Joe Lucas, who is better known for his work as Causa, launches a great new techno project, Sixtyone. On ‘Caurel’, he draws influence from European and US styles, with a linear dancefloor rhythm underpinning spaced-out synths. While 'Zelo' is more understated, its cavernous groove also resounds to ultra-deep pads, setting it apart from the slew of average dub techno. Verdant’s choice of remixers is also inspired: Stojche turns ‘Zelo’ into a harder track led by phased filters and grainy kicks. Meanwhile, Hiver are tasked with interpreting the ambient coda ‘Tregnanton’, and deliver a superb, pulsating groove, its acidic gurgles highlighting the original version’s atmospheric textures.
Emote was a relatively short-lived label during the '90s, and it has resurfaced to re-issue Doug Martin and label owner Mark Churcher’s debut EP as V-Neck. The title track and ‘Quasi’ are nice breakbeat arrangements that are powered by tribal drums. More impressive, however, are ‘Semi’ and ‘Uni’; the former delivers icy synths over subtle breakbeats, while the latter features robust drums and spine-tingling acid tweaks.
'Barbary Coast EP'
The past year has been Reedale Rise’s busiest, and ‘Barbary Coast’ is a reminder of why he’s such an in-demand producer. The title track is a cinematic affair, featuring the kind of wiry bass you’d hear on a classic Juan Atkins production. He takes square aim at the dancefloor with the windswept chords and pulsating bass of ‘Breath Control’, while closing track 'Xingu' sees Reedale Rise at his most introspective thanks to its sublime melodies and rickety drums.
'Heroes Of The East'
For some techno producers, breakbeats are a fad to latch on to, but this isn’t true for Shaw Cuts. The label has consistently championed this sound, most impressively on this new record. 'Morse' is a fine, fast-paced affair powered by deft filters. However, the standout tracks are ‘Foothills’ and ‘Melopee’, where Placid One conjures up tripped-out melodies and rich chords, letting these elements play out over slower, rolling breaks.
'Out Of Mind'
By Lost Trax’s standards, the past year has been busy, with this release following ‘Surface Treated’ on Delsin. 'Mind..' starts with the wiry, acid-tweaked title track; underpinned by crisp 808s, it sees the mysterious act veer deep into Drexciyan synth territories. ‘Instant’ is more danceable, thanks to the use of brittle kicks and percussion — but similarly frosty synths are audible. Lastly, on 'Drift', Lost Trax drops a 303-led, rolling electro track.
Russ Gabriel is one of UK techno’s greatest producers and has been pushing the boundaries since the early '90s. On ‘Planet Discovery’, he diverts from his usual sound to deliver a downtempo track. Featuring textured soundscapes unravelling over off-beat drums, ‘Discovery’ is an understated masterpiece. Future Beat Alliance has been tasked with remixing ‘Planet..’ and doesn’t disappoint, with dubbed-out drums, lush, cosmic synths, and an epic crescendo on his version.
'Tragedies Of A High-Tech World'
Nearly 20 years after their debut release, mysterious duo The Nightstalker returns with this superb double-pack. Straddling serene ambience, mysterious Drexciya-esque electro and the deepest of deep techno, it’s hard to pick a standout track. Having said that, the throbbing bass and frail melodies of 'Artificial Excitement', the immersive electronic soundscapes of 'The Disappointment From Next Door' and the hypnotic techno soul of ‘Chasing Topless In A High-Tech World’ all impress greatly. A timeless release.
Auto Sound City vs Granary 12
'Weapons Of Desire 12'
Weapons Of Desire
The twelfth WOD missive is a split release. On 'The Dancer & The Box Player', Auto Sound City drops a steely jacking rhythm, populated by layered vocal samples. Factor in the powerful, lurching bass, and 'Dancer' is a hugely effective dancefloor track. Granary 12 opts for a stripped-back approach on 'Land Of Extortion'; again the focus is on Chicago-inspired jack, but this time it's accompanied by tonal bleeps that sound like a malfunctioning computer in its death throes.