pann​+​onn – Grohot (Ante-Rasa ANTE03 – 2015)

ante03Released on the very first day of 2015, “Grohot” stands for very loud New Year fireworks the Serbian way. Brought to us by Belgian imprint Ante-Rasa, the five-track digital EP boosts the heart rate of anybody in love with harsh beats.

Serbia may not look like a hotbed of harder electronic music but industrial has some traditions in the Balkans, which are not limited to Slovenia, to Laibach and its consorts. For example, Ancient Methods has had many recent gigs in the region and rounded off the year 2014 with a performance in Belgrade.

In “Grohot”, doomed knights line-up for an all-or-nothing fight when pann+onn shows clear understanding of the floor appeal and does not fall into dumb noisemaking. The opener “Danube Holds Secrets” sets the mood for the EP’s absolute highlight “Landscapes Of Fire”, an adrenalin rush to become an approved companion of Ancient Methods or Kareem tracks, while “Arranger From The Shadows” is a deformed kind of ambient.

Another thrilling piece is “Black Heart”, the rhythm pattern reminding of Adam X’s “Irreformable”, and “Face It” wraps up the thing with further vigorous beats. The material would sound even better in heavy wax and it is a pity “Grohot” belongs to Ante-Rasa’s digital series (with catalogue name ANTE) and not to the vinyl one (RASA). However, I believe this is a beginning of a beautiful kinship.

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Jack Murphy – Points Zero (Don’t Be Afraid SPE005 – 2014)

dba_special_editionsIt is a peculiar relationship I have to some labels and artists, Don’t Be Afraid being one of them. Enjoying most of their releases, I am not too concerned when missing out some of the output. What prevails is a feel of safety, the knowledge they are around and accessible when I need good music.

Luckily, I did not give a miss to Don’t Be Afraid’s newest four-tracker titled “Points Zero”. It comes from Jack Murphy, a San Francisco based artist who had previously released two EPs on Frozen Border sub-label Reference. His Digital Tsunami mix already indicated a good taste and worked as teaser for the actual release, which appeared in the label’s Special Editions series.

Most of the time, Don’t Be Afraid offers a well-balanced mix of techno and house, and it is not any different here. “Points Zero” deserves an applause from both crowds.

Murphy’s toolkit would be unthinkable without drum machine sound, but in the title track, we hear strings complementing the synthetic jacking. Thereafter “4MT” has all the ingredients of a floor killer, a clapping and hitting track where monotonous sequence rubs itself against rallying percussion. On the flipside, downbeat-ish space dub intro leads “Prefec-R” to the stomping grounds of deep house. However, for me the best part comes with the minimalist “Thieves”, a sneaking and bleeping piece of techno hypnotica. This record is born to be liked.

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Powell- Club Music Remixes (Diagonal ‎DIAG 016 – 2014)

club_music_rmxs

Powell and Diagonal have been hitting the high spots with a new breed of body music, and for the year-end invited two exceptional artists, Ancient Methods and Richard H Kirk to the game to rework “Club Music”.

Starting with the A: We have not seen any follow-up to “Seventh Sign”, so far the last Ancient Methods release on the self-titled label but the artist has been quite busy recently. “Ohne Hände”, a joint EP with Black Egg, came out on aufnahme + wiedergabe, and last January Eschaton, a collab with Orphx, was set up for a debut on Token.

However, in 2014 the knight of pitch-black-techno-war-funk focused mostly on remixes and became somehow predictable, despite of purveying that thrilling and provoking sound the audience loves it for. Somehow predictable – until the remixes of Powell’s much-acclaimed single. Actually, already the “Pogo Im Säurebad Plural Mix” of “Ohne Hände” hinted a new direction and with Diagonal release, the Berlin act enters the next level.

Ancient Methods rides out to the wilderness, equipped with vintage EBM and ver. 2.0 industrial, an explosive mixture for two crazy cuts. Actually, a track “Club Music” does not exist and both remixes are the amalgamation of Ancient Methods sound with the EPs original content, i.e. “So We Went Electric”, “No U Turn” and “Maniac”.

Using the time machine, “Korpersäure91 Remix” is a savage meeting with Nitzer Ebb and Liaisons Dangereuses, Ancient Methods smithcraft in unison with caustic bass line and sharp-edged vocal samples. Full-on sweat exorcism resumes when DAF-esque “Pogo Im Säurebad” gives frantic orders for full body obedience, sending shivers to both the bone and brain.

On the B-side, Richard H Kirk feels lesser urge for moshing, when serving two interpretations of “So We Went Electric”. The undulating main mix aims at 4:00 am session in the steamy hull of a rave ship and the dub mix is the most stripped-down of the lot, the sequences fading out and in repeatedly, like running on low batteries.

In 2014, I could hardly think of any better remix package than that.

