A spectacular debut by this mystery production team by way of London and Berlin. Deep EBM influenced Electro from beyond the rim with a dash of acidic retro futurism.
2020 was a tough year for almost everyone and definitely a year to forget for our scene. Events and gigs canceled, venues closed, artists lacking a way to earn a decent living and club culture facing a threat like never before.
In the midst of these events were several people / organizations who tried to ease the pain, offering out some comfort by releasing music to people for free or by pay as you want download. This was always done, but this year I noticed that more and more artists are doing this.
Here is a selection of albums and compilations I came across this year and that I think is worth mentioning again.
“Here’s a free compilation to celebrate our 20th birthday, which fittingly falls right in the middle of the biggest crises the world has faced this century. This is not a retrospective, in times like these it important to look to the future. It features exclusive tracks by label mainstays and some up and coming artists from the West Coast and beyond. Up to you to figure out which is which.”
Chicago house and Detroit techno devotee Simoncino is a master of authentic analogue wizardry. The HotMix Records boss joins the dots between the past and the future with his deep and dreamlike tracks and put out an album on Creme Organization back in 2015, and has remained hugely prolific ever the years. Here he explores a full range of sounds, starting with the slow and mysterious deep house of Housetime, which has beautiful synth patterns unfolding throughout. Two mixes of It Up explore ambient with a pained vocal loop and rubbery bass, and a loose and cosmic dub house cut that Larry Heard would love. On the flip, the roomy Tribu has dreamy Italo bird calls and glistening synths paired with punchy rubber kicks that set your mind wandering and Una Notte Con Michelle is expansive deep house with drums that march, tinkling bells and a squelchy bassline that is perfect for the intimate back rooms. Digi bonus Timezones rounds things out with smoky and atmospheric deep house that is filled with deft little details that occupy your mind as much as your feet.
Bristol based Rhythmic Theory, known for working the dark and mysterious edges of bass heavy techno and drum & bass, returns to Creme Organization. After his first work for the label in 2017 he now brings a fulsome nine track mini-LP ‘Mechanised Dreaming’, exploring the dark corners of ambient and synth based intrigue. Atmospheric sound design is at the fore here, with cinematic soundscapes crafted from broad synth smears and plenty of subtle little motifs. The music paints pictures of a metropolis during the dead of night, or a former industrial factory reduced to a hall of echoes and shadows. There is subtle tension built from sustained chords and plenty of suggestion of weird lifeforms in the icy ticks and scuttling footsteps of thew a-side. Side b is less dark and dank, with slightly brighter synths and wider horizons all explored. This is a truly immersive and emotive listen that always keeps you absorbed.
Dona is back with another EP of emo-jakkin Mediterranean style dark-side. He walks the fine line between hope and hate on this one, mood-swinging his way through various shades of azure and off white.
Next up on Creme Organizaiton is Lake Haze. The Hague based Portuguese artist is a regular on this label having put out four EPs in the last two years. He’s an esteemed talent with a blistering sound that fuses futuristic techno and electro into storytelling dancefloor dynamite. Space Reservoirs kicks off this EP with slow but heavy drum work, acid twitches and spooky cosmic echoes. The Observer picks up the pace with quick and slick kicks from the streets of Detroit overlaid with ripping electro basslines and deep space atmospherics. Unexplored Oceanic Territory is expansive electro with busted drums and echoing pads that add real scale before more acid finishes things off with real rawness. Prototype is dark and heavy, with another searing baseline and crisp metallic hits, then Into The Unknown is a blissed out electro roller with dreamy pads and twinkling keys melting into the cosmos. It closes out another essential EP from this timeless producer.
R-Zone series hits release number 20 with another genre defying four track EP by no one knows who. As always, the music looks backwards to go forwards and frantically blends breakbeat, rave, acid, house, electro and techno into wild new forms. The Geometry of Shadows kicks off with a flurry of pinging kick drums, rushing synths and smeared chords that manage to be physical yet serene at the same time. Chrysalis is deep Detroit style house with gurgling basslines and warm future soul synths extending off into the cosmos. Ship of Tears then races through the galaxies as asteroids, shooting sci-fi synths and glassy melodies all fly by in enchanting fashion, Acid is buried deep within and the drum programming is busy and direct. The Parliament of Dreams closes things down with more haunting celestial pads and cold acid lines that are all backed by boom-bap breakbeats. It’s dance floor euphoria of the highest order once more.
Creme Organization returns in July with four searing electro cuts from Dutchman Ekman. Mixing up West Coast electro with tougher, more textured techno styles in recent releases for Berceuse Heroique and Bedouin Record, this artist is as much about the past as the future and proves that across this new and impressive set of tracks. Doomsday Argument is not as dark as you would expect form the name: its a lithe and slippery electro affair with crisp snares and gurgling bass all topped off by a freaky top line. The Great Filter mixes up distorted bass with rippling glass synths and sounds both spooky and cosmic, then Post Singularity Day picks up the pace with a quick and urgent Drexcyian style that is restless, dynamic and busy. Last of all Antifragile is a wild acid workout with rocking beats and ripping 303s that twitch every nerve in your body.
