Review: For its seventh release, southern Italians Obscura Music return to welcome exciting new talents and core label acts. Head honchos Agents Of Time venture down an electro route with "East Coast", as do the ever impressive London Modular Alliance on the hypnotic "Buck One". Man of the moment Aussie Jensen Interceptor channels classic Drexciyan aesthetics on "Manix" before homeboys and label staples Hiver come through with the slinky and hypnotic tech house of "Stasys" and Detroit veteran Kris Wadsworth makes a surprising appearance with some slow burning minimalism displayed on closer "Abroad".
Roger Van Lunteren - "On And Dna No (The Sun Riser)" (5:06)
Phil Gerus - "Prelude To Love" (4:37)
Review: The XXX crew are on a mission to celebrate the adventurous and utterly well-informed dance music scene of Amsterdam, and they move to the fourth release on their label with a strong cast of characters that all have something different to say. Alterleo opens up the 12" with the low-throbbing psyche out of "Train To..." before Al Gobi takes over with the aqueous hardware house bubbles of "Rule Of Three". On the B side, Jack Pattern & John Parsley work together to lay down a fierce blend of industrial and disco that will send shivers down your spine. Roger Van Lunteren meanwhile revels in the squelchiest kind of esoteric acid with a new age mystique thrown in for good measure, and then Phil Gerus provides a soothing soliloquy to finish this distinctive record off.
Review: Electro from down under proudly represents here, courtesy of current scene favourites Jensen Interceptor and Assembler Code. The Sydneysiders deliver yet more of their distinct style of darkly dystopian bass on Melbourne's LKR Records. Proudly wearing their Drexciyan influence on their sleeve for "Geralds Aqua Lessons", more sci-fi futurism is catered for on "DIY Action Cinema" and the electro-funk of "Upper Function" which receives a brilliant rework by another ascendant Aussie: Perth's Roza Terenzi.
Review: More from regular studio partners Assembler Code and Jenson Interceptor, whose previous joint EPs for Boyznoize, Private Persons and Cultivated Electronics were little less than essential. First, turn your attention to superb opener "Random Pain", a melodious and evocative deep electro cut that morphs into something dirtier, darker and far more hard-hitting midway through. "HRL6" is altogether moodier and more Drexciyan in tone, while flipside opener "Drive Shift" fixes elastic electronics and gently pulsing motifs to an altogether more relaxed and rolling 4/4 electro groove. It comes accompanied by an altogether darker and moodier remix by The Hacker that boasts raw electronics, spacey bleeps and a slightly paranoid vibe.
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: While the title evokes images of the Uncanny Valley crew getting up to sitcom-style scrapes while bumbling around Germany in a rickety old bus, there's an altogether simpler explanation for the Uncanny Vacation tag. Basically, it's a hook-up between the Dresden label and their pals from Munich's Permanent Vacation imprint, featuring tracks from both camps. Musically, there are plenty of thrills on offer, from the looped deep house-disco of Jacob Korn's "Eieiei" and bodypoppin' electro-meets-classic Italo of DMX Krew's "Astro Logical", to the woozy, almost Balearic analogue deep house of Drvg Culture's winding "See You Again Someday". It's as off-kilter but on-point as you'd expect. We'd still think the bus trip idea is a goer, mind.
Review: With this sequel to December's brilliant, compilation style "The Orbitant" EP, FU ME boss George K is spoiling us. With a high quality threshold and five varied cuts to enjoy, it offers excellent value for money for clued-up electro DJs. Heinrich Dressel sets the scene via some wonderfully spacey, widescreen ambient electronica ("Sem Intro"), before Galaxian wraps 1990 style Yorkshire bleeps and fizzing, minor key electronics around a booming bassline and ghetto-tech style drums on "Source Reality". Foreign Sequence's throbbing, acid-laden "Negative Vibe" sits somewhere between surging Italo-disco and pulsating electro, while Lake Haze's "System Glitch" combines creepy, deep space electronics and ragged acid lines with a rolling electro groove. Arguably best of all though is the mutant funk overload that is Jenson Interceptor's techno/electro fusion workout "Faceless".
