by Irina Kotik
With the month of December focused on voting for the favorite album or artist of the past twelve months, selecting the best and most memorable underground electronic music tracks and discussing the biggest surprises, controversies and the greatest moments in dance music, it is fair to say that 2018 was an excellent year for electronic music; and December, in particular, is an outstanding month in release delivery closing this year in style.
We’ve hand-picked the ten favorite tracks of December featuring the UK techno siblings Tom and Ed Russell as Overmono, Swiss maestro Ripperton under his Headless Ghost alias, Swedish musical fairy tellers Birds Ov Paradise, Arkajo and Martinou, the Italio disco cosmonauts Marvin and Guy, German producers Dominik Marz, David Kochs, Parisian house artist Molly, the Italian techno producer Nuel and Tokyo-based artist Powder.
The final release of 2018 on the UK label Whities welcomes Overmono, the UK techno siblings Tom and Ed Russell, better known as Truss and Tessela. Kindred talents who bring a new vision and different twist on the UK underground techno scene, their debut EP on Whites is a beautifully diverse collection of sounds with a fine sense of mood, atmosphere, and groove.
Expressed through dreamy atmospheric textures, funky undulated baseline, and driving breakbeat rhythms, ’Quadraluv’ takes the listener on a musical journey into sonically adventurous territory where sophisticated arrangements and subtle melodies evoke magnetism.
Birds Ov Paradise
“ The full moon glows with light flowing through the sky like tears of relief…”
Swedish production-mastermind David Sabel, better known as Birds Ov Paradise, returns to Hypnus Records with the final installment of the dazzling full moon musical fairy tales. The trilogy ends with an entrancing “Plateau” EP showcasing Birds Ov Paradise’s signature organic dub techno sound.
The second track on the record, “Blossoms”, paints pristine soundscapes of showily dub textures and hazy surges underpinned by hypnotic brittle dub techno rhythms.
Ripperton presents Headless Ghost
Real Smile Fades
The Swiss electronic music maestro Ripperton continues to exceed expectations with immeasurable quality under his Headless Ghost moniker. Following on from an immensely beautiful 2018 “Sight Seeing” album, “Midnight Sun” EP released via his own Tamed Musiq and stunning remixes, Ripperton brings his magical sounds to Drumpoet Community. Entitled “Breakthrough”, the record features six tracks “from the stripped-down grooves of „See You Never“ to the tremendous techno-influenced „Abandon“ via the emotional ride of „One Day Ok, One Day Not“ or the poignant „Real Smile fades.” It continues the evolving of Ripperton’s legacy of impeccable production quality and depth of sound.
Combining smooth house aesthetic with a sense of nostalgic charm, hypnotic groove and evocative atmospheres, the opening track, ’Real Smile Fades’, effortlessly flows through a delicate ornate of buoyant harmonies and crawling bassline.
Cat Slave (Powder Remix)
Following a run of notable releases on CockTail d’Amore Music, Born Free Records, and ESP Institute, the young Japanese producer Powder steps up for remix duties and splash sums magic on BBRB’s enigmatic “Cat Slave” tune released as part of the “King Kiang” EP via Hong Kong-based label Fragrant Harbor, a.k.a FGHB. BBRB is a Taiwan based duo comprised of Rules Jay Bilgo and Benoit Bouquin, who is one-third of the “L’Amour Fou” alongside Move D and Marco Wollenberg.
Moko Shibata has incorporated the same spacious and airy feeling that BBRB composed in their original production of the “Cat Slaves”, but has added a unique uplifting twist that breathes a new lease of life into this mind-bending tune.
Swedish sonic architect, one half of infamous duo Genius Of Time, Nils Krogh, also known as Arkajo, rounds off the year in the fine style with a pair of UK jungle-inspired tracks through his own “Arkajo 1” imprint. On the A-side, the blinding breakbeat sonic assault “Tape 17” effortlessly fuses the tropes of a jungle, breakbeat and dub techno into one masterfully produced record.
Marvin and Guy
Stige (9AM Mix)
Life and Death
Life and Death signs off the year 2018 with a mighty release by the Parmo-born charismatic duo of Marcello Giordani and Alessandro Parlatore. Sprinkling their powerful magic over outstanding performances and cosmic releases, the Italio disco cosmonauts bring their production prowess for the second time to the Life and Death imprint, delivering an instant classic “Solar Warriors” EP.
In their own words, “We took some time away from this World, beamed to the furthest reaches of the Solar System. We explored all that surrounded the imposing dwarf planet. The orbiting natural satellites stood out the most. Crystalline in matter, attracting our deepest inner desires - they never saw us coming.”
Build on a hypnotically percussive ambiance and delightfully arranged bright synth sequences, “Stige (9 AM Mix)” is an intergalactic journey that brings in mind a sonic Star Wars between outer space and futuristic time travel.
The 22nd installment on the German cult Giegling imprint brings a new spark to the torch in form of a brand new EP from a Parisian DJ, producer and RDV record label boss Molly. After her first appearance on the Portuguese imprint Groovement with a “Needs” EP, she is now back on Geigling with a four-track “Wave” EP.
In Molly’s own words for the Inverted Audio, “
‘Si Seulement‘ was produced a year ago – I put a lot of my emotions in this track and it’s the one which as a very special signification to me. I was not feeling that good at that time, having a break in my relationship with my boyfriend. Everything was very confusing and every-time I went into the studio I could not focus on music at all, but then one afternoon, I don’t know how but it all came together in 3 hours. I usually rework my tracks but I did not touch this one, so when I listen to the track, all the feelings from that time flood back to me.”
The promising UK collective Cong Burn returns with its fourth installment of an eponymous various artist compilation series. This exciting collection incorporates four new originals from St. Peterburg’s Flaty, Manchester’s Lack, Leed’s Chekov and Martinou.
Swedish producer and co-founder of the Sewer Sender label, Martin Strömstedt a.k.a Martinou makes his outstanding contribution to the “Cong Burn 4” with a deep techno treasure ‘Guide Pattern’. He masterfully creates a hypnotic and atmospheric setting with a dub techno groove smothered in silky and warm pads.
Dominik Marz & David Kochs
Strangers In Paradise
The newest release from the Huntleys & Palmers sub-label Belters welcomes Augsburg based producer and DJ Resident at the Club Schwarzes Schaf in his hometown Dominik Marz to the family with a delightful “Belters presents Dominik Marz” EP, featuring two original tracks, a collaboration with David Kochs and a remix courtesy of Bostro Pesopeo & 2D Torso.
In its original form, “Strangers In Paradise” combines silky arpeggiated synths, funky melody and seductive vocals for a perfect cosmic dance floor experience. With support from the likes of Ame, The Drifter, just to name a few, “Strangers In Paradise” is a wonderful addition to any playlist.
The Motivator Song
The latest installment from Berlin-based Midgar Records comes courtesy of the Italian techno producer Manuel Fogliata, a.k.a Nuel. The tireless creative force, who previously released on the likes of Swedish Kontra-Musik imprint, Konstrukt, Further Records, Northern Electronics, Spanish Semantica Records and collaborated with Donato Dozzi on the esteemed Aquaplano series, turns in the “Gentle” EP, a powerful four track techno mesmerism.
With faint hints of melody lashing against driving rhythms, spherical pads and dub-techno elements infused with spacious atmospherics, “The Motivator Song” is a futuristic exploration into techno’s seductive dark side.