Review: Earlier in the year, Lobster Theremin and Bokhari regular Sweely made his Concrete Music debut via the first part of a series of 12" singles titled Les Chroniques De Monsieur Montana. Barely six weeks on, he returns to the imprint with volume two. It's a pleasingly varied affair, too, with Sweely flitting between luscious electro/deep house fusion (the tactile and far-sighted futurism of "A Bit Too Much"), rolling early morning tech-house (bass-heavy workout "More Love"), rubbery noughties electrofunk ("No More Salad") and ultra deep, jazz-flecked dub house dreaminess ("Ambassadors of the Jungle"). Solid stuff, all told.
Review: After kicking off with a selection of artists pushing hard on the serious electro tip, Latvian label Electronic Leatherette is back once again with another round of smartly chosen protagonists plying their machine funk wares. Plant43 are the most established here, dealing in immaculate Drexciyan funk of the most aqueous kind. Gestalt is equally on killer form with "Ecosystem" while Maroje T taps up the noir mood to perfection on "LA Confidential." Jack Roland's crafty "Osmotic Potential" is a smart B2 reach - loaded with detail and production chops while exploring a more mysterious atmosphere in the process.
Review: Crimes Of The Future continues to demonstrate its expertise in the field of modern day electro and wave based music with this incredible one off missive from an unlikely super group. N.O.I.A, Rubicon and Rude 66 join forces for the bright and bold "Morning Bells," which stirs up a generous dose of Italo, techno and electro in a cauldron and serves it through a massive wall of synth-powered sound. Who else to remix such a concoction but Timothy J. Fairplay then? The multi-faceted London producer stays true to the original's dazzling colour and simply beefs up the beats for a cracking alternative mix to the original.
Review: Despite boasting a DJ career that stretches back to the San Francisco rave moment of the early '90s, Solar Langevin has very little previous production pedigree. In fact, this 12" marks his debut single with the mysterious Brother Nebula, following occasional contributions to multi-artist EPs. "S.I.S" is the kind of pulsating, strobe-friendly cut that we can imagine goes down a storm in San Francisco's more muscular clubs. While its chords and occasional melodies tend towards the dreamy, it's the bubbling, mind-altering acid lines and bustling electro-techno groove that catch the ear. Brother Nebula takes a different approach on his looser and mellower, breakbeat-driven remix, while Saville Jetset re-imagines "S.I.S" as a deep electro shuffler lazily drifting through deep space.
Review: Matt Cheon & Co. unearth yet more rare gems from old school electro fiends Caroline Herve & Michael Amato here, on the second volume of Lost Trax. As story has it, after the French duo met at a rave in their native Grenoble in the early '90s, they made music heavily influenced by 80s synth, post-punk and Italo disco. Bored by the techno scene at the time, they set out out to lighten the serious tone and bring a campy sexiness to the dour musical landscape. From the sexy, four-to-the-floor EBM of "Upstart", the Drexciyan style "Love On" with its aquatic bass assault, or the classic Miss Kittin & The Hacker sound of old on the monochromatic" The Building" featuring the former's trademark deadpan vocal delivery.
Review: Frustratingly, I-F's Viewlexx label is keeping tight-lipped about this rather fine EP. They've offered no details of the artist behind the project - or anything else for that matter - and their promotional spiel consists of one line in Latin. What we can tell you is that it's a suitably dystopian affair, with the mystery producer launching with a chunk of industrial-tinged experimental electronica (the decidedly fuzzy "Initiation"), before joining the dots between Cabaret Voltaire and Drexciya on the decaying dancefloor electro pomp of "Flight From Reason". Some will detect a nod towards Test Department on "Refuse Resist" and "Instrument of Power". Elsewhere, there's a looser and more alien feel to "Circle of Trust", while closer "The Wheel of Rituals" is deliciously dark and hypnotic.
Review: Following a fine year in 2017, in which he showcased his particular brand of far-sighted electro/techno fusion on Mosaique and 030303, Michael Caron pitches up on the admirable Brokntoys label. Predictably, he's on form, too, conjuring up a near faultless chunk of spacey electro/acid fusion (brilliant opener "Reflection"), before diving deeper into TB-303-fired waters on the haunting and off-kilter "Terra". Over on side B, Caron layers up the fuzz on the punchier and funkier electro cut "Ghost", whilst reaching for kick-drum dominated 4/4 techno rhythms on ghostly closer "Caverns". Naturally, this also includes some terrifically tasty acid lines.
Review: You can always count on Brokntoys for surefire modern electro perspectives. Their latest weapon comes courtesy of French analogue freak Raphael Vendramini aka Automat, who gets properly brooding on The Invisible EP. This underrated hero of the underground has been around for some time, releasing everywhere from French labels like Karat and Leitmotiv, to Daz Quayle's SCSI-AV and even Full Panda on some of their earlier releases. From the nefarious smack-electro of "Corde" to the modern coldwave antics "Last Night" or the experimental beats of "Purification" which call to mind the seminal early '80s sounds of Front 242 or Severed Heads.
Review: Following up a couple of great EPs on Lunar Orbiter Program back in 2017, the mysterious and shadowy CEM3340 is back with his debut LP for the London based imprint. Expect yet more of their proper underground electro from a Drexciyan point of view, on the Perfect Stranger LP: from the dirty future funk of "Story Of An Egyptian Man", the steely EBM/industrial influence on "Tormented Man" or "Jammin' in the Dark" or just straight up-in-your face electro breaks like on the killer "I Can't Get Wrong".
Review: A newfound interest around Italian duo Fabrizio and Marco D'Arcangelo has resulted in releases on Spain's Analogical Force, The Kelly Twins' Happy Skull and a new one for Solvent and Lowfish's Suction based out of Toronto - who consider II as 'an imaginary sequel to the duo's classic 1996 debut EP on Aphex Twin's legendary, now-defunct Rephlex Records. That release was also reissued on the label last year. From the industrial edged electronica of "Callying Sybil" which calls to mind early Autechre, the jagged and angular "Qabbalahwhich" honed in on the emerging sounds of drum 'n' bass at the time, to the three installments of "Diagram" that hone into aesthetics of an even earlier period, namely the '80s.
Review: It would be fair to say that White Material co-founder DJ Richard's latest full-length excursion is an album of two halves (to mangle a football cliche). Stick on the first slab of wax, and you'll be confronted with a string of dark and moody treats, from creepy ambient interludes to grumpy electro, to mind-altering dark-Italo (see standout "Vanguard") and pulsating, off-kilter electronica (the restless acid pulse, off-kilter drums and paranoid chords of "Tunnel Stalker"). Whack on the second disc, though, and you'll be comforted and calmed by a series of intensely blissful, occasional melancholic compositions that are much lighter and dreamier in tone. Of these, it's the sublime "Final Mercy" and "Ex Aere" that stand out.