This Month's Music Reviews
Welcome to my site - homage to my addiction to (good) music. As new releases arrive on my doorstep (mainly vinyl) I spin them a few times and then pass judgement. Here's what I have been listening to most recently.
Max Graef - Rivers Of The Red Planet
Off kilter, odd, strange and bizarre album that you are never sure what will happen next. And that's its charm. There are some good dance tracks in there, in between the sound effects, odd refrains and whatever else he throws at you. But it is entertaining, and isn't that what it is all about? 8 out of 10 for me.
Dusty Kid - Kore / Psika
First a track of hypnotic deep techno that will get your feet tapping, perfect when played LOUD. Then you get a rather catchy minimal techno track on the flip side. Really good. 9 out of 10.
Mind Against - Avalon
With a pulsating throbbing synth line and a hammering rhythm this techno bomb launches a killer two tracker by Mind Against. You get a sense of urgency and as it gets deeper and dark and heads into The Emperor Machine territory, then flip it over and you get a confident and polished piece of 80s electro. Rather good. 8 out of 10.
DJ Ford Foster - Just LeftWhite
Four tracks of techno acid beat. Nothing breakout really, but still very good. Sounds like the jam sessions I do myself. 8 out of 10.
Konstantin Sibold - Leif
Three tracks of absolutely sublime house that is so good it sound familiar even if you have never heard it before. Yes.. it's that good. Limited release on white vinyl too. 10 out of 10.
London Housing Trust - London Housing Trust 5
Four tracker from LHT featuring four artists and limited to 200 copies only. We start with Prima and an african rhythmic track that is very positive and uplifting. Then Alphonse deliver a rather frantic acid track. Then Jamie Blanco delivers a beautiful 808-inspired funky track. And Asok completes the quartet with a broody menacing techno track that is fabulous loud. 9 out of 10.
Martyn - Forgiveness EP
Three tracks of very accomplished music. There are occasions when I am reminded of Mr.Scruff, and others when I think of Actress. Irrespective, they are fine examples of modern composition with variation, go-getting rhythm and beautiful orchestration. You can't get much better than this in terms of the art of song writing. 9 out of 10.
Deepchord - Lanterns
Double 12" EP with four tracks of dub ands ambient techno. Very much reminiscent of The Orb, it's great background music and perfect to create an atmosphere. Hideously expensive release though - mine was 35 UK pounds, which seems impossible to justify. It does come in "crystal" coloured vinyl with a poster, although I don't see why that should justify the price. So 8 out of 10 for the music and 4 out of 10 overall due to the ridiculous price.
Coma - Atlantis
We're heading back to late 70s funky disco with three blessed out tracks of boogie. There is nothing new here - but there is certainly plenty to get excited about. It's easy listening, easy dancing and easy to like. 8 out of 10.
R & W - Socks & Scandals EP
Uncompromising deep techno tracks that compel you to move. The first track, Meat, delivers a relentless kicking hammer-like beat while all hell breaks out in the background. Then Bucket Sheep drives you forward with a tighter rhythm and a jacking bass. Lovely stuff. 8 out of 10.
QX-1 - Love Injection
Originally released in 1991, Mike Dunn took 808 State's Pacific State and rebuilt elements of it into a series of new tracks. The result is lush, beautiful music that is as good today as it was then. What you get on this re-release are six tracks of great house. 10 out of 10.
Factory Floor - How You Say (Gunnar Haslam / Helena Hauff Remixes)
Second of three remix EPs of How You Say - apparently they sent it out for remix and got so many great responses that they went for multiple EPs. And this one is a winner. Gunnar Haslam delivers a hypnotic workout which takes the basics of How You Say and simplifies them down to every more basic rhythm. Then Helena Hauff takes it yet in another direction, while maintaining the white noise itchiness of the original. Both really good. 9 out of 10.
Factory Floor - How You Say (Invisible Conga People / Daniel Avery Remixes)
There are three remix EPs of How You Say by Factory Floor. Each remix artist has taken such a different approach it is rather fascinating. Daniel Avery's is so unlike Factory Floor that it is really a surprise, but in a nice way. Then Invisible Conga People remove some of the rawness that is normally Factory Floor and replace it with a chugging after hours track that is rather good. I like these two a lot. 9 out of 10.
