31 January 2014

Erika - Hexagon Cloud Rmxd 2.0 (Interdimensional Transmissions IT 32 - 2014)

From the mid-90s a lot was cooking on Interdimensional Transmissions (IT) when the Detroit label was spearheading the electro revival in many fronts. IT was praised for the weighty "From Beyond" series and became a significant platform for its founding collective Ectomorph and contemporaries like I-F and GD Luxxe.
During last decade we have seen only occasional releases from IT, including the album "Hexagon Cloud" by Ectomorph member Erika Sherman. Of that the first batch of remixes emerged last year, by Marcellus Pittman, Orphx and BMG and now another edition comes with "Hexagon Cloud Rmxd 2.0".
It's an impressive package without any weak links. Donato Dozzy trades worldwide nowadays and couldn't miss the opportunity to produce Spiral Synthi Mix of "Early Warning Starfield", resulting in a psychedelic and abundant floater propelled by helicopter synth line. Going to even higher spheres, Dozzy's digital-exclusive Bioclock mix is like a collab of cosmic tribesmen and Klaus Schulze.
Next up is Detroit native and L.A. resident Israel Vines, who recently impressed with a bouncing remix for Stave's EP for Trensmat. He's an artist to watch this year and for "Gardeners" drops a fat 808-driven version with subtle dreamy notes. Opening with Cosmic Baby piano, Outer Space lends to "Tow Ride" a touch of Milky Way romantics with the help of growling synth curves. A true Midwest veteran Patrick Russell wraps it up, playing with steaming and tweaking modulations in "North Hex" reshape. Cool.

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28 January 2014

Armando/Chris "Bam Bam" Westbrook - Bam Bam's Westbrook Classics (stilove4music039)

Good news from Chicago when Stilove4music, an offshoot of the city's own Still Music, has decided to unearth a few gems from the golden era of acid house. Essentially it's a Chris "Bam Bam" Westbrook EP with one exception: The opener comes from late Armando Gallop whose "Land Of Confusion" was definitely not a Genesis cover but a warehouse classic. Originally out already in 1987 on Bam Bam's fledgling Westbrook Records, it's an anthemic track with wiggly 303 programming. "Confusion Mix" pairs well with fat bass line and sound of breaking glass of "Where's Your Child", Bam Bam's urging and eerie call for parental supervision.
Bam Bam is also behind the unreleased material on the flip. "Move To Da Groove" from 1989 is a mid-range club cut with acid bubbles and "Nightlife" a smoothly jacking Chicago song from 1988. A nice blast from the past to start the Still Music's 10th anniversary year.

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27 January 2014

Eschaton (Ancient Methods & Orphx) - Eschaton EP (Token 38 - 2014)

Ancient Methods and Orphx are Eschaton, which smells like a dream collab of industrial techno. Canadians Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie emerged with Orphx in 1993 and now boast an extensive back catalog of hard-edged sounds. The era of Ancient Methods started in 2007 and the act, currently one-man operation of Trias, has vigorously extracted the blackest matter from the depths of electronic music.
The meet-up of two outfits happens on the Belgian imprint Token with a rumbling session. The first clash opens up in "Age Of Iron", a forceful ode to metal in the middle of a torchlit battlefield of the ancients. Survivors will find the shelter in "Kali", akin to mid-90's Force Inc techno funk topped with bastard voice effects. On the flip "Degenerate" comes with Ancient Methods steely kicks to climb a rhythm ladder for a proper floor shake-up and drum-crazy "Seven Signs" sounds very much Orphx with swirling analog oscillations for full-bodied dynamics.
Eschaton balances between destructive urges of Ancient Methods and Orphx's hardware obsession, not necessarily targeting techno's darkest corners. But it's still a brisk beginning of the end.

