Music Reviews

The Cyclist: Boards Of Chicago

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 05 2018
Artist: The Cyclist
Title: Boards Of Chicago
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Tropical Animals
This is an interestingly blended three-pack. The title track is an up-tempo electro jack near-instrumental with a crisp and rather catchy lo-fi aesthetic and a little bit of everything, sometimes recalling progressive house, sometimes 90’s bigbeat almost.

A2 “Jackson Kalter” takes an old blues recording and builds a steady lower-paced and quite deferential instrumentation around it in a way that’s not miles away from Moby’s “Play” but with some deliberately rougher edges, before the deceptively titled B-side “Madass” is the calmest track of the set, a fairly perky light-touch techno instrumental with soft building pads and a sunny afternoon vibe that’s undercut a little by a harsher synth bassline.

A nice crisp second release on the Tropical Animals label which looks like it’s going to be one to watch.

Fabio Fabio: Amore Cannibale

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 21 2018
Artist: Fabio Fabio
Title: Amore Cannibale
Format: 12"
Label: Ivreatronic
The second release on the Ivreatronic label is an EP, four tracks of lower-tempo, mostly-instrumental tribal house (or at a push soft techno) with strong, at times almost moombahton-ish grooves and a gentle toe-tapping appeal.

The title track builds really nicely, only properly kicking in well over three minutes in with a nice display of measured structure. “Alma” is a deeper offering with a slowly unfolding acid pattern rumbling under gun-percussion snares and some quirky throat singing noises towards the end.

“Frutto Del Paradiso” suffers from excessive sidechain compression but otherwise is a nice bouncy interplay of kick-and-clap and sampled folksy guitar and vocal sounds, while “You Got It” rolls around an infectious synth bassline and simple, slightly-off bell-sound melody.

It’s a strong pack of slow, accessible tracks with a feel-good vibe and a nice bit of character.

Frits Wentink: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 13 2018
Artist: Frits Wentink
Title: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Wolf Music Recordings
The conclusion of Frits Wentink’s trilogy of EP’s under the extremely reviewer-friendly name of “Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff” is a pack of four classic-style house tracks circa 125bpm, with light stepping beats and claps and lovely melodic synth work, FX and little vocal snippets- never a full vocal- wandering confidently and warmly over the top.

Numbered rather than named, each track does have its own character. “Theme 9” is bright and quite energetic, with some nice sharp-cut cymbal work. “Theme 10” is more stripped back, focussing on a bouncy little synth bassline and some rather cheesy, cheap-sounding (but strangely not in a bad way) organ keys. “Theme 11” has a touch of the funk and a bit of a Lenny D vibe, before “Theme 12” loops back to “Theme 9”’s vibe but less vocal, with shades of Todd Edwards.

A really nice bundle of feel-good house stuff that does exactly what it says on the packaging.

PRO424: Before Immunity

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: PRO424 (@)
Title: Before Immunity
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Lamour Records (@)
Rated: *****
PRO424 is Stockholm (Sweden) based artist and producer Maximilian Karlander who also happens to be a bioengineer. 'Before Immunity' is PRO424's followup to the 2015 'Immune' album which is actually a prequel, as evidenced by the title. This is techno to be sure, but of a richly melodic sort of techno. My first impression of it was "prog-rock goes ambient," but that really doesn't tell you much of anything, except perhaps that it's quite busy (many sequenced notes) and that it has an ambient-esque flavor. In a sense, this is one long piece consisting of five parts - The Human Condition, Improvements, Time Will Tell, The Happiest Days of Their Lives, Life Finds a Way. There is some nodding reference to Richie Hawtin and Tangerine Dream with seemingly endless synth arpeggio repetition, but I'm sure you could come up with a dozen other artists this may remind you of as well. The music is highly rhythmic but not necessarily beat-focused, although that does come into play. The whole album has a certain blending flow to it, and a somewhat psychedelic hypnotic effect (bordering on trance) that most should find fairly pleasing. We don't seem to get enough of this kind of music released on vinyl nowadays, so obviously that would be the preferred format. Good for sunny day spacing, or the walk of life.

Maschine Brennt: Frisq EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: Maschine Brennt
Title: Frisq EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Rated: *****
Joacim Thenander is a veteran of the electro scene. In the late ‘80s he was a member of industrial synth band Systema The Affliction and then on early 90's he was a member of the duo Cultivated Bimbo, band that did several albums for Energy Records. At the same time, Maschine Brennt born but during the 90s only few tracks have been written, because Joacim was busy with other more commercial projects. Starting from 2014, Joacim rebooted Maschine Brennt by releasing since now, five digital releases and a CD album for Razgrom Music. The latest release is a digital EP released by Ukonx Recordingsand titled "Frisq". Containing three new tracks and one remix of the main one mad by Deemphasis, project of the label boss Stéphane Bastien. By listening to the tracks it doesn't take much time to understand that Joacim loves Kraftwerk and sometimes by using certain melodic progressions, is like he's paying his personal tribute to history. Saying this it doesn't mean that his music is uninspired, because since the opening main title, he's able to catch immediately the attention, thanks to booming drums, catchy melodies, great synth sounds, etc. This guys for sure knows how to make dance his fans and he's using all the things he learned in all these years of experience in the field. Also "Shoewq" and "V.A.B." are a winner, because the complex rhythm layers which mix electro, i.d.m. and a bit of techno is able to make you focus on this without the use of catchy melodies or refrains. Only few sounds along with the rhythms layers are enough to define a melody to follow. This ins't an easy task when you have to deal with decades of electronic music but I'm pleased that at the end of the EP I want to listen to it again! The EP is closed by the Deemphasis Remix of "Frisq". For this version, Stéphane simplified a bit the rhythm section and created an ambient background as counterpart of the robotic elements. It sounds cool by sounding different and this is also a good result for a remix! Check it here

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