Australian producer and mixing/mastering engineer Brendan Zacharias is Assembler Code. Previously known for his collaborations with Jensen Interceptor, more recently, he’s released sterling EPs for International Chrome and Cultivated Electronics. Focused on the dancefloor, the four tracks here are filled with slamming, speedy drums and raw basslines. ‘Monochrome’ has zappy kicks, abstract blips and a buzzsaw b-line that could slice you in two, and ‘Perimeter Inspection’ has a robot funk vibe with its percolating lead and distorted Reese style bass. ‘Generator’ is a fast, freaky locomotive piece, and ‘Lateral Transfer’ sounds like life after the machines have won. Essential club material.
Metallic tasting factory line beats are the order of the day here from Syrte (Stefan Weise), appearing on his new label, co-owned by Jimmy Freer. Serious and dark, the EP finds the funk on the great ‘Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions’, where cleverly programmed mechanistic grooves slot together with an almost Prince-like speeded up vocal. It’s a minimalist monster that will work the club.
'Blue Coat, Red Dress EP'
Silver Bear Recordings
After their excellent EP for Null + Void recently, the mysterious Kilig returns. ‘Blue Coat, Red Dress’ itself is an atmospheric, almost ambient piece with cascading bells that doesn’t drop until about two minutes in, when it changes shape into a smouldering downtempo electro number. ‘Chemical Friends’ is even better, its abstract mallet tones and stepping beat reminiscent of the abstractions of Hessle Audio or Timedance. ‘Z’ is more conventional in its beats, but has a cavernous aura that sounds like little else. Fresh and unconventional beats.
Mostly operating under his own name these days, Carl Finlow (previously Random Factor, Silicon Scally and many more), could be the most prolific artist in this genre. More impressive is that his quality control never slips, and he’s in particularly fine form here. ‘Descent’ is crisp of beat, with brooding sub bass and a melancholy feel; ‘Undertones’ is a darker, sci-fi piece with stabbing mechanoid effects. ‘Cascade’ really warms things up, with a galloping abstract sequence and butt rotating beats, and ‘Displaced’ veers into spooky IDM territory. What’s always apparent is how much fun Finlow is having with his machines.
'Hurry On Up'
Maceo Plex’s electro-focused label Lone Romantic has clocked up some respectable releases so far, with everyone from Jensen Interceptor and Freddy Fresh to Lord Of The Isles bringing their 808 A game. Maneater is an unknown artist who one suspects could be a more famous producer in disguise; either way, ‘Hurry On Up’ is a stylish and minimal mid-tempo cut with splashes of synth and a surprising gospel vocal snippet at its core. Dynamite on the right dancefloor for sure. On the flip, Chicago’s Alinka gives it a four-four re-spray for the house heads.
On a real upward trajectory at the moment, Rico Casazza follows his great remix of Lobec’s 5am Nostalgia’ on Furthur Electronix with this epic EP. ‘Purplewave’ as its name implies is like some relic of 1980s synth wave, its murky production, guitar and gothic melancholia making you want to break out the patchouli oil. ‘Rainmaker’ is a minimalist, spacey electro piece for the 5am crew, ‘Enada Mello’ is moody four-four acid, and Silicon Scally and No Moon turn in lush remixes of ‘Purplewave’. Impressive package.
The Fear Ratio
'They Can’t Be Saved'
Seasoned techno heads James Ruskin and Mark Broom reunite as The Fear Ratio, their project dedicated to downtempo electronics, unsettling ambient and IDM. Amid excellent tracks that nod to ‘Amber’ era Autechre, is electro track ‘Grey Code’: all meandering synth bass, swirling pads and abstract funk, occupying that hinterland where headphone music and dancefloor sounds can co-exist.
The Exaltics & Paris The Black FU
The Exaltics never puts a foot wrong, and his latest collaboration, this time with Paris The Black FU (of Techmarine Bottom Feeders and Detroit Grand Pubahs), is another gem. ‘The Troublemaker’ is a thumping four-four electro piece with a marauding bassline and a spoken vocal from Paris; ‘Propaganda DNA’ is a paranoid creep; and ‘Radioactive Rain’ is classic darkside business, with a big arpeggiated b-line and skippy drums. To cap it all, Abdul Haqq of Drexciya sleeve fame did the artwork. You know what to do.