31 May 2013

Headless Horseman - Headless Horseman 002 (HDL002 - 2013)

"Decapitation" is the best cure for the bored. The opener of the new Headless Horseman hits with cold-blooded synth swirl mounted on throbbing and kicking bass and sharp claps. A sinister and rampant techno cut and the most convincing achievement of the ghost of a Hessian trooper so far.
Extra help is engaged in the dark dealings of "Graveyard" when Perc's no-nonsense rework covers the place with the textures of booming industrial techno before the original "Graveyard" leads the cavalcade to the terminal point with half-stepping rhythm.
In my view the necromantic connotations do not sound very creative here, but musically Headless Horseman is on a very promising path. Beware of techno Goths.

Buy vinyl from Juno

Buy vinyl from Killekill

30 May 2013

NX1 - NX1 05 (NX105 - 2013)

Release date is in June 2013
NX1 is a two-man act consisting of Spanish producers Samot and Surit who proceed in impressive manner to the fifth installment of the NX1 series on the self-titled label.
Creeping out of the night is bold and percussive "013", where floating pads meet the track's grim foundations. Pumping more fuel to the floor, "014" is a storming and repetitive piece for (re)discovering rave monster in yourself, featuring again some atmospheric elements in the back.
But the best is yet to come when "015" emerges from the smokescreen and grows into a clattering and pumping cut with fabulously haunting synth riff for a real mystery tale by the top guns from Barcelona.

Buy digital from NX1 Bandcamp
Buy vinyl from Juno

24 May 2013

Dez Williams - The Angel Maker EP (Earwiggle EAR004 - 2013)

Sunil Sharpe's Dublin-based imprint Earwiggle has a strong physical connotation in its pursuit for electronic music. They press vinyl (digital also available) and prefer sounds that don't leave people just standing at the wall. Recent example is "The Angel Maker EP" by Dez Williams, succeeding the brilliant "Midwest Whippersnappers EP" by Freddie Fresh and Paul Birken.
As a techno artist Dez Williams goes in "The Angel Maker" beyond the generic 4/4 stuff  and even in the harder cuts he's not afraid of using softer pads.
However the opener "Underground Persistent" offers smoking acid house, hitting up the pulse with a classic bass line and after that hardened beverage is served with "Untitledacid6" which will please the acid techno faction.
Deep and kicking drum set has a pivotal role in "Freedom" which, however, is spoiled with an endlessly looping vocal sample. A new page is turned in "Courtesy Call", a surprising conclusion seeing Williams playing around with electro beats not far from Dopplereffekt. A party tool for the night.

Buy directly from Earwiggle
Buy directly from Juno

23 May 2013

HALL OF FAME. Adam X: "Brooklyn is hardcore" (interview in Frontpage, November 1992)

Adam Mitchell aka Adam X is one of the few survivors of the early 1990’s techno scene not thinking about the retirement. The Brooklyn native and current Berlin resident runs the Sonic Groove label for cutting-edge techno sounds and keeps himself busy with new releases, as Adam X and under the Traversable Wormhole moniker.
Recently a few interesting write-ups have been published about him, like Richard Brophy’s feature “Fusing the past with the future” on Juno Plus or Adam X’s thoughts about his early musical influences for the Tea and Techno blog.
Here comes a call from the past: As a driving force of the American techno underground, Adam X was interviewed by German techno mag Frontpage at the end of November 1992. Here’s the translation, with some comments added by myself in square brackets.

Adam X interview (Frontpage magazine, November 1992)

In addition to grandmaster Frankie Bones and Lenny D, in Germany the most popular New York DJ and top performer of the last Mayday, a new top gun and hardcore prophet is rising from the Big Apple, Adam X who is Bones’s younger brother. Recently we interviewed his pal Jimmy Crash about their label Direct Drive. Together with his girlfriend Heather Adam X publishes Under One Sky, a fanzine, and he’s a guy to watch in the proliferating American East Coast scene.

