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.

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.