Black Vise – Implications

Black Vise - Implications

It’s been a bit of a wait, but now the first release from Canadian producer Black Vise is finally here. With his involvement in the local underground music community in Vancouver, called “Groundwerk”, he’s slowly been building up his reputation, which didn’t go unnoticed by The YellowHeads, who have been hammering his tracks in their live sets and podcasts. A release was bound to follow and to kick off the first release on Reload Black FMLY, the fourth addition to their label imperium, they invited Black Vise to do the honors. The result is this four-tracker, which unveils the highly-anticipated track “Two Swords.[Worth]”, but the other tracks are also a promise of more great things to come. Watch out for this guy, for he’s got a lot to offer!

Opening track “Empty.[And.Self]” starts off with somber bass meanderings, but slowly picks up after the 1:40 mark when a short melodic hook is introduced. The tension increases as the track is layered with sharp, dissonant pads that quickly take over and drive the track home. It’s a powerful sequence that manages to instill a strong sense of despair and melancholy into the listener.

Next up is the remix from The YellowHeads, who stripped the track from some of its distinct features and gave it a somewhat lighter touch. The addition of reverberated effects and muffled vocal stabs transforms it into a refreshing techno cut that’s quite irresistible and also a little endearing.

The journey continues with “Two Swords.[Worth]”. On this track, Black Vise brings out an intriguing melodic arrangement, which is expressed through sweeping pads and emotional melodic blips. This main sequence is offset against driving rhythms and echoing sound effects, which proves to be a good balance. It’s hard to characterize the overall feeling of this track, for it’s a passionate mix of desire, sorrow and excitement. It’s an outstanding track that’s already one of my favorites of 2017!

Final track “Reduce.[To.You]” is dominated by a somewhat unusual percussion loop, which draws inspiration from genres such as breakbeat and drum’n’bass. After the 1:30 mark, the track dives into deeper territory when the droning atmospherics fuse together with a deep, rumbling bass sequence. While I’d describe the track as very captivating, it’s also somewhat monotone, which is a bit of a bummer.

Black Vise’s “Implications” EP is out now on Reload Black FMLY.

Follow Black Vise: SoundCloud / Facebook
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Stephan Hinz – Off Numbers

Stephan Hinz returns to Intec after his 2015 collaboration with Philipp Ruhmhardt, called “Magnet.” This time the German synth mastermind has provided us with two dark, club-ready tunes that bring Carl Cox’s legendary label into 2017 properly.

The title track uses a percussion-based bassline for a distinctive, off-kilter groove, while fluffy, driving hi hats keep things moving. A deep, crisp bass hook provides a contrast to the bright bell-like synth, building the tune in proper Hinz style, with a massive crescendo that burns away before the drop.

On the flip side, “Shaded” calls back to some of the artist’s earlier tunes, using a beat which is a bit reminiscent of his track “Breakout” on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label. This track, however, is a bit softer, with a dissonant hook layered against a metallic pad. The constant automation and variation keeps the track fresh and proves that the producer knows exactly how to produce a dancefloor weapon.

“Off Numbers” is out now on Intec.

Follow Stephan Hinz: SoundCloud / Facebook
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Arjun Vagale & Ramiro Lopez – We Are Odd

Arjun Vagale & Ramiro Lopez - We Are Odd

Odd Recordings is an Indo-Spanish cross-pollinized techno label that is the brainchild of producers Arjun Vagale and Ramiro Lopez. The enigmatic duo had already been making waves last year with their so-called “oddCAST”, but now the time has come for the first official release on their label. The “We Are Odd” EP features two tracks, which have been produced by the label bosses themselves. It’s a promising EP that indicates a bold statement of intent for the label, so I suggest you keep an eye on the releases that will follow!

Opening track “Oddball” packs quite a punch. Menacing drums shuffle alongside trippy arpeggios and monotone vocal parts. The first three minutes of the track are fairly straightforward, but during the (somewhat unnerving) break a new synth is introduced, which brings some more purpose and excitement to the arrangement. Some say strength lies in simplicity and that’s definitely the case for this track.

“Even Flow” brings some more atmospheric elements into the mix. Early on, a mysterious pad sets the tone for the track, while a rolling percussion section makes its way to the foreground. At the 1:45 mark the tone shifts drastically when the pad is being replaced by a determined, rhythmic lead. Additional pads, a deep bassline and squealing arpeggios bring some more depth and variation to this interesting journey, that can also be described as a little odd…

“We Are Odd” is scheduled for release on January 20th on Odd Recordings.

Follow Arjun Vagale: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Ramiro Lopez: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Odd Recordings: SoundCloud / Facebook

Timmo – System

Timmo - System

Timmo returns to the grand Swedish label Drumcode for his second solo EP, following up 2014’s “We Beat On,” which included the unforgettable “Canvas.” The new release, “System,” is easily a worthy successor, featuring four massive tunes without a single dull moment.

