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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Teersom – Magerøya EP (Basement Grey Records BEGR-001 – 2014)

begr_01nsAfter impressive debut on Sähkö’s sub Keys of Life, Niko Pettersen aka Teersom launches own Basement Grey Records with barren tracks carried by wobbly percussion. In the EP named after Norway’s northernmost island Magerøya, the man from Turku in Western Finland, and the city of Sähkö Recordings, heads to eroded trails in the far side of the 60th parallel north.

For “Water Breath”, thermal suits and strong headlamps are required when diving into the deep where thuds and creaks are echoing in low-oxygen spheres. The bass is turned up to the maximum, which lends a chunky impression also to the next track “Waves E”, moving on more abstract side with bleepy undertones and reverberated noise, like captured from the docks of a freight port. However the peak moments arrive when Hidden Hawaii headman Felix K’s reinterpretation of “Waves E” hits the shore, with the track undergoing a frosty dub treatment.

Slightly recalling Tekonivel’s “Sirkus”, it’s largely a genuine Teersom-style production with an ambition to go beyond ordinary dance material.  “Magerøya EP” may not be immediately accesible but recommended for anyone wishing to perceive a deeper view on techno.

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Various – Jerome Derradji Presents The House That Jackmaster Hater Built (Still Music Stillmdcd012 – 2014)

A wealth of 26 tracks in the CD version and half of them selected for two vinyl double packs, Jerome Derradji’s Still Music digs again in the archives of Chicago house to explore the catalog of Kstarke Records. The story goes that the Kstarke owner Kevin Starke aka Jackmaster Hater, adheres to the motto I want them to hate me for putting this out, which is well reflected in the bumpy ride of the compilation.

“The House That Jackmaster Hater Built” contains rare material by Ron Hardy, James “Jack Rabbit” Martin, Terrence Woodard, Traxmen and many more, for an entertaining assortment of hedonistic acid house workouts. Given the label’s approach and featured artists, the compilation’s sound palette does not offer any real surprises but works well in DJ selections and listening sessions.

Speaking of most memorable tracks, the fat opener “Only Wanted To Be” by James “Jack Rabbit” Martin relies on psyched-out lady chorus paired with low-pitched male vocals and is also featured on a separate Still Music single. Crystalite Feat. Kristen’s “Cut By A Laser” is a sought-afer italo instrumental and Traxmen’s “No Way Back”, Jackmaster Hater’s “Tracky 2″ or “Drum Track” stand for low-slung percussive hell. The label boss Starke is in the picture with serious acid bells and rhythmic tweaks in “Jaws”and “151”.

The most extraordinary cut is “Passion (Extended Unreleased)” by Jackmaster Hater, where disorientated drum machine and verbal convulsions offer eight minutes of kinky sex, all that sounding as a genuine out-of-the-mind experience. Speaking of Chicago legends, three Ron Hardy edits constitute a special part of the compilation, with sparse drum patterns in “Track 1″, mashed soul funk “Happyness” and “Acid Dreams (Mix 1)”, sampling Martin L. King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech.


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Terminal 313 Mix: Promos & Classics Vol. 2 (November 2014)

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A number of new releases and some oldies in the new mix. On several occasions, I have been tempted to get a release of French jazz wizard Erik Truffaz and the same applies for Murcof, Mexican electronics don. “Origin Of The World”, the inaugural track of their collab on Mundo Recordings is a most suitable opener for “Promos & Classics Vol. 2″, taking the listener to the melancholic world where Truffaz’s trumpet meets ambient. Hot Guts is a Philadelphia industrial wave group and “All Suns” is from their new LP on Avant! Records. Anopolis collective stands for Greek-flavoured acid house and switches on the drum machine to prepare ground for Italians Lamanna & Fire At Work for further corrosive sequences. T.Rex cover “Children Of The Revolution” is a bittersweet greeting from the times when I discovered acid house and Baby Ford is really one of the great names that has survived the decades of electronic music.

Lady power arrives with “Sea Shore Acid”, a badass acid workout by Helena Hauff and “Deathvox”, a grim techno cut from Paula Temple’s forthcoming EP on R&S Records. After his Repitch pal D. Carbone, Ascion lands on Black Sun Records and “Ulm” precedes another trippy fare, “Yggdrasil” by Swedish act Acronym, from a soon-to-come EP on Semantica. Slapping Detroit funk “My Riot” by DJ Roach is one of my favorite cuts coming out of Detroit recently while Samuli Kemppi’s debut album on M_Rec Ltd is marked with “Power Of Voltages”.

