Belgium’s Gaetan Votion has form already on Natural Sciences, Crobot and Mechatronica, and his debut for Imre Kiss’s Crisis label is a panoramic shot of cinematic goodness. His take on electro is the intricate, absorbing kind, and lead track ‘Red Nebula’ rides on brittle beats, bass arpeggios and cosmic pads. Exhausted Modern’s remix ups the drama and club energy, and the moody, swung groove of ‘Metathesis’ disquiets and excites with its spooky atmosphere. Lastly, ‘Chrysalis’ has a cavernous feel, rounding out an EP that proves Datawave is a name to keep an eye on.
'Bay Of Sampieri'
Purist thrills here from Berlin’s Cyan85. ‘Chase Your Mind’ is a rapid sidewinding sequence snapped to thumpy kicks and hats, ‘Computor Punk’ has beats like Kraftwerk’s ‘Numbers’, and the lush title track is reminiscent of DMX Krew’s disco stuff — very good, then.
'Dance Trax Vol.21'
The highly prolific Massien seems capable of turning his hand to any beat, and electro is clearly a specialty. After EPs for XL and E-Beamz, ‘Dance Trax Vol.21’ is appropriately floor focused: ‘Twist & Turn’, with its fat orchestral stabs and synth funk bass, has a definite early '80s vibe for the body-poppers out there, and Jensen Interceptor’s remix cranks it up to four-four and adds a stalking bass riff for good measure. Of the other tracks, a collabo with label boss DJ Haus, ‘Random Access Memory’ is a minimalist slab of funky sequences and tough beats. Wonderful stuff.
Damian Henderson, aka D-Omen, started DJing aged 10 and earned a reputation for his sets on the free party circuit in the mid ’90s. As a producer, he’s got the skills too, with Dave Clarke playing his electro beats on his White Noise radio show, and his tracks landing on labels such as Bombtrap and Subsonic. The ‘Digistorm’ EP is all crisp snares and glitched-out effects; ‘D18D’ instantly stands out with its buzzing b-line, infectious beat and melodic layers. ‘Lift From Your Eyes’, meanwhile, has swung, garage-like drums and weirdly wonderful braindance synths.
The fast-rising Dionysian Mysteries label is focused on tough, raw and club-focused electro, previously putting out trax by artists such as Wee DJs and DJ-660. Its newest emission is a 14-track monster compilation, featuring some of the best upcoming acts in the genre. The slow and spacious ‘Polar Vortex’ by Rico Casazza, with its deadly slithering anaconda bass and ancient Egyptian keys, hits the spot, while the scary atmospherics and overdriven drums of Ludgate Squatter’s ‘OCD’ will give you nightmares (in a good way). Also be sure to check Wee DJs’ brilliantly named ‘Massive Crisps’ for some abstract machine funk.
'Emerald City (Almaty Remix)'
Lisbon, Portugal’s Photonz returns with the ‘Angel Heart’ EP, a striking selection of breakbeat and Detroit techno flavours —though for this page, it’s all about Copenhagen artist Almaty’s ‘Emerald City’ remix. All green and serene acid, bubbling up like a brook in a mystic forest glade, its soaring synths are not of this planet, while powerful hats drive it along. Another lush offering from Naïve, then.
Ara-u & Radioactive Man
'Plastic Attack EP'
Asking for Trouble
Radioactive Man’s latest EP finds him hooking up with Venezuelan artist and long-time friend Ara-u. On ‘Datatheft’, acid, big warping analogue bass and satisfying drum machine beats collide for a fresh arrangement. ‘Failure To Communicate’ speeds things up with funky acid bass; ‘Daytime Robbery’ is minimalist and menacing; and ‘The Last Waltz’ has nothing to do with The Band, instead being a jacked up, peak-time electro club killer. You know what to do.
It seems that Central Processing Unit only releases amazing records, but Biochip’s debut for the label really demands your attention. Montreal duo Melissa Speirs and Julian Kochanowski pour emotion and soul into their highly melodic tracks, which have a classic feel: part Detroit, part UK, and coated in dust and analogue fuzz. ‘Simulated Events’ is divine in its lattice of reverb soaked sequences, crisp drums and mystic pads, while ‘Tone Forest’ is a topsy-turvy piece of weird electro-funk. They’re not averse to tough 303 action either, as evinced by ‘Acid Billy’. More please!
The mighty Cignol has been unleashing skewed melodic electro and acid for well over a decade now, and his new EP chimes with the current affection for weird but accessible dancefloor gear. While much of the record is given over to galactic four-four, ‘Polyquase’ is a supreme piece of speedy electro with a bassline that slips and slides all over the shop, tuneful bleeps aplenty and soaring pads. Pretty much essential.