SYNTH POP/BIG BEAT *** Coloba – Death of Nathaniel York EP (self-released)
Coloba hails from Uruguay and is a project by the rock guitarist Javi who’s fond of electronic music. A few tracks are big beat derivatives and the title cut expresses melancholic sadness with the language of electronics. For me, the darkish synth pop “Ylla” is the highlight in this release from a promising artist.
BREAKS/HOUSE *** Loopchasers – Lunagenesis (TerraFirm 8)
The duo’s debut on a sublabel of Pittsburgh’s well-curated is / was. On the A-side two versions of “A World Of Swirls” with a progressive touch in the 2019 mix and the one from 2022 repainted in intense tones. The 2018 mix of “The Light” comes with breakbeatish ‘moving the crowd’ sample and acid riffs and slowed-down 2022 mix bears esoteric ambient vibes.
TECHNO *** Hugo Mesi – Y 𝑒 s EP (Mürk Records)
As expected, Tallinn techno activist targets the floor with seven-track digital EP. Known as well by the producer name Killerkat, Mesi drops his funkiest production so far with healthy minimal stance in the title track and “Dispirited”. The use of Japanese (“Moshi Moshi”) and French (“Las [*Le] Fin Des Temps”) vocals spices up the whole picture and for a jump-jump-a-little-higher experience choose “Transitions”.
ELECTRO/FUNK ***** Gravitational Effect – Passenger 1982 (Mechatronica Digital MTROND011)
No doubt, vintage department is speaking here with lush funk riffs from the times 40 years ago. The digital EP’s complex sound picture succeeds in lending a modern flair to old school sounds, when the Belgian artist combines electro grooves with melancholic notes. Previously Gravitational Effect has appeared on much-recommended compilations by Urban Connections and published the first vinyl EP in 2022. Very much looking forward to new material from this talent.
TECHNO/DEEP HOUSE *** Ke Thu – Like A Beacon Against The Fog (Still Techno STILLT004)
Ke Thu are Detroit-based newcomers Tim Barrett and Steven Stavropoulos who are showing different faces on the debut EP, the opening deep tech of “Reality” coming straight from the Motor City textbook. The label head Jerome Derradji’s mixdown enforces the appeal of shuffled undulations of the title track, and fast-moving “As Every Message” is centered on the floor.
ELECTRO / TECHNO ***** Gesloten Cirkel – Detoon (TURBO 218)
It’s fun to ride with Gesloten Cirkel, who is sounding raw and quirky again. The opener “Cryformechicago” goes B2B with Jamal Moss and deranged “Pkbday” is the very best electro can offer today. From the gabberhead lineage with sweeter notes comes “GPU – Didit (Turbo Mix)”, while tuff breaks of “Detoon” lead to daydreams about snake charming at a Lahore market. Digital bonus “Aintnopartylikeageslotencirkelparty” experiments with voices and beats in a boing-boom-tschak way.
HOUSE/TRIBAL ***** Mbulelo – Kalibre (Hakuna Kulala HK035)
The A-side offers two polyrhythmic party starters when the South African artist who debuted on Transmat a few years ago explores the world-conquering style ‘gqom’ (hope I spelled it correctly). Warm’n’wild beats are exchanged into a more laid back “Uranus”, its dubby textures reminding of Vainqueur and consorts, while orchestral “God’s Groove” floats between ambient and leftfield. Terrific, varied EP.
JUNGLE *** Sempra – Red Eye EP (La Bonne Musique LBM010)
Being rather indifferent about jungle when it emerged, now the genre sounds increasingly appealing to me, like the new EP from the Bristol artist Sempra. The title shines with raggadelic vocals and tight jungle moves, moving through the valleys of sub bass and soulful samples, only “Call 4 Me” with extremely pitched vocals loses the touch.
BREAKBEAT/ACID HOUSE **** Force Mass Motion – You’ll Never Be Back EP (Force Mass Motion Recordings FMM019)
Two classic UK hardcore tracks from the man who never lost his hardcore. Dreamy breakbeat blast “You’ll Never Be Alone” might be late for summer raves, as the release is scheduled for September, but this hands-up sensation would work in following seasons too. “Back To Back” resorts to acid house with well-aged FMM stabs.
PROG HOUSE / TECHNO **** Maara – Spiral 2 The Other Side (X-Kalay XK027)
Progressive house is gradually climbing back to the center stage and along R.A.N.D. Muzik from Germany, London’s X-Kalay is following the footsteps of vintage Guerilla and Limbo. Maara-Louisa Dunbar from Montreal knows the secret of captivating tunes and offers an energizing session on X-Kalay, with rushing breakbeats in the B2 track “Doom Quest”.
