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: In which Oliver Hafenbauer's Die Orakel continues its X-Files series, enlisting the services of experienced producer Christopher Rau - arguably best known for his multiple outings on Smallville - under the previously unseen C-Rau alias. While firmly aimed at peak-time floors, there's still plenty of variety across the three tracks. Compare, for example, the thunderous kick drums, bubbling bassline and swirling, distant-sounding riffs of opener "Druffelant", and the ghetto-house influenced drum workout "Project Condenser". Arguably strongest of all, though, is closer "Sheeos Unn Note", an unsettling chunk of balls-out techno that recalls some of the recent Berceuse Heroique releases from Don't DJ.
Review: Live at Robert Johnson label manager Oliver Hafenbauer introduced his solo Die Orakel enterprise last year, collaring prolific Frankfurter Christian BeiBwenger to inaugurate proceedings under The Citizen Band guise. While that Monogamie 12? came replete with a remix from Leipzig pair Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup as MM/KM, the second Die Orakel release takes the form of entirely original material with regular White, and sometimes Giegling contributor, Edward at the helm. Entitled Feuerhand, the 12? rocks some cover art that pays homage to a John Carpenter classic, whilst musically the three tracks appear something of a stylistic deviation from Edward's previous work. Indeed, the organic, live sounding productions feel closer in execution to the producer's fledgling Desert Sky project. Which is no bad thing!
Review: By his own productive standards, White and Giegling regular Edward (AKA Desert Sky man Gilles Aiken) has been pretty quiet of late. Shockingly, Shufflehead is his first EP since 2015. The title track, which stretches out for 11 minutes across the A-side, is an unusual concoction, to say the least. Built around loose, tropical percussion loops, layered field recordings, creepy noises and an off-kilter electronic bassline, it sits somewhere between humid minimal techno and some of Dominick Fenrow's more ambient moments. Flip for the EBM style electronic funk of "Dekta", and the Black Merlin/Berceuse Heroique style tribal wonkiness that is "Etern".
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".
Harmonia & Eno 76 - "Athmosphere" (Edward Desert version) (9:25)
Harmonia - "Sehr Kosmisch" (Edwards Close To Pompeii version) (14:10)
Review: Giegling affiliate Edward and Oliver Hafenbauer's Die Orakel reacquaint themselves after last year's fine Feuerhand 12", with the label's sixth release offering something of a conceptual left turn. Here Edward reinterprets tracks from the Harmonia canon, a group integral to the rise of Krautrock in the 1970s. If you are a fan of Edward's 2014 LP Into A Better Future, you'll know the German has pedigree for seeking inspiration from the forefathers of the motorik groove and is well placed to toy with Harmonia's music. Up top Harmonia and Brian Eno collaboration "Atmosphere" is spread out into a ghostly yet luxuriant ten minute production rich in detail, whilst "Sehr Kosmisch" is given a more swirling, percussive tease by Edward on his self-styled Close to Pompeii version. Both are quite exquisite.
Review: Little is known about the decidedly low profile Jaures, who here makes their debut on the similarly low-key Die Orakel label. As first releases go, Tysoberg is really rather good. Rooted in techno, but with a range of influences - mostly IDM and hardcore, but with hints of moody deep house and more experimental electronica - it delivers a trio of tracks that impress with their murky, stripped-back authenticity. "Tysoberg (Part 1)" fuses clanking, industrial-influenced rhythms, weird electronics and a booming bassline with occasional blasts of jungle-style breakbeats. The second "part" of the title track has a more stripped-back feel, with a nagging hook tumbling over a robust groove. Finally, "LM" simultaneously feels grandiose and subdued, as if Jaures was playing crystalline IDM inside a cathedral.
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: In the two years and six releases Die Orakel has been active, founder Oliver Hafenbauer has steered the label into one of the more interesting operations functioning at the cross section between experimentalism and dancefloor immediacy. A new year brings the expansion of Die Orakel's remit with the launch of a 12? series dedicated to the dancefloor called X-Files. Fans of Mulder and Scully will be disappointed that the cult sci-fi series is not the inspiration here, but rather the ghetto house sound pioneered by the Dance Mania label. Live At Robert Johnson regular Orson Wells lines the first X-Files release under the name O-Wells, with Slam Dunx consisting of two ripe dancefloor tools rich in x-rated loops and banging 909s.
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.
Review: Not content with his role as musical director at Frankfurt institution Live At Robert Johnson, Oliver Hafenbauer unveils his new personal label shaped endeavour Die Orakel with a killer 12" from a familiar friend. TCB is the latest production alias of Live At Robert Johnson fixture Christian BeiBwenger and a man who's studio work with Hafenbauer as B.H.F.V. ranks amongst our favourite releases in the LARJ canon. Essentially an acronymic take on The Citizen Band, BeiBwenger's most recent creative concern, TCB aligns snugly with the warm, rich Frankfurt sound on both "Monogamie" and the delightful "Unchained". The latter track is remixed in suitably smudged and lopsided fashion by Leipzig pair Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup, as MM/KM. A great 12" now how about some more B.H.F.V. Oliver?
Review: More moody and mysterious noir-house from Oliver Hafenbauer's always fascinating imprint Die Orakel. On this occasion, they've commissioned two tremendous remixes of underrated German legend Rolf Trostel by modern virtuoso Edward. Trostel was a synthesist inspired by Tangerine Dream, who was active in the early 1980s. On the A side, we have the entrancing bliss of "New Age Of Intelligence" awash in layers of hypnotic sequences and shimmering textures, while on the flip "Der Prophet" sees Edward rework this overlooked classic into another mone of his gorgeously majestic creations for the dancefloor.