Ames Henry & Paul Kav - "Business In Hasenheide" (5:57)
Ames Henry - "Tribute" (6:28)
Fanu - "Dubia" (6:48)
Octo Octa - "For My Girls" (3:29)
Review: It's been two years since Kellam Matthews launched his retro-futurist, breakbeat-driven Frendzone label via a fine split EP featuring cuts from Ames Henry and Octo Octa. This follow-up is therefore arguably long overdue. Fittingly, it's Henry that gets things going in stellar fashion via Paul Kav collaboration "Business in Hasenheide", an urgent fusion of two-step drums, thrusting acid bass and jumpy synth stabs. Ames then goes solo on the breezy bounce of "Tribute", before Fanu successfully roughs things up via the mutant sub-bass, dystopian noises and distorted breakbeats of "Dubia". The undisputed highlight, though, is Octo Octa's "For My Girls", a wonderfully spooky and hectic jungle roller that's guaranteed to set pulses racing out on the dancefloor.
Review: It's been a fair old while since we last heard any new material from Blawan and Pariah's hardware-based Karenn project. In fact, "Kind Of Green" is the duo's first collaborative release for almost five years. They start in suitably forthright, floor-friendly fashion via "Rek", a dense, full-throttle techno assault rich in buzzing, mind-altering motifs, before wrapping spacey sounds around metallic percussion hits on the noticeably deeper title track. Those looking for devilish intensity should check the dark and intoxicating "Salz", while closing cut "Newt" is a pleasingly sparse and out-there chunk of mid-tempo modular madness.
Review: It's double trouble again from ever reliable Bavarian brethren: Dario and Marco Zenker. The Ilian Tape head honchos seem to look for inspiration from the West Midlands techno scene circa the mid '90s. The splintered, full-throttle machinations of A side cut "Sorting Peanuts" call to mind Force + Form era Surgeon with its stuttered and jarring pace - making equal room for tension and suspense. On the flip, the greyscale factory floor stomp of "Sample Predator" will please fans of the Downwards back catalogue - British Murder Boys and Female in particular.
Review: Eliaz is emerging out of the Slovenian underground with his debut EP on Cartulis Music, swiftly following up an initial appearance alongside Z@P and Alex Picone on a Subwax Record Store Day special. His sound brims with confidence, using a bold palette of zippy high definition techno motifs and riding beats that scream for a big dancefloor. The A side is given over to the rich and punchy "TTTRT", while there's plenty of swing and swagger to be enjoyed on the sprightly "Dand". "AJ025" finishes the EP off with a rougher style that plays on some seriously twisted acid lines to devastating effect. Classy peak time business from a promising new talent.
Review: A fine example of Pan-European collaboration here, as the Brighton-based Furthur Electronix label buddies up with Berlin stable Libertine Records for a very special joint release. Shad T. Scott kicks things off (under his now familiar Gosub alias) with the deep, sparkling and picturesque electro shuffle of "Take Your Time", before ACEW + Ghost Ride layer spacey, minor-key synths over skittish drums on the rather fine "Mind The Gap". The quality threshold remains high on side B, where Cignol's inspired, acid-flecked electro workout "Chorus Envy" - which to these ears is as rush-inducing as any similarly melodic early Orbital record - is followed by the stomping, fuzz-fuelled lo-fi techno thump of Jared Wilson's "Toughskined".
Review: The fourth release from London-based label Eya continues to shape out an intriguing identity that nods to classic techno tropes while charging ahead with their own agenda. Label boss Jos' "Planet Eya" sets a lively pace with its forthright drum machine jack offset by warm synth licks. Evil Knebel matches the tempo and weaves in a cosmic set of tones, which Poten then cosigns with the equally trippy, propulsive "Intransigence". Jos is back at the helm for closing track "Purify", which strikes a darker tone without losing that raw, vintage techno flavour that makes this label one to watch.
Review: Brian Kage's fourth release on Michigander Music "303 in the 313 EP" features 4 uniquely gritty and acid-soaked manifestations of mid 90's Detroit. This exercise in analog monosynth mastery directly connects the grittiness of the urban landscape with the raw spirit of creative freedom. Detroitasaurus starts the record off with a subtle prehistoric soundscape, steadily building rhythmic tension using hypnotic toms and melodic drum patterns. Razor sharp 909 hats hammer down there through the sonic mist as the journey continues to build. Shrieking jurassic trumpets cap off each of the peaking climbs to reveal metallic broken-down structures that are bound together with oscillating 303 threads and a grooving bassline. Van Dyke Vessel features an atmosphere of textured percussion and metallic analog synths that wind around a deep square bass groove. Suddenly, truncated growling vocal samples start to collect into the catchy phrase "Let's take this to outer space". Swelling pads give way to squealing acid as this track transports dancers to a nostalgic melodic dimension. Delray Dance undulates with thick bass slowly building into a body focused groove as it winds up and gives way to a rugged 303 saw with fluttering Spanish style synth stabs. Classic Detroit pads continue to swell, adding to the tension and leaving enough sonic space for melodic mixes in and out. This tune is the perfect tool to transition between genres. Zonin breaks the mold by combining old-school electro vibes with a heavy dose of acid and freestyle hip hop. Heavy broken beats are combined with a rockin' nostalgic bassline and layered party vocals that transports you to the center of the dancefloor on the best night you've ever had.