Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Parallel Series 6 - Rene Wise, Billy Turner (Mote Evolver)

Title: Parallel Series 6
Artist: Rene Wise & Billy Turner
Label: Mote-Evolver
Cat Number: MOTE056
Genre: Techno

A1: Wind Runner – Rene Wise
A2: Sling Jockey – Rene Wise
AA1: Charged Totem – Billy Turner
AA2: Magma – Billy Turner

Three out of four tracks play the cavernous card; the exception is ‘Sling Jockey’ which is a fidgety, funky high end stressed out loop. ‘Charged Totem’ sounds like something that could have been released on Prologue a few years ago. It has the industrial trance sound nailed. Both ‘Magma’ and ‘Wind Runner’ attack the dub from different directions, with the former taking things in an ominous, stalking direction, and the latter pursuing you relentlessly to the accompaniment of sonic flourishes which are used by both tracks, but are more scattergun in ‘Magma’. All in all, the sound of hell with a strobe in the corner. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Caustic Dance EP - V/A (Brainwaves)

Title: Caustic Dance EP
Artist: Various
Label: Brainwaves
Cat Number: 
Genre: Techno

1: Catch 23 – Tout Casser
2: Disease Acid End Bit – Weith
3: Am I A Joke To You – Hermeth
4: MNJ – HTN
5: Maglev – Estebahn

This release is a virtual smorgasbord of electro, with a small bit of techno thrown in for good measure. This puts me in mind of an all too real question my other half asked me not so long ago regarding the difference between techno and electro. Well, listen to ‘Disease (Acid End Bit)’ and compare. A simplistic analysis of course, and very self-serving, however, the difference in tempo is there for all to hear. ‘Maglev’ has to be the funkiest thing here, with ‘MNJ’ operating on a frictional level at the other end of the scale. The tracks present tend towards the abrasive, but there’s enough range throughout to keep things interesting.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

TTC001 22/3/19

Popjes – The Conservatives (Viewlexx)
Seed – Joy O (Hinge Finger)
Speaker Worshipping – Keith Tucker (Puzzlebox)
PLY Alpha Base – Derek Carr (Ferox)
Chant – Disk (Whiteloops)
Mount Ararat – Rhadoo (Nervmusic)
Substance 01 – Bobby O’Donnell (E Numbers)
Gospel Side – Michelle (My Own Jupiter)
Brothers – Housey Doingz (Grass Green)
Waescgerei – Binh (Time Passages)
Hexaline (Hiroshi Watanabe Remix) – Beroshima (Muller Records)
Stardust – J (YYK No Label)
Wingspan – Camelia (Joule Imprint)
Equanimity – RV800 (Formula)
Brighter Days (California Sunshine Mix) - Pure Science (Pure Science Communications)
Taking Flight – Voiski (Dolly)
Burn The Elastic – Violet (Radio Rhythm)
I’ll Be Back, I Promise – Gary Martin (Teknotika)
Home Calling – Moreon & Baffa (Berg Audio)
DSK-8 – Stephen Lopkin (Distant Worlds)
Vaxma – VC-118A (Delsin)
Trade Craft – Silicon (Vmax)
Pacific Soul – Papeete Sun (Voodoo Gold)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

North Star EP - Mark Flash (EPM Music)

Title: North Star EP
Artist: Mark Flash
Label: EPM Music
Cat Number: EPM73
Genre: Techno

1: North Star
2: Running Towards The Future
3: Secret Empire
4: La Danza De Los Muertos (Dance Of The Dead)

It’s all sharp edges, this release, and it flies its high tech funk flag high. Instantly recognizable as from Detroit, and effective in the only way it knows how. It’s almost certainly ‘La Danza De Los Muertos (Dance of The Dead)’ that will elicit the most dance floor action, but it’s the most understated track here, the atmospheric, symphonic ‘Running Towards The Future’ that really impresses. The dubby ‘Secret Empire’ is almost as good, with the liquid, but restrained stomp of ‘North Star’ raising temperatures a little bit more. Mark Flash isn’t breaking any new ground here, but he doesn’t have to.