DEEP & TECH HOUSE *** Gemil – Reaction EP (Deep Down Space Records DDSP001)
Summer house from Italy with four well-executed tracks that will be welcomed by DJs but may easily dissolve in a two-hour set. Buoyant pads and placid bass line are lifting “Morph” on the B-side above the others, only a moaning lady spoils the picture.
ELECTRO/EBM **** Maximum Trauma – Business (Tripalium Records DMS047)
Isotonic beats by the French artist Maxime Gendre, relying on post-punk attitudes with various electronics influences. The opener “Business” is rolling acidic electro with tight rhymes, dark wave is poured over West Coast breaks in “Faceless” and the six-track cassette with an edition of 40 culminates in almost industrial beast “Factory”. The next wham on Tripalium will be even fiercer.
TECHNO/LEFTFIELD *** Andres Lõo – Synaptic Sugar (Acido Records ACIDO034)
Lõo (not Loo) who cut his teeth as drummer of the Estonian crossover group Luarvik Luarvik debuts on Dynamo Dreesen’s label with a bass-heavy two-tracker. Merrily swaying title cut sees a circus troupe rehearsing stunts and gags in summer heat, animated by ample beats and brief appearance of bleep stabs. Brownian motion has scripted “Gentle Hell”, a neurotic jazz derivative hitch-hiking for Rezzett’s vehicle.
TECHNO/BREAKS *** Empath – Hi Tech Lo Life (EABE EABE-VINYL-IV)
New four-tracker by the Finnish artist Empath who was lately behind the “Fenno Pagan Ritual” compilation. Maverick techno (“Wounded by Hatred”, “Momentum”) is also a key element in the opener “Korkeammalle”, which has the strongest cards by teasing with a long break filled with motifs of UR’s “Transition” and vocals reminding of Green Velvet “Preacher Man”. Varied broken beats in “Hi Tech Lo Life” and in the lush digital bonus “Syvemmälle”. As next Empath will release dark ambient record ”Music For Hypnagogia” on the Signature Dark label.
ELECTRO/BASS **** Zeta Reticula – C.L.O.N.E. EP (Mechatronica MTRON025)
Umek’s electro project is spelling the genetic alphabet with wall-shaking bass in the title, while dubstep riffs appear in the fierce showdown “Host Star”. A highway patrol admits burnout in “Out Of Range” and “Dark Skies” is less overcast than expected, adding a funkier note to the new batch of gloomy and addictive tracks by the Slovenian.
TECHNO/DUB TECHNO *** Altstadt Echo – A Muted Radiance (Semantica Records SEMANTICA136)
Three variations of “A Muted Radiance” for forgetting everyday rush. Casual, even melancholic tracks that are built on broken rhythms, piano passages and dub techno elements. Atmospheric feelings are prevailing in the third version with a sweet Cosmic Baby trance riff for dream rave mornings.
TECHNO HOUSE/TECHNO **** Spandrel – Geolectrics (TerraFirm 7)
An offshoot of is/was label from Pittsburgh reports back with two EPs scheduled for September. Spandrel is a project by Shyam Anand and the foundations of his four-tracker lie in tech house, bolstered with acid breaks. Winners are on the B-side: “Ornithological Studies” commences with UR percussion and ascends into a groovy, dubbed out treat, well matched by ironically titled and housier “Colonizer Appreciation Day”.
TECHNO **** FBK – Think For Yourself (TRAM Planet Records TP018)
Seasoned US techno producer hits in the title cut with delirious voice and galloping techno rhythms, which remind of Holy Ghost on Tresor. Nasty bass drum in hardcore vein announces “Nightfall”, the crunchiest of the lot, while funkier tones are added in “Faith’s Lusty Reward”. The last vinyl track is Marcel Dettman’s reduced take of “Aftfore”, the original being one of two digital bonuses, which is floating in acidic jacuzzi.
TECHNO/ELECTRO ***** John Shima – CPU Modular 1 (Central Processing Unit – 01101100)
All-modular session by Sheffield’s John Shima who pays the first visit to the acclaimed label of his hometown. The opener “003” honors bleep traditions with pumping drums greeting ghetto house patterns. “010” with ringing acidic riff is the ‘catchy one’ and “011” rushes to the floor with Bam Bam’s “Where’s Your Child” bass line in the backpack, before “005” joins a lunar orbiter mission with wonkier grooves.
EBM/ITALO **** SDH – Maybe A Body (Avant! AV!077)
Spanish duo with the full name Semiotics Department Of Heteronyms is becoming a flagship act on Avant!, a post-punk and wave label from Italy. The title song offers SDH’s trademark dark romantics driven by fiery synths, though Phase Fatale’s hardened version tends to steal the show. Surprisingly, with “All Of That” they drop a neat italo tune, which gets bonus bass treatment in Pablo Bozzi’s remix. Worth checking is also “Time Traitor”, an album by M!R!M on Avant!.
