Future Beat Alliance
Mathew Puffett aka Future Beat Alliance was always one of the UK’s most under-appreciated producers — and ‘Black Acid’ demonstrates exactly why he remains a national techno treasure. Dreamy synths swirl hypnotically over a pulsating rhythm on ‘Cloud Ten’, transporting the listener to a far-flung alien cosmos where the grey horizon is dotted with space craft. The title track sees Puffett guide his audience on a similar exit route from our world, with growling acid lines and cascading electronic melodies mapping the trajectory outwards and upwards.
'Back To Origin EP'
O’Brien isn’t the most prolific artist, but his work always stands out. On this occasion, he takes us down a path where splintered rhythms and detuned acid squelches prevail, with both 'Origin' and 'Hard Ears' offering up these visceral combinations. On 'Come Correct', O’Brien drops rolling electro 808s as a backdrop for a series of deranged Hoover riffs, while he takes the intensity levels down a few notches on ‘Sax Machina’. Punctuated by evocative sax stabs, it finds O’Brien in more restrained form.
'Eel Behaviour: Moray'
The second split ‘Eel Behaviour’ release on Earwiggle is another heavyweight affair, with label owner Sunil Sharpe hitting up some of Europe’s finest artists for material. The Advent works with Zein to deliver the angular, breaking ‘Follow The Leader’, while Replicants serves up a synth-laden electro workout. As befits a track called ‘De-Extinction’, Umwelt makes an apocalyptic, bruising sound, while Galaxian closes out the EP with the spiky, abstract ‘Trigger Action'.
Don’t let the title of the latest Distant Worlds fool you; Stephen Lopkin is an innovator rather than a faker. Across four tracks, he weaves in influences, but never sounds derivative. The title track features a Mayday bass, but its punchy drums and euphoric pads mean it sounds slightly epic. Similarly, ’DSK-8’ is underpinned by Suburban Knight-style low-end menace, but it sets the scene for lurid acid and a spectacular sequence of harder-edged kicks and claps. Lopkin also knows how to plot out a more abstract route, as documented on the broken beats of ‘The 45’, while he brings this remarkable release to a close with the more typical lush techno of ‘Distant Worlds’.
Deep Sound Channel
Kamazi is a project from Andy Hart, who runs Voyage Recordings, and it sees him deliver an excellent three-tracker. 'Aerocentric' is a jittery, atmospheric groove, led by a menacing, gradually unravelling bass, steely percussion and acid belches. 'Flight Inertia' sees Hart focus on teased out, metallic electro that glides sleekly before integrating deep pads, while ‘LOx’ is an ethereal piece of ambient music. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from this fine project soon.
Bordello A Parigi
Uabos follows last year’s ‘Mystic Force’ with another fine, impossible to categorise record. The title track effortlessly marries early '90s UK techno atmospherics with tight percussion and an acid-soaked rhythm, while on 'Egoland', a purring bass supports mock-horror synth spirals. Clearly, this Italian producer is not afraid to mix things up, and he brings this approach to life most impressively on the wonderfully gloomy and murky, multilayered techno of ‘Elevator’ — not the kind of music you’d expect to hear on Bordello A Parigi.
'Sight Beyond Sight'
Weapons Of Desire
Another month, another killer release from the northern production powerhouse that is Nigel Rogers. This time it’s under the Nite Vision guise, a partnership with Craig Stainton, whose work as Myriadd is well worth checking. ‘Sight’ centres on a moody, menacing bass, and is peppered with bleak synths and squelchy acid licks. It's designed for maximum dancefloor impact. Weapons Of Desire has also tapped Rennie Foster for a remix — his version boasts a leaner rhythm, with the acid-soaked, spacey synths really standing out.
'The Long Game EP'
Grant has been making some of the finest deep electronic music of recent years — just check last year’s sublime ‘Perception’ album if you are in any doubt. It’s no real surprise, then, that he hits the mark once again with ‘Long Game’. Tight drums and effortless rhythms are combined with niggling acid lines and jazzy keys on ‘Elevate’ and Dash’, while ‘Second Life’ is an aquatic techno groove. Reliving '90s styles can often sound forced, but this is never the case with Grant.