Music Reviews



Out Of Fuel: Isolation EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 08 2018
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Artist: Out Of Fuel (@)
Title: Isolation EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Translation Recordings
Rated: *****
This is the second EP (after the interesting 'Ghost Notes' in 2016) for Washington DC-based label Translation Recordings by the Finnish duo Out Of Fuel. As far as I can understand by listening to this "Isolation", the drops of fuel by which Otto Andelin and Matti Kaivanto fed this new sonic engine are mainly atmospheric. They forged really good and immersive sounds and such a skill sometimes make them forget to handle the rhythmical pattern in a more structured way, as you can hear since the opening "Minus 25", whose masterfully made sound and the whole icy dub-like movement really render the idea of a machine flooded by extremely low temperature, but where the percussive elements manage to make the track a little bit warmer, but without any staggering variation (maybe a choice arising from the paralyzing frost...). We find similar dynamics and configuration on the following tracks "Cabin Fever" and "Chain Reaction", where these guys get closer to the style of some dub techno entries that people like Lars Fenin, Daniel Meteo and Deadbeat were dropping ten years ago. My favorite track is "Hypersensitivity", the one where the catchy atmospherics of the sounds gets intertwined with a likewise catchy and finely crafted rhythmical pattern. The package also includes a very good remix of "Ghosts", where Resound, another knight of Translation Recordings seems to chew acidulous low frequencies and distant smokey reverbs in a rising feverish way.

Eric Maltz: Pathway

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 07 2018
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Artist: Eric Maltz
Title: Pathway
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Flower Myth
New York-based Eric Maltz describes himself as a producer and pianist foremost and is a relative newcomer to techno, but from this 3-track 12” you wouldn’t tell. Here are three confident if straightforward bits of gentle techno that sound like they’ve come from somebody who’s been working in the genre for many years- in fact, if anything there’s a suggestion of lethargy and going-through-the-motions about these.

The title track is the strongest, with a simple slightly-sawtoothed synth melody dancing back and forth over a steady groove. 808-ish style rapid clapping and a bassline sounding like low piano notes give proceedings a decidedly late 80’s flavour.

“Ah-Shu-De-Ohu” revolves around some stuttered vocal samples looping round, which personally I’m not that enamoured with, I’m all for stuttering and experimentation but there’s something about this result that just doesn’t grab me. For the first three minutes it feels like it’s building to something, but that something never really arrives.

On the B-side, “Line Through” is a mellower affair of slightly balearic chords and gradually ebbing plinky chords swimming through reverb and delay over a steady-as-clockwork rhythm.

It’s smooth, quite satisfying, but it won’t really stand out in a crowd- a sort of everyday techno.

HMOT: Permanent Imbalance

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 31 2018
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Artist: HMOT
Title: Permanent Imbalance
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Oqko
Siberian HMOT’s five-track, 22-minute “Permanent Imbalance” EP has the sonic properties of dark, raw techno- sharp-edged percussive electronic hits, super-short noise cuts, distorted industrial rumbles, EQ’ed hammering and dark synthetic minor chord pads.

But rhythmically and structurally, the title track is anything but 4/4 or DJ friendly. Playing with counterpointed time signatures, sudden drops and abrupt speed changes, on the rare occasion that these tracks do end up forming a techno-esque structure it feels more like coincidence than design.

The other four tracks explore the same tenets but in different recipes. Second track “Dieback Machinery” is on slightly more familiar ground but is still a wilfully obtuse bit of techno seemingly on a mission to catch you by surprise. “No Innocence” is angrier than it is quirky, playing nicely against the slower and more atmospherics-led “Logos”. Final track “Collapse” sounds like the harshest-sounding drum and bass has been triply deconstructed to leave only the fills, the warps and the far edges of the sonics.

It’s considered and intricate stuff with a very solid energy, and if you like your electronica dark and very broken-sounding, this is worth checking out.

Tom Blip: Rez / Crazy Arps

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 30 2018
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Artist: Tom Blip
Title: Rez / Crazy Arps
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Paradise Palms
Tom Blip offers up a couple of warm slow house music instrumentals, nicely stripped back.

Toddling along at something like 110bpm, both tracks use SH101 acid noises as a jazzy centrepiece, bouncing quite drolly over a crisp steady walking beat, with a few subtle pads (and, unsurprisingly, a few arpeggios in “Crazy Arps”). “Rez” has the slightly squelchy sound of the two but otherwise they’re a solid pair.

It’s mild, feel-good and inoffensive, potentially a little wallpapery and very Spotify-friendly but well baked for what they are.

Bawrut: 4x4

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 27 2018
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Artist: Bawrut
Title: 4x4
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Ransom Note Records
Madrid-based Bawrut offers up a 4-pack of quirky, bouncy techno, where simple one-note synth basslines and 4/4 drum patterns are the DJ-friendly vanilla base for a variety of playful electronic wibbles that dance over the top.

Lead track “Three Sounds”’s bleepy riff borders on novelty but it’s the kind of hook that should keep it coming back for repeat plays. “More Cowbell”, referencing but not sampling the apparently quite litigious Saturday Night Live’s Christopher Walken sketch, predictably adds a cowbell layer to the fairly tribal rhythm pattern, over which a quite synthwavey bassline slowly grows.

“I Hear Voices” takes sampled vocal ooohs of different lengths and plays a catchy melody with them over mellow house groove of long lush pads and the occasional spoken-word sample of somebody who sounds like Björk saying “I hear voices”.

“Ghettoscar” is something of an odd one out, eschewing the usual DJ-friendly building intro in favour of showcasing a folksy sample of African chanting with its own inbuilt rhythm, which is treated quite reverentially and not cut up very much while the drums and acid bassline slowly get added.

A really enjoyable set of four melodic, positive techno tracks with a nice sense of fun.


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