London Underground

Posted on October 1st, by Oliver Way in 18, Record Reviews, Reviews, Scene Reports. No Comments

London UndergroundSo whassup with London?  Well as far as the Techno scene goes it is heading back down under, underground that is.  It went crazy for a few years and exposed many talented DJ/Producers to a more mainstream crowd.  But it seems as if we are coming to the end of that era leaving some of our greats reaping the rewards they deserve.  The likes of Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Darren Emerson, Carl Cox, Josh Wink, etc. are left up there working with people who have no concept of electronic music, nor care, but understand it can make them money.  The great corporate companies.  It must be very difficult to care about the music and the scene at that stage when the people around you are just using your skills as a money making device, and will happily drop you as quickly as they picked up on you.  Getting our guys to try and turn around some past bands effort of a record to make it into a hit.

I heard great question relating to this matter from a friend while in New York heading out to Rockaway:  Why are there so many American DJ’s who don’t play in America?  Because they are all in Europe where they are being offered thousands of dollars more to play at events run by corporate companies.  How can you compete?
What would you do when a promotion company in England offers you anything from $8,000 plus 2 business class flights and a 5 star hotel to DJ for 2 hours?  But wait- it gets better- recently Carl Craig’s agency charged an Irish promoter £15,000, that’s $23,000 plus 5 airline tickets for Carl to do a live show.  And the promoters are doing it.  How crazy is that?

Meanwhile, the true London Underground scene returns to the small, dark venues, with budgets that cannot afford the same international DJ’s whom they helped escalate to the position they are at now.  But it is good that the scene does return underground because now we will see who the true people are.

It comes in waves, on the next crest I wonder what will happen?

Tribal Gathering was a success S-Men (DJ Sneak, Junior Sanchez, and Roger Sanchez) spun together on 6 decks, John Acquaviva was flawless.  In the Detroit tent- were I spent most of my time, T-1000 and Jeff Mills tore the house down.  At 10pm the Detroit tent was shut down while everybody ran across to the Trans Europe tent to see Kraftwerk.  There is a very tense atmosphere, and an immense sense of expectation as 10pm rolls around and there is no Kraftwerk.  Suddenly a single, dry snare drum pattern is heard.  12,000 pairs of ears perch to attention, but nothing.  Five minutes later there is an explosion of cybersquiggling.  The lights go down and an intense roar goes up.  A computerized voice announces, in German, ‘Kraftwerk are here’.  The curtain falls to reveal the four shadowy figures dressed in black cycling suits, each standing behind an identical keyboard, the same screen bank of effects behind each of them.  ‘Numbers’ kicks things off as the screens count to eight endlessly.   Next were ‘Computer World’ and ‘Homecomputer’.  Ralf Hutter’s faint voice is heard as he repeats, “I program my home computer.  Beam myself into the future”.  This is followed with ‘Man Machine’, and the classics ‘Tour De France’ and ‘Autobalm’.  Many people were in awe,  some even cried as the legendary electronic/Techno inventors lock into the LFO.  Then the four men are replaced by their mechanical dummies as they shake to ‘The Robots’ while the masters sit backstage and prepare themselves for their new track.  It goes down with the biggest scream from the people, even more so than the incredibly funky ‘Music Non Stop’ which is what sends us all back into the night,  agreeing that Techno’s ambassadors had pulled it off.  Phew.

If that wasn’t enough, the next day back in London, somewhere in Camden was a small underground party- but with Richie Hawtin, T-1000, Jeff Mills, DJ Bone, Suburban Knight, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Terrance Parker, and Dego (4 Hero).

* JDP Promotions in Ireland and teamed up with Morpheus Productions and Local 13 to bring you ‘InnerVision’- an event which will take place on Saturday 29 November.  The night will include will include LIVE sets from Robert Armani, Frankie Bones, and Funk D’ Void (Soma Records, Scotland).  While DJ sets will be from Luke Slater (Novamute, England), Paul Johnson, Mike Dearborn, Oliver Way, and Jason Carter.  Keep you eye out for forthcoming teasers.

* Frankie Bones hits off his new label Nu Futura with DM-1 ‘Steel Groove EP’ and Rok ‘CPC-12 EP’.  Both killer underground Techno releases worthy of your utmost attention- nothing less would be expected from Bones.  It’s 2 for 2.

* After taking a year out, one of Germany’s most famous Techno labels, Labworks, is back.  Their first 3 releases are “Mass Appeal Madness” by 20 Eyes (Tobias Muller); an EP by Insane Membrane (Marc Bommersheim); and “The Sound Is Mine EP” by Maxwellhouse (Max Reich).   Label owner Hoschi along with Max Reich and Patrick Sjeren will be touring to promote the labels comeback in November.  Call Morpheus for more information and tour bookings.