Refraction Vol 4 - Various Artists (Residual)

Title: Refraction Vol. 4
Artist: V/A
Label: Residual
Cat Number: REZ024
Genre: Techno

A1: Stellar Radiation – Rukka
A2: Believe – Teakup
B1: Exit Your Body – Sepehr
B2: So Far So Good – Pressure Point

Titonton Duvante’s Residual has been in operation since 1998, which averages out at more or less one release a year, so this had better be good. This is the fourth in the refraction series, the first having come out back in 2002! Whatever the concept behind this series, and I believe it to be cosmic electronic profundity, I can only speak for this release, and its artists, none of who I know, unless we’re dealing in pseudonyms. So, it’s really, really good is what it is. With the possible exception of the Teakup tune, which seems over the top and put of place. That is to say that the other three offerings have depth, mood and sedateness: ‘Exit Your Body’ is a great piece of bass-led, solar-powered electro, ‘Stellar Radiation’ is a complex piece of driving, cultured techno, ‘So Far, So Good’ is languid as it soars over imaginary landscapes, but ‘Believe’ grates in this company. It has its merits, but they don’t stand out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Evolve - Son of Sound (Sistrum)

Title: Evolve
Artist: Son of Sound 
Label: Sistrum
Cat Number: SIS-SOS
Genre: Deep House

1: Evolve
2: The music
3: Be About It

I like house best when it transcends the norm, and Patrice Scott’s Sistrum has always had the capacity to do that. There’s a depth, soul and gravitas present on certain releases which oozes from the grooves and manages to stay contained without straying into outright self-indulgence. This release from Henry Maldonado is a sun-kissed, jazzy triumvirate of percussion-led euphoria that recalls humid nights on the Cote d’Azur in the mid nineteen eighties that I wasn’t present at, but wish I had been. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Life - Magnus Asberg (Romana Records)

Title: Life
Artist: Magnus Asberg
Label: Romana Records
Cat Number: RR001
Genre: House

1: Life (Silverlining Remix)
2: Life (Original)

I’ll admit it, it was the Silverlining remix that drew me to this release, and he’s currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance is Asad. There’s something which isn’t mentioned enough about tech house which is that the late nineties nucleus of South London/Croydon producers are still blazing a trail. This is evident from the prices paid for their releases on Discogs and their obvious place in the sets of certain taste-making DJs. Anyway, Mr. Rivzi’s remix more than does the trick, but Magnus Asberg’s original chimes in with the goods as well, while not sounding quite as imaginative. Is it at all significant that the remix gets the A side? Probably not, but it’s a moot point.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

We Have Power In Numbers - Tripeo (Tripeo)

Title: We Have Power In Numbers
Artist: Tripeo 
Label: Tripeo
Cat Number: TRIP9
Genre: Techno

1: We Have Power In Numbers
2: Hoax
3: Pandora’s Box
4: Pay It Forwards

I do like releases which unselfconsciously have a bit of “everything”, and this is one such occasion on which one does not gorge too much on the same speciality. It’s not an amazing record by any stretch, just very well produced, versatile and metaphysical. For what it’s worth, my favourite track here is ‘Pay It Forwards’, an excellent piece of stellar electro. The title track has menace in abundance and plays with adeptly manipulates its sense of space. ‘Hoax’, by comparison, feels like classic mid nineties Mills or Hood (such comparisons will always be made, no matter how effective the tune in question is), while ‘Pandora’s Box’ recalls ‘The Art of Stalking’, with a little added wonk.

Europa EP - Noha (Panick Panick)

Title: Europa EP
Artist: Noha
Label: PanickPanick!
Cat Number: PP05
Genre: Deep House

1: Europa
2: Margaret
3: Dottoressa Sara Aiutami Tu

Nothing sets the pulses racing more than a tranced-out piece of deep house, and by subtly combining a few core elements, ‘Europa’ manages the delicate balancing act of simultaneously remaining blissful and driving. This isn’t as easy and preprogrammed as it sounds. There’s something about this release which beguiles, and the delicate vocal flourish present in ‘Margaret’ is such a thing. ‘Dottoressa Sara Aiutami Tu’ is the quirkiest track her and plays minimalism with a straight bat. However, it wisely opts to stay on the genres’ darkside and dispenses with the gossamer-light percussion so often in vogue. 

