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Incoming! August 2022

Well, here we are, already on the second instalment of the newly reborn “Incoming!” series where we feature a roundup of the latest and upcoming releases that fit our profile, forward thinking, futuristic music of all forms occasionally veering into pioneering artists and sounds from different eras.

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The first release for this month, “FREEEZ - MARIPOSA/ALONE” sits firmly within the ‘pioneering’ category, this may surprise one or two of you. For many (of those who can remember that far back) the name ‘Freeez’ is synonymous with the early 80s, genre defining electro-pop synth workout ‘IOU’, but this outfit was so much more than this one, single release. Far Out Records continue to push only the best in, often (but not solely) Brazilian flavoured jazz-funk output (check out their amazing work with Azymuth HERE), the jazz-funk vibe continues – albeit with a slightly more British tinge, but it is of equal quality. Our choice cut here is ‘Mariposa’, a fiercely uplifting slice of euphoric brit-funk from some of the forgotten masters of the sound. And please, keep your eyes out for Far Out Records who’re doing some amazing work in propelling this sound forwards. The release date for this beauty is 16th September 2022 on 12” Vinyl (Cat No: PINKY 3).

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Now, venturing back into what would be, for most, familiar Timeline Music territory, we have Yant - ‘Looking for Light’ EP on the mighty Hardgroove label. With “Gas Supply” we have the veritable fuel for the fire for any self-respecting dancefloor; insistent, seemingly plucked chords reverberate over thunderous drum tracks and abstract, quirky flourishes, giving this a real machine-groove feel. “Hot Water” is a more hook driven cut, although the drums are, in fact, no less understated. This builds and drops masterfully, popping and buzzing at all the right points. Nuclear combustion for a variety of dancefloors (crossover potential). My personal favourite here is the awesomely entitled “Red Eye Jedi”, abrasive and fiercely assertive industrial funk guaranteed to push dancefloor warriors' fists through venue ceilings across the globe. “For Light” rounds things off admirably with another suitably thunderous dancefloor decimation device, with hints of the classic ‘rave’ ethos combined with more contemporary vibes.

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Last year, one of our favourite outfits in the industry, EPM, celebrated 20 years in the business issuing a batch of vinyl EPs and compilations and, lo and behold, they’ve now gone and enlisted a top-notch team of genre defining producers to re-interpret (remix) some of the standout tracks from the aforementioned batch on the release entitled “Various Artists - EPM20/RMXS”. Be warned, this is quite the selection. Techno legend, Shed delivers a sterling take on the one and only Regis’s ‘Beyond the reach of Time”. Whilst staying faithful to the original, Shed manages to bring his own, sophisticated yet raw AF tribal ethos to the original and boy, does this kick. Deep, epic and ferocious all at once – the question is; how? CYRK breathe new life into the already fresh as f*ck, Freddie Fresh’s ‘ProMars’, this is a beast of an electro reinterpretation maintaining all the analogue-esque skull-f*ckery of the original whilst giving the funk and production ethos that slight nudge up to ‘11’. Space funk for those who’ve simply had enough of our earthly restraints. The one and only Inigo Kennedy’s revamp of Bryan Chapman’s ‘Io’ is nothing less than epic. I’m at a loss for words here, this is like sacrificing oneself on the altar of hedonistic techno. Emotive, majestic and yet crunchy, rumbling pads transport the listener to some cavernous, underground realm where all sorts of hedonistically demonic interactions are underway. This is like some demonic orgy, full pelt, underway in the only church I’d ever consider visiting.

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Out this weekend on Hardgroove’s sister label, Symbolism, Alexander Johansson and Mattias Fridell’s Vingla EP is another belter coming out of the Ben Sims’ stable.

It is a typically fierce selection of up-tempo dancefloor trepanation tools designed to scoop out any preconceived notions of what kicks from the skulls of unsuspecting listeners and filling the remaining void with this set of driving, powerfully combustive, trans dimensional vehicles. Tough, uncompromising techno for those who like it dirty. The title track ”Vingla” is, for me, the winner - a viciously penetrative cut, one that digs deep into the neural cortex, conducting a kind of remote surgical process upon the nether regions releasing a flood of unnameable sentiments and phantasmagorical entities, dark – tough and unrelenting. The appropriately entitled ‘Kulmination’ finishes things off in a perfectly, downright nasty manner. This is top class filth, dripping with viscous layers of absolute sleaze and brings about the feeling that you may have actually been violated in the best possible way.

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Out around August 14th, Stephen Disario’s 'Rooted in Reality' will be the second release on Synthetik Sounds, a label focussed on the ‘true ethos of underground techno’ - from what I can see from this release, the label seems to be holding true to their moniker. Uncompromising and yet somehow still restrained (we don’t enter ‘noise’ territory here, it pushes the limits but remains pure)

Deeply hypnotic whilst still gutsy and punchy as hell, this delivers in every way. The title track, while in some ways ‘minimal’, still has a peak time vibe about it and the unrelenting drive and spaced out, all enveloping keys give this an otherworldly feel. Intelligently ferocious, I can see this is one artist (and label) I’ll be keeping my eye out for. ‘Time’ has more haunted feel about it – spooky-tech if you will, although the driving force is still there to make this yet another powerhouse number. Ghostly vocal snippets and dissonant chords augment the vibe, all the while the top notch, persistent drum work adds extra dancefloor bomb potential. ‘6AM’ whilst not the most original of titles more than makes up for that in its beefy drum programming and insidiously creeping lead and hooks, this one might actually be my favourite cut – but it’s a tough call. Once those jackin’ drums and vox kick in an eerie kind of subdued mayhem enters the fray. I for one think it takes a great deal of skill to walk that line between coolly controlled exuberance and all out mayhem and Disario seems to be able to handle this with little to no effort – definitely one to watch out for. Ably rounding things off on this release is ‘Blinker Situation’, possibly the least ‘restrained’ number on here, acutely abrasive metallic riffs clash with staccato electric percussion, jittery clap sequences and twistedly distorted bells to deliver a horrifically wonderful display of discordant euphoria.

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Last up this month, and out in a couple of weeks (around August 12th), we see the launch of a new sub-label for EPM, entitled ‘V-Series’ - ‘V’ here meaning ‘vintage’ - referencing an often-overlooked golden age of techno music, which existed primarily in the 90s and early 2000s (we agree!!), before digital formats entered the fray and kind of changed everything (read into that what you will).

The first release from this series [EPMVS01] features some of our favourite techno artists from Chicago alongside one of the UK’s strongest proponents of the Chicago techno sound, Oliver Way. Kicking off with the downright manic ‘10/31/70' from none other than Lester Fitzpatrick, who for me was always one of the finest artists out of Chicago who deserves so much more recognition for his work, and how he always took the sound left of centre. Here, the sound is borderline industrial, but don’t be afraid, that funk and abstract sense of rhythm is still there – this is unpredictable fury, quirky intensity and the utmost slam. Another Chicago veteran steps up here to show exactly why this sh*t will never die; Robert Armani’s ‘Object’ is a fearsome drum workout with some of the maddest, most abrasive filtering I’ve yet to hear on a 909 – wow. Quite the manic jam. Of Oli Way’s two cuts on offer here, Shuffle Rush is definitely the winner for me. Timeless jackin’ bizness of the highest calibre. Crazy, rolling, freaked out drums and manic blips and bleeps make for quite the workout. Tough techno infused Chicago house for those in the know;

Well, that's all for now - hope to catch you all next time around.

Reviewed by: The Bearded Wonder