Review: It's been two years since Teengirl Fantasy won the world over with "Cheaters" and their debut album 7am, an album that referenced Mr Fingers as much as the generation of chillwave artists that preceded them. While that album undoubtedly felt top heavy at times, such was the nature of that single, Tracer feels like an altogether more balanced album, hitting the right note between their looser, experimental rhythmic tendencies and grandiose melodic nature, such as on the twisting, symphonic "End", and the new age sould of "EFX". Of course there are some certified club tracks there too - "Do It" is almost pure 90s Nu Groove, while "Timeline" is a forcefully acidic track swathed in deep, marshmallow pads - but they fit nicely with the album's whole - forward thinking electronic music that is an ideal fit for the R&S mission statement.
Review: ** R&S REPRESS **Ever since his early releases on Kinnego and Royal Oak, Jack Hamill has been earmarked as a serious talent. Certainly, his work as Space Dimension Controller - in-tune with modern trends but seemingly beamed down from another planet - has rarely been anything less than inspired. This much awaited full-length album is similarly thrilling. Soaked through with his usual intergalactic sounds, heart-tugging melodies and warming chords, it's a much warmer and involving set than his previous work for R&S. Crucially, it also drifts off in disparate directions, offering a nod and a wink to Tangerine Dream, George Clinton, Model 500 and '80s soul along the way.
Review: For the uninitiated, Maarten van der Vleuten is one of the Dutch techno scene's longest serving artists. He's been active since the late 1980s, delivering techno and electro material under a dizzying array of aliases. This fine double-pack gathers together tracks from the Dutchman's short-lived Integrity project, specifically two 1992 EPs originally released by forgotten R&S offshoot Outrage Recordings. It's a fine collection, all told, boasting largely timeless techno tracks that tend towards the melodious and futurist (think classic Detroit techno fused with elements of British intelligent techno/IDM). Interestingly, it also includes a couple of early collaborations with fellow Dutch veteran Aardvarck (AKA Mike Kivits), who was then in the very early stages of his production career.
Review: If you've been paying close attention to music release on techo's fluid margins, you may already be familiar with the work of Adam Longman Parker AKA Afriqua. He's released a fair amount of material over the last few years, serving up cuts that variously doff a cap to tech-house, techno and booming British bass music. This first EP for R&S Records is similarly hard to pin down. Parker begins with the tumbling music box melodies, subtle Afrobeat touches and rock solid rhythms of "Aleph", before mixing '90s modem noises and enveloping chords on hazy ambient piece "Sent". Over on side B, he serves up a dreamy and melodious take on dub techno ("Opferator" [sic]) and a Motor City influenced chunk of deep house/tech-house fusion (the rather brilliant "Thanksgiving").
Review: Midlands retrovert Mat Cutler aka Lone returns on Ambivert Tools Volume One. Inspired in no small part by the rich seam of house that he's been excavating with his fine Magicwire imprint, this is where the guy shows you all once again just how dusty and lo-fi things can actually get. Starting off with the early nineties rave stomp of "Crush Mood", on the flip there's some deeper strains of classic throwback sounds in the form of the lovely "Chroma" with its neon lit synths and vintage drum computer sounds working in perfect harmony while "From A Past Life" calls to mind Derrick Carter's Oneiro project from the nineties on this rolling and hypnotic jam which is so damn lush!