Friday, March 01, 2019

Excitable, Girl - 96 Back (CPU)

Title: Excitable, Girl 
Artist: 96 Back
Label: CPU
Cat Number: 01000111
Genre: Electro

1: I’m Lost
2: Matryoshka
3: Excited, Boy
4: Ghzel Tea
5: Lezi ft Happa
6: Vennsate
7: Tripp D Isle
8: Celsius Loss
9: Seize
10: Excitable Girl
11: Vennsate Reprise

96 Back has delivered an assured and mature debut album on CPU which, as well as continuing their fine start to the year, makes one wonder when will this exponential flow of talent ever end? This release is a veritable smorgasbord of electronic influences which having been hauled into the virtual blender and roundly mingled, come correct in a multi-faceted presentation of the synthetic sonic influences doing the rounds of their creator’s young mind. There’s a vitality here that shouldn’t be passed off as mere youthful exuberance, as it is laced with enough sophistication to hold its own against more experienced peers. Electro-inspired, but by no means by numbers, this is great.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Acid Eater/Burning Diesel - Textasy (C-KNOW-EVIL)

Title: Acid Eater/Burning Diesel 
Artist: Textasy
Cat Number: EVIL001
Genre: Techno

1: Acid Eater
2: Burning Diesel

The first release from this Craigie Knows sub label comes in easily lost within the crates 10” form and is a double header of what I believe are referred to as “straight up techno bangers”. They’re certainly rapid-fire battle weapons, with ‘Acid Eater’ being a dense, humid thrash through the virtual undergrowth, and ‘Burning Diesel’ a funkier, spatial low-slung groover. This is subtle stuff from hardcore’s Kuiper Belt.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Plastic Time - Luxus Varta (Nocta Numerica)

Title: Plastic Time 
Artist: Luxus Varta
Label: Nocta Numerica
Cat Number: NN013
Genre: Electro

A1: Feline
A2: Unclean
B1: Stilnox (Feat. Paris The Black Fu)
B2: Quark
B3: October

‘Plastic Time’ is a release with a concept; that of ‘Plastic Time’ (look it up). And I can see how the gears shift within varying degrees to accommodate the temporal changes the different tracks strive to represent. Each composition drips with a melancholic ambience draped over an electro skeleton, and it works very well. There’s a lot of variety over the course of this release, with the fuggy groove of ‘Stilnox’ marking a peak of sorts, flanked, as it is, on either side by more active offerings. Whether the order of play is intentional or not, there is a logic to it and listening to this release from start to finish serves to reinforce a wistful, bittersweet atmosphere suggestive of retro futures been and gone. Electro Adam Poe vibes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Floorplan v Mark Broom EP - Floorplan v Mark Broom (EPM)

Title: Floorplan v Mark Broom EP 
Artist: Floorplan v Mark Broom 
Label: EPM
Cat Number: EPM72
Genre: Techno

1: Never Grow Old (Mark Broom Dubplate Mix) – Floorplan
2: Jungle – Mark Broom
3: He Can Save You (Re-Plant)

I remember buying Robert Hood releases on sight a log time ago. Everything was/is essential and his minimal approach was/is unique. Never had something so hypnotic been created from such few and fragile elements. Symphonic in scope, Hood’s nineties output trumps all comers, Mills included (for me anyway). The two tracks with his stamp on them on this release don’t come close to anything he did around that time, but they still hold their own; morphing a big room approach with an underground sensibility often falls flat due to excess, but works here, particularly on ‘He Can Save You’. Mark Broom’s hand is subtle in his dub plate mix of Hood’s best known more recent floor filler, and on ‘Jungle’ he shows the same restraint, to the benefit of the tune which, while tribal in the true sense, never gets out of hand.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New Visions - Violet (Paraiso)

Title: New Visions
Artist: Violet
Label: Paraiso
Cat Number: PARAISO005
Genre: Techno

A1: New Visions
A2: Kaos V
B1: Junqueira
B2: High In Forest Hill

This here title track is a non-conformist composition which refuses to be tied down, changing direction every so often until it either works, or not. And that’s an indication of where this atmospheric, inventive release is heading. Thriving on the irregular, it feels like the parallel soundtrack to Ken Robinson’s senior academic’s dance, where writhing uncontrollably off the beat is the new norm. A very engrossing listen to be sure, but the jury’s out as to whether these singular tunes will hold the floor at large; not that it really matters.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Keys The Door EP 1 - Ali Berger (FCR)

Title: Keys The Door EP 1 
Artist: Ali Berger
Label: FCR
Cat Number: 12FCR-09
Genre: House

1: Badlands
2: Love In This Box
4: Sleeves

As an acid aficionado I think I know a good thing when I here it, and I here it here, well on two tracks at least. ‘Badlands’ and ‘Secrets’ mirror each other in that they each occupy opposite ends of the sonic spectrum and show off the subtleties of the hardware to great effect. ‘Love In This Box’ is a lovely piece of floaty, melodic deep house while ‘Sleeves’ jars and thuds like a contradictive, cohesive abstraction. What I like about this release is the, calculated or not, symmetry and harmony it has. Impressive stuff. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Far & Wide EP - Artefakt (De Stijl)