Edi Jpg - "Software Mirrors" (Reflection mix) (5:15)
Jorge Gamarra - "Path5" (6:23)
Fdez - "Titotra" (7:33)
Rough Thought - "Fr4n (In Memoriam)" (7:06)
Review: Berlin's Spaecial Records return with the fourth edition of their new series, following up some great ones by Reedale Rise, Matthias Wagner and Dakpa recently. "Looping Forwardeo" is a wicked various artists EP which features the soulful broken beat of Edi Jpg's "Software Mirrors (Reflection Mix)" that's reminiscent of Slow Life man S. Moreira's work and Jorge Gamarra's (one third of Sur Records) fluttering "Path5". On the flip, Alvaro Fernandez aka FDEZ from Spain gets us all aboard the acid express on the mental "Titotra" and on the flip before Rough Thought delivers some deep and tripped-out electro bass on "Fr4n (In Memoriam)".
Review: Vox Populi's Field Works Vol.II sees the Berlin based label travelling to different parts of the world in order to collect sounds and archive some of the finest musical traditions. This record is the result of a trip to Japan led by Swiss anthropologist and label founder Fred Scharf. It was inspired by academic methods: particularly ethnomusicology and incorporates everything from field recordings, studio recordings, religious rituals, fighting championships and even wedding ceremonies. From the slo-mo acid of Japan Blues (Berceuse Heroique) seductive "Chapter V" to Frenchman Tim Karbon's exotic polythyrhms that hypnotise you on "Chapter VI" and Shizka (aka Inoue Shirabe) getting into some abstract groove theory on his splendid offering "Chapter VIII".
Review: Sydney's Jensen Interceptor comes through after a productive and successful 2017, that saw him follow up his material for Boysnoize Records with a killer 12" on the infamous Central Processing Unit. The electro newbie lands with yet more previous industrialism on the E-Beamz imprint, a truly hyping label that is on a non-stop roll at the moment. "Hydro Systems" is a gnarly, headstrong bombshell that's all hands on decks thanks to its wild and fiery percussion, and "Automate" follows up on that with a dark, bleeping wormhole of sonics. The B-side kicks off with "Bubble Boy", a bubbling whirlpool of FX-heavy bass tones, and "Horner Acid" breaks out the techno guns with its twisted, interlinked layers of low frequencies.
Review: Canada's Junior Boys have been running the synth-pop game since the late 90s and, in our eyes, they're as fundamental to the scene as other outfits like Hot Chip or Simian Mobile Disco. They are now made up of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, and this time they return with a follow-up EP to their recent album for Christof Ellinghaus' City Slang. "Yes" is a delightful pseudo-house number with the boys' vocals riding the crest of the wave, and "Baby Fat" feels like a natural progression thanks to its soft house beats and watery lyrics. The B-side features "Some People Are Crazy", a sublime electronica piece with a sunken, moody tone that encapsulates them perfectly as a group, while "Kiss Me All Night" flaps its stuttering beats and sonic waves to a rigged husk of vocals. Bang.
Junior Fairplay - "End Of Love" (Roy Of The Ravers remix 2) (4:46)
Freeform Five - "Throwing Stones" (Jamie Paton remix) (7:23)
Red Axes - "Waiting For A Surprise" (Kris Baha remix) (7:21)
Bal5000 - "Kids" (7:26)
Review: (Emotional) Especial heralds its 30th release with a killer package from an all-star cast that takes in label regulars and newcomers alike. The vibe starts heated and heavy with modern acid champ Roy Of The Ravers taking a blunt instrument or two to Junior Fairplay's "End Of Love," firing off the kind of bludgeoning b-line and fizzing drums that makes his direct approach to the dancefloor so potent. It's somewhat surprising to see Freeform Five pop up on this 12", but Jamie Paton's remix of "Throwing Stones" sounds utterly natural in the habitat - a brooding, simmering trip shot through with noirish synths. Kris Baha gets busy with Red Axes' "Waiting For A Surprise," twisting out an exotic bubbler perfect for the low tempo chugging crowd, and then Bal5000 wraps things up with the gorgeous electro-disco delights of "Kids".