“Insectoid” by Ø [Phase] is one of the choice tracks on Token’s new “Aphelion” compilation, followed by classic Orbital with entrancing “Sunday”. After Killawatt’s UK techno slam “Primary Panic”, Relief’s forgotten DJ Boris sends greetings from the mid-1990s with an almost mind-numbing tool, overrun by Ekman’s acidocalyptic “Entropy” from The Trilogy Tapes EP. From Benelux rave archives comes Meng Syndicate’s limping “Lil’s Old” before industrially charged Sonic Groove hits with Orphx’s analog attack “What Will Burn” and Adam X’s “Irreformable”, the title track from the label head’s outstanding full-length. “Augun” by HISS : 1292 is one of the most captivating techno trips in 2014 and the mix concludes with two other rough rides, “Stitches” from Sunil Sharpe’s EP on Trensmat and Makaton’s “Spit To Lubricate”, from upcoming EP on Token.

Tracklist

Erik Truffaz & Murcof – Origin Of The World (Mundo Recordings)*
Hot Guts – All Suns (Avant! Records)
Anopolis – Anopolis 11 (Lower Parts)
Lamanna & Fire At Work – Opera Nove (Blackwater)
Baby Ford – Children of the Revolution (Sire)
Helena Hauff – Sea Shore Acid (Panzerkreuz)
Paula Temple – Deathvox (R&S Records)*
Ascion – Ulm (Black Sun Records)*
Acronym – Yggdrasil (Semantica)*
DJ Roach – My Riot (Nuestro Futuro)
Samuli Kemppi – Power Of Voltages (M_Rec Ltd)
Ø [Phase] – Insectoid (TOKEN)
Orbital – Sunday (Internal)
Killawatt – Primary Panic (Run Out Run)
DJ Boris – Black Damien A1 (Relief Records)
Ekman – Entropy (The Trilogy Tapes)
Meng Syndicate – Lil’s Old (Hithouse Records)
Orphx – What Will Burn (Sonic Groove)
Adam X – Irreformable (Sonic Groove)
HISS : 1292 – Augun (Dement3d Records)
Sunil Sharpe – Stitches (Trensmat)*
Makaton – Spit To Lubricate (TOKEN)*

* Unreleased as of November 12, 2014

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Samuli Kemppi – The Observer Effect (M_Rec Ltd M_RECLTDLP01 – 2014)

No kidding, “Observer Effect” is Samuli Kemppi’s first album and for a producer who emerged in 2002, this step is long overdue. Even if an artist can live without doing albums, because the high metabolic rate of contemporary techno favours short formats for keeping the crowds going with new and new tracks.

That’s what Kemppi has done in recent years, putting out a steady stream of EPs on labels like Chronicle, Suicide Circus, Balans, Prologue and also on Deep Space Helsinki, homely imprint set up with Juho Kusti. Together they also run a weekly DSH radio show on Basso Radio, playing fresh promos and some classics.

Anyone familiar with Kemppi’s music and DJ sets knows that grim industrial fare and dystopian scenarios are not his preference. In the same, the Finn is keen to explore the unknown, the far ends of the mental and physical world, expressed by his atmospheric yet trippy sound. The same approach is perceived in the album and it remains to be seen whether “Observer Effect”, also the first long player for Milan’s M_Rec Ltd label, refers to a Star Trek episode or science experiments.

After entering the electromagnetic research department in “Particle Spray”, the next door leads directly to “Agitated” and to the dance sector. “Locked” is about a groove that, well, sounds locked but thereafter the lightning really strikes in “Power Of Voltages”, one of the album’s peak moments, and the same applies for vortical “Unsung Heroes”, while bleepy “250 Days” could stand for a techno version of “Baby Wants To Ride”.

Revolving dark matter of “Water Lake” and “Beneath The Surface”, which would fit into Geophone catalogue, touch the abstract ends of club techno while the vinyl’s D-side is closer to ordinary loop tracks (“Tailgating”, “Never The Same”).

Recorded and arranged live, “Observer Effect” is an album of friendly and stimulating techno to fill the night.


