Review: Michel Amato aka Amato is a French producer more widely known as The Hacker. Alongside Miss Kittin, Amato has been a cornerstone of the European house, techno, and electro scene, dropping singles and album like bombs. Having contributed to a previous split 12" on Cititrax, Amato returns to Minimal Wave's sister label with a wondrous homage to industrial, EBM and electro in Le Desordre De La Nuit. The difference between The Hacker and Amato? The sounds of The Hacker are more constrained than this particular whirlpool of pseudo electro and gargling quasi techno. Whatever you want to call it, these four slammers are all made for the dark room dance, each one nastier than the other and all of them audibly produced by an artist with plenty of experience and effectiveness know-how.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: The Analogue Copes, made up of the part machine-part man duo that is Lucretio and Marieu, have now solidly established themselves at the base of contemporary house and techno. Moreover, the pair have, and always have had, an instantly recognizable sound; their hardware approach and funky yet driving grooves are always a pleasure on both the Juno HQ speakers and the ol' Funktion One's. For their latest outing on the UK's Hypercolour imprint, they've chosen to deliver two tracks each: Lucretio comes through with the disco-filtered stabs of "Vampire Killer", and the 80's electro number "Shinobi World", while Marieu goes deeper and housier on "Corona", but leaves the funky servings for last on the excellent sample-fueled "McGraw". Quality, as per usual, from the Coppers.
Review: The White Material label could hardly be called prolific. Three years in, they've released just six EPs, though each of those was something of a gem, with multiple calls for represses. The latest White Material offering throws the spotlight on one of the collective's lesser heralded names in Alvin Aronson. Like much techno coming out of The Big Apple right now, Aronson seems inspired by the dual delights of bleak, industrial-influenced bangers, and more atmospheric, IDM and ambient influenced fare. Over the course of six tracks, he explores both thoroughly here, moving from the crystalline ambience of opener "Aevus", and eyes-closed electronica of "Fog City", to the metallic hits, buzzing electronics and hypnotic grooves of "Drone Techno" and "City 2".
Gut Man Cometh (Matthew Herberts Feel Right Rub) (6:40)
Destroyer (FOLD Lean Tape version) (6:59)
Review: The master of wacky techno returns. Matthew Dear donned his notorious Audion moniker again for his first album in years under the guise. The Alpha LP featured about a dozen woozy and disorienting dancefloor destroyers and two selections are present here getting the remix treatment by two fellow innovators. The legendary Matthew Herbert remixes "Gut Man Cometh", scaling back the high-octane psychedelia of the original into a driving journey track with interestingly spiced up vocal samples. Aus Music regular FOLD turns "Destroyer" into a tough deep house stomper with emotive pads being supported by some gutsy stomp and shuffle.
Review: It's been a delight to see Oliver Ho's Broken English Club project develop artistically over recent times, with some fine records for Jealous God and Veronica Vasicka's Cititrax label along the way. Suburban Hunting sees Ho deliver his debut Broken English Club album, featuring some 11 tracks of primitive electronics and cinematic pseudo techno cuts. Tunes like "Vacant", "Derelict", or "Scum" all share a loose techno framework, but the real aesthetic is much vaster than that, verging on remnants of post-punk, industrial and all that goodness and hybrid class that came out of the late 1980's. It's another fine addition to the sublime Cititrax discography, and we recommended it just as much as the previous numbers.
Review: Always a man with his hand on the swing button, Stephen Brown knows a thing or two about funk in a techno world, but on this single for Technorama there's a distinctly house finish to the track. That's helped in no small part by the soulful vocal lick that runs through the middle of the track, even if the beats still bump with the roughness that he has made his name on. Don Williams ups the ante on his remix by slicing the remix up into fine slithers and fattening up the drums to make for a big room beast of the highest calibre.