Motor City Drum Ensemble - Raw Cuts Remixes
Three remixes of Raw Cuts by Marcellus Pittman, Mike Huckaby and Recloose. Pittman's is a nice piece of house that'll fit nicely into a mix. Huckaby's goes a slightly different route - good but not as good. Then Recloose nail it with the final remix. A very nice EP. 8 out of 10.
I/Y - 0000.030
Rather mysterious release with little information about the group, but it is a killer dark techno track. Pulsating bass, hammering bass and plenty of echo turn this into a monster. Really great. Tripeo's remix on the B-side just adds a little more frenetic action to the scene. 9 out of 10.
Acid Square Dance - Cassian Jams
Fresh French Acid, and rather good too. The A-side features two rocking acid tracks that meld a great balance between the 808 beat and the 303 screech. Then side B is as if a totally different band did it.. nothing at all in common with the A-side, which is disappointing. So it gets 6 out of 10.
Marco Bernardi - Emotional Wreck
There are only 250 copies of this in existence, so get it quick if you want one. Four tracks of edgy techno, with good rhythm and a few nice riffs. In parts it veers into electro territory before coming firmly back into the techno fold. Pretty good, and very limited. 8 out of 10.
Developer / Stanislav Tolkachev - Inkblots #1
Double A-side EP by two artists. Developer focuses on deep techno and delivers two great tracks that shout out for a dimly lit strobing dance floor. Then Stanislav Tolkachev cooks up two further tracks of hypnotic techno that complement the A-side quite beautifully. Its a great release, and white vinyl too, which I am always a sucker for. 9 out of 10.
Dean Decosta - Heimfallen EP
This is a re-issue of some rather good dub techno, and it stands up to today's state of the art in dub techno perfectly. This to me is such great music. Good for background atmospherics as well as in the foreground to shake things up. It grabs you by the ears and makes you listen. All tracks are good, but as it is a reissue, it gets to lose one point, so 9 out of 10.
Various Artists - Trust XV-I EP
Four tracks of swirling techno limited to 100 copies. We start with VC-118A's Doppler, a nice piece of ambient dub electronica which flows nicely from the wax. Then comes Cryosleep by Matti Turunen which starts as a regular dub techno track and morphs into a mid-paced piece of techno while keeping faithful to dub techno with the usual warp noises. Half way through now and I'm loving this. Side B gets you Clatterbox with Intersecting Planes. Slightly beyond ambient techno, it takes us into a slightly harsher world. Then Lok44 finish off with a a very classy slow paced piece of electronica. To me, Chatterbox doesn't really fit with the other three on this EP, so it gets just 9 out of 10.
Frak - Fusion In Park
Two tracks of house-techno blur with plenty of acid thrown in. Machines Drifting Away has a filler TB303 bass hook that starts in the background and then comes afore in the refrain. The string synths then build it into a monster. On the B-side, To Find A Way Home is a more sober affair, again with a cool bass line and more TB303 in the background. The track is slower but far more atmospheric. Both really good, definitely worth 10 out of 10.
Lazar Cezar - Om Vedea EP
2x12" double EP of dubby Romanian micro house. We start with Time & Space, a laid back dub track that has a lot of Berlin influence, yet it shows how cleverly constructed Lazar's work is. Flip it to the B and we are back into more familiar romanian territory with a humdinger of rhythm and some brilliant use of echo in Sun2216, a fabulous track. The second EP starts with Shakeuit, with a hi hat brought high in the mix to create a rather different feel. And then we finish with perhaps the most rhythmically complex track of all in Adagium to turism - very clever. All round, a solid 9 out of 10.
House Of Doors - The Dolphin Hotel Affair Vol. 1
Stripped down house that is both melodic and clever. Filter Feelings on the A-side is a nice rolling track with simple yet effective drum programming. Flip it and you get Moesha, a rather nice piece of lounge music (and I mean that in the nicest sense). Then we finish with Frakincence, a rather subtle jacking track. This is a great release - no idea what the Dolphin Hotel Affair is all about, and frankly I don't care, but I love the music. 9 out of 10.
