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: REPRESS ALERT: MDA Analog is the brainchild of Colin McGraw, and first came to light in the mid '90s in Belgium with a seminal self-titled released on Nova Zembla. Now, after years being coveted by devout techno diggers, the project is back in action with a new label, MDA Labs, seeking to present classic and sought after tracks as well as new unreleased gems from the vaults. "Shine" is an original MDA Analog track from 1996 that comes on joyful and invigorating with its bold lead synths and hopped up beats, while equally classic track "Paris" appears here in a newly mixed form. Brokn Mind's edit of "Shine" is a slightly clubbier twist on the original, and "Good Morning" completes the set with a rampant slice of technicolour techno for the fist-shaking masses to get delirious to.
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: 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: Caught London Sleeping kick things off with four moody Electro excursions from emerging and promising young producer Stratowerx who has released previously on Clouded Vision and Bade. Edging towards the darker side of the realm the London based producer uncompromisingly serves up an EP (backed with a remix from electro stalwart Sync24) of raw electro and techno cuts for the dance floor.
Review: Second time around for Random XS's sought-after debut single "Give Your Body", which first appeared on legendary techno imprint Djax-Up-Beats way back in 1992. It was the Dutch outfit's debut and remains a peerless chunk of bass-heavy, funk-fuelled techno rich in pulsating electronics, mangled vocal samples and snappy, ghetto-house influenced beats. On this reissue, the original version comes accompanied by two tasty new re-rubs. First Delta Funktionen re-casts the track as a mind-altering, acid-fired slab of psychedelic peak-time electro, before Lost Trax lays down a clanking, percussively intense version that sits somewhere between industrial strength Chicago jack and buzzing Low Countries techno. Both revisions capture the essence of Random XS's vintage anthem while taking it in thrilling new directions.
Review: Brian Kage's fourth release on Michigander Music "303 in the 313 EP" features 4 uniquely gritty and acid-soaked manifestations of mid 90's Detroit. This exercise in analog monosynth mastery directly connects the grittiness of the urban landscape with the raw spirit of creative freedom. Detroitasaurus starts the record off with a subtle prehistoric soundscape, steadily building rhythmic tension using hypnotic toms and melodic drum patterns. Razor sharp 909 hats hammer down there through the sonic mist as the journey continues to build. Shrieking jurassic trumpets cap off each of the peaking climbs to reveal metallic broken-down structures that are bound together with oscillating 303 threads and a grooving bassline. Van Dyke Vessel features an atmosphere of textured percussion and metallic analog synths that wind around a deep square bass groove. Suddenly, truncated growling vocal samples start to collect into the catchy phrase "Let's take this to outer space". Swelling pads give way to squealing acid as this track transports dancers to a nostalgic melodic dimension. Delray Dance undulates with thick bass slowly building into a body focused groove as it winds up and gives way to a rugged 303 saw with fluttering Spanish style synth stabs. Classic Detroit pads continue to swell, adding to the tension and leaving enough sonic space for melodic mixes in and out. This tune is the perfect tool to transition between genres. Zonin breaks the mold by combining old-school electro vibes with a heavy dose of acid and freestyle hip hop. Heavy broken beats are combined with a rockin' nostalgic bassline and layered party vocals that transports you to the center of the dancefloor on the best night you've ever had.
Review: **REPRESS**The last time a newcomer graced Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, it resulted in widespread praise for the Flowers EP from London based producer, DJ and singer Andrew Ashong, somehow we get the feeling this latest release on the label will prove to be as memorable. The Scorpio Rising EP sees Parrish look much closer to home and grant the DC-born, Detroit-bred producer Jay Daniel his debut release and the four track 12" more than lives up to his billing as one of Boiler Room's most exciting new discoveries at DEMF. Wild Oats obsessives will probably know Daniel from the Fundamentals residency shared with Kyle Hall and he's clearly spent some time honing his Detroit influenced craft, with cuts like "No Love Lost" expertly balanced between melody and rugged drum grit. "Brainz" is the kind of no-nonsense DJ tool you might have heard on a FXHE B Side circa 2008 whilst "I Have No Name" demonstrates Daniel is eminently capable of the sort of hope inducing Utopian house from the D that the much missed Aaron Carl was renowned for.
Review: Having previously been responsible for a number of themed compilations for Versatile Records, the Acid Arab crew has finally got round to delivering its' first album of original productions. Naturally, it continues their theme of blending North African and Middle Eastern sounds - be it vocals or instruments - with drum machine rhythms and vintage synthesizer sounds. This, though, is where the similarities to their previous work end. While there are a few house-influenced cuts dotted throughout (see the brilliant "Sayarat 303"), for the most part Musique De France veers further towards off-kilter electronic pop. Along the way, they doff a collective cap to new wave, punk-funk, and hazy indie-pop. While it may lack the crackling energy of their more dancefloor-minded productions, it's still a hugely enjoyable set.
Review: Frak must be amongst the most consistent artists in techno. Some 26 years after launching their Borft Records imprint, they're still churning out bizarre 12" exercises in grotty Scandinavian techno, with very little sign of their notoriously high quality threshold slipping. Realismo delivers three more winding, twisting analogue treats, kicking off with ten-minutes of mid tempo, acid-flecked, heads-down freakery (the brilliantly icy, but also strangely intense "Nerve Netting"). "Progressive Lattitude" is a little fuzzier and more distorted, but explores similar sonic territory. Things get more hectic on closer "Major Attack", which is a typically wild interpretation of acid house with additional razor-sharp electronics.
Review: 4E used to be Khan's apartment number in New York City's East Village back in the late 90's. 4E became the trademark sound for his downbeat acid infused electro work. On his kitchen floor he produced a very unique brand of futuristic funk tracks with only a ROLAND TB-303, SH-101 and the Hip-Hop fundamental SP1200 drum sampler. Besides a couple of 12"s for Force Inc. Music and the "Gentle Killer E.P." on Freddy Fresh's Socket imprint, 4E released the highly acclaimed downbeat electro album "4E4ME4YOU" on German glitch label Mille Plateaux. Back in 1998 4E shared the now legendary 12" with I-F "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" on the "From Beyond Series" by Ectomorph's Interdimensional Transmissions. Pills & Thrills" on Temple Traxx is four previously unreleased acid-electro stomper that are as funky and noisy as it can get on an East Village kitchen floor.
Review: Initially released back in 1993, M5003MB was an all-star collaboration between Detroit techno originator Juan Atkins, Rhythm & Sound man Moritz von Oswald and fellow Berlin techno stalwart Thomas Fehlmann. Predictably, the resultant three-tracker was rather special, as this timely reissue proves. Many Detroit techno enthusiasts cite A-side "Jazz is the Teacher" as one of the best examples of the style; an energy-packed Motor City romp full of jaunty, jazz-flecked drum machine hits, undulating synthesizer melodies and sci-fi intent. While superb, both of the B-side tracks - the acid-fired futurism of "Cosmic Courier" and post-bleep hustle of "Bassmental" are almost as good. In other words, it's an EP that every serious techno enthusiast should own.