Review: Stephen Brown's "Deep In" first surfaced last summer, delivering a breezy dancefloor punch to the guts full of bouncy techno drums, analogue synth-bass and fluttering vocal samples. A year on it returns, this time reworked by long serving Berlin producer Len Faki. On the A-style you'll find the "Hardspace Mix", in which Faki puts a rocket under the Edinborough producer's original. While it remains bouncy and the female vocal samples take pride of place, the percussion is tougher and closer in feel to classic Motor City rhythms. Turn to side B and you'll find the "Deepsace Mix", a thrillingly hypnotic interpretation seemingly tailor made to cause commotion in German clubs at 7am. Deep, driving and percussive, it's a real Teutonic treat.
Review: For all his innovation, Burial has historically shied away from delivering full-throttle, mind-altering club bangers. Certainly, we can't remember him serving up anything as rhythmically intense as the two dystopian techno slammers showcased on this 12". Both feature many of his usual sonic trademarks - oodles of vinyl crackle, end-of-days aural textures and creepy ambient electronics - but are underpinned by bombastic 4/4 beats rather than sparse, post-dubstep rhythms. A-side "Pre-Dawn", a dense and incredibly intense affair, is the more energetic and instant of the two, though weirder and looser flipside "Indoors", which contains some pitched-up rave-era vocal samples and woozy riffs amongst its highlights, is also very impressive.
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: Mike Dehnert's sublime output has been largely restricted to his own Fachwerk label over the last eight years, so it's surprisingly refreshing to see him branch out to other contemporary labels. His native Pampa imprint seems like the perfect place for his stripped-back shades of house music, and "How Close To Be", with its driving, fuzzed-out bassline makes for the perfect accompaniment to the tune's brooding vocal samples. On the B-side, "Me Too" is lo-fi in very sense of the word, once again dropping on a layer of eerie yet sentimental voices to take the track from odd to the utterly bizarre. In our eyes, that is a good thing...
Review: Senida, Strobelight's second release, is a reprisal by the well seasoned and acclaimed producer Ruxpin under the alias Den Nard Husher and is his first ep under the alias since his 1999 2x12 "Nard's Groove" on Thule. The diverse selections of this ep are thunderous yet warm and emotive and illustrate the styles on the NY based label Strobelight Network.
Review: As a self-confessed Terrence Dixon obsessive, this writer found it difficult to accept the concept of his work being remixed at all. That said, Ben Klock does a fine job of imbuing the Detroit producer's music with a sense of dance floor abandon. Klock's main version sees the Berlin producer lay down an insistent, stripped back groove, its shrieking stabs hitting the listener like the icy jolt of a winter morning. Klock's dub is more rolling and filtered, but contains a punch thanks to its metallic percussive licks. Edwin Oosterwal also delivers a high quality take on "Minimalism", with a slamming rhythm and dry hats providing the basis for a dramatic, sweeping chord sequence.
Review: Under the Ekman name, Dutch producer Roel Dijcks has been in devastating form this year, haunting the finer dancehalls with his own distinct brand of dark and nasty electro and techno for Solar One, Abstract Forms and impressive newcomer Berceuse Heroique. Reform for the latter label is perhaps our favourite of the lot but the Nervous EP, Ekman's debut for the splendidly deranged Gooiland Elektro is serious stuff. Both the lead track "Do I Make You Nervous?" and "Hail To The Big Worm" have that grotty Rotterdam squat party vibe that's so appealing about Ekman's productions whilst "Don't Let Them In" mixes the deepset paranoia of a D'Marc Cantu production with brushes of new beat synthetics.
