Music Reviews

Imaginary Forces: Visitation

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2016
Artist: Imaginary Forces (@)
Title: Visitation
Format: 12"
Label: Fang Bomb (@)
Rated: *****
Even if the genre has reached a level of saturation, there are still many impressive outputs in the highly contaminated basins of minimal techno, such as this nice one by Imaginary Forces, the brainchild of London-based Anthony J Hart, who isn't certainly a newcomer due to some notoriety he particularly gained in the underground scene of the British capital city by means of some good releases where he mainly threw drum 'n' bass, jungle or techno sonorities on the barbed wires of power electronics and noise. This record on Swedish label Fang Bomb could get tagged as minimal due to the fact he melts together not so many sounds and noises in each single track, but he did it by following many different strategies where the main glue of these elements got based on a series of subtly stunning and slowly thundering bass pulsations. They could be considered as appropriately thundering in the opening track "Preternatural," whose sound seems to render one of those epic scenes, where listeners could imagine like on the edge of a storm, fed by mysteriously destructive (imaginary) forces. Likewise roaring clangs ignite the hypnotical swirling, the dark trotting and the menacingly sneaking distorted brass of "Enlightenment", while these Imaginary Forces get closer to the abstract alien techno I heard by some artists on Sounds Never Seen, Rephlex and Plasmek on "Visitation" (the looped electrical strains over what could be to matched to the disquieting cries by an alien hymenopterans on this track are simply amazing) and to the deranged overclocking on some "old" experimental techno outputs by Electric Light, Rechenzentrum or Column One on the final (A Drift), whose crosses between convulsive ticking, ligneous and prettily numbing hits and alien frequencies perfectly fits to the lyrical content of the spoken words by Closed Circuits.

Snitch: Skalen EP

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 06 2016
Artist: Snitch
Title: Skalen EP
Format: 12"
Label: Wavereform
Berlin-based Snitch uses hardware only to generate his "sensible techno music". Don't let the hipster chillout yellow artwork fool you, this is deep impenetrable beat territory.

"Skalen" is a syncopated single-minded thumper, with subtle hollow sweeps the only respite to the relentless short-patterned industrial-strength kicks.

Second track "Kromag" is very slightly lighter on its feet, but still in the same tribal, low-end format. The Laiva remix is a subtle reworking rather than an overhaul, bringing in some extra bleeps to heighten the tension and working out a more measured sonic build-up, and in doing so making itself the highlight track of the release.

This release might not be oozing variety or originality but as a 12" helping of thick kicks and sinister atmospheres, it's got attitude by the bucketload.

Attaché: Edinburgh EP

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 05 2016
Artist: Attaché
Title: Edinburgh EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: International Day Off
Distributor: DBH
This is a really polished, layered EP from the Polish-or-possibly-Czech Attaché. Whilst the press release makes a point of referencing the house sound of '90's UK, I don't agree- this is bang-up-to-date deep progressive 4/4.

Opening track "Atoll" is a measured, quite leisurely stroll across techno's more daytime side. The Blazej Malinowski remix brings it back into the darkness, with a slightly sinister twist, though the remix does end up feeling like the most ordinary track of the pack.

"Berliner Blast" is a beautifully-handled eleven minute journey, mesmeric and captivating. It's always a class piece of work when an essentially repetitive form like this can turn tricks and progressions that make eleven minutes of a single track not feel in any way repetitive for a second. It's the stand-out track.

Title track "Edinburgh" is more discordant and faintly jarring, with its offbeat and seemingly off-key, almost jazz-like cut-up groove samples. It's a little harder to make friends with this track. The PLEBS remix of "Edinburgh", however, with its thick rolling tribal kick drum patterns, that's a whole other story, where everything makes sense. I would love to hear the remix on a big system.

Not every track is brilliant, but it's worth the price of admission for "Berliner Blast" alone and the other tracks are all strong too.

Lenny Fontana feat. D-Train: When You Feel What Love Has

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 29 2016
Artist: Lenny Fontana feat. D-Train
Title: When You Feel What Love Has
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Karmic Power Records
This is the second time in a week that I've reviewed a Karmic Power release and described it as a massive 1990's throwback. If this is what they're all about, then they can keep 'em coming. It's a full-on cheese, and I'm aware I'll be in danger of undermining ChainDLK's sincere underground sensibilities if I keep praising this kind of stuff, but it's a guilty pleasure- a very safe combination of soulful yet fairly meaningless male soul vocals over a traditional party house recipe of beats, claps and house pianos following a formula that has barely changed for the last 30 years.

The Leon Wolf & Niko De Vries mix is the standout one. If you're going to do euphoric, soulful, hands-in-the-air house, this is the way to do it- with a lot of brightness and polish. This would slip very neatly into a recent Hed Kandi or Ministry Of Sound compilation.

The Klubjumpers mix uses the same ingredients, playing it safe with a straight-up house piano and bouncy bass combo, but just ends up running a little flatter by comparison.

The Francois remix also pulls it right back to the 90's house vibe- even Robin S didn't sound as much like Robin S as this does- with funky almost marimba-like bass, plenty of short builds and cymbal crashes and the most straightforward hands-in-the-air breakdown I've heard in ages.

The Twism & B3rao remix has a slightly more modern twist, with faintly glitchy underground vibes, still showing the 187 Lockdown influences but with slightly more 21st century in the production.

If you're intolerant to cheese, don't bother, but if you need more main-room party tunes in your life, this is a safe and steady, pre-packed cheese sandwich.

Rauntrix: Wild

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 26 2016
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Artist: Rauntrix
Title: Wild
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Filigran
Distributor: Dig Dis
Rauntrix is a new Italian duo comprising of a dub techno producer and a video maker, and their publicity angle, such as it is, promotes the synergy of the two and pitches them as a strongly audio-visual band. Without doubt though, the music stands up on its own merits even without the pretty pictures.

"Wild" ticks along at 120bpm with the gentle rhythm of an old grandfather clock that's fallen into some sci-fi alternative universe where gravity and the sense of time are the same, but everything else is ethereal and strange. It's a hypnotic wash of building and falling synth pads, very polite and gentle.

"Sunset" is a little more conventional, a repetitive cycle of one-note bass and dub delays that feels more like the long introduction to something more dramatic than something that wants to speak for itself.

This is about as relaxing as 13 minutes of music can get whilst still being legitimately labelled "techno".

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