Titty Twister (Jam El Mar Retouch)
Viper made precisely one trance track, and ‘Titty Twister’ was it. Despite effective and substantial Nina Simone and Duran Duran sampling, it did not sell well. Personally, I put that down to its toxically ugly original cover. With Markus Schulz resurrecting ‘Twister’ for his sets a year back, Jam El Mar now feeds it a sparse, throbbing, incessantly engaging remodel. Full of marching drums and percussion, as well as atmosphere to burn, there's every chance history won’t be repeating itself.
In terms of appreciation, Lightform’s latest is less a leaper and more creeper. That is unexpected, as ‘Asylum’ (as its title suggests) ain't no wallflower. The build is all fairly so-so: running tech rhythms, drum and perc canter and up-pitching sirens. Into the break, its game gets raised with a tempo shifting dynamic, synths-with-bite and some memorably hooky vocal add-ins. No future classic, but not at all bad.
Cosmic Gate & Jason Ross
It’s taken 18 years for Cosmic Gate to put a track out on Anjuna. With their artisanal rework of G&D’s ‘Only Road’ a best of 2018 contender, ‘Awaken’ has its work cut out. After Nic, Bossi and Jason dispense with the introductory distort, clank, distort industrial toil, it gives it one heck of a go, though. ‘Awaken’s midpoint melody, hailing siren-song harmony and (ala ‘Only Road’) expertly balanced mainline all have this release grafting overtime.
John 00 Fleming & EEEmus
'Drop From The Vile'
John 00 Fleming, Basil O’Glue (on remix duties) and a man with three capital ‘E’s at the start of his name — sold! The original mix of ‘Drop From The Vile’ (wordplay?) is chunky, warpy and, initially, not without its funkier moments. Overall, however, it’s lean and minimal, meaning each element applied takes on that much more significance. Basil meanwhile parlays this into a slightly cooler, spacier and more trancey mix.
Unlike erstwhile label mates Stoneface & Terminal, Ronski Speed is a lesser-defined entity these days. Being a bit too grindy and template-following at the outset, ‘Fubu’, his latest, does not initially impress. As it skims the break, however, (now seemingly free to explore the ideas it wants to), it blooms. A staggered, offbeat riff turns the ear, while moving melodies and strings interlace well between. Its payoff is no wannabe either, stridently, confidently striking the middle ground between trance and prog.
Active Limbic System
With its acidic prowl, advanced tempo and numerous other elements all telegraphing psy-trance, you’ll quickly have ‘P.T.S.D.’s number. Or will you? The brilliantly christened Active Limbic System’s latest comes through ITWT, allowing it to slip any stylistic knots and, latterly, range out — very effectively — into areas more melodic and elevating.The SoundCloud content at https://soundcloud.com/active-limbic-system/active-limbic-system-ptsd-extended-mixout-on-51118 is not available, or it is set to private.
Currently, the trickiest part of writing this page is working out which of FSOE’s monthly wealth is its most eminent. Up to their necks in brilliance again, MS-J’s latest takes it by a nose. Generally melodic in feel, unusually, ‘Phoebus’s sequences and artistic notes keep you guessing to its endgame. It therefore takes longer than average to grasp its 360. By the time you do, of course, you’re well on the end of its creative hook.
'Viola (Astrosphere & Elevation Remixes)'
Once you’re over the disappointment of there being no violas in ‘Viola’ (still), there are nevertheless many aces to be had here. Astrosphere (Driftmoon & Robert Nickson) remove the bleached-out mainline and pulsing, wired nature of Moogwai’s original. They're replaced with fuller, richer components, giving it an authentically uplifting feel. Elevation’s mix is closer to the original vision, but sat next to Astrosphere’s, feels a touch muted.
Nick Callaghan is clearly an ideas man. His latest is near overflowing with them. Tone set in the ‘up’ position, ‘XLR8R’s build has three or four sub melodies that interlock and then riff superbly off each other. Their combined effect, along with a ‘Joyenergizer’-type arrangement shtick and vocal snaps, is potent. Come the break, one of its sub melodies (the most keyboard wandering one) assumes the role of lead and hits the mark.