Moteka started out in 2013 as Psytrance duo Principles of Flight (aka Pierre Delort and Rémy Maurin) making Techno inspired by Surgeon and Planetary Assault Systems, however, after Maurin's departure, Delort has handled the project himself and now presents a debut album on French label Skryptöm Records.
As We Fought Iron Giants tells the story of an unwanted adolescence, a protagonist preferring the ghostly world of robots, computer games and demons - the eye-catching artwork from Nicolas Delort reflects this. Using suitably emotive track titles, neon-lit scenes of fantasy and danger are depicted across twelve tracks of finely produced electronic music. Delort's vast experience is evident in the pleasing balance of proper melody (check out Sleeping Giants and Limbo) and floor-ready rhythms (Marching Robots and First Encounter). There's plenty to get excited about but the closing trio of tracks in particular leaves a lasting impression, beginning with Smart Weapon, an appropriately named havoc-inducer, followed by the catchy and rugged Electro vibe on Final Confrontation before the excellent closer Peace At Last, which marries a haunting melody with subtle tension.
It's not specifically headphone or floor but very pleasant repeat listening.
Joel Mull, another celebrated artist with numerous tracks speckled throughout my music collection, ignorantly unappreciated, languishing in the shadows of my subconscious... until now! Fourth album Arrow of Time hits the mark with a headphone-friendly mix of emotive Techno burners and rugged floor sweepers. Influenced by travel, time and the future, with hints of House, Trance, Ambient and Dub thoughout, it's an album with the soul of Techno at its heart.
We all have moments when we think about time, I do, especially when I travel. There is a certain loose feeling when I write music and sketch on ideas while I’m in a moving object that is blasting throughout space, such as a plane or a train. These moments are more intense for me than, for example, when I’m working on ideas in the studio. The studio is amazing but it can also be too structured. When I look out of a window and have a moving canvas in front, it directly adds emotion and easily inspires me.
It's the first LP to be released on Swedish label Parabel and offers an antidote to the 70-odd EPs he's put his name to over the last two decades (I'm exhausted just picking my way through his vast Discogs profile... look! there's even a comment dating back 17 years). Worth some investigation.
Highlight from Peder Mannerfelt's 2018 album Daily Routine gets the remix treatment... and it's deliciously banging! Four big re-workings and one blissed-out dubby version come together in perfect form, with Sissel Wincent's cute English pronunciations proving to be an alluring component throughout.
The Swedish artist provides her own take on Sissel & Bass, reminding us of the original's 'kool' cut, while adding a healthy does of dancefloor oomph. OnScreenActor and Perc toughen things up with satisfying versions, each hitting home even harder; Perc's playful manipulation of the vocal sounding very punk (especially before the three minute mark Don't tell me how it's done, 'cos I won't listuuuuun!
The best of the lot though comes from Tunisian artist Cera Khin and her Mind Destruction Remix; ravy stabs work with hollow percussive rhythms, using Sissel's vocal only sparingly. Perko's Dub closer offers respite and a refreshing perspective.
Alice Hubble is the new solo project of pop princess Alice Hubley (ex Arthur and Martha) and Goddess is her debut release. The title track is pure and simple Pop genius, all about unrequited lust and the heavy toil that sort of thing can bring. The rest of the EP is pretty decent too, with another pop gem in the shape of Lake Louise, as well as three fine remixes of Goddess. My favourite remix is the grizzly Ambient reworking by Luke Mawdsley.
Context for the uninitiated: SSTROM is Hannes Stenström, the driving force behind Swedish rhythm-makers SHXCXCHHCXSH. If you're not familiar with the work of SHXCXCHHCXSH, they make a pleasing but uncompromising brand of Techno. 'Drenched' is a term that typifies the rich, saturated sounds and textures that encompass their music, and it's this shared fascination of rhythm, soaked in the history of electronic music, the connects the SSTROM and SHXCXCHHCXSH aesthetics.
Drenched is a series of three, four-track EPs, not specifically an LP, however while each release can be appreciated independently, I preferred listening to all twelve tracks like an album. Kangding Ray's Hyper Opal Mantis album from 2017 was presented as an album but split up into three phases, and could arguably have been released as three separate EPs to emphasise this, but deeper questions of context, continuity and meaning then arise. With this in mind, as separate releases, let's assume Stenström accepts that these releases can be appreciated independently, without further context. Essentially we have three EPs that explore a shared investigation into the construction of core elements of Techno music.
When it comes to SSTROM's music, this drenched sound can be traced back to Nattbåten from 2016's Fyren EP and Kronofobi from the Otider collection. Ockra from last year's Vitriol EP also hinted tantalisingly at Stenström's ongoing fascination with the fabric of rhythm. Using a steady 133 BPM from start to finish means we focus less on the timing of the rhythm and more on the construction of the beats and the constituent parts of each track. The results expectedly converge and diverge as new boundaries are sought, evaluated and developed further. While there's no 'filler' per se some tracks really zing. In particular, the closing track of each EP showcases more experimental fruits, perverting attention from the floor to the headphones. Drenched 4 is a good example here, repetitive horns are layered to create a secondary, supporting rhythm, progressively sinking, drowning in an immersive, watery glug.
Further patterns like this don't really manifest again though. Some tracks use subtle melody while others drive home the monotony of the 4x4 beat with accomplished flair. A funky, primitive vibe is the prime factor the connects the twelve tracks. For example, built on a simple, circular melody, Drenched 9, even with the steady pulse, delivers an appealing organic flow, while Drenched 2, with its single, typewriter-key off-beat, channels a bassy melody, echoing in a wah-wah stylee. Opener Drenched 1, creates space through higher frequencies, building layers of sound with a subtle drop halfway through. Elsewhere most of the third EP sounds like the kind of thrillingly morbid Techno JK Flesh has been making of late. All in: a lot to like.
Every month I withstand the tide of incoming new music available on Spotify in order to fish out the freshest catch and prepare a heart warming feed to satisfy your musical appetite. May was swarming with fry and vitality, serving us the tastiest morsels from the likes of Synkro, Minimal Violence, F.U.S.E. and Ellen Allien (among many other fine specimens).