DJ Spider & Marshallito – Nuclear Winter (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.

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AD \\ HH \\ SS \\ DC ‎– Dead Hush (Brothers BROS006 – 2014)

BROS006_ART_BACK

AD, HH, SS, DC – this is a cryptic way how the Brothers label describes the artist lineup, which stands for well-known producers of techno’s noisy side. The story is built around Manchester duo AnD who have teamed up with three remarkable players for the label’s sixth release.

“Dead Hush” is AnD (AD) track with Headless Horseman (HH), built on morose compressor beats as suspected. At the four-minute mark the whispers of black-lipped fairies start a fadeout process before the bass throb reclaims the spotlight.

Sunil Sharpe’s (SS) “Security Breach” is an acid-contaminated tinny pounder, followed by winding and scrubbing  “Sonic Erosion” that reflects techno’s attractive ugliness as defined by D. Carbone (DC).

What I like the most in “Brothers 006″ is that the artists refrain from sounding ‘hard’ at any price and keep the groove in the mind.


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Jonas Kopp – Beyond The Hypnosis (Tresor TRESOR273LP – 2014)

Tresor272.273_ArtworkLet us start with the obvious: Techno history is unthinkable without Tresor, the club and the label, and both are more than two decades after the inception still up and running. Sometimes the label looks like a heritage preservation society, if to think about Drexciya and Transllusion reruns that always generate worldwide acclaim.

However, Tresor has not neglected the label’s initial task to try the pulse of techno community and after adding this year Marcelus and Zenker Brothers to the roster, now Jonas Kopp has dropped his debut album and accompanying EP on the Berlin label.

Producing and DJing since he was 19 years old, Kopp could be described as a wunderkind of South American techno who has extended his global reach to the renowned labels Stroboscopic Artefacts, CLR, Curle and many more. Along with the Manchester duo AnD, Kopp had the honour of first release on Krill Music, a label from his native Buenos Aires.

The Argentinian, a regular DJ at the Tresor Club, has well succeeded with the long format “Beyond The Hypnosis”. It is more diverse and exciting than I expected after dauntless dance tools of the “Red Plented EP”. The first impression of the album is that hypnosis should not be regarded as a catchword in the title because Kopp really keeps the listener awake and concentrated throughout the album.

In the vinyl version, the sluggish yet bass laden opener “Ironcry” emerges from thick mist while “Voice In My Head (Dub)” resists the gravity when tapping on the shoulder of Purpose Maker spaceman.

For more serious floor action, take “Planet MU” and “Seven”. What really matter here are the warm melodic chords in “Circe”, for me a surprising highlight showing Kopp’s tranquil side, while a different kind of hypnosis arrives with celestial dark substance in “Tau Ceti”. After dubbed out calm loops and blossoming pads in “Alpheratz”, lean back to intercept ambient signals of “528 Hz”.

Remaining within the techno structures, the album’s main quality lies in variations found across eight vinyl and twelve CD tracks.

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Buy vinyl / download from Hard Wax
Buy vinyl / CD from Tresor

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Relax: There is life after Loefah / BH 0.5

Edvard_Munch_-_The_ScreamThis week it was Loefah all over the place when the UK dubstepper’s long-lost „Midnight / Woman“ got finally a limited-edition release on Berceuse Heroique (BH). It took the blink of an eye the twelve to evaporate from the stocks of selected retailers – Honest Jon’s and Idle Hands. The public outrage was immense and self-justice against the label was in the air.

On top of that, a new dude hiding behind the Discogs username ’tyler00o’ offered that slab of vinyl for a 39-digit pound price. By the way, it is not listed anymore which adds more fuel to conspiracy and concept stories.

After listening to the vinyl rips on Youtube, I find “Midnight” pretty classy while “Woman” is nothing special – though it says someone who has been only remotely into dubstep. The grapes may be sour because I failed to grab planned 10 copies of the record, which ruined my plan to acquire finally that sleek yacht from Abramovich.

