City In The Clouds EP
Apart from the typical techno sources, Tim Jackiw takes inspiration from composers such as Vangelis and Kraftwerk’s synth innovations. These influences are writ large throughout ‘City In The Clouds’ — chilling strings swoop and swirl their way over the chugging bass on ‘Tension’, while spellbinding piano lines and fragile synth melodies are intertwined with the surging bassline of ‘Planetary Tide’. Jackiw’s diverse musical palette, as well as his ability to magic up pulsating grooves — just check the warbling, acid-soaked arrangement on ‘Light Cycle’ — combine to make ‘City’ one of the most musical, and danceable, techno EPs of the year.
Roberto Bosco made an impression during the earlier part of this decade with releases on labels like ART and Figure, and now he’s back with his own imprint. Fans of dubbed out club techno will be enthralled by the tough kicks and repetitive stabs of ‘Trasporto Istantaneo’, but Bosco really impresses once he explores a more musical path. 'Il Cronovisore' is a seductive, acid-soaked piece, while on ‘Paradosso Di Coerenza’, he drops a beautiful, Aril Brikha-style groove.
Supposedly, Jochem Peteri recorded these tracks during the sessions for the 2007 Newworldaquarium album, 'Dead Bears'. Despite the passage of over a decade, neither piece has aged: ‘Levels Halo’ is a glorious, textured piece of dreamy ambience, while on ‘Mercury’, Peteri delivers the kind of idiosyncratic techno that Newworldaquarium is renowned for, with warbling tones that descend into a reverberating cacophony over solid, dubbed out beats — proving again why he is such a respected producer.
Following on from his 2018 debut for Distant Worlds, Mihail P delivers another deeper-than-deep EP. Tracks like ‘Kessel Run’ and ‘Paradigm’ see the European producer conjure up wide-eyed arrangements that unravel over understated breakbeats. Even the most clubby arrangement, ‘Sons Of October’, features reflective synths accompanying Mihail’s steely drums. ‘Omniverse’ proves that often, subtlety is more powerful than force.
Back in 2001, Derek Carr launched Trident as a platform to release his debut EP, ‘Copper Beech’. Now he resurrects his label to deliver another beautiful deep techno record. ‘Dynamics’ is a mournful, melancholic piece, backed by lithe percussion, while on ‘Exploration Module’ and ‘Pod (Alien Sleep)’, Carr conjures up warbling Detroit techno grooves. While the release also includes the more Chicago inflected ‘We Play House Music’, the underlying musical sounds that permeate all of Carr’s productions are also present.
'Rhythm Composer EP'
According to Sneaker, this release is the result of two year’s production work using Jacob Korn’s custom-built drum machines. The four tracks feature stripped-back but ever-evolving drum patterns and synapse-shredding snare bursts, combined with primal rhythms. Add in saturated filters and crisp production values, and ‘Rhythm’ is one of the finest New Jak releases of the past year. Fans of Nation and Traxx will love this release.
SJ Tequilla, aka Naota Matsuda, makes his debut on Craigie Knowes, and fittingly, the title track is redolent of the deep techno of early Soma releases from Envoy. In contrast, ‘Deolta’ and ‘The Day After’ see the Japanese producer crafting dreamy, abstract soundscapes. Best of all, though, is ‘Sweet Salts 2’, which combines Matsuda’s cosmic approach to melody lines with a robust, bleepy bass.
Onete & Carmel
'The Trifecta EP'
‘Trifecta’, a collaboration between Reece Walker and Marvin ‘Qnete’ Uhde, sounds like it was produced during heady summer days. ‘Forest Magic’ resounds to warbling synths, searing bass and robust breakbeats, while ‘Canterburied’ is a slower, melodic piece. But the title track best encapsulates the sound that the pair are striving for: dreamy piano keys, blurry filters and a lazy — but still powerful — stepping rhythm come together to map out a place somewhere between chill-out and deep techno.