Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Constant Movement - Steve Bicknell (Granulart Recordings)

Title: Constant Movement
Artist: Steve Bicknell
Label: Granulart Recordings
Cat Number: GRO14
Genre: Techno

1: Constant Movement
2: Constant Movement (Oscar Mulero Remix)
3: Game of Existence

‘Constant Movement’ plays out like some tribal incantation from a parallel world. It’s a throbbing, insistent piece of banging, bottom-heavy minimalism whose strength is underlined by its understatement. Oscar Mulero’s remix is also similarly delicate, with the rhythm cutting even deeper, and what feels like a frictional take on the percussion. It’s also got a hint of static, which is great for added dirt. A cacophonously enveloped kick is the main motif of ‘Game of Existence’, a track which gives the impression of having been stripped to within an inch of its life, but contains as enormous a diversity as the deep sea.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Love Remixes - Luke Slater (Mote-Evolver)

Title: Love Remixes
Artist: Luke Slater
Label: Mote-Evolver
Cat Number: MOTELP05
Genre: Techno

A1: Love (Burial Remix)
A2: Love (Lucy Remix)
B1: Love (The 7thPlain Collage Remix)
C1: Love (Planetary Assault Systems Low Blow Remix)
D1: Love (Marcel Dettmann City Remix)
D2: Love (Silent Servant Remix)
DIGI: Love (Marcel Dettmann Black Glove Remix)
DIGI: Love (Scuba Bagley’s Remix)

A body-slamming package, the type of which I would usually avoid, but such is the caliber of artist on the remix then I am more than a little interested. If Burial’s version isn’t an indirect homage to Carl Craig’s timeless reworking of ‘Domina’, then the coincidence is impressive. Lucy’s, and the Low Blow are subtle and linear, while Dettmann’s City Remix is similar, but with wonderful syncopation. Scuba’s Bagley’s jobbie is trancetastic and goes straight for the jugular, while Silent Servant deploys similar sonic artillery but never hits top gear and remains frustratingly low key. Dettmann’s Black Glove Remix amplifies the funk of the City, while the sonic tapestry of The 7thPlain Collage Remix evolves from the slow beginnings of the Silurian period into the delicate bump and hustle of the Devonian. None of these reinterpretations take too many liberties with the original, but manage to add a new facet to it, which is nice.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Counterfeit Soul Vol 3 - Frazer Campbell (Counterfeit Soul)

Title: Counterfeit Soul 3
Artist: Frazer Campbell
Label: Counterfeit Soul
Cat Number: CS003
Genre: House

A1: Don’t Leave Me Honey D
A2: My System
B1: The Drama
B2: Gazette

With the third in his ‘Counterfeit Soul’ series, Frazer Campbell again proves that nothing works much better on the dance floor than pimped up house reworks of soul, disco, and hip hop standards. This isn’t exactly what’s going on here of course, but they wouldn’t exist without the core samples, (even though these are not always as noticeable as each other), so that’s what I’m going to call them. They also wouldn’t be half as effective without Campbell’s deft production skills. He shows a lightness of touch on ‘My System’, which is amplified on the other tracks, although never feel overwrought or heavy, drive a bit more,. A fine foursome indeed, and devilishly funky to boot. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Proxy Detected - Christopher Joseph (Flexxseal)

Title: Proxy Detected
Artist: Christopher Joseph
Label: Flexxseal 
Cat Number: Flexxseal008
Genre: Techno

1: There Is . . . 
2: Proxy Detected
3: The Fear
4: Spectral Hope

Well, this is ok. Techno has to be uncompromising and subtle, treading a fine line between the cosmic and the industrial, and there’s ample evidence on this release of those two characteristics colliding together in order to produce some sort of sonic insect offspring. The most obvious culprit here is ‘There Is . . .’ with its pounding, chaotic cacophony. It’s layer upon layer of symphonic, synthetic abandon; fun, a little bit predictable, but well imagined. Much better is the calculated sleaze of ‘Proxy Detected’, whose electro tendrils are followed by slightly discordant, off-kilter ‘The Fear’. ‘Spectral Hope’ syncopatedly soars into the firmament and is a spacious breathy piece of percussive parlance. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monsoon - Artefakt (Semantica)

Title: Monsoon
Artist: Artefakt
Label: Semantica
Cat Number: SEMANTICA107
Genre: Techno

1: The Lost Centre
2: Monsoon
3: Undulations
4: Vertigo
5: Ossature
6: Inverted Forest
7: Celluloid Dreams
8: Nimbus

This is Artefakt’s second long player, (who said “sophomore”?), their first being ‘Kinship’, reviewed on these pages eighteen months or so ago. Now, as then, I love this stuff; something they do resonates with me on an ulterior level and, I’m tempted to say, a strangely sexual one as well. However, love this as I do it brings nothing new to the table. I daresay it’s the job of the consumer to decide whether that’s relevant or not, as few amongst us fuse the sounds of dubbed out minimalist trance and moody ambience as proficiently as this duo does, and this is important, because many have tried, but few have arrived. So, with that in mind let’s hope they keep on doing what comes naturally, because this collection works on many levels and is a pleasure to absorb.

