Review: Last year, Berlin-based Italian Ilario Alicanti pitched up on Drumcode for the very first time, following nine years spent building up his reputation via releases on some of European techno's best-loved labels. Figures & Echoes marks his return to the high profile Swedish imprint and begins with one of his most intense and energetic compositions yet: the throbbing, acid-fired, arpeggio-driven darkness of "Figure of RA". "The Acid Runner", a foreboding and panicked stomp through jacking acid house/big room techno follows, before fuzzy, ghostly and otherworldly motifs dance around a tribal techno groove on "Virgo's Echoes". A fine EP is completed via the creepy, sprinting-away-from-a-mugger-at-4am techno thump of "Third Eye".
Review: Ilario Alicante now makes his full debut Drumcode. He's established himself as a key player among a new breed of techno artists and really is one of the brightest stars in the game. Opening with "Times" Alicante gets straight into top gear, rolling through six minutes of pure power: this is a peak time tool if we've ever heard one and is set to be heard across dancefloors worldwide this year. "Awakened" is one you may have heard from label head honcho Adam Beyer's sets of late; rampant synths and mesmerising vocal hooks all make it one hell of a journey. "Sense" is a more industrial affair, led by its chunky bassline this one is a right trip too. The EP finishes off with "Apogeo", packed with hypnotic siren tones and acute percussion.
Review: For his first outing of 2019, Adam Beyer has turned over the parts to his 2014 single "Teach Me" to Belgium's first lady of banging, acid-fuelled techno, Amelie Lens. She subsequently serves up two throbbing, peak-time ready revisions, with the A-side "Main Mix" offering a near perfect blend of booming, kick-drum driven beats, military snare fills, cut-up late night vocal samples and distorted, mind-altering riffs. As the title suggests, the flipside "Acid Remix" sees Lens indulge her love of mind-altering TB-303 acid lines, brilliantly wrapping them around a springier drum track, EBM-influenced melodic motifs and more pulsating, manipulated vocal loops.
Adam Beyer & Enrico Sangiuliano - "Preset Heaven" (8:17)
Timmo - "Muzik" (6:11)
Pig&Dan - "La Bruja" (6:37)
Julian Jeweil - "Nasa" (6:11)
Review: Some serious peak time weapons for the main room on offer here, from the ever reliable Swedish label Drumcode. Usual heroes of the label such as Luigi Madonna, Sam Paganini and Joseph Capriati step aside for some other equally reliable staples. On the A, side label boss Adam Beyer teams up with Enrico Sangiuliano on the evocative and life affirming "Preset Heaven" which takes its cues from early trance with its amazing chord progression. It is something more typical of the label next, on the pummelling warehouse stomp of "Muzik" by Bulgaria's Timmo. On the flip, there's more trance nostalgia on offer again - this time from legends Pig & Dan on the hypnotic/melodic bliss of "La Bruja" which we could imagine melting the minds of festival crowds well into the new year. Finally they save the best for last with French peak time specialist Julian Jeweil, serving up the furious, tunneling and strobe-lit ultraviolence of "Nasa" which will have your adrenaline going from the first beat. It has been a stellar year for the powerhouse label, with great releases by Moby, Dubfire and newcomer Layton Giordani.
Review: Drumcode head honcho Adam Beyer and Chicagoan legend Curtis Jones (aka Green Velvet) had discussed writing music together for a long time. Also, Beyer's protege Layton Giordani had admired the mohawked Jones' work for as long as he could remember. When he got to DJ alongside him at Belfast's Shine - the spark and subsequent friendship was immediate. The outcome of this respected trio's musical journey comes in the form of "Space Date" which will be familiar to many who've followed their sets over recent months. Featuring a relentless main room stomp with steely hats and droney synth leads, all accompanied by Green Velvet's trademark vocal delivery. The thunderous peak time energy of "Rome Future" is likewise guaranteed to rock the house - that killer Reese bassline particularly is sure to blow the doors off!
Review: Following two appearances on Adam Beyer's Drumcode, British producer/DJ Boxia and self-confessed "rave anorak" returns to the label with his debut full length "A Night In The Life Of". Nine powerful and highly engineered peak time techno weapons aimed squarely at the main room. Opening with the glassy-eyed title track (feat Lyke), Boxia knuckles down and lunges straight for the jugular via the pummelling "Unofficial Everything", deep sonar transmission of "Primal People", seething and barrelling power of "Sunshine State" before rounding things off with the emotional, ambient IDM number "Last Nightclub".