Mr G - Much Love EP
Rumbling selection of four house tracks that simply scream out to be played loud and proud. Starting with Mango & Rum, you get a stonking bass pumping jam. Then Side Swing takes us on a jack. A remix of Mango & Rum by Daze Maxim follows, which has even more bass than the original, then we finish with Freefall 7, a great track too. 9 out of 10.
Italo Johnson - Italo Johnson Vol. 8
Three tracks of very mad house. The A side features a track that will have everyone shaking their booty - it's just mesmeric on the feet. Then the B-side features a further two that will also get everyone up. Very cool. 8 out of 10.
Mosca - No Splice No Playback
Two tracks of easy-on-your-ears house with clever instrumentation. No singing, thank God, as I hate house tracks with singing! If you're looking for something stand-out then this is not it, but if you want something that is melodic and nicely produced, then look no further. 7 out of 10.
Tames - Vivid Elements EP
Three simmering semi-dub techno tracks of spicy acid that is both pleasant to listen to and inspiring to marvel at. It really is that good. And it gets 9 out of 10.
Hardfloor - The Art Of Acid
Classy 2x12" album/shrine to all things TB303. If you love that typical acid screech of the TB303 then this is the album for you. Hardfloor have taken what is an unpredictable and somewhat weird machine and created a whole series of great tracks with it. There's the usual modulating wave, the frequency shifts, the screechy cut offs. If you like this sort of stuff, then you've love this. If you think Hardfloor need to get a life and move on to something new, then don't get this. To me, it was very nice indeed. 9 out of 10.
DJ Spider / Brendon Moeller - Mission Control EP
DJ Spider opens the A side with Maldek, a jacking techno track with some killer bass and a whole series of weird synth bleeps. Then Brendon Moeller's penned track, A Species Of Pure Thought, is remixed by DJ Spider on the B. It's deep and dark and perfect for a big room. Flip it over, and Brendon Moeller's original of A Species Of Pure Thought is there. It's slightly less dark than the DJ Spider mix but much more atmospheric. Then Brendon Moeller remixes Dj Spider's Maldek into a broody laid-back slammer. Very well done. 9 out of 10.
Factory Floor - How You Say (Bookworms Remixes)
As you may know, Factory Floor can't put a foot wrong in my book. I adore them. And these tracks illustrate why - they are just so flexible and compelling. Bookworms have done a masterful job of taking a great track and making it greater. Now how cool is that. No doubt its a 10 out pif 10.
Vakula / Various Artists - Various Ideas EP
Multi-varied compilation of tracks which is nicely balanced. We start with Vakula and Siamak Amidi with a pleasant deep house track with some glimmering string synth. Then we get Animous to slow the pace a little with a highly complimentary track of flowing acid. Miruga then tees off a delicious slice of electronic dub. Finishing off is Nasrawi with a slow chill out number that occasionally sounds like he is chinking a ring of keys. Nice. 9 out of 10.
San Laurentino - Complications Of A Castaway
This is an odd one as there are only 180 copies of this album in existence, It seems bizarre that such a great album would have such a limited run, but so be it - I am happy that I have one. What you get are seven track of techno with house influences. There are house-style drums occasionally, and a typical acid vibe now and then, but at its heart it is a very clever techno album. And the fact that it is so limited is.. well, cool. 9 out of 10.
Rasmus Hedlund - Audio Kurator #005
I really liked the idea of this and I opened it and put it on the turntable with a lot of excitement. But ultimately I was disappointed. I was hoping for dub techno and I don't think I got it. Or ambient dub - no, didn't get that either. I had an expectation and it didn't deliver. Which is a pity. In reality, there is nothing wrong with it - it is actually good. But it just didn't hit my expectation. And for that, I give it a 5 out of 10.
Luxxury - Luxxury Edits Vol. 1
Something rather different here - three tracks of old 70s music, utterly gutted and rebuilt for the modern dance floor. We start with Hotel California by the Eagles, then Night Fever by the Beegees, then Fleetwood Mac. And they are all really well done. Recommended! 9 out of 10.
Ben Sun - Fall Upon You / Shadow Dance
Fall Upon You is a breezy house track which I took a fancy to. Not my usual thing but I liked it. And Shadow Dance is another good house track. Rather good. 7 out of 10.
