Shelley Johannson – Moody Bloom

Shelley Johannson - Moody Bloom

Canadian producer Shelley Johannson is making a second appearance on Sian’s Octopus Black Label this year. While “Midnight Red” was a lot more subtle in its execution, “Moody Bloom” seems to abandon any form of politeness with three much tougher tracks. If you compare these tracks to Johannson’s earlier work under her “Shelley” alias, you’ll notice a shift to a much darker sound, but also that each release brings something different to the table. This has definitely contributed to the support from respected names such as Ida Engberg, Sam Paganini, Gregor Tresher and Sian, but I suspect that many more will follow once this EP is officially released.

“Moody Bloom” features hard hitting percussion and acidic arpeggios. Shrill sound effects mark the transitions between the alternating sections of this track that are either percussion driven or feature the main riff as well. The track is quite minimal, which is usually fine with me, but during the second half of the journey I started to notice that the range of elements is a bit small. This makes the track somewhat monotone as a result.

“Deleted Dreams” is more melodic. Driving forces are a rolling bass sequence and a high pitched 8bit lead that’s somewhat reminiscent of Oxia’s track “Domino”. Coupled with dark vocal cuts, slight adjustments and more automation, Johannson showcases a track with more variation and attention to detail. This a minimal, but also melodic weapon that’s easily my favorite track of the EP.

“You Will See” felt like a blast from the past, for listening to it instantly brought me back to Mark Reeve’s Drumcode EP from 2012. While the styles are similar, Johannson definitely provides her own, modern take on it and combines a harsh bass loop and sinister vocals with a minimal beat and light, tribal percussion. Overall, the tone of this track is upbeat and the energy is relentless. It won’t let you go until the bitter end.

“Moody Bloom” will be out tomorrow on Octopus Black Label.

Nick Curly – Helter Skelter

Nick Curly - Helter Skelter

Adam Beyer’s Truesoul label has brought out many great releases this year and their latest installment is just another example of that. This EP comes from none other than Nick Curly, who should be well known by now by fans of the all the various house subgenres out there. In the last two years or so, the German producer has also been appealing to the techno masses with releases such as “BBC” and “Reverie” on Drumcode and his own 8Bit imprint. This EP features two tracks that are officially labeled as techno, but they also carry a lot of tech house influences. All the more reason for both fanbases to check out this release.

“Helter Skelter” is the more club-oriented track of the two. Early on, the tone is set by a rhythmic bass sequence, which is coupled with low-key percussion and echoey sound effects. During the course of this track, more and more elements are implemented, until the end of the break near the five minute mark. At that point the track kicks into high gear with all the elements combined. This part only plays for a minute or so, which is way too short, if you ask me. I’d definitely be open to a nine minute version of this track!

“Go” brings the listener in much deeper territory. A subtle tom section and a heavy, droning bassline are the constant factors in this track, which provide a hypnotic constant against cold stabs, sorrowful howls and subtle sound effects that come and go as the track progresses. All elements have been carefully crafted and contribute to the mystical ambience of this melancholic track. Take your time to listen to this one from beginning to end and let your mind roam freely. The result might surprise you.

Nick Curly’s “Helter Skelter” EP is out now on Truesoul.

Andrea Frisina – Voyage From Zeta Reticuli

Andrea Frisina - Voyage From Zeta Reticuli

Andrea Frisina returns on his own Gate Null imprint with a new track, called “Voyage From Zeta Reticuli”. Over the last few years or so, the label has been the main platform for Andrea’s own productions, but it has also featured names like Chicago Loop, Spektre, Claudia Cazacu and Skober. With no additional remixes, it’s Frisina on his own this time, but with a long production history that spans across various genres (even including minimal), that shouldn’t be a problem. Let’s take a closer look and see what this release is all about.

“Voyage From Zeta Reticuli” is a fairly straightforward track that uses a minimum of elements to create quite an immersive experience. Main components of the track are a heavy, resonant kick and a melancholic synth, which drive the track forward. During the break, a dark bassline fades in, which adds some extra suspense before the second half of the track kicks in (that pretty much maintains the status quo). In my opinion, the track could’ve used some extra melodic layers to make it more intriguing, but that doesn’t mean that this fall-themed track won’t be able to do lots of damage in its current form.

“Voyage From Zeta Reticuli” will be released on October 10th on Gate Null Recordings.

Sidney Charles – Justice

Sidney Charles - Justice

Sidney Charles makes an impressive debut on Intec with his brand-new “Justice” EP. While the German producer is mostly known for his groovy warehouse sound, in the last two years he’s made a gradual change towards a somewhat tougher style by releasing a few tracks with some more techno influences. This three-track EP is a great testament to that change, for it provides a mix of both styles and therefore it’s likely to be well received by techno and tech house fans alike.

