Review: Not On Earth's first release sold out in quick time - unsurprising given the reputation of Frankfurt based founders Bodin & Jacob. Their second is a various artists affair that shows off some of the talents they have unearthed, while Bodin also reappears with "A Walk In The Park." It's a brilliantly militant cut with clipped, marching beats and rasping bass squelches, and elsewhere Philipp Boss opens the EP with the slippery electro rhythms of "Lava". Griezman's "Decheterie" is an uptempo bit of proper first wave tech house a la Terry Francis. Closing out this more than handy EP is the hard edged electro-tech of "Zoober" from Martyne.
Heidi Sabertoorh - "So You Want To Take Back Your Will" (6:37)
Synapse - "Shiny" (locked groove) (0:30)
Somatic Responses - "Strategy Of Desire" (5:22)
John Selway - "Brainchild" (5:29)
Pointsman - "Dirty Shirt" (locked groove) (0:30)
Review: Seminal New York City imprint Serotonin lives on. John Selway and Jason Szostek present It's What We Live For: Volume 2 - the second in a series of compilations sharing their vision of sounds of tomorrow. Szostek himself dons the well known BPMF alias again for some fierce breakbeat techno action on "Zu Heib Fur Uns", the equally legendary Healy brothers aka Somatic Response still going strong - as heard on the slo-mo acid trance journey "Strategy Of Desire" and relative newcomer Heidi Sabertooth of Opal Onyx delivers some sludgy electro-punk antics on "So You Want To Take Back Your Will". There's some handy locked grooves on the electro-bass tip featured too by Synapse and Pointsman, which were pretty wicked too.
Review: This remix package by the mysterious Brainwaltzera (Furthur Electronix/Analogical Force) features cuts from his enviable discography, including reinterpretations of recordings featured on the recently released Poly-Ana LP on Berlin based Film - which received plaudits from underground dance music heavyweights. From the the candy inflected electro of "Muddy Puddle Trot" remixed by legend Luke Vibert, Berlin based synthesist Eva Geist (AKA Andrea Noce) and her brooding, slow-burning gothic noir on the "Kurzweil Dame" remix or Philipp Otterbach's evocative ambient rendition of "Triangulate Dither" awash in reverb drenched textures and metallic FM synthesis.
Review: Orson Bramley has a long-standing legacy in UK electro history as part of the Transparent Sound production crew, and he's been recently aligned with Robin Ball's Memory Box parties in London where he's been able to display his years of experience whipping machines into funky configurations in a live environment. This release speaks to that experience, with the various versions of "Then Again" punching out an irresistible sermon of crafty synth lines, swooping strings and crisp beats. Ball steps up for two remixes on the flip that equally reside in the electro realm, but come at the component parts from a different rhythmic angle. One refined idea done five ways - what more do you need to know?
Review: Ben Westbeech continues to impress under the Breach alias, a pseudonym used for the Bristol producer's most dancefloor-focused material. In the past, much of this has been weighty and dancefloor focused, but in recent times Westbeech has served up far more melodious fare. "SOST", the track that opens the latest Breach 12", takes this approach, peppering a relaxed, funk-fuelled electro rhythm with cascading synthesizer melodies and attractively spacey electronics. The skewed deep electro vibe can also be heard on similarly attractive flipside "Turtle Dance", which fixes the far-sighted sounds of IDM/electro sort B12 to a rubbery synth bassline and punchy machine beats.
Review: Emergent duo Broken Arrows were previously spotted lurking around Giallo Disco back in 2015, so you should have some idea of the kind of lurid late night machine sleaze they like to get their hands dirty with. They've now slid over to the sympathetic but marginally more techno-minded Vivod imprint with a new clutch of deviant heaters for those adventurous dancefloor spaces where B-movie sounds reign supreme. "Female Predator" is a tough EBM-tinted workout with plenty of jack in its stack, while "Fear Eats The Soul" takes a more synth-wave approach with some speech samples thrown in for good measure. "Edge Of Darkness" is a more tense affair that pings arpeggios around a minor key refrain, and then "Basic Structure" whips out the hardest track on the record, a lithe industrial stomper laden with rhythmic noise and a mean synth bassline that will hit your solar plexus like a battering ram.
