension" (vinyl mix)
Alcatraz Harry - "Ode To Frankfurt"
Lory D - "Deep Acoustic"
Tomahawk - "Forever Free"
Anno Stamm - "A Night Out With Therese"
Denis Sulta - "Dubelle Oh XX"
Konakov - "Clonki" (part II)
Mr G - "Transient"
Basic Channel - "Q11" (part I)
Fango - "Vena Cava"
Tessela - "Up"
Ricardo Villalobos - "Logohitz"
Dean & Deluca - "A2"
Robert Hood - "The Pace"
Overmow - "Convulsions"
POM POM - "POM POM 18 B2"
Review: Up next on DJ Kicks' acclaimed mix series is Numbers doyen and Glaswegian iconJackmaster. In his own words, the 24-track mix sees the charismatic Scot 'delivering an honest journey, unearthing a serious passion for the obscure boundaries of house and techno.' This double LP lifts out eight of the tracks most other DJs will want to get their mitts on, and joins the dots between his hometown of Glasgow with Denis Sulta's festival destroying bass driven epic "MSNJ", then NYC; with Eli Escobar's gutsy EBM-flavoured 'Tension (vinyl mix)". Berlin's status as a dance music mecca is referenced with Dutch transplant Anno Stamm's dark house stomper "A Night Out With Therese" and the legend himself Ricardo Villalobos, with his minimal techno classic from 1996 "Logohitz". DJ Kicks throw in a CD of the mix too!
Review: Given that XOR Gate is a new project from Drexciya member and all round Detroit legend Gerald Donald, we'd expect copies of Conic Sections to fly off the shelves. It helps, of course, that's the mini-album is little less than inspired. There are hints of Drexciya's alien electronics throughout, but little in the way of punchy TR-808 beats or booming bass. Instead, Donald treats us to a sublime selection of futurist soundscapes, experimental doodles, deep space ambient compositions and trippy, horror-influenced electronica. It's effectively the distilled essence of Motor City futurism with the dancefloor grooves removed and some creepy modular electronics thrown in. Which, we think you'll agree, is an enticing proposition.
Review: The past few years have seen Keiran Whitefield develop a rep for hardware-based techno under his Ansome name, with his live sets complemented by a growing 12" discography featuring slamming records for Mord, South London Analogue Material and Mindcut. It was no surprise to see Ansome align with UK daddy Perc Trax last year, a union inaugurated with the no-holds-barred 12" The White Horse. Attempting an album is seen as a right of passage for techno artists, so here comes Ansome with his debut long player for Perc Trax, Stowaway. Ten tracks deep, Ansome's debut LP mixes up the type of 5am wall shakers he is known for with an exploration of more spacious and atmospheric tracks.
Review: As with the Surkit Chamber reissue by A.r.t.l.e.s.s, this collection of tracks from unsung hero Martin Bonds is jaw-dropping purely for the age of the music against how advanced it sounds. Detroit radiates out of every ounce of this original techno, whether in subtle rhythms as on "Sundog", or in blindingly bright layers of futuristic melody as on "Vessels In Distress". Even if you sometimes find really early Detroit techno production to lacking some punch, this and any other Reel By Real material will put paid to that. Just try denying the awesome power of the bassline on "Serene". Highly recommended.
Review: More unreleased and remastered content from dub techno veteran Steve Hitchell aka Radius' Obsolete Machines and Interpolation Tapes projects. Said to have been restored from cassette live recordings between 1995-2000, the project has been on hiatus since 2001. The demos were initially sent to Rod Modell and Mike Schommer shortly after they launched the label, but passed it on to Octal Records for release. Sadly, that didn't materialise. Modell and Schommer dedicated a generous portion of their time remastering the release. From the introspective and personal dub of "Soul Rotation" (unreleased tape mix), the glacial and cavernous immersion of "Culture" (original 12" mix) and not to mention some powerful soundscapes from the great north of Michigan in the form of "Interpolation Tape" Parts One & Six.
