Nigel Rogers is best-known for his acid-heavy tracks as Perseus Traxx, but he follows in the footsteps of Derek Carr and John Shima who have authored previous releases on this label, and opts for a deeper approach. ’A New Mystery’ is a reflective affair, with the 303s resigned to an understated role. Although the title track’s electro beats and dense claps make for a somewhat more upbeat combination and ‘Circumstantial’ sees Rogers relive the blustering acid and rough drums of the typical Perseus Traxx approach, this release also contains 'The Map Is Not The Territory', a beautiful piece of mournful deep techno that recalls the freeform approach of New Electronica compilations.
Grant’s ‘Perception’ was one of 2017’s best albums, thanks to its flawless mix of Jaime Read-style deep techno and US house influences. Now he’s back with another impeccable release. ‘Spiritual Path’ is somewhat harder than usual thanks to its heavy drums, rolling snares and acid undercurrents, but soon afterwards, Grant returns to his deep default position. 'Mediate' is a lush affair that revolves around a lazy groove, and 'Capital Road' is a standard deep house groove, but 'The Other Man’ really stands out thanks to its fusion of seductive sax, trippy acid and ponderous vocals.
I:Cube has always been an adventurous artist and ‘Double Pack’ captures the French producer in full creative flight. It moves from the free flowing groove of 'Flutes Souterraines' and the balmy deep house of 'Bifruque' into the discordant 'Troglo Dance', the organic rhythms of 'La Nuit Des Rats' and the bass-heavy, abstract 'Fractal P'. However, I:Cube’s more musical approach prevails here, and the melancholic but wonderfully expansive 'Ramurc' defines this exemplary release.
There aren’t too many techno producers who have a unique sound, but Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir is certainly one of them. ‘Drummer Downstairs’ shows why he is such an innovative producer. It starts off with the slamming disco house of ‘Trackin’', before Shake moves into the twitchy drums and percussion of ‘Drummer Downstairs’, a wonderfully lopsided rhythm track. The release just keeps on getting better: 'Frayed' starts off as a relatively understated affair, but raw electronic squiggles, hyperactive percussive ticks and a melancholic sensibility all combine to make it a standout piece of techno.
'Family Matters Vol.1'
9300 has consistently promoted Belgian artists such as Betonkust and Innershades, but this split EP is the label's most impressive release yet. Drawing on new beat as well as early techno, it features the pumping groove and atmospheric synths of Betonkust’s 'To Leave This World Behind'; the old school techno and piano keys of Innershades’ ‘Escape’ and slower, heavier grooves such as Robert D’s 'Neon' and the cold bleeps of 'Point Of No Return', his collaboration with Innershades. It provides a unique view of Belgium’s past and present takes on electronic music.
Historical Repeater is a collaboration between techno producer Ctrls (noted for his work on Token) and Solid Blake, an electro artist, and ‘Scientific Calculator’ is their debut release. From the outset they stand out, thanks to the eerie, Millsian strings, murky rhythm and pounding kicks on the title track. 'Flashdrive' sees the pair explore electro territories through the use of clipped, metallic beats and a searing bass, while they focus on a straighter style with the dense groove and looped vocal sample of 'Leisure'. However, ‘Scientific Calculator’ never becomes formulaic, and even the driving ‘Say Nothing’ resounds to deft percussive licks and a pulsating bass.
Conan_ & Pineal Navigation
'Subatomic Collision EP'
Conan_ was last seen rewiring techno and electro for Lunar Disko, and this split release with Pineal Navigation on his own label promises more of the same. ‘End Of Species’ and ‘Space Gang’ are noisy, distorted bangers, while more impressively, 'Dark Power' sees the Irish producer focus his efforts on eerie, tripped out electro, bolstered by tough, industrial drums. Pineal Navigation also deserves praise for his contributions: 'Zealous' and 'Morning Prayers' are wiry, high-paced electro tracks, while 'Outside Terrestrial' is a wonderfully atmospheric affair.
Following releases on Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder and Lux Rec, Morah drops this fine six-tracker on Brokntoys. Alternating between moody electro steppers such as 'Coma Verenices' and straighter, EBM-inspired workouts such as 'Aphrodite Wants Me To See Her Light Tonight', there is an underlying sense of menace throughout. At times, like on the noisy breaks of 'Cassiopeia's Daughter's Nebular Gate', Morah embraces a more visceral sensibility, but as the wonderfully frazzled ambience of 'Venus Delta' demonstrates, Morah’s ability to show restraint is this release’s greatest strength.