Steve Lawler-Femme Fatale (Ovum)(US)
Okay, let me first get off my chest that I usually think Steve Lawler's music majorly sucks so the fact that this single came along and blew me away is a testament to the track's strength not my love of some half-assed punter. The a-side hints at everything the Irish are promising with their techno as Lawler bites and takes a dive deep into melody for Josh Wink's Ovum imprint. The swirling arpeggiated melodies are deep and intoxicating all wrapped up in warm analog bass. It's thinking man's trance if you'll allow me the comparison and not too far removed from the works of Chymera or Luca Bachetti-both of whom have also dropped recent singles for Ovum. The b-side is the supposedly the main attraction here with Ripperton formerly of the Swiss outfit Lazy Fat People handling the remix duties. Unfortunately, it's just too stiff and lacks the bongos I've come to love from Ripperton and sadly once the melody is stripped away from this one, as Ripperton does, it sounds rather ordinary and preset-y adding little to an already dynamite original.
Distaff-Abduction Mind (Fade)(US)
A nice shuffling beat that almost borders on a breakbeat drives the Chriss Razor & Pixxie remix on this three tracker from up & coming Argentinian producer Distaff. Add a chanted vocal hook of "satellite" that sets things up for a remix that constantly builds and finally explodes into an alien mothership bleepfest of the highest order and you have some peak hour techno at its finest. Disappointingly the other two mixes (an original and one from Giash) on this single fail to deliver in any sort of way close to the quality and intensity of this remix.
ATFC-Bad Weed (Toolroom Trax)(UK)
Okay the wooshing synth swoops and toy piano key stabs are all very cheesy on the original mix but counterbalanced against a monsterous wall of tribal drums and a memorable vocal hook suddenly all that cheese sounds like half-decent peak hour house music (which it is). The D-Formation remix is steeped too much in progressive house circa 2002 and "I'll Work Ya Babe" is disposable b-side fluff.
Clara Moto-Silently (InFine Music)(France)
This whole EP is great but the title track veers away from the textbook eurotech sound with an odd vocal track that caught me a little off guard. It reminded me a little of Wire, or better yet Dome, the Wire side project with the chick singer who sounded like Nico. Very sterile for the true electro lovers out there with a dash of the Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia melancholy. This one is a real gem.
Spencer Parker-Chiho (Buzzin Fly)(UK)
Jerome Sydenham Blacktro Dub is the top cut on the latest from Spencer Parker. The remix has some deep f*ckin Milton Jackson filtered house with a ton of that sugary Buzzin Fly melody. That's the problem with the original and JS's proper remix, too much damn melody and it kills a good groove. The dub makes up for any weaknesses by being submarine deep and pretty as an early Spring day with a ton of rumbling tribal drums to keep even the laziest of floors jumping.
Matt Samuels-Enjoy The Silence (Workidz Rmx)(Toolroom)(UK)
I'm not sure how necessary another Depeche Mode remix is but Matt Samuels obviously didn't get the memo as he doesn't do jack to this Top 40 hit by D. M. in a possible attempt to bore me to death. The Noir Mix is waaaay to proggy leaving it to Hungarian producer Workidz to conjure something decent. His trademark popping basslines are akin to an old Mercury at low idle and add some much needed techno rumble to the Mode, who were always far too fey and Euro for my tastes.
Chris Fortier-As Long As The Moment Exists Vol. 3 (EQ)(Australia)
Veteran producer Someone Else delivers some noteworthy dark tribal techno stomp in the form of both a vocal and dub remix of "Believe" from Chris Fortier's 2007 full length As Long As The Moment Exists. The dub is far superior with some tight loops and dark, tracky techno that is perfect for later in the set to keep tired asses moving. The spoken word monlogue on the vocal mix just get too e-tarded for me to really endorse it and I usually prefer the dubs anyway.
Mark Trophy-Ripper (Toolroom Trax)(UK)
Mark Trophy is one half of the Trophy Twins who follow-up Pete Tong's Essential show on BBC 1. His choon "Ripper" is rather obvious but still a damn fine banger propelled by a funky house bassline which moves away from the techno and minimal influences that have been dominating the peak hour cuts as of late. Koen Groeneveld of the Klubbheads' remix is far too hands-in-the-air and Love Parade-d out for my tastes and pretty much what I expected from one of the Klubbheads. Rising talent Chris Special delivers the mix of note here appropriately titled the K-Hole Mix with its dark and pulsating bassline so low and menacing it makes skulls rattle.
Chris Fortier-As Long As The Moment Exists EP 2 (EQ)(Australia)
Perhaps the most solid of the first three EPs in this ambitious attempt to remix all of Fortier's artist album from last year. All of the remixes are great but if I had to choose the 10 plus minute epic from Ed Davenport is the winner here in all of it's retro analog glory. In some ways this reminded me a little of Kirk Degiorgio and that can't be a bad thing as Davenport totally deconstructs Fortier's original on the title track.
Flip & Djuma Soundsystem-Atilla EP (Leaders Of The New School/Toolroom)(UK)
Djuma Soundsystem is best remembered for the smash hit "Les Djinns" from a couple of years ago. Here the team up with pal Flip for the tepid "Atilla" which is peak hour but very directionless. "Jaded" is major chorded happy techno for a filled dancefloor. It does little but is a lot of fun for an active crowd to get down with.
A.D.N.Y.-Forms EP(Ransom Note)(US)
"Under My Skin" by Alexi Delano aka ADNY is everything that's right about techno currently. Just a hint of minor chorded melody and some minimally invasive beats to move things along and set up an anthem to level the crowd. Alone this track does nothing special as evidenced by the weak Camea remix and b-side fodder "Zero Too Deep" that back the original but in a well-programmed mix this one is essential. Once again it's nice to see a US producer putting out something so good.
Various-Bird Language EP (Supplemental Facts)(Israel)
It's rare that I get a single where all three of the cuts are solid but this comp from Guy Gerber's Supplemental Facts imprint delivers the goods in ways only the Israelis have been able to currently. Normally David K is much more relentless but here he provides something light and melodic for early in the evening, as do all of the artists. Catwash drops a nice change of pace with "Brazil" a mix of samba and techno that is very breezy and yet drummy enough to capture an adventurous dancefloor. Varoslav rounds things out with some latin tech reminiscent of Luciano making this one of those rare EPs worth every penny.
Gavin Hardkiss-The Knights Of The Hawke Fields EP(Eight Tracks)(US)
Nice to see the return of Gavin Hardkiss on this exceptional new three tracker. All three are steeped in rich melodies with nice flourishes of house and progressive. The problem is the tracks are all too somnambulistic for the dancefloor, more properly suited for the headphones or super late night slots. The best of three is probably "Fields Of No Names" but all three are worth a listen on this comebacker from one of SF's legends.