Donato Dozzy & Tin Man - Acid Test
Two artists collaborate for the first time in a studio to produce numerous tracks of which 3 appear here. Test 7 is a trippy slow brooding acid track with plenty of atmosphere. Then comes Test 2, a slow deliberate and therapeutic track. Finally, we get Test 3, another slow burner, although this has a lot more underlying tension. 7 out of 10.
Myk Derill - Pavement EP
The tyranny of the beat gets you on this EP - a mind-warping series of soundscapes that compel you to get up and move. Starting with You Are, a minimal techno droner with plenty of low end, then Alert, a ticking time bomb of a track that builds till it literally explodes in front of you. Then we get Zerone - a dark deep stomper of a track and we end with Between which takes us more into dub techno territory. A brilliant set of tracks. 10 out of 10.
Boreal & LNRDCROY - FP-003
Three tracks of indulgent deep ambient techno with beautiful atmospherics and some fabulous refrains. You can almost imagine the night club lights as these tracks start - flashing and strobing to the beat. It is a very clean EP with plenty to keep you interested. 9 out of 10.
Markus Suckut / Pfirter / Various Artists - From The Lab To The Club Part 1
Another four track/four artist compilation, this time from Mind Trip. Markus Suckut delivers his usual stripped-down minimal techno, this time with a really deep bass riff. Then Jesse Jacob delivers a similarly minimal track although he uses a few more rhythm components. Up next is Pfirter delivering a slightly more frantic and intense composition - not so great, in real terms. Finally, Charlton end it with a deeply rhythmic analogue trip which is rather good. 8 out of 10.
Josh Wink - Are You There Remixes
Remixes by Ben Klock and Rod of Josh Wink's Are You There. Ben Klock turns are you there into a jacking house track to great appeal. Rod takes a lot out to create a minimal mix. Both has great appeal of a really great track. 8 out of 10.
Audiojack - Machine Code EP
Audiojack are well versed in techno and this EP is just another in a long line of great EPs. We start with Machine Code, with a groovy beat and a delicious bass line. Then comes Indigo, a more progressive techno track very much of the same genetic makeup as Machine Code. The flip side features two remixes of these tracks. Paul C and Paolo Martini's remix of Machine Code minimizes the original and add some great effects. Then Alexis Raphael remixes Indigo into a flowing electro track with great bass hooks. Fabulous musicianship on this, and a worth 10 out of 10.
Roman Lindau / Cassegrain / Various Artists - Co-Ops Vol. 1
Billed as 4 techno jams, this Berlin-based release kicks off with plenty of energy. First we get Roman Lindau delivering a nice piece of minimal techno, then Cassegrain go deeper and darker with an atmospheric bass thumper. Flip it over and we get Savas Pascalidis with a looping twirling techno track that is perfect for the dance floor. Finally, we get Nubian Minds who deliver a dark techno banger that absolutely screams to be loud. Love it!
Palms Trax - Equation EP
Three tracker in its second repress, Palms Trax originally released this last year and saw enormous demand for it. So here it is again, this time with a Tin Man remix. On the A-side you get Laste Jam, a really great semi-electro techno track. Great drums, killer lead synth.. nice. Then comes Equation, another electro-ish techno track built by some with with clear musical ability. Then flip and we get Tin Man's remix of Houses In Motion, which keeps the musical quality going while delivering a nice line of acid. 8 out of 10.
Unknown Artist - We Do It
No one knows who wrote this, or performed it, but the message is simple - "We Gonna Do It. Make You Hot", repeated over and over to a house beat. It is actually really good, ads the beat is infectious and it will get everyone moving before they ask you what the heck that was. And the answer is you have no idea! It is a single-sided dub plate white label. 8 out of 10.
Moodyman / Kezokichi & Sigmund K - Versionz / Untitled
Two-artist split EP. Moodymanc delivers a rather electro-ey deep house track and Kezokichi and Sigmund K deliver more of an acid romp. Both are good but don't peak your attention too much, which is a pity, as the cover is gorgeous. In fact, the cover is the best thing about this record. 6 out of 10.