Industrialism (Koehler's Six Sided Storm mix) (7:50)
Review: Having previously appeared on Transcendent back in 2014, Caron returns on Russian label Mosaique with a fearsome slice of distorted techno futurism for the darkest of dances. "Liquid" is a lithe and limber workout full of grubby percussion and gutter-dwelling synth lines that makes for the perfect lead track on the record, while "Industrialism" sits in stark contrast with its airy, metallic electro machinations hitting a strangely breezy note. Kind Human Being takes "Liquid" to task with an atmospheric remix that plays on Kraftwerkian themes to create a robotic but funky slice of electronic unease, and then Koehler whips "Industrialism" up into a rowdy frenzy of mean-tempered leads and broken rhythms.
Review: Subconscious Algorithms kicked off with the dulcet tones of Norken, and now turns its attention to another champion of the UK underground in the form of Derek Carr. There's much to draw parallels on between the artists, as they both explore the outer realms of expressive, delicate and most importantly melodic electro, with Carr sounding especially harmonious on the intricate programming of "Osc 1". "Trust In You" is a more angular, acidic affair still steeped in Motor City soul, while "Beneath The Ice" takes a lighter, almost synth-pop indebted approach. "Blood Moon" rounds the record off in a swirl of twitchy drums and lingering strings.
Review: Florin Buechel aka Contra Communem Opinionem first appeared on our radar a few years back with some killer EPs on Swiss electro imprint Lux Rec - in particular the collaboration with label boss Daniele Cosmo as Savage Grounds in 2016. Here he presents new Berlin label Omega Men's third installment, serving up yet more gritty analogue machine exploits on "The Transformation Problem". Hear that legendary Roland silver box hard at work throughout the four-tracker: we're loving the soaring resonance and glide of frantic opener "Dead Labor", the dystopian noir vibe of electro jam "Necessary Labor" and our pick of the bunch that is neon-lit exhilarator "Living Labor". Tip!
Review: Curtis Electronix is a brand new electro label out of Holland (where else?) run by CEM3340. The label is said to be is inspired by Doug Curtis, the father of the "CEM" chip as well as being a synthesizer pioneer and innovator, and the boss himself is behind this notable first EP. His brand of electro is a crunchy one, with distorted drums frying brains and computerised synth arps jagging their way about the mix. Next to three busy, textured originals is a remix from The Exaltics that is as raw as they come.
Review: Ali Renault's Cestrian alias is responsible for some proper gutter-dwelling electro business that has come to light on Bunker Records, MNX Recordings and more besides. There's no let up with this new slab, presented to the underworld by Vivod and Unknown To The Unknown as a joint release. "Napoli" keeps the pressure wound up to a breakneck pace while "Secret Language" places the emphasis on devilish synth tones. "Purge" attempts something akin to a more melodic, mellow mood splattered with acidic bleeps, and then "Krapton Fictor" whips out some truly crafty android boogie loaded with short circuits aplenty. Umberto swoops in at the last minute to remix "Napoli" into a relentless, storming techno brute with brains to match the brawn.
Review: Earlier in the year, Ali Renault rebooted his Cestrian alias after a five-year hiatus via a suitably throbbing EP on E-Beamz. Here he goes one step further, pitching up on Mechatronica with a six-track mini-album of atmospheric, otherworldly treats. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the sludgy, hypnotic electro drums, foreboding chords and glacial electronic melodies of opener "Gradients", to the Drexciya style peak-time punch of "The Weir", via the wild acid bass, distorted beat-box drums and mind-altering computer electronics of "Cat Strain". Also worth checking is the druggy, industrial-tinged, pitched-down weirdness of "Everything" and the cheeky, Kraftwerk-sampling bustle of "Speak and Spell".
