Review: Following some standout solo releases from Rodhad and Recondite, the Dystopian camp take the various artists approach for their fourth release. First on the list is Alex Do, a young DJ who has evidently found kindred spirits in the Dystopian crew, and this EP provides the chance or them to showcase his debut production, "Concrete", a minimalistic combination of rigid kicks and claps, together with eerie morse code bleeps. Dystopian regular Rodhad returns with "The Wall", a fairly epic track which revolves around a slowly swelling tide of monotone synth horns which grow to monolithic proportions. However, the EP's standout moment belongs to Felix K, who leaves the experimental D&B stylings of his usual releases behind for a clattering 4/4 roller filled with his usual blend of tough beats and gentle ambience.
Review: Leonard "Big Strick" Strickland is perhaps best known for his family ties with Omar-S (they're cousins), though his productions are well worthy of praise in their own right. Here, he offers up a sampler 12" featuring cuts from his recent (and excellent) Reservoir Dogs LP. Perhaps the most noteworthy cut is "Family Affair", a lovingly constructed chunk of hypnotic, melodic deepness written with Omar-S. That said, Strick's solo effort "Armed & Dangerous" - a winding chunk of voodoo techno - is arguably better. The mazy techno-funk of Reckless Ron Cook's "Night Moves" is also outstanding.
Review: Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic train keeps on rolling, this time via the LTDX series which reaches its second station stop with two more dubbed out dancefloor delights for the deepest divers. O'Sullivan dons his Bluetrain guise to deliver the UK steppers-indebted "Armchair Analyst," which artfully folds subtle dubwise influences into its minimal techno construction. On the flip side, Roger Gerressen spaces things out good and proper with the slow-stalking groove of "Long Overdue," fusing the best elements of contemporary minimal and classic dub to create a fine extension of the Rhythm & Sound blueprint.
Review: Fragrant Harbour once again dig out a cult gem from the seemingly endless vaults of 90s dance music, picking up on a rare and precious gem from a seminal Laurent Garnier mix and giving it the remaster and reissue it deserves. The artists responsible, Broccoli Brothers vs Righteous Men, hailed from Germany and were trying to emulate Mike Dunn. "Catch It (Calm Manoeuvre)" is a spaced out deep house track with all the gritty impact of a classic jam, while "Catch It (Jam)" gets decidedly rowdy with its hefty kick, jacked up swing and wonky bassline. On the B side "Ruhrschnellweg (Last Exit Stahlhausen Mix)" brings a little Detroit flavour into the mix with spectacular, uplifting results.
David Last - "All That's Left" (feat Lavender - dance mix) (5:51)
Review: Besides its inimitable name, Hobo Camp has had a pretty unbeatable first few years in the game, switching up the electro sound with shades of loopy house and techno. These guys have released over two dozen EPs since 2016, and are showing no signs of stopping if this new collaborative release is anything to by! Pumping the vibes through with utter ease, Run The Length Of Your Wilderness is a daring, rip-roaring amalgamation of tech-driven sounds that span just about every quality corner of the game. "The Industrial City", from Cherushii, moans and weeps with a fragile acid bassline over broken percussion beats, while Nackt's "Next" floats at a house tempo, driven forwards by a winding bass from the darkest corners of the 4/4 game. On the flip, Roche's "One For Cherushii" bigs up his counterpart with a deep, aqueous house chugger, and David Last's "All That's Left" drops a clean, sparkly prog house groover for the lovers.
Review: Rather unexpectedly, the third CVX release, to date, comes through on Berceuse Heroique, an imprint which seems to be following and replicating just about any genre or sub-culture form the past, making it a perfect example of post-post-modernism in action. Zibaldone III of CVX, a serious previously restricted to the Laura Lies In label, is undoubtedly a wild and wicked concoction of nebulous sonics that are all driven by a toxic, merciless percussion which spews from all angles with a certain mechanical fashion. It's an honourable third edition of the series, and we hope this marks a beginning of a new dawn for CVX. Wicked style.
Heretic - "We Are Left To Dance In The Ashes" (7:45)
Review: In Celebration of 10 years of Modularz We present a very special 40th vinyl release, focusing more on the deeper side of the label pushing a more melodic and chord progressive sound. Written and produced by label head Developer, Ukrainian producer Rhomb and new comers Astronomical Telegram from Colombia and Heretic from the UK. Together compile a great compilation that will destroy floors for years to come.