Dilated Pupils - Broken Amp
The Dutch band Dilated Pupils have been one of my faves for a while, and they evolve rapidly between records. This latest EP takes them into micro-house territory as they hone their style and clean up their minimal approach. They use pure analogue machines to create their tracks and it pays off in droves. Fabulous EP! The Birdsmakingmachine Remix of Alco B. is a joy to behold too. 10 out of 10.
Blazej Malinowski - Dual Reality
Two sublime pieces of dub techno of the track Dual Reality. The original mix really hits the spot and makes it hard for Hydergine to remix it any better, but both pieces are great examples of the art of dub techno. 10 out of 10 from me.
Afriqua - Concomitance / AEIOU
With a name like Afriqua, you're expecting some modern jungle beat but actually what you get is an assured piece of techno. You see, Afriqua is actually a bunch of Americans living in Berlin. And Berlin is rubbing off on them, as this is really great. Concomitance is a stunning rolling acid deep track with an infectious riff. Then AEIOU takes us in an altogether different direction with a lot more african-style rhythm slowing us down to virtually a chant but again with a great catchy riff. This single is really good and merits 9 out of 10.
Jonas Kopp - Starburst EP
It's rare that I ever hear about argentinian techno but here you go - Jonas Kopp is big there and he has delivered a rather fascinating EP in Starburst. It's a very mixed bag. The first track Starburst is a semi-techno semi-acid rave track. Then we get Drummo, which takes us into darker territory, somewhat like a battle cry. Insomniac on the B-side continues where Drummo left off, and then we're back to hypnotic techno with Take Me Higher. Altogether an assured effort. It gets 9 out of 10.
Sanys - Dominance EP
Deep dark techno from Russian producer Sanys. Oh Boy what a treat! This has just what you need - a thumping bass, the threat of synths, the growling bass and a mesmeric ripple of impending doom. Eomac's remix of Dominance is haunting and oh so dark. All four tracks hit the spot perfectly, giving this release a perfect 10 out of 10.
Various Artists - Mathias Kaden Presents The Exclusive Watergate 14 Tracks
Three tracks from Rodriguez Jr., Marco Resmann and Christian Burkhardt, which originally appeared exclusively on the Watergate 14 mix album. I am a bit of a fan of Watergate mix albums - they tend to have obscure selections nicely put together. Anyway, here are three of the exclusive tracks and they are all great in their own right. It gets 8 out of 10.
Unbalance - Voice Dub / Dry Rain (Rolando & Marcelus Remixes)
Another Unbalance remix EP in the same week! Voice Dub remixed by Rolando is a frantic affair with plenty going on. Perfect for a big room, or big speakers. Then Dry Rain is remixed by Marcelus - a spaced out deep track with plenty to hook onto. Rolando's mix wins the day here. And it gets 8 out of 10.
Eomac - Spectre
Debut album from Spectre, AKA half of the duo Lakker, 2 x 12". It's basically dark industrial techno with plenty of saturated sound, intense booming and cavernous rumbling. But don't let that put you off as this will grown on you fast. It is a great album with a wide selection of material that you can get your head around. After a few bangs and crashes to get us started, for example, we go into a beautifully rhythmic Rainmaker. And so the album continues, with quite a bit of variation. I liked it a lot. 9 out of 10.
Donato Dozzy - Dimensions EP
Two tracks of the most sought after Dozzy, repressed. Gol is a beautiful rhythmic track with such a fabulous bass line. Its one of those tracks where you wish you'd created it yourself, as you know it would give you such enormous satisfaction. Then we get Fazah on the flip, another clever piece of programming. Nice job. 8 out of 10.
S Crosbie - Dark Arts 4 EP
Opening with a great dark techno trip in Point Blank with a classy drum track and some great resonating synth, we then head off into a stop-start blast of techno, where the drums stab you and the synth pulsates like you're about to be attacked with a light sword. On the flip side the drum programming steps up a notch with Downstream, a tight racy cut, then we finish with Ricochet, a jerky edgy electro track. 8 out of 10.
Various Artists - Balearic Blah Blah 002
And now for something completely different! Four tracks of hip pre-club atmospherics while on Ibiza. I bought this for the first track - Swinger Sex, which is very classy, despite the title. But all four tracks on this are really good. The second track gives us a bit of reggae then we get some easy french electronica and finish with a bit of 70s tack. At least, I like it. 8 out of 10.