FP: How was in the Omen [defunct club in Frankfurt am Main run by Sven Väth]?

Adam X: The crowd was a bit weak as Sven’s people seem to be more used to house and tribal and the energy disappeared rather quickly, it just wasn’t a hardcore crowd. It reminded me a bit of Limelight, Manhattan, as they rather prefer commercial mainstream sound too. But I mean, this is really a cool club, 50 C hot and despite that still having a tremendous vibe.

FP: Where do you DJ in America?

Adam X: The rave scene in the US is very large now and after flying back to the States I have to go to Washington, to a gigantic Halloween rave. About 2,000 to 3,000 people are expected there.

FP: Really, Joey Beltram told us a few months ago there are no raves in the US?

Adam X: Well, he would not give any credit to us, because there have many ugly things happened between him and us, my brother’s ex-girlfriend is now with Joey and that has somehow happened behind Frankie’s back. Joey will definitely not say that there is a rave scene in New York, because we are the only ones who organize raves. We did a rave during the New Music Seminar, with Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin and about 3,500 people, it all went on till 9 a.m., and a month ago we had another one with PCP people and Lenny D. About 5,000 people, this is how it goes in the East Coast. People from Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston, Rhode Island come to our raves, buses come from all small towns, like here to Mayday. We are from Brooklyn and it’s the same here like with the people in Frankfurt: Who comes a bit from the outside can’t do it so well with them; the same is with Brooklyn and Manhattan. Brooklyn is hardcore, we play Rotterdam Records [a Dutch gabber outpost] and German records, the Limelight is fully commercial. Just go there, Jeff Mills is DJing there and you think he plays Detroit, but no, Dominator! Quite pathetic, if you ask me. I think the UR have separated because Mad Mike wanted to go his own way, because he is very underground and might not like Jeff Mills hanging out with the people in Limelight because it’s all about money there. In the East Coast is everybody in the rave scene more culturally in there and cares for the scene, not for the money. But Limelight is just a gigantic club without ravers, with a lot of tourists. Just ask Lenny when he comes over.

FP: You prefer to DJ rather in raves than in clubs?

Adam X: Yeaaah, I mean, three weeks ago we launched a new club, a small one, Thunderground. About 1,500 people get in there, in a 150 years old wine brewery, feeling very underground. When you get in you see caves everywhere and everything is done up in euro-style with an excellent sound system, lasers, hi-tech lights but so far not many people have come. I think we ourselves have created the contradiction, after having said that in Brooklyn you can’t do any rave in a club and the kids want warehouse parties, fully illegal, fully underground. We do Storm raves but also smaller parties with 800 people, basic equipment and generator.
In Storm raves we have all, including good security but it takes some time to organize so we don’t do that too often.

FP: Is security important in New York?

Adam X: Actually not. You hear all the time New York is a dangerous city and so but now it’s for the first time that there’s music everybody feels fine with and has great time, totally without any revolts and brutality. I swear in the name of God that have not seen even a single fight in a Storm rave, even not a single one, and all that with 5,000 people. I mean some people from other states like [Washington] DC look a bit frightened because they know more the UK scene, wear Jive clothes and look like people from Manchester in 1989 while the Brooklyn kids are just hardcore, very underground. They look like me and then they think, look these are hoodlums, but we try to make it clear to the scene that nobody is interested in fashion and it’s all about the music only.

FP: How it comes the scene is so “hardcore” in New York?

Adam X: We have the only techno record store in New York, Groove Records. There are also other outlets like Vinylmania and Downtown but they are not specialized on techno. We just want to be back to the original Detroit style, Chicago acid and not to commercial stuff, with a load of hooks, and, good heavens, not any Dominator, Dominator - just the music that opens your mind and in this year the scene has become more open and larger to this. Labels like Djax Up, they make it for a while already, the Chicago sound, and even the label like Rotterdam, actually quite commercial, have those Chicago influences. I would not say Detroit because when listening to early records by Armando; the drums are very similar, just 60 BPM slower. There was a huge discussion in the seminar where it all comes from, Detroit or Chicago, but the rave scene came definitely from UK, one should not forget that. To me it all belongs together.

