Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: London-based retroverts Art Of Dark return with a wicked double header here for their third vinyl release. Antonin Hifda aka Daif takes up the A side, offering up the hardcore rave reductions of "Another Version Of The Truth" followed by the deep down Detroit styled electro beats of "Devil". On the flip, it's all about newcomers DC EFX who follow through with the electro bass vibe on the absolutely booming "Expansionz", before closing with the bass-driven acid techno "The Roller Express".
Review: It's now been two decades since Gallic producer Joan-Mael Peneau first donned the Maelstrom alias for the very first time. He's been in particularly fine form of late, offering up essential EPs on Cultivated Electronics, Central Processing Unit and Private Persons. Here he makes his debut on Craigie Knowes' hard-wired techno and electro offshoot C-Know-Evil with a formidably tough two-track offering. A-side "Spasm" is a riotous fusion of metallic percussion hits, high-octane electro drums, doom-laden acid lines and bass so raw and intense it was probably made in Scotland from girders. He opts for an even more doom-laden techno sound on fizzing flipside "Turbulence", wrapping increasingly intense electronic motifs around a surging rhythm track.
Review: Casa Voyager's second release comes courtesy of Kosh, a producer who debuted on the label's previous, compilation style 12". The '80s electro revivalist kicks things off with "Catch the Train", where ghostly, Kraftwerk style synth melodies and punchy vocal samples cluster around a Drexciya style rhythm track, before wrapping spacey, Motor City style electronics in crunchy breakbeats on "Null 212". B-side opener "Electronic Setups" is a drifting, intergalactic and evocative shuffle through deep electro pastures, while "Bug in the System" combines snappy electro beats and squeezable acid bass with the kind of beguiling, almost melancholic chords more often found in early '90s ambient records.
Review: LKR hits release number 007 with a suitably smooth and stealthy electro offering from Ouxh. This is a new, mysterious artist making their debut, and an impressive one at that: the title track is a thoughtful number thanks to the lingering chords which hang behind muted drums and perc, while "Birdman" has a chirping bird lost in a rather eerie landscape populated by a corrugated bassline and unsettling chords. Last of all is the excellent "Coma Void", with stepping, jungle influenced rhythms and a tense vocal loop that pans about the mix to make for something brilliantly dynamic. On this evidence, Ouxh is one to watch.
Review: The electro revival shows no signs of going away any time soon, and with tackle as good as this coming out on a regular basis, why should it? Spin Fidelity's sound inhabits a retro futuristic world, with aqueous synth lines that exude warmth and soul. A deft acid line plays off a downbeat bassline in "Untitled 3" to brilliant effect, while the synth stabs and chords in "Hazed & Confused" really tug at your heartstrings. Add in the lithe drum programming and soft acid undulations of "Out With The New" and "Advanced Centrifuge", which is like a distant view of a glowing metropolis, and you have a winning EP.
Review: Despite being active for just seven years during the 1980s, Dutch new wave band Mekanik Kommando released a wealth of raw, off-kilter and intergalactic material. 1982's "Dancing Elephants" EP, which here gets the reissue treatment from Dark Entries, remains one of their finest moments, largely because it fuses crunchy, electro-influenced beats and Kraftwerk style computer bleeps with sassy new wave vocals, nods to synth-pop and the low-slung basslines and fuzzy guitars of post-punk rock. Our picks include the alien post-punk pop of "Beauty Of Language", the out-there, delay-laden, extra-terrestrial weirdness of "Miss B" and the new wave electro-pop perfection of "Stop & Play".
Review: Five years on from the release of his brilliant debut 'Watched By The Experts" album on Apartment Records, VernoN finally returns to action. While that acclaimed set explored a sleazy mix of techno, EBM and new beat, this belated follow-up features a quartet of tracks wrapped in the distinctively wild and undulating sounds of Roland's legendary TB-303 bass synthesizer. There are a couple of suitably forthright, acid house style "jack tracks" - see the superb "Assault" and the snappy alien funk of "Riot" - alongside a bustling, breakbeat-driven acid shuffler ["Don't Be a Slave (Consumerism Mix)]", with its bounding waves of wild electronics and whispered vocal samples) and a surging acid-electro workout that's so psychedelic it could probably induce hallucinations in even the most sober of listeners (standout "Scuffle").
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.
Review: La dame Noir is a Marseille-based label who first crept onto vinyl with a crucial various artists release back in 2016. Now they're back with more of that noirish modern disco deviance that made them an exciting proposition first time around. "Take The Shock Away" is a bittersweet groover by Dawad and label co-founder Relatif Yann, with pitch-perfect vocals by Mounissa which sounds strong on its own. The label however has drafted in a list of big hitters to deliver remixes, from Vox Low's synthwave laced trip to Pete Herbert's punchy electro-disco burner. Whichever version you plump for, the quality is undeniable on this surefooted 12".
Review: Jack Pattern collective member Neu Verboten is transmitting sonic metadata from the interzone, between the secret Lustpoderosa headquarters (in Zurich) and the decentralised battlefields of today's resistance. Combine old synth machines with rusty surveillance tools and you get a quartet of rough and sludgy electroid mutations. From the slow burning retro boogie of opener "Arsenic Wish", to the dystopian future bass of "CET + 666" to the euphoric acid express of "Early Bab" and the oddball exotics of "We Trance Fair" - this is Certified Euro Terror.
Review: Domenico Torti is best known for his high profile remixes of Daft Punk, but this outing on Ed Banger finds him indulge in his first love: the sounds, colours and scenes of New York City in the 1980s. To help authenticate his quest, he enlists expert beat maker Afrika Bambaataa. Their single "Radar" is a wild disco ride with electro synth work and plenty of future retro motifs, from the vocoder vocals to the sounds of spacecrafts taking off. Deena Abdelwahed flips it into a heavy drum work out with rising chords, Dimitri From Paris layers in brilliantly funky bass and Adesse Versions and Borussia go for jacking club workouts.
