Review by: Neil Martin
Underground Electro does not get better than the Cultivated Electronics stable. It has been going strong for more than ten years consistently delivering above any sort of standard set by others. The label has always featured V/A releases and this one is yet another adventure into pure underground electronics. Featuring a literal all star cast of electro specialists, disappointment was never going to be an option.
Eight tracks spread generously across a double pack, pressed up loud for DJ use. Everything is already saying future classic to me so let’s get to it and check the music out.
First up, the Exaltics provide ‘I’m there’ which is deeper than deep. They are definitely swimming in the same are of the ocean as Drexciya with chords that literally suck you in. This is deftly created and sublime, and a bass line that would sound awesome through a club system. Great way to open this release and I can’t wait to hear what else there is.
Next is Maelstrom and ‘Red squares’ and with this the pace picks up and the fresh music continues to be delivered. There seems to be a theme unfolding, one of depth, these are not full on Electro assaults but rather seriously well produced and full of subtlety.
I really like the chords on this blurring the line between Techno and Electro. Check. Next, label boss Sync24 steps up to give us his offering and as you would expect he brings the heat. ‘First install’ is a joint production with Privacy that sees layer upon layer of rhythm and exquisite synthesised sounds. Always been a big fan of Phil’s music and whilst maybe not as loud and crunchy as he can sometimes be this pairing is as close to an Electro assault as I think we will get on this release.
What this is though is a real exploration of the possibilities of Electro music by some of its most talented artists. VC-118A is next up with ‘Machinarium’ which to be fair by the half way mark is taking things funky and somewhat rough with a messed up vocodered voice and a wicked bass line, a proper roller of a tune and one that also veers towards that kind of all out assault on our sense too to be fair. Zeta Reticula flips it out into more up-tempo territory and what now seems to be happening is the proverbial wheels are coming off as this release starts to get wild.
‘Galactic halo’ is put simply, a dance floor bomb. Ekman pulls thing back slightly with ‘Shadows that play’ but my word this is the real, pure underground electronic we all love and know CE delivers every time. The Operator produces ‘’Localhost’ and from the off I anticipate the excitement. Must admit to not knowing who this was but a bit of research reveals this to be an old name used by Fastgraph. Yes, enough said on that then.
This is the good stuff, electronics to totally immerse yourself in as the intensity builds with each chord progression. Closing out this orgy of electronics is Obergman and ‘ESQ’ and as you would expect this is a gem. Oh this is just lush, deep and thoroughly wicked. Loving the work on the synths and as all proper Electro does it occupies plenty of space giving you a sense of freedom.
What can I say to summarise this release? It wasn’t exactly what I expected but it was also more than I expected in so much that so often it can prove hard to release a collection of music where every cut hits the spot. Cultivated Electronics.
Sync24 continues to be a beacon of the real, that real underground electronics, full of soul and the funk.
Put simply, if you like Electro you need this and if you like proper underground electronics you definitely need to check this. Tip