FP: What do you think of the breakbeat trend in Germany?

Adam X: When Germany starts producing breakbeat records only I might look silly in the US because we have the hardest scene in America and all just go crazy on German stuff because this is the hardest. And I should then sell breakbeat records and that will make null and void everything I try to tell to the people. Because we really try to bring the music closer to the people visiting our shop and tell them where comes the music from. And it’s really convincing when it comes deep from the heart and not because we just want to sell something. We don’t make any money with Groove Records, though we have a good clientele but selling records is not a spectacular thing. We use the shop more like the base of operations, for DJ booking, Storm raves, our label - Direct Drive - and the one of my brother, Groove World Records that recently released “Bones Breaks 6” and also his new EP, which is different, very minimal acid tracks with trippy sounds, very personal. It also has a track that was sampled by Holger [Holger Wick, known also as Hoschi] from Labworks and I didn’t know yet that Holger takes me to Germany. Well, I have told him this and proposed to release the record in Germany. Sampling as such sounds to me a bit senseless and I don’t sample anymore at all and I hope my brother gives it up too. He was influenced by breakbeat and rave music but I have changed his opinion. Because acid and German stuff opens your mind when you listen to that, doesn’t matter how fast it is. And when you go to England and hear all that breakbeat stuff, see 14-15 year old kids on E, who don’t have a clue what’s going on, and the scene has become so commercial that you have to go to underground again. I mean, I don’t have anything against Ecstasy, when people necessarily want to take it. But most often people just take E because it’s trendy and not because of wanting to go into the sound, which can be done also without.

FP: Did your brother also influence you?

Adam X: Yes, and I have done some records that sound a bit like from my brother. But not more. We are setting up our own trio, Jimmy [Crash], Frankie [Bones] and I. It has been unbearable with the production people we have worked so far, they complained about the oversteering of sound mixer but this is exactly techno is all about. I did an EP with Robert [Babicz aka Rob Acid] and Andre [Fischer] from Injection and it was top, I like this analog feeling and that’s why I like acid. Andre is very cool and has many tracks ready for the next years.

FP: Tell us about your magazine?

Adam X: My girlfriend makes Under One Sky, some people read it in Germany but unfortunately it’s expensive to send it by post. It’s pretty cool what she makes, otherwise there is only Moneypenny who does similar in New York and I can tell some stories about her, just switch off the tape recorder /.../ There are no politics in our mag, except for the crash with Smart E’s people from Suburban Base.

FP: What was all that about?

Adam X: We placed “Fuck Sesame Street, let’s get hardcore” on the sleeve of a release of ours. Because techno is rather new in America, it’s like brainwashing to tell the people what is it and what’s not. And Sesame Street [a mainstream breakbeat hit on Suburban Base from 1992]  is not techno and the kids come and think this is techno. That’s why I have blocked all records of this type from my record store, although I could sell hundreds of them but we want to sell techno and not some kind of shit. I could have several stories about that.

To return to Joey Beltram, he’s so stuck-up, not in the scene, does not DJ anymore and better so. When did he produce last time? Just ask Renaat [Vandepapeliere, founder of R&S Records] when he releases the next Beltram, he doesn’t know. Ah, it’s not interesting to you as you have the best music in the world, all people I’m really interested in are Germans, all I can look up to. And I haven’t known it so long yet, that’s why I’m in Germany now to see how it goes there. And the crowd in Warehouse did me right tonight. It was the best crowd in Germany so far.

FP: What do you like the most in Germany?
Adam X: Ah, better not to say anything about that here in Germany because I have here friends who hate each other and it doesn’t matter where you go, you hear that he doesn’t like somebody and somebody doesn’t like some other. I don’t feel like getting into this type of politics, it’s too stupid for me. In fact it’s the only thing here you should get rid of because it kills the scene. It was like that in LA, in San Francisco und the danger is high here too, whereas all should be about the music only, nothing else.