Recorded live during an Ekstrakt party, in the legendary Medika squat in downtown Zagreb. Kӣr is the production moniker of WhyBaneWhy, resident DJ of Belgrade’s dankest technoclub, Drugstore. Bane’s sets incorporate a wide range of influences and travel far off the beaten path, drawing in influences from techno to new wave to power electronics, obscure ambient, folk music, twisted echoes found deep in lost wormholes and whatever else it takes to distort your feelings, lost and disorientated whilst working up a sweat. Kӣr takes all this and pushes the envelope with punishing hardware. Its visceral music, embracing drones, repetition, rippling soundscapes and obscure sonic horizons, to boldly go where others throw in the towel.
After an EP on Creme Organization off-shoot Jericho One as DJ Plant Texture, Dona Basile now assumes his Dona alias for a new EP on the main label. Entitled The V.G.P Sessions, it features four new cuts from the Italian. Up first is a live cut version of ‘Energia’, a bristling electro track with globular bass and coarse hits. Turbulent but full of synth based serenity, it is a fine start. ‘Cigarettes’ is rugged and broken, with glossy IDM synths and corrugated drums all loosely arranged into something prickly and unsettling. ‘The Deads At Twelve’ then gets even more fucked up, with rusty synths and blown out drums making for a dystopian house groove that will likely soundtrack the apocalypse. Last but not least, ‘Nr. 13’ mixes up Detroit synths, wild acid, heavenly chords and chopped up, buried deep vocal samples into something that will fire every synapse in your body. This is outlier stuff from Dona that sounds like little else.
Next up Creme Organization is a return by regular artist Lake Haze. Following his Natural Insight EP earlier in the year comes Intergalactic Communicationz, four more fresh tracks of acid, techno and electro that is brilliantly evocative. At The Gates ov Futron is a turbulent lack track with zipping acid and a cacophony of percussion that is visceral as well as cinematic. Drexciyan Aquarium is, as the name suggest, an aqueous electro track that slithers and slides through an expansive underwater world. Poseidon’s Dream then offers a more rugged electro groove that is backed by heavenly pads and a real sense of loss in the synths. Last of all, Intergalactic Communication closes out this far travelling and intergalactic EP with a sci-fi deep house track that is filled with light, 909s and a sense that the end of the world is coming.
The next chapter in the Creme Organization Ecplise series comes from Cosmic Garden with three original tracks and one remix from Orgue Electronique. Little is known about Cosmic Garden other than he is from Southern Italy and has had two EPs out in 2016, one on HotMix and one on Cosmic Rhythm. He heads out the blocks here with ‘Reptilian Treant’, six minutes of lo-fi deep house that is roomy and atmospheric. Lazy synths bring soul and a gentle chatter of claps and hits helps drive it along. ‘Rare Centaur’ is also way below the surface but is darker and more celestial, with turbulent bass, frantic claps and angelic chords glowing like a white light at the end of a tunnel. Dutch house and electro don Orgue Electronique then remixes ‘Reptilian Treant’ into something that is slick and serene, with metallic lines dancing above rubbery drums as big piano chords boucle up top. It is joyous and colourful and truly majestic before final track ‘Apocalyptic Moose’ takes us back down into a mournful house vibe that echoes Chicago with its roughhewn analogue textures and lovestruck chords.
Raw Tools label boss and Bucharest based producer Romansoff is making his debut on Creme Organization in 2016. His Wrath of Zeus EP features four tracks of the sort of frayed and authentic house music that the label is known for around the world. Romansoff mostly releases on his own label but has also served up plenty of rawness on Machine Records, Mork and Bitter Moon. Bundle of Acid is the opener and is a heavy but mystic track with grainy claps and plodding drums undermining bubbling synths. It’s crunchy and spooky and really comes alive with some squiggly acid lines. The title track is more stripped back and trippy, with corrugated drums and nervy chords trapping you in a suspenseful groove before Who You Gunna Call is another rough hewn analogue monster that manges to take you down into some cavernous underworld at the same time as offering up some angelic emotions. Lastly, She Owns The Game is the most melodic of the lot, with a far sighted ripple of keys, spaced out atmospheres and muttered vocal lines all making for something that is truly from another world.
Jericho One, the Creme Organization off shoot, is back with a new EP from Ebony vs ‘R’ entitled Real Truth. It features three cuts in all, one by Ebony and two by ‘R’, and all them are intoxicating techno affairs. Continuing in the label’s tradition of making modern sounds that draw on breaks and bass. Ebony goes first with Real Truth and offers a track that is both punchy and powerful thanks to its raw and thumping drums, but spiritual and serve thanks to the pained and soul infused vocal wails up top. Glistening glass pads and over sized hi hats add to the intensity of this classy rave banger. ‘R’ then serves up Focus, eight minutes of freaky and hypnotic techno with creepy voices moving about the space as distorted kicks and droning reverb brings a physical feel. It’s intense and dark and then comes Colossus, a breakbeat driven track with heavenly pads making for a grand and atmospheric headspace. Cosmic signifiers and far off pads add to the serenity of it all and will leave you with both a heavy heart and a stomping foot.