Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: All hail the return of Etapp Kyle. For over 10 years this ever-intriguing producer has been orbiting the Ostgut Ton axis, from Ben Klock's label to Unterton and lastly Ostgut Ton itself back in 2017. After some time away, Kyle is back with a new EP that was wholly worth the wait. "Nolove" is a dreamy, fractured slice of techno abstraction with insanely detailed production chops, while "Unseen" opens things up with some more forthright drums that move like a more linear take on the Shackleton sound. "Polar" thrums and pulses with sound design as much as beats, but the icy atmospheric swirls are the star of the show. "Eden" strips things back with a beautiful, plaintive electronica finisher that keeps percussion to a minimum and focuses on gossamer synth lines to melt away to.
Review: Ostgut Ton's first significant release of 2020 comes courtesy of Phase Fatale, an industrial techno-focused alias of New Yorker-in-Berlin Hayden Payne. "Scanning Backwards" is the producer's second album and is every bit as muscular, forthright and mind-altering as you'd expect, though the presence of clear EBM and industrial funk influences also ensures a healthy dose of rhythmic funk beneath the growling electronics, riotous riffs and slightly panicked Nitzer Ebb style melodies. Highlights are plentiful and include the metallic dancefloor paranoia of "Blinding By Oath", the pitched-down, wall-of-sound creepiness of "During The Freezing Process", the Test Department-does-ambient vibes of "Proxy Contact" and the throbbing intensity of "De-patterning".