Review: Saucer-eyed rave revivalists Tone Dropout can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods, especially if you're looking for sweaty, energy-packed slabs of warehouse ready techno, acid and electro. The label's latest missive is packed to the rafters with such giddy and forthright fare, to the bleeping, mind-altering insanity of Dawl & Sween's acid-fired throb-job "Laser Guided", to the "Bleep and Breaks" pressure of Samuel Padden's bustling "Quad Damage", to the stripped-back machine techno heaviness of Daif's similarly bleepy "Mysterious Freakin History". Elsewhere, the Ascot/WW track sits somewhere between early breakbeat hardcore and ambient techno, while Skywave Transmission v XOTR's "Warehouse 101" lives up to its name. Serious heat!
Review: Back in the summer, XAN made his debut on Ron Wilson's 777 imprint via a forthright but pleasingly varied EP full of subtle techno variations. This follow-up for Private Persons is seemingly inclined, moving from the gut-twisted sub-bass pulses, starburst electronics and curious drum machine programming of "PP", to the skittish, breakbeat-driven lo-fi techno assault of "B2B". In between, the publicity-shy, Moscow-based producer variously turns his hand to loose-and-funky, bass-heavy broken techno ("Gallery"), metallic electro ("C") and swinging, intelligent techno influenced late night science ("Hotbed"). Throughout, the tracks retain an impressively atmospheric feel and speaker-bothering weightiness.
Review: Despite an impressive discography and a well-deserved reputation for crafting high quality techno and electro, Lee Xhin's releases have been few and far between in recent years. In fact, this wonderful four-tracker is the sometime Token, Stroboscopic Artefacts and Semantica artist's first release for two years. It sees him exploring the potential of dancefloor futurism by flitting between melodious, piano-sporting electro/techno fusion (the surprisingly melancholic "Everythingremains"), punchy but spacey peak-time electro ("Vision Electrified"), angular and mind-altering modular experimentation (twisted, beat-free closing cut "Dust") and moody, off-kilter breakbeat techno (electro influenced roller "IKNx2", where strummed shoegaze guitar motifs rise above claustrophobic chords and pummeling drums).
Review: Gifted Culture Collective member and occasional S. Moreira collaborator Xinner has decided to inaugurate a new alias, Robotron, via a first EP for ESP Institute. The man-machine's first missive, "Dream Resonator", is rather delightful, and sees him warp chiming, crystalline synthesizer melodies and glassy-eyed IDM style chords around an inventive and entertaining rhythm track that sits somewhere between Drexciya style electro and jazz-fired broken beat. The same rhythmical dexterity is also at the heart of similarly rush-inducing flipside "Ice", where bolder melodies and chunkier bass catch the ear alongside some suitably futurist electronics.
Review: There's a certain mysticism that hovers around Piramide Registrazioni, with its occult symbolism, mysterious artists and fuzzy, vintage sound. Label protagonist Xinner has been previously spotted alongside S. Moreira on Phonica Records, but here is sharing valuable wax space on Piramide 2 with Autre and Hawaiian Chips. Autre's version of old-skool deep house has an interesting urgency about it, and Hawaiian Chips turns out shimmering electro of the highest order. It's Xinner's tracks that stand out the most though, with synths straining under the weight of their own wobblyness and beats that punch out in clouds of reverb fog.
Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.
Electro Music Union - "Electroshock Mountain" (5:55)
Sinoesin - "Static Bodies" (4:57)
Sinoesin - "Angels Of Altitude" (part 2) (7:55)
Electro Music Union - "Immortal Cities" (4:30)
Review: For a brief period in 1993 and 1994, British imprint Metatone released some seriously good electronic music. The label was the work of former Jack Trax man Damon D'Cruz and J.M.Atkins, who wrote and produced almost all of the releases under aliases including Electro Music Union, Sinoesin and Xonox. This fine compilation from Cold Blow and AVA. Records showcases the best of this work, drifting between deep and intergalactic workouts (see the spacey ambient influences and pitched-down grooves of "Angels of Altitude (Part 1)"), blissful ambient techno ("Structures 1"), rush-inducing dancefloor positivity (the overwhelmingly good "Structures 3"), spacey ambient ("Descent") and heavyweight, post-bleep brilliance ("Electroshock Mountain").
Review: Given that XOR Gate is a new project from Drexciya member and all round Detroit legend Gerald Donald, we'd expect copies of Conic Sections to fly off the shelves. It helps, of course, that's the mini-album is little less than inspired. There are hints of Drexciya's alien electronics throughout, but little in the way of punchy TR-808 beats or booming bass. Instead, Donald treats us to a sublime selection of futurist soundscapes, experimental doodles, deep space ambient compositions and trippy, horror-influenced electronica. It's effectively the distilled essence of Motor City futurism with the dancefloor grooves removed and some creepy modular electronics thrown in. Which, we think you'll agree, is an enticing proposition.
Review: Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes' occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It's perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes - see the wonky industrial IDM of "Prophylaxis" and the beatless synth madness of "Gnome Circle" - but it's the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense "Hades Gates") that really stand out.