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
David Last - "All That's Left" (feat Lavender - dance mix) (5:51)
Review: Besides its inimitable name, Hobo Camp has had a pretty unbeatable first few years in the game, switching up the electro sound with shades of loopy house and techno. These guys have released over two dozen EPs since 2016, and are showing no signs of stopping if this new collaborative release is anything to by! Pumping the vibes through with utter ease, Run The Length Of Your Wilderness is a daring, rip-roaring amalgamation of tech-driven sounds that span just about every quality corner of the game. "The Industrial City", from Cherushii, moans and weeps with a fragile acid bassline over broken percussion beats, while Nackt's "Next" floats at a house tempo, driven forwards by a winding bass from the darkest corners of the 4/4 game. On the flip, Roche's "One For Cherushii" bigs up his counterpart with a deep, aqueous house chugger, and David Last's "All That's Left" drops a clean, sparkly prog house groover for the lovers.
Review: Frankfurt's Stefan Haag aka Chinaski first made a splash on the scene a couple of years ago, with his new wave Italo-noir heard on labels such as MMODEMM, Common Thread and Uncanny Valley. It is local institution Live At Robert Johnson that has released most of his output in recent times though, and he's fast become a stalwart of the label. His new Bodies & Places EP features more of the neon-lit aesthetics you've come to know and love from the man. From the electric boogaloo of the strong opener "Erscheinung" and the dystopian electro-bass bounce of "Paura" making for a riveting listen on the A side. On the flip, we have a couple of nice slow burners to take the pressure down, with the gloomy and cinematic ambience of "Face 2 Face" closing this EP out on a John Carpenter-esque kind of vibe.
Review: Having built its name on various artist releases featuring old and new artists, Contort Yourself is branching out with a new series that focuses on one contemporary act per release. In this instance it's Coletivo Vandalismo getting some much-deserved attention. The Portuguese industrial punk outfit have a visceral sound that favours noise and distortion, but most importantly they know how to wield these sonic tools for maximum impact. The snarl of the synths and the crunch of the drums on "Hostages Of Society" could easily be too much in the wrong hands, but here the errant tones find their own space in the mix, making the impact of the track all the more on-point.
Review: Jorge Caiado certainly keeps busy. When not running the Carpet & Snares (and its affiliated shop), the Groovement label or doing A&R for Chez Damier's long running Inner Balance Music imprint, he's releasing some brilliant music - as heard on this year's Choice EP - one of our favourite records of this year. He now presents some new deep space transmissions via his Lisbon HQ, under new alias Conversion here and inaugurating the eponymous imprint. Reflective electro, Motor City techno and beatless trips are explored, dedicated to sonic excursions away from his housier roots.
Review: Uruguay isn't the first place you'd think of when hearing a new deep house EP, but that is exactly where this release by debutant Marcos Coya emanates from. However, although the label itself might originate from South America, the music itself is very much rooted in European dance hedonism, and the opener "Walter Gas" is a subtle yet delightful little banger with a deep groove and masterful percussion work. "Viaje Al Cabo", on the flipside, is equally mesmeric and ethereal thanks to glitchy beats and the odd burst of lo-fi acid; Psynote remixes "Walter Gas" into a tidy head-banger with a fine 303 edge for the heads. Little tip for ya!
Review: After a fairly overwhelming 2013 of archival releases that was topped off with that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation, Dark Entries seemingly are maintaining that momentum this year with a clutch of new projects. The first is this reissue of the classic Signals From Pier Thirteen EP by Crash Course In Science, which is a name that should be instantly recognisable to fans of minimal wave thanks to "Flying Turns". The track featured on the Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 compilation curated by Peanut Butter Wolf and Veronica Vasicka and has been reworked by Jamal Moss, J Rocc and Ricky Villalobos in recent years. "Flying Turns" of course features on this EP, and this Dark Entries issue is the first time Signals From Pier Thirteen has been reissued on vinyl since the early '80s and is a must for anyone who likes crude electronics and synthesised beats.