Reviews

TECHNO: NOVEMBER By Marcus Barnes

10 November 2014
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TECHNO: NOVEMBER

ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Slam
Reverse Proceed (Soma)

This is Slam's first album in seven years and comes at a time when their label, Soma, is riding high, having recently clocked a mega 400 releases. On ‘Reverse Proceed’ the duo’s years of experience emanate from every pore. We got a taste of the LP earlier in the year with ‘Catacoustics’ and ‘Rotary’ on a two-track EP, and (’scuse the pun) the full package is a slammer. Across 14 tracks Stuart and Orde prove they are still at the top of their game with an album that’s beautiful, sublime, dark, powerful and relevant all at once. Picks include ‘Rotary’, which whirrs and swirls with menacing intent, ‘Reverse Proceed’, a downtempo number drifting into the outer regions of the cosmos, ‘Ghosts Of Detroit’, an ode to the birthplace of techno with a contemporary sheen and ‘Convolute’, an absorbing moment of sheer beatless depth. Hats off to Slam: to have been at it for so long and still be making music with such passion and beauty is no mean feat.
9/10
Download here

TUNE OF THE MONTH
Mosca
Clinical Trial (Not So Much)

Mosca proves his versatility on this stomper, which we’ve had on repeat. With more upbeat classics such as ‘Eva Mendes’, ‘Murderous’ and ‘Bax’ in his locker some observers may think they’ve got the Radio 1 selector all figured out, but ‘Clinical Trial’ proves he can go darkside when he wants to. The track works off a rolling bassline and has quirky percussive elements that clink and wobble in tandem to create an offbeat feel. This absolute beast is more than deserving of our Tune Of The Month nod.
9/10
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Richy Ahmed
The Bells (Pt 1) (Hot Creations)

Geordie lad Richy Ahmed has always gone for a tougher, pumping kind of house sound and with this new release on Jamie Jones’ ever-popular Hot Creations he goes a step further, powering through with an EP that’s firmly rooted in the tech-house domain. The bassline rumbles with menace, rough crunchy drums supply the relentless energy and numerous additions to the percussion keep it interesting. Bells keep ringing, haunting wails add a hint of mystery and, as the track progresses, analogue riffs give the track a cosmic outlook. By the end of it Richy stands tall with a knockout victory. TKO!
8/10
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Avalon Emerson (pictured)
Honest Gangster (Spring Theory)

Our favourite lady from San Francisco spent the summer in Berlin, and this is one of the resulting productions, on which she returns to Spring Theory (where ‘Church Of SoMa’ found a home). With two originals and two remixes there’s plenty on offer, Emerson really goes to town on ‘Honest Gangster’, an odd combination of celestial arpbased rhythms, a gruff yet languid b-line and stuttered percussion. Throw in some hushed vocals beneath the busy melodies and you’ve got a sure-fire winner. We can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.
7/10
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Victor Santana
Perfect Room (Chaval Records)

Madrid’s Victor Santana gets to work on his own Chaval Records label with this little beaut. ‘Perfect Room’ is one of four tracks: two from Santana and two from DJ Skull. We had to select this one above all the rest for its unashamedly uplifting vibes – given all the stomping, industrial techno that is constantly being produced around the globe this is a great reminder that there is also soulful stuff that uses the basic elements of techno to put you in a good mood. Perfectly paced energy pervades as the drums bounce up and down together with bright synth lines that won’t fail to put a smile on your face and get your hands up in the air. Blissful.
8/10

Sascha Funke
Zug Um Zug (Kompakt)

This is Sascha Funke’s first release on Kompakt under his real name in over a decade, so it was an exciting prospect before we even had a chance
to absorb the music. As you might expect from the Funkester, there’s a strong focus on musicality within both cuts: ‘Alles In Allem’ works off a persistent set of high-pitched organ sounds along with enchanting strings and synths and organics-ounding percussion. Title track Zug Um Zug’ has a more propulsive energy, with a good, solid kick pushing things along combined with Middle-Eastern influences and piano keys that gradually enter the fray and grow into a cacophony of wonderous melodies. Glorious.
8/10

Primal Nature
Sunset Paradise (Bigger Deer)

We’ve got a bone to pick with Primal Nature: after seeing the title ‘Sunset Paradise’, we expected a bright, summery piece of music to warm us up on a brisk autumnal evening. However, what we got was actually rather bleak and minimal. Tut tut! Despite the misleading title, this is a decent effort on a British label that we’re big fans of. The energy is great; it’s subtle, but the percussion will have your head bopping all the way through and the excellent use of effects throughout the track will no doubt keep you engaged all the way until the end. Big.
7/10
Download here

Clio feat. Loquace
Something Like That (Metroline Ltd)

