28 August 2014

Perc & Truss - Two Hundred (Perc Trax Limited ‎PTL003 - 2014)

Perc Trax challenging the eardrums again when the label boss teams up with Truss for a robust four-tracker. Pressed in clear vinyl for the label's Limited series, it bests their last year's "Spiker".
Because of Blacknecks-style power disco riff sprayed with acid, the "Two Hundred" feels more like a Truss track. For further chaos, a bruised spoken loop around two hundred points at the vocal chop mania once started by Blawan.
Hardcore side is exposed in "Judd" [really liking simple but striking track names, not crap like "Levitate The Transcendental Perception"] where whistles and heavy slam provide the build-up for a Saturday night Premier League fixture and a rave thereafter.
On the flip, the charge goes on in acidified not-love-song "Forever Your Girl" built on thrashy kick and T99 stabs. Apparently a tribute to the 1970s TV detective, dubbish semi-electro "Van Der Valk"  is a secret weapon camouflaged as fledgling jungle or UK garage track.
While most Perc Trax releases belong to the brutal end of the spectrum, "Two Hundred" shows different facets of techno soundwriting. Ready, steady, go!

Buy vinyl from Juno
Buy digital from Perc Trax

25 August 2014

Surgeon - Fixed Action Pattern (Token Records TOKEN46 - 2014)

As the title suggests it is about a pattern. Similar to Surgeon's recent "As You Breathe Here Now" on Semantica, the new twelve is built on a simple but appealing groove, which keeps repeating in the mind as if a chart buster heard on the radio. The original dirty bass techno from the man equals the definition of immersive and to-the-point beat science.
After pleasing the floor, the B-side's dub version shows abstract notes of dark room electronics akin to British Murder Boys material, with drone layers and mutant unicorn whispers.
Surgeon wisely keeping a relaxed release schedule, the Token single is his another showdown in the dance department after the Anthony Child album on NNA and British Murder Boys EP for Downwards. It also suggests that after having sailed the Seven Seas of techno, Surgeon is still capable to extract a catchy groove.
"Fixed Action Pattern" is a prequel to "Aphelion", Token's forthcoming compilation of new and exclusive material.

21 August 2014

Edit Select & Teste - The Rewipes (edit-select ES018 - 2014)

Firstly, it's a welcome initiative by Scotland's Tony Scott aka Edit Select to unearth a famed techno classic "The Wipe" by Teste, originally out on Probe Records USA in 1992. Even though "The Wipe" and especially the "5 a.m. Synaptic" mix never really collected the dust, it might have been a track rather cherished by those remembering the days back then.
For the new round, Scott had selected and edited the original for his own DJ sets and after contacting Dave Foster and Thomas S. Browning from Teste they decided to issue the edit.
The original is immediately recognizable, only the BPM rate has been cut back to comply with the not-over-140-BPM syndrome of today's techno. Furnished with traces of dub, synth abrasions and deep bass line recalling Beltram's "Energy Flash", the track does not offer anything unexpected, leaving the oldie the preferred choice.
New material is found on the flip: A collab of Edit Select and Teste, "Ascend" is a striking name for the track where arps spiral upwards true to the psy-trance traditions. Definitely not dark techno but a cheerful piece, sounding both beautiful and stimulating, thus a real bonus to the edit.
The revival is not limited to that because a remix package has been announced, featuring real techno warhorses like Rrose, Function, Luke Slater, Dino Sabatini, Terence Fixmer, Lucy, Claudio PRC, Mike Parker and Shifted.