Suddenly (with Dino Lenny - Jonathan Kusuma remix) (6:46)
Review: Valencia's Fiberroot is up next for Jennifer Cardini's eclectic retro flavoured imprint. The Louder EP follows up a series of great releases on Maceo Plex's Ellum Audio. Starting out with the electric and euphoric adrenaline of "Suddenly" which features Italian dance music legend Dino Lenny on this fine example of new wave Italo disco. The track gets a wicked remix on the flip by the always impressive Indonesian producer Jonathan Kusuma - who takes it into deeper/darker late night territory. Second original offering "Echno Silent" is exactly the kind of infectious indie-dance we've come to expect from Correspondant and will appeal to fans of labelmates Red Axes or Javi Redondo. This also gets a remix - the Optimo Trax affiliated Mr TC out of Glasgow delivers a trippy rendition full of oddball arpeggios and tape saturated atmospherics which is perfect for early evening mood lighting.
Review: Modeselektor's label provides a neat soundtrack for two sides of clubbing on its latest release. "Oben" (German for upper floor) is built for the kind of peak-time action its title suggests and sees Fjaak let loose with a slamming, relentless rhythm, heavy drums and a cut-up of the "Amen" break, while a detached vocal witters away in the background. By contrast, "Unten", which is German for 'bottom' - or, in this context, 'the basement' - is more considered. Cavernous, spacious kicks and heavy claps provide the basis for a chord sequence that flits and floats through the arrangement as randomly as conversations at an after party.
Review: Low Pressings co-founder Chris Burns has been serving up techno treats as Flow for going on 21 years. He's had fallow periods, of course, and this first appearance for Tardis Records marks his first outing for two years. The producer's rave-era roots shine through loud and clear throughout. These influences are particularly obvious on revivalist early UK hardcore workout "Trine" - a real saucer-eyed affair rich in bustling breakbeats, sped-up vocal stabs and rush-inducing riffs - but can also be heard amongst the melancholic strings and bombastic, UK garage style sub-bass of 10-minute A-side "Boy Girl Action". We're of the opinion that this is the EP's best moment, though the quality threshold remains refreshingly high throughout.
Review: Laurent Garnier began the LBS (Live Booth Sessions or Loud Bass & Samples) concept in 2010, as a means of experimenting with live techniques. The crew incorporates Garnier himself, as well as Benjamin Rippert on keyboards and Scan X on machines. The Timeless EP begins with "Jacques In The Box" delivering a full-impact slice of techno sprinkled with surging synthesisers and climbing polyphonic key strokes. The percussion seems to melt into one element as the kick drum drives this fast, hard and slightly euphoric techno jam. Loud Disco's mix of "Our Futur" will surely capture the ears of any large crowd caught in the reverie of a darkened nightclub, with a notable chord progression and sharp, saturated snare drum.
Review: Markus Henrikkson continues to impress with his solo ventures. The Minilogue man's latest 12", the fourth on his quietly impressive Home Records imprint, is every bit as beguiling as you'd expect. "Arvet", which translated into English menas "Heritage", is a deliciously evocative, floor-friendly concoction that takes a foreboding, acid-flecked, hypnotic techno groove and smothers it in psychedelic vocal samples and trippy electronic motifs. It feels like a certified floor-filler, in stark contrast to the deeper, woozier and more intricate "Ensam, Men Ande Inte". While the A-side is pretty driving, this flipside concoction delights in its own gentle, undulating approach, where rising and falling electronics, flamenco guitars and bubbly electronics help create a more Innervisions style tech-house mood.
Review: Speak to anyone on the Bristol scene, and they'll happily tell you that Jacob Martin AKA Hodge is willing to open his studio doors to almost any like-minded soul. His latest collaborator is the similarly productive Randomer, fresh from inspired outings on Clone Basement Series and Dekmantel UFO Series. There's a real energy about A-side "Second Freeze", which slowly builds on waves of punchy, polyrhythmic percussion and creepy noises, before bringing in a similarly bold and speaker-hugging bassline. The talented duo goes ever further in this African-influenced direction of thrillingly percussive flipside "Simple As", where additional drum hits pepper a dense, polyrhythmic groove. It's one of the best drum records we've heard this year, and that's saying something.