Review: March has kicked off with some stellar house and techno pieces, but a return from the Parassela crew has made this the best month in a long while. We'd been truly missing this collaborative project between The Analogue Cops and Blawan, three minds which together helped to truly instil a sound within the contemporary house and techno game over the last five years. If you're listening to raw, stripped-back house these days, it's down to projects such as Parassela; that post-2010 wave of goodness very much includes these guys in the list. They return for one of their inimitable faux white labels on the Cops' own mighty Restoration label, and it's clear that they crew had been missing each other's company as of late. "Track 1" is classic Parassela nastiness thanks to a dark, intricate mould of hardware beats and distorted melodies with that unmistakable, tape-kissed hiss, and "Track 2" delivers more of the same except that the groove is more minimal here. On the flip, "Track 3" injects more of a house-centric movement into the equation, while "Track 4" heads off into sparser, more desolate territories that remind us of just how multi-talented this group of producers are. Unmissable, really...
Review: Classic techno flavours are the order of the day on mysterious new imprint Lunasa. A quartet of very impressive various artists feature on this EP here, which will no doubt appeal to all you retroverts out there. First up, Tbilisi-based Cobert (Partisan/Amazing Stories) delivers some killer sci-fi funk on " Ortsutshi", the much loved Riccardo (Imprints/Metropolita) gets on a wacky, heads-down electro tip on "Clone" and legend Derek Carr is on fine form as always on the evocative second wave Detroitism of "Existence Is Futile" which is just sublime! Great stuff and highly recommended for fans of Libertine, Art of Dark or Time Passages etc.
Review: Emerging London artist Rommek has been steadily honing in on his own sound, as well as carving his way into the current techno scene. His extensive interest in sound design is embedded within the atmospheric, dynamic and textured tracks he produces. His debut on the London based label Weekend Circuit established his position on the scene. Since then, various releases have showcased his appeal 'through the combination of the energetic, gritty UK sound coalesced with deep and transcendental aspects.' Fall deep into the vortex on the powerful and tunneling "Arcane" (featuring classical violinist Aimee Mullen) the brooding and broken darkwave techno of "Forbidden" calls to mind British Murder Boys or Ancient Methods while "Archetype" goes for something more heady and hypnotic.
Review: One half of the Steven Porter duo, Katsunori Sawa, debuts solo on the Weevil Neighbourhood, a mysterious Berlin label borne out of the equally enigmatic, and now defunct, Weevil Series. Here Sawa delivers four tracks of industrial and experimental sound design, minus the ear shattering sonics and overbearing drone that other producers of a similar creed may employ. Windswept waves of white noise blow across "Augur" while its drums create a syncopated groove like that of injured beetle limping to safety. Piston pumping sound effects and factory ambience soundtrack "Black Sugar", while "Phenomenon" is the EP's most rhythmically coherent production. Sawa then ends on "NGM" which sounds like the night time hustle of New York city night heard from the empty viewing deck of the Empire State Building.
Review: Two of Detroit's most influential movers and shakers, it's about time Di'jital and Maaco enjoyed some of the limelight usually taken up the city's larger than life DJ characters. Here we find them brewing up the clippy, clicky classic electro groove "Aliens N Effect". Uptempo and nagging with a deadly scratchy riff, it's an instant bodypopper. Comes complete with an instrumental, a dub and a technicolour revisitation of Di'Jital's 2006 workout "Armada."
Review: As 2015 draws to a close, Stephen Porter member Katsunori Sawa releases his debut solo album for the intriguing Weevil Neighbourhood. It's a pleasingly varied affair, with the Japanese producer touching on numerous styles whilst retaining a crackly, late night atmosphere throughout. After opening with the evocative, creeping ambience of "Beginning", he moves onto the shuffling, hypnotic dancefloor spookiness of "Escape", and elastic minimalism of "Immediate Awareness". "Anxious Kid" is a tribal-tinged dash of IDM darkness, while "Antagonist" is thrillingly difficult to describe. Arguably best of the lot, though, is closer "Unauthorized Page", which bristles with industrial textures, surging rhythms and complex percussive arrangements.
Review: Between 2012 and 2017, grad_u released nine EPs of high quality dub techno on the vinyl-only Redscale imprint. With the label now seemingly a thing of the past, the prolific Lithuanian producer has decided to gather together all 19 tracks from those sought-after vinyl EPs on CD for the very first time. Those who have paid close attention to grad_u's career will know what to expect, namely an evocative mixture of deep, hypnotic techno epics, delay-laden dub techno workouts, spacey late night rollers, abstract dancefloor explorations and occasional surprise turns towards a bolder, warehouse-friendly style (see the formidably sweaty and sub-heavy "Holdback").