22 May 2013

Ed Chamberlain - Untitled (SEMANTICA 52 - 2013)

Ed Chamberlain pays his second visit to Semantica by releasing an IDM and electro EP that belongs to the more placid department of the Madrid label.
Across three tracks Chamberlain, who once ran his own Baselogic imprint, admits his preference for the melodic and intelligent side of electronic music.
The "Place" is an example of finely textured electro with blossoming pads and accentuated bass while "Somefind" is expressive electronica with acid drops, akin to former Toytronic output. Dramatically titled "Landmine" starts with a space mission countdown and takes off to a helium-fueled trip.
Chamberlain's sound engineering seems pretty close to Plant43, another artist from Semantica's roster and currently preparing his next EP for the label.

Buy vinyl directly from Semantica
Buy vinyl from Juno

21 May 2013

Teersom - Tia/No (Keys Of Life 025 - 2013)

At first glance "Tia" makes deliberately an odd impression with shaky percussion and electromagnetic disturbance, as of low-end equipment would have been used. But this is just a transient disguise before Teersom's 12-inch on Sähkö's sublabel Keys Of Life reveals its very essence and brings deep and fresh sounds to today's techno.
In "Tia" bruised drum set works relentlessly like perpetuum mobile across twelve minutes. Controlled by eroded beats and refracted loops, "Tia" would be a perfect match to "Space Pong" or "Aquatic" by Berlin's T++.
The flipside does not release us from the airtight cylinder either when "No" addresses the floor with a solid track which makes good use of claps and PCP-style cymbals, while also some elements of Sähkö's early releases can be noticed.
Teersom's exploring and exploding mind has brought to us sick tracks that refrain from techno's contemporary stereotypes. Having run a rather mixed repertoire from house to synth pop, Keys of Life has landed a real techno behemoth, especially when Teersom's twin 12-inch has been simultaneously issued with the catalog number Keys Of Life 024.
Hailing from Turku, the birthplace of Sähkö Recordings, Niko Pettersen is pursuing his techno project Teersom since 2011. Pettersen has said Teersom sounding "harsh and cold like the space, still playable in the habitable area of the Earth". Which makes to expect even more wrenched sounds, for the inhabitable areas.

Buy "Tia" from Juno
Buy "Sun" from Juno

14 May 2013

George Paar & Giorgio Gigli - Life Is Not Dead Yet (Par Wax PRW 05 - 2013)

Release date is in May 2013
George Paar's imprint from Montevideo continues the vinyl series with a two-tracker featuring the label boss himself and a renowned guest from Italy, Giorgio Gigli. The slab of plastic provides droning floor experience for about twenty minutes.
The original of the both macabre and optimistic title "Life Is Not Dead Yet" is a grim and sizzling tale for the people of the night. On the B-side the Giorgio Gigli's variation turns up the speed for another pressurized exercise. For the fans.

Buy vinyl from Music-Head

13 May 2013

1DERL& - Intertwined EP (Processed PRCSD005 - 2013)

Estonian producer Margus Löve aka 1DERL&, to be pronounced Wonderland, was formerly known as dubstepper L-OW but switched to house and techno with the album called "Reflection", out in 2012. With "Intertwined EP" his Processed imprint drops the first wax release with four remixes of the album material.
The LP spanned from generic tech house to dub techno and "Intertwined EP" offers a mixed bag of sounds too. Whereas the pounding B-side is obvious winner, launched with Mattias Fridell's giant bass and dubbed out chords in "Section Zero". Techno crowd is even more satisfied when "Vaporized" is handled by Ness, operating with edgy synth stabs and spiraling badass groove for a perfect dark room experience.
The A-side features two takes of "Ray's House" that in the interpretation of Kamikaze Space Programme sticks to the peculiar handbag sample of the original while Russia's Unbalance opts for delicate approach with subtle chords and rolling dubs.