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25 January 2014

Juho Kahilainen - Dyson Sphere (M_Rec Ltd Grey Series 07 MRECLTDGS07 - 2014)

Juho Kahilainen debuted in 2004 with a split EP on Adrenogroov and since then has kept a relaxed schedule. However with vinyl-only "Dyson Sphere" the man from Finland makes a return to the Milan imprint where about two years ago Kahilainen kicked off the same M_Rec Ltd Grey Series with "We Heard It Coming".
The Finn re-boards the mothership with slow builder "In Umbra", spending after abyssal drone exactly 3:03 minutes with trancy notes and brushes of acid. Introduced with dubbed-out chords, "Xemx" hits with acid showers, followed by equally caustic "Coronal Loop", a track having much in common with early Hardfloor and recent Tin Man. For the end things turn nervous in "The Fuck Up" with elevated cruising speed and harassing ghetto bump. Packed in a PVC sleeve with full insert graphic, "Dyson Sphere" is a worthy addition to the series.

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23 January 2014

AnD - Kundalini EP (Electric Deluxe EDLX.034 - 2014)

After "Ard Core Krew" on Ann Aimee, AnD's floor rage continues on another Dutch-rooted label when Speedy J's outfit Electric Deluxe drops "Kundalini EP".
Three vinyl cuts to express the Mancunian duo's in-your-face attitude, starting with hammering and abrasive 4/4 ride "The Jellyfish" on the A-side. The flip sports factory-inspired wiggly repetition of "Dtadtmat" and password-inspired "IcDbYc" for decelerated and distorted bass lesson, the most appealing cut here.
AnD's fondness for deviations gets another meaning with the digital extra "DTR", stretched to 10 minutes of ambient drone and nagging rhythm while "Dysekt" reacquires floor elements.

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16 January 2014

Headless Horseman - Headless Horseman 004 (HDL004 - 2014)

Haunting and anonymous figure of Headless Horseman reappears in convincing manner with a new batch of tracks. One can't get closer to the destruction when the label's fourth installment opens with "Legend", which is a forcefully chopping cut sounding like symbiosis of the wildest exploits by Ancient Methods, Kareem and Perc.
After that "Execution" makes its mark as a stepping and shuffling puncher, seeing a pierced and tattooed hangman shaking after hard day's shift.
No escape is allowed on the flip which features groaning and throat-slitting version of the "Legend" by none other than Ancient Methods, rounding up the label's best release so far.
Those considering to pass the gates of Berghain should know Headless Horseman Live is announced for the 22nd February. Interesting to see if the artist's real identity will be disclosed during the performance - is it Baeks (ex-Ancient Methods) or someone else.

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13 January 2014

Violet Poison - Aldebaran Alabrahamis Oxakindiss (Repitch Recordings RPTCH02 - 2014)

Aldebaran is an orange giant star located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus, but Alabrahamis and Oxakindiss are just linguistic inventions from the mind of cryptic Violet Poison. The artist's arrival on Repitch after the EPs on self-titled label and Bed Of Nails is not a coincidence as Shapednoise, his partner in crime in the group Violetshaped, is one of the faces behind the Berlin imprint.
In "Aldebaran Alabrahamis Oxakindiss" all tracks match the label's distressed and dirty story line, starting with a storming synth staccato and damaged moaning for sandpaper techno in A1 and abrasive madman loops in A2.
The shelling resumes in B1 with distorted rumble and relentless kick drum, like a tribute to Mills's waveform transmissions and early Downwards. After B2's hazardous repetitive beats B3 hosts DAF reminiscent bassline with acid notes for further cranial science. Thus Violet Poison keeps close to Gaja's "Patterns", the previous grim exploit on Repitch, and makes another dauntless surge towards hellish dancefloor.

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12 January 2014

The Trash Company ‎– Modern Love (Thug Records THUG 015 - 2013)

