Review: Parisian label Lowless follow up the stellar Svarog 12" with this intriguing paddlesteam through deepest techno waters via apparent newcomer Ameeva. The mood is resolutely ambient at the front end of this album, even as the soft-hitting, blown out beats creep in on "Hidden Inertia". There's a grubby, lo-fi quality to the sounds on offer, but they're offset by the depth of composition to create an engaging sonic environment that wraps itself around you. Plenty of dub processing and a preference for languid, subtly wielded pads adds to the gauzy finish of the record,
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.
Review: Shadowy producer CEM3340 is probably best known for delivering three of the first five releases on Mr Blatman's Lunar Orbiter label, though we should probably be talking more about the Italian's own imprint, Curtis Electronix, which he founded last year in tribute to the inventor of the CEM synthesiser chip, Doug Curtis. "Suburbs Disorder" is CEM3340's most expansive release on the imprint to date - a seven-track romp that flits between aggressive club electro ("EXP"), Egyptian Lover style 808 funk ("In Your Club", "Take Control", "Jay"), spacey and melodious electro-techno fusion ("LNA"), metallic and mind-altering slow jams ("War Of Worlds") and Artificial Arm style kaleidoscopic electro workouts ("Timeless Transmission").
Review: Self-styled "sound architect" and "music creator" Cio D'Or has been strangely quiet since releasing a 'special edition' of her "All In All" album back in 2016. Comeback EP "Fluidum III" is really rather good: a fine collection of alien electronic workouts that sound like they were created via modular synthesis. What we get is six tracks built around watery sounds, swelling electronic motifs, spaced-out noises and occasional quirky rhythms. While some of the tracks - particularly "Climate" and "Celestial II" - boast deep but weighty kick-drum tracks in the techno tradition, for the most part the tracks are sparse, alien and devoid of dancefloor intent. The results are consistently alluring, albeit in a strange and spaced-out way.
Review: Sardinia's Dusty Kid was riding high in the minimal tech house scene of the late '00s, not least when releasing his career-best LPs on Boxer Recordings. Now he's returned to his 2009 opus A Raver's Diary to give it a first vinyl pressing on his own Isolade label. This is music that will take you right back to the era, all psyched-out synth patterns and rolling grooves for the big room beatdown. "Lynchesque" is from the same school of pitch-sweeping freakery that made Marc Houle's early records seminal, while "Klin" and "Cowboys" both bring a more melodious tone that will be giving people some strong nostalgia hits for sunkissed Ibiza terraces. Timeless club tracks of the highest caliber.
Review: During the early-to-mid 1990s, Stefan Robbers released some of the most inspired techno to come out of the Netherlands during the period, mostly under the Florence pseudonym on the Eevo Lute Muzique label he co-founded in 1991. This fine triple-vinyl compilation from Delsin tells the tale of both artist and label, drawing together the best of Robbers' work for the label. You'll find extensive liner notes from fine techno scribe Oli Warwick on the accompanying insert, but it's the music - a mixture of sci-fi flavoured club cuts, dreamy and melodious electronica, heady ambient techno, and tactile, loved-up rhythmic soundscapes - that makes "Analogue Expressions" such an essential listen.
Andrea Parker & David Morley - "After Dark" (8:51)
Review: Helena Hauff's distinctive musical vision has made her one of techno and electro's most unique and celebrated selectors, and it's this side of her work that's showcased on "Kern Volume 5: Exclusives & Rarities", a triple-vinyl set that focuses on the numerous hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks featured on her new DJ mix for Tresor. As you'd expect the quality threshold remains thrillingly high throughout, with Hauff focusing on fuzzy and scuzzy heavyweight slabs of electro, techno, ghetto tech and industrial-strength hardcore. Amongst the unreleased highlights are tracks from Umwelt, Machino, Galaxian, L.F.T and her good self (alongside Morah), while crate diggers will note the inclusion of rarities from Esoterik, Andrea Parker and David Morley, and DJ Godfather and DJ Starkski.
