Where We Met
It’s impossible to fault any of Reedale Rise’s releases, and ‘Broken Land’ is as impressive as recent EPs. The title track is more rave-focused than usual and resounds to raucous breakbeats, acid squiggles and the kind of booming bass that would make Kevin Saunderson proud, while on 'Plasma Potential', he opts for a straighter techno workout. However, the typically soulful Reedale Rise sound is never too far away, as 'Hypersleep', a typically sleek, electro roller, and the immersive 'Moroz' both demonstrate.
Gavin Pykerman has only put out a handful of records over the past decade, but each one has been worth the wait. Like previous EPs, ‘Conducere’ is a complex affair. ‘Conduit’ sees him summon up eerie, layered synths supported by a rumbling bass, while a similar, albeit less polished approach is audible on ‘Resus’. ‘Sometimes There's Nothing’ is more mysterious and bleaker, thanks to its slightly dystopian synths, but this whole EP is a must for anyone who likes electronic music with an esoteric edge — and even Patricia’s percussive take on 'Sometimes A Conduit' is steeped in atmospheric melody.
'Depth Of Field'
Samuel Van Dijk is best known for his acclaimed electro project, VC-118A, but he also makes expansive techno under the Mohlao guise. On ‘Field’, he provides a reminder of these capabilities: the title track is a tunnelling, blissed-out affair, supported by aquatic gurgles and vocal snatches, while on ‘Aperture’, he fuses clicky rhythms with layer upon layer of atmospheric sounds. From that point on, Van Dijk moves from the dancefloor to the sofa, with the dubbed-out 'Form' and 1/60', as well as the reflective 'Amber', all impressing.
'Drome Tapes 3'
Tabernacle continues to mine the annals of '90s techno with this fine re-issue series. Focusing on a time when electronic was more fluid, this third instalment moves from the tough drums and out there vocal samples of Bitch & Bites' ‘Techdrea In Andromeda’ to the tranced-out ‘Fairy Tale’ by Bouhouz and the proto deep, techy house of Models Over 18’s ’01 IC’. Best of all, though, are the broken beats and seductive female vocals of Paradize’s ‘Violet, Noir, Jaune’.
The debut release on Drum gets off to a frenetic start. ‘Harpoen’ is a collaboration between label owner Albert Van Abbe and Jeroen Search, and its heavy percussion and big-room feel is offset somewhat by the use of a receptive vocal sample. There are no such distractions on Trunkline’s 'Oppression', but the overall feel is too aggressive and militaristic. By contrast, Delta Funktionen and Paul Van Gent take it deeper and more atmospheric on their contributions, with the former delivering an irresistibly atmospheric jam on ‘CH Spirit’.
'Just A Feeling'
Aaron Siegel’s label captures some Detroit techno history on its latest release. Originally released back in 1992, ‘Feeling’ is still a wonderfully futuristic piece of music. Positioned somewhere between house and techno, its percussive groove is home to wiry synths and the kind of wild electronic squiggles that would later help to define Underground Resistance. Fit Sound has also included the two other tracks from the original release, with the electro-funk of ‘Automatic’ and the sub-aquatic techno pads and evocative vocals on ‘Please’ also well worthy of re-discovery.
There must be something in the water in Texas. Like Gerard Hanson’s ERP project, Cygnus aka Phillip Washington specialises in expansive electronic music. This aesthetic is in abundance on ‘Ne0 Ge0’: ’Zone Shifting’ is an evocative soundscape that features wispy synths, warbling tones and a warm bass, all unravelling at a slow tempo. ‘Vertexing’ and the title track are just as impressive — thanks to their mysterious synths and crisp drums, they lay out Washington’s distinctive vision for electro/techno. Finally, ‘Astronoot’ sees Cygnus explore techno at its very deepest, with a low-slung groove acting as the base for waves of cosmic pads and synths.
Forest Drive West
This release could do without the aptly named ‘Functional’ and ‘UN’. Both are solid but uninspiring techno workouts, comprising heavy kicks, doubled up claps and laced with sub-Sandwell District gloom. Neither do justice to an artist who clearly has much more going on. Thankfully, the Livity Sound artist presents a far more creative sound on ‘Wait’, where a fusion of sinewy bass, a stepping rhythm and jittery vocals impress. ‘Reshape’ is even better, with a rolling, filtered groove and loose percussion creating an intoxicating fusion.