Ali Renault has made a lot of extraordinary music, and has a clear distaste for genre boundaries. He’s cropped up everywhere from Vivod to Dissident, Giallo Disco to Tusk Wax, though the ‘Gradients’ EP falls within the electro zone. On ‘Rake & Pikel’, a warm bassline rides a mid-tempo groove of smudged, delay soaked pads, before altering course into darker, dramatic territory. ‘Cat Strain’ is weird experimental machine funk that may, or may not, document the trials of a feline attempting to extract some Dreamies from under the sofa. ‘Speak & Spell’ is the best thing here though, with crisp percussion, relentless bass funk, and a melodic arpeggio that shimmers mysteriously in the background, along with the robotic voices suggested by the title.
'Dalekovod 7 – The Future Is Here'
The final instalment in the long running compilation series from N-Ter’s Croatia based label Crobot Muzik is stuffed to the gills with exclusive tracks from some of electro’s best artists. Featuring over 60 tracks, there’s too much to go into here, but highlights include the superb Go Nuclear’s ‘Techno Beam’, with its menacing bass, orchestral stabs and spoken vocal, Negocius Man’s ‘Rave Nation’, with its hoovers and plentiful hardcore references, and the lush melodies and intricate textures of N-Ter’s own ‘Silent Memories’. Pretty much essential.
'House Of The Python '
Rather than following the herd and producing identikit Drexciyan electro, Fleck E.S.C is doing him, and that means strange and defiantly original. The Tokyo based artist goes widescreen on this new one for Bass Agenda, with ‘Nocturnal’ a creepy, slow paced slither of electronics with cascading synth and oozing neon melodies. ‘Grandma’s Cookies’ will work the club, with rim-shot hits and wubbing bass, ‘Spring In Mind’ has diaphanous East Asian motifs, the title track features bone-chilling organ, and ‘Carbon Heat’ has touches of IDM amid its electro rhythm. An artist with real vision.
Coming from the deepest experimental reaches of electro, FFT lands on the always-strong Super Hexagon with an EP of left field delights. First up, ‘feil’ has beats that prod gently, like a stick insect walking up your arm, and glimmering synth melodies that dissipate in the ether. After several excursions into soundtrack territory, ‘orr din’ closes the EP with speedy but fragile drum machine patter, incessant bass and twinkles of crystalline melody. It’s in that inter-zone where IDM connects with electro, and FFT gets the combination just right throughout.
'Plastic Time '
Nocta Numerica Records
Emeric Di Paolo’s latest collection pitches itself midway between IDM introspection and electro club action. ‘Feline’ is especially atmospheric, moving between varying beat structures accompanied by spacious synths, and ‘Stilnox’, featuring the vocals of Paris The Black FU, skulks with swung beats and bristling computer bass. ‘Quark’ is more conventional, but still impressive, with its panning pitch-bent keys, and ‘October’ returns to the interior realms of the opening track, a reverie of shimmering pads and clipped drums.
'Superior Things EP'
Though it’s been best known for minimal techno and house in the past, Vakant has had a run of strong electro geared material lately. CYRK’s latest is a fine example of the label’s current trajectory, with the Belgian-German crew bringing funked up beats and squelching lead lines to the party. ‘Superior Things’ itself has an irresistible marauding bassline, bleeps aplenty and a chunky rhythm track, while ‘Heatwave’ is the pick here, with its booming 808 and scorching acid line. There’s a trance-inflected remix from techno specialist Voiski too.
'System Updates' is a clutch of two-minute tracks designed for DJs to add layers or spice to their mixes. Made by Australian San Franciscans The Sentinel and Sol37, and Sydney’s Drox, these tracks are actually more sophisticated than the beat tools they're described as. Drox’s ‘2.1.3’ is sun-kissed electro-funk, and Sol37’s ‘2.2.5’ with its eight-bit blurts and four-four beats, is firing. These are strong, though short tracks in their own right.
'Under His Eye (Album Sampler)'
Electro is a current obsession for Dame-Music boss Bloody Mary, if her superb recent mix for Beats In Space is anything to go by. This new one from Berlin’s Ecotone provides further proof, and has picked up plays from Alienata among others. It’s no-messing dancefloor material, with ‘Lust’ driving of beat and minimalist in composition, and ‘Gluttony’ packing needling circuitboard blips, dark bass and killer drums. ‘Envy’ is darker and less compelling, but ‘Sloth’ is a suitably torpid, atmospheric affair. Excited to hear more from this artist.