Nacho Patrol is one of the lesser-known projects in the vast Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers canon, but as ‘Panter 777’ shows, it deserves much more recognition. Originally released on Minimal Rome a number of years back, it’s a shimmering slice of wah-wah guitar-led voodoo disco. More impressive still is Jared Wilson’s remix; combining squelchy acid with eerie organs and the kind of rave stabs that will take you all the way back to the club scene in Basic Instinct, this is one of 2016’s most impressive techno curveballs.
HEAD FRONT PANEL
Head Front Panel
Anyone who has followed this John Heckle series will be pleased to learn that the untitled ‘B1’ track reverts to type. Grainy drums and gritty rhythms with echoes of early Jeff Mills prevail, with a buzzing Armani-style riff thrown in for good measure. Heckle also delivers a more nuanced take on this project. ‘B2’ is based on a solid drum track but it’s the sub-aquatic chords and atmospheric sounds that make it sound so unusual.
It’s been thirteen years since Umek dropped his last Zeta Reticula EP, and this fifth instalment more or less continues where he left off. ‘Electric Blood Complete’ is a particularly gloomy electro workout, tethered by great swathes of glitchy percussion, while ‘Encroach’ focuses on that other Zeta Reticula signature sound, with cavernous dub chords flowing over a lumbering groove. ‘Euphonious’ pushes in a house direction and ‘Radiate’ injects a big room feeling to Umek’s dub techno, but given where he has been for the past decade, these are minor concessions in an otherwise resolutely underground release.
There are arguably too many producers trying to copy the widescreen electro of E.R.P, but Blixaboy’s ‘Arctic’ is a notable exception. Combining warm but mysterious synths with a lithe rhythm and bubbling bass, it’s one of the finest and most understated electro tracks of 2016. Blixaboy also provides a more relaxed take on this sound on ‘The Last Droid’. If majestic electronic melodies are not your thing then fear not as he also delivers the pared-back rhythm, subtle percussive ticks and mysterious hooks of 'Detroit Steel’ and the dubby ‘Rescue One’.
ITPDWIP is the brains behind Remote Influence, a collective that focuses on electronic music from the '70s to the present day. It’s obvious that he has brought this knowledge to the fore for this release on the brilliant Brokntoys. The improbably named ‘Taking An Already Taken Decision’ is a mixture of the label’s spiky electro and the kind of dark synth melodies that Convextion creates. On ‘Dolphin’s Cry’, he veers into a straight dancefloor direction with a moody bass and pitch-bent percussion prevailing. Then it’s back to steppy electro with the squelchy ‘Haguenesse Wind’.
'Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase'
Don’t Be Afraid
The US producer delivers a varied release for Semtek’s label. On one side there’s the whip-crackle percussion and acid tingle of ‘Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase’. These elements are combined with a brittle rhythm and dreamy synth-lines and it sounds like Gwyer’s attempt at making Detroit techno. On the flip there are more surprises in store; she meanders into lullaby ambience with ‘And Again Those Eyes’, while on 'Meiosis Gametes' pits frazzled snares and clunky drum distortion against Beltran-esque serenity. It’s a masterful, mixed release.
'Sublight Velocities/Semiclassical Gravity'
It’s been four years since Adam ‘X’ Mitchell released his last Traversable Wormhole record, but clearly not much has changed in the meantime. As 'Sublight Velocities' so brilliantly demonstrates, he still places importance on broken beats and lithe, metallic rhythms. 'Sublight Velocities' is straighter and sees Mitchell tap out hypnotic bleep sequences. The unifying, underlying feature of both tracks are basslines so stark and powerful that it feels like the listener is being sucked backwards through a black hole.
Hungarian producer S. Olbricht has released on Lobster Theremin but goes farther on this record for Lee Gamble’s label. The dense tribal beats and microscopic trance melodies of ‘137x3brk’ sound like a turbo-charged version on Mathew Jonson’s ‘Marionette’, but the release starts to get interesting on ‘Ktyring’ and ‘J UC’. They see Olbricht opt for a spacey dubbed-out approach as the rhythms glide over foggy chords and hazy textures. ‘F10a1’ also contains a surprise — starting with mellow ambience, it morphs into a steely drum-heavy techno track.