VC-118A returns to Delsin to present his fourth album, Spiritual Machines. It marks an exciting shift in focus for Samuel van Dijk as his flagship project nears a decade skirting the deeper ends of techno and electro. Over the past two and half years, van Dijk forensically reviewed the key aspects of his production process as he dug down in search of the essence of the VC-118A sound. By creating his own complement of sample banks, software racks and devices, van Dijk was able to work with a hybridised analogue-digital system purely of his own making. Less in thrall to the strict rigours of techno and electro standards, Spiritual Machines’ 13 album tracks encompass more fluid shifts into abstract and downtempo, dub-inflected realms, without losing sight of the elements that have made VC-118A so compelling from the beginning. Burnished machine soul, aqueous atmospherics and immaculate drum programming abound, but in the mellow, enveloping sound world of Spiritual Machines you can hear van Dijk guiding his music into a broader form that sounds at once more assured and more inspired.
Dino Sabatini arrives on Delsin’s Mantis series with a charged, imposing statement of meditative techno. Sabatini has been at the forefront of the deep techno scene since the mid 00s, cultivating a sound with his own Outis Music which acknowledges the structures of club music while reaching beyond obvious drama and brute force, offering something more subliminal instead. On Mantis 06, Sabatini blurs the lines between organic and electronic percussion as he doubles down on steadfast rhythms executed with delicacy and impact in equal measure.
Steve Rachmad’s richly melodic strain of techno has resulted in a huge body of work he has been growing since the early 90s. His sound is the perfect distillation of machine soul – dubby atmospherics and crisp, danceable dynamics balanced in perfect unison. Amsterdam’s Delsin Records gathers together some of the Dutch techno figurehead’s most important, sought-after works in a new EP series, all remastered from the original DAT tapes from Steve’s archives. His flagship Sterac project is present with Asphyx EP, featuring four absolute classic Sterac works dating from 1995.
Nick Lapien and Robin Koek’s latest collaborative album, Days Bygone, helps launch Delsin’s Interstellar series as they continue to explore beyond the dancefloor trappings of conventional techno to create a body of work steeped in mystery. Although not totally devoid of percussion, Artefakt shift their focus away from dominant drums and lean on the keys and pads to map out the landscape each track traverses. Sometimes furtive and suggestive, elsewhere pearlescent and diffused across great expanses, it’s these striking, sublime formations which define the atmosphere Lapien and Koek have created – a textured, dynamic exercise in techno as internalized listening music.
Vril returns to Delsin with a cinematic ambient score. Backed with a remix pack of close friends featuring Voiski’s driving dub-techno, rattling breaks by His Master’s Voice and a thumping 808 electro take in collaboration with Marcel Dettmann.
From time to time I like to take a brief look at what our readers enjoyed the most and the end of the year is always a good time to do so. In order to do this I compile a top 3 of the most appreciated albums, compilations, mixes our readers liked in the last year.
As a cover for this year’s post I choose a map showing from where our visitors come and the first 10 places are the US, Germany, Romania, UK, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Spain, France, Russia and Italy.
Delsin presents two supplement EPs to the recently released retrospective compilations of Wladimir M. and Florence. This first Florence disc its a collection of rarities. The EP opens with Convextion’s remix of ‘The Vineyard’, never been released on vinyl before. Second track on side A is the original mix of ‘Exploration’ as featured on the very first Eevo Lute EP in 1991. Side B opens with Peter Ford aka Baby Ford’s remix of ‘The Vineyard’, originally released in 1996. The EP closes with the original instrumental version of ‘Disappointment’, to which the lyrics and vocals by Wladimir M. were added later on.
Delsin dives deeper in the Dutch techno archives once more by re-masterering, re-cutting and re-releasing Ballet Mechanique’s Embody EP. A keystone release containing four tracks of tough, yet emotive electro jams, sounding fresh till the date of today. Originally released in 1996 on Eevo Lute Muzique and definitely one of the highlights when it comes to pure futuristic techno soul. The Embody EP from Jeroen Borrenbergs aka Ballet Mechanique and Eevo’s in-house graphic designer at that time made his first public work on one of the most influential techno labels from the Netherlands.
For the first time Versalife appears on Delsin. Having released multiple albums and EPs as Conforce, the prolific Rotterdam based producer now brings a lush electro four-tracker to the Delsin electronic series. Over the course of four tracks he creates a warm and emotive playfield of flawless bassline drifters and atmospheric sound design.
Samuel van Dijk aka VC-118A returns to Delsin and gives us a taste of what’s cooking in his futuristic electro lab. On this fierce two-tracker ‘Crunch / Plonk’ the Dutch producer presents two rough cuts of his trademark machine sound. Three smoke-filled endless loops add up to the a-side for a taste of his forthcoming album early next year.
The latest installment in Delsin’s deep-diving Mantis series comes from Varuna. As a core fixture in the Basel, Switzerland-based amenthia crew, this secretive production collective have quietly issued compelling excursions into dense, immersion-chamber techno. Varuna gift Mantis three subtly sublime, long-form pulsations that evolve slowly but purposefully, drawing the ear and mind further into a place of intense meditation.
