First up, a couple of loosies I’ve been really digging….fresh off of his lovely Mud EP for the (his?) new Saucers label, Haunter Records co-head Heith teams up with fellow Italian Weightausend for an outtake from their upcoming Stone Lizards release, due in September. Considering that the UK influence is strong in both of their output, “track 23” is a particularly potent slice of stringed weightlessness that is brimming with tension and icy emotionality.
I was making my way through some recent releases on London’s Church when I was stopped in my tracks by Julius Steinhoff’s “To Your Care” off of his recent Forgotten Garden EP. Built around a lilting pair of piano chords and a delicious arpeggiated melody that never quite breaks through to the top of the mix, the whole thing is pure indulgence. A classy treat.
Having released a sterling series of twelve-inches over the past few years for dnb labels like Fresh 86, Horrific Recordings, and Rupture London, the duo of Response & Pliskin return to Dead Man's Chest’s Western Lore label for their debut album We’re All Disturbed. Being the high-level genre scientists that they are, the two producers utilize a potent palette of dusty breaks, ominous vocal samples, and wistfully forlorn keyboard melodies to construct their extended, narrative-driven brand of hardcore-informed dnb. With most of the album’s seven tracks hovering above the ten-minute mark, Response & Pliskin effortlessly transcend nostalgic mimicry by focusing on the journey rather than the destination, plunging into unabashedly emotive and dystopic territory.
After a bumper 2018 that saw releases on esteemed labels like Tectonic, Keysound Recordings (which also published an enjoyably in-depth interview with the producer), and the insurgent E-Beamz, Hugo Massien hops on the mehlectro bandwagon for DJ Haus’ fast-paced Unknown To The Unknown. Although Dance Trax Vol. 21 stumbles out of the gate a bit tepidly and loses steam in its third act, it finds its footing in its middle section with the explosive bass riffage of “Lust & Sound” alongside the two electro-breakbeat DJ Haus collabs, “Hypnotik Rhythm Sequence” doing the hyperfocused rave thang especially well. Inconsistent, but when it rips, it rips (which is basically how I view Massien’s output thus far).
Altered Natives - Daddy’s Gone (We Buy Gold 2019)
Last seen presenting a nuum-y grab bag on last year’s Venus EP for Budapest’s Tapes Sublimating, Danny York’s Altered Natives project drops the goddamn hammer down on the Dadd'y’s Gone four-tracker for London’s We Buy Gold. Mining a similar post-footwork-y terrain as Warlock’s The Heygate Shuffle EP released in May on the label, Daddy’s Gone contains some of York’s freshest production work in a minute, traversing bleepy dnb rhythms, sino-grime-informed floor fillers, and wobbly wonkiness. Talk about a keeper….
Härdstedt - Sanyo Blue (Hypnus Records 2019)
Although they’ve been active since 2013, I’ve just started making my way through the back catalog of Bålsta, Sweden label Hypnus Records’ atmospheric deep techno. Their latest comes on the heels of Luigi Tozzi’s on-point Wastelands EP—I would also suggest scoping the Italian producer’s recent Tender Is The Night for Non Series—in the form of Härdstedt’s Sanyo Blue, containing two new adequately deep tracks from the producer alongside attention-grabbing remixes from Tozzi and Ntogn. The somnambulist-at-dawn vibes of title track and the squelched synthetic phlegm of “Shill” both get better with each new listen, each possessing a time-released depth that drowns the listener. On the flip, Tozzi’s “Sanyo Blue” remix plies its soft bombast in typically elegant fashion atop punctuating bass ripples while Ntogn’s crafty edit of “Shill” employs a skipping, airy kick pattern and forbidding, windy pads to amplify the original track’s anxious energy.
Max 404 - Recycler (Eevo Lute Muzique/Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART) 1992/2019)
Dutch producer Erwin van Moll’s releases as Max 404 for Eevo Lute Muzique in the mid-90s are essential intelligent techno documents and Kirk Degiorgio’s A.R.T. label does everyone a favor by reissuing van Moll’s debut Recycler EP from 1992. Channeling the unrestrained euphoria of Detroit techno on opener “May The Force Be With Us,” the EP soon splits from the script through its omnivorous palette heard on visionary gems like the global-minded house of “Mamoulian,” the slap-bass technofunk of “Hangover,” and the chilled-out downbeat of “Quiddity” (a track that would be reworked two more times on van Moll’s subsequent Eevo Lute EPs). Also, while we’re on the topic of Applied Rhythmic Technology, be sure to scope London Modular Alliance’s corking Precious Materials EP that the label also recently issued.
Maarten & Tjeerd - Lunetten EP (U-Trax 1996/2019)
The rebirth of Utrecht’s U-Trax label has been the gift that keeps on giving as they’ve already reissued back catalog gems from Sonar Base, Pieces Of A Pensive State Of Mind, PA Presents, and The Connection Machine so far this year. Their latest comes from near the end of the label’s original run in the form of Maarten (van der Vleuten) & Tjeerd (Verbeek)’s deep ambient techno classic Lunetten EP, which features five tracks of heady and thoroughly chilled downbeat electronic music. If someone held a gun to my head and asked me to pick my favorite U-Trax release, well, this is it. Just too immense.
Well, this is as in-my-wheelhouse as it gets. Originally pressed in an edition of 100 in 1985, it makes an intuitive kind of sense that the Balearic-ish Leng sublabel Spacetalk—last seen releasing that blazing Club Meduse comp, scope it if you haven’t as it’s a blast—has given a proper reissue to New Mexican-born/Nashville-based musician and electronics engineer Jake Hottell’s Break The Chains. Recorded over a nearly three-year period, the album is a deeply political and spiritual statement that brings together country baroque melodies, dubby and soulful bass lines, and a cosmic enlightenment that gives the whole thing a patient yet probing serenity.