The question is if it was a rip-off mission or just ordinary publishing policy? Several items in BH catalogue have been limited to 300 pieces and meant to be never repressed – time will tell if they stick to that, especially when a number of downloads is available in Hard Wax. In my view doing of Loefah 300 pieces, and not as one-off bootlegging nonsense, was in line with label’s approach and the hype created around the rare material was mainly self-fulfilling prophecy along the lines ‘best-dubstep-ever’.

Although not a bad record, it cannot be so superior to many other excellent releases hitting the crates. When Messi is worth 100 million pounds it does not mean he is 25 times better player than his Barca teammate Sandro Ramirez.

Limited editions are part of the music publishing ‘business’ and it is not a drama missing one or other release. Some people making a quick buck with them is an unpleasant side-effect which is in a large extent facilitated by the Internet marketplaces but this is another story,

PS: Yet unconfirmed but BH is told to have recovered a dubstep version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, a run of one copy is expected on December 29. Available in a Tesco branch, the exact location yet unknown.

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DUST OFF: DJ Boris – Black Damien (Relief Records RR733 – 1995)

It was the autumn of 1995 when I spent my two-month vinyl budget on “The Future Sound Of Chicago“, a triple pack documenting the resurgence of harder side Chicago, spearheaded by Green Velvet, Gemini and others. Previously guided by DJ Jokke’s (FI) thematic mini mix, I was very convinced the new raw sound from Chicago is the event of the year. “The Future Sound Of Chicago” itself deserves a closer look but I would like to focus on the artist behind the weirdest track on the comp.

It was DJ Boris aka Jerome Baker, a Chicago native, whose bone-dry funk blew my mind. At first instance it’s a genuine dirt cheap production based on a limited number of drum patterns. However it’s something that can be described as tracky, and crazy.
Two versions of the title track consist of minimalist riffs and mind-numbing repetition, which lend a certain appeal to the tool. “Apacalypse” sees some tempo changes and howling noises, which make it the most animated tune while “Demon Knight” is closer to the mid-90s pumping Relief fare backed by demolishing bass.
Even if the sleeve is worn out and the sound crackles, it’s a special feeling to spin a Relief record, in this occasion a very underrated tool in my view. “Black Damien” remained Baker’s only EP under the DJ Boris guise. In 2006 he made a return with a few releases on Relief and other labels.


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Hot Guts – Wilds (Avant! Records AV!032 – 2014)

HotGuts_3mmCoverIt was the debut EP of Phase Fatale that made me aware of the Italian outlet Avant! Records and now its time to turn the eyes to another production of the US origin. After picking the opening track “All Suns” for my recent “Promos & Classics” mix, a listen to the entire album of the Philadelphia based post-industrial group Hot Guts looked as a good idea.

Except for synth interlude “Gold Silent”, the album is about real electronic songs, performed by Wes Russell with backing vocals of Shari Wallin who does also synth and drum machines. They clearly cherish the past and feel inspired by earlier acts like Joy Division, Skinny Puppy, even New Order, Electronic and The Cure.

Although saturnine moods prevail in “Wilds”, the dance factor is present in flatulent “Kite And Shadow” and “Fires”, both destined for ballrooms populated by boots and latex. Especially the B-side provides soundtrack for sullen moments, most strongly in the duo’s melancholic ballad “Kindness” and in “Drift”, a sassy tale of drained spaces.

Buy vinyl / digital from Bandcamp

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Paula Temple – Deathvox (R&S Records RS1412 – 2014)

temple_dvoxRejuvenated R&S Records continues with the second EP by Paula Temple who is still a rather new face despite of being a producer for more than a decade. Last year’s “Colonize”, featuring a Perc remix, pushed Temple into the awareness of the techno community and the new EP indicates she may become the label’s regular along the artists like Lone, Paul White or Tessela.

In Temple’s recent outing the winner is the title cut “Deathvox”, a screaming Grim Reaper track marked by violent percussion. Spooky vocal effects that may come from a distressed Tuvan throat singer remind of “Throat Dub”, recently out by another techno lady Aisha Devi.

