Techno/Electro Report/Chart for July 1998 (compiled June 1, 1998)
by Andrew Duke

We'll start this month's look at techno, electro, and electronics around the globe in Germany. Roman Flugel and Jorn Elling Wuttke have managed to retain their flair for quality electronic music despite their numerous projects and heightened productivity. As Sensorama, the "Love" 2 X LP on Hamburg's Ladomat is one of those albums that excels from the first track straight to the last. Whether going downtempo and putting a shimmy into it, or staying at a house or techno pace, each song shines. As a good album should be, this is not just a collection of DJ tools, but playable as a call to dance, or a blissful soundtrack for an evening at home.

Richard Bartz' Munich-based Kurbel releases a hard techno four track compilation from ITEM ONE vs C. Morgenstern, Bartz, Savas Pascalidis, and Heinrich Tillak vs. Mike Schleth. Kurbel No. 11 will be another compilation, this time a CD mix by DJ Hell, followed by Bartz's "Total".

From the British Pagoda label comes the "Eventual Extremes" double album from Spanish electronic musician Alex Martin. Included along with the singles "Straight" and "Liquen Drops" are pieces which put a Barcelona twist on the Juan Atkins sound, delicate breaks merging with tough kicks and synthetic textures playing with fluid hooks. Martin has been building his unique sound through live performances, DJing, and releases on labels such as F Communications. This is another one for your record box and the home stereo.

The UK's Red Seal label is just a year old, but has been getting rave reviews from the likes of Dave Clarke, Colin Faver, and Woody McBride. Plans for the rest of this year include a doublepack from H and the debut album from Cold Dust and the Red Seal Records Tour '98. Featuring live techno from Cold Dust and Downward's Regis (Karl O'Connor) and Female, plus DJs Clarke, Inigo Kennedy, Jon Nuccle & H, dates are scheduled for the UK and Europe from July through to October.

Red alert: Electrofunk in effect. The Haywire Agency is now the UK representative for Michigan DJs BMG and Keith Tucker, plus Ferenc (I-F) and Rotator along with live acts Ectomorph (BMG and friends) and Miami's Phoenicia/Soul Oddity.

John Tejada's name is on a lot of new records these days. Domestically, the sixth release from his own Palette Recordings in Los Angeles is out along with his "Outer Circle" EP, the latest on San Francisco's Organised Noise. Cesar Vs Twerk's "Los Colores" EP is up next for ON and the "Cinematheque" EP mentioned in the last Techno/Electro Report will be held until Schizophone have an album ready. ON-SIX will be a 2 X EP featuring a track each from Tejada, User, Twerk, Lucas Rodenbush (Solid Trax), Chris Jackson (Resource), Kenneth Graham (Controlteam), Kit Clayton, and Markus Miller (both Cytrax). One half of User, label owner Jon Williams' mixed CD compilation is now planned for August.

Plug Research's Allen Avanessian and Danny (Low Res) Zelonky are back from their late June tour of Germany. On the horizon for the PR label is a mini compilation featuring four exclusive tracks (no confirmations yet on who will be featured) and a Trash Aesthetic hip hop 12" featuring the Shadow Huntaz. Avanessian and Joe Babylon are big hip hop fans and with the healthy scene in California, this release comes as no surprise.

Coming this summer from California's Shewey Trax is the dark techno funk of Live Better Electrically--"Music From Emotion Picture" featuring Repercussion's "Evil Minds" track. David Shewey's LBE aims to "bring the emotion back into techno", a fine goal when so many loop tracks abound. "The single also explores a theme--the state of American Society, corporate America, rich versus poor, art versus commercialism, and so on," says Shewey. Judging from the forthcoming Underground Resistance release mentioned later, this might be the start of a movement to bring the thinking back into techno.

The eclectic "Anti-Static" EP is the second release from Kym Serrano and David Moxon's Spelunk Recordings in New York. This four artist compilation features Bolzbolz + Rootpowder (from Germany's Electrecord), Solvent (Suction), Him + Her (aka Moxon and Serrano), and Todd Sines' Cron (The 21/22 Corporation). More electro-techno is on the way in August; SPR003 will feature locals Gilman and Anthony Galante (known for his work as Antfactor and Copepod).

