Review: Sweden's Hypnus Records has been going strong since last year, delivering an impressive 10 records in this period! Although the label is coated in the Northern hemisphere's cold outlook, they've scouted a number of artists from different regions of Europe. Their latest offering brings a second volume of their Adepts series, lead by label casual Luigi Tozzi and "Hierophant" which finds the Italian in a deep, ethereal mood with those lamenting pads and gently cascading beats. On the flip, "Kykeon" by Feral brings some subtle bursts of acid to the fore over calming deep techno rhythms, with BLNDR's "Tomb" occupying a similar, mood enhancing mindscape.
Review: To coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Berlin club Tresor, Juan Atkins and Moritz Von Oswald have released a second Borderland album together. It begins in ominous mode, with the title track's brooding bass tones casting a long, dark shadow, but the pair soon find a way to break away from the gloom with the mesmerising chords and heavy rhythm of "Lightyears" and the wonderfully spacey Detroit techno of "Riod". Both "Odyssey" and "Merkur" push the tempo back down but keep an emphasis on hypnotic, woozy textures, snappy drums and jazzy tones, while "2600" shows that Van Oswald hasn't lost his ability to craft dub-heavy, dreamy techno.
Review: Second time around for B12's superb sophomore set, the dystopian, sci-fi themed "Time Tourist". On its initial release in 1996, the album was marketed as a 22nd century "educational soundtrack" to the "primitive past" (I.E the late 20th century). It's a theme entirely in keeping with the original ethos of Detroit techno, and it's no surprise that the accompanying music offered a typically "Artificial Intelligence"-era slant on the Motor City sound, re-imagining the work of the Belleville three as a killer suite of ambient techno, intelligent techno and dreamy ambient cuts. This edition has been expanded by the addition of four previously unheard tracks that originally missed the cut, all of which are as breathtakingly good as those that did. In a word: essential.
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: Like Delsin label mates Conforce and Claro Intelecto, veteran producer John Beltran seems incapable of producing duff albums. "Hallo Androiden", his first full length outing for two years, is another wonderfully atmospheric, melodic and emotive set that recalls the producer's impeccable 1990s output. The nine tracks are as lushly produced as you'd expect, with Beltran effortlessly drifting between eyes-closed ambient techno, lilting electronica, slowly shifting sunset soundscapes and the kind of grandiose, life affirming ambient compositions that have long been a feature of the veteran producer's work. As with much of his output, there are enough intricate details and emotion-stirring motifs to suggest that the album will sound just as good on the 50th listen as it does the first.
Review: Ten Days Of Blue is John Beltran's second LP to date, from a distant-not-so-distant 1996, when a rush of neo-techno - on an intelligent tip - began to rush over the scene. The opening "Flex" is one of the greatest of its kind, a near 7 minute voyage of sparse drums, heavy bass and a level of euphoria that is close to match anywhere else. The truth is, however, that every tune on here is absolute fire, from the gentle IDM waves of "Collage Of Dream", the jazzed-out percussion of "Gutaris Breeze (6000km To Amsterdam)" and, of course, the knifty, pseudo d&b of "Ten Days Of Blue". There is so much more to explore, too, including the totally innovative techno of "Venim & Wonder". This gear really does sound like it was made the other day. Warmly recommended.
Review: Honey Soundsystem's Dezier comes correct with this immaculately detailed debut album. From the circuit board presentation to the album narrative itself Parler Music is a lavish affair that stretches the perception of everything we've learnt about him on labels such as Cin Cin, HNYTRX and Public Release. Back again on Dark Entities (where it all began for this alias five years ago) Parler Music is a fluorescent romp through tempos and emotions; the white knuckle synthwave of "Un Subalterne Insubordonne", the iced-out electro of "Teleconference", the sleazy off-beat slinks and triumphant chords of "Entr'acte", the pregnant cosmosis of "Une Salade Oblongue", the list of immersive synthscapes and stories goes on. A genuinely beautiful debut album.
Review: The big man on campus returns! Fast becoming a staple on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, the Glaswegian producer throws down an impressive full length demonstrating the diversity within his musical repertoire - and count us in as fans. From the deep and soulful late night house of "Our House" which will have you 'doin' the wiggly worm', Afrobeat meets Innervisions styled melodic house on "Hammond Groove" while "High Heavens" explores classic neon-lit electro aesthetics from the '80s. There's even some harder stuff in there, like demonstrated on "The Great Beast" that's a slow burning early '90s style techno jam (which blows the bloody doors off!) and "Gear Tension" which throws in more hallmarks of the golden era such as 303 acid and Joey Beltram styled mentasms.
Review: Moto Music round off a cracking year with this essential collection of deep diving techno finery from Bigeneric, one of Marco Repetto's many long-lasting aliases. The Swiss polymath is a dab hand at wringing illustrious machine soul out of his machines, whether it be crafty, head-snagging rhythms or plush and expressive threads of synth work, and on this double pack you get an abundance of both. With one foot firmly in the heritage of Detroit and the other gazing into the stellar orbit of the finest European techno dreamers, this is elegant, thoughtful electronic music of the highest order.
