Vagara - "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" (Space Is Lonely Celestial Light mix) (8:16)
Fio Fa - "Prospects" (6:19)
Sasha Vodnik - "Rusty Trombone" (5:31)
Review: Inaugurating fresh imprint Future Funktion are a couple of relative unknowns, but they are certainly on to promising things if this riveting debut EP is anything to go by. The enigmatic collection of artists get those classic Sheffield vibes going, with Irie Nation aka Tomas Station providing full effect on the electrifying groove of "Assinie", followed by the off-kilter retro bounce of "Nina, I Miss You Dearly" by Vagara and the cheesy yet irresistible rave vibes of B side cut "Rusty Trombone" from Sasha Vodnik and the truly deep groove of "Prospects" by Fio Fa. For fans of classic bleep and first wave techno sounds similarly explored by imprints like Art of Dark, Time Passages and My Own Jupiter - this one will be right up your alley.
Review: If you're after some clandestine, otherworldly late night techno, you could do worse than cop this four-way hoedown from Italian imprint Unita Psicofisica. Korridor sets the tone with "Geotetra", a far-sighted and foreboding chunk of leftfield techno hypnotism, while PRG/M serves up some modular electronics and mind-altering rhythms ("Quantum Decay"). Over on the flip, Von Grall continues on a similar theme with the spaced-out electronics and rhythmic density of "Umalog", before SHLTR brings us gently back to earth via the slowly shifting drones, classical ambient melodies and sparkling beauty of EP standout "Pashupatinath" (try saying that after a few too many bottles of Peroni).
Review: For their latest trip into deep and hazy techno territory, France's Berg Audio has enlisted the services of two up-and-coming producers, recent As One LDN artist Viktor Udvari and Dublin-based Laughing Man. "Shades" is the pair's first co-production and is really rather good. Based around cyclical deep space riffs and a warm, undulating bassline, the track is propelled forwards not by their Motor City inspired melodiousness, but rather a notably weighted drum track. Gluped member Tuleric provides the obligatory flipside remix, wisely exploring the track's deeper side on a rolling dub techno take that's arguably superior to the (admittedly excellent) A-side.
Review: Happily, Neo Violence's third label sampler contains some real gems. It begins with Niro's "Nazca", a distinctively spacey affair that brings together echoing, dub techno style synthesizer motifs, shuffling tech-house drums and chords seemingly beamed down from another galaxy. VNZO's woozy "Relax Yourself" continues the fusion vibe (think ultra-deep Motor City techno mixed with dusty deep house), before NMSS and Jjuan pepper a cowbell-laden broken house groove with swirling chords and late '80s hip-house vocal samples. Another rock solid EP is drawn to a close via the rubbery, post-electro rhythms, darting bass and dreamy pads of Zolaa's standout "Fao-Mao".
Review: To complement Objekt's masterful 36-track session for their irregular Kern mix series, Tresor have put out two self-explanatory 12" samplers. Kern Vol. 3: The Exclusives sees contributions from accomplished electro technicians Clatterbox and Polzer as well as Bristol's rising Shanti Celeste and Via App of 1080p fame. "Aspect Ratio" from Clatterbox and Celeste's understandably incandescent "Lights" both feature in a movement on the mix that is a real highlight of Kern Vol. 3, but DJs will be happy both have been pressed her for full club play. On the B-side, the swift and snappy metallic tunnelling of Polzer's "Static Rectifier" could be mistaken for an angry DJ Stingray, whilst Via App's "From Across The Room (Edit)" is a more playful, if pensive affair.
Review: Tabernacle aren't as known for their reissue work, but here they've made an exception to shine a light on a truly astounding hidden gem lost in the dry ice haze of the early 90s. Phuture Classical Appendix A originally came out on cassette in 1992 on Drome Tapes in the Netherlands, showcasing a low key selection of artists exploring the limits of deep, dark techno and house. Now spread across three 12" releases, these treasured curios now get the widespread release they deserve, leading in with the haunting self-titled track from Paradize Disowned before the gritty techno throb of "Gee Lee" by DJ Zero One. Considered in their execution and immensely evocative of the underbelly of early rave culture, these releases are ones that discerning old-skool heads will not want to miss.
Review: While Steffi and Virginia have been working together on and off for the best part of a decade, "Work A Change" is undoubtedly their most significant collaborative work to date (both in terms of its expansive nature and the quality of music on show). With Virginia handling singing duties throughout, "Work A Change" rides on waves of tasty electro grooves and hazy synth-pop motifs and futuristic electronics. It's a blueprint that guarantees goodness throughout, from the quietly euphoric shuffle of opener "Be True To Me" and the pulsating dancefloor fizz of "Help Me Understand" (one of two cuts showcased in both vocal and instrumental forms), to the high-tempo thrust of "Until You're Begging", the bass-heavy, future dancehall wonkiness of "Internal Bleeding" and triumphantly intergalactic title track.