The opener, “Intensify,” has been a mainstay in Adam Beyer’s sets for months, and proves that you don’t need harsh drums and booming bass to create a dancefloor weapon. This track is driven mostly by the percussion, which shifts constantly, from low rides to shakers to light claves. Running throughout, following and complementing the beat is a low growling bass hook that is unmistakable and heralds the beginning of the greatest party the world has ever seen.

“The Maze” is next, with heavier vibes built to move a crowd. The lead is fashioned from a chord pattern, using a sound that merges the bionic and the organic, automated in psychedelic waves. Meanwhile, in Timmo’s signature fashion, a glowing pad gives the track another dimension of life, making it clear that this masterpiece will be remembered for ages to come.

The title track keeps things going strong, laying down a steady, thumping kick and a dark bassline tuned for maximum power. The hats roll effortlessly over the beat, ushering in the chaotic, torrential lead. The result is a dangerously energetic tune that conveys imagery of peak time at an underground rave, or possibly a global-scale war against robots.

Closing the package is “Together,” its bold low-ends shape the groove into something a bit deeper. This effect is magnified through the use of a percussive hook and fluffy hats, setting the track apart from the other three. The retro-style vocals complete the emotion, giving off vibes that may be slightly melancholic, but also hopeful.

“System” will be released on Drumcode on January 23rd.

Follow Timmo: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Drumcode: SoundCloud / Facebook

Gary Beck – Stupid Advert EP

Gary Beck - Stupid Advert EP

Gary Beck is back on his label BEK Audio with his new “Stupid Advert” EP. This time around the Glasgow-based producer has provided three tunes that are a bit different than any of his previous releases, but still feature his signature cycle of steady builds and releases.

The title track features a solid, steady bass line, which is accented with rolled snares and soft rides that form the backbone of the groove. A hypnotic hook folds in and out of the mix, along with periodic filtered stabs that create a sinister air.

Next up, “Concraza” uses a groaning synth pattern in the bass range, eventually bringing in flowing hats and a breathy pad. A broken vocal works wonders in giving the tune an extra bit of originality. Of all the tracks on the EP, this one probably calls back the most to previous Beck tunes stylistically.

Finally, “ST11” is pure darkness. The groove is minimalistic, with a crunchy percussion rhythm that is offset from the rest of the beat and soft, resonant stabs. Eventually a shimmering background becomes more prominent as the tune is lead into the main break. This track definitely knows where it is going, keeping a definite gloom and warehouse vibes throughout.

Gary Beck’s “Stupid Advert EP” is out now on BEK Audio. You can check out the full previews over at Juno Download.

Follow Gary Beck: SoundCloud / Facebook
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Eric Sneo – Chord Challenge / Resistance

Eric Sneo - Chord Challenge / Resistance

It’s been a little over three years since Eric Sneo joined the ranks of Christian Smith’s Tronic label and he has been a productive member since then. With countless releases on the label (even including an album) and a body of work dating back at least twenty years, the techno veteran has definitely made his mark on the techno scene. Before the year comes to a close, the German producer is releasing this two track EP, which is also a sneak peak of his upcoming album that will be released on February 20th next year. Check it out below.

“Chord Challenge” is a light, melodic techno track that caught my attention on the first listen. Sneo’s use of a bouncy bassline and a light, plucky melody is surprising as well as intriguing. Together with brisk pads and his signature toms, he has managed to create an upbeat track that boasts an effortless energy.

“Resistance (Part 1)” is more rigid instead of playful and is not as convincing as the previous track. This drum-fueled production is driven by a repetitive lead, which stays the same all the way through the end. Expanding the range of elements wouldn’t be a bad thing here, for some more variation is definitely warranted in this track.

Eric Sneo’s “Chord Challenge / Resistance” EP will be out today on Tronic.

Follow Eric Sneo: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Tronic: SoundCloud / Facebook

Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink – Ampex

Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink - Ampex

Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink have joined forces again for their third EP on Carl Cox’s Intec label. Having also released their debut album on the label in 2014, the producer duo is slowly becoming a household name, but yet they continue to strive forward instead of settling down. The EP features two tracks, which merge innovation with the well-tested elements from the duo’s signature sound. A great showcase for their combined powers!

“Ampex” features a variety of percussion layers that give the track depth, but also a somewhat restless undertone. It forms a solid foundation for the melodic hook that kicks in around the 30 second mark, which creates an intriguing, almost hallucinating vibe. Pushed forward by the increasing tension of the rolling toms, the track continues its wild ride until the first break provides a short breather. From there on the insanity continues for a minute or so, but then the track is slowly being brought to a close.

“Eighties” is less intense. The track opens with a minimal beat, which is coupled with an arpeggiated synth. The first half of the track is a little monotonous, but the break at 3 minutes brings a sudden change when a roaring bass sequence slowly makes its entrance. With a compelling force, it completely takes over the second half of the track, only being accompanied by the arpeggiated melody on a few occasions. It’s a peak time track that boasts a raw energy and a subtle sense of excitement.

The “Ampex” EP is out now on Intec Digital.

Follow Drumcomplex: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Roel Salemink: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Intec Digital: SoundCloud / Facebook