Review: Steadily building up a prominent identity in the bustling minimal house and techno thoroughfare, The Untold Stories return with one of their signature various artist compilations to present some lesser known practitioners of the hypnotic groove. Jerome C gets a rugged angle on the swing to his beats on "An Intelligible Scrawl", while Volta Cab nods to a classic Tobias jam with "Street Knowledge". MD Wallholz's "Ein Bisschen Ruhe" is a shivering slice of experimental electro, and Jonas Sella brings an unhinged French flavour to proceedings, but truthfully every jam on this solidly packed release has its own distinct character that fits into the meandering tale the label is unfurling.
Review: Itchy tech house label NCSS returns with a trio of new artists all weaving their way into the top charts, and if the material is sounding this good then we're pretty sure we'll be hearing a lot more from them soon! Newcomer Jhobei rolls through with "Do Milk", a creamy, synth-heavy house killer with a slap-up bass, followed by Casey Spillman's "Simply Focus", a freaky tech roller with all sorts of minimal nuances going off in its mix. On the flip, Jhobei returns with "Club Beige", an aqueous roller that sounds a little like the Cab Drivers, while Ben Balance's "Funk Tower" unleashes a dark, muddy bassline interlocked with subtle bursts of sc-fi goodness.
Review: It's been a little while since we heard from Laura Jones, but the Leeds-based producer is back in action on her own Sensoramic label with a strident EP of limber tech house excursions that highlight her continued progression as a producer. "Pathway" is a gently bouncy cut with bubbling synths coursing between the subtle swing of the beat, using vocal snippets to great effect to create a decidedly trippy atmosphere. "Tough Crowd' pushes the psychedelic approach even further with some truly wigged out tones swirling in a cut just made for eyes-closed-dancing moments. 100Hz takes on a remix of "Pathway" that uses crafty, militaristic drums and sparse treatment of the melodic and vocal elements to create a delicate, compelling alternative vision of Jones' original.
Review: Championed by Richie Hawtin & Ricardo Villalobos (featured on his Cocoon mix CD 'Taka Taka') the A-Side is armed with a highly infectious melody, beefed up with big, bouncy funky bassline. The B-side has trippy hypnotic sounds that echo in & out of the fluid melodies.
Review: What a collaboration this is! Two of the modern masters of hypnotic techno (and dynamic live acts alike) team up for some elaborate, melodic and and truly entrancing auditory journeys for Hypercolour. Mathew Jonson should need no introduction: the Canadian producer bursting onto the scene in the mid noughties with releases on itiswhatitis and his own Wagon Repair imprint. Sebastian Mullaert also has a long history in electronic music; at one time part of duo Minilogue in addition to recording for Kontra Musik and m_nus more recently and running his great WaWuWe label. Strap yourself in for an epic journey across all its 12 minutes of glory on St "Pollen 4 Life (main mix)" where a medley of dreamy and gliding arpeggios dance away over subtle and minimal elements; a trademark of both respective producers. The dub version on the flip is much tougher and darker; aimed squarely at the dancefloor to get into some of those more tunnelling, vortex like moments.
Review: 20/20 Vision welcome Nathan Jonson to the label to deliver some of his esteemed beats - he was previously known as Hrdvision, and as a member of Midnight Operator alongside his infamous brother Mathew. It is in fact MJ who gets the run of the A side with a bouncing, bubbly remix of "Business" that calls to mind some of the most wriggly threads in that unmistakable Jonson sound. "Let Your Body" strikes a different tone on the B-side, conjuring up some rave ghosts and decanting them into a thoroughly modern club burner heavy on the dramatic arrangement and sure to create wild responses on the dancefloor. "Business" in its original form is a loose and funky-as-hell electro jam with live, glutinous monosynth flex and Detroit-tinted pads to die for.
Review: The fourth release from London-based label Eya continues to shape out an intriguing identity that nods to classic techno tropes while charging ahead with their own agenda. Label boss Jos' "Planet Eya" sets a lively pace with its forthright drum machine jack offset by warm synth licks. Evil Knebel matches the tempo and weaves in a cosmic set of tones, which Poten then cosigns with the equally trippy, propulsive "Intransigence". Jos is back at the helm for closing track "Purify", which strikes a darker tone without losing that raw, vintage techno flavour that makes this label one to watch.
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from Juniper, the Manchester-based duo who showed much promise with early outings on Underground Quality and the like. Having previously popped up on a various artists 12", they return to the ever-essential meandyou with a strong statement of intent, packing five tracks into an EP that presents their subversive style immaculately. "Indigo Children" is a head-turning cut that fuses uptempo Motor City style electro and techno with industrial tones, while "Life Source Negative" switches stance for a beautiful, craftily constructed drift into woozy deep house. Every track is noteworthy on this release, balancing immediacy and warmth against experimental textures in a way that sits very comfortably on meandyou.
Review: Washington DC's Justin Nouhra has been intermittently slipping out high grade minimal house on labels like Silence In Metropolis and Cahoots for the past five years, and now he's been snapped up by Courtesy Of Balance for an impressive three-tracker loaded with shimmering tones and elegant grooves. "Subpoenad" has an irresistible bump and some starry eyed synth flairs that melt into the ears very easily indeed. "Day Job" follows a similar tact, with some more pronounced chords punching through the mix. "POV" rounds the EP off with a bugging bouncer of a track, and yet more of those pristine, sweetly filtered tones amidst the slender drums.
Review: Purism leaps into action once more, this time welcoming a strong cast of lesser known characters that fit right into the adventurous approach to house and techno that the label has forged its reputation on. All these producers make their first appearances here, but you wouldn't know it listening to the quality of the tracks on offer. Rafael Kasma's "Static Rope" is a quintessential grooving house jam with some killer filtered chords, while Munir Nadir brings the twitchy minimalism vibes on "Milagro". Jackie is on a sultry, jazzy deep house tip with "Lune" and Mag0 rounds things off with the cheeky, quirky funk of "Spectrum".
Review: The always on-point SlapFunk continues its sixth round of Raw Joints with another four razor sharp jams from a gifted contingent of contemporary producers. Lopaski actually delivers something with the delicacy of Jan Jelinek's finest early micro house productions, but strapped to a more pronounced rhythmic undercarriage. Pascal Benjamin gets into a quintessential minimal house groove that sounds right at home on SlapFunk, while JAMM brings a tougher set of beats to the table. SE62 rounds things off with the loose and limber shuffle of "Fear", which doffs a cap to garage while keeping things dark and deadly.
Review: For the 20th release of the Valencian label Oblack, it is over to Los Pastores aka Snna and Nacho Arauz/Juliche Hernandez from the Canary Islands (DownHill Music). They gather up all their talents to come up with one of the most clubby, dance floor oriented tracks from the label thus far. "Bigger Easy" is classic late noughties style minimal that's big on druggy elements plus those pitch shifted vocals (a la Marc Houle) are a worthy addition. On the flip, "Get Back" is a funky electro house jam with a buzzy synth lead and bumpy bassline over its tight groove, plus those subtle disco influences thrown in for good measure work a treat. The remix by Japanese guy in Berlin, Tomoki Tamura, is the real winner on there though. Here he takes the track into reductionist afterhours territory, with all its dusty and sparsely hypnotic elements working in harmony.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.