Sheffield’s top electro label has a knack for uncovering new talent, and its first Steel City signing, 96 Back, is a studio wizard on the basis of ‘Provisional Electronics’. The creation of Evan Majumdar-Swift, the debut 96 Back EP is very much in the electro domain, yet hammers in some welcome clanks and bleeps in the fine tradition of his hometown. The menacing sci-fi oscillations, swung out beats and synth bubbles of ‘000’ are strong, though it’s the crunchy snares, robo vox, and classic machine funk bass of ‘050’ that will get floors moving. The mellow and spacious ‘085’ and glimmering synthpop indebted ‘100’ round out a remarkable four-tracker.
Latvian DJ/producer Dmitry Distant’s new label welcomes some of the most gifted contemporary artists to offer their takes on atmospheric electro. French maestro Franck Kartell (who’s recently appeared on Bass Agenda) conjures images of space stations in orbit around distant worlds on the synth-laden, glimmering groove ‘Sigma Octantis’; Heinrich Dressel creates a spacious cinematic piece with ‘Down Upsight’, not a million miles from Tangerine Dream’s ’80s film scores; Vessel In Distress has stabbing electro bass over an ambient arrangement on ‘Transponder’, and MSRG’s ‘Elliptical Wave’ breaks the mood with a 4/4 dancefloor electro cut. A veritable feast.
Miss Kittin & The Hacker
'Lost Tracks Vol.2'
Miss Kittin & The Hacker are of course the Grenoble duo who rose to fame during the early 2000 electroclash years, but always had way more substance, funk and grit than the rest. It’s astonishing that these tunes, made between ’97 and ’99, have sat in the virtual vault for so long. ‘The Building’ is a tough, stripped down 4/4 Detroit electro number, the disturbingly titled ‘Snuff Movies’ has Miss Kittin’s typical deadpan, dark humoured vocal over raw electrofunk and serrated bass, ‘Upstart’ is a wicked Italo disco track, and ‘Love On 26’ is freestyle in the vein of Shannon or Lisa Lisa. Goes without saying: this is gold.
Return To Disorder
Releasing singles and albums for over 10 years, Galaxian is an established name in the electro undergrowth, but Helena Hauff’s label will hopefully give him a new platform from which to communicate his cosmic ideas. ‘Mutual Arising’ drifts into earshot with the heat, humidity and sounds of a rainforest, before sweltering synth lines rise like steam amid his speedy electro beats, and a murky bass takes it in a new direction. ‘Life Force’ is an acidic head-rush with clanking industrial percussion; lastly, ‘You Don’t Matter’ is a nihilistic fusion of hard acid techno, breakcore and electro: play at your own risk.
'Persona Non Grata'
An Israeli DJ/producer who splits her time between Berlin and LA, Mor Elian has caused a kerfuffle of late with her nocturnal electrofunk and lo-fi synth movements. Her new (second) EP for Hypercolour finds her further exploring these dimensions of sound, with the title cut propelled by club ready beats, a dark, all enveloping bass tone and almost-breakbeat sense of polyrhythm. ‘Xeric Zula’ is interstellar dancehall, and ‘Dysmorphia’ is spooky in the extreme. Captivating, original stuff.
'Transmitting Illicit Logic'
Something Happening Somewhere
After two decades in the electro field, you could say Dutch producer Ben Spaander knows his way around an 808. And you’d be right. This heavyweight EP finds an all-star cast dropping beats and bass the right way. ‘Mighty Envy’ is a deep, heads-down rhythm punctuated by dubby effects and led by a burrowing acid line. ‘Haunted By My Past’ has a speedy swung beat, spoken word vocal and a spooky synth riff. Even better though, is ‘Transmitting Illicit Logic’, featuring Legowelt and Orgue Electronique, a slow 4/4 g-funk cut with needling Dr Dre synths. Silicon Scally hoovers the same track up into a echoic vortex with his remix. Intoxicating.
The Hacker & Jensen Interceptor (69840)
'Trigger Zone EP'
The debut 12 on Jensen Interceptor’s new label finds him hooking up with seasoned pro and long time inspiration The Hacker, for a ram raid into tough electro beats with shades of EBM. ‘Human Method’ has a brutal mechanical bassline rolling hard over 4/4 beats and Jensen’s funked out bleeps. ‘Industrial Drive’ compels you to don leather and chains and sweat it out in some dry ice-laden factory, and ‘Trigger Zone’ is classic straight up electrofunk, with a side order of ominous. Essential.
'Vamos A Entrar Desde Afuera'
After putting out tough tracks from artists such as hardcore techno pioneer The Mover, Mono Junk and Patrick Conway, Forbidden Planet’s latest signing is Chilean artist Mas569. Hailing from the capital Santiago, Mas569’s conception of electro is original and melodic: ‘STGO’ is truly superb, with a delay soaked synth riff that will be pinging around your brain for years to come and heavy-as-lead beats. ‘Martillo’ has a stabbing bass that sounds like it has more than a touch of a UK influence, and outlandish IDM melodic touches. One to watch.