Review: Since the early 1990s, Marco Repetto has been releasing material under a wide variety of aliases, most notably Bigeneric and Planet Love. Now, almost 30 years after his debut release, the Swiss producer has brought the two projects together on one hugely impressive set. Fables of Robotics contains a mix of previously unheard material from both projects, plus material that has never before been committed to vinyl. It's a hugely satisfying and entertaining affair that sprints between spacey, tuneful takes on classic Detroit techno, trippy, off-kilter late night deepness, proto-progressive house, deep space ambient and mid-'90s style British "intelligent techno". There's much to admire throughout and little in the way of filler. In other words, it's a fine release from a hugely talented and storied producer.
Review: Since the first pressing of Binh's Ship of Imagination double-pack sold out at the tail end of 2016, demand for the record has rocketed online. Happily, My Own Jupiter owners Edume and Nicolas Lutz has bowed to demand and quickly sorted out this re-press. It's a fine record, with the producer effortlessly blending elements of Detroit techno, electro and chunky deep house rhythms with the kind of spacey synthesizer sounds and razor-sharp TB-303 lines most commonly found in early '90s British "intelligent techno" records. In other words, it's sounds like the kind of set that could have been released around 1994 by one of the greats of our scene.
Review: Luscious, densely layered dub techno here from Germany's Patrick Wurster on a full length release. There's the reverberated downbeat bliss of "Playground Mystery", the impressive homage to Basic Channel on "Unite" (complete with Tikiman soundalike Ray Darwin) and "Ear Traffic Control". "Reduce Resist" and "Turquoise Blue" are the kind of sublime and immersive exercises in deep bass therapy that would impress Rod Modell himself. The title track closes out proceedings with the kind of delightfully smoked out vibes learned from listening to Rhythm & Sound that are often imitated but never matched. Biodub puts in a pretty damn fine effort though, we'll say!
Review: Geir Jensson's debut album under the now familiar Biosphere alias, Microgravity, has long been considered something of a classic of the early '90s ambient boom. First released in 1991, it offered an icy but suitably atmospheric mix of chilly ambience, British-style "intelligent techno" and crystalline IDM. To celebrate 25 years since it was recorded (it was released a year later, in 1991), Geir Jensson has re-mastered it and, with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, pressed it onto a double CD minus the cross-fades and sound effects featured on the original pressing. Happily, Microgravity has lost none of its allure.
Review: Geir Jensson's debut album under the now familiar Biosphere alias, Microgravity, has long been considered something of a classic of the early '90s ambient boom. First released in 1991, it offered an icy but suitably atmospheric mix of chilly ambience, British-style "intelligent techno" and crystalline IDM. To celebrate 25 years since it was recorded (it was released a year later, in 1991), Geir Jensson has re-mastered it and, with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, pressed it onto a double CD minus the cross-fades and sound effects featured on the original pressing. Happily, Microgravity has lost none of its' allure, and the superb re-mastering ensures
Review: Originally released in 1994, Biosphere's second album Patashnik, as we would later find out, was only the beginning. Geir Jenssen's Biosphere project has since become a name that rolls off the tongue alongside Brian Eno when talk of ambient comes to the table, and the use of vocals in tracks like "Phantasm" and "Startoucher" are as memory jogging as Marshall Jefferson's "Mushrooms". The music here provides a snapshot of Biosphere's sound before he committed a decade's worth of albums to UK label Touch. For a '90s take on things, you could day "SETI Project" has aged better than "Mestigoth", while the nebulous to deep classical tones and bluey-hues of productions like "Decryption", "Patashnik" and "Mir" remain timeless.
Review: Closely affiliated with Nina Kraviz's trip label, Icelandic maverick Bjarki has managed to carve out a unique identity for himself in the hustle and bustle of contemporary electronic music. Following three full-length releases back in 2016, he now appears on !K7 with a new album that shows off the depth and breadth of his idiosyncratic vision. From curious ambient excursions peppered with rich sound design to spooked out boogie and deconstructed techno, sometimes within the same track, Bjarki has ably cemented his reputation as one of the scene's most intriguing operatives. Just take a trip on the fractured breaks and looming pads of "AN6912" and marvel at the originality.
Review: While Hendrick Grothe's Blac Kolor output is usually reserved for his own Basic Unit Productions, he has recently stepped out onto new, and highly suitable, imprints that span the entirety of the wider 'industrial' domain. Hands Productions, from Germany, is one such label that seems to work very well with Grothe's bottomless array of deathly sonics, and Awakening marks his first LP outside of BUP. These 14 tracks are well-balanced and well-placed, rising in momentum with each new kick drum; our favourites have to be "Loneliness", a downpour of industrial dread ike no other, "Awakening" itself for the quasi-techno approach, and the harsh, violent kicks of "Nano Creator". All together, this is shaping up to be a rather special affair to have on our shelves. 500 numbered copies, so act fast!
Review: While Black Dog founder Ken Downie has rarely been one to talk candidly in the press, his current studio partners, Martin and Richard Dust, have been known to deliver angry missives on a variety of topics. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that the trio's latest album- their first for nearly three years - appears to have been inspired by the current state of politics and the media. Full of knowing track titles, melancholic refrains, frustrated rhythms, dystopian soundscapes and angry motifs, the album's thought-provoking intent is rather overshadowed by the quality of the music on offer. You'll find bustling electro, end-of-days ambient, rushing cinematic techno, IDM and the kind of hard-to-pigeonhole fare that inspired then NME journalist Mixmaster Morris to come up with the now familiar "intelligent techno" tag.