Fragments Into Nothing EP - Tred (E-Missions)

Title: Fragments into Nothing
Artist: Tred
Label: E-Missions
Cat Number: EMS008
Genre: Techno

1: Fragments into Nothing
2: The Manitou
3: Disconnected (Odyssey Remix)
4: Disconnected (Solid Blake Remix)

Both ‘Fragments into Nothing’ and ‘The Manitou’ (great film btw), trade at opposite ends of the breaks spectrum: the former is an atmospheric accompaniment to the discerning rave sunrise, or a set opener with similar designs. The latter is a skittish and abrasive piece of electro which threatens to undergo a metamorphosis of sorts once or twice. The two versions of ‘Disconnected’ are distinguished by varying levels of intent, with the more blissed out meanderings of the Odyssey remix countered by Solid Blake’s frictional pounding, each with a floating foundation.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Machine Heavy - Chris Moss Acid (Balkan Vinyl)

Title: Machine Heavy
Artist: Chris Moss Acid
Label: Balkan Vinyl
Cat Number: BV28
Genre: Techno

1: Machine Heavy
2: Querida
3: Strontium
4: Myrmidon

And this I really like, four bits of unadulterated, updated rave heaven. The title track is a bit manic, but not without merit. It’s like a fast forward version of everything else on this release and will be backing ‘Gangnam Style’ when it’s reworked. Apart from that, both ‘Strontium’ and ‘Querida’ come correct with the boundless breaks, while ‘Myrmidon’ does something similar, but in slow motion. There’s a lot going on here across this quartet which is very clever and also more than a little bit bonkers. Hardcore continuum vibes summarized.

MPX001 - MPX (MPX)

Title: MPX001
Artist: MPX
Label: MPX
Cat Number: MPX001
Genre: Techno


Good to see that the “faceless techno bollocks” motif is alive and well, because that’s more or less what we’ve got here; having said that, it’s not really bollocks, but could do better. ‘G’ is the stand out, with undulating bass pulses underpinning cosmic synth wines. At the other end of the scale is the discordant ‘J’, which does nothing for me. ‘K’ and ‘L’ both feel like they’ve been cut from the same stone, with ‘L’ going all out insect funk and ‘K’ the more linear and focused; they’re two takes of the same track though, aren’t they? 

Friday, April 05, 2019

Keys The Door EP2 - Ali Berger (FCR)

Title: Keys In The Door EP2
Artist: Ali Berger
Label: FCR
Cat Number: 12FCR-10
Genre: Techno

1: Grease Trap
2: Heard
3: Hit Piece
4: Keys The Door

It’s scarcely two months since ‘Keys In The Door EP1’ was unleashed, and already a follow up. This is a good thing, even if were just for the majestic title track, in which the keys sound, at times, like a techno duet of Thelonius Monk and Les Dawson. (This is a slight exaggeration of the tracks discordant notes). ‘Hit Piece’ does sound like a sonic blender, but manages to retain some semblance of cohesion; ‘Heard’ is similarly abstract, but in a different direction (another Larry tribute piece?), while ‘Grease Trap’ subtly acidifies the environment. Another diverse four tracker from Ali Berger which is more than the sum of its parts.

Currently Idle - Etienne (Reductive)

Title: Currently Idle
Artist: Etienne
Label: Reductive
Cat Number: RDCTV - 01
Genre: House

A1: Signe Furax
A2: All About
B1: 3RDNuke
B2: Forget Me Not
C1: Lies. Inc
C2: The Doubtful Guest
D1: Information Society
D2: Squall

Whatever I was expecting, the stridency of the beats surprised me a little, in a very good way. Having said that, the overall tone of this album carries on from where his ‘Combat EP’ on Traffic left off, which is to say that the tracks blend the harder edges of house and the funkier elements of techno very well. Now I realize that I could be describing tech house here, but it’s never been a dirty word for me. I still have great memories of spending some of my later, formative years at Wiggle, but it’s also worth remembering that the term was forced upon them somewhat. In any case there are some great tracks here: ‘Signe Furax’ with it’s echoes of Tan Ru’s ‘Purple Heart’ gets things going in fine style, and ‘The Doubtful Guest’ administers bass-heavy punishment at a similar rate. Even the album’s more placid moments, like ‘All About’ and ‘Forget Me Not’ still pack a lower frequency punch. All in all, a very nice piece of work all over, with funk in spades and no filler.