Review: Drumcode's A-Sides compilation provides a timely opportunity to showcase the full range of its sonic repertoire, with Adam Beyer scrupulously selecting unreleased tracks that have taken prime position in his sets over recent months. Part four of the seventh volume features another bunch of heavy hitters such as UK AM specialist Alan Fitzpatrick, who collaborates with Hotflush head honcho SCB on the furious warehouse stomp of "Untitled" followed by fellow Brit Boxia who serves up the evocative and transcendental groove of "Final Call". On the flip, Hungary's Jay Lumen channels the heyday of '90s trance effortlessly on the euphoric "Stella Luce" while Canadian Weska closes out the EP by taking you aboard an acid express direct into the stratosphere on "Other Places".
Review: Alan Fitzpatrick returns to Drumcode, marking his first appearance since late 2016 when he remixed Moby's hit "Porcelain".The release opens with "Brian's Proper Dun One", a track which caused a storm on his Twitter profile when he first started playing it last year. Loaded with sharp and pounding drums, this is a no holds barred, certified main room anthem! "Wait A Second" has been getting a lot of play on Drumcode Radio of late. This rave inspired track takes a raw, stripped back approach and delivers a killer blow. Alan sampled the vocals of MC r1bbz from an LTJ Bukem tape pack from the early 90s and the record tips its cap to early jungle raves around the M25. The release closes with "Trance, Init?" a homage to Fitzpatrick's days as a raver before he became a DJ. The breakdown is sure to be a hands in the air moment at festivals all over the globe this summer.
Review: Fresh from the runaway success of his all-star collaboration with Adam Beyer and Green Velvet, "Space Date", Layton Giordani returns to Drumcode with his first fresh solo material since 2017. All four tracks are formidably floor-friendly in the "big room techno" style that has turned the Drumcode crew into global stars in recent years. Giordani begins with the tribal drums, atmospheric chords, acid stabs and bleeping synth melodies of "New York City To Amsterdam", before doffing a cap to Italo-disco on the electro-techno chug of "Enter The Stratosphere". Over on side B, "Body Language" is an angular, acid-fired peak-time thumper, while closing cut "Black Mirror" sees him fix gated, trance style riffs to a typically throbbing, bass-heavy techno groove.
Review: New York City represents in true colours here for techno powerhouse Drumcode. Adam Beyer has called in rising star Layton Giordani for a collaboration with the don of the Big Apple himself: Danny Tenaglia, on the powerful and euphoric anthem "Live Again". This one has all the druggy vocals, tunnelling bassline and headrush inducing suspense you'd expect from the label. The flip features the rhythm focused DJ tool "Secrets Of Vibration" featuring a sexy spiritual monologue over a powerful TR-909 workout that reaches near tribal moments - matter of fact it's reminiscent of Samuel L Session's seminal work from the late '90s. Finally, we are treated to one more exercise in dancefloor drama on the brooding "Take It Back" which features a razor sharp bassline, diva vocals and soaring arpeggios. This follows up some great releases on sister label Truesoul, Intec and Octopus Black Label.
Review: Ever the champion of brains and brawn in equal measure, Maceo Plex makes his debut appearance on Drumcode with this punchy beast of a single. "Conjure Dreams" features plenty of Plex signifiers, from the rounded and rowdy bassline pump to the haunting tone of the synth lines, neatly packaged in a chunky framework of big room drums. "Conjure Floyd" meanwhile burrows into more minimal territory where the tones are amelodic and the percussion takes the lead, calling to mind the restraint and tension of classic M_nus productions where so much could be said with so little.
Review: It is far to say by now that Glaswegian DJ Harvey McKay is a staple of Adam Beyer's imprint - this will be his fourth release on the label, in addition to appearances on Bedrock, Suara and Soma. The factory floor stomp of "Black Dolphin" is dub-laden, stripped back and fairly reminiscent of Berlin's Fachwerk sound. "Retox" sees him serve up something more familiar of the Drumcode brand on this tunnelling and strobe-lit adrenaliser from the dark side. Finally, on the flip we have the brooding dancefloor drama of "Cover Up" which is perfect to build the tension and suspense during the earlier part of a set, with its creepy chords, cavernous drums and druggy vocal bits - perfectly engineered for those headrush moments at 2 AM.
Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (Enrico Sangiuliano remix) (7:17)
Go (Manic Brothers remix) (9:09)
Review: Moby's back catalogue has been reworked rather a lot lately, with Drumcode following the lead of 2DIY4 in releasing a string of contemporary remixes of the Vegan beat-smith's classic productions. This 12" - the second of four the Swedish imprint is releasing - begins with a storming version of "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" by Enrico Sanguilano. It makes good use of the original's famous vocal sample, working it into a banging techno track that looks to the riff-heavy world of trance for inspiration. On the flip, the Manic Brothers offer their interpretation of "Go", combining the original's evocative chords and vocal samples with heavy new techno beats.
Review: Up next for Adam Beyer's esteemed Drumcode imprint is Enrico Sangiuliano, a Milan based DJ/producer originally from Reggio Emilia who has been been active on the Italian scene since the early noughties, playing everywhere from clubs to illegal raves. His work of late has been released on sister label Truesoul, Alleanza, Gem Records, Octopus Recordings and Rhythm Converted. On "Moon Rocks", Sangiuliano provides a euphoric, hands in the air anthem with soaring synth leads and seriously humming Reese bassline over a high octane beat. Also on the A side is the mad diva vocal breakdown on "Ghettoblaster" which soon gives way to a dark and tunnelling epic. Finally on the flip, we have two versions of "Dutch Kiss" but for our money it's all about the sombre and emotive IDM vibe of the Inner remix.
Review: The seventh volume of Drumcode's annual A-Sides compilation hits with no less than 10 debuts for the label, with topline artists releasing their maiden productions on the imprint. Over two decades into its lifespan, Adam Beyer's label keeps evolving and excelling, pushing techno forward while remaining wholly respectful of its roots. On this volume, German techno legend Thomas Schumacher delivers one of his best tracks in a while on the brooding peak time onslaught "The Unseen" which brings the distinct sound of Bremen in to 2018. Ascendant Brazilian DJ Victor Ruiz impresses as always with the melodic and hypnotic "Pulso", before former Radio 1 host B.Traits closes with the chugging factory floor stomp of "I Feel The Music".
Review: Dutch techno legend Bart Skils is still going! First breaking into the scene nearly a decade ago with powerful main room exploits on local imprint 100% Pure (which were championed by all the big DJs of the time like Richie Hawtin and Paul Ritch) and he's still relevant today - if this release on top techno label Drumcode is anything to go by. He's been a staple of Adam Beyer's imprint since 2013, where he's presented nearly a dozen EPs in that time. On Bells Of The Revolution, the title track uses Millsian FM melodies in sublime and hypnotic fashion, over powerful and cavernous rhythm patterns to rock any warehouse trave. He gets even more steely and austere on the heads-down power tool "Ocean Drive" which finishes up the A side. On the flip, "Retrograde" goes for a more hypnotic and ethereal vibe, plus that vocal from a certain mainstream dance hit of the early '90s is a nice touch indeed. Finally, things take a more optimistic and uplifting route on the funky, acid led antics of "Vocalized".
Review: Ascendant Bulgarian producer Timmo returns to Drumcode for his fourth release. You can bet that he's brought out the big guns for the main room at peak-time on the Meteorite EP. Featuring the brooding dancefloor drama of the title track, through to relentless bangers such as "Black Moon" which is properly geared for trancing out under the strobe light. On the flip are two fierce tools that are essential for any serious techno DJ: the acid express of "Spacetime" followed by the hypnotic "Cosmos" and its mesmerising melodic sequences.
Review: Long-serving Brazilian techno titan Redolfo Wehbba made his bow on Drumcode earlier in the year, delighting the Swedish label's army of fans with the Eclipse EP. Here he returns with what may be the first and only EP ever named in honour of a kitty's chocolate starfish. "Catarse", the aforementioned title track, is something of a bombastic, big room techno roller; a thumping affair where dreamy, saucer-eyed riffs slowly rise above an intense rhythm track. While good, it's arguably not a patch on the ragged intensity of opener "She Lost Control" - all ricocheting drum machine fills, wild electronic riffs and rumbling bass - or "Mind Awake", a throbbing, sleazy and downright intoxicating workout that contains some distinctly dystopian noises.