Review: The third release from Juzer aka Chicago enfant terrible Beau Wanzer and Dan Jugle. The pair first appeared on Anthony Parasole's The Corner a couple of years ago and their sophomore effort appearing on Fort Lauderdale's Dog In The Night. Let's not forget Wanzer's previous flirtations with techno as Civil Duty (with Shawn O'Sullivan) and in NJB with Steve Summers and Bookworms. On the A side we have "Maiden Japan" which is good old fashioned electro-funk conjured from unmistakably all analogue sound sources: covered in a nice sheen of dust for added authenticity. On the flip, it's a different affair altogether with the peak time warehouse stomp of "The Gold Room" calling to mind the work of Dutch legend Steve Rachmad (aka Fix/Basic Bastard) from the late 90's and early noughties.This is the second release for the newly inaugurated R=A imprint - the first coming from Los Angeles' Fizzy Veins.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: Happily, Neo Violence's third label sampler contains some real gems. It begins with Niro's "Nazca", a distinctively spacey affair that brings together echoing, dub techno style synthesizer motifs, shuffling tech-house drums and chords seemingly beamed down from another galaxy. VNZO's woozy "Relax Yourself" continues the fusion vibe (think ultra-deep Motor City techno mixed with dusty deep house), before NMSS and Jjuan pepper a cowbell-laden broken house groove with swirling chords and late '80s hip-house vocal samples. Another rock solid EP is drawn to a close via the rubbery, post-electro rhythms, darting bass and dreamy pads of Zolaa's standout "Fao-Mao".
Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart - "Invaders Of The Heart" (Exotic Decadent disco mix)
Yello - "You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess" (UK promo 12" version)
Naked Lunch - "Slipping Again"
SPK - "Metal Dance"
Review: Having recently mined the post-punk/new wave vaults of Factory Records' 12" releases, it's little surprise that the latest Strut Records release shines more light on the clanking, far-sighted world of the 1980s' most revolutionary genres - namely industrial, post-punk and EBM. This time, former Output boss, Playgroup man and all-round hipster Trevor Jackson is at the helm. His two-disc selection touches on many different strands, from bleak synthesizer jams and crunchy punk-funk to twisted industrial disco, mutant electrofunk (Nitzer Ebb's "I've Lost Control") and almighty percussive workouts (SPK's thrilling "Metal Dance"). Highly recommended.
Review: Over the last decade, Zombie Zombie man Etienne Jaumet has been one of Versatile Records' most consistent artists, delivering a string of albums in an inimitable style that sits somewhere between synthesizer-heavy 1970s horror soundtracks, experimental electro-jazz, paranoid ambient, punchy Afro-funk-fusion and quirky, kosmiche-era synth-pop. He's at it again on "8 Regards Obliques", variously opining on the threat of nuclear war over a chugging beat ("Nuclear War"), layering jaunty Afro horns over deep space electronics ("Unity"), showcasing his deep and electronic take on jazz-house ("Theme De Yo Yo"), laying down mind-altering jazz ragas ("Spiritual"), and escorting us to some far-off galaxy (the astonishingly good "Ma Revelation Mystique").
Review: Following six years spent tickling the fancy of quality electro lovers the world over, Mikey Melas AKA Jensen Interceptor has finally got round to recording a debut album. It's a pretty hot collection of cuts, with the Sydney producer joining the dots between ranging, angular peak-time slammers ("Ultramax", "Drip Freq"), bustling and bass-heavy workouts ("Haze"), bleeping space symphonies (the Sinewave-esque "Dimensional Thought"), Drexciya-style missives ("Ufology", "Shadow Network") and more crystalline, melodious affairs ("Mother"). Some of his scene pals swing by to lend a hand, too, with The Hacker and Assembler Code collaborations standing out.
Review: "In music, phrygian mode is dissonant, dark, depressive and gloomy. Its use was even forbidden in classical Greece for centuries because it was considered pagan. The sound of phrygian mode is rather exotic..."
Following the excellent Lost Series (Part 1) and (Part 2), Frigio label founder Juanpablo is back, this time with a full five track mini-LP: Darkness gathers above the needle's edge as the Colombian artist delivers the shadow strewn The Hideout. Abstraction is balanced against dancefloor clout across this quintet of underworld electronics. Rhythms curve and bend, scattering into the blackened chasms of "Chrome Light" and "Shadow's Color," before resurfacing into the light of "Indumorg." The title piece burns with a slow intensity. Sinister coils of Acid drip, skies bruise and ash rains before "They Watching You" closes. Juanpablo's builds on his past releasing, melting the lines of Techno, House and Electro and remoulding genres and blurring styles. Eclipsed sounds from the centre of Spain.