While the home page contains my latest reviews, here you'll find older reviews.
Holdie Gawn & Micawber - Thron / F7
Killer minimal techno tracks from both Holdie Gawn and Micawber on this release. Each features hectic drum patterns brilliantly balanced across the speakers and a lead synth that captures the moment wonderfully. Its a favorite here at home, where my kids both love it. 9 out of 10.
TX Connect - Real TX Jaxx EP
A limited edition of only 200 copies, TX Connect's latest affair is a fast paced acid trip. You've got classy house rhythm patterns melded with TB303 synth. Oh what joy.. I love this stuff because it brings back so many good memories of those nights in the late 80s. It gets 8 out of 10.
Trances - 4/5
The blurb on this record is it is for tropically-inclined kinky dance floors. And to be quite honest, as I listen to it I find myself wondering what the hell I was thinking when I bought it! I always sample stuff before I buy, so I must have been either drunk or totally asleep when I samples this one. It just doesn't have many redeeming qualities to it. yeah, let's face it, it is not my sort of thing. Time to get it off the turntable pronto. My rating 3 out of 10 for effort.
Leo Zero - You Like It EP
Leo Zero has released some great house records in the past and I like this one a fair bit. House doesn't get me like techno does, but I can appreciate a good house record when I hear one and this one is certainly up there. There's disco house, electronic house and a variety of other styles here. Leo certainly sounds like he had fun making this one and the best thing about it is Leo hasn't got stuck in a narrow groove - he's diverse and all over the house map. It get a 6 out of 10.
Tom Trago & Bok Bok - Pussy Trak / Silent G Safari
This is basically is sampled and reconstructed track that is guaranteed to get every female within listening distance pissed off. The title track repeats the words "work this pussy" over and over again until the point has been hammered into the ground. It is hip-hop house. The B-side is a more classical track, also derived from a hip-hop mindset but with some house drum techniques added for effect. I sort of like it, but I dare not play the title track when any of the ladies in my life are around. 5 out of 10 for effort.
JV - Edit Channel XXX
This is a single-sided dub plate record with an absolutely fabulous disco house track. I believe there are very few copies around, so if you get your hands on one you're lucky. It will fit nicely into any disco or house set, and has a great hook start for the mix. 8 out of 10.
Max Graef - Bummse EP
Bummse is a very classy house track that constantly changes as it flows from the vinyl because Max Graef knows how to use music for emotional effect. Great rhythm, fabulous sixties-ish refrains, and plenty of variation gets this a sure fire thumbs up from me. On the B-side, Glenn Astro has done a remix which sets the track up perfectly for a mix. This is great house. 9 out of 10.
The White Lamp - Ride With You Remixes
I really liked this release when I first listened to it but it did not grow on me as I re-listened a few times. I started to find it a little nondescript - perfectly fine as a track but with nothing that hooks you. It isn't like anything else, but it doesn't stand out either. Ultimately, a little disappointing - both the original mix as well as the remixes, of which there are three.. 4 out of 10.
Visonia et Dopplereffekt - Die Reisen
A bit of electronica interspersed here, and it's a goody one. With a catchy bass line and plenty of strings, all three tracks on this EP satisfy. It does remind me a little of the late 80s synth circuit bands, but hey, I loved that stuff. So if you want to reminisce a little, grab a copy. Mine is in clear vinyl too, which is always rather neat, although it is also one of those torturous records where one side is mastered at 33rpm and the other at 45rpm. Why they do that I have no idea. Anyway, it still get a 7 out of 10.
Hands - The Soul Is Quick
40-odd minutes of ambient dub electronica that is both relaxing and interesting. The tracks flow well and keep you listening. I've always been a fan of ambient dub. It used to be big in the early 90s and then seemed to disappear off the map, so it is always nice to get something that fits the mold. 8 out of 10 for me.
Leyland Kirby - Breaks My Heart Each Time
This is a rather odd one and it is tough to categorize. I guess it is probably some form of electro. It's got an in yer face set of drums that are high in the mix, and then a whole bunch of whoozy synths playing, also high in the mix. It's different, somewhat interesting, quite danceable, but just not catchy. It doesnt break any new ground, at least that's what I think. Then the B-side, which is annoyingly mastered at a different speed to the A-side, starts with a very slow echoing ambient track, which you are guaranteed to play at 45rpm unless you are warned. I honestly wonder what I was thinking when I bought it. 6 out of 10.