Review: Electro is very much back in vogue, but for Steffi's vital Klakson label it's a sound that never went away. This EP is a particularly special one that welcomes Fastgraph, aka Dutchman Frank de Groodt, back into the fold more than a decade since his last official release (which also came on this label). These tracks are fast, funky machine music with crispy, crashing metal hits and warped synths that are made to devastate the dance floor. The frazzled bass of "Number 8" sure is pleasing, but to really make a mark, drop the manic lines and overdriven drums of "Interface" and see people really lose their minds.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: We're always keen to hear from Berlin label Vortex Traks. This 11th offering sees them eschew their recent run of Various Artists EPs to instead focus on five cuts from Datawave. The Belgian artist's sound operates in some distant galaxy, watched over by his forebearers such as Dopplereffekt and Drexciya. Crashing hits open "Implant" before a serrated lead signals ready for takeoff. The intensity only ramps up through the warp speed synths of "Immune Compound" and corrugated bass rumbles of "Hybrid Structure". "Proceed" is the most alien of the lot, and "Thin Line" closes out on a mysterious vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Review: Rather unhelpfully, there's little info about the Superlux label available, other than the fact that it's run by the shadowy artists of the same name. They handle side A of this split EP, with Mike Gill's "Noisey Rework" of "White Noise" - a pulsating, otherworldly chunk of electro rich in trippy noises and elastic synth-bass - followed by the raw, foreboding, mid-tempo electro throb of "Chupa Track". Sometime Pleasure Club man Nick Glynn takes over on side two, first delivering the deep space club electro of EP standout "Take One", before inviting Dawl to re-invent it as a mind-mangling slab of electro/Yorkshire bleep fusion (minus the colossal sub-bass associated with that particular vintage style).
Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
Review: Prolific but underrated Motor City producer Detroit's Filthiest makes a comment on the falsehoods of society with his latest EP. But there is nothing fake about his talent: he manipulates his machines in compelling fashion here, pairing perfectly squelchy bass and synthetic synth textures with the most gorgeous and organic piano keys imaginable. "Baby Makin Music" is laden with romantic chords, while "Mothership Has Landed" is more edgy and unsettled. On the flip, "No Strings Attached" is a playful and jazzy electro cut that makes way for the equally excellent "Social Engineering". In these times of electro trendiness, this EP still manages to stand out.
Review: More majestic electro workouts from Chris "214" Roman, a producer who has been serving up slabs of tightly wound machine funk since the dawn of the decade. He opens his first Frustrated Funk outing for three years with the bittersweet deep electro shuffle of "Growing Old Together" before breaking up the beats, ratcheting up the bleeps and cranking out the crackles on alien funk throb-job "Last Dance". Over on the flip, "Dislocated" is a high-tempo slab of end of days electro full of growling noises and creepy chords, while "Voice Check" is picturesque, dreamy and life affirming: a triumphantly positive and melodious conclusion to another stunning collection of cuts.
Review: Spain's Fanzine hits double figures by welcoming Nullptr (the alter ego of British artist Eddie Symons) for some heat that has made him a cult favourite over the last decade. The man behind Cambridge electro night Motherchip Connexion and his own [d]-tached label invites you to strap in and surge through the skies with him on a pulsating journey that finds him tease real funk out of his machines. From sombre and stripped back cuts of lonely electro to masterfully melodic affairs via devastatingly emotional groovers, this EP does it all in fantastic fashion.
Review: Aphelion is a Greek producer who is part of the Equations Collective, and here he offers up his first ever release. Clearly well schooled in production, the atmospheres of his tracks belie his debutant status as he kicks off with the mutant bass and pounding kicks of "Volatile Radiance". More warped bass characterises the sparse and eerie "Cosmic Vibrations" before Silicon Scally aka Carl Finlow heads off in a more menacing direction on his remix of "What You Want". The original is a more haunting and paranoid affair that has you looking over your shoulder.
Review: The force is strong in this electrifying new EP from DAED, who last appeared on this label in 2017 on a VA release. There are shades of IDM to his complex synths and melodies, while kinetic broken beat drum programming powers the tracks along. The mood is melancholic on "Aria" which is so frantic it feels like it might eat itself, "Voidal" has fizzing, icy textures that will tie you in knots before "H2FSBF6" really pulls of some impressive synth acrobatics. "Ephemeris" is the warp speed closer that tarps you in a gorgeous digital world.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the influences of this hand-stamped, screen printed 12" from illusive Dutch artist Proxyan given that its title, 313, is also the area code for Detroit. The mystery man channels those Motor Funk vibes through his own crystalline melodic filter and out the other side come three superbly evocative electro tunes. "Network 313" has a curious, inquisitive lead synth over slippery drums, while "Artificial Superstition" has a more doleful mood. "Human-Error Processor" is the crunchiest and most visceral of the lot, but the EP ends on the brain cleansing alien frequencies of Tracey's deft remix.
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Review: Transhumanism is a collective of Dutch producers who first met on the dance-floor at Dave Clarke's Whip It party at Melkweg in Amsterdam, so that will give you a reliable indicator of their sound: it's brash, serrated electro that fires your synapses and awakens your every sense. Juan Atkins and Helena Hauff have been dropping it all summer and it's easy to see why. There is strobe lit action from Slaves Of Sinus, walls of high intensity sound from RXmode, rave tinged stuff from W1b0 and a more throwback jam from TFHats to round out a high impact EP.