Svreca – Narita (SEMANTICA 44 – 2015)

semantica44Svreca has been a frequent visitor to Japan, with performances at Dommune and various clubs, and therefore it may not be surprising that Narita, the site of Tokyo’s air hub, serves as source of inspiration for the Semantica boss. While the Madrid label keeps a steady pace of two monthly releases, for Svreca’s own productions 2014 meant some sort of sabbatical without any new solo material.

Now the master of tripping tracks is back and opens the game with “Sleepless”, a jet lag-ridden monotonous stretch, where strident bells are running on steady bass to a long tunnel of exhaustion. At first glance almost annoyingly simple, the opener illustrates well mental numbness after intercontinental travel. The dash ends abruptly in “Ebisu”, whose frosty aura taps to Ø’s and Alva Noto’s scarce soundscaping. Liquid signals are falling on gradually accelerating offbeat and meditative Glockenspiel set on phosphorus pads creates both relaxing and captivating feel.

The pace is upped again on the B-side, when all engines are go in “Mountain-Splitter”, an eight-minute ascent curve to the cruising altitude, undistracted of a malicious alarm signals. For the end, “Trance” adds another one to the countless definitions of that state of mind, in the form of maintenance hall ambient, where the contours of alien noise are presiding amidst dark-toned thumps and hissing steam.

“Narita” is an innovative piece, where crisp and clear sounds are gathered under the banner of minimalism.


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Device Control – The Manufacture Of Consent (Device Control Recordings DCR002 – 2015)

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Colin Bain, the heart, mind and soul behind the Device Control alias and the self-titled label, clearly understands a thing about techno. After being quite impressed about the label’s potent debut in April last year, I find Device Control’s second four-tracker “The Manufacture Of Consent” even more appealing.

The EP, which will be part of my next vinyl order, is a premium offering of hot-blooded techno, filled with eruptive sequences and brazen rhythms. Occasionally, it recalls the 1990s strongholds, but the tracks sound fresh and animating.

The business starts when Hood-style steely swirl connects to furious kick drum in “First Bloc” and a wealth of bulldozing riffs give a strong rating to “Policies”.

Bain skilfully combines straight drum patterns with eerie echoes and acid fragments, applied with a striking effect in the volcanic title track “The Manufacture Of Consent”, which smells like a meet-up of Midwest hardcorps and Labworks posse from the bygone years. “Saturn Message” is the noisiest scramble, with tense loops and bruised vocals going closer to Repitch fare.

Although moving in sub-125 BPM spheres, Device Control 002 is about solid, crude techno without any industrial nonsense. Hopefully Bain does not need to move from ‘remote’ Scotland to Berlin for a greater recognition he really deserves.

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Ekserd – The Hidden Documents (Ressort Imprint RSI 006 – 2015)

RSI006 ArtworkThe word ‘trance’ comes over my lips when listening to four hidden documents, released by Berlin’s fledgling Ressort Imprint.

Of Ekserd’s original material, the opener “Hidden Document I” behaves wildly when boosting blood pressure with rough drum driven material. Next, I can’t ignore the feeling of hearing a Kangding Ray track when “II” opens the door for dubby screeches and trancy elements already heard in the opener.

The B-side is dedicated to the reworks of visiting artists. Firstly, I/Y’s drops a high altitude version, before Svreca takes “II” to a trippy flight, for me the highlight of the release. To mention is also the digital bonus “Wons”, Ekserd’s co-op with Array Access, representing soft-spoken electronica. An EP that will find friends on the floor.

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Plant43 – Return To The Sentient City (SEMANTICA 69 – 2015)

Release date is in January 21015

Release date is in February 2015

Emile Facey has been missing the Sentient City lately, when the electro artist from London returns to the theme under the Plant43 moniker. It is also a reminder that genres endorsed by Semantica are not limited to techno, for which the Madrid label is mostly acknowledged, but it is open to a wider sound philosophy.

Being the final part of the series, “Return To The Sentient City” contains a wealth of crisp and clear textures with a melancholic flair, without missing the bass-laden essence of genuine electro.

All four tracks, driven by agile 808, gleaming layers and gentle strings, are equally strong, and evoke a picture of sustainable experiments with men and machines living under the dictatorship of wellness.

What we encounter here is sonic storytelling where the titles and content feed the imagination, like the opener “Chain Of Memories” being a perspective companion for browsing withered Polaroids. The following two cuts are on the uptempo side when intense sequences emerge in “Ascendant Machines” and “Ubicomp Malfunction”, before diving into crystal-clear waters to explore the beauty of “Amphibious Architecture”. Refreshing electro harmonies reaffirm Plant43’s standing as a forward-thinking electro act.

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Ekman – Gödelian Argument (Bedouin Records BDN004 – 2015)

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Release date is in February 2015

Already Dez Williams EP with remixes by Bintus and Ekman indicated serious ambitionst of Bedouin Records, a label based in the United Arab Emirates. The next alert comes from Ekman, conducting corrosive experiments in a gritty five-tracker expected in February. The Dutch electro acid producer had an exceptional year 2014 and “Gödelian Argument”, the most septic offering in the Bedouin catalog so far, promises further tremors on the floor.

Already the sound clips give a clear evidence of an excellent offering. “Quantitative Matter And Motion” starts as dirty as it can be, with overdriven bass line and evil undulations we know from Ekman’s Panzerkreuz and The Trilogy Tapes material.

At first instance drifting to more minimalistic, dubby realms, “Implausible Inconsistency System” is soon exposed to another mental synth assault, and the next one, “I Am Not A Turing Machine, You Are”, does not bring any relief either.

A feast for top-end sound systems, “The Consciousness Of An Anthropic Mechanism” is an eerie distorted mindf*** while the title track “Gödelian Argument” stands for hardened electro boogie with violent turns and convulsive bass. Dark and powerful tracks.

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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)

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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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