Review: Electro heads take note, Gaetan Votion is here with his emergent Aquatronics alias looking to celebrate everything Drexciyan. From the project title to the sounds on this latest 12", you can hear the influence of Gerald Donald and James Stinson faithfully channeled - the important thing is Votion has done a good job of it. "Wave Gliders" is awash with rich, sweeping pads and underpinned by chunky bass synths, while "Ocean Myst" takes things under the waves with beautifully rendered aqueous atmospherics. "Deep Horizons" is a sweeter mood with powerful chord progressions at its heart for a highly emotional listening experience. "Twilight Dive" completes the set with a mellow mood for that brings a perfect sense of balance to this top drawer EP.
Review: When Braik made his debut earlier this year with an EP of retro-futurist breakbeat/tech-house/techno fusions, it was released on the most unlikely of formats: a CD-ROM. We suspect he'll get more praise and plays for this follow-up, which marks his first appearance on wax. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the chiming, acid-flecked deep breaks shuffle of opener "Breakund", to the funky acid bass, psychedelic electronics, creepy melodies and snappy house beats of closer "Jack O'Lantern". Sandwiched in between you'll the bold synth-string stabs, squelchy alien bass and jacking drums of "Intentos Fallidos", as well as the funky, sharply defined 21st century electro shuffle of "Buildin".
Review: Borft have been digging deep in the archives of much loved techno talent Crinina for some of his old unreleased works. What they have found is "Tropique Manique", a masterpiece from the 90s that pairs warm dub undercurrents with minimalist percussion and sleek synths. It all adds up to a perfect roller that will make any floor march. On the flip is another previously unreleased gem by VILLA ABO (a defunct project from Jan Svenson of FRAK fame). It's another sweet tendon groove, this time with busier synths and far sighted chords.
Review: Developer is back on Modularz with more steel-clad techno machinations for your toolkit. "Jive Kept Me Live" has a stern cyclical core, but there's a rich spectrum of tonality pulsing around this rhythmic focus to keep your brain twitching as heartily as your feet. "Over Cold Seas" centres around a particularly unsettling synth hook that sounds as though it's trying to punch through from another plane of existence, and "Headhunter" brings some more overtly melodic themes to the forefront. "Savage Nights" closes things out with the kind of unnerving techno incantations that you might expect to hear from Terrence Dixon - anyone who knows their techno knows that's high praise indeed.
Review: This record is a special coming together of the legendary Isophlux label and Libertine Records for five tracks of previously unreleased electro and techno gold. They come from deep within the vaults on some old DATs as unearthed by Gosub and he opens things up with the icy and glistening electro fizzer, "Static Stabs." He also offers up "Love Balls", which is a more pensive and spacious deep electro cut with lush chords draped over slippery beats. Elsewhere there is the freaky late night funk of Diablo Source's "In Your Soul" and retro tinged "Automatic Voice" helping to make this a timeless traversing of these futurist styles.
Review: In the world of Tone Dropout, the rave never stops. It's this wholehearted 90s-inspired retro-futurism that makes their compilation style EP releases such a good listen. This ninth volume in the series packs a punch, with highlights coming courtesy of The He-Men (the trippy acid-psychedelia of saucer-eyed early morning workout "A-Train"), the weighty Yorkshire bleep and bass-meets-Italian dream house warmth of Ascot and WW's "Marelli Bleeps", and the deliciously quirky hip-house-meets-breakbeat hardcore-meets-acid bustle of Bufo Bufo's "Ectotherm". Arguably best of all though is Dawl's sleazy, alien and off-kilter acid-electro rub "Human Experiments".
Review: High grade club business from the lurking one right here. After a series of treats on his own Fringe White imprint, Lurka jumps aboard the good ship Timedance, run by his long-time musical ally Batu, for his first proper solo EP. As you'd expect, the results are joyously chaotic and unpredictable. "Point Noise Behaviours" is a stampy warped rave monster who has done 10 rounds with Tyson Fury but still just about manages to stand up and throw gunfinger. "Ssppeedd" takes more of a techno twist as it rambles at pace towards a very trippy breakdown before the hypnotic tripletty twists of "Minds Eye Tript" calm us into a more lucid state. Finally "Rhythm Hi-Tek" seals the deal. A fractured, tense slab of electro so electric it sizzles with pent up energy, Lurka didn't name the EP after it for nothing.
Review: Colin McGraw's MDA Analog project continues to enjoy a renaissance after more than 20 years of silence, serving up the third instalment of vintage techno with a house-spirited warmth. "Lost But Not Broken" capitalises on some particularly soaring synths to create a uniquely uplifting flavour, while "A Theory Of Everything" takes things deeper with dubby pulses underneath an ear-snagging set of keys. "Mimico Creek" has a particularly playful arrangement marked out by nimble arps and bleeps, and "Scavenger Hunt" completes the set with a punchy rhythm section and yet more plush layers of harmonic interplay.
Review: Berlin's Nikk is back after a great inaugural release on the local Spandau20 imprint, and a remix for DJ Haus on his Unknown To The Unknown. This new one is for the ever reliable Dance Trax, and following up great ones by D. Tiffany, Ejeca and Assembler Code. Entitled "Beyond The Measure" it is a proper heads-down banger that proudly wears its Rene Pawlowitz influence on its sleeve. This is followed by an equally slamming remix by British techno legend Mark Broom. On the flip, prepare for a late night at the warehouse party with the mentalist hypnotizer "Sluricane" and its M-Plant style chord stabs leading the way through the strobe lights and smoke machines. It ends the morning with the deep and soulful Detroit vibe of "100 Grams".