Review: Anyone who has caught Helena Hauff in action will excitedly tell you that she's one of underground electronic music's top DJs - a mixer who combines top-notch technical skills with an exhaustive knowledge of music to deliver distinctive sets that set her apart from the crowd. It's for this reason that her contribution to Tresor's "Kern" mix series has been so hotly anticipated. Having now given it a listen, we can confirm that the two-disc mix-up is every bit as good as we'd hoped, with Hauff surging through a breathless, 32-track selection built around scuzzy, fuzzy and forthright slabs of electro, techno, ghetto-tech and industrial strength early UK hardcore. Piled high with rare, hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks, it may well end up being the mix of the year by some distance.
Review: Libertine's popular "Traditions" series is now three years old and 15 releases deep. The latest artist to showcase their wares is Mark Wilkinson AKA Kid Machine, a producer who has previously offered up intoxicating throb-jobs on Red Laser, Cyberdance and Viewlexx. In keeping with his trademark style - think dark, foreboding and occasionally panicked fusions of Italo-disco, EBM, NYC freestyle and space disco - the eight tracks on show cannily combine moody, arpeggio-drivem grooves with hazy chords, sparkling synthesizer sounds, and chiming melodies that recall the synth-heavy horror soundtracks of John Carpenter. The quality threshold remains high throughout, meaning it should be a must-have for those in love with the more muscular and throbbing end of the electronic disco spectrum.
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: Earlier this year, Jeff Mills decided to don his occasional Millsart alias for the first time in 17 years, in order to release the fifth volume in the long-running "Every Dog Has Its Day" series. The Motor City stalwart is obviously in a rich vein of form, because he's now ready to serve up volume six, which at nine tracks deep is the series' most expansive release to date. There's much to set the pulse racing throughout, from the hybrid deep house/Detroit techno warmth of opener "Phoenix Rising" and the summery, sun-kissed tech-jazz of "What's So Funny", to the Robert Hood style Motor City minimalism of "Six By Six By Nine" and the classic, sci-fi-fired futurism of "World Wide Whoops".
Review: Given that they not only share space on the same label, but also both explore the deeper end of the dub techno spectrum, we were rather surprised to learn that "Hypnotic Dub Season" marks the first collaboration between musical cosmonauts Mr Cloudy (AKA Sergey Barkalov) and Gradient (Igor Arsenjev). So, was it worth the wait? If you're into dub techno, then certainly. The album is made up of three epic workouts (the last of which runs to an astonishing 30 minutes) in which the pair wrap hissing aural textures, echoing melodic motifs and sumptuous, huggable ambient electronics around chunky, slowly shifting dub techno rhythms. If you like your music hazy, spaced-out and - as the title promises - hypnotic, then you need this in your life.
Review: There's been plenty of online chatter about the confrontational title of Omar-S's latest full-length outing, and arguably not enough focus on the music itself (or the fact that the guest list contains Rick Wilhite, Norm Talley and OB Ignitt for that matter). This is unfortunate, because as usual Alex 'Omar' Smith has hit the spot. The six untitled tracks are impressively varied, with Smith effortlessly moving between 21st century P-funk (track one), cowbell-powered deep house funk (track 2), sparse and synth-heavy acid house hypnotism (track three), disco-house jack (track four), sub-heavy Detroit-meets-Sheffield minimalism (track five) and sunrise-ready dancefloor dreaminess (track six).
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.
Review: The third Skudge album is here. Dedication to details, attention to structure and a tireless pursuit of that specific and circular sound. The contextual element of 'Time Tracks' seem to be placed in-between the most cordial music that Skudge has presented up until now, as well as bridging the singularity and adrenaline from the previous albums and EP's.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally SUED co-founder SVN (real name Sven Rieger) has delivered a debut solo album. Ominously, the accompanying release sheet only features the following words: "the end of an era". Perhaps we'll find out more about what that means in future; for now, we can enjoy "Mechine", because it's as strange, off-kilter, inspired and involving as we've come to expect. Rieger's analogue-rich sound takes elements from a number of styles and sounds - acid, ambient, electronica, ultra-deep house, mid-90s IDM, ghetto-tech, weird slow jams etc - without fully embracing any. As a result, "Mechine" is quirky and curious, but also full-to-bursting with leftfield gems that will variously soothe, seduce and surprise the senses.