Despite of strong electronic connotations this EP is not related to Modern Love, a visionary techno imprint from Manchester. Because Max E. Monroe, the artist behind The Trash Company, composed the tracks about 20 years ago and these were initially rejected by Capitol Records.
Until recently Monroe from Richmond, Virginia was among the unknowns of the music world, before his talent (or potential) was discovered by People's Potential Unlimited (PPU). After the LP "Earle Hotel Tapes 1979 - 1993" and a single on PPU, The Trash Company now bravely blends different genres in "Modern Love".
The heaviest punch comes for the start when Monroe performs blues over scarred electronics in "Tired Of Drinking Whiskey", a track dripping of virility and hard whisky nights. Then the macho side is abandoned with Rama's entry in "Mind Games", when she drops nonchalant vocals on wavy electro like a predecessor of Kim Karli and Rudolf Klorzeiger.
"Manchester Stomp" sees bass topped with clear-sky pads while arousing electro hop joint "Hot Stripper" gets a Parental Advisory warning. Monroe's harsh voice reappears in downtempo title track, feeling melancholic in a jazz bar of broken hearts and hints of exotica set the tone in moody "Mellow Yellow Sunday". Provocative and passionate release from the archives, released by Thug Records from Narrabeen, a suburb north of Sydney.

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10 January 2014

Ulwhednar ‎– Midvinter (Northern Electronics ‎NE6 - 2013)

Defrosted demons lurking in the mid-winter kyrkogården like the subconscious woes in Bergman's "Fanny And Alexander" when Ulwhednar is at it again, following the debut cassette and a LP in 2013. Out just before the Christmas, the six-track tape and digital release is another proof of Ulwhednar's firm command of anti-wellness music but contains also traces of brightness.
Initially, soft-hued tinkling tones and subtle rhythms of "Midvinter 01" herald rather crisp electronics, but the beast is yet to wake up. The second track is a long, tormenting journey with low-frequency resonance feeling in the bones, built like an short-range noise weapon against intruders.
"Midvinter 03" advances in static drone spheres before flickering repetition joins the game in the next track, observing the sub-aquatic life through the thin ice. Blooming chords inch "Midvinter 05" closer to the moods of snowfall ambient in Ricardo Donoso's style, matched by the last cut calmly descending from the Mount Analogue. Another mesmerizing piece of ice-cold explorations from Sweden, by Varg and Abdulla Rashim.

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06 January 2014

Various - For Your Eyes Only Sampler 1 & 2 (SEMANTICA 60.1/60.2 - 2013)

Semantica's magnetizing effect on the international techno community has been reflected with the releases by virtually dozens of acclaimed artists. Many of them where part of the pack in Svreca's mix-CDr "For Your Eyes Only", initially out as a limited run of 50 pieces and reissued later. Under the Christmas the mix exclusives by eight artists were revisited on two slabs of vinyl.
The first sampler starts and ends inside convent walls, when James Ruskin steps in with a droned-out and toxic remix of Svreca : Skirt's "Hymen" and the finale is proclaimed by the Madrid label's head with a field recording from Konvent Cal Rosal (Berguedá) in Barcelona. In between Oscar Mulero's lax techno cut reaches back to bells in "Inside The Outside" while Japan's DJ Nobu roams the pitch with hazy stepping abstractions in "Sway".
The second sampler (60.2) keeps the upper hand in comparison, launched by analog engineers Orphx with air-splitting stabs and masked brutality in "Fault Line", followed by Yuka, a Siberian-born artist from Moscow, running to the light from a metropolitan blackout in "Savdi Lim". First tones of "S07" by Spanish producer Tadeo sound like "Astralleib" by Gagarin Kongress, before it embarks on an orbital reconnaissance mission, fuelled by hum and bells. Svreca's tripping edit of Grischa Lichtenberger's 2011 track "Remel Plus" is definitely the most airborne of the selection.

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Hunab & Jorge Bule - Environments (Apparent Horizon AH002 - 2013)

Actually the new 12-inch of the Berlin-based Apparent Horizon label can be tagged as dub techno. Unfortunately the genre has been watered down by numerous Basic Channel copycats but it does not affect this EP's prospects of taking it seriously when "Environments" carries certain charm across three tracks.
After the debuting "Hera EP" it's again a split release by Jose Gvc aka Hunab and Jorge Bule, starting with Hunab's upholstered percussion accompanied by soluble pads for a no-fuss experience. Bule's side comes stronger: After commonplace dubbed-out chords in "Gorgeus", the kick-start of a throbbing and shuffling sequence changes the game when the track motors along on a straight highway. The best cut is "Motora", where after the noisy metronome intro the bass kicks in at the two-minute mark for precision pneumatics of Helical Scan quality.

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