Review: Ed Davenport's Counterchange imprint is back with a label compilation that demonstrates a wide variety of techno derivatives by a stellar cast. From scene legends such as UK innovator Boddika (with his hypnotic and textural epic "Broken Wave)" and elder statesman Patrik Skoog with the functional, peak-time cyclicality of "Mind Control". For more heady and atmospheric flavours, they have you covered courtesy of Puglia's Distant Echoes on the utterly sublime "Under The Influence" while Acing Seas main men Cassegrain team up with the inimitable Tin Man on the heady acid epic "Opal Stare".The harder edged, dancefloor ready weapons are provided by label head honcho Davenport on the retro, bleep driven "Fluxus", while BNJMN's abrasive "Red Tide" hammers the message home on this true beast that reaches near tribal moments.
Review: Tony Rodriguez has many strings to his bow already as Brothers' Vibe and the head of Mixx Records, and now he's embarking on a new venture in the shape of the Toad Red label. Focused on a harder-edged sound than the deep house he's normally associated with, Rodriguez has invited Esther Duijn and youANDme to join in the fun with some finely crafted techno for open-minded dancefloors. Meanwhile there's an original BV jam in the shape of "Dee's Drama", while Rodriguez also unveils a new modular-focused alias named Silent Rodgerz. It's a new chapter for the New Jersey mainstay, and it promises exciting things to come in the future.
Review: Under the Yak alias, Steel City producer John Randall has previously plied his wares on Version, 3024 and R&S, offering up distinctively percussive tracks that sit somewhere between techno and bass music. His latest outing - this time for Phonica Records - delivers more hard-to-pigeonhole goodness for discerning dancefloors. Opener "Zip" peppers African style tribal drums and raw Motor City techno bass with the kind of ear-catching bleeps that were once a Steel City staple, before the jumpy and upbeat "Guevenne Groove" wraps positive, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs around sweaty, loose-limbed live drumming. "Fret" is a spaced out, bass-heavy two-step number laden with intergalactic electronics and undulating bass, while closing cut "Gerudo" brilliantly joins the dots between tribal rhythms and shimmering deep house.
Review: The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that the four cuts showcased here made up the first 12" of Indigo Aera's recent Lost Archives Special box-set. Like most of the rest of that expansive package, these tracks are exclusive and previously unreleased. The quality threshold is undeniably high: check, for example, the glistening, beat-less ambient positivity of Yamaoka's "Dragon Robe", and the glacial melodiousness of Skudge's rolling techno shuffler, "November". Those looking for a darker, slightly more intense take on techno should head for Museum's throbbing "RA", while label co-founder Jasper Wolff's "Float" is a study in classic, dub-influenced techno hypnotism.
Review: KUMP's second multi-artist extravaganza - the Lyon-based label's first such exercise for two years -brings together tracks from a quintet of eccentric experimentalists. Clanking, horror-inspired creepiness is provided from the start via Jon The Baptist's lolloping "Hear No Evil", while those looking for some chugging, mid-tempo dancefloor sleaze should make a beeline for Maahrt's "Davardage". Elsewhere, Stove's "Chief of Nine Sisters" is an industrialist's take on tropical music with a suitably pagan twist, and Yssue and Yaws' contributions both sound like contemporary re-inventions of Nitzer Ebb style electronic body music (albeit with a touch more inherent looseness).
Review: The second 12" on Moscow-based mystery label Private Persons comes from Youngg P, a Ukraine-based DJ/producer whose debut release dropped on Kiev House a couple of years back. On the four tracks showcased here, he shows a good grasp of analogue house and techno dynamics. "Carpathian Rave" is a quirky, off-kilter jacker rich in buzzing electronics, liquid acid riffs and bustling house percussion, while "Ocean" fits the stargazing electronics of vintage Motor City techno to the saucer-eyed melodiousness of vintage Italian deep house. Meanwhile, creepy flipside "War" sounds like it was inspired by a mix of L.I.E.S style distorted techno and 1980s industrial funk. As for closer "Masher Track", it's a full-throated exploration of clanking, drum machine techno.
Review: Icelandic producer Yagya (AKA reclusive producer Aoalsteinn Guomundsson) doesn't release very much, with four studio albums and a lone single the sum of 12 years productivity. However, what he does release is usually top notch. Sleepygirls, his fifth album and first for Delsin, is predictably good, delivering warm, sensual, melodious, dub-inflected techno and undulating, ultra-deep house. Grooves shuffle, electronics drift between speakers, melodies bubble and chords float off into the ether. It's the kind of album to stick on while the sun's coming up, or as you're easing yourself into the day following a heavy session the night before. Any many ways it's as sleepy as the title suggests, but in the most beguiling way.
Review: Almost five years has passed since now legendary Japanese producer Susumu Yokota passed away. Lo Recordings, who worked with the experimental electronica, techno and ambient artist over a number of years, have decided to mark the occasion by releasing a posthumous album made up of recently discovered - and previously unreleased - Yokota recordings made around the same time as 2002 set "The Boy and the Tree". While there has been a little post-production work by label founder Jon Tye, those familiar with Yokota's work wouldn't be able to tell. Otherworldly, imaginative and hugely emotional in tone, the ten included tracks flit between neo-classical inspired Japanese minimalism, pastoral soundscapes, gentle new age aural dreams and the kind of hushed, life-affirming ambient works that were once Yokota's trademark.
Review: Sadly departed producer Susumu Yokota made and released some breathlessly brilliant music during his lifetime. Acid Mt Fuji, a 1994 album released in the earliest stages of his recording career, is one of the strongest examples. Here, it gets a first ever vinyl release, some 24 years after the CD edition started appearing in Japanese record stores. In typical fashion, the eleven tracks on offer brilliantly combine elements of ambient, creepy horror soundtracks, IDM and Hardfloor style hard acid with beats that veer from intense and full throttle, to skewed and experimental. It's testament to the album's timeless nature that it doesn't sound like it has aged one bit. In a word: essential.
Review: Osaka's Koshiro "YPY" Hino built his reputation on a series of fearlessly experimental cassette releases, before breaking cover to deliver a 12" of frazzled techno on Nous last year. Zurhyrethm marks his long-form vinyl debut, and contains eight suitably experimental tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. While there are clear tropical influences, a humid feel and nods towards the visceral pleasures of ambient, Hino's greatest strength is his eccentric drum programming. Zurhyrethm's dense - but often subtly mixed - percussive backing dominates throughout, with nods to African and South American rhythms, Sweet Exorcist's C.C.CD-era "clonk techno" (look it up), and the metallic clanking of classic industrial music.