Unbalance - Deep Journey / Rhythm Slave (Bleak & Steffi Remixes)
Two tracks of deep techno that will totally rock the dance floor. The Deep Journey remix by Bleak starts the ball rolling with a hypnotic swing and a mesmerizing series of drum patters that get you moving. Then Steffi seals the deal with a remix of Rhythm Slave that pumps up the drums around a syncopated sequencer line. Bleak wins this one hands down. My copy is a "promotional copy" whatever that means, maybe its worth something. 8 out of 10.
Fumiya Tanaka - Dark Pad
Four track double 12" EP with 40-off-minutes of minimal techno in the usual Tanaka style - a foundation of rhythmic drums with a strong series of synths and sound effects over the top. The title track, Dark Pad, is has a typical micro house beat and a great voice over through an effects processor. Deni 431 is somewhat flamenco-ish in both rhythm and lead synth line, but with a repeating sampled voice over the top. The second 12" takes us back into minimal techno with Deep Columbia, the most minimal of all the tracks. Then we end with Thank You, which is very electro-like but quite honestly a little too repetitive for me seeing as nothing really happens after the 5th bar. Overall, 7 out of 10.
Marc Philipp & Nils Weimann - Lost EP
Three tracks of rather hypnotic Romanian-style micro house with a fast paced rhythm. Plenty going on here, from rhythm claps right through to obscure building synth but what makes it really stick out is the humming bass line which captures the atmosphere perfectly. It is all rather good, and definitely hits the spot for me. 9 out of 10.
TC Studio - Travel EP
Traian Chereches write music that is somewhere close to Romanian Micro-house. Complex rhythms with a minimal synth overlay, generally rather repetitive, to make for a mesmeric experience. I like the Travel EP a lot. On the A-side you get Opozitie, a marching bit of techno that seems like it was married to a little gypsy rhythm at some point. Then you get Trick and Travel, both of which follow a similar marching style of techno. All the tracks are good, with perhaps Travel being the best. 7 out of 10.
Percussions - KHLHI / Sext
The second of three Eps from Four get under his pseudonym of Percussions. This is perhaps the best so far, with a rollicking foot tapping track in KHLHI which occasionally flows into sampled disco before tripping back into a catchy house loop with lots of blips and bleeps. Sext on the flip side is a disappointment after the upbeat excitement of the A-side, but it is all worth it for KHLHI alone. 8 out of 10.
Tomas Svensson - Am I Networked?
Sitting somewhere in that gap where house finishes and techno starts, this is the first album by the Berlin-based Swede with a passion for all things analogue. And what an assured and confident album it is. Tomas has a mastery of his equipment that is second to none, delivering clever and distinct drum patterns and just the right amount of synth to create a very nice balance. There is something on this album for everyone, whether you are looking for upbeat dance, trippy house, deep techno or laid-back chill. Nice. 9 out of 10.
New Musik - Warp (Ilo Edit)
Single-sided dub plate of nu-disco funk. One track and what a track it is - moody, very danceable and utterly perfect. It is actually an old New Musik track which has been brought back to life in a fascinating way by Ilo. Every DJ needs a copy is his collection. And instant classic. 10 out of 10.
Albert Van Abbe - Vanabbe001
Vinyl only with only 200 copies around, it's like gold dust. Classy gold dust. Four tracks of haunting deep and dark techno with a hypnotic beat and an overarching drone. Like Ital, and Stefan Rein, and Dimi Angelis, this stuff hits you right where it hurts when turned up load. And load is what it needs to be. I am so glad I have a copy of this. 10 out of 10.
Stefan Rein - Phantom EP
Vinyl only release of hypno-techno. Phantom sounds absolutely beautiful on a big sound system where the bass rumbles you and the tap tap tap of the snare catches your attention. The in comes the synth line and you've gone up a level. It's a clever track with plenty going on. Then Ice Core on the B-side is deeper and darker. You start with the usual thumping bass drum and then a series of rhythmic synths flirt with the low drone. Bloody great track! And 9 out of 10.
