DJ Fett Burger & Luca Lozano
Hands of Doom
Sex Tags UFO
The Sex Tags crew have always blissfully ignored everything else going on around them, as ‘Hands of Doom’ so effortlessly demonstrates. Reliving those hazy times when techno and rave were inseparable companions, over two tracks Fett Burger and Lozano deploy tight breakbeats to lay down serene 808 State-style synths, the famous ‘loon’ sample and a tapestry of rave shrieks and chopped up vocal snippets. “Totally Tangerine” is full of irresistible acid-soaked drops, but it’s the rolling drums and plunging bass of 'Electric Blue' that induces shivers at every turn.
From the Microsoft Paint soft porn that adorns the cover to the brilliant fusion of hard, industrial techno, the final Blacknecks release sees the project go out in considerable style. 'Don’t Dream It, Be It' revolves around a Fisher Price-style keyboard line, the stomping beats of 'Don’t Say It’s Goodbye' break down to reveal a cheesy Italo hook and best of all, 'Easy Lionel' sounds like the thundering granite rhythms of Regis combined with Patrick Cowley’s disco pulses. Goodbye you crazy bastards, it’s been a pleasure.
'An Orderly Life EP'
'An Unexpected Encounter' on Anaxander’s latest release for Tasteful Nudes has a lot of the qualities that make techno such a timeless artform; mysterious sound effects, crisp, propulsive percussion and, driving the arrangement, powerful (but never overbearing) bass pulses. The title track is less forceful, but it’s just as well-executed, with icy melodies threatening to frost over a plunging, Heard-style bassline — until the heart-stopping keys kick in. Influenced by classic sounds but with a modern twist, this is an exemplary release.
Out of Limbo
More than any other person, Fred Ventura has helped to put the sound of Italo back on the map. Working under his Italoconnection moniker, this release on his Disco Modernism label sees him deliver two versions of Out of Limbo’s ‘Cold Stars’. Shimmering synths, trite lyrics and fist-pumping melodies are all hallmarks of the Ventura approach, which shines brightly on these remixes. The release also features the added bonus of Out of Limbo delivering a synth pop version of new wave band The Passions’ evergreen ‘I'm In Love With A German Film Star’.
The Fabric-supported Houndstooth shows its muscle on this remix package, with the label managing to tap two of underground techno/noise’s most respected practitioners. Haxan Cloak’s version of ‘HTH020’ evolves from eerie soundscapes into noisy, splintered percussive layers and a heaving, nausea-inducing bassline. Meanwhile, Vatican Shadow’s take on ‘Typeface Grayscale’ is a deep and menacing dancefloor pulse with dramatic melodic flourishes that will appeal to fans of Sandwell District and Donato Dozzy.
Alessandro Cortini has already put out one of this year’s best experimental albums and now he brings the same approach to the dancefloor for Shifted’s label. The title track is layered in drones and evolving tones, so much so that the lithe percussion and stepping rhythm becomes subsumed. 'Antipaste' and 'Sandy' follow a similar approach, but on the former a buzz-saw bass cuts through the off beats, and the latter is led by churning filters and unexpected drops into terrifying waves of white noise. It’s brilliant, intense techno.
'Synewave Reissues Part 1: 1995-1997'
Before he was a key part of Sandwell District, Dave ‘Function’ Sumner was a leading light in New York’s '90s techno scene. As these tracks show, Sumner has never lacked a deft production touch. 'F3' is led by dubby beats and clanking, hissing percussion, with insistent vocal snatches added to the arrangement and a nod to the city’s tribal house sound. 'F4' is more techno-focused and sees tonal bleeps and chiming bells fused with a rough and grainy rhythm. That both tracks sound as fresh as Inland’s chord-surging edit of 'Shift F1' is testament to Sumner’s superior production skills.
'The KM20 Tapes Volume 2 (1992-1996)'
It’s hard to believe that some of these tracks are over 20-years-old, as they sound more relevant than most contemporary tape-saturated electronic music. 'Inside the Dollhouse' is based on fuzzy, off beats, but is also shot through with wispy melodies, while 'Evil Trak' has a similar rhythmic structure that is home to wiry acid lines. 'Willenlos' is the most dancefloor-friendly track — revolving around a buzzing bass that underscores dubbed-out, filtered chords and light percussion — and sees Move D jam on and on for over 10 minutes.
'Vlucht Naar Nachtschade '
Following on from his excellent debut album on Lunar Disko, Dutch producer VC-118a drops more esoteric electro for the Dublin imprint. ‘Click’, the title track and ‘Variatie Hoogtegraad’ all feature deep, mysterious synth textures and crisp drum patterns. While they are all best enjoyed at home instead of a club, the Delta Funktionen remix of ‘Vlucht Naar Nachtschade’ marries a grainy, fuzzy techno rhythm with VC-118a’s ethereal melodies.