Review: No-nonsense German label EXT has gone back to basics here, delivering their first split-artist EP since 2016. DJ Gonzo and Dr Yes handle side A, unfurling a tactile but wonky techno jack-track ("Ring Center") full of jaunty, all action synth-bass, bleeping computer electronics, fluttering synth riffs and clanking drum machine beats that doff a cap to both Chicago jack and Motor City futurism. Rough Thought takes over on side B, charging through a bustling combination of rising and falling intergalactic synth lines, deep space chords, surging arpeggio bass and a drum track so sweaty that it could have been laid down by a drummer who has just downed four cans of the world's most repulsive energy drink.
Review: Pampa offshoot Hart & Tief launched earlier in the year, via a split 12" featuring tracks by Soulphiction and Mike Denhert. This time round, fellow German producers DJ Koze and Robag Wruhme are at the controls. Koze kicks things off with "Driven", a clanking, booty-shaking fusion of metallic percussion hits, resonating electronics, dub techno motifs, and minimalist textures. It feels a little like a contemporary Berlin take on early '90s Sheffield "clonk" (think Sweet Exorcist's Clonk's Coming album on Warp), which is no bad thing in our book. Wruhme's "X-mop 198" is a much more straightforward, early morning techno bubbler, albeit with similarly clanking percussion hits amongst the thumping kick drums and restless, one-note riffs.
Review: ** FLOORPLAN REPRESS ** It's fair to say that this was one of the best Robert Hood moments in a while! Just two tracks but boy do they hit hard - "Altered Ego" is more brakey than the usual Hood bombs but he's kept the inimitable chords, all wailing and weaving their way through the beat. The real heat is on the flip however, where the nostalgic, rave-infused piano keys of "Confess" make for a certified classic! Is it Hood who influenced Shed on this sort of beat or the other way around? Who cares, it's bloody amazing!
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Jaunt Records' 10 year celebrations are spanning a series of 12"s that feature a broad spectrum of artists searching for the ultimate deep techno fix. The four contenders that occupy this Sea release all have their own agenda, but they sit together perfectly. Hiver weaves illustrious pads in between nimble electro drums and bubbling acid bass, while Artefakt creates eerie, fractured acid meanderings to send a shiver down your spine. Hinode does some deft break choppage to create a dreamy trip for the up all night crew, and then Region rolls the record out on an emotive tip while keeping the rhythm section pumped up for the floor.
Review: Speak to anyone on the Bristol scene, and they'll happily tell you that Jacob Martin AKA Hodge is willing to open his studio doors to almost any like-minded soul. His latest collaborator is the similarly productive Randomer, fresh from inspired outings on Clone Basement Series and Dekmantel UFO Series. There's a real energy about A-side "Second Freeze", which slowly builds on waves of punchy, polyrhythmic percussion and creepy noises, before bringing in a similarly bold and speaker-hugging bassline. The talented duo goes ever further in this African-influenced direction of thrillingly percussive flipside "Simple As", where additional drum hits pepper a dense, polyrhythmic groove. It's one of the best drum records we've heard this year, and that's saying something.
Junior Fairplay - "End Of Love" (Roy Of The Ravers remix 2) (4:46)
Freeform Five - "Throwing Stones" (Jamie Paton remix) (7:23)
Red Axes - "Waiting For A Surprise" (Kris Baha remix) (7:21)
Bal5000 - "Kids" (7:26)
Review: (Emotional) Especial heralds its 30th release with a killer package from an all-star cast that takes in label regulars and newcomers alike. The vibe starts heated and heavy with modern acid champ Roy Of The Ravers taking a blunt instrument or two to Junior Fairplay's "End Of Love," firing off the kind of bludgeoning b-line and fizzing drums that makes his direct approach to the dancefloor so potent. It's somewhat surprising to see Freeform Five pop up on this 12", but Jamie Paton's remix of "Throwing Stones" sounds utterly natural in the habitat - a brooding, simmering trip shot through with noirish synths. Kris Baha gets busy with Red Axes' "Waiting For A Surprise," twisting out an exotic bubbler perfect for the low tempo chugging crowd, and then Bal5000 wraps things up with the gorgeous electro-disco delights of "Kids".