Posts Tagged 'techno'

Review: Robert Hood – Alpha (James Ruskin Remix) / The Family

Label: M-Plant
Catalog#: M.PM11

Tracklist:

A: Alpha (James Ruskin Remix)

B: The Family

Both M-Plant and Blueprint has been revived in appreciation to both dj’s and fans, taking their traditional sounds and talent into the state of today. When it comes to the production, they invite new acts for remixes as well as releasing new material which is a perfect combination with labels held in such high regards.

For this release, Hood has invited James Ruskin to remix one of the best tracks from the ‘Alpha’ album-releases, in which Ruskin shakes the track up a little bit by transforming it’s hard and reduced state into a more fully edged techno track – though not so similar to his previous work, but similar enough to combine his and Hood’s sounds into a remix that feels rightly placed and will probably work many floors.

The gold is on the B-side though, where Hood’s new production ‘The Family’ brings hints from the early M-Plant releases, though sounding fresh enough to be placed amongst the excellent ‘Master to Prophet / Clash’ release as well as the ‘Superman / Range’ release (two of his best records in a really long time). ‘The Family’ showcases a very reduced but powerful enough production to contest into one of the best tracks this year.

M.PM11 is out 14th February.

Thanks to Addy and Robert Hood for this release.

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Review: Shed – The Traveller

Label: Ostgut Ton
Catalog#: OSTGUTCD14

Tracklist:

1. STP 2
2. Keep Time
3. The Bot
4. Atmo – Action
5. 44A (Hard Wax forever!)
6. …Can’t Feel It.
7. Mayday
8. No Way!
9. HDRTM
10. My R-Class
11. Final Experiment
12. The Traveller
13. Hello Bleep!
14. Leave Things

Recommended!

Review of the CD version.

Head strong and confident, Shed delivers an album that is far more atmospheric and abstract than his previous work. Even though there has been a big turn in the actual output, the constant feeling of energy has gotten more room from ‘Shedding The Past’, and fills ‘The Traveller’ album up with a lot of inspiration and thought. As told by himself previously, Shed tries to “go back” to his own roots when making these tracks, drawing inspiration without nostalgia from that time.

An important aspect of this album, is the fact that it’s not so much of a “techno album” in a generalized sense, but rather a formula that delivers its emotions in a very advanced way. Combined with the melodies that differ a lot from each other, Shed delivers also advanced beats and structured patterns – something that has also been taken into a new level. Cravling and constant developing excursions are present on the more ambient pieces, reaching highlight with ‘Leave Things’ as well as the important ‘The Bot’ and equally heavy ‘Keep Time’ made to put the emphasis on the beats.

With the broad spectrum of styles and tastes, it’s hard to pin down the favorites. There are always a special moment in every track, there’s always details or shifts in the music to look out for, something Shed has managed to make the listener abide to.

‘The Traveller’ will be released on August 30th.

My favorite tracks:

Leave Things

Atmo – Action

44A (Hard Wax Forever!)

Review: Skudge – Overture / Mirage

Label: Skudge Records
Catalog#: SKUDGE 003

Tracklist:

A: Overture

B: Mirage

Buy here

Recommended!

When Skudge releases their third release, they have not only proven that they maintain their quality sound over three EP’s, but they also manage to display a more hypnotic and less melancholic sound.

There’s a lot of thought and process behind every release; When Skudge’s working conditions aren’t optimal in the studio or not being met during day-time, they simply sit up all night working – the result might at first be something tangiable but yet to be completed, which means another all-night session the day after. Even though the results that does get a pressed release are worth it, there’s a lot of different ideas getting processed for every 12″. This means that the quality control is almost equal to the amount of time spent on creating each track, which also reflects on their capability and deliberate DIY-approach.

With ‘Overture’, there’s been a shift upon where the depth of their sound lies. Going from a very subtle and detailed sound, Skudge seem to have put forward one of their most raw tracks to date. The gritted and reel to reel treated track instantly kicks in into a state of hypnosis – especially during the progressions that remains detailed for the trained ear. The result feels very unique but at the same time as something you’d expect from the dancefloors it was made for.

Keeping the pace with ‘Mirage’, a track that shakes the walls (especially when experienced live) and keeps that boxed in feeling of well arranged and structured feelings of a 7 A.M. atmopshere, it just makes you want to let go. Enduring a night with ‘Mirage’ getting dropped in just the right moment, there is a unique atmosphere brought with it, in which Skudge proves they own the territory.

Review: Skudge – Remixes 1

Label: Skudge Records
Catalog#: SKUDGE001R

Tracklist:

A: Convolution – Aardvarck Remix

B: Overture – Jared Wilson’s Cass Corridor Treatment

Buy here

Recommended!

Skudge’s first remix release takes their own sound into the hands of others, creating a new atmosphere fused in with their attitude and sound.

Aardvarck brings ‘Convolution’ into a swirling groove, where his Bloom-label together with his other work stamps its well-known elements onto it. Here, a more stepping and different attitude takes place, with a dread soundscape and a beat that makes you fall right down the hole.

The strength of ‘Remixes 1’ comes into its right with Jared Wilson’s take on ‘Overture’. Where his attitude towards the music keeps on being uncompromising, the remix result is very true. Maintaining the beat structure through traditional machinery, rather than going through each element of the original, he somewhat interprets the original’s sound to create this unique and haunting piece.

With this being the first remix output on Skudge Records, sounding this good, the follow ups will hopefully keep the pace.