Dark Strands - Return Of The Oscillator
Return Of The Oscillator is a very classy piece of house music. It has a cool rolling bass riff and plenty of variation in the pace and drum programming. You could easily use this in any DJ set. I am surprised it hasn't been a big hit with DJs. 8 out of 10 (even though it has that irritating two-speed mastering again).
KZA - Dig & Edit 2
This release has an interesting history. KZA is an avid collector of vinyl of all genres. He samples tracks from obscure records and adds rhythm to create new tracks. The result is an album of easy listening music with a modern twist - you end up with breezy disco, balearica and perhaps a little chill out electronica. Some of it reminds me of the music of the french band Space, who had a brilliant hit with Magic Fly back in the 70s. There are two stand-out tracks - Want No Other is a repeating sample of Sister Sledge's My Forbidden Lover, and The Beginning, which could easily have been stolen from the band Space. I do enjoy a bit of easy listening now and then and this record does it for me. I give it a 8 out of 10.
Ondo Fudd - Coup D'Etat
Off-beat record with syncopated rhythms and squelchy synth line. Coup D'Etat is a great filler track for DJs. I often wonder how you even start to create a track like that - it must be an interesting process. I give it a 7 out of 10.
Various Artists - Tax Haven 3
A compilation of crazed electronica. It starts with Bass Clef's Acid 8 which reminds me of Factrory Floor taking a tea break. Then Photonz deliver a track that sounds like they have been dissecting drum 'n' bass rhythms. Turn it over and you've got start-stop funk from Cauto and a bit of 80s cheesy synth from Nino. Rather good. 8 out of 10.
Buz Ludzha - Love Repetitive Rhythms
An EP of early 80s-style house which will bring back lots of memories. Sounds like it was produced in a mine shaft unfortunately. They took two really great tracks and mucked it up with sloppy production. How sad. 6 out of 10.
Shackleton - Freezing Opening Thawing
I have been a bit of a fan of Shackleton in the past but this one was a disappointment to me. It just doesn't do enough to keep me interested. I found the whole thing a little amateurish. And I challenge anyone to dance to it, seriously. Pity. The only cool thing about it is the cover which is classic Shackleton style. 3 out of 10.
Greg Beato - Apron EP
Put the A-side on the turntable and you wonder when it is going to really get going. And then it does.. get going. And it turns into quite a banging track of trippy dark techno. The B-side continues like the A-side - Let Em Know is a rather classy house track and the final track seems a little lazy. By the end you feel quite exhausted with all the effort of listening to it all! I enjoyed it though.. and it gets a 7 out of 10 for me.
Planetary Assault Systems - Future Modular
Swirling sequencer music with a solid beat. Feels like I am in Minority Report, or some other sci-fi movie. Rather cool. The B-side starts off with more of the same but the final track, Serc, is a very well balanced piece of techno with great build-up and a killer rolling baseline.. Luke Slater has delivered a neat set of analogue tracks created on pure hardware that build and diminish as they arpeggiate. I like it. 8 out of 10.
Juju & Jordash - Waldorf Salad
A rather alternate take on house, I see this as more of a filler track than as a filler of the floor. Waldorf Salad has a nice flow and a good beat, with bubbling synths and spiraling bleeps, but it goes nowhere apart from a short refrain in the middle. Then there is silence before a sequence of bleeps returns which also goes nowhere until it fades. The B-side, Third Planet From Altair, builds and has a lot more oomph. It is probably the better of the two tracks. I have absolutely no idea why the lead track is called Waldorf Salad as it is about as far removed from a waldorf salad as I can imagine. 6 out of 10.
MDDA - Ba-Dum / Dimple (Optimo)
This is the first-release from In My Own Sweet Time - a label based in Yorkshire where I used to live. There are two pretty good tracks here although I personally think they could have benefited from a better quality production - there is little used of stereo separation and each track sounds very one-dimensional in many respects. With better production these could be absolutely barnstormers. 7 out of 10.
Tom Of England - Cambridge Man
This is categorized as nu-disco. I bought it to keep my Tom Of England collection up to date - he tends to release very limited quantities on vinyl. But this will be my last - it is more folk music than nu disco. I think I will collect other stuff instead! 2 out of 10.
DJ Rocca & Chris Massey - Drug Chug / Shone
If you're looking for real nu-disco don't go any further than DJ Rocca & Chris Massey. This is a truly great record - utterly built from the ground up for the dance floor. Fabulous beats, a trippy bass line and synth hooks designed to grab you and twirl you round in hypnotic rhythm. Both tracks come with a remix that is as good as the original. Very very cool. 8 out of 10.
