Review: 2016 marks two decades since Roman Flugel made his debut. It says much about the productive, genre-straddling German that he retains the desire to do things differently after all these years. Verscheibung is his first EP of 2016, and arrives for the rather fine Die Orakel label overseen by LARJ's Oliver Hafenbauer. The four tracks are split between stripped-back techno and druggy, off-piste ambient (the bubbly, post-party weirdness of closer "Track 4"). The most obviously floor-friendly cut opens the EP, with Flugel layering wonky, minor key melody lines over a dense but minimalist groove. Elsewhere, check the Villalobos-ish strangeness of "Track 3", and the druggy, pitched-down experimental throb of "Track 2".
Review: Die Orakel's superb "0114 Series" - a trilogy of 12" singles from Frankfurt artists paying tribute to the turn-of-the-90s Bleep & Bass sound of the Steel City - concludes via a suitably bass-heavy four-tracker from Koga. It's not pure Yorkshire bleep by any means, but the untitled tracks certainly include many knowing nods to the style (think deep and weighty sub-bass, alien electronics and an intoxicating, sci-fi fired late-night mood. Interestingly, Koga's extensive use of breakbeats throughout is perhaps closer in tone to the "Bleep and Breaks" sound that sprung up in London from early 1990 onwards, though the boldness of the bass is thoroughly in keeping with the aesthetics of Warp's early Rob Gordon-mastered releases. Either way, all four cuts are superb, whether or not you're a bleep aficionado.
Review: Over the past couple of years, George Thompson AKA Black Merlin has made some of the most intoxicating, otherworldly electronic music around. The genius of his music lies in the way Thompson fixes creepy, paranoid aural textures and faintly haunting lead lines with rhythmic and instrumental elements inspired by trips to South East Asia and Oceania. He's at it again here, too, wrapping chugging polyrhythms and uncomfortable electronics in chiming, Steve Reich style melodic cycles on brilliant opener "DE 2.1". The track that follows, "PKL", is arguably even more unsettling in its hypnotic melodic approach, twinkling sound palette and mind-bending electronic shifts. Arguably best of all, though, is epic B-side "MM5", a sparse and loopy affair that could well be capable of inducing hallucinations in even the most sober of listeners.
Review: An ode to their fair city in the state of Hesse here by homeboys Die Orakel and their local hero Orson Wells. Referencing the classic Motor City sounds of electro and ghetto-tech on this fine EP. "Park Jit" and its sleazy electro-funk takes it cues from the early Databass sound, while the breakneck dystopianism of "The Message" goes for more of a Dopplereffekt vibe. Bringing the funk and emotive feel on the B side we have "Frankfurt Tek" a saturated lo-fi memory recording (direct to VHS) that would make even local legend Anthony Rother proud. But hey wait, he's from Offenbach anyway! This is Lennard Poschmann's second recording for the Frankfurt based imprint which has had previous releases by Christopher Rau, Pablo Mateo and Koehler.