Review: Detroit's music history is littered with artists who never got their due props, and Mike 'Agent X' Clark is certainly one of them. His back catalogue is mighty, packed full of gems and rarely aired. Fortunately No Speakers know what's what, and they've invited Clark to drop some serious Motor City firepower on us, leading in with the aptly named pimp-chat-laden slow burner "The Heat". After the stunning original, label boss El Prevost steps up with a crooked drum funk take on the track before Ben Sims slams down a formidable techno jacker of a remix. Peter Rocket completes the set with an acidic breaks version for the wig-out crew.
Review: Since announcing their debut album on UK institution Ninja Tune earlier this year, Irish duo Bicep present the first single from the album in the form of title track "Aura". Said to have been created via a series of accidents while experimenting with a new studio setup, the track finally came together through trial and error and here is the wonderful result. A dark and sexy serving of dancefloor drama featuring 'hands in the air' style vintage synth melodies, life affirming strings and immaculate drum programming. It is sure to be one of 'those' tracks you're going to be hearing a lot of in the latter part of 2017 and beyond.
Review: Having previously starred on an unfeasibly large number of labels (including Rush Hour, Ovum, Liebe Detail and Burek), Kink adds another to the growing list. Cloud Generator marks his first appearance on Running Back, and contains, in the words of label boss Gerd Janson: "music for big rooms, wide eyes and small brains". In some ways, it's an apt description. Undeniably old skool in outlook, the EP's four main tracks variously doff a cap to vintage European techno (the blistering title track, which comes complete with many early '90s Belgian trademarks), hands-in-the-air, hardcore influenced techno (the saucer-eyed riffs and booming low end of "Diversion") and twinkling Balearic house ("Pocket Piano", which also gets a rave-era breakbeat re-touch).
Review: Veteran Swiss producer (and Character label boss) Sam Geiser aka Deetron makes his debut on Running Back, serving up yet more of his idiosyncratic hi-tech soul explorations. From the bass-driven disco muscle of "Body Electric" - all flanged rhythms and uplifting rave pianos galore, the pure euphoric energy of "T-Symmetry" and its unrepentant Motor City aesthetic, to epic B side cut "Txt" which channels the most emotive elements of Detroit's legacy. Comes complete with a "Beatless Version" - the kind of track you could imagine the likes of Derrick May or Laurent Garnier dropping in the middle of their set.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Smersh was the New Jersey duo Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard, who started out in the late 1970s. By 1981, their improvised live jams had already produced countless recordings and the duo began releasing cassettes via their own Atlas King label. Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond their native Piscataway, N.J. as their tapes made their way across the world and led to releases on dozens of other labels internationally. Josh Cheon & Co. describe the pair's sound as 'a lush hybrid of techno, industrial, dance, and experimental' although "Sideways" is an 18 minute long epic that dwells on the border between acid techno and breakneck electro in our opinion. There's a couple of modern reshapes too that are worth mentioning: James T Cotton's rave rendition injects some Amen breakbeats into it and comes off sounding like early U.R. circa '92. After all, he is from Detroit himself and would have lived through the period. He then dons the Charles Manier alias once again for an early EBM styled remix which was the winner for us.
Review: For the latest missive on their fast-rising DET313 label, Gary Martin and Yossi Amoyal have dug deep into the archives of Martin's long-running Teknotika Records imprint. First up on the A-side is a re-mastered version of "A City At Night", a Martin cut from 1990 that mixes the futurist intent of Motor City techno with chunkier, UK style techno grooves and the kind of stabs and musical flourishes more associated with Robert Hood or Terrence Parker records. Side B boasts a freshly extended edit of another Martin gem - this time under the Gigi Galaxy alias - from 1994. "The Dream" more than lives up to its title, with Martin wrapping restless bass, starry lead lines, alien electronics and sumptuous chords around a hypnotic deep techno groove.
Review: The ever-busy Rod Modell has a new album due on Soma later this month. Ahead of that set - his fourth for Slam's long-running label - he's decided to put out this taster 12". Curiously, though Atmospherica Volume 1 doesn't contain any tracks from that album, instead serving up three new treats. 12-minute A-side "Fargo" is undoubtedly the star attraction, offering a chunkier-than-usual take on his weed-enhanced dub techno grooves, paranoid textures and loopy electronics. "CMOS Therapy" is even more up-tempo in feel, with urgent rhythms, surging motifs and notably fizzing cymbals. Finally, "Night Song" sees Modell trek deep into the jungle for inspiration, returning with a muddy chunk of dub techno humidity.
Review: Andrea, Fedele and Luigi are Agents Of Time, who are back after a succession of wonderful releases on their Obscura imprint with this debut for Cologne institution Kompakt. The label has never been shy of exploring the enigmatic fringes of disco (in their own distinct way) and the Pugliese trio follow this convention by heading into galactic territory on 'Music Made Paradise'. Soar up high, deep into the stratosphere on the cosmic euphoria of "Drive Me Crazy" complete with classic vocoder lyrics, then dive into the rich Italian tradition of electronic disco sounds on the bittersweet dancefloor drama of "Under Control" awash in lush synth textures and hypnotic arpeggios. Finally, the moody night drive of "Interstate 10" is indeed a dark one, but stylishly illuminated with neon flourishes.
