Various Artists – Electro Kool-Aid Acid Test
Brooklyn Fire hits its 303rd (three hundred and third!!) release. Running for less than a decade, even for a primarily digital-only label, that’s impressive. Since 303 is the magic number, they have done the correct thing here and put together 19 acid tracks from artists hailing from across the globe.
Too many to describe individually but favourites are ‘Oh Yeah’ by Turntable Actor Cholorform, ’20 Years of Acid’ from my close friend and colleague Mark Archer (bias aside!), ‘Ascension’ by Hostage, and ‘Numbskull’ by Paul Birken. Honestly, if you’re into the 303 in any way at all, this compilation is worthy of your attention. Grab it from Bandcamp.
Nehuen – Intenso EP
White label action on Cos Mos from Nehuen, the Barcelona-based producer whose previous outings include Boys Noize’s BNR Trax, the Classicworks label he co-runs with Cardopusher and my imprint, I Love Acid. Sparse electro and EBM beats throughout the four-tracker – pick of the bunch however is ‘Personal Conflict’, which would sit perfectly in the mix with any of the best from Paranoid London.
Emi.te – Alta Temperature
I’ve been playing ‘Acid is the Key’ from this EP for about 6 weeks now, a real secret weapon – it’s my absolute favourite kind of raw acid-electro crossover vibe. All four tracks on the release take a different approach: ‘Crawlin’ is noisy cacophonous chug, ‘Searching Acid’ has a shapeshifting acid line that descends further and further into madness, while ‘LLSSDD’ spins out on fractals before returning to it’s core. Wicked EP from the Mexican artist, self-released on Bandcamp.
Jerome Hill – Mole Hole Acid
An absolute banger here from Jerome, a man who needs very little introduction given decades spent behind the decks, as an ex-record shop manager, label boss at Super Rhythm Trax, Fat Hop, Don’t and Bleeper, running a residency on Kool London and of course his own club night, Don’t. This is his debut on vinyl-only imprint Weapons of Desire – one-sided heavyweight wax, stamped and numbered, with a remix from Auto Sound City completing the release. Although it’s sold out from Bandcamp you might still find copies at Juno, Phonica or Piccadilly Records if you’re lucky (don’t expect copies to stick about for long though).
Helena Hauff – Qualm
It’s refreshing to see a genuine artist rise to the top of the game. In these days where a hefty bank account and savvy media manipulation can take an unknown to the front cover of dance music magazines in 18 months; ghost-produced music, paid-for reviews and pay-to-play DJ slots alongside big names, tens of thousands of fake followers on social media bought from clickfarms – it’s the mainstream approach taken to the underground – and even respected indie labels are falling for the phoney hype.
But this isn’t one of those. Helena Hauff is 303% the real deal. No social media bullshit, and a reputation honestly built from her DJ residency at Hamburg’s fantastic Golden Pudel Club (which has a capacity of less than 100!). Qualm, Hauff’s second full-length after her 2015 debut on Werkdiscs, connects the dots from industrial EBM to acid and electro. It channels the science-fiction ethos of Rother and Aux88 into the pure energy of Front 242 and Coil. Showing that so much can still be done with just a drum machine, a synth, and a proper punk attitude.
Quite possibly the most important electro album since Gesamtkunstwerk (no hyperbole – it’s really that good). Faves here are ‘Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg’ and ‘The Smell of Suds and Steel’… Also, Helena borrowed my robot suit to dance anonymously in the crowd at Bangface weekend, so extra acid brownie points for that.
JAI-MAHL – #DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutit
One of the most direct to dancefloor releases from Mathematics Recordings founder Jamal Moss, AKA Hieroglyphic Being. Out on Berlin-via-Singapore imprint Midnight Shift, this four tracker absolutely bangs! Opener #Dare2Matter twists Chicago acid and rave into a high-tempo monster, little hints of disco strings throughout. ‘#UWILLNOT’ and the If-Only premiered ‘#ICU’ spin off into more abstract territory without losing that tempo, while closer and title track ‘#DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutit’ marries layers of acid, piano and keys over a deep lush chug. Highly recommended!
Various Artists – Hydrochloric Substance EP
The Downfall crew run a knees-up in London with the approach and ethos of late ’80s acid house parties – vinyl & hardware only, handmade décor, and a crew of knowledgeable residents and hand-picked guests. But they’re no throwbacks, don’t expect the same old classic records to be (over)played, they’re all about new music.
This is the second release on their own label of the same name – the first 12” sold out and I believe as of time of publishing there are less than 40 copies left worldwide of this release. The music takes the same approach as their parties: proper acid tunes, no bullshit. My personal fave is the 303-electro of ‘Get Down’ by The Auditor. Don’t sleep on this one!
Dircsen – Beyond Collapsing Silence
Out on Beef Records, this has been once of my most played releases this summer. The title track, all 12 minutes of it filling up the A-side on the wax, is simple, deep acid house in the vein of Jared Wilson or Etcher – perfect for long mixes, the riff slowly drifts up out of the beats and then settles later into lush pads. On the flipside, ‘Depth Scan’ slows the tempo and dubs it out, with the Florian Kupfer remix taking a more electro approach. The Bandcamp release comes with a bonus extra which for me should have made the vinyl, a hypnotic high-tempo acid & pad workout. Top stuff all round.
The Subdermic – 2nd Theme
Out on Japanese label Acidworx, this new one from Lilly Phoenix AKA The Subdermic kicks off with her signature style of dark, atonal acid lines and sweeping distorted shadows of voices and sounds drifting deep in the mix, drenched in reverb with kicks and claps juddering to the fore. Remix duties fall to Data Rebel, who’s take on ‘2nd Theme’ brings the acid to the front and weighs in with a straight-up dancefloor remix. Decent.
Sandro Bianchi – Spacid001
Madrid-based Italian producer Sandro Bianchi with the debut release on his own new label. ‘Fire Seed’ feels like it’s from the sunshine nations of Europe, multi-layered with driving energy from the word go. But the one to go for on this release is ‘Fighting Monkey’ which has a real stripped-down funk and a killer sparse rawness. Tip!