Review: Drumcode are back with another edition of its A side series - look out! You can bet it's packed full of reliable peak time weaponry for the main room, so handle with extreme caution. First up is the legend from Bremen Thomas Schumacher, teaming up with his ascendant homeboy Victor Ruiz on "Intuit" - a massive and barrelling thriller that will tunnel you into submission. On the flip, we have two more epics that are sure to cause some drama on the dancefloor: there's the seething and adrenalised paranoia of Neapolitan up-and-comer Anfisa Letyago's "Are U In", followed by Irish power duo Loco & Jam who hammer the message home with the thunderous, tom-heavy chug of "Addicted".
Review: As you'd perhaps expect, there are a couple of seriously big hitters involved in the latest missive in Drumcode's ongoing "A Sides" vinyl series. Former Deep Dish man Dubfire unfurls the EVOLV project and offers up "Deadbug", a stomping slab of dark and moody big room techno where foreboding riffs and fizzing electronic pulses ride a tough-but-snappy techno groove. The other "big name" contribution comes from Bristolian Eats Everything. He steals the show with the rave-centric bounce of "Organica" and its alluring mixture of hip-house style yelps, wonk-a-donk riffs and thunderous drums. Further heavyweight sleaze is provided by Harvey McKay and the dirty acid techno filth of "Find Yourself".
Review: Ghetto-house originator DJ Deeon continues to dish up devilishly dancefloor-friendly material a quarter of a century after making his debut on Dance Mania. This first ChiWax outing is really rather good. As with much of his output, all bar one of the six cuts (the curiously off-beat, pitched-down "Much Respect") are powered forward by beats and basslines so springy that you'd think they were made with some future fusion of rubber and elastic. There are a few cuts that boast chopped and looped vocal stabs (see "In This House" and the classic late night ghetto-house jack of "Da Bomb"), while the A-side's three booming cuts offer subtly different takes on percussion-rich, bass-heavy ghetto-tech.
Review: Bochum Welt's 2019 album "Seafire" was arguably one of the strongest full-length sets that Central Processing Unit has released to date, which given the Sheffield-based label's track record is high praise indeed. This EP offers fresh interpretations of some of the album's many highlights. First up is a perfectly pitched radio edit of "More Light" a gorgeous slice of IDM bliss that recalls the halcyon days of Boards of Canada, which is later given a slightly chunkier - but no less beautiful - treatment by EOD and a bustling, club-ready electro re-fix, complete with Yorkshire bleeps, by veteran DJ/producer James Zabeila. Elsewhere, the ambient mix of "G1" is as luscious and blissful as you'd expect, while Teflon Tel Aviv's revision of "Color Me" is opaque, sun-kissed and more than a little spaced-out.
Review: Modularz presents a new release by Japanese producer Hattori Hanzo - recorded in seclusion in a studio near the mountains of Mt.Fuji Japan - Hattori delivers a great body of work focused on Extremely functional tracks with lots of driving rhythms, space influenced hypnotic grooves with the right amount of tension and drama. This is a sure thing get it quick - TIP!
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: 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: REPRESS ALERT: Needs is back with its fifth installment of charity-raising goodness from some seriously quality producers. This time the gauntlet is thrown down by the increasingly prolific DJ Normal 4, who wields some of his signature breakbeats over a cheeky synth that nods to Da Hool for a dark and deadly roller. Israeli duo Red Axes pop up fresh from outings on !K7 and Phantasy Sound for the worldly percussion and mystical atmosphere of "Treacksheni" before Bristol bass-wielding techno titan Hodge finishes the package off with the stunning, dramatic undulations of "Signal," making this a collection of tracks that all feed into the same vein of rhythmically adventurous, moody club music.
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: Monnom Black welcome back Fractions for more of their sonic disturbances, will acid and rugged techno weapons. For those who like hard edge, brain frying sounds with an instant impact these are perfect tunes: "NITE NRG" has a prowling synth and dystopian vibe that is impossible to escape, while "Do You Believe" is a twisted and distorted techno stomper that will make your fists and teeth clench. "All The Streets Are Silent" sounds like it is straight from Wipeout in the original Playstation console and "Hive Mind" then explodes over and over with maximal drums driving it along.