“Monstro” starts like a Lone track with warm breeze of chords but sweet dreams are crushed by brutal noise and distorted stepping beats – all in all an interesting heavy-sounding experimentation that actually goes nowhere. The B-side’s “Ful” makes a relaxed impression, serving the floor with gnarly synthetic horns on stout bass before it fades out in ambient manner.


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Atom™ – Ground Loop (The Bunker New York BK-008 – 2014)

atom_glWelcome to analog hell for a pure old school mindf***. After five test presses, Bunker NY has finally approved a tool that stands out in the 2014 techno landscape, brought to us by the huge talent of Atom™.

Having started with the EBM act Lassigue Bendthaus in antic 1980s, Uwe Schmidt aka Atom™ has survived as an artist up to our days and after passing through sticky warehouses, Latin electro cabarets and sound exhibition areas, another brief but concise chapter in his vast catalog is now complete.

Drawn from Atom™ live material that was premiered at the Berghain in May 2013, “Ground Loop” is a return to Schmidt’s rave-smelling years as Atomu Shinzo or “i”, two outstanding projects from the beginning of the 1990s.

In “Ground Loop 1″, after a lengthy intro for observing the skyline illumination, corrosive bass line emerges and a rusty robot keeps repeating acid with increasing frequency. After dauntless ride in a loop machine and drilling acid sequences (think of Mike Dred’s “Macrocosm”), a padded landing wraps up most intense eleven minutes that force to grab an imaginary steering wheel and dash through the night.

Also the B-side awakens with deeply breathing drone but the acid line is just lurking behind the corner to reclaim the city with intrepid bass challenging sweetish disco layers. Nothing else than Schmidt’s genius mind in unison with the hardware.

Similarly structured tracks, where catharsis is placed between beatless intros and outros, extract the best from the evolution real hard trance and hypnotic acid. Perfect club tools by the maestro.


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Acronym – Yggdrasil (SEMANTICA 61 – 2014)

acro_yggdr

Release date is in December 2014

Having so far released on own label Dimensional Exploration and Abdulla Rashim’s frequently tipped Northern Electronics, Acronym follows the suit of fellow countrymen Andreas Tilliander aka Svaag, S100 and Varg, recent Swedish explorers on Semantica.

Guided by a mythological interpretation of the Universe, Acronym opts for ethereal structures and tense loops. The title theme “Yggdrasil” and “Jotunheim” are high-altitude tracks navigating in glacial hiss and hum. On the flip, “Nifelheim” is on purpose set to neo-tribalistic rhythm scheme for a dubbed-out drifting to the brink of unconsciousness, before “Mimers Brunn” returns to ordinary paths. The floor is waiting.


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Erik Truffaz & Murcof – Being Human Being (Mundo Recordings mundo003-LP – 2014)

Cover_Being_CMJK_300dpi“Being Human Being” is a cross-genre collaboration of the French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz and Murcof, Mexican electronics producer. Not for the first time, as in 2008 they released the album “Mexico” on Blue Note and the same label features Truffaz’s numerous collabs with other artists.

The sleeve art by the graphic artist Enki Bilal is about humiliation and despair, with Sarajevo and Belgrade, Bilal’s native city, scribbled on the wall and reminding of hardships the Balkans have gone through in last decades. But the album, occasionally seeking the dark depths of the human nature, is not as gloomy as expected, expressing the hope of things turning better.

The album starts with melancholic intro “Origin Of The World” where Truffaz’s trumpet meets electronic, slightly oriental layers. Murcof unpacks the drone kit in in “Warhol”, filling epochal 15 minutes where not only trumpet but also keys maintain the jazz element in the composition. After brief “Hybridiation”, random patterns and free jazz rule in whirling “Chaos” and the next track “And Nina” features clarinet by Nina Truffaz

Murcof’s electronic passages gain more ground but they go hand in hand with Truffaz’s instrument, like in “The Eye”, followed by the album’s most likeable composition “Human Being”, an entrancing piece filling the space with wellness. Closer to the end, thoughtful cellist draws a bow over the strings in “Skin” and cinematic “Infinite Abstract” means a passing to the far ends of the Universe.


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