The third installment in the Delsin Mantis series comes from Dutch producer Konduku. The three tracks on this 12” are a masterclass in subtle soundsystem music, matching his intricate drum programming and enlightening ambient textures with the primal energy of early bleep and bass.
Essential CiM (aka Simon Walley) classic, originally released on Headspace Recordings in 1999. Now re-mastered and re-cut on Delsin Records. Crispy and soulful idm-techno in line with CiM’s Delsin debut Service Pack released later that year.
Detroit composer John Beltran returns to Delsin with The Season Series. A collection of subtle and colorful compositions of beautiful synth melodies creating heavenly atmospheres. A blissful walk through breezy spring fields where the gentle sunrays thaw frosty winter scenes. Whether offering up club-focused Motor City techno, futuristic tech-jazz, bubbly electronica or sofa-bound ambient compositions, John Beltran always wrings the maximum amount of beauty and soul from the machines he uses to make music. He’s at it again on “The Season Series”. Variously fusing swelling, almost classical chord sequences, stirring melodic refrains, effects-laden shoegaze guitars, effected vocal snippets and beats (when used) that touch on many of Beltran’s main influences (think IDM and Detroit techno), Beltran has produced a simply stunning album that amply rewards those who give themselves in to its positive, emotion-rich charms.
Delsin’s Mantis series expands its remit with the arrival of Italian duo natural/electronic.system. Already well-established as connoisseurs of deep techno via releases on Tikita and years of DJing at places like Labyrinth festival, Antonio Giova and Valerio Gomez de Ayala present four luxurious sound baths that occupy a space between techno and ambient – always propulsive and rhythmical, but with a huge emphasis on space and harmony.
Delsin turns its attention to the archives of one of the great early pioneers of Dutch techno – Eevo Lute Muzique. The label was founded in 1991 by Wladimir Manshanden and Stefan Robbers (who was already recording seminal early techno records as Terrace for Djax-Up-Beats). Channeling the inspiration of the Detroit originators and mixing it up with their own synth pop and new wave influences, Manshanden and Robbers (adopting the Florence alias) forged a bold aesthetic with Eevo Lute, both musically and visually. This was an early iteration of techno as listening music, with an emphasis on expression and narrative over dancefloor functionality, helped in no small part by Manshanden’s striking poetry. This double set of remastered, reissued tracks gathers together the earliest Florence and Wladimir M. material, largely recorded between 1991 and 1994, across five discs – the definitive document of a treasured piece of Dutch techno history.
Wata Igarashi and Voiski join forces to present their new collaborative project, WAV. Ignoring the physical distance between Tokyo and Paris, a personal and musical closeness encouraged them to start exploring what they could create together. Voiski the Parisian centipede who brings synth heavy perfection to techno and Wata Igarashi known for his stylishly reduced, immersive melodies and futuristic grooves, collaborate for the first time on Delsin Records. The result is a late night affair with atmospheric pads that get you in a trance. Peak-time electronics and floating grooves traveling through the cosmos on knife sharp rhythms. Across four tracks you can hear clear elements of both Igarashi’s and Voiski’s solo productions, without sounding like anything either has done before.
After launching their own De Stijl label last year, Artefakt are back on Delsin with Icarus, a sparkling new four track outing. Known for their intricate sound design and deep yet hard hitting grooves. Always serving up atmospheric music that is artful and filled with rich detail, they continued on their own path once again here. Starting with the smooth and hypnotic, stripped back grooves from Icarus. Followed by the cavernous and immersive ambient trip Ganzfeld Effect. The darker Vapour is still heady and meticulously crafted with deft little details, a rich sound field and supple techno drums getting you in the zone. Delphic then offers crisp breakbeats, dubby drums and electrically charged synths that are physical but emotional. It’s another perfect fusion of light and dark, thoughtful and physical techno from this ever impressive pair.
Mysterious German producer His Master’s Voice makes his debut on Delsin Records. With three mind bending originals and an absorbing Vril rework on board his entry on the Delsin e-series is a deeply immersive beat trip into another dimension. The roughed edged ambiance of ‘Fire Red’ opens the dance in soothing yet engaging fashion with superbly spacious soundscapes pulling you in and slowly involving into a foggy kick drum extravaganza. ‘Eve’ then offers a deep and propulsive electro groove with glitchy atmospheres. Lead track ‘Transition’ hits hard, an intergalactic trip on turbulent stuttering drums and whipping synths. To finalize an immersive EP, close friend Vril jumps in for a rework of ‘Eve’ where he smoothly connects the dots between his typical dark bass lines and blistering dub chords.
Delsin are pleased to gather together some of the highlights from the rich and varied catalogue of Manchester-based producer Claro Intelecto. From his earliest works on Ai Records through a prolific run on Modern Love to his more recent outings on Delsin, Mark Stewart has continually presented a vision of electronic music that uses the Detroit blueprint as a launch pad for his own distinctive strain of techno. Moving from elegant beauty to rabid intensity while grounded by a firm sense of rhythm, his catalogue runs deep and wide. The second volume in this expansive compilation series filters out select highlights from across his discography, and reframes them as a compelling overview of a truly distinctive voice in modern electronic music.