TBR: 17th September
Hamburg hotspot PAL Nightclub and electronic music DJ Faerber team together to establish TILT Records. This beats factory stands to make its first appearance as an impress with 070717 EP. Curiously titled, based on the date of Hamburg's G20 summit, the four track extended play gives Faerber a platform to work his magic to the highest degree. With a work ethic of no holds barred, the TILT music label brandishes the power of the podium for cutting edge and experimental artists to let the mantle drop.
As times have previously been challenging for both nightclub and artist, now that the coast is clear the music is able to reference these early days and express the wisdom within them. Thanks to a continual presence of the local police force, it's taken a long time to gain the trust of the nightlife loving community in Hamburg. Good things can't be kept down, however, and over time the residents and revellers have learned there is nothing to fear at PAL.
The music starts straight off the mark with a grabby dance beat. Layered bass and hat with a filling of electronic percussion give a flux of rhythm that rolls off the amp like cream. Melodic fills are included, these waver and sway through various effects as the undersections break down to allow for gradual builds. The pressure just gets more intense and with each new injection of sound, the tempo is garnished, fortified, and made more prominent. This is club soundtrack territory, and Faerber has got it just right. Dunmore Point takes us straight into the middle of the crowd and gets us moving to its well paced groove.
Liquor GPS takes on a new angle. A heavy thudding bass drum surrounded by quick tapping and percussive sprinkles of rhythm makes a dash for the corners. Leaving a wide open space for something new, it's the amplitude of various components that fill the gaps. Melody bass revs up the clockwork as the steady beat grows fatter and more heady with each pass of the stylus. Soon the inflections on the bass end become so prominent that all else is partially downed out. This temporary throb to the ears allows for subtle differences to suddenly reveal their destinations.
The third track is the title number, 070717 enters with a heavy bass which resembles the pulse of panic and intense action. Floppy bass tones lay either side of the thumping percussion and build an eerie sensation of urgency. More synth flow slings sound over the top and underneath and further depths are reached by the plunging rhythms. As the cymbal sound gathers its action plan and puts it in motion, a new layer of forward thrusting energy brings further face to this intense number, A test of nerve and a frantic dancefest for the floor, the EP has taken us to brilliant heights of energy in just three tracks.
The EP finishes on track number four, Hazinky. Retro bass tones on a heavy synth matched with stuttering kick drum build a robotica futuristic feel. Perhaps during periods of great inner resilience, focussing on the future days to come is the best way to remain positive. Despite having their image stained by suspicions and over-protective law enforcement, continual parties and staying true to the ideal of experimental and fresh sounding electronic music paid off in the end. This EP marks the occasion, the first of many pieces of high energy music to emanate from this cultural collaboration of modern artists.
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Modern Magic Records
TBR: 5th October
Hammer has been making music for all kinds of labels, with works on Feel My Bicep, Optimo Music, Loft Records, and his home brewed Hammer Hits, this time Modern Magic gets the ticket. Side-stepping in flashy martial arts style impress hopping, maybe Hammer is looking for that home run. This has been a long stretch, now truly knitted into the culture, we may not know where Hammer will show up next but we know we can expect good music. It seems everyone wants a nail bashing in their back-catalogue by this workshop of wonderbeats. Hailing from Belfast in N. Ireland, the DJ and music producer lays down his entire skill-set to bring Ozone EP to life.
Title track Ozone begins on a snazzy drum riff with a quick tempo. Loose synths work their way through the progress in subtle shape-shifting oscillations. A rolling rhythm grants a sensation of forward motion. Soon, a melody on wailing bounce keys begins to create a rubbery texture in the sky, mental images of high flying structures scraping the edge of the atmosphere enter my thoughts. The sound breaks down and allows a bass tone to dig out a trench beneath us. A new drum breaks the surf on a thumping bass timing, and futuristic wavering scrapes underline the flow. Retrophiles will be in their element while listening to this.
Next up, a new upbeat rhythm pulls the curtain open and reveals a sunny sensation. Frantic hats with a revolving simple rhythm build to become a foundation for more bouncing synths. Exploratory melodics repeat a patter in various postures, tapping the rocks below to find the right place for the new material to pivot from. Progressive builds framed by sunny compositions on the keys allow doses of euphoria while subtle grounding elements keep our feet on the dance-floor. Interesting sounds fused from oriental inspired strings sprinkle a colour of the exotic over a space-age sounding volley into the airy ether. The Collision takes us past the initial gloomy introduction and into open skies.
Final track, Electric Fields, unifies the drum and synth for a pulse of new energy. Shakers reveal a sudden influx of rhythm as a new layer of percussion gives a whole new dimension. Sonic frolics sprinkle mentally invigorating phrases over the continually evolving carpet of the track. Jumpy synthesiser riffs build like sand castles over a bass and drum two step which can only mean lots of dancing. Expressive displays of waveform and well balanced stereo explorations dissolve into one homogeneous sound of electro. With a high energy feel and a funky element on the throbby bassline, the EP ends on a morish and highly requestable offering.
