Sounds From The Emotional Underground
Here’s an interesting piece of trivia: Emotions Electric shares its name with a seminal Detroit techno compilation. Irrespective of whether there is a connection between the two, this split release is full of the kind of electronic soul that originally came from the Motor City. Reedale Rise’s 'Larial' is a beautifully reflective electro piece, while Derek Carr updates the Mayday sound on the effortless 'Outer Rim Project'. John Shima’s 'Programmed Reality' is a wonderful home listening arrangement, but for this writer at least, the stand-out track is the gloriously melodic but melancholic 'Where' by Zuleta. Featuring art by Detroit’s Abdul Haqq, 'Sounds...' is one of 2018’s finest, most emotive releases.
'Dark Arts 009'
For the ninth ‘Dark Arts’ instalment, Crosbie steers away from conventional techno. 'Anterior', with its skeletal rhythm and rickety percussion, is the only exception, but in the main this is all about stepping rhythms, surging basslines and subsonic bleeps. 'Transmission' is populated by garbled vocals and hypnotic acid segues, but it’s the robotic drums and growling bass of 'Cellular' that prove the UK producer’s sound is developing and evolving. Join him on this fascinating journey.
'Knobs & Switches EP '
‘Knobs’ was originally released on Anthony Shakir’s Frictional label back in the late '90s, but none of these tracks have aged. Similar in style to Shake’s own approach, 'Feedback' and 'Rolling On A 6/4' resound to rough analogue rhythms, shifting tones and frequencies, and unpredictable drops and builds. Only on 'Reservations & Misgivings' does FBK move closer to Detroit techno, but as 'The Tet Offensive' shows, in the main, it’s a rough and ready release that hasn’t lost its lustre despite the passage of two decades.
'New Product EP'
The mysterious Privacy doesn’t release much music — ‘Product’ is only his seventh EP in six years — but he makes every one unforgettable. Returning to Klasse Wrecks after three years, he veers in style from the stomping, grinding techno of 'Make Yr Transition' to slower but atmospheric jams such as 'Manchmal' and 'Whole Car', before bringing down the house with 'The Flo'. A high-speed ghetto track that straddles techno and electro, its vocal sample lends it a curiously infectious sound.The SoundCloud content at https://soundcloud.com/klasserecordings/wrecks018-privacy-new-product is not available, or it is set to private.
Return To Disorder
The 11th release on Helena Hauff’s label starts, fittingly, with a slightly creepy vocal piece, but it also contains some surprises. 'Mutual Arising' sees Galaxian opt for a far deeper, more atmospheric sound than is the label’s wont, while on 'Life Force', the Scottish producer crafts an angular, robotic rhythm, peppered with acid squiggles and paranoid robot vocals. Providing conclusive proof that Hauff is not mellowing out, 'You Don’t Matter' ends the release with a nihilistic, noisy electro workout.
Lobster Theremin is guilty of releasing too much material, but this EP on one of its sub-labels really shines through. The work of Hungarian artist Imre Kiss, each track is defined by moody bass, rickety drums and imaginative arranging. Both 'She Moves Through Fire' and 'Love' are lazy, electro-influenced affairs, but the standout is 'You And Me Are The Same', a dreamy '90s UK techno referencing track that serves to emphasise Imre Kiss’s considerable talents.
'The Damocles Syndicate'
Richard Bevan and Joshu Doherty aka Posthuman are best known for hot-wiring the acid sound, but on this outing for Dutch label Shipwrec, they take a somewhat different approach.'Netflix And Kill' does feature a menacing acid line in the background, but it’s the hardcore stabs and general sense of menace that really impress. On the title track, Posthuman revert to type: 303s are tweaked and teased out over a hypnotic, pulsating groove.
'Threshold Of Eternity'
Is this release on Derrick May’s label further proof of techno’s slide towards middle age and its ultimate destination as a soundtrack for dishwasher tablet ads? Or is it a genuinely brave move on Transmat's part? 'The Leonids Strings' sees Watanabe deliver a beat-less, symphonic workout that will enrage as many as it delights, and follows in the footsteps of Jeff Mills and Carl Craig’s moves in this direction. On the flip, ‘In To The Nature’ sees the Japanese producer deliver a fine, emotive techno groove, populated by niggling acid lines.