Review: Richie Hawtin once famously said "Vinyl is a pain in the ass" but here he is doing it again as Plastikman on the physical medium. The last album he made as under his revered alias came in 2003's Closer, and more than a decade later he provides EX, a seven-track LP recorded live at New York's Guggenheim Museum for a special performance at the invitation of fashion designer Raf Simons. From "EXposed" to "EXhale" each track varies in the way it beeps, bleeps and gurgles with super sweet acid. Italo synths take over in "EXtend" and "EXpand", while basslines and kooky electronics similar to Yello rise to the surface in "EXtrude". "EXplore" is a track for the Plastikman devotee while "EXpire" and it's climbing synth will be sure to drive the many festivals Hawtin plays this year toward pandemonium. Plastikman is back!
Review: When looking for someone to create a very special mix to celebrate Berghain's 15th birthday, Ostgut Ton turned to Luke Slater, a DJ/producer who has played in the infamous Berlin club more times than most. Slater decided to take a different approach, creating a slew of brand-new cuts out of samples and snippets of tracks buried within the German label's vast discography. These were then stitched together to form a mix that the label is making free to download from April 3rd. The "O-Ton Reassembled" tracks are superb though, hence this double 12" featuring the best of them. Mostly focused firmly on the dancefloor, they range from loop-heavy techno jack-tracks to pleasingly melodic and hypnotic affairs, via occasional forays into 21st century breakbeat science, polyrhthmic dancefloor slammers and fiendishly out-there dancefloor soundscapes.
Review: Although Omar S' excellent Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself album was released on CD a few months ago, it's the deluxe vinyl version that the real "Homie's and Tender Roni's" have been waiting for. Only Omar S could get away with spreading all of its 14 tracks across 4 12"s, split into two parts, but for those yet to sample its delights, the album's superb selection of tracks more than justifies the expense; Part 1 features the superb vocal turn from L'Renee on "Rewind", the insanely feelgood house of "The Shit Baby", the experimental dubbiness of "Helter Shelter" and thick set deep house of "Amalthea".
Review: The second part of Omar S' You For Letting Me Be Myself album in vinyl form sees another 8 tracks across four sides of wax; aside from the '80s inflected sounds of the album's title track, the 303 workout of "Ready My Black Asz" finds itself with the dubbed out loops of "Messier Sixty Eight". As a bonus for those who already have the album, this part contains two vinyl exclusive tracks; the soothing deepness of "She's Sah Hero Nik" and the delayed organ weirdness of "Broken Bamalance Horn" - both more than worth the price of admission alone.
Review: Up next for Adam Beyer's esteemed Drumcode imprint is Enrico Sangiuliano, a Milan based DJ/producer originally from Reggio Emilia who has been been active on the Italian scene since the early noughties, playing everywhere from clubs to illegal raves. His work of late has been released on sister label Truesoul, Alleanza, Gem Records, Octopus Recordings and Rhythm Converted. On "Moon Rocks", Sangiuliano provides a euphoric, hands in the air anthem with soaring synth leads and seriously humming Reese bassline over a high octane beat. Also on the A side is the mad diva vocal breakdown on "Ghettoblaster" which soon gives way to a dark and tunnelling epic. Finally on the flip, we have two versions of "Dutch Kiss" but for our money it's all about the sombre and emotive IDM vibe of the Inner remix.
Review: Six brand new shakers from Omar S...This is the sh*t! Never confined to one particular genre, Omar is again blending house, techno and even minimal styles into one big pot of deep Detroit underground funk. There's even some Basic Channel / Deep Chord vibes going on there somewhere. Simply killer.
Review: After building his reputation via releases on Plus 8 and M_nus, amongst others, Julian Jeweil has secured a big-money move to Drumcode. As you'd expect, all four tracks on this first label outing tend towards the forthright, with title track "Rolling" - a sweaty fusion of booming arpeggio bass, pounding kick-drums, foreboding riffs, metallic hits and drum machine handclap fills - setting the agenda. The "build and drop techno" blueprint is explored further on "Venice", before the experienced Frenchman opts for some full-throttle antics on "Blue". Sensing listeners need a little bit of a breather, he dips the tempo a little on "Traffic", which boasts some deliciously psychedelic acid lines.
Porcelain (Alan Fitzpatrick Late Night dub) (7:52)
Go (Tiger Stripes White Tail remix) (7:08)
Go (Tiger Stripes Black Lodge remix) (7:20)
Review: Following the release of his superb autobiography a year or two back - not to mention his recent "snub" of new U.S President Donald Trump - Moby has been back in the news. Crucially, his old records are making a return too, albeit in freshly remixed form. This third remix 12" from muscular Swedish techno types Drumcode boasts three more reworks of vintage floor-fillers. On the A-side, Alam Fitzpatrick re-imagines "Porcelain" as a Berlin style tech-house chugger, using Moby's original synths as a spine-tingling breakdown. On the flip, Tiger Stripes lays down two remixes of "Go". The 'White Tail Mix" is a thumping techno stomper with a buzzing breakdown, while the "Black Lodge Mix" is a bumpin' house re-shape.