Review: Delroy Edward's LA Club Resource finally drops its next bombshell, this time a collaborative effort that includes three newcomers, possibly riding low-key under different aliases. Riding shotgun, you got Chicago legend Gene Hunt with the minimal and freaky vibes of "OW (Drum Beat)", a woman's scream darting in and out of the stripped-back groove, and the heavily filtered "S Sonics" by the mysterious Wrecking Project. Over on the flip of the wax plate you have Blacktail's old-school lick "Now Muzik", while "Blimp Works" by Innsyter is a pumping techno gunshot that goes dirty and heavy on the percussive rattle. Raw, dirty, and messed up from the start.
Review: Brian Not Brian's Going Good imprint has thus far proved particularly good at defying convention in favour of harder-to-pigeonhole thrills. Who better to turn to, then, that Ewan Jansen, a producer who has been delivering off-kilter house music on and off since 1997. Predictably, Lost Embers is an intriguing diverse and atmospheric set, variously touching on dreamy, Aphex Twin style ambience ("Ethernet" and "Analogue Vista"), loose-limbed techno positivity ("Weatherboard" and "Mantle Ships"), jazz-flecked downtempo brilliance (the fantastic "Tracking Olympus"), and Mood Hut/1080p style new age deep house eccentricity ("Dark Jazz Delay"). While pleasingly varied, it all feels typically warm and dusty, as you'd expect from a producer who still values analogue hardware.
Decompression (Konrad Black Decompresha remix) (6:35)
Decompression (Nathan Jonson Rewind To 96 mix) (6:31)
Review: Canadian techno maestro Mathew Jonson burst onto the scene in a big way in the mid noughties. One of his breakout tunes was in the form of "Decompression" released on Richie Hawtin's esteemed m_nus imprint. Now the 2005 dancefloor bomb gets a series of modern revisions by an all star cast. dBridge's "Ambient Pressure remix" is even more brooding and atmospheric than the original. The cavernous sonar bleeps, gloomy pads and sharp rhythms of the original remain, except for its signature 'techstep' style sub-bass: which is replaced by a gnarly, glitched out arpeggio. Autonomic and all round UK drum and bass hero dBridge steps up next, with an 'edit' but it's actually the breakneck junglist steeper that the track has been begging to be transformed into for years: it's worth the wait! Elsewhere, fellow British Columbian and Wagon Repairman Konrad Black appears with more great music after a long hiatus: he too returning to his UK influenced roots (don't forget some of his first tunes were on the likes of Ed Rush & Optical's Virus Recordings), albeit taking his cues from the more modern post UK bass sounds on his remix of the timeless classic.
Review: Running Back Double Copy's second installment lovingly re-issues this house classic.The duo of Geoffrey Becker and Philippe Heinenonly only ever had a couple of releases on the short lived Brif Records: and this was the first. Originally released in 1998, right here is some timeless deep house that originally got lumped in with the whole French Touch scene of the time. "Akasha" (re-edit) is an evocative jam reminiscent of Pepe Bradock with its rising chords and tribal percussion really getting that sense of elevation happening. "Thank You Larry" (re-edit) is straight up deep house with diva vocals, as is "Let's Take A Break" (re-edit) but they really are an afterthought in comparison to that epic first offering, As label boss Gerd Janson said it best himself (regarding the original test pressing) "hopefully the Discogs haters won't get their knickers in a twist this time. It's old house music you fools!"
Review: Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK released the Playground long player back in late 2017 to much acclaim, and now re-appears on Gerd Janson's Running Back with a nice remix package. Following the first edition which featured reworks by Dusky and Radio Slave, Strahil Velchev gets Mr. Minimal himself - the inimitable Matthew Herbert - to provide a Funnel Dub of "Yom Thorke". This one is a reductionist exercise in hypnotic polythyrhms and it is to quite stunning effect. On the flip, the legend from Philadelphia Josh Wink steps up to deliver a hi-tech rendition of "Five" where the Ovum Records boss delivers an energetic techno perspective of the most timeless variety.