Silent Servant – Negative Fascination LP [HOS357]

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Silent Servant (aka Juan Mendez), a member of the now-defunct minimal/dub techno collective Sandwell District, makes his stunning album debut with the poised fusion of epic techno, primitive post punk, and industrial electronics on Hospital Productions. Now nine months since he stopped recording with Sandwell District, Mendez has explored his divergent yet compatible tastes to their fullest, recognising and reconciling their congruent rhythms, atmospheres and intentions with alchemical ability. If you’re familiar with his previous trajectories you’ll no doubt be seriously impressed with his balance and contrast of time-honoured elements, from the bellicose sci-fi romance of ‘Process (Introduction)’ to the full flight techno escapism of ‘Utopian Disaster (End)’, and if you’re new to his sound – whether you’re a noise freak wondering what the f*ck Hospital Productions are doing releasing a techno album, or a techno head who’s baffled by the raspy drums – you should be quickly realising that this stuff is the way forward. From the wave-scanning intro he spins a bleakly noirish narrative, slowly building tension with ‘Invocation Of Lust”s acid hypnosis and the stoic deployment of drones and agitated drum machine slaves on ‘Moral Divide (Endless)’ that resolves with gritted techno determination on ‘The Strange Attractor’. Yet perhaps our favourite moment is ‘Temptation & Desire’, sounding like the converged darkroom visions of Front 242 and Stephen Morris, but if any cut shocks us the most, it’s ‘A Path Eternal’, revealing SS at his most unreservedly sublime and vulnerable without his usual, armour-plated chassis of beats. It all surely adds up to one of the most impressive examples of modern industrial techno you’ll hear this year, one which doesn’t merely pay deference to its roots, but nourishes and augments them with the kind of vision that imparts the strong feeling that he’s really been biding his time, ’til now…

“Negative Fascination” is a 7-track affair said to couple Basic Channel vibes with post-punk and shadowy industrial cues.

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Silent Servant – Negative Fascination LP [HOS357]

Max_M & Obtane – 8 Years Down [MRECLTD013]

This new EP on M_Rec Ltd., which sees label owner Max_M collaborate with Zooloft co-owner Obtane, certainly fits the musical profile people have come to associate with Italian underground productions. ’28 August 1972′ is a tribute to hard edged sounds and the loops of archetypical techno: eight minutes of pure darkness, a perfect techno tool. On the flip side, ’3 June 1980′ is pure techno hypnosis. A journey wrapped around a simple and obsessive bell sound, where an ever-changing drumscape slowly welcomes a crepuscular melody set to reveal an unexpected maximal dancefloor gem.

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Max_M & Obtane – 8 Years Down [MRECLTD013]

Psyk – Distane EP [MOTE031]

The legendary Mote Evolver is back with another ferocious slab of UK techno. Manuel Años aka Psyk gives a blow to the head as soon as the needle touches down on title track, “Distane”. Repetitive keys swing back and forth with mighty force; followed by “Isolate”, another triumphant techno bomb filled with muffled static and a feverishly hissed percussion. For the B Side, Psyk takes us further down the bouncing rabbit hole on “Rdmn”, and completes his rave injection with “Main”, an almighty, stripped number worthy only of a gigantic dark room filled with bass bins.

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Psyk – Distane EP [MOTE031]

Yuka / Stanislav Tolkachev ‎– Little Chemistry [FULLPANDA019]

A new Full Panda release has landed. This collaboration between Yuka and Stanislav Tolkachev starts off with “Element X”, a perplexing frenzy of melting bass lines and squawking melodies which mould to create a strange journey into outer space. “Chlorum” gives the impression of a chemical substance both in name and in tone, where filtered, tinny sounds are moved forwards by a hefty bass drum. There’s no mercy over on the flip, with “Self-Renewal” and its militant use of reverbs, delays and growls; but things turn truly bizarre on “Hexapoda”, another medley of phantasmal melodies and disjointed beats. Impeccable arrangements from this otherworldly label.

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Yuka / Stanislav Tolkachev ‎– Little Chemistry [FULLPANDA019]

CUB – C U 2 [CUB002]

Dusting off his CUB alias for his first solo release since last year’s In A Syrian Tongue on Blackest Ever Black, Karl O’Connor returns with a typically relentless pair of techno missives. Leading with 2010’s “C U 1”, O’Connor utilises dry, stripped back syncopation with a tribal menace and tumultuous industrial abrasion to create one of his typically simple but heavy hitting productions. On the flip, he provides a “Funk Mix” of the previously unreleased “C U 2” which is credited to O’ Connor’s Ugandan Speed Trials alias, maintaining the same sense of rhythmic power, but going more explicitly heavy on the abstract outburst of raw analogue voltage. This probably goes without saying, but this is a must for anyone who is even remotely serious about techno.

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CUB – C U 2 [CUB002]