Review: After a break of four years in which he flirted with other labels - most notably Ekyspia - extended UR crew-member Mark Flash is back on long-time home Underground Resistance. As you'd expect, he hits the ground running with EP opener "Audiofluid", a suitably out there and intergalactic techno number high on sturdy, electro-influenced beats, foreboding riffs, tweaked acid motifs and some suitably sci-fi electronics. Flash next delivers a talbox-laden "Tuneup Beats" version for those who just want to revel in rhythm, before paying tribute to the warehouse-ready, late '80s KMS sound on retro-futurist EP highlight "Synthetic Bump". Rounding things off is "Liquid Drive", a fizzing and clattering affair that explores similar sonic territory as the fine title track.
Review: Brussels' Cleveland has made a name for himself with excellent, left of centre drops on ESP Institute, Hivern Discs and others in the past. Now he's up on Kalahari Oyster Cult with more adventurous freakery that deals in outsider grooves and playful synth acrobatics that positively demand your attention. "Gamma" comes on with a steady broken beat that carries some wild lead hooks that show off Cleveland's confidence with his kit. "Ora" is equally marked out by dazzling analogue brushstrokes and expertly crafted percussion to send body and mind whirling. Then on the flip Piezo and Beta Librae both remix "Gamma", veering from tough, bass-led drum funk to cosmic incantations respectively.
Review: When Eric Prydz fancies offering up some forthright, warehouse-ready techno, he fires up the Mouseville label and dons the Cirez D alias. Clearly, he's in a rave-igniting mood right now, because this two-tracker is the first Cirez D outing - and Mouseville release - for almost two years. There's a definite "massive room" vibe emerging from A-side "Valborg", where decidedly foreboding lead lines and ghostly chords ride a chunky, Drumcode-friendly techno beat. The saucer-eyed, hands-aloft "festival techno" feel continues on flipside "The Raid", which cleverly peppers a house-tempo rhythm track with the sort of raw, razor-sharp riffs more often found in neo-trance productions.
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: Libertine's 14th release is something of a beast: a double-EP from sometime My Own Jupiter Producer Do Or Die that squeezes in nine impressively varied tracks. The fast-rising producer's roots are of course in techno and electro, but he's not shy in exploring every avenue of these wide-ranging genres. For proof, compare and contrast the acid-fired, new wave-influenced bubbliness of "Galactic Bang Bang", the fast-paced acid-electro intensity of "Blackmail", the Italo-disco style throb-job "Morning To Lose", and the chiming, all-action cheeriness of quirky closing cut "Small Town Yoky 11". The rest of the double-pack maintains this interconnected eclecticism, portraying Do Or Die as a producer with a head full of ideas and an eccentric musical vision of his own.
Review: The heat just keeps coming from the EYA camp as they swiftly follow up LONEWOLF 003 with this crucial care package from Kiev's Zolaa. Moody atmospheres abound on the stripped and stalking electro opener "Silver Needle, Golden Pain" before giving way to the decidedly cheekier acid snapper "Noctivagant". "Horiy Spokiy" broadens the remit of the record too, taking on a widescreen sound that takes in rich layers of melodic counterpoint to create a vivid soundscape that still kicks in all the right places. Then Etienne drops in a remix for the B2 which shakes things up with some breezy, feel good chords to counteract the punchy thrust of the drums.
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: Miles Sagnia has a deep-rooted backstory in the UK underground techno scene. Under his own name and as Miles Atmospheric he's produced consistently compelling techno for labels like Finale Sessions, FireScope, Aesthetic Audio and Applied Rhythmic Technology. Such associations point to the soundworld Sagnia inhabits - a harmonically balanced strain of deep-diving brain food that favours expressive musicality and inventive programming over rigid functionality. Having previously appeared as Miles Sagnia on Ornate back in 2010, he returns to the label as Miles Atmospheric with three cuts that explore melancholic moods through artful interplay between beautifully rendered synth tones and intricate drum machine excursions. These tracks still move with purpose and presence, but the end goal is more cerebral than physical - a perfect fit for the immersive experiences Ornate has always strived to promote.