Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: Manchester's meandyou. collective take their time over releases, averaging just over a 12" per year. Here they kick off 2016 with another collaborative EP, full of drowsy deep house, crackling techno and tipsy, world-weary ambience. With label conspirator Herron otherwise engaged, it falls to Workshopper Even Tuell to kick things off with the slowly unfurling new age chords, blazed vocal samples and sparse-but-chunky deep house groove of "Boys Truth". Sul "Does It For Andy" on the creepy, discordant dark world ambient track of the same name, before Sensu brings back the beats on the hypnotic, experimental dubby techno shuffle of "Sigmon". Finally, Fabric lays back and lights something fragrant on the similarly dub techno influenced, metallic IDM-goes-ambient of "Pink Grid".
Review: This is the end of Rivulet Records after seven years of existence. Over the years, they have presented fabulous works by the likes of Jonas Palzer, Momo and Skipless. The very last release comes from co-founder Stanley Schmidt, who collaborates with his long time friend Hobor on the Made In Paint LP. For these two Leipzig based artists, it had been a long time in the making and to present this work as the final product felt just right. A captivating collection of downbeat electronica and ambient, that is for the most part textured and melancholic in its expression - while at time other lush and uplifting, There are even a few moments of dancefloor friendly techno, such as the soulful acid stomp of "Swirling Paranoia" or the ecstatic junglist stepper "From Outside".
Review: It's always good to see a split release from two artists whose track records (no pun intended) make it very difficult to predict where the new wares will fit. Which is exactly the case with this one, given K15's oeuvre name-checks imprints like Wotnot Music, Eglo and Wild Oats, while SMDB has appeared on Funkineven's Apron and the always great Lo Recordings in recent years. Needless to say, then, if we can rely on one thing it's that everything on this expansive, obscure collection of curveballs will be deep and richly textured. From 'Pace & Time''s downtempo barroom jazz, to the shuffling broken beats and waves of synth on 'Dry Mango (Part 2)', the confusing beat structures and delicate piano play of 'Earth State' to 'Syntherlude''s beat-less, science fiction tune up, it's all well made stuff.
Space Afrika - "After They Entered It Was Only Evident" (3:59)
Review: "Shared Meanings" has been one of Mumdance's most ambitious and explorative projects to date; pulling together the four corners of the hardcore continuum and tying them in a tight bow, his mix has drawn elements and parallels between all genres and laced them in a narrative that mirrors and reflects throughout. Now, for limited time only, we have five of the 32 tracks he included in the mix ranging from his and Logos' totem track "Teachers" which pays homage to the UK's forefathers, to the pulverising thumpy bumpy techno of Nkisi's "Kinenga" via stasis sensation ambience from Space Afrika in the form of "After They Entered It Was Only Evident". Coordinates don't come much broader or deeper, "Shared Meanings" is Mumdance in full on explorer mode. Long may his meaningful trips continue.
Alessandro Adriani - "Do Not Deliver Me Into The Enemy's Hands" (6:01)
Raw Ambassador - "Attack, Attack!" (5:49)
Review: New Italian label Hiroshima 45 Chernobyl 86 Windows 95 present Pubblicazione 001. Starting off on the A side is Penelope's Fiance from Thessaloniki, who serves up a lo-fi and coldwave perspective of the Boards Of Canada on "Run & Gun", while Italians Rawmance and Security team up on the slo-mo EBM mutation of "Un Bon Flic" - bringing you the sound of latter's Knick Knack Yoda burger club in Rome. On the flip, Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani gives us the gnarly 303 acid epic "Do Not Deliver Me Into The Enemy's Hands" and Raw Ambassador aka Antonio Barbetta gives us the early industrial sounds of "Attack, Attack!" with its rusty aesthetic calling to mind the classics of Portion Control or Skinny Puppy.
Review: Now, this is a label we absolutely adore! Germay's Disk imprint, a sub-label of the wider Diskant brand, headed by the needlessly fascinating Durian Brothers, returns to our shelves with newcomer Sabla. If these guys have gone out to recruit, you know that you're in for something special, and the opening "Danzaguida" is nothing short of breathtaking thanks to an improbable set of sounds guided by what seems to feel like a reversed beat pattern. "Fire/Wire" is an ominous glow of subdued harmonies terrifying didgeridoo bass, while "W" shimmers its cold, penetrative techno hook with the upmost off-kilterism, and "Tohc" goes all molecular with the help of some supremely wacky sonics. Nutty and recommended, as always.
Review: The ever on-point Kimochi crew has described this label debut from talented Finn Lauri Saine as "a deceptively simple series of compositions that rewards deeper listening". We get what they're saying. One of the EP's greatest strengths is the way the intricate details and subtle layers of Saine's productions creep up on you on the third, fourth or fifth listen. It gives all four cuts a super-deep feel, putting them somewhere between lovely warm-up workouts, horizontal home listening fare and Sprinkles style peak-time hypnotism. Highlights include the sunset-ready jazz-house fluidity of "Swirl", the undulating, wonderfully picturesque ambient shuffle of "Saw U" and the dub-techno influenced soundscape flex of "Babel".
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto's latest collaborative release sees him join forces with Kukangendai, a Tokyo-based experimental rock trio who've been putting odd and inspired releases in their native Japan since 2006. A-side "Zureru" offers a perfect blend of both parties' styles, with Sakamoto adding trippy production and mind-altering effects to Kukangendai's loose, post-rock sounds, free-jazz drums and wayward vocalizations. Over on side B, we're treated to two versions of "Suuji": Kukangendai's hypnotic, wayward and ear-pleasing original take, and a sublime re-interpretation by Sakamoto that re-imagines the track as a slowly pulsing journey into intergalactic ambient territory, where ghostly vocal snippets and shards of re-contextualized guitar drift across the sound space.
