Review: Building on the momentum of the strong reissue programme undertaken at Thule Records HQ, Thor returns to the fray with some new productions that add a new chapter to the story of Icelandic techno. This limited run of Decay appropriately comes on marbled grey vinyl. Of course, the unique atmosphere the label carved out in the 90s has been left intact - the dubby processing and icy melodies abound throughout, creating utterly immersive techno and house variations in the process. "Insanity Dub" has a live feel to its drum set which injects a curious disco energy into the mix, while "Rusty Flashback" takes things in a subtle tech house direction. "Garden Of Corrosion" stands apart with its slender sound palette, placing the emphasis on groove and swing, while "Pepper Jones" ramps the dub techno exploration up to 11. If you love the sound of Thule, you're going to love this.
Review: Stephen Laubner never fails to deliver the goods, whether on his own label Something or elsewhere. Having recently popped up on The Untold Stories, this time around he's dropping his uniquely crusty compositions on Synthetic Gold. After a quietly disconcerting ambient opening, the leftfield grind of "The Taphead" pushes an uncompromising agenda of ragged bass and an unrelenting groove. "October Sunrise" by way of contrast is a more intimate, sweet natured affair. "Syntax Error" too taps into the softer side of Laubner's craft in a most mesmerizing of ways, but for the die hard fans fear not, there's also plenty of locked groove loops included to keep you tripping into infinity.
Review: The singles accompanying Mr C's celebrated return to the album format keep on coming, this time drafting in some noted names to deliver remixes of "Ripple Effect". First up is Marc Houle who employs some of his trademark creepy bass tones to underpin a purposeful, driving slice of darkside party music. Noel Jackson is equally on edge with his version, although it's a more stripped down and sped up affair that borders on electro in its sense of tightly wound urgency. Chloe gets the run of the B-side to lay down a more varied remix that uses some punchy disco elements to create a more light hearted outlook on Mr C's original jam.
Review: Long-serving Italian deep house producer Enrico Mantini has been in the game for a long time, first dropping bombs back in the early 90s, but his career has enjoyed a powerful second wind in the past few years with appearances on Half Baked, 4 Lux and more besides. Having released the Inner Heights EP on PURISM earlier in 2017, Mantini returns with an album of immersive, tripped out grooves supposedly recorded live at Tresor in Berlin. The vibe is consistently deep, refined and just a little bit trippy for the minimal house crowd to go head first into.
Review: The fifth instalment of the Hoxton Records story turns to Alan Castro, who has already had a busy year appearing on the likes of For Club, STAMP and Soundterasse. The vibe is stripped down and unhinged on this record, with lead track "El Avion De La Mentira" unfurling in a strange tapestry of samples, found sounds and off kilter synth rubs strapped to a crafty set of drums. Modebaku delivers a more streamlined version of the track that keeps things freaky, but much more linear than the wayward original. "Sequela" on the flip is no slouch in the adventurous department either, with swathes of modulating tones and wild sonic matter flinging around a funky shuffle, which Ted Amber then dutifully bolsters with a rubbery b-line on his more functional but still daring version.
Review: Asad Rizvi's bountiful archive of names and tunes continues to yield more fruit, this time in the shape of his Asadinho alias on regular haunt RvS. The bleeps cut through the shuffling drums on the Silverlining Mix of "When We Come To It" in a flurry of late night tech house finery. The original mix of the track is a tougher, slower twist with a straight-ahead groove but plenty of funk drizzled in between the joints. "Koppaitch" spreads itself across the B-side with a sizzling disco groove and more of those mean-tempered synths that project a dark and seedy side to Rizvi's many-sided musical dice.
Review: De Grey launched last year with a 12" from Webstarr, and now it follows up with the raw, rough and ready sound of Jack Angle. "Week-End" is a lithe, percussive beast of a track that matches bloated kicks with glassy hits for a tracky but distinctive end result. "6PNHHPE" is a looped up, off-kilter affair that sports an industrial techno thread but heads into stranger territory with ease. "Stablilizer" is a more balanced, melodic affair but again those distinctive metallic tones pervade the mix and inject some real character into Angle's music. "Selta" takes this approach and whips it up into the most lively, peak-time minded belter on the whole record, sneakily tucked away on the B2.