Buy vinyl from Juno
Buy vinyl from Boomkat

15 August 2014

Phase Fatale - Skyscraper (Avant! ‎AV!030 - 2014)

Hailing from New York, 23-year-old Hayden Payne acts in the European electronic scene after having found a new home in Berlin and a label in Bologna. Apart from the compilation appearances on Nostilevo and Electric Voice Records in 2013, Payne's debut as Phase Fatale happens on the Italian imprint Avant!.
Musically inspired by the era long before his birth, Payne is a keen observe raw analogue touch of cold early electronics. However the title track "Skyscraper", an Overdrive-reminiscent bassful techno stomper does not impress much. For a few moments "Waveguide" sounds like a remix of the previous but turns quickly into the EP's memorable track, guided by a knockout synth hook and the spirit of EBM romancers with rhythm in their blood.
After less imaginative "Untitled" the finale arrives in a different note: Firstly floating in the nothingness, "Vacuum" switches from ambient to dissonant stepper, pressurized by kick drum action. Maybe a too cautious debut but the potential is there for darker side productions.

Buy vinyl from Avant!
Buy vinyl from Juno

13 August 2014

Orlando Voorn - Black Diamond (Outelectronic Recordings OUTA 002 - 2014)

Orlando Voorn has been credited for being the first Dutch producer creating the link between techno communities in Detroit and Amsterdam about 20 years ago. Ever since Voorn has been tagged as Detroit producer putting out tunes in the spirit of Motor City.
A prolific soundwriter under numerous aliases, Voorn was very active in the 1990s with proto-rave tracks as The Nighttripper, electro anthem "Flash" (as Fix) or records on his own Detroit-based label Ignitor.
Although never been actually away, 2014 is again a blooming year for Voorn with three EPs out before the album. The new LP ranges from dreamy pads ("Rewind") to techno soul ("Black Diamond") and promising dance cuts ("Relaxation", "Gain Upwards"). It has plenty of chords and stimulating synth layers with bits of acid ("Acid Trip"), all that making the album a telling document of Voorn's sound processing. A lovely techno full-length for the summer.

Buy vinyl from Juno
Buy vinyl from Decks

12 August 2014

Beau Wanzer - Power Outage (Nation ‎NAT 15 - 2014)

Four electronic grotesques in ten-inch format, pressed as short but concise 45 RPM tracks.
The feast starts with the title "Power Outage", which feels like a demonic shrink session during blackout, with Alan Vega type of manic recital on accelerated knocking-on-wood beat of Amii Stewart. Next one, "Fabrics", features EBM-friendly synth theme while things take an odd turn in "Lotraf", where offbeat-infected drum machine is dissed by deformed monologue, allegedly by the man himself in his younger years. Crushed by noise, "Thurston Moog" finishes it off as symbiosis of electric blues and folk
After hanging out with NYC's L.I.E.S. and its alleged offshoot Russian Torrent Versions, "Power Outage" marks Beau Wanzer's return to the hometown Chicago and Nation, Traxx's jakbeat label where Wanzer debuted in 2008. Obviously, black belt tracks are the result.

Buy vinyl from Juno
Buy vinyl from Decks

06 August 2014

Alone - Has God Left This City? (Underground Resistance ‎UR 084)

It was only a matter of time when Underground Resistance would speak out about Motor City's financial and social hardship that have found so much negative press lately. Now the task has been accomplished by an artist called Alone whose real identity is unknown.
Although UR camp has been less booming than in the mid-1990s, "Has God Left This City" is a strong statement to reaffirm the vitality of techno's real headquarters. Announced in 2013 as a white label going for inflated prices at Discogs marketplace, and supported by full-length teaser videos*, the actual release is a gem with all three tracks obviously referring to the localities in Detroit, familiar to those who know.
Hi-tech jazz opener "7601 12th St." expresses the spiritual dedication to the home town, being even melancholic with touches of gospel house. It gets more bouncy in the A2 track "McGraw & Junction", featuring stronger drums, rainforest soundbits and sci-fi textures reminding of UR's earlier material in "Dark Energy". Towering prominently over the neighbourhood, "Lodge & Clairmont" is a multi-layered and immersive hi-hat builder, expressing inner strength and determination lacking in many techno productions today. Against all odds, "Has God Left This City" tells us there is more hope than despair in Detroit. Essential music from the source.

* Please note: The teaser videos of A-side tracks feature voiceovers that are not on the actual release.

Buy vinyl from Submerge [UR, Detroit]
Buy vinyl from Norman Records