Review: KDC digs deep into the satanic study of angles and ratios with his latest Auxiliary exploration. "Atonement" is an industrial strength snowplough cutting through mountains of ice with a high end riff that buzzes over the hammering, bucking drums while "Summoned" takes what could conventionally be a Funk D'Void-style house groove before turning it inside out with a low end drone that grows incessantly, washing out the original groove. "Vertex" plays the role of conjurer with its pertinent hi-hat shaking and scuffing over a deep sea bass/kick arrangement while "Clairvoyance" updates some of the ideas of acid techno but within a drum & bass framework. Genuinely unique.
Review: Primitive Brumbeat is the order of the day from Minimal Wave on this weighty seven inch presentation of early Karl O'Connor material. Recorded under the Sandra Plays Electronics banner, Her Needs presents two versions of the same track from different periods of O'Connor's musical development and provide further enticing historical evidence of one of techno's most illuminating figureheads. Those who indulged in the brilliant White Savage Dance 12" from Downwards from late 2011 will be all over the DIY odes to O'Connor's childhood heroes such as DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses here. The 1999 version in particular which originates from the same recording sessions that ended in the seminal Diversion Group release A Man Has Responsibilities.
Jochen Heym - "The Final Transmission" (Chip Tronic remix) (4:32)
Chip Tronic - "Dunkel 18" (5:21)
Review: German label Bombtrap Records have been operating sublabel Stonedwave since 2006. Restless Breed 3.0 is the next issue; a various artists compilation on the label providing you with a new bunch of material, showcasing the label on all sides. From the harsh and rusty electro experiment by Sane entitled "The Hangover" which will appeal to fans of sounds on Lux Rec or Clan Destine, to the gutsy electro bass onslaught of Chordata's "Silent Singer" which goes straight for the jugular. On the flip, we are treated to two cuts by Jochem Heyn. The mysterious newcomer treats us to the melancholic IDM of "Floating Soul" (reminiscent of early Autechre) while Chip Trnics "Dunkel 18" was best described by the label themselves as 'dark techno rhythms for wonky minds who love it more distorted.'
Review: Katsunori Sawa is no stranger to the Weevil Neighbourhood, first appearing on the experimental Berlin outpost as Steven Porter with confidant Yuji Kondo. Having subsequently walked on the Weevil side sans his Steven Porter compadre for The Two Legs 12" late last year, Sawa's relationship with the Neighbourhood is emboldened further with a new 12" entitled The Holy Ground. If you have a rudimentary grasp of the avant garde drum and bass and musique concrete that Weevil Neighbourhood specialise in, you'll love what Sawa gets up to on these four tracks as walls of rhythmic noise, undulating bottom end rave and terrifying soundscapes are explored with thrilling results.
Review: One half of the Steven Porter duo, Katsunori Sawa, debuts solo on the Weevil Neighbourhood, a mysterious Berlin label borne out of the equally enigmatic, and now defunct, Weevil Series. Here Sawa delivers four tracks of industrial and experimental sound design, minus the ear shattering sonics and overbearing drone that other producers of a similar creed may employ. Windswept waves of white noise blow across "Augur" while its drums create a syncopated groove like that of injured beetle limping to safety. Piston pumping sound effects and factory ambience soundtrack "Black Sugar", while "Phenomenon" is the EP's most rhythmically coherent production. Sawa then ends on "NGM" which sounds like the night time hustle of New York city night heard from the empty viewing deck of the Empire State Building.
Review: With this sizable EP electro techno staple Scanone makes another appearance on regular haunt Yellow Machines, bringing five tracks of diverse, sci-fi infused electronica that kicks where it counts but keeps the tone esoteric on top. "Moon 2" is a fast-paced, dark-toned break cut, filtering in just enough melody to keep things emotional while the beats dutifully snap around the mix with an energetic grace. "Scene 7" is a more gentle affair, moving from anchorless strings to twitchy diversions into micro-sampled rhythms and rounded synth. "Darklight" calls to mind some of the earliest of Aphex Twin's breakbeats, but the melodies on top have a more tangible kind of melancholia to them which serves the spiritual impact of the record well. On the whole, it's the electro informed approach of classic labels like Skam that Scanone brings to mind with Scenes, and as an under-represented sound he is bringing a welcome focus to it.
Review: In the new year things are only getting freakier for the Gravity Graffiti camp as label core member Riccardo Schiro takes the reins once again. "Sine Phase," as the title might well imply, is a focused trip into rhythmic synth modulation with a techno pulse and drippy effects processing guaranteed to soak into your cerebellum. "Islands" charges further into experimental terrain, ditching any semblance of a beat in favour of free-wheeling texture and tone that sounds as though it was wrenched from a particularly fruitful experimental session. As the plot thickens for this ever-intriguing label, our advice is to strap in for the long haul experience.
Review: Guy Tavares makes a rare appearance on his own Bunker outlet under the Schmerzlabor alias. We're pretty excited to say the least given the fact that Tavares releases music once in a blue moon, and instead prefers to use the label as a platform for other sewer dwellers to excel. Four tracks of bitterly uncompromising steel funk, noise-fuelled techno driller-thrillers. Sounding like the inside of one of Tavares' famous bunker raves, the air is humid and drenched with fuzzy distortion, where beats collide and contort into sweltering bundles of dancefloor noise. A bloody bunch of chest-bursters, hawk-nosed and machine-licked. Viciously recommended and ludicrously unmissable. Bunker wins again.