Title: Far & Wide EP 
Artist: Artefakt
Label: De Stijl
Cat Number: INV024
Genre: Techno

1: Far & Wide
2: Ghost In The Machine
3: Crystal Confessions
4: Levity

I can pay Artefakt no higher compliment than to say that I can imagine seamlessly mixing in ’Acid Eiffel’ to most of their tracks and there’s no decline in ambience. Once ‘crystal Confessions’ gets off the ground we’re in that spacey world of squelchy electronic pulses ripping through the firmament to the accompaniment of chiasmic synths and delicate percussion. The rest of the EP is a reflection of this approach, but is not at all one dimensional, offering different facets on the IDM/techno interface. ‘Levity’ with its tenuous, gossamer break beats, and ‘Far And Wide’ and ‘Ghost In The Machine’ each offering a contrasting approach to the deep, groove-driven stellar throb that characterizes the best emotive techno.

Monday, February 04, 2019

The Ultimate Wave Riding Vehicle EP - Jensen Interceptor (Craigie Knowes)

Title: The Ultimate Wave Riding Vehicle EP 
Artist: Jensen Interceptor
Label: Craigie Knowes 
Cat Number: CKNOWEP14
Genre: Electro

A1: Aqua Lung
A2: Wave Slave
B1: E.L.E.K.T.R.O.
B2: Biometric

Apparently inspired by “old VHS surf tapes that he used to watch while growing up”, this release from Jensen Interceptor on the currently ridIng on the crest of a wave Craigie Knowes adds another level to connection between water and electronica. And whether by accident or design, there’s more than  a mere whiff of Drexciya, and a more overwhelming odour of UR. This is felt throughout the EP. Fluctuating from track to track. The purest electro is to be heard on ‘Wave Slave’ and ‘E.L.E.K.T.R.O.’, with ‘Aqua Lung’ being an accurate homage to classic UR atmospheric up and at ‘em techno and ‘Biometric’ stretching the electro model into a less staccato, more tribal template. All in all, it’s the dog’s.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Convergence - Nullptr (Between Places)

Title: Convergence
Artist: Nullptr
Label: Between Places
Cat Number: BP006
Genre: Electro

A1: Cybernoid
A2: Operator Theory
B1: Dimensional Analysis
B2: Vector Space

The titles say it all: that this is going to be a sci-fi treat for the ossicles is never in doubt, it just remains to scrutinize how sinisterly retro future-tinged the adventure will be. Each of these tracks are onomatopoeically realised and ably demonstrate that there’s still plenty of room to maneuver within the electro template. Everything shimmers with suppressed insect menace, but ‘Operator Theory’ with its disembodied, electronic utterances, and ‘Dimensional Analysis’, which evokes a ‘Knight Rider’ plot gone AWOL, stand out.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Vladimir Ivkovic Live Dj 2-5am - My Friend Calls It K Jazz At Sameheads

I listen to a lot of mixes, particularly when walking between work and my car, and this one is memorable for many different reasons. More than anything else though it is dense, claustrophobic, percussive, grinding, frictional and dark. It's expert at opening up an aural chasm in which time ceases to be a concern and genres meld together in a primal sonic fission. It takes you to another dimension, which is ultimatley all one can ask of a DJ and a pile of tracks. Flabbergasting stuff indeed. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Simple Communication - Marlon Hoffstadt (Midnight Themes)

Title: Simple Communication 
Artist: Marlon Hoffstadt
Label: Midnight Themes
Cat Number: MT006
Genre: Deep House

A1: Take A Moment
A2: Action & Reaction
B1: Open Focus

A trio of tracks that I can only describe as being cut from the same cloth, but with some subtle distinctions. The first two tunes scour the jacking spectrum, from the more dubby (‘Take A Moment’) to the crystalline (‘Action & Reaction’). ‘Open Focus’ stretches the same approach to eleven minutes, which at times allows for a little breathing space and variation. Essentially, however, what we have here are three well-crafted, functional floor fillers with percussive foundations and busy synths. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Severance - Mikron (CPU)

Title: Severance 
Artist: Mikron
Label: Central Processing Unit
Cat Number: 01000110
Genre: Ambient/IDM

