Black Hands Vol 2
With over 100 releases notched up under his Hieroglyphic Being project alone, it would not be unreasonable to expect that Jamal Moss could no longer surprise his audience. But then again, no one is as unpredictable as Moss, and on ‘Black Hands’, he delivers one of his most club-friendly EPs to date. Over the course of four untitled tracks, he drops tracky rhythms and frazzled acid, supported by murky bass and clipped percussion. Only on the second track does he come close to approaching the type of freeform analogue voyage this project is best known for — otherwise, this is a heads-down masterpiece.
Armec is a new producer, but his second EP shows that he is a creative force to be reckoned with. Both ‘Auden’ and ‘Conceptualise’ see him use off-beat steely rhythms as a basis for acid swirls and epic string sections, a combination that is sure to endear him to fans of UR-style techno. While 'Disassociate' and 'Dystopian Reality' are more stripped-back, resonating to menacing bass tones, the same lithe rhythms and 303 fixations prevail, ensuring that Armec is a name to watch.
Auto Sound City
'Don’t Give A Machine Funk'
Under his Auto Sound City alias, Alex Handley has been responsible for some mind-melting acid, and this release for Chicago Bee is no different; ‘Funked After Using ’ and ‘Bad Boy House’ are wild, sweat-drenched rides to the heart of the 303. However, the standout cuts on ‘Machine…’ are those where he combines the 303 with other nuances; ‘The Blah Factor’ is led by rolling kettle drums and sees Handley usher in eerie synths, while ‘Rise Up Preacher’ sees him add chopped up vocal samples to a raw drum track.
Sunil Sharpe has chosen an unexpected platform for his first record in three years, but 'Etaci' shows that not much else has changed. Over the course of four tracks, he showcases his deft and crafty approach to peak-time techno; the title track sees chopped up vocals teased out over drum builds and a relentless bass, 'Timber' is like a modern, brutal take on bleep techno, and 'Ukkin' brings the release to a close in spectacular fashion with bleak chord surges.
'Sorry I’m Late EP'
Don’t Be Afraid
Semtek’s label can always be relied on to shine a light on the less conventional corners of the techno universe — and it has come up trumps on this EP. Minos serves up lunging bass and stepping rhythms on ‘Brown Sauce’, ‘Coaxial Drive ’ and ‘Aquaplaning’, peppering his arrangements with atmospheric textures and old school stabs. Meanwhile, ‘Mammoth’ and ‘They’re Here’ see him explore abstract soundscapes, with Claude Young’s rolling take on ‘Brown Sauce’ rounding off this fine EP.
'Technological Singularity EP '
Hizou Deep Rooted Music
Piu has enjoyed a Lazarus-like resurrection in recent years, and fans of techno’s more esoteric side should acquaint themselves with his work on Childhood Intelligence and as The Nightstalker. ‘Singularity’ delivers more of the same; from the swirling, swaggering 'Quantum Computing' through the high-tech warbles of 'Robots In Rage', to the more abstract Detroit electro stylings of 'A Machine Will Never Do X', these are stellar tracks, effortlessly executed.
'The Quadra EP '
Subtlety is key on Miles Sagnia’s latest release for Ornate. ‘MACS0647’ kick-starts the EP with moody bass and fluttering keys played out against a jittery rhythm. The title track begins in a similar mode, with Sagnia teasing out glorious melodies, before a kick drum drops three minutes in. Conscious of dancefloor needs, closing track ‘The Haunting Circumstance’ is a more linear rolling groove that nonetheless still resounds to soul-drenched keys. Classy stuff.
‘This Horizon’ is a taster for Alan Abrahams’ new Portable album, which promises great things. Combining his ponderous vocals with resonating bass and billowing synths, the title track underlines once again why he is a unique talent. There’s a nice downtempo remix from Bergemann & Legget, and Sound Of Xee’s take is a subtle, atmospheric chugger, but it’s the electronic swagger of Abrahams’ own interpretation as Bodycode that really captures his essence.