28 October 2014

Killawatt - Convoys EP (Run Out Run RUNOR1005 - 2014)

Killawatt, a young UK artist initially trying out the dubstep side and hanging around mostly with Osiris Music, quickly adapted a wider view on the club music and "Convoys EP" on Tom Dicicco's Run Out Run imprint pledges for shout-outs by the techno faction.
The title cut "Convoys" sets off to thunderball mission with stealth snares and swirling synth lines, while "Ball & Socket" comes with obvious UK bass influences, resting on an elastic vocal sample and a distant terrace chant at the matches.
On the flip, nasty drum kick, toxic bass line and crumbled vocal loop push "Primary Panic" to the peak-hour zone. After the EP's highlight, the thrill is not yet over because we are drawn all the way down to "Sink Hole" with the power of alarming stabs and stepping drums. An all-around strong release that could be described with an often abused reference: funky techno.

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27 October 2014

Τεχνόπολις - booming times for Greek techno and house

Either in a grocery store or at a tube station in the heart of big cities like London or Berlin, it's easy to bump into an electronic artist given the high density of techno's creative minds in those metropolises. The artistic and partygoing appeal of large cities in the UK, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Austria and USA has been dominating the scene for over 20 years but gradually other locations have gained importance, often boosted by a few artists that brought the country to the map - like Sähkö in Finland.
Not only Vangelis
I'm not sure how many techno producers per square mile are found in Athens but Greece is definitely not a white spot on the global map of electronic music. One can't ignore the role of synth wizard Vangelis and dub techno professor Konstantinos Soublis aka Fluxion but it's not only them. A closer look at the current scene tells its becoming more vibrant.
Good examples are labels like Modal Analysis, Nous, Lower Parts, Echovolt and many more. Artists like Stef Mendesidis, Stathis Kalatzis aka Mr. Statik aka The Magnecian, Kondaktor aka Slydex, Sawf, to be continued. To the previous we can add Alex Tsiridis, one half of the techno duo Cassegrain, then London's enigmatic conglomerate of Berceuse Heroique / ΚΕΜΑΛ and also Dimitrios Ploumpidis from the industrial techno duo AnD's has most probably Greek roots.

Some tracks from 2014
"ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΕΩΣ" was a truly appealing platter of acid house in Greek style, conceived by Anopolis, a producer collective from Thessaloniki.

"Edict" by Stef Mendesidis, a revelation on Semantica's recent "Exhibition Design 2.5" compilation.

Deep house tracks on Nous Disques: "Ethos Series"

Ambient-inclined techno by Mr. Statik aka The Magnecian on Autochtone Records

Browse releases on Juno (search keyword Greece)

22 October 2014

Adam X - Irreformable (Sonic Groove SGLP-01 - 2014)

A new full-length by any artist having been in the business for a while creates mixed feelings. Even if acknowledged for quality output in the past, the challenge of an album is not always easy to take up. However, when learning about the new longplayer by the Brooklyn-born Adam X aka Adam Mitchell, the feeling of anticipation prevailed over suspicion because techno's evolution of the last 25 years is unthinkable without him. Once part of the Brooklyn crew with his brother Frankie Bones, Jimmy Crash, Heather Heart, he was a rebel since the very beginning. Someone to put out an EP called “Cannabalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller” or speaking out about scene politics. Adam X has been a controversial person and it might be true that initially anonymous Traversable Wormhole project was in a way Adam X’s undercover mission to trigger a wow-effect in the clusters not easily accepting the music signed by the American.
This piece of writing should not look as an obituary because the story is not about a drained battery but about a restless engine behind "Irreformable". Released on his own label Sonic Groove, it is a remarkable techno album deserving closer attention in the end-of-the-year rankings.
Certainly, Adam X’s artistic career has seen both highs and lows but despite of setbacks he has preserved the nonconformist attitude to keep the faith in sounds he loves – and it feels here. As a staunch purveyor of industrial techno, Adam X has created a set of entropic muscle tracks to connect EBM, industrial and vintage techno, capturing the essence of machine-made music with ever-present groove factor.
Staying away from ambient-minded intros of many albums, the opening monochrome cuts "Interchanges" and "Catenary" still keep the audience in the waiting room before the real showdown begins in "Binary Possession", a little melody played over a rough ride of synths and eerie whispers.
Recalling early works of German label Overdrive, "On The Verge Of Decimation" belongs to the banging part of the album while in "Sheer Insanity" Adam X grabs the mike again for militant vocal input, reminding about the role of a human controlling the machines.
Reciting irretrievable, irredeemable, irreformable, hopeless, the title track "Irreformable" is another highlight with harsh drums of The Infiltrator quality. “In A Race Against Time" moves closer to the floor while darker undertones prevail in swirling "Tornado Warning" and “It’s All Relative” before digital-only "Small Black Object" rounds it off.
In a way, again, Adam X is saying Brooklyn is hardcore.

