It’s rare to hear the term ‘timeless’ being used to describe contemporary techno, but ‘Mecca’ is an exception. It’s the kind of record that will sound as great as it does now in twenty years time. Soaked in warbling acid, dramatic string sections and atmospheric synths, it brings together Chicago house, ‘Acid Eiffel’ and Amber-era Autechre on one record. ‘Mecca’ is a release to lose yourself in and never grow tired of — an exceptional, spine-tingling piece of music.
' A White Bear’s Heaven... Is A Black Bear’s Hell!'
Brian Kage is the latest producer to drop a bomb on Omar-S’ label. Lead track ‘Shut Your Eyes’ is underpinned by a pulsing electronic bass, James Garcia’s deadpan vocals and spine-tingling Inner City-style synth hooks a combination that mean it has the same potential to cross over as Omar’s own ‘I Wanna Know’ from last year. ‘It’s Not Over’ and ‘Bear Gonna Gecha’ are also informed by a similar '80s flavour, with vocal samples and robo-synths inhabiting Kage’s tracky grooves.
' Resolute EP'
The second release on the revered festival’s spin-off label captures two differing moods. On the A-side, shimmering piano keys and magical, sun-dappled melodies dance their way over the jittery rhythm of ‘Resolute’ and the more subdued, beatsy ‘When’. On the flip, Monoak explores a darker world; the same complex, at times knotted grooves are audible on ‘Amay’ and ‘Sync Sequence1’, but the melodies are darker and more reflective, hinting at times at a haunting otherworld. It’s an impressive release that bodes well for newcomer Monoak’s future.
Vernon Felicity is the latest project from prolific Dutch producer Boris Bunnik, who is best known for his work as Conforce and Versalife. There is only a glimpse of these aliases here — specifically on the title track’s mellow techno. Elsewhere, 'DC' is a tough, percussive workout and ‘Defender’ and ‘Rdmx8’ sees him veer into acid-heavy territory, with the rolling snares and spiralling 303s of ‘Defender’ impressing most. We can only speculate what Bunnik will do next.
Carl Finlow is one of the few producers to consistently make great electro, and his latest record for Electrix is no exception. ‘Electricology’ sees him alternate between two different approaches; on one hand, there’s the eerie synths of 'Suspect Reanimation' and esoteric pads on 'Atomic Level', while 'Lateral Thoughts' and 'Latext' convey a harder, colder sound, with rattling rhythms and drums ricocheting at a frenetic pace. In the middle sits 'Hyperloop', a frenetic electro-funk work-out full of starry-eyed melodic hooks.
'Jheri Tracks Volume 1'
The first instalment of this All City side-project has a wide range. It moves from the siren-laden off-beats of Bastiengoat’s 'Boytek' to the clattering rhythms and smoky guitar tracts of Deniro’s 'Sunrise' into more dancefloor-friendly directions. This includes Cyclist’s hiss-heavy, sinewy bass-led ‘Tech Tape Reels’ and Evan Jones’ conga-heavy roller, 'My Days’. However, this split release maintains an unorthodox sense right to the end, and finishes with the most impressive cut, the deep techno chords and ponderous bass of West To West’s ‘Eternal Days’.
It’s hard to believe that Derrick May’s label is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. While it would be close to impossible for Transmat in 2016 to put out records of the same calibre as ‘Nude Photo’, Japanese producer Watanabe does a good job at interpreting classic Detroit techno. ‘The Multiverse’ is a fine amalgamation of the brittle rhythms and churning chord sequences that are part of the Motor City’s psyche, while ‘The Leonids’ is redolent of Aril Brikha, its powerful pulses underpinning atmospheric pads. 'Multiverse' is a fitting tribute to this great label's past.
'Private Disco Show'
Bordello A Parigi
‘Private Disco Show’ may be more than 30 years old, but this reissue is timely. It serves as a reminder that this side-project from the duo — who normally made Hi-NRG as Lime — were years ahead of their time. Its tough drums, pulsating bass and smart filters set the backdrop for infectious synth melodies and indistinct vocals. If you’re wondering where Alden Tyrell and many of the other Dutch West Coast scene find inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.