1: Embers
2: Lyre
3: Oceania
4: Ghost Node
5: Aldergrove
6: Imora
7: Sunken Paths
8: Locus Reave
9: Cast On A Clock Face
10: Marble Cross
11: NyniV

The best and most memorable electronic music is, for me at least, reliant on combining textures and moods in order to create something which, while not always original or groundbreaking commands the listener’s attention. Mikron more than satisfy this requirement on their second album for CPU. Following on from 2016’s ‘Warning Score, this album is a brilliantly assured piece of work from the Emerald Isle’s Corcoran brothers and exudes sophistication along its eleven track lateral line. It’s all those clichéd adjectives rolled into one: brooding, moody, atmospheric to name just three. However, what this collection has above all else is gravitas. I’ve described it as IDM, which feels clichéd in itself, but it fits the bill and, while I don’t want to plagiarise by saying who, or what this music reminds me of, I echo some already published sentiments, and I expect to see this included in more than a few end-of-year lists. So there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Shocker - DJ Overdose (Turn It Down Music)

Title: Shocker
Artist: DJ Overdose
Label: Turn It Down Music
Cat Number: TurnItDownMusic#4
Genre: Electro

1: Shocker
2: Shocker (Universo Remix)
3: Shocker (Back For Good Remix)

This is portentous stuff, the type of tune you’d have in your head while walking towards some sort of reckoning. It’s a builder which brings in contributing elements patiently and then invisibly melds them to become the sum of its parts. Raw, disciplined power in its original form. The ‘Back For Go Remix’ hollows out the foundations and finds breathing space, it also gains quite a bit of traction on the original, but it’s nowhere near as monolithic. The ‘Universo Remix’ meanwhile, is a dodgy rave stomper which wants to be Beaufort but comes off smelling more of Tesco’s own brand cheddar.

Introspection001 -V.A (Introspection Records)

Title: Inrospection001
Artist: V/A
Label: Introspection
Cat Number: INTRLTD01
Genre: Deep/Minimal House

1: Got It – E_dward!
2: Melancholic Probe In A Sad Space – Matthew Redden
3: Acid Morning (Space Time) – Lorenzo Magnozzi
4: Kin – BCFHBH

I am by no means a fully paid up member of the minimal supporters club. However, I do realize its potential for all out twisted tomfoolery if deployed in the correct way. The high end stuff does my head in though, which is to say the lack of a conspicuous low end aligned to skippy, bollocky percussion leaving a chiasmic hole to be filled by the occasional off-kilter warbly din. None of the tracks here fall directly into this category, although both ‘Kin’ and ‘Melancholic Probe In A Sad Space’ (the title says it all) come close. Furthermore, ‘Acid Morning (Space Time)’ definitely doesn’t, being an aural collage of handclaps, drumrolls, aggressive acid squelches and sonic stabs which wouldn’t sound out of place in Mordor. ‘Got It’ has the foundation, but lacks muscle. All in all, a mixed bag, in which Lorenzo Magnozzi’s tune stands out.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Lonely Tribe - Grass Green (Grass Green Records)

Glass City Sessions - CV313 (Minimood)

Title: Glass City Sessions
Artist: CV313
Label: Minimood
Cat Number: MINIMOOD017
Genre: Dub Techno

A1: Belle Isle Symphonics
B1: Masonic Mystic
C1: Stars Above Elmwood
D1: Two Way Inn
D2: Eloise’s Theme

I’m sure I’m not the only one in thinking that a lot of dub techno is a waste of time. It wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference if I were though, as so much of it seems to be a variation on exactly the same theme: an obvious depth to Basic Channel and a penchant for synth swathes. I hope I’m not oversimplifying things too much, and in the event as coming across as being super patronizing I’d like to head anyone who has bothered to read this off at the pass by stating that although this release falls victim the aforementioned stereotype some of the time, it is a piece of work which constantly surprises and, when properly imbibed, keeps the listener guessing and anticipating until the end. ‘Belle Isle Symphonics’ has the most energy, edge and drama, shortly followed by the no less subtle ‘Stars Above Elmwood’. These are the longest two pieces here, with ‘Masonic Mystic’ as a sort of halfway house, the tempo descends on ‘Two Way Inn’’ to a crawl on ‘Eloise’s Theme’. A deceptively complex piece of work which demands patience from the listener, ‘Glass City Sessions’ peaks and troughs in perfect symmetry and is a very rewarding sonic experience.