Russia’s Gennadiy Manzhos has had tracks out through two of this reviewer’s favourite labels, X-Kalay and Furthur Electronix, and he’s developed a lush hybrid sound that pulls off the difficult trick of being melodic and floor-focused at once. His latest for the strong Nerang label features masterful lead cut ‘Funky Detune’, which matches a spacious feel and soaring string tones with an unstoppable acid bass groove and tough drums: it’s heavenly. ‘Dangerous Groove’ is purist electro-funk, and a joy, while ‘Electro Foreva’, though not especially original, hits hard with its crispy snare, and bass that wiggles all over like a funky worm. As well as two house tracks, there is the mellow ‘Autumnesia’, rounding out a magnificent selection.
Another talented electronic artist from Hungary (see also Imre Kiss, Gnork, Route 8), Norwell’s love of cosmic ’70s synth music can be heard all over ‘Body Physics’. ‘Base 1’ is an entirely ambient creation, before the title track adds ascending keys to a metallic beat, an analogue b-line and clouds of green synth. ‘Paradox Logic’ is a heady, psychedelic quest into fuzzy bass and thickets of mystic melody, ‘Motif’ is a robotic groove pinned to Popul Vuh pads, but ‘Humanoid Forms’ is just sublime, its drum production and ethereal flavour the perfect combination.
Chilean Berliner Daribone is one of the minds behind Mechatronica, and on this EP for its sibling label, he delves into various influences, from electro to new beat. The highlights are ‘Yolavi Bahar’, a wicked stomp of thumping '80s drums and raw machine bass, that steps it up into intense four-four funk in its second segment, and the cyborg pursuit of ‘Knowing The Mechanoid’, though opener ‘Shamanic Tendencies’, with its stately pace and menace, also does the business.
Dmitry Distant & Arnaud Lazlaud
'De Ton Absence'
The fourth release on Dmitry Distant’s label is a sepulchral affair that will appeal to creatures of the night and minimal wave junkies. ‘De Ton Absence’ revels in its sense of graveyard gloom, with fog banks of synths and vocals from Canadian synth-pop singer Arnaud Lazlaud, frontman of Automelodi. It’s dark and absorbing, though it’s the club mix by Timothy J Fairplay that will be of most interest to DJs. He transports us to the dancefloor with an arpeggiating bass and irresistible electro beats, but keeps the vocal intact for a late night anthem vampires will be body-popping to.
More brilliance from American producer Larry McCormick’s Exzakt project, mixing melodic synth nous with danceable electro beats. ‘Feeling’ has a panoramic arpeggio riff that evokes viridian ocean currents, while the thumping kick and funked up percs get your back off the wall. BFX’s remix is a more abstract electro affair, which switches into four-four and back again. ‘Above’, a collaboration with Kinesthetic, is initially a minimalist drum heavy track, but blossoms into gorgeous IDM atmospheres towards its conclusion. The Brice Kelly remix could be even better, with its burrowing tech bassline.
'Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons'
Though nowadays he’s best known for his appearances at super clubs in Ibiza and around the world, Slovenian artist Umek has a serious passion for underground electro, and as Zeta Reticula, he’s been releasing tracks since 2000. After EPs for Electrix and Bass Agenda, his latest outlet is Berlin’s great Mechatronica, and he doesn’t mess about. The title track (what a mouthful!) is a dark groove with a relentless bleeping bass, ‘Formation Of Life’ has a sinuous arp line and abstract metallic tones; the slow and low ‘Double Star’ is especially good, with its dubby keys and crisp beat, but ’12 Parsecs’ is the one for this reviewer, with its ravey key stabs and electro-funk bass.
After his excellent ‘White Swan’ EP on Natural Sciences, Sansibar returns to Textasy’s FTP with a selection that displays his versatile approach to production. ‘Liquid Programming’ is a suitably fluid, clean cut with vaporous chords and cascading aquatic bass, and ‘Technology’ is similar, though ‘My Mind’ sets a more frenetic pace, with old school dialup noises, scratches and minimalist bleeps. ‘Meri’ is the icing on the cake, a luscious electro-techno number with spoken vocals and bags of atmosphere.