S&M Trading Co
Metal Surface Repair
S&M Trading Co is a match made in modern techno heaven, as Aaron ‘Fit’ Siegel gets together with Sotofett from Sex Tags Mania. Conceived, tweaked and finalised over a number of years, it is no surprise that these tracks have a considered feeling. In its original version, ‘Metal Surface Repair’ is a spacious, atmospheric workout, while the ‘acidic’ version sees the US-Scandinavian pair disappear down a microscopic acid wormhole before re-emerging with the evocative ‘synthetic’ version.
[CARPET & SNARES
Remember when deep techno and house blurred at the edges of imperceptibility during the mid-to-late '90s? This record is rather brilliantly redolent of that time. 'AP135' revolves around a skipping groove, plaintive keys and warbling atmospherics that remind this reviewer of vintage Presence and Sterac. While ‘Choices’ is more tracky, it still contains a beautiful, melodic undercurrent, while ‘Tarradas’ resounds to subtle filtered builds. Rounding off this exemplary release is a tripped out remix of ‘Tarradas’ from Slow Life’s S Moreira.
Troy Gunner’s second release on his own label favours a more direct approach than the debut. While ‘Stay Where You Are’ has a stepping undercurrent, the drums are cavernous in a Skudge style. Combined with Gunner’s use of frazzled breakdowns, ‘Stay’ will have greater appeal to techno DJs than the first volume. The UK producer goes off on a more abstract tangent on the mad percussion and wild broken beats of ‘Esperanza’, but the loose percussion and organic drums on 'Echolalia’ show that his focus remains on the dancefloor.
Electro may be the next big thing for those who worship at the hype altar, but in the background labels such as Brokntoys have been releasing brilliant, uncompromising music for the past five years. It’s not unreasonable to predict that they will continue to do this long after the lemmings have moved on to something else. The label’s latest split release shows why this reviewer holds them in such high regard. It moves from the immersive ‘Entrance’ from Ben Cohen into Monotoxine ’s gnarly, twisted 'Positive Thinking!’ before disappearing down the wormhole courtesy of Tharsis Shelter Unit’s pummelling subs.
DMT / Jasss
'Mick Wills Edits'
Mick Wills is the undisputed edit king, and on this release, the German DJ shows why he is held in such high regard. First up is Wills’ take on ‘Ultimatum’, a track by the late Russian industrial artist DMT. Like his recent edits on Arma, this is a frazzled, throbbing affair, like Regis on a disco trip. Wills changes his approach for his take on Jasss’ ‘Flexion’. While still imbued with a bleak sensibility, it trails off into an intoxicating acid climax.
'Mind Stealers EP'
Finnish duo Morphology have been one of the most consistently on-point electronic acts of the past decade, and this EP on Sync 24’s label consolidates their reputation. The title track is a lithe, teased out breaker that is lent some extra muscle on the Cultivated Electronics owner’s bass-heavy version. ‘Wages Of Sin’ sees the pair lay down a murky, acid heavy workout, but the real highlight is the Drexciyan electro-funk rhythm of ‘Fluid Dynamics’.
The newly-minted Pear label continues to impress with its third EP, a split release. Divided between artists making their debut outing or producers such as Sage and Chmmr, who already have a few records out, it moves from the aforementioned producers’ deep techno into the grimy analogue grooves of Plush Throw’s contribution and Brien’s wonderful broken down house. If you want underground music with a side serving of melody and fun, this is for you.
Don't be Afraid
Gwyer’s ‘Rembo’ was one of last year’s most acclaimed albums, and Don’t Be Afraid has commissioned some respected artists to re-work tracks from it. Via App delivers a grating abstract remix, while L.I.E.S. boss Ron Morelli turns ‘He’s Been Teaching Me To Drive’ into a jittery techno track, led by rasping percussion and panel-beating drums. However, the standout remix comes from E Myers, who recently released on Dark Entries. Using subtle keys, a walking bass and insistent keys, he turns ‘It’s Not Worth The Bother’ into a sublime, glistening groove.