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Various – The North Gate Vol. 2 (Subspecies SBSPCS 002 – 2014)

ASide-SBSPCS002180 grams vinyl on the Spanish label Subspecies, for the second round of „The North Gate“ mini-compilations. The winners are found on the A-side: Chugging and slicing “Different Species“ by Tomohiko Sagae & H. Paul sounds like a tribute to Headless Horseman and in “Next Level”, the Spanish act Delusions wears a fireproof outift for dancing in the ovens of an industrial plant.

The B-side brings ordinary club rhythms by Demon.I/O. Kike Pravda remix of „Faith“ sounds like a rework of „Dark Energy“, a track by the mid-1990s Re-load artist Tevatron, and the original is a dubby and dreamy breather.


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2014 wrap-up: Part Two

After having missed the train of best-of-2014 lists, which took off at the end of November, I still decided for a wrap-up of 2014, doing it in alphabetical order. Here is the second part.

 

“Irreformable”. A remarkable techno album by Adam X on Sonic Groove, both mainstays of the historical and contemporary techno scene.

 

Kareem. Industrial techno’s iconic figure unearthed his legendary Zhark imprint with a stunning four-tracker and was part of the excellent “Paris/Berlin” compilation.

 

Mono Junk. In addition to visiting Tallinn with a DJ set, the founder of DUM Records and a real analog man dropped two great comeback EPs on Skudge and Forbidden Planet.

 

Parasole, Anthony. Recent EP stands out in Ostgut Ton’s catalog and with The Corner he has set up an acclaimed techo label.

 

Powell. “Club Music” dominated many 2014 lists but for me the Ancient Methods and Richard H Kirk remixes were the highlight.

 

Repitch. Ascion, D.Carbone, Shapednoise are a creative (Italian) family standing for techno’s industrial side, affiliated with many labels and artists.

 

“Solens Arc”. Kangding Ray’s expert techno album on Raster-Noton stood for essential sound in 2014.

 

Spaceape aka Stephen Samuel Gordon. A great poet who lent his persuasive voice to many productions. Sadly passed away in 2014.

 

“Submit X”. Gesloten Cirkel did the electro album of the year.

 

Tesla Tapes. A label in the forefront of experimental yet danceable electronics.

 

Underground Resistance. Alone EP, which was officially released in 2014, was one of my favorites of the year. New material by Timeline and Nomadico reaffirmed that UR is living better times than a while ago.

 

Vainio, Mika. The man, the legend published the album “Konstellaatio” on Sähkö and as Pan Sonic, with Ilpo Väisänen, “Oksastus” on the Ukrainian imprint Kvitnu.

 

Wanzer, Beau. Chicago’s maverick producer completed the debut album, preceded by a crazy EP on home town label Nation.

 

Last but not the least: The list for 2013 is still valid as Ancient Methods, Berceuse Heroique, L.I.E.S., Northern Electronics, Semantica, Terrence Dixon, The Trilogy Tapes and others offered some fine moments also in 2014.

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2014 wrap-up: Part One

After having missed the train of best-of-2014 lists, which took off at the end of November, I still decided for a wrap-up of 2014, doing it in alphabetical order.

 

Afrikan Sciences. Circuitous” was for me the culmination of PAN’s year.

 

Berghain. Experienced it in February. Great sets by Sigha, Perc, Truss and live PA by Ancient Methods. Only too much cigarette smoke.

 

Bordello A Parigi. A special Dutch outlet for getting satisfaction from Riviera disco and sinister electro. Rude 66’s EP was just amazing.

 

Deep Medi Musik. Although I’m following dubstep only remotely, this label is a fine one. Check the Kahn single at the end of the year.

 

Dog In The Night. Don’t be scared off by “Pissing On Your Head”, the title of Michael Ferragosto’s recent EP, because the label was a strong newcomer in 2014. My fave: B-Ball Joints!

 

Dommune and Boiler Room. Truly global DJ booths, respectively in Tokyo and Berlin for a close-up experience of renowned artists.

 

Ekman. The Dutchman dropped four EPs of furious electro acid in 2014. Got them all.

 

Fifth Wall Records. Brooklyn based label is a headstrong purveyor of quality techno tracks. The “Giant Monarch EP” did it for me.

 

“Ground Loop”. In addition to launching his vast catalog on Bandcamp, Atom TM gave us two magnificent acid techno cuts on Bunker NY, an upstart label of the New York party series.

 

In Paradisum. Not only enjoying the kick drum of Qoso’s “Laphroaig”, as the label from Paris delivered a number of experimental techno workouts.

 

Interdimensional Transmissions. Around since mid-1990s, the Detroit label has gained cult status but may have been underrated in recent years. However, in 2014, BMG and Derek Plaslaiko provided the real and true story of Detroit groove, following up an excellent EP with Erika remixes.