Jason Szostek's 4-track "Multiples" EP is the latest for Serotonin. According to Szostek, the title pays homage to a sametitled Yellow Magic Orchestra record and refers to the variety in the grooves. "We Are The Same" is a chunky bit of electro that provides a platform for a robovocal with a message. "Born Again Human" was recorded live at Liquid Sky Cologne last October and has more of a languid feel and balances the more beat-oriented material. With his partner John Selway, Serotonin continues to forge new experiments while retaining the funk. Look for the old and new school electro of Selway's "Zoids Vol. 2" (SER-012) and Kevin Tobler's CSM-II (CSM) which Selway promises to be "deep, ultraminimal tracks, at points reminiscent of the Mike Ink/Profan sound but not derivative of them."

Intrinsic Design label owners Mike Bryant and Alexi Delano are currently sitting on new Cari Lekebush material, but there's no word on when it will be pressed.

Rubycon has followed up his "Muffler Man" EP and the subsequent remixes package from Black Nation's Jay Denham and Deepfried's Reality Feedback; the 4-track "Physical Plant" EP is the seventh release for Fanon Flowers' Mechanisms Industries USA imprint and should be out in September.

Finishing off in Detroit, Pure Sonik and Birmingham's Downwards will team up for a party July 25 in a secret location. Downwards' head, Regis (his "Delivered Into The Hands Of Indifference" 2 X LP is out now) will perform live, joined by Pure Sonik's DJ-T1000 (Alan Oldham), David Sumner's Portion Reform (Downwards; records as Function for Damon Wild's Synewave in New York), and Grand Rapids' Kikoman (Deepfried). Infoline: (734) 913-9635. The ninth Pure Sonik release is the "Minimal Science" EP from DJ T-1000, a change of pace from recent harder material with 3 atmospheric tracks, a "Work In Progress", and "December In New York", elegant techno reminiscent of the introspective side of his X-313 guise. Out next is DJ T-1000's "A Pure Sonik Evening" CD/2 X 12" compilation. Oldham's Tresor album will be out some time in 1999.

Fresh from their live performance at this year's Sonar festival in Barcelona, AUX 88 follow up their "I Need To Freak" remixes package with "Play It Loud" (Direct Beat). The new album, "Xeo-Genetic", will be out in August and the "Techno Bass: The Mission" 2 X EP, out this month, includes production from AUX 88's Tom-Tom. Along with familiar names like Microknox, you'll see two new groups on this compilation, Ttrax and X-ile. The latter is actually Lexus and Phoenix, dancers for the live AUX 88 incarnation, and the first female Techno Bass crew. "R U Ready" is the first X-ile release and they're working toward a November streetdate for their "Funkodocia" full length.

As we've come to expect from Submerge headquarters, information on the next UR release is under quarantine. Mike Banks will confirm, however, that "Underground Resistance presents Interstellar Fugitives" (UR-045) is slated for release in mid to late July. There will be 12 tracks on the triple vinyl version and 15 on the CD. With eight producers in on this release, this is thought to be the first techno supergroup according to those involved. Whether you agree or not with Submerge's manifestoes, they never fail to provoke thought; thinking is certainly something we all need to do more. Direct from the source, the complete word on this forthcoming release reads as follows: "As we travel together through space and time, and the programmers systematically inject your beloved electronic music with a poisonous host of false prophets of sound and many so called underground heroes one by one fold and tap dance for the man, there stand eight the descendants of centuries of on going struggle who know the forbidden rhythmic coded tonal knowledge that can sonically uncover all lies and awaken the resistance in all of us!! Are you resistant or will you just comply??"

Top 10

1. Szostek--"Multiples" EP (US Serotonin)
2. Various--"Anti-Static" EP (US Spelunk)
3. DJ T-1000--"Minimal Science" EP (US Pure Sonik test)
4. X-ile--"R U Ready" 12" (US Direct Beat test)
5. Various--Kurbel No. 10 EP (DM Kurbel test)
6. John Tejada--Palette 006 EP (US Palette)
7. Sensorama--"Love" 2 X LP (DM Ladomat)
8. Alex Martin--"Eventual Extremes" 2 X LP (UK Pagoda)
9. John Tejada--"Outer Circle" EP (US Organised Noise)
10. Chris Gray--"Probe Of The Outermental" EP (UK Fragmented)

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