Review: Electro titan Zeta Reticula, otherwise known as Slovenian hero Umek, is back with another salvo of heavy-hitting belters for your bag. "Digital Card" is a highly strung workout loaded with searing lead lines to stir up all kinds of intense emotions, which Exzakt and BFX rework into a bleep laden, low-blowing machine funk fest. "Endless Clue" finds Reticula amping up the dystopian theatrics even harder, while "Message In Code" takes a leaner approach with a mean tempered low-end synth and some gnarly acid to get you freakin' in all the right ways.
Review: Woo York seem to save their best work for Tale of Us's Aftelife label. Their previous outing on the imprint, 2018 debut album "Chasing The Dream", was an underappreciated gem, and happily this EP-length follow-up is equally as impressive. Musically, all four tracks draw great influence from what some are calling neo-trance, employing riffs and arpeggiated synthesizer lines more often found in both trance and progressive house. The weightiest cut of the lot is "Dancing With Sirens", whose star attractions include squidgy bass, moody acid stabs and sustained, spacey chords, while opener "Echoes From Beyond" is sunny, summery and almost rush-inducing in its melodic positivity. "Minimalism", a deep and trippy excursion dominated by psychedelic acid lines, hoover noises and a lengthy breakdown, is also rather good.
Review: According to Jared Wilson, the debut release on the freshly minted Jason, Jared and Brian's Records imprint is dedicated to (and influenced by), "Roland, Dinsync, Social Entropy Engine and the Pacific Northwest". Musically, it's not a great departure from his usual robust, acid-fired, club-focused style, but that's no bad thing. Perhaps the pick of the bunch is A-side "Acid Remake (Lynwood New mix)", where undulating TB-303 acid lines bubble away atop a snappy house beat and suitably intergalactic, Motor City techno style chords. Elsewhere, "Lynwood 23" is a more boisterous if bittersweet acid techno workout, while "Lynwood Engine" is deep, melancholic and undeniably alien sounding.
Review: Blind Allies are an unstoppable force in the slimy underbelly of electro right now, and they're back with another shell shocker on the bounce from Zeta Reticula's "Sonic Assault". This time around Void Cells (Bristol-based Latvian producer Aleksejs Apolskis) makes a pointed return following the digital release Perception Model back in 2018. The drums rain down hard on this record, not least on punchy electro bruiser "SHE". NX1 offers up a rabble rousing techno twist on the original, before "Saturated Faces" opens up the B side with another fist-shaking slab of 4/4. Behind the grubby demeanour of the music lies some serious craft, making this a must-check for those looking in the more interesting corners of the electro boom.
Review: Welcome to Saike, a new French label that debuts with a collaborative project from Hadone and Shlomo. As Viper Diva the pair brings together their disparate respective backgrounds into brain frying new forms that are part techno, part rave, part trance. Particularly on the thrusty opener "Born To Be Slytherin" (Tbilisi mix) which is an all out assault with bright chords and menacing drums. "En Y" is a frosty and frozen affair, while "Hold Me Back" is a retro white knuckle ride through hardcore techno. "Cold Heart Prediction" closes at 100 miles an hour, with no prisoners taken along the way. This is high octane stuff, for sure.
Review: It would be fair to say that Levon Vincent's latest single could well be one of his strongest yet - and that's saying something. We're particularly enjoying A-side "Drum Circle", a near ten-minute outing that subtly builds throughout. Creepy, clandestine and intoxicating, it sees Vincent cloak a hypnotic, cymbal and bells-heavy rhythm track with deep, booming sub-bass pulses and hard-worked, marimba style melodic loops. It's a genuine heads-down treat that packs a punch, despite its hazy and minimalist vibe. There's more atmospheric fun on the flip, where "Space Exploration" sees him conjure up a suitably dark, intergalactic mood via crackling drums, opaque chords and far-sigted electronic melodies.
Review: V2A is a brand new alias from one of electronic music's most storied studio sorts, '90s progressive house producer turned in-demand mastering engineer Gordon Pohl. The "Rodarte EP" is typical of his 21st century releases, sitting as it does somewhere between lo-fi slowed-down techno, off-kilter IDM and hazy ambient techno bliss. While some of the tracks could entrance the right dancefloors - see the sparse, hypnotic minimalism of spaced-out opener "Eins" and the slow acid pulse of "Drei", which includes a rhythmic element so distant you'll think one of your neighbours is doing DIY - it seems designed primarily for maximum immersive impact in a home listening setting. That's particularly true of closing cut "Vier", where rhythmical pulses underpin long, drawn out chords.
Review: Trinidadian Deep's house music isn't just deep, it is spiritual. He layers up synths into oceanic movements that wash over you time and time again, leaving you feeling soothed in golden sounds. His obsessively detailed percussion adds movement and detail to each track, too, and all four cuts here are testament to that once again. "Balls Deep" is a little synth dance and jumbled house groove to make you move, while "Project 5am" slows things down and encourages reflection. "Flux" is more roomy and cosmic before "Bush Rum" closes with far sighted chords and shimmering drums that are deceptively complex.
Review: AvantRoots apparently spent a year putting together their dub techno focused "Espectrum" compilation prior to its release in 2016. We're not sure how long they spent on this sampler for the expanded, digital sequel, but we can confirm that it's every bit as alluring. Toki Fuko kicks things off with the sparse, Basic Channel style dub techno minimalism of "Druid (Dub)" - all subtle shifts and echoing, ultra-deep motifs - before Segue combines hushed, locked-in drums with fluid ambient textures on the drowsy and picturesque "Stepping Up". Sibling impresses with the similarly opaque and soft-focus flipside opener (and Drhamer collaboration) "Tunnel Vision (Dub)", while Beat Pharmacy's "Hemp (Dub)" brilliantly wraps tactile, tropical-sounding synth riffs around an undulating bassline and ultra-deep drums.
Review: Spanish DJ and producer Hector Sandoval aka Tensal has been super busy since his first EP in 2014, turning out tens more on a range of labels including his own self titled outlet. It is the Netherlands' Cabrera that come calling for his fresh techno sounds now and in return he serves up four beauties. "Body Wounds" has gauzy textures and slamming drums as well as a free roaming bassline that rides up and down through the mix. "Super Heavy Steel" gets more industrial and mindless then "Violent Bond" hammers home a tough groove with plenty of acidic textures. Frenzied synth and pure rave goodness make closer "Undesirable" the best of the lot.