TECHNO **** Mark Broom – 100% Juice Album Sampler (REKIDS198)
Less than a year has passed since “Fünfzig”, an album that celebrated Mark Broom’s 50th birthday, and now the artist is back on Rekids with another long format. A four-track advance sampler excels with the B-side: Detroit-themed “Nod To The D” and especially “Spiked”, an explosive tech-swing track, which feels like teamwork with The Williams Fairey Brass Band. At first listen, the album is a classic and convincing techno pack for sweaty club nights.
SYNTH/POP/BREAKS *** Mika Forsling – Rollercoaster (Paltunes)
Starting and ending with placid analog vignettes, the second album by Mika Forsling on Malmö’s Paltunes makes a few U-turns, like with bleepy breaks and 808 riffs in “Bending Momentum” or minimalist chirps in “Reversing Waves”. On the uptempo side, “333 Spheres” is a friend of Fischerspooner, Man2Man and euro house. Obviously ‘rollercoaster’ is an apt tagline here.
ACID HOUSE/ELECTRO/TECHNO **** Maelstrom / Locked Club & RLGN (Acid Avengers 021)
Electro is the central theme of the Maelstrom side, either in company of acid-tinged breaks in Khan & Jammin’ Unit style (“Acid Zdoch”) or modular tweaks orgy (“La Nuit Est A Toi”), while the A2 track goes techno with an EBM push. On the deranged B-side opener by Locked Club and RLGN, “Captain Industrial” slams with naughty acid house and B-boy rhymes, and then “Kill Me” rolls on with a stern bass line.
ELECTRO/IDM *** Qualia – Qualia EP (U-TRAX 28 UTR QDM20)
A debut of three teleworking Italian producers offers moody, acid-sprayed electro (“Perception”) and experimental mechanics (“Qualia”, “Until I Break Apart”), which occasionally reminds of early Passarani. The best part is “VV Cephei A”, where a floral intro leads to colliding drone pulses.
TECHNO/ELECTRO **** Kerrie – Raw Regimen E.P (Blueprint BP063)
After doing wonders on Cultivated Electronics, Kerrie opens the new EP as one can expect on Ruskin’s Blueprint, when the title cut’s loops are tracing the legacy of young Mills and Hood. In the darkish electro compartment, check haunting sinusoids of “Poly Pressure” and sturdy synth moves of “Turning Point”.
TECHNO/ACID *** Kareem El Morr – Super Illegal Revolution Trax (RFR-Records RFR021)
Leaving aside the EP’s banal title, Munich resident El Morr is fit for the floor again. Acidic crumbles drive the practical advice “How To Bring Down Your Government (Rakim´s Stay in Bed Mix)” and “Sidequest” moves in 90’s techno’s ethereal side with O.T. Quartet stabs and breakbeats.
ACID **** Butane – Exploitation (Extrasketch EX 35)
US producer drops two tense acid soakers on his own label. “Infoslut” reminds me of Cassegrain and Rudolf C material, among many. A peak hour slot will be reserved for “Touch”, the female vocals adding Latin and soul dynamics to the track.
TECHNO/INDUSTRIAL **** Rubén Seoane – Disinformation (Persephonic Sirens 012)
Ancient Methods’ label sticks to the tradition of dropping two vinyls at once and it’s the turn of Znzl (Paris) and Rubén Seoane (Barcelona). The latter’s four-tracker combines bulldozer beats with floor-compatible grooves, squeezed between excessive reverbs and boiling acidity. Seoane’s B-side tracks are especially strong.
TECHNO **** Oxygeno – Space Panorama (AXIS- The Escape Velocity ASD056)
True-blue Axis sound, marked by the opening interstellar floater “Rings Of Saturn” and several spot-on techno weapons (“Gravitational Collapse”, “Strange Orbits”), written by Diego Amido Teijeiro aka Oxygeno.
TECHNO/ELECTRO ** CementO – Entrance & Exit (DEFMAIN 33)
Another set of fierce tracks on the Canadian digital imprint, this time from a Chilean newcomer. Floor-focused with a touch of broken beats, the opener “Keene Act” not taking any prisoners and “Main Exit” being the grooviest.
ELECTRO/EBM *** Credit 00 – Data Phobia (Mechatronica White – MTRONW010)
Sound farmer from fertile grounds of Uncanny Valley has amassed plenty of vintage influences from darkish electro to EBM burners, “Fatty Acid” being the one to spearhead a floor assault.