Norken & Nyquist
The Exalt label has come back after a 10-year break. That it has chosen to re-appear with one of this year’s best deep techno records makes its return all the more impressive. Lee Anthony Norris and Frank Rumpelt deliver the wonderful, wide-eyed synths and rumbling, acid-soaked bass of ‘Love Simulation’, while on the flip, ‘Invisible Reflections’ sees them re-wire early '90s dreamy UK/Detroit techno soul against the backdrop of crisp, jagged drums and a choppy rhythm. It's one of 2018's most welcome comebacks.
"The club remix has intricate, percussive, shifting rhythms."
Umek is nowadays associated with big room dance music, but his Zeta Reticula project shows that he has kept a close link with the underground. Established back in the early 2000s and put on hold for a decade, Zeta Reticula records balance dubbed-out techno with electro. Number seven is no exception. ‘Chromospheric Activity’ is a deep stepper, featuring eerie synth riffs, while on ‘13000 Au From Our Sun’ and ‘A Common Motion Through Space’, he delivers dark, industrial electro bangers, populated by steely percussion and splurging bass stabs.
'Eel Behaviour: Conger'
To mark it turning 20, Earwiggle is putting out a series of split EPs with the umbrella name of ‘Eel Behaviour’. ‘Conger’ is the first one, and sees Delta Funktionen deliver the gurgling acid ‘Alternate Reality’, and Imogen dropping the dense stepper ‘Flesh’. Autumns steers the EP in the direction of EBM/post-punk with the bleakly pulsating ‘Recovery’, while on ‘The Sun Inside Jaden Smith’, live techno act Giant Swan drop dense broken beats and wired vocals. It’s a fitting opening release to celebrate the anniversary of one of techno’s truly uncompromising labels.
It’s been a long time coming, but Minimal Wave boss Veronica Vasicka’s debut record is worth the wait. 'From Here (Original 2004 Mix)' is a captivating piece of droning electronic music, its sharp percussion lashing like an S&M whip. Downwards owner Regis’s take pushes the track in a more clubby, stepping direction, while the Paul Kendall mix descends back into droning soundscapes, powered by an electro pulse. Closing out the release, Chasm delivers an EBM-inflected version, with Vasicka’s frosty vocals intact.
For its 10th release, Imogen has lined up something very special. Darshan Jesrani is best known as one half of Metro Area, and he brings the same electronic sound to bear here. The title track resounds to tight drums and a powerful bass, but it’s all about the sublime, sweet melodies that run through the arrangement. On ‘Take Me’, Jesrani enlists the services of Charli Umami, whose plaintive vocals unravel over a perfectly weighted groove, the bass inspired by classic Chicago house, and the crisp kicks and percussion underpinning the arrangement effortlessly.
'Move Like Atoms'
Mor Elian has carved out a reputation for making futuristic electronic music, and this release on her own label demonstrates why it is deserved. ‘Dossgroove’ and ‘Move Like Atoms’ are lean, robotic electro rollers, led by steely drums and deft percussion, while on ‘Russian Wave Group’, she shows her techno leanings, as dubbed-out chords and trippy stabs unravel against a bass-heavy groove. 'Agora’ is deeper and powered by slinky breakbeats, but still has a definite dancefloor focus.
The Nuclear Family vs Other Lands
The Nuclear Family
After an absence of three years, The Nuclear Family returns with this beautiful record. ‘Surface Noise’ is a woozy, deep techno track, led by a lazy groove, with crisp claps, hazy chords, gentle robot voices and warm electronic bleeps. It’s a near perfect mix between the human touch and machine precision. On the flip side, Other Lands, aka DJ/producer Gavin Sutherland, who has just released on Firecracker, treats us to an expansive house piece in the form of the sublime 'See Thru Time'.
'The Cosmic Funk Collection EP'
Bordello A Parigi
‘Funk’ isn't your typical techno record, which has a lot to do with the fact that Credit 00 isn’t a typical electronic music artist. 'Traumorgel' starts the release off with cavernous live drums and psychedelic organs, while on ‘Sultan Of Sansibar’, similarly out-there keys are woven into a warbling acid arrangement. ‘System Down” sees him veer into bass-heavy electro, while keeping the listener guess to the last is ‘Cruisin’. Revisiting those live drum patterns, he conjures up deeper-than-deep house pads.