The EP opens with the long awaited track “Justice”, which is definitely the most melodic and uplifting of the bunch. Early on, the mood is set by a hazy pad, high-pitched chord hits and an analogue bass sequence, which lead to the break at the four minute mark where the main melody is unleashed. There’s something about this track that gives it somewhat of a timeless quality, for it premiered about a year ago on Drumcode Radio, but still, it sounds fresh among today’s releases, which is an impressive feat.

“Leaf” differs quite a bit from Sidney’s usual productions, for it’s a pretty minimalistic track that lacks most of the usual funky elements that you’d expect from him. Aside from the somewhat characteristic percussion, he’s incorporated dreary basses and shrill and hollow ambiances, which are components that one would find in a The Reactivitz production. It might be a step into new territory for the German producer, but for me, it’s the track that stands out least on this EP.

Things pick up again with “Botafoch”, the final addition to this EP. It consists of many different layers, which are gradually being introduced during the course of this track. Starting out with refined percussion, subdued bleeps and an understated bass stab, Sidney has laid out a modest foundation for the mayhem that’s about to unfold. With the addition of eerie pads, gasping vocal mutters and rhythmic synth loops that almost sound mechanical, he has found just the right elements to transform a late night atmosphere into a club setting.

Sidney Charles’ “Justice” EP is out now on Intec.

Durtysoxxx – Deja Vu

Durtysoxxx - Deja Vu

US-based Funk’n Deep Records, headed up by Durtysoxxx, has been one of the fastest-growing brands in the techno scene, particularly in the past year, with huge releases coming from artists like D-Unity, The Reactivitz, Spartaque, Skober, and more. The support they’ve been getting is well deserved, and we are proud to be reviewing this release from the main man himself.

The original mix is dark, driving, and straightforward, using classic vocals to add that extra emotional touch. The producer uses a few short breaks to provide an extra bit of tension that release with a bomb-shell blast as the track drops, an effect that’s a bit reminiscent of some of Raffaele Rizzi’s recent productions. The elements of darkness and groove are balanced to perfection, resulting in a tune that won’t be forgotten quickly.

Up next is a remix from Peter Bailey, which is our favorite track from the single. This mix is a bit more tech-influced, but still carries the vocal and the darkness from the original. For his mix, Peter has chosen a unique percussion line and pad combo that give the track a memorable, distinctive feel. As the break approaches, a deep and majestic melody rolls in like a siren call.

Sonate closes the release with his own interpretation of the track, and this version is by far the heaviest of the three. He makes use of the reverb from the original vocal for an ambient effect, and introduces a stab that becomes a hook at the end of the break.

“Deja Vu” is out now on Funk’n Deep Records.

Slam – Soma Track Series Vol.3

Slam - Soma Track Series Vol.3

Slam is still going strong with their “Soma Track Series” project. In this third installment, they take on a Richie Hawtin classic from 1993 in order to meet current dancefloor demands. It’s obvious that the Scottish producer duo is saving some of their finest productions for this series, for the quality of this track is just as impeccable as previous releases. What more is there to say? See for yourself why Slam continues to be such an incredible force in today’s techno music.

Slam’s interpretation of Jack Master’s “Bang The Box” is a particularly hard hitting track that’s already being embraced on dancefloors around the world. One could say that this track is somewhat of a blend of “Make You Move” and “Take You There”, but it’s the playfulness of the melodic lead that sets it apart from its counterparts. With the usual elements, like the distinct snare rolls and a repeating vocal sample, Slam delivers an addictive, minimalistic weapon in their unmistakable signature style.

“Soma Track Series Vol.3” is out now on Soma Records.

Kaiserdisco & Fabio Neural – Stay With Me

Kaiserdisco & Fabio Neural - Stay With Me

My writing history probably reflects that Unrilis is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels of this year. After releasing “X-Pollination” and the “Solar” EP, the label decided to invite Kaiserdisco and Fabio Neural to present their absolute stormer of an EP. It should be noted that this EP is quite different from their usual releases, for both producers tend to lean more towards a deeper, tech house-oriented style. I always like to see producers broaden their horizon. Especially when it results in a pleasant surprise, like this EP.

“Stay With Me” starts off with a thumping kick drum, subtle shakers and reverberated ambiences, which set the tone for a fairly minimalistic track that shares a vague resemblance to Roberto Capuano’s “Trust”. I find it quite interesting how the various elements contrast with each other in this track. To illustrate, on one hand you have the tough kick, a rough stab and a trippy synth, but then there’s also the playful shakers, a smooth vocal sample and the soothing ambiences. It definitely makes for an interesting mix, which, as it turns out, works surprisingly well.

As the name suggests, things are kicking into full gear with “Rush”. With a kick drum of the same caliber as “Stay With Me”, rolling percussion that pushes the track forward, subtle, atmospheric pads and a small variety of ecstatic vocal chants, Fabio Neural and Kaiserdisco have managed to create a joyous and thrilling track that’s ready to take you on an exciting journey.

“Stay With Me” is scheduled for release on August 5th on Unrilis.