Review: After making a splash with releases on Twig and Lumbago, Raphael Beneluz brings his classy machine music to Cartulis with the P 12". Things get off to a pumped-up start with the dynamic, detailed thrust of "Xzomet" before the night draws in around the tastefully creepy workout "Darkanethesie". "Hostile Planet" opens up the B-side with more eerie atmospheres and stout box jam beats, and then "System Down" completes the package with another thumping tapestry of nervy acid and old-skool jack. For all the familiar touches, this is music dripping with personality and attitude, bottom-heavy and sure to devastation in the dance, real or virtual.
Review: One of the joys of Pugilist's productions is that you never quite know what you're going to get, though there's a fair chance it will boast extraordinary amounts of sub-bass. It's this inventive and off-kilter approach to bass music that makes many of his releases essential. We'd put this first outing for Martyn's 3024 label in that category. A-side "Blue Planet" is particularly potent, with the Melbourne-based producer wrapping tribal style hand percussion, tweaked acid lines and occasionally creepy chords around a bombastic bassline and a funk-fuelled, trickily tweaked two-step rhythm. TB-303 acid lines are also a headline-grabbing feature of the similarly weighty and loose-limbed "Acid Flange", while Tamen hook-up "Guidance" is a surprisingly spacey tribute to the early days of UK jungle culture.
Review: Charitable acts carry more significance than ever right now, and Needs are on hand with another instalment in their brilliantly curated series to give something to those in need while also presenting some wonderful, exclusive music. This one leads in with a truly uplifting blast of sunshine from Telephones before dropping into the edgy, swinging tech-funk of Ciel's "Faye Wong Plays The Strings". Al Wootton is on point with another of his fresh and dynamic twists on the soundsystem blueprint, with a dubby, percussive vibe that should appeal to those who miss proper dubstep. Eliphino completes the set with a squashed and feverish garage thumper that sounds like it has an iconic vocalist chopped up somewhere in the signal chain.
Review: ZamZam Sounds has been killing it of late, with Rider Shafique, Ishan Sound and Kahn's recent "When Shall We Rise" single arguably being one of their most potent releases yet. Here they continue that fine run of form via another must-check "45", this time via the artist formerly known as Deadboy, Al Wooton. A-side "Request" offers a deliciously contemporary take on steppers/dub fusion, with ricocheting electronics, humid aural textures and echoing vocal snippets jumping around above a killer bassline and bustling drums. He continues on a similar theme with "Philo", which is the kind of weighty, club-ready dub excursion that would sit well in many house and techno sets.
Review: In recent times the Zenker Brothers seem to have spent more time running their inspired Ilian Tape imprint than they have producing music. While we'd hardly criticize their choices - Ilian Tape goes from strength to strength - it's certainly good to have them back. The Munich-based siblings begin their first outing of 2020 with the melodious, far-sighted electro shuffle of "Shaketown", before wrapping mangled, mind-altering electronic riffs around a crunchy techno groove of "Chi Boost". "Bengel Mode" sees the siblings successfully combine alien-sounding riffs with a denser techno rhythm track, while closing cut "Outside" is a sparkling trip into hypnotic, slow-release ambient techno territory with nary a kick-drum in sight.
Review: Turin techno stalwart Andrea has been serving up slabs of goodness on Ilian Tape since way back in 2012, though "Ritorno" is remarkably his very first full-length excursion. The 12 track set is far more varied than his fine club-focused singles, with the Italian variously turning his hand to swelling, Global Communication style ambient techno ("Attimo"), ultra-deep breakbeat dreaminess ("SKLYN"), melodious, jungle-influenced IDM ("LS September"), bassbin rattlers ("TrackQY", the skittish brilliance of moody roller "Reinf"), dreamy soundscape techno ("LG_Amb"), angular fusions of bass music and dark Italo-techno ("Drumzzy") and picturesque ambient dub slow jams ("Twin Forests").
Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
A Revelation Of Nothingness - Downwards (part 1) (2:43)
Waiting For Ayin (7:31)
Time Is A Child Playing With Virtues (4:46)
The Revelation Of Nothingness - The Dream (part 2) (4:17)
Review: Rather unhelpfully, there's not much we can tell you about The Loud Age, other than this is the publicity-shy artist's debut album. But whoever is behind the project, "The Second Siren" is well worth a listen. It draws influence from fuzzy and metallic '80s industrial music, EBM, new beat, techno and trance, delivering a string of club-ready cuts and drowsy ambient interludes peppered with off-kilter loops, clandestine chords, bold melodies and unsettling aural textures. Our picks include the warped, mind-altering industrial techno stomp of "Waiting For Ayin", the two-part ambient piece "A Revelation Of Nothingness" (which comes complete with whispered spoken word vocals), and the throbbing, trance-inducing opener "Sur La Maladie (Part 1)".
Review: Given The Primitive Painter would go on to become Alter Ego it should come as no surprise to anyone that this self titled debut from 1994 still sounds incredibly polished, and manages to hit a multitude of electronic notes in one very impressive swoop - some melancholic, some otherworldly, others punchy and direct. Re-releases like this are enough to convince even the most cynical first-pressing militants of the value in re-releasing. Why shouldn't a new generation of heads be won over by the beautiful acid ravescape painted by 'A Pagan Place', the slamming toybox percussion of 'Click Song', the emotionally charged euphoric downtempo joy of appropriately-titled 'Hope' or the retro futurism of electro-stepper 'Levitation'? As essential today as it would have been 25 years ago.