Check out Hammer on his Soundcloud playlist
Desert Sound Colony
Touch From A Distance Records
TBR: 31st August
First impressions make a huge impact, and this premiere release from Touch From A Distance Records has been years in the making. Nick Höppner is the former A&R man and founder of Berlin's Berghain nightclub's inhouse record label, Ostgut Ton. He has waited five years before embarking on a new music production adventure. Now at the helm of newly founded Touch From A Distance, Nick Höppner takes the electronic music sound of Europe to new levels.
Taking the might of Desert Sound Colony on board to fire the first cannon was an excellent move. His first two records were featured on DSC's own indie label, and this third number will hold all the weight of this over-seas impress. The London based composer and sound-mechanic has unleashed all the sails and has manned every possible control in his arsenal of abilities for this record. A four track EP is set to stun the dance-floors and DJs around the world who lap up this breed of hard-hitting progressive techno.
First track Fast Life begins with a rolling quick beat, joined by a birding synth. Voluptuous quavers of sound ring out through the central filling, bringing bursts of motion to the revolving rhythms. Shrill tone and middle range beaty melodics craft a high in the air kite fly of sound which allows for a sonic openness, suitable for mixing something in no-doubt. A space-age thrill sensation builds from fruity oscillator style warps of amplitude.
Somehow I Talk brings on the second in this selection, abstract robotica sounds craft a crazy melody held together by more familiar sounding futuristic blips and crackles. A drum-beat and a vocal sample give a new layer to the immense and oddly angled offering. Wooden beats combined with bouncing rhythmic frills and bio-mechanical strangeness linger into a dense and undergrowth laden forest of musical phonics.
Beats and bass with spoon-like tin drum sounds crumble over the remains of the second track to reveal number three. That oddly organic future sound is still there, although we are dealing with a completely new feel and seemingly slower tempo. High-hats tinkle out their little touches of drama while bouncing rhythms continually offer us platforms to physically express our sensations as we move. Finger Flies could well be a symbolic image of lots of fingers moving around like flies, tapping out their words, programs, tweaks, musical compositions, and various other forms of creativity.
Fourth track Glixen features Baby Roller. Desert Sound Colony's comrade in sound has helped him to extend the bouncing feel into true funk territory. The EP contains many minimalist moments, where the subtle changes and fills make the listening acute and intellectual and it is crammed with sonic trifles where layers merge one with the other to form a multi-sensory sound experience.
Locked Groove & Innershades
Locked Groove Records
TBR: 24th August
Since creating his Locked Groove impress, the named artist has put a great selection of hard hitting EPs onto the scene. Setting in stone the ethos of the new rave and jungle clubs, finding a home for this cutting edge grandchild of those iconic 80s and 90s has done no end of favours for the sound. Innershades, a Belgian artist best known for works on Crème Organization, Pinkman and Hot Haus Records, lends his expertise to give this new number a dose of fresh-up and shine.
The Gate, which features Innershades, begins the EP. A dark and technological synth whispers in low tones to set a scene for introspective dancing. With the entrance of rhythm, a quick and energetic beat flows from the well-spring of happy days. Trilling melodics two-step around the pounding bass, and underscore melodics keep the pulse in shape. Light-shows of the mind and gloomy corners of friendly faces project through this journey of rave-based yet ultra modern track.
Retro drum loops and oscillating synths build the foundation of Waiting For The Climax, the second track on offer here. Rolling snares and hi-hats crest the peaks of synth bass tones and rhythm pinned blips. Gradual build-up allows the track to caress each section with subtle shifts and barely noticeable additions to the mix. As they grow in volume and clarity, justified gear-changes flow as corners are turned and landmarks are passed by. Throbbing bass notes add a distinctly old-school flavour to the mix. Singing synth tones spiral upwards, lifting the energy into new states of being. Nostalgic wallowing in the sounds of previous technologies always helps us to rekindle the fires from before.
The EP ends on Drop The Midrange. A tip of the hat into the jungle direction, frantic sample loops build on something a little softer and less intrusive than what we may recall. Pleasant chording synths bring on a dreamy sensation while happy drums knit a tangled framework of bouncy material. Feel-good vibrations shine from this one like a packet of sunbeams. Wobbly notes underneath the hard-hitting yet melodious harmonies give a salt-and-pepper style seasoning and the odd injection of classic vocal sample helps to anchor the music in its roots.
The EP sports three individual tracks, each with a distinct flavour and feel. As a piece, it works well with the same quality as a three course meal. With similarity running through like a loosely threaded stitch, the music takes a fresh corner every time. Because these aren't short and snappy numbers, the EP is actually a decent twenty minutes or so, making it extremely good value for money as well.
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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