Review: Where does electronic music lead you? To the inside, to a calm and warm place where sound resonates with your body in quiet bliss, or to the outside where the rhythm wants you dance, even without moving? "WTMCT" gives an answer to these questions that is complex yet extremely easy to understand in an immediate sentient and emotive way.
Menelaos music is unusual and unlikely both with respect to the structure and arrangement of tracks, and the materiality and spatiality of the sound. And yet these sounds convey an immediate sensation of familiarity and ease, of beauty and relaxation. Menelaos utilizes loudness and extreme dynamics in a thoughtful and intriguing way to accentuate strange runaway sounds while maintaining the continuity of the flow of the tracks, which is Ambient to the core. This is a rare art in our time, where hypercompressed and superoptimized glossy sounds dominate most of Ambient, drone and even deep listening music.
In this aspect the album follows and refines the subtle production skills of seminal electronic artists like Jan Jelinek or Terre Thaemlitz a.k.a. DJ Sprinkles. What is genuinly special about Menelaos music is the natural and seemingly effortless fusion of challenging experimentalism and a warm and soothing organic sound-design. This shows exemplary in the collaborative tracks with trombonist and bass trumpet player Achim Fink, a founding figure of the Cologne jazz and free improvisation scene of the eighties. Achim is uncompromisingand in times disruptive play merges perfectly into Menelaos serene soundscapes.
This way "WTMCT" became a genuine album. It tells a story. It invites deep exploration but it does not demand it, thus transcending common notions of how Ambient or Electronica should sound. Text: Frank Eckert
The Album includes also some warm sampels (my live with the wave vol 1+ 2) from the Detroit legend Mike Huckaby to whom i very thankful.
Review: To mark the 50th release on his now 20-year-old Neroli imprint, head honcho Volcov has asked friends and label artists to deliver "heart-warming melodies and atmospheric songs" that in some way draw inspiration from the Brian Eno piece after which the label was named. It's a neat idea and one that has resulted in a string of superb pieces, many of which sit somewhere between ambient, new age and the "Fourth World" work of Jon Hassell. Highlights include - but are no way limited to - the eyes-closed jazz guitar solos and deep space electronics of Gerald Mitchell, Volcov and Pirahnahead's "Snow", the sun-bright bliss of Patrice Scott's "Untitled", the fretless bass-sporting cinematic rush of Kirk Degiorgio's "Leave Everything Behind" and the ultra-deep liquid techno that is Fred P's "Star Crossed".
Review: Pi Electronics's last various artist collection was two years ago and now it returns with a second that is just as strong. Put together with a view to showing off the label's favourite collaborators from the roster and parties, there are Greek and international artists all serving up no frills, hard hitting techno experiments. Across the 13 tracks, harsh textures are abound, with elements of EBM, industrial and UK bass all adding intensity to the airwaves. What's more, the Divide & Rule title of the compilation has never seem more socially or politically important than right now.
The Empire Line - "Traet Av Lagen, Traet Av Systembolage" (4:33)
Puce Mary - "Violent & Delusional" (feat Varg2tm) (6:13)
Fatal - "Indolent" (4:10)
Tusagi - "Swetti" (4:36)
E-Saggila - "Blue Amps" (4:12)
JS Aurelius - "Crime Is The Highest Form Of Sensuality" (3:30)
Mischa Pavlovski - "Fra Midt Til Slutning II" (7:34)
Free The ID - "Red Fall Foliage" (5:38)
Evigt Morker - "Stege" (4:55)
Ulwhednar - "Dimman Runt Borgen" (5:01)
BHMF - "Morkertal" (4:19)
CA2 - "Taki Patch-Out" (5:02)
Age Coin - "No Corner, No Devil" (6:07)
Review: Five years after the first volume of Northern Electronics' "Scandinavian Swords" series was released, the series most expansive instalment yet hits record stores. This time round, the label is releasing it in two tripe-vinyl volumes. This is the first part and is every bit as thrilling and otherworldly as you'd expect. Across the collection you'll find all manner of wayward treats, from the thumping techno growl of Varg2tm Vtss's "VARGTSS1 (Do The Roar)" and the pitch-black EBM horror of Exploited Body's "She Blames The River", to the buzzing modular psychedelia of "Indolent" by Fatal, and the savagely cut-up jungle mutations of E-Saggila and The Pellican Company.