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Terminal 313 Mix: Winter Gymnastics (December 2014)

Tracklist:

Social Interiors – Lucas Heights (Extreme)
Man In Maardu – Euromant (Trash Can Dance)
Ilpo Numminen – Osa 1 (Vuosi)
Aïsha Devi – Throat Dub (Tool) (Danse Noire)
Septic Shock – Adult
Vainio / Väisänen / Vega – Sick Sick USA (Blast First)
Nukubus – Skylark (Louis Guilliaume’s New Tomorrow Mix) (Vonk)
Shitcluster – Beyond A Joke/A2 (Bunker)
Ancient Methods – First Method/B1 (Ancient Methods)
Kareem – Just When You Thought It Was Over (Perc Trax)
The Devil & The Universe – Calling Of The Shades (aufnahme + wiedergabe)
Headless Horseman – Legend (Headless Horseman)
Qoso – Laphroaig (In Paradisum)
Atom TM – Ground Loop 2 (Bunker NY)
Junior Vasquez – If Madonna Calls (X-Beat Mix)(Multiply Records)
Delusions – Next Level (Subspecies)
DBX – Beat Phreak (Peacefrog Records)
DJ Skull – Maximum Wave Form (Red Cat Records)
DJ Spider & Marshallito – Geiger Count (The Trilogy Tapes)
Mad Mike – Stargate (UR)
Svreca – Trance (Semantica Records)

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DJ Roach – Nuestro Futuro (Nuestro Futuro NF-01 – 2013)

‘This is our future’, told DJ Roach to the world when launched Nuestro Futuro, a new Detroit label distributed by Submerge. The debut turned out a good one and now, before the label’s next release, it is time for a late but vital addendum to the year 2013.

The EP cannot have any better start than “My Riot”, a simple but efficient motorway take on UR’s harsh techno funk. Carelessly swinging “Yo No Se”, where filtered vocal sample is bitten by techno’s teeth, suggests to join a ‘muy caliente’ block party. Other tracks, “Festivas” and “Tec-Troit”, are more restrained but keep the percussive edge without any annoying droning. That all means impressive techno that would rather work in Panorama Bar than on Berghain’s main floor.

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Ilpo Numminen – Vuosi 1​/​12 (VUOSI – 2014)

vuosi_01_numminenThirty-year old Ilpo Numminen is a teacher in Finland who plays modular synth and repairs his rubber boots with bicycle tire patches. His fashion preferences consist of dad’s old coat from the 1990s, sweatshirt from Numminen’s elementary school years and glasses found in a second-hand store.

The vintage look is an attempt for conscious understatement, which cannot be said about the Finn’s music and the inaugural release of VUOSI (‘year’ in Finnish) series. It is a project of four sound artists, Ilpo Numminen, J. Koho, Olli Aarni, Tuukka Salonen, who have decided to produce twelve tape releases during a year. A true vintage man, Numminen opened the series in October with a tape recorded to reel-to-reel machine at nighttime. The cassette sold out but luckily, there is a digital version.

Moving at the outer borders of electronic music, Numminen’s sound is rather inspired by solar energy than oppressive darkness. It was the shortest track “Dem0″, aired by Avaruusromua radio program, which really shook me awake when preparing Sunday morning coffee. After suspecting fridge malfunction, I became aware of the odd noise Numminen had produced for “Vuosi 1/12″. The other two cuts turned out as compelling: After a section of electromagnetic interference, the 15 minutes of “Osa 0″ offer frosty micronoise between passages of emptiness. “Osa 1″ is another long, 11-minute piece built on a minimalist loop and swerving drone pattern.

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DJ Spider & Marshallito – Contest For Supremacy (The Trilogy Tapes TTT029 – 2014)

ttt_nuc_winterrEverybody hopes that ‘nuclear winter’ is just doomsday fiction actually not going to happen whereas a piece of vinyl titled “Nuclear Winter” is a stimulating undertaking, executed by NYC producers DJ Spider and Marshallito for the London-based The Trilogy Tapes.

In the first instance, DJ Spider equals shuffled techno stompers with a pinch of funk, mostly appearing on his own label Plan B Records. His pal Marshallito’s home is fittingly named subBASS Sound System, a label that has seen three collabs of the two producers.

After “Deadly Structures”, the current EP is DJ Spider’s and Marshallito’s second joint effort on Will Bankhead’s label and one can expect seismic beats when the two enter the arena. The title track is really a bass membrane test where linguistic talent is required to guess the origin of the exotic voiceover. The winding track gets quite close to deep house, containing jazzy passages and chant of the natives, in overall sounding like a field recording on board of a Brazzaville-bound train.

Severe analog bounce continues with “Geiger Count” where odd strings and bells resonate over tormented bass line, forcing a dislocated Martian spaceship to pledge NASA ‘we need your help’. Ferociously pumping “Zero Point” goes really under the skin, a cut of rancid synth buzz where at the mid-track vocoded street preachers emerge, gradually sinking into vast hold of modulations. When the smoke cedes, the annihilation is total.

Mind-blowing material, cementing The Trilogy Tapes as one of the most forward-thinking labels of our times.

Buy vinyl from Juno (when available)
Buy The Trilogy Tapes from Honest Jon’s

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