Buy vinyl from Juno

09 May 2013

[PHYSICS] - Spectramorphic Iridescence (Digitalis Recordings DIGIV051 - 2013)

If a release is called "Spectramorphic Iridescence" one can expect commuting in scientific trails between the campus and the physics lab. Especially when the album is by [PHYSICS].
Lush synth waves penetrating the room in "Anodyne Dream" are slightly misleading because the following compositions derive from floating wellness music and seek more complex structures.
Already "Gender Amplification" opens up to oscillations, swaying drum patterns and broken vocal samples. Short "Random Water" is a melting pot of ambient house and free jazz while synthetic drums in "Isosceles Trapezoid" lead us to indigenous tribes dwelling in "Emerald Forest" or in "Hydrazine".
Synth layers emerge once more in "Realization" and after the luminsescent "The Grid Vanishes" the work finishes with polymeric lullaby "Ultimate L".  Another recommended release by Digitalis.

Buy vinyl from Juno

Adam X - Coercive Persuasion EP (SCR Dark Series SCR-D002 - 2013)

American techno trouper and current Wahlberliner Adam X comes with a two-tracker on Suicide Circus sublabel SCR Dark Series. A-side's "Coercive Persuasion" is pure industrial bondage with aggressive stabs and samples of grim robovoice  laid on throbbing bass. Only those occasional guitar strings seem a bit out of place.
After having satisfied the hardliners, Adam X lets the mood to change on the flip. Still bass-driven, "Deprogramming Sequence" floats back to techno's retro days with string and bell arrangements and ravey effects. Dim the lights and go with the flow.

Read also an interview with Adam X, translated from the November 1992 issue of the German techno mag Frontpage.

Buy vinyl from Juno

06 May 2013

Matti Turunen - Fall EP (Muhk Music MK002 - 2013)

Release date is in May 2013
Located in Sweden and driven by exiled UK brain power, Muhk Music unveils the second release of the label. One would not easily give up a winning formula and therefore the second release comes from the same man across the sea. Morphology member Matti Turunen from Finland has applied his gear for a three-tracker swinging in the crossroads of the electronic music's American heritage.
The title track "Fall" is driven by ample Detroit-inspired chords and grooves for the peace of mind. Featuring the backing vocalist Dora Gray, "Fall" paraglides well above the ground with spacious and luminescent textures for joyous moments on the floor.
Then „Kanuuna“ is a long-range cannon poised to target many DJ bags. Shooting out with fat bass willing to say work that MF, soon the tracky setup is complemented with fragile pads and glimmering stabs for a night-meets-the-day theme. Bright and spring-heralding mood prevails in "Agrikola“ rounding up another analog beauty from Turunen and Muhk.

Buy vinyl from Clone
Buy vinyl from Juno

03 May 2013

BLACKNECKS - BLACKNECKS 000001 (Blacknecks BLKN001 - 2013)

Release date is in May 2013
Screaming out loud in capital letters and knocking on the door with iron fist is BLACKNECKS, an anonymous act living the somber technoid dreams of two unknown producers.
No track titles given so we just start with A1, which is specimen punishing techno centered on crushing percussion with ghastly modulations and irritating riffs. It would be a worthy companion of EDMX's "Cerberus" in a mix.
Secret floor formula has been applied in A2 for twisted kick drum session run through distortion tubes. All that is like a turbocharged remix of Metasplice and a good anthem for a cyborg parade.
The rule of mighty bass continues on the flip where B1 is a ghetto-flavored techno cut with looped vocal chop to wink at Blawan. In B2 arrives the hell or heaven of a drum addict, when brutal stomp rises from rusty out-of-control machines. Watch out, BLACKNECKS might be after you.

About the second BLACKNECKS release here.

Buy vinyl from Juno