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca - Complotto Geometrico
Another nu disco EP with plenty of verve. Good steady beat, killer baseline hooks and lots of waving synth. On the B-side, Space Scribble has an arpeggiating synth line that reminds me of the early electro-disco..and another killer bass line. I have always been a fan of DJ Rocca's simple formula of great bass line hooks and he does it again here. 8 out of 10.
HNNY - Sneeze
House music meets Rhythm and Blues with a bit of hip hop thrown in. This is not usually my thing but I quite enjoy it regardless. And a record is either good or not interesting, right? So this is good. It is a little repetitive and unimaginative, but I can live with it, although they push it to the limit on the B-side when they just repeat the same bar of singing over and over again to prove that they have clearly mastered how to do a copy and paste in Apple's Logic. All HNNY's releases come as limited no repress 10" EPs - and this one has someone's orange lipstick kiss on it. 6 out of 10.
Alien Rain - Alien Rain IV
The fourth in a series of 90's style acid techno trax. It's hard pumping acidic analogue synth jamming at its finest. You all know I am a huge acid fan, so I lap this sort of stuff up. Alien Rain's version of acid is rather refined however. The first track here is frenetic as it flanges its way throughout a sequence of rising and falling notes. The second track sounds like it was played on a jaw harp. The third track is a totally classy simmering piece of techno - perhaps my favorite of the record. It gets a wholehearted 8 out of 10.
Bleaching Agent / Pris / Divided / Manse - RSN002
Second compilation EP from Resin. The first was dynamite and this is better. There's a thumping techno track from Bleaching Agent, then a rather interesting dub techno track from Divided. Pris delivers a bass heavy minimal techno track on the B-side and the weakest track of all, but by no means bad at all, from Manse ends it. I like this a lot. 8 out of 10.
Cyan341 - Coal Train
If there is a border between deep techno and dub techno, Cyan341 are sitting on it. Their drums are a little high in the mix to truly make it minimal as well, but it is beautifully executed and very cleverly put together. Plenty use of effects add to the overall sense that you're in the music rather than listening to it. This gets 8 out of 10.
##### - ##### (No Label - Just Yellow and Blue)
So let's see here - we have no idea who this is. It's house. Sort of jack trax. No singing. Would fit nicely into a mix but will not stand out at all except for one part - on the blue side, about 9.45 minutes into the track there is an incredible acid refrain... just absolutely nuts. It will have people asking you what the hell that was! So rather cool. 7 out of 10.
Vakula - Bandura 003
Four tracks of what they refer to as "deep cosmic house". I think of it more as self-indulgent electronica. I am not sure what the end-game is for Bandura but while I liked the short sharp samples that made me buy it, I don't necessarily get excited about the full version. It's OK. I have heard (and bought) a lot worse. But I guess either I should have expected more or I should be critical of myself for buying it in the first place. It gets 5 out of 10.
Gauss - Braunschweig
A two-track from a new label, inspired by mathematics apparently, hence the label. This is basically an acid jam with a consistent drum beat and a varying TB303-style lead. I like this sort of stuff, so I could happily listen to it for hours, but in reality it is rather passé. Not a lot changes in this record once it gets going so if you're dancing to it you'll likely give up at some point. I give it 6 out of 10.
Johannes Heil - Transitions EP
This is a very cool concept that surprisingly hasn't really been done much before. Transitions starts as a rolling ambient soundtrack of strings. By Transition 2 it builds into flowing electronica. By Transition 3 you are hitting the floor and Transition 4 is full on bass thumping chaos. Really great. Very well done. 9 out of 10. Now that's rare.
04LM - Tragicaller EP
Haunting techno wonder remix of M Place by James Ruskin, this one is dark, thumpy and very now. A beautiful track that roars and growls until you feel compelled to move. Side B starts with another fabulous drum beat and builds into another barnstorming track with a lovely reverberating keyboard riff. The final track is the original mix of M Place and it is great too. This is one of those records where at first listen it is so good it feels familiar. A great techno record and gets 9 out of 10.
Villa Abo (Frak) - A Ruff Swing Below
Limited edition release by Frak that will make you feel like one of 300 very lucky individuals. The bass on these tracks is omnipresent. The tracks themselves brood and pulsate as they spew from your speakers. There is nothing to not like. It's my first 10 out of 10. How about that!
Unknown Artist - Ossa Jams 1
Hideously limited release from Berlin of three rocking' techno tracks. Great rhythm and a very wide mix with plenty going on. It's not exactly minimal but its getting there. 9 out of 10.