Review: Robert Hood – Omega

Label: M-Plant
Catalog#: M.PM8

Tracklist:

1. Alpha (The Beginning)
2. The Plague (Cleansing Maneuvers)
3. Towns That Disappeared Completely
4. Alpha
5. Think Fast
6. The Workers of Iniquity
7. Are You God?
8. The Family Watches
9. War in the Streets
10. Saved By The Fire
11. The Wheels of Escape
12. Omega (End Times)

Buy here

When being able to create a conceptual album, it often feels as the old traditions in the artist’s sound disappears in benefit for just that concept.

Robert Hood re-issued his ‘Minimal Nation’ last year, where his early and classic sound was made available again. The timelessness of ‘Minimal Nation’ was still tangiable and it felt natural for it to be available again in new copies, but it was also time for a new album.

Even though there’s clear references to ‘The Omega Man’ movie, the album is not meant to run along it as a soundtrack, but rather to be considered as a techno interpretation of the film. The result is an atmospheric and very steady LP, where Hood reveals a side of his music that is less tied to the dancefloor as such, but rather focusing on this inspiration.

Even though the album feels true to his music, there’s a feeling of that something is missing out. For me, that feeling is the uncompromising core which has driven his M-Plant as well as ‘The Vision’ alias towards the timelessness of his hypnotic grooves.

When listening through the album, that missing feeling is replaced by a sense of calmness. Even in its most pounding moments, the sound remains steady as within a relaxed atmosphere. Valuable enough, that feeling alone makes up for the missing aspects, and also gives ‘Omega’ a place of being essential in a different way.

Following up on the single ‘Alpha / Omega (End Times)’, the rest of the album has a different sound going off from that single – especially in the highlight sound of ‘The Wheels of Escape’ and ‘The Family Watches’. Here, Hood is able to use sparse elements in a way that, subjectively, feels as previously untouched areas of his sound. The rhythm always feels as it’s going somewhere, reaching deep within the heart as well as keeping his original idea for ‘Omega’ intact.

‘Omega’ is appreciated, but in a different way from Hood’s previous material – being the judge of that, it’s hard being totally certain of it’s essentialities comparing to the previous material. This special piece of work is one that needs to be decided from personal factos, rather than being suited for the DJ or dancefloor.

My favorite tracks:

The Wheels of Escape

The Plauge (Cleansing Maneuvers)

The Family Watches

Review: Skudge – Melodrama / Ontic

Label: Skudge Records
Catalog#: SKUDGE 002

Tracklist:

A: Melodrama

B: Ontic

Buy here

Recommended!

Going for a more concrete direction, the ‘002’ from Skudge feels different from the first, creating an atmosphere that is subtle in a different way.

Kicking beats, haunting elements and a flow that is rare these days, ‘Melodrama’ keeps the pace with a lot of originality as well as the feeling from the ‘001’ – a knowing in the right sense. Small variations occour throughout, but they are very subtle and yet they seem to always present themselves in the right moment, which is even more clear on ‘Ontic’ featured on the B side. It’s hard to pin down what makes this record into what it is, it has so many different sides to it as well as a unique sound. Even though the structures of the tracks might be traditional in some sense, both of them feels as if they brought in something new – which is always appreciated.

‘Ontic’ is more of a deeper ride through the tunnels, where swirling percussion and a floating atmosphere binds the rhythm together – without losing track of itself and leaving the “dj tool” stamp far away. ‘Melodrama’ swings more steady, where the uncompromising beat tangles itself onto the vocal, creating a piece that seems essential today as well as in the future.

Review: Perc – Vertigo Part 1

Label: Perc Trax
Catalog#: TPT034

A1: BCG

A2: BCG – Forward Strategy Group Refix

B1: BCG – Milton Bradley Critical Level Mix

B2: BCG – Milton Bradley Beyond The Silence Mix

Buy here

The ‘Vertigo – Part 1’ feels like a record that fits excellent in the sound of today, with artists pursuing a sound that binds them together. What strikes most interesting is the fact that when first reading the remixers on the vinyl, it might first seem a little bit obvious having FSG and Milton Bradley doing remixes, but they are in fact a good choice for this track.

‘BCG’ is a track that doesn’t follow Perc’s previous work, it’s more a take on what seems to influence him (and a lot of producers lately) the most. The first listen brings “a regular dj tool” into mind, but trying it out would actually give the track a setting it was made for, making it a good choice with it’s steady rhythm and driving structure.

Forward Strategy Group’s remix is more proper, kicking and fast paced, they show a fearless take on ‘BCG’, where slight hints of the original track can be made out. Which in a sense feels as a solid ground for a good remix. FSG display that they certainly know what they are doing.

With the B2, Milton Bradley’s ‘Critical Level Remix’ follow the path that FSG also took, where a straight forward beat is in focus, and what seems to be the same project as Bradley’s own ‘Minus 126 In Berlin’ (on the first Do Not Resist The Beat!), he combines the elements from his own vaults together with Perc’s original idea, creating a stunning and effective remix.

Milton Bradley’s ‘Beyond The Silence Remix’ is the one that concludes this EP, with a sound that feels very fresh and appreciative, especially because of the fast paced nature of the previous tracks. Here, a slower pace leaves room for a more intriguing atmosphere, combining a step-influence rather than hard hitting tracks. An excellent remix that makes this EP worthwhile.

Thanks to Perc Trax for this release.