Review: Proudly positioned as a label dedicated to showcasing emerging talent within the realms of dark and dubby minimal techno, FarFromNormal return with their second release of the year. This time they're providing a platform to Nice N Trick & Sacke, who make the most of the vinyl space with two long form tracks that demonstrate just how much talent they have to offer. "Senor Memories" is a tribally-inflected experience sprinkled with off-kilter samples atop a driving techy backbone, while "Viola Profonda" steers a more streamlined course through crisp drums and nerve-jangling violin on a one way trip into the heart of the night.
Review: London-based Italian duo Konstress are back with their third release on their self-titled imprint, and it once again shows the pair progressing with a dynamic, detailed and original approach to stripped down dance music. The first track pits a stuttering groove against blown out keys and a smorgasbord of errant synth noises, and those noises jump across to the second track to plot a course through a highly textured, ominous soundscape where the drums have been left behind. The B1 track sports a tough, crooked groove and warm, sci-fi synth tones while the B2 takes a more eerie direction into deep and dingy techno. A classy, highly developed record for adventurous souls.
Review: Josefine Hellstrom Hansson's debut track "Water Cave" on HMWLA received ADJ support from AIlario Alicante, Robert Babicz, Piemont, Slam, Paco Osuna, Horse Meat Disco, Nick Warren, Gabriel Ananda and Ame. Now the Malmo-based producer and DJ readies a three track techno / house EP on HMWL's vinyl sublabel Heartbreak Records. On A-side alongside "Water Cave" Josefine offers a peak hour techno weapon called "Sensus". On B-side we find the smooth melodic "Volcanics" at 118 BPM while fellow swede Martinez deconstructs Sensus into a jazzy, mellow piece of minimal tech.
Review: After launching into Memory Box with aplomb on the deadly Acid Stomp 12", Robin Ball steps up on the London-based imprint once again with the saucy tones of his latest four track EP. "Drop It Down Low" and its accompanying dub mix are classy twists on the tech house formula that lean towards old-skool methods while keeping the sleaze factor ramped up high. "Remember" takes a more tripped out tribal approach, with the "Vibes mix" providing a more subtle twist to the warm, melodic undulations of the full fat version. It's an EP loaded with personality and flair for sophisticated dancefloors.
Review: Mr Cloudy has a sizable back catalogue on labels like Entropy, Dubwax and Millions Of Moments, and now he's been snapped up by Local Traffic to impart his sumptuous dubby wares across four tracks. "Memoria I" and "Memoria II" let the A-side simmer in a bubbling broth of dub techno ambience, all shimmering chords undergoing heavyweight processing. "Sprayer I" is still immensely mellow, although a little rhythmic pulse creeps its way into earshot via the movement of the gravelly chords, and then "Sprayer II" rounds the EP off with something approaching a beat-oriented excursion through the same billowing clouds of dub techno finery.
Review: Having built their reputation through 12" singles for the likes of Crosstown Rebels and Poker Flat, Dan Berkson and James What deliver their debut album, on their freshly minted imprint Modelmaker. Interestingly, Keep Up Appearances is an altogether warmer, melodious and more evocative set than you'd perhaps expect, with a smattering of rich downtempo cuts joining a solid selection of dancefloor-friendly deep house. You can hear a classic dub techno influence in cuts such as "Keep Up Appearances" and "Shadow Theory", while the acid-flecked, soul-soaked "Make It True" sounds like classic Osunlade. Best of all, though, are the more forthright efforts, with the ragged "Seraphim" standing out.
Review: After recent releases on the Save Fabric album, Alola & Jack Trax, Mr.C has delved deep into his musical psyche to deliver an acid master-class that's influenced by Ska, Dub, Electro, Italo Disco, Acid House & Tech House, bringing his roots up to date with this massive modern production. Incidents is about things that can happen while clubbing. Down-tempo tracks Entry Search, A Civil Dose & Quick Exit will dub you out. Slightly quicker Acid Fever & Stand Up will completely groove you & dance tracks Do It For Me, Disco Rebellion, Shape Your Dreams, Raid, Ripple Effect & Master Of The Universe will make you dance like no-one's watching. Incidents is the complete electronic album that pulls all the punches, gives a nod to the past & yet has it's feet firmly embedded in the future. This is easily Mr.C's best solo work to date & essential listening.