Ital & Halal - The Day After
If there's an EP to complement the Dimi Angelis & Jeroen Search EP below, this is it. Ital & Halal take us into deep space with a strobing, pulsing, spinning record of massive depth. The first track, Ascension, launches us into a biting synth track with all hell going on around it. Then Phase 2 takes into orbit with a slower paced bubbling track of minimal ambient techno with perfect string orchestration flowing throughout the track. Now that you're in the mood, flip it over and experience The Thirst - more of a raw techno track that gives you a feeling of moving through time. Then it's onto the final track The Day After which returns us from orbit with a mesmeric freaky screech of alien lifeforms as we relax after the long journey. Fabulous! 10 out of 10.
Dimi Angelis & Jeroen Search - A&S007
4 tracks of hypnotic techno on orange vinyl limited to 250 copies, vinyl-only. These guys really know hot to turn a rhythm into something hypnotic, with the start of the bar melding seamlessly with the end of the bar to make a circular rhythm that compels you to move. The first track, Rate Of Moving, does just that. Track 2, Sub Modular, then goes down a darker road, with the pumping 4/4 bass drum and a series of bleeps like the aliens are landing. On the flip, Radiation Belt ticks along like a well oiled engine as a hum of impending doom alerts you to dance floor mayhem. Finally Osirus goes into deep house territory and finishes the EP. Very very good. 9 out of 10.
Untidy - Untidy002
Four tribal hypnotic house tracks on a vinyl-only red vinyl release. This stuff is not something that you're going to reach into your record collection to play regularly - it's the sort of stuff that you will pop on in a mix for a burst before a changeover. The flip side gets even more interesting too, with a little bit of melodic piano added to the jungle beat. This is rather good, and different, which is what I tend to like. I give it 7 out of 10.
Kevin Saunderson - The Sound (Power Mix)
An oldie - but goodie. A rare remix intact of Kevin Saunderson's acid house track from 1988, when everything was so fresh. Oh what joy to relisten to it on vinyl. Thoroughly enjoyable. On the flip is The Groove That Won't Stop, plus a remix of the same track, both good too. So a solid re-release and well worth it. 8 out of 10.
DMX Krew - A New Life
Six track album by DMX Krew, an electro outfit with plenty of flare. The opening track, Space Eyes, is reminiscent of Spirit Dance by ACR. It has a killer bass line amidst simple electronic drums. The second track then takes on the mantle with yet another killer bass line. These guys know how to use bass to really make a song pop. Then strings warp in over the top and you have a great track. And so it continues over six tracks of polished and assured electro. Very nice. 8 out of 10.
Van Bonn - On Land / Wave
Limited edition on white vinyl, two tracks of minimal techno. On Land is a flickering minimal affair, primarily drum programming. Wave on the flip has more nuance and considerably more going on. With a thumping bass beat and a springy hi hat the echo is maximized to creating a romping trip. Wave is definitely the better of the two songs. As a piece of minimal techno it is flawless yet you are somehow left unsatisfied by the lack of energy or creativity in the tracks. In other words, I like the style but it bored me somewhat. 7 out of 10.
The Persuader (Jesper Dahlback) - The Persuader EP1
Four tracks of varying quality, all unnamed. The first track is your classic tech-house jaunt, upgraded somewhat with a bass hook. The second is a waste - it basically sounds like he recorded the subway on his way home from the studio. Track three is a nice piece of techno although it never really achieves its potential - in fact it goes nowhere. Track four is more of a slab of electro - slower paced and more of a drone. I like The Persuader but I think he is trying too hard on this EP, and it doesn't work for me. 5 out of 10.
Westbam - You Need The Drugs (DJ Hell Remix)
Single-sided dub plate release of DJ Hell's remix of You Need The Drugs featuring the singer Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs. It's a rather clean affair with a rocking bass line more reminiscent of Simple Minds, or perhaps even The Psychedelic Furs. The spinning sequencer melody is rather catchy, making it a great electro track. But heck, this could have been released 30 years ago.. it seems just like an early 80s track. But I like it. 8 out of 10.
Various Artists - Nonnative 06
Semantica records compilation of four of their deep dark techno label mates. The action begins with Par Grindvik who turns up the bass and hammers home an absolute kick-ass bomb. Then Adriana Lopez shifts the boat a couple of degrees to the left and hammers home another pumping bass banger. Flip it over and Etapp Kyle gets you drunk on dark techno funk with a more melodic and drum-complex composition. And it ends with Israel Vines lightening the darkness and lowering the depth with track that reminds me somewhat of a fast train journey. Really great, and 9 out of 10.