Special Request vs. Akkord - HTH vs HTH
Akkord and Special Request each remix their favorite track from the other artists's catalog. Rather interesting concept, and it comes off brilliantly. If you like bass music, dub step and UK funky house, this one is for you. The mixes are very well done and have enormous presence right across the left and right speakers. Drums fire as if coming from guns and the bass splatters itself into the air as the tracks proceed. There are plenty of effects - echo, reverb etc. to increase the impact too. In summary, two great tracks absolutely remixed to perfection with phenomenal production. Quite fabulous really. 8 out of 10.
Coldgeist - Artefacts EP
A frenetic minimal techno EP with plenty of oomph. It starts with a relatively high bpm compared to many minimal tracks but the bass drum punch compels you to move to it. On top of the bass there's a looping synth riff that gyrates as hand claps pop in the air. The second track Invisible Path fast paced dub techno with a compelling drag. Oh I am enjoying this one a lot. The B-side continues with the same pace of rhythmic hypnotic techno in two remixes of the first track. It is utter perfection and gets 10 out of 10.
Armando / Bam Bam - Bam Bam's Westbrook Classics
This is a re-release of some classic tracks to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Still Music label. The A-side has a couple of rare acid tracks that have survived the decades well. The second of these, Where's Your Child, has a fabulous beat. The B-side contains two unreleased house tracks from the late 80s. All rather good. 8 out of 10.
Basic Soul Unit - Lab.our003
Thumping warehouse-style bass heavy hypnotic techno. It's dark and rhythmically repetitive inn a good way. My sort of stuff! I was at a Factory Floor gig a couple of weeks ago and the DJ played track after track of this stuff before the band came on. I loved it all. The B-side takes a slightly different angle, with a first track that is far more melodic than the thump-thump of the A-side. Then the final track slows the pace and delivers a somewhat off-kilter drum heavy track that is rather different. Basic Soul Unit's prior releases are all over the map - this is about as dark as they have ever been and I like it a lot. This is a 9 out of 10.
DJ Ford Foster - The Low Ceiling EP
I'd say that the A-side of this record is more of a tool kit for DJs than a true effort to deliver complete techno tracks. What you get is a series of rapid-fire sampled loops that vary a little but stick to a formula. Mixed into other stuff, it could be mesmerizing but on its own it irritated my family. It is perhaps a little too "in yer face" as a stand alone techno record. Things do improve on the B-side, with two rather cool tracks. I give it a 6 out of 10.
Red7 - Royal Rave / Rubadub Style
It's back to the future with a set of two heavily sampled acid tracks. Royal Rave steals from Royal House and does a fabulous job of recreating the urgency and fever of those days back in the late 80s. Rubadub Style on the B-side isn't as hot, but still good. 8 out of 10.
Aux88 & Blaktony - ShariVari Remixes
I initially liked this - I must have done to have bought it. But on second listen it is really cheesy! There is a male voice saying rather silly stuff over a mix of highly commercial house music. Not really my thing and I don't know what I was thinking. And what the heck does ShariVari mean anyway? I give it a 2 out of 10.
Martyn - Vancouver + Remix
Martyn is always good for a bit of minimal techno and this is no exception. Solid drum programming and a great thump beat plus some good bass. What more do you need! This track was originally released in 2008 and became quite a cult hit. And Head High, AKA Shed, has given it a thrilling remix on the other side. I give it 7 out of 10.
Murph Tone Jack Session - Remixes
A rather slick set of remixes of tracks that I was not really familiar with in the first place. Good pace and nicely produced, they are varied and interesting. They are neither "gotta have's" nor are they damp squibs. I give them 6 out of 10.
Optimo - Dark Was The Night Sampler
Starting with QX-1's steamy house bubbler, I Won't Hurt You, complete with samples from Kraftwerk, we then head into Psychodalek Nightmares by The Freeze, which is clearly music for a totally different demographic. Then the B-side confirms that you made the wrong purchase. 1 out of 10.
Ike Yard - Remix EP 3 - Powell & The KVB
I bought this on account of the KVB remix. I do like the Powell Remix of Half A God a little too but The KVB Remix of Cherish 8 is really good - I think it is my punk heritage from the north of england. Vessel's remix of Cherish 8 is also pretty neat. The Bandshell remix of NCR though is just horrible. Anyway, none of this is techno so you may not be interested. To me, it gets a 7 out of 10.
Cratebug - Cratebug Edits
Cratebug is a guy from Chicago who delves deep into record shops to find obscurities which he then samples and creates new tracks from. Not strictly techno, but this release features Derrick Carter. All the tracks are danceable and very different, so you are likely to catch someone out expecting one track when they get something bizarrely different. It get 6 out of 10.