Neil Landstrumm & Brain Rays
Go See Thru EP
Unknown To The Unknown
Since the mid ’90s, Edinburgh’s Neil Landstrumm has produced a staggering amount of music, spanning techno, breakbeats, dubstep and other electronic genres. ‘Go See Thru’ is another sterling and diverse release, side A taken up with two slamming bleep techno pieces, and the flip containing two electro tracks made in collaboration with Brain Rays (pictured). ‘Sleep’ is all about the funk: while it’s adorned with metal clanks, and has an altered spoken word vocal, its bassline and rhythm could be Prince in Vanity Six mode, or one of his other protégés. ‘Grape’, however, is all twinkling synth blips and a slow, low-rider rhythm. Most impressive.
Electro producer Eddie Symons is better known as Bovaflux, though his first release under the Nullptr name recently appeared on the esteemed Detroit Underground. This mini album / EP, favours the melodic edges of the electro form, with tracks such as ‘Polytopes’ pivoting around a loose-limbed beat and ticking percussive riffs, reminiscent of some of Gerald Donald’s work: that’s a good thing, obviously. ‘AFTRMTH’ itself is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, creeping in under the cover of warm synth pads, before revealing its bristling electro bass teeth. ‘Skyline’ is the best thing here, though: its suitably panoramic harmonies and melodic washes underpinned by warm low-end.
French electro team Nomenklatur’s third album (after releases for Space Factory and their own label Elektrofon), further advances their obvious sci-fi movie fixation. ‘Lektrovision’ is a slow and low cut with brooding cinematic keys, while ‘Ransom For A Dead Man’ ratchets up the tension, before opening out into a masterful harmonic balance between arpeggiated riffs and warping bass. The title track, meanwhile, has an EBM-ish psycho stalker riff: perfect for being pursued by a homicidal cyborg to. But there’s dancefloor material here too: the electro-techno of ‘Transcendance’ is superb, powered by an irresistible bass and 4/4 beats.
An initiative from electro DJ/producers ADJ and Veronica Green, Earthlings aims to raise funds for the World Animal Protection organisation, with sales of their compilations. The second edition is loaded with beats from some of the best in the business, including Carl Finlow, Wee DJs, Errorbeauty and Second Storey. Finlow’s apocalyptic hip-hop piece ‘You Are Mine’ is a definite highlight, Lectromagnetique’s acid singed ‘DNA Sequencing’ hits the spot, N-TER’s ‘Silent Memories’ is an emotive confluence of lush pads and swelling bass, and there’s plenty more to discover.
In recent years, French producer Maelstrom (Joan-Mael Péneau) has zeroed in on the classic electro sound with laser-guided precision. After an excellent EP for CPU, he lands on Cultivated Electronics with a club-focused selection. ‘Smoker’ drops 808 beats in all the right places, and has a gurgling acid bass that powers it along; ‘Eczo’ is slower, a smouldering atmospheric piece with a wicked low-end made for cruising throughout burnt out industrial wastelands. The pearl here is Sync 24’s mix of ‘Smoker’, a clanging metallic re-rub that ups the energy tenfold, though 4/4 closer ‘Confidential’, a roughneck rave monster, runs it close.
'Electro City Ljubljana'
Beyond Umek and his Zeta Reticula project, Slovenia’s tiny capital Ljubljana isn’t known for electro. Yet since 2006, its club night Elektroliza has championed the style at the Channel Zero venue, inviting international acts and artists from the surrounding nations of South-eastern Europe to play. This new collection celebrates regional producers, with N-TER’s ‘Corals Of Pannonia’ a 4/4 astral drift with a melodic arpeggiated bassline and psychedelic keys. Elsewhere, DJ Xed’s ‘Inner Contact’ has funked up beats, a grizzling bass groove, plus an addictive, ice cold lead line. 'Electro City Ljubljana' is a great insight into unsung talent in the nearby nations.
'Face The Machine '
Venezuela’s Cardopusher is prolific indeed, and versatile, having appeared on labels ranging from Hyperdub and I Love Acid to Boysnoize and Jerome Hill’s Super Rhythm Trax. Here he turns in some lethal electro on The Hacker’s Zone imprint, with a similar EBM / new beat vibe to the label owner. The 4/4 ‘All Fall Down’ throbs with a druggy bassline and evil synths, while the relentless acid and smashing snares of ‘Return To Forever’ will get the wallflowers twerking before you know it.
LORD OF THE ISLES
Best known for his psychotropic house and bittersweet IDM on labels such as Firecracker, here, Edinburgh’s Lord Of The Isles (Neil McDonald) heads into electro terrain on Maceo Plex’s new Lone Romantic label. Like his other (superb) material, the tracks here connote vast landscapes, with the sweeping pads of ‘Irafas’ soaring over chattering robotic bass. ‘W5 Alpha’ has glimmering arpeggios that cascade like a mountainside torrent, while ‘Q-Bit’ has dark, tense atmospherics riding crisp electro beats. All excellent, especially the Aphex-via-Carpenter vibes of ‘Three Times Eleven’.