Alken - Looking Inward
Four tracks of swirling dark techno for those who like it heavy on the bass and fast on the pace. If you're a fan of Coldgeist or Rodhad, then this one is for you. The first track, Dismal, bursts from it's vinyl resting place onto your speakers like Usain Bolt in the 100m final. With plenty of echo and reverb, this record screams to be played loud. The next track, Gathered, ripples with a high sequencer riff while the usual 4/4 bass hammers you into submission. The flip side has the original mix of Restless and a remix by Juho Kusti. The original mix slows the pace a little but builds nicely around more echo. The remix bangs out with a thump while a clattering drum rachets across the speakers. A great release, and a definitive 9 out of 10.
Gesloten Cirkel - Submit X
Double 12" release from a Dutch guy residing in Moscow, apparently. His releases are few and far between, and are all collectors pieces. Gesloten Cirkel's trademark style is heavyweight drums high up in the mix and close to distortion, with a lead acid-style tagline, and a synthesized voice stating various things through an effects processor. He calls it Neo-Techno - in many respects it is like a dirty stripped-down techno version of Front 242. I like it, but it will not be to everyone's tastes. But it is clever stuff. The first track, Zombiemachine Acid is a tasty rough and ready raw acid track with those drums close to distortion. Then we get a variation of the same in the following track, Zombiemachine - same drums but less acid I guess. And so it continues, over four sides of wax. Some of it is utterly brilliant whereas there are a couple of tracks that sound like my youngest daughter playing with a synthesizer. Overall though, a great debut album. 8 out of 10.
Sade / Vin Sol & Matrixxman - Couldn't Love You More / Give It Up
Two classy Sade tracks remixed for the modern dance floor by Vin Sol and Matrixxman. This is actually their second 12" of Sade remixes, and the first one is just as good. On this one, both tracks have been extended to nearly 10 minutes and given a house pace, with the bass, remixed drums and piano being brought up in the mix. They are truly cool versions of what are two cool songs. Get em now! They are in limited supply, hand-stamped vinyl. 9 out of 10.
Phase - Emergence EP
Seven track EP although four of the tracks are really pre- and post-cursors to the main tracks on the EP. Burden of Proof is a thrilling hypnotic techno trip which beckons to be played loud. It reminded me a little of The KLF. On the flip-side you get another intro track and then Emergence takes you into dark techno territory, again a hypnotic boozy trip with the occasional ambient feel - I guess it depends how loud you play it. Systems Theory, the other main track then pops from your speakers following the same format - trance-like and hypnotic. Great release - 9 out of 10.
Percussions - Ascii Bot / Blatant Water Cannon
This is actually Four Tet in experimental mode. I can imagine the lead track, Ascii Bot, will prove very popular in mixes as it is the perfect track to insert in order to signal a mood shift. The track has a 4/4 beat and a violin strings pattern and then a synthesized bass to pop it along. Meanwhile Blatant Water Cannon is a bit of a stop-go affair and after a few listens I was rather bored with it. 6 out of 10.
Trackheadz / Microphunk & Houseriders - Our Music / Edge Of Infinity
Two track double bill on marbled vinyl of a couple of old deep house tracks from the 90s. The Trackheadz track has such a classic bass line that I find myself mesmerized. Then Microphunk and the Houseriders serve up Edge Of Infinity, and what a title huh! The track is more techno-like with plenty of atmosphere - this is the track I bought this EP for. 7 out of 10.
Mr. G - Long Time Coming EP
Four tracks of NY house on marbled orange vinyl. Mandiba features a soppy acid 303 bass line and a sampled voice. It has catchiness but not enough variation. Then we get Distortion (Rita's Soul) which is more of a laid-back techno affair. Drum programming could have been better on this, but otherwise it is pretty listenable. Flip it and Zam Zam leads us off with a stripped down techno affair with a reverberating frequency hum. This is by far the best track so far. Then we get Where I Feel It Most, a standard house track. Overall, all these tracks have a lot of merit and some catchy riffs, but they suffer from lack of variation. 6 out of 10.