Ranson has been releasing music for the past 15 years, but on his Distant Worlds debut, it feels like he has finally arrived. Understated but detailed, this four-tracker references a range of influences to create an individualistic EP. ‘After The Rain’ and ‘Artificial Paradise’ are based on brittle beats and crisp percussion, but progress to reveal weeping synths and vivid melodies. ‘Scattered Mind’ sees Ranson venture into cosmic realms, while the one straight dancefloor track, ‘No Such Thing’ is infused with Artificial Intelligence-style hues and shades. Following a standout release by Stephen Lopkin, ’Artificial Paradise' places Distant Worlds at the top of its game.
Inspired by the aesthetic that informed Alan Oldham’s Detroit radio show on WDET FM, the latest Omar-S release is a diverse affair. The title track is a stripped-back beatdown house workout, while on ‘Homey Trinitron’, the FXHE owner ups the tempo to deliver a hyper-speed, minimal techno track. In spite of this diversity, the stand out cut is ‘Light Year Flight’, a lush, piano-led serving of Detroit soul.
‘False Endings’ brings together label regulars with new names. Exhausted Modern and Vertical 67, who have featured before, represent the darker end of the Brokntoys sound, with powerful bass and tight, stepping rhythms prevailing on ‘Out Of Sight’ and ‘The Last Minute On Earth’ respectively. Marco Bernardi’s ‘Tokyo Sunrise’ is a rolling affair, but newcomer Robert Valera impresses most with the fuzzy wall of bass and epic melodies of ‘Test 2’.
E.R.P. / Duplex
It’s an underground lover’s dream, as Duplex and E.R.P share a release on the always consistent Frustrated Funk. Duplex’s contribution, 'Molecular (Ovatow Reclock)', is an abstract, mid-tempo workout, sprinkled with atmospheric textures, but it can’t match up to the E.R.P track. Like the darker elements on his recent debut LP, 'ZRX' is led by a prowling bass and kettle drums that underpin his signature synths.
'I'll Be There'
Seven years after his debut on Domenic Cappello’s label, local producer Leeon returns with another stunning record. The title track is a beautiful electronic torch song that resounds to swirling acid lines and breathy vocals. ‘That Generous Friend’ is similarly inclined, as a clanging bass underpins beautiful, evocative melodies. ‘CS Maiden Journey’ rounds off this superb release, with a metallic rhythm, but the atmospheric soundscapes remain prevalent, bubbling beneath the surface.
Household names Kontra Musik and Aniara team up to create a sub-label, Koniara. First up is Sebastian Mullaert’s Wa Wu We project with ‘Trieya’, a rolling groove peppered with tweaked acid lines, and powered by waves of filtered percussion. On ‘Syra’, Dorisburg and Fabian Bruhn opt for a more refined approach; the tempo is slower, the rhythm more dubbed out and the overall mood more chilled. Great debut.
Binny vs. Volksfreude
With releases on labels like Tortured, Binny is already well-established in the techno scene, but this release reveals a deeper side to his sound. In particular, the original version of ‘Life’ sees the UK producer deliver wave upon wave of UR-style tonal shifts over a squelchy bass. Volksfreude drops a fine acid-heavy take on ‘Life’, and his own ‘Marvel’ is a nuanced affair, but this release belongs to Binny.
According to the label, ‘Rats’ is a collection of "ultimate party hits for the downfall of society". Listening to the scratchy post-punk meets grainy EBM bass of Projekt Eins’ ‘Hit’n’Run’, it’s hard to disagree with this description. The mood doesn’t change much on Neud Photo’s bleak, acid-led chugger ’Wigwalker’, or the dystopian electro of Skoovd’s ‘Akou’, while label regular Credit 00 keeps the mood suitably dark with his teased out take on Cashminus’ ‘No Satisfaction’.