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Modern Heads - Chapter II (Outis Music outis006 - 2014)

Once emerging as protagonists of Rome's new techno sound, former Elettronica Romana producers Dino Sabatini and Luca Meloni are reunited under the Modern Heads banner on Sabatini's Outis Music.
Without any hassle, slightly melancholic "The Beginning" passes the checkpoint from bleepy ambient to tranced-out dub. With background hiss and reverbs, it's an example of usual Outis Sound where the repetition comes close the immobility.
However it will be not a quiet day in the woods, when the B-side's "Unknown Route" embarks on a chase on winding roads. Dramatic synth sequence over syncopated drums predict a fair amount of playtime for the track, the clear winner of the single.

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20 October 2014

B-Ball Joints - Dog In The Night 04 (Dog In The Night Records ‎DIN-004 - 2014)

Rushing to the pitch with four inflamed tracks, this is how B-Ball Joints debuts on US-based imprint. Really no idea what is the deal with the dog and the night, but the label, so far mostly known for the acidic tools by Robert Crash, keeps putting out blasting material.
The opener "Joint 1" is the fiercest affair, a mugging and noisy assault of enraged drum machine and darkcore textures for waking up the dead. Wobbly synth pulses carry a special operation called "Joint 2" while the next joint sounds like a mutilated ghetto track with delirious screaming before the session folds with brief abstraction "Joint 4.
As the artist identity remains undisclosed, we can only guess if it is an L.I.E.S. affiliated maverick or somebody else who is fond of dissonant hardware jams and proto-rave ugliness.

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15 October 2014

Transllusion - The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate (Tresor Records Tresor.270 - 2014)

Deep respect is due when encountering the works of late James Stinson, an acclaimed personality in the evolution of (Detroit) electro. Departing our world far too early, Stinson left behind a vast legacy, of which Tresor Records reopenes another chapter. "The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate" under the Transllusion guise was originally out on the label's short-lived Supremat offshoot in 2001. The new triple vinyl encompasses 12 tracks for observing the movement of cranial neurons.
Opened with fast brain-scanning session "Transmission Of Life", Stinson's entire creative spectrum, from Drexciya and L.A.M. to Other People Place, is present all over the album. Some tracks deserve a special mention, like "Cerebral Cortex Malfunction", a stereophonic bliss of Glockenspiel. From the uptempo side arrive groovy electro acid "Gluben In Guyana", interstellar night-drive "Dimensional Glide" and menacing roller "War Of The Clones" while glaring beauty is found in "Walking With Clouds" and "Unordinary Realities". Two versions of "Do You Want To Get Down?" round off the whole thing.
With the album, Tresor follows up the mission of Clone Records, which detached the works of the epochal Detroit act from the isolated shelves of hard-to-find record collectors and brought out the four-part series "Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller". Unlike Clone series, the Tresor reissue does not feature any unreleased material - although four tracks are first time available on vinyl - but electro fans can indulge themselves. On top of that, thee-tracker "Mind Over Positive And Negative Dimensional Matter" is reissued too.

Stream the album in full at Factmag.com.

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13 October 2014

Various - ...I Care Because You Don‘t (Turbo Recordings Turbo163 - 2014)

Scottish two-man techno act Clouds have found an inspiring haven in Canada when releasing their debut album and four EPs, including two takes of "Tannhauser Acid Works", on the Montreal-based Turbo Recordings.
Now Calum Macleod and Liam Robertson are ready for another round, this time as curators of "I Care Because You Don't", a massive rollout of UK hardcore stabs and electro hop. Current four-track sampler is an appetizer for a full compilation, out at the end of October, and in addition to early UK influences, the sampler recalls the sounds of long defunct Pharma label.
Rogue beat session opens with "Roll Up Your Sleeves, Welcome to the Dance" by DJ Hesburger (fellas, do you know there is a Finnish burger chain called Hesburger?) while in "Berzerkerz (Hardcore Young Team)" Dance Company goes back to the foundations of UK breaks.
At first instance, Clouds' own industrial stepper "Blood Skating" sounds like Aphex remix of Curve's "Falling Free", but considering the title allusions (remember "I Care Because You Do"?) and fresh comeback of Richard D. James, this is more than justified. Jane's "Fuck Your Alliance", going like a struggling machinery on drained batteries, signs off the sampler with estranged acid pulses and dissonant beats.
What concerns Turbo and its boss Tiga, I had been somewhat misled ever since the Canadian emerged on DJ Hell's Gigolo with sweetish electro cover of "Sunglasses At Night", performed with Zyntherius aka Jori Hulkkonen. By the way, it is a cool tune. But for a long time I sincerely believed Tiga and Turbo keep cultivating electroclash only, which is not true.