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—Resident Advisor feature about Samuli Kemppi—

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Sunil Sharpe – Cadya (Trensmat Records TR045 – 2014)

tr045It’s a story of two mainstays of Irish electronic music and about a cooperation expected to happen. Sunil Sharpe is foremostly known as the boss of Earwiggle, an imprint for techno’s harder side, and his own infrequent releases have found a home at Works The Long Nights and Black Sun.

Trensmat is an exciting label of experimental electronics, which has recently peeked into the realms of techno. Leaving aside the countryman aspect, it may well be that Whirling Hall Of Knives and The 15 Dead Minutes, the groups recently seen on both labels, were the decisive forces to link Sharpe to Trensmat.

What came out is largely explained with oppressive kicks and monotonous machine roar in “Jamm 1″, where the double M in the title is well justified. Dark undertones do not exclude the groove factor that is present across the EP, in a painful manner also in “Eyebrow” that crawls on scrubby surface with pneumatic synth noise echoing in the background.

Getting some “Stitches” means dancing with the ghosts of electropunk in area governed by a muttering warlord and in an attempt to try out techno’s lighter shade, “Late Drift” stubbornly sticks to bruised drum patterns. Of recent Trensmat releases, this one aims most explicitly at the floor.

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Hiss : 1292 – VéVé EP (Dement3d Records DM3D010 – 2014)

“VéVé EP” by Hiss : 1292, a French-Swiss connection of Francois X and Opuswerk, is a good reason to pay attention to Dement3d Records. Two years after Polar Inertia’s outstanding “The Last Vehicle EP”, the label from Paris makes another strong statement to hit the nerve of the techno scene.
The duo’s second EP after “Aetherius Society” from the last year, “VéVé EP” is inspired of West African Dahomey and Yoruba voodoo traditions and opens with “Augun”, a bullish, drilling tool for the moments of perfection on the floor.
“Damballah” receives the Wedo Mix treatment by the label’s co-founder Francois X’s who opts for slow-mode hypnosis in the most sluggish track of the EP. Acidic tones of Opuswerk’s abrasive Takes You Higher Version send “Eshu” to a tunnel trip bound to “Simbi”, offering a captivating finale with slightly tribalistic drums and psychedelic flair.


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Timeline – The Conscious Dream EP (Underground Resistance ‎UR-087 – 2014)

Not as numerous as Underground Resistance’s super group Galaxy 2 Galaxy, Timeline follows the concept of the UR the Band. A project conceived and run by Mike Banks, and uniting artists like keyboardist Jon Dixon, sax player DeSean Jones and producer/DJ Mark Flash, Timeline is a travelling live collective standing for Detroit’s spiritual side. Whereas the perspective arising from house and jazz is not new for the headquarters of techno, when thinking of early UR productions or labels like Happy Records.

As expected, “The Conscious Dream EP” reveals the smoother side of UR’s storm bringers, true to the proclamation this is not techno, this is high-tech jazz. The flair of cafe bands from the decades ago is felt in the deep house track “Light My Fire”, a stroll in the Sax Boulevard to the junction of Piano Avenue, accompanied by female vocals over the jazz dribble. In the similar laid-back vein, “Moment In Marseille” relies on sax and vocals and the bass acquires a more central role than in the previous cut. The closest to UR’s signature sound is the B-side’s “Next Step 4wrd” with cozy horns and gracious synths in the turquoise light of futurism, matching the sleekness of preceding tracks.

The Timeline EP is one of UR’s three recent releases, along with Nomadico’s “Yaxteq” and Alone’s “Has God Left This City?”, meaning that 2014 will be a good year for the Detroit crew.

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D. Carbone – Untitled (Black Sun Records BSR010 – 2014)

After machine-driven rudities on Bas Mooy’s Mord, D. Carbone is at it again with noisy amok tracks, very suitably on the Black Sun Records. The Naples-born co-owner of Repitch and 3TH Records drops four untitled cuts from the areas black as the night.
Apart from occasional trancy pads in A1, my pick of the EP, banging drums and evil distortions dominate across the release. A2 is the most caustic of the lot while after the atmospheric intro, the B1 turns swiftly to a stomping session and B2 brings further fresh produce from the punch plant. Carrying some influences from the 1990s techno, BSR010 offers headbanging twenty-two minutes on the floor, focusing on pure aerobics. By the way, next release on Black Sun comes from Ascion, another Italian behind Repitch and 3TH.


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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 of 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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