German producer Clio knocks heads with Frenchman Loquace on this dank, rolling number. Metroline Ltd host the EP, and the British label shows that its ability to select the very best in contemporary bass-driven naughtiness hasn’t waned. The bass pumps underneath crisp, snappy drums and claps while a warped vocal (presumably supplied by the Frenchman) discusses the finer points of house music. A series of bleeps and high-pitched chirps supply an air of mystery and give the track character, putting it head and shoulders above the many other productions of this kind that seem to be doing the rounds at the moment. Good vibes.
7/10

Exercise One
In Avaccum (Studio R°)

Studio R started out life as an internet TV station broadcasting live mixes; that led to parties and, as often happens in this business, it has now branched out into a label. With Exercise One first out of the blocks for the new venture they’re clearly out to make an impact right from the off. ‘In Avaccum’ is a crackly, emotive piece of techno that lulls you into its abyss, stirring your soul and jolting your body into movement while your mind wanders into the outer regions of consciousness. It’s a strong start, so be sure to keep an eye on this label – we predict big things.
8/10

Fjaak
The Wind (50 Weapons)

When you’ve got the mighty Modeselektor tipping you to be the next big thing you know you’re on the right path. Berlin trio FJAAK have had that intimidating yet inspiring prediction bestowed upon them, and we’re not surprised. Their approach is staunch, as proven by their Machine Love parties which focus solely on vinyl sets and hardware-based live performances. With this 50 Weapons release they’re sure to cement their destiny as future stars. ‘The Wind’ is a stand-out track among three firing analogue jams, we were enraptured by its tough foundation wrapped up in beautiful swathes of analogue. Utterly infallible.
8/10
Download here

Butch
LFO (Desolat)

We love a bit of Butch here at Mixmag. If he’s not doing all manner of bizarre, self-deprecating posts on his Facebook, he’s travelling the world as a DJ and if he’s not doing either of those he’s in the studio knocking together a wide variety of music. Last year we reviewed his almighty ‘FTS’ EP on Desolat – now, a year and a half later he’s back on Loco Dice’s label with ‘Sinus Tones & 808s’. It’s techno across the board, the standout for us being ‘LFO’, which is nothing like the Sheffield bleep track that shares the same name. This is typical offbeat Butch fodder with a scintillating drop supported by an increasingly high-pitched bleep, shuffling percussion and a moody bassline. There’s not much not to like about it, and it tears dancefloors to shreds. Badness.
8/10
Download here

Marco Bailey
Blizzard (MBR Limited)

Italian stalwart Marco Bailey summons the wintery vibes as we enter the colder months of the year with this shivering effort, which he is releasing on his own MBR Limited imprint. His years of dedication to the craft shine through on the impressive production values. ‘Blizzard’ is murky and eerie, like the soundtrack to a horror, sci-fi set on a distant ice-covered planet. Out in the tundra lurks a malevolent being – and we’re being pursued by the creature through frozen caverns. A sense of urgency pervades as the trundling percussion acts as a catalyst to a series of celestial bleeps and chilling wails that echo through the background.
7/10
Download here

Aden
Move (Ultramajic)

Jimmy Edgar’s Ultramajic label has been unleashing one electrified, techno stomper after another since its inception, and now he’s brought together some of his friends on a Various Artists mini-compilation, which includes music from himself (as Creepy Autograph), French Fries and this corker from Aden. ‘Move’ features a Q Tip sample, so top marks right away for that – furthermore, the sub-bass is enough to level an entire CBD with its persistent rumble. Add to that devastating synth stabs, electro-style robotic vocals, the punchiest of punchy percussion and an almighty breakdown and you’ve got another strong contender for Tune Of The Month.
9/10
Download here

Nusha
Synthetic (Mario Aureo remix) (Surubax)

Nusha’s Romanian heritage is clear to hear on this new release from SurubaX. As with much of the crew from that part of the world, there’s a depth and authentic tribal feel that emanates from every element of the track. The original has a lush flow to it but Mario Aureo’s remix is a dreamy reinterpretation that conjures up images of middle-of-the-night euphoria, the strings providing a stirring breakdown together with a lush, funk-driven bassline, razor-sharp hats and engrossing use of spacey effects. Nicely done.
7/10
Download here

Trevino
Birdie 01 EP (Birdie)

Only narrowly pipped to tune of the month by Mosca’s beastly ‘Clinical Trial’ this is an absolute peach of a release from Trevino on his brand new label, Birdie. Across four tracks he fires on all cylinders, bringing together a variety of styles expertly crafted from the hand of a man whose consistency is mind-boggling. All four tracks on ‘Birdie 01’ are stunning, from the opener ‘To The Core’, with its haunting pipes, to the ‘spring awakening’ vibes on ‘Warmer’, the dancefloor-destroying ‘Playtime’ and the utterly enchanting ‘Mesmerise’. We’ve been huge fans of Trevino since his Marcus Intalex days, and long may he continue to make high quality electronic music, no matter what the genre.
9/10
Download here

TAGS: REVIEW / TECHNO / TUNES

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