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09 October 2014

DUST OFF: Johnny Violent - North Korea Goes Bang (Earache ‎MOSH 128 T - 1994)

Actually, it was "Ultraviolence", Lana Del Rey's album that triggered current post. The American lady singer is obviously light-years away from doom metal and even hardcore techno, which had never been the case for Nottingham-based Earache Records, once a home label for Napalm Death.
Somewhat surprisingly Earache went hardcore in the 1990s when signed Jonathan Casey. Performing as Johnny Violent and Ultraviolence, the UK-born artist landed in the gabber scene 20 years ago. Casey released albums like "Life Of Destructor", "Psycho Drama" and many more but the most thrilling track was "North Korea Goes Bang" under the J. Violent moniker. At the BPM rate exceeding 150 the ear membranes were damaged.
Casey, his father a theology professor, his mother an author and charity activist, got excited about punk and metal at the tender age of 11 and started experimenting with computer sounds. “I did not want go through a lengthy process of learning an instrument when computer allows to produce interesting noise rather quickly”, he said in an interview to Frontpage in 1996.
After feeling the appeal of acid house, he proceeded to the music which is even more aggressive and intense, but also more emotional and funny than punk. “Two first words in my debut in 1991 were fuck you and this was quite unusual in love & peace & happiness scene of that time”, Casey has recalled.
Earache, a local label in Casey’s hometown Nottingham, agreed to listen the demo tape but Casey insisted he would play DAT. He took his portable DAT player to Earache’s office and signed with the label two days later.

““North Korea Goes Bang” does not mean I want war and this more like a comment about the way how the war is presented on TV as entertainment. North Korea as a track theme is as cheap entertainment and this is the idea behind.” (Johnny Violent, interview to Frontpage (DE), 1996).

Ultraviolence website
Ultraviolence on Soundcloud
Johnny Violent on Discogs

08 October 2014

Aisha Devi - Hakken Dub / Throat Dub (Danse Noire DN004 - 2014)

Already topping my Juno chart in August, Aisha Devi's blistering EP deserves a closer look. Foremostly known as Kate Wax, Devi gives a new meaning to girl power on her own Danse Noire imprint.
The Swiss-born, half-Tibetan producer, once a regular in the roster of Mental Groove, offers in the new release plenty of sound variations.
"Hakken Dub", a homage to hakken warcry of Dutch gabber scene, is a razor-sharp cut, with Julee Cruise-like whispers, recalling the heyday of Planet Core and raising the appetite for hardcore revival. "Throat Dub (Tool)" is like didgeridoo and Tuvan throat singing placed over sliding drone textures for a beatless ghost story audition.
The flip is dedicated to reworks, starting the one by IVVVO aka Ivo Pachecho, whose version with house layers and cosmic vocals gives a new meaning to "Hakken Dub". Like leading a fledgling brass band, Jamal Moss turns "Throat Dub" into the "Hieroglyphic Being Experience 9" of winding riffs and rumbling percussion, in his common 10-minute format.
Beyond a doubt, Devi's EP is an excellent follow-up to Danse Noire's first vinyl, arcane Maghrebian dubtronics by El Mahdy Jr..

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02 October 2014

Various - V - Five Years Of Artefacts Chapter 1 (Stroboscopic Artefacts SA5YEARS01 - 2014)

Lucy's Stroboscopic Artefacts is making some noise to mark the label's fifth anniversary, and what could be better than invite an illustrious company of techno producers to the celebrations.
"Chapter 1" opens the five-EP series with Rrose's fluctuating builder "Drowned By Sight", which complies with the act's blueprint sound, surfing on ebbs and flows of synth textures.
Perc's "Tri-City" is not as loud as the recent co-op with Truss, but brings a brazen groove to the midfield for another cut of oxygenous techno.
Introducing the B-side, Pfirter's "Atman" is a nod to the bass domination while Lakker's "Pier" is the EP's Geheimtipp, as they would say in Berlin. Kicking off with abstract mumbling and matched by percussive clutter, it's pushing the pedal of metalloid noise for uptempo delight.

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