VC-118A – Shift Register [TABR036]

Over the last few years, Dutch electronic misfit VC-118A has delivered a number of killer EPs and 12″ singles, each packed with sharp-edged electro, spacey techno, and industrial-strength analogue house. Shift Regsiter is his second full-length excursion and offers an expansive and hugely atmospheric journey through his trademark sound. Naturally, there’s much to admire across the 14 tracks, from the woozy, spaced-out electro-dub of “Input Mode” and the sparkling IDM of “Serial Data Transmission”, to the ultra-deep throb of “Radiation Curve”, and the hard-wired dancefloor bounce of the Drexciya-like “Apex”.

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VC-118A – Shift Register [TABR036]

Human Rays – A Tension [FUR105]

Human Rays – Stockholm, Sweden producer Robin Smeds Mattila—says that the music on A Tension was made during nocturnal sessions in a studio full of mostly cheap analog and digital gear, all in one take. “I kind of let the mood guide me and just go with it,” he says. The result is a gripping fourtrack´suite of emotionally charged minimal ambient that was created quickly but sounds like it was rigorously sweated over for many weeks. After a handful of releases that explored noisy, quasiindustrial techno, Mattila here deviates into a more abstract, melancholy mode with A Tension. His creative process involves experimenting “to see how far I can push a sound with a pretty lofi setup. Improvisation and limitations are part of the thing that makes it interesting.” This approach yields riveting dividends right from the start on A Tension. On “Condensity,” the sparse pinging and distant, muted beats commingle with what sounds like rough wind or waves, hinting at the Arctic vibes that Biosphere conjured on Substrata. It’s at once chill and chilling, tranquil and unsettling. “Between The Hours” places spindly, woody beats beneath a dramatic sweep of synthetic strings, ebbing and flowing like Fripp & Eno’s monumental “An Index Of Metals.” “Neverendless” might be even more redolent of the North Pole than “Condensity,” its severely minimal isolationist ambience suggesting Mick Harris’ nonemorecold Lull or Thomas Köner’s Permafrost. On “Manual Litany I,” Mattila takes what sounds like a sentimental synth melody and smears it into a mantra of compelling drudgery. He notes that the track draws inspiration from William Basinski, who’s famous for his series of profoundly poignant Disintegration Loops albums.

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Human Rays – A Tension [FUR105]

Simon Shreeve – Lust Product [LINO72]

Simon Shreeve appears again this year for Karl O’Connor’s esteemed imprint. The man also known as Mønic pushes the kind of highly-engineered modern industrial music on his own Osiris Musik label, so easily finds a welcome home here. On side A, harsh textural abrasions are contrasted by body bashing bass frequencies on the demonic “System Living” while the seething and slow burning breaks contrasted by eerie chimes and nefarious sound design on “Silver Sun” sounds like running through a nightmare in slow motion. The paranoid and immersive sound design of the title track (on the flip) is reminiscent of some of Trent Reznor’s soundtrack work, yet fantastic in its own right. Shreeve deconstructs the classic aesthetic of UK techstep, deconstructing it in a modern format.

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Simon Shreeve – Lust Product [LINO72]

Marco Shuttle – Flauto Synthetico [SPAZIO003]

Dozzy and Neel’s label Spazio Disponibile serves up a third release, with the latest one coming from Italian Marco Shuttle. The techno stylist and Eerie boss serves up three tracks that continue to mark out his heady and hypnotic aesthetic.

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Marco Shuttle – Flauto Synthetico [SPAZIO003]