* Robert Armani is starting a new label called RA on which he releases an album this October.

* Brooklyn Music has teamed up with Zone 6 Records to bring the US underground sound to the UK’s unsuspecting shores.  There first release will be the ‘Lemon 714’ compilation which features tracks from Jeff Mills, K. Hand, Frankie Bones, Atomic Babies, Gene Hunt, and Phenix- to name a few.

* Steve Bug has his debut album released on Raw Elements titled ‘Volksworld’ this September.  A collection of some of the finest minimal, jazzy influenced electronica.  He will be touring to promote the album release.

* Groovehead has started up a label called Search.  The latest release is by Jeroen, titled ‘Prospect’/’Close’/’Touch’/’Trapped’.  An excellent EP on the deeper, Steve Stoll side of things.

* Woody McBride is shutting down most of his labels leaving only Communiqué, Sounds, and Head In The Clouds.

* DJ Hyperactive starts up two new labels: ‘Four Track’ for the straight up Techno and ‘Record Player’ for the Techno/House sound.

* A slamming new night has started in London on Wednesdays at Gossip’s nightclub, called Submerge.  Residents Colin Dale, Brenda Russell, and Colin Favor are accompanied by special guests each week.

* Funk D’ Void will be touring the U.S towards the end of the year.  Watch this space for more details.

* The Birmingham based club Genetic are releasing a record label under the same name.  A double album with a 4 deck mixed CD version will be out this October, featuring tracks from:  CJ Bolland, Dave Angel, Awex, Marco Zaffarano, Misjah & Tim, Mark NRG, and Tasha the Killer Pussies.

* Tresor release their latest delivering by Pacou with a double vinyl LP called ‘Symbolic Language’.  Abstract electronic aquatics complemented by sub-bass.

* DJ T-1000 is currently working on an album and 12″ to be released on Tresor at a later date.

* The Japanese label Sublime have ‘the Adolescence’.  A selection of the finest Techno-logy with warm strings and mellow breaks from Dan Curtin with ‘Anxiety’ and funky, experimental electronica with ‘Co-Fusion’ and ‘Prism’ from Susumu Yokota.  Max Brennan turns out the bass and drum jackin’ ‘Banging The Bass.  Many other respected Japanese artists appear, including the renowned Ken Ishii as Flare.  A glimpse into the future.

* As Techno Jazz breaks in, Kickin’ release ‘Elements Of Jazz Vol. II’.  A sweet LP that will be appreciated by anyone who loves quality music stemming from Classical or Aphex Twin roots.  If Charlie Parker and Miles Davis were around today and into electronic music, this would be what they would be churning out.  The underground sound of Jazz fused with futuristic equipment morphing the melodies of the sax.

* The Belgium label Reload have ‘The Third Bass’ featuring tracks from Mould Impression (Adam Beyer), Space DJz, ZZino, Damon Wild, and Steve Bicknell.  A Techno extravaganza with minimal and banging beats.  Reload- a consistent label that has not yet put anything out I could fault.  This compilation will show you why.

* 3rd in the series of the ‘International DJ Syndicate Mix’ through React is put together by Japan’s rising star Fumiya Tanaka.  A mix CD which slams from beginning to end with blistering cuts of hard Chicago House and crunching Techno. Robert Armani’s ‘Armani Tracks Pt.2’, DJ Skull’s ‘Distortion’, Regis’ ‘Speak To Me’, The Advent & DJ Hell ‘It One Jah’ and finishing with a Jeff Mills encore- Cyrus’s ‘Enforcement’ (Mills Mix), ‘i9’ and ‘Spider Formation’.  Need I say any more ?

* Raw Elements puts out a serious assortment of minimal Techno aptly named ‘Da Minimal Funk’.  Features tracks from Steve Bug, ESP Woody McBride, Fred Gianelli (DBX mix), Nimbus Quartet, Future Legends, and loads more.


The Missile camp is taking over.  Perhaps I we should just introduce a whole new section dedicated to Tim Taylor- as his label is one of the most undeviating for quality Techno/House, with the Midwest crew behind him all the way.  Out now is their first album release from the genius DJ Slip with ‘Slipotika’.  Three pieces of vinyl and pure brilliance, opening up with ‘Broken Cake’ a deep twisting Techno experiment.  Each track varies with different flavors combining Electro (‘Change Yer Fuckin’ Head’), abstract minimalism (‘Still Here’), Hip Hop (‘Roach Man & The Comet) and Reggae (Riding Off Into The Sunset’) beats all in a pure futuristic electronic washing machine titled the ‘Slipotika’ LP.  Setting high standards for things to come.

The next slew of releases are Inigo Kennedy’s double pack titled ‘Silent Tantrums’.  A producer to watch out for.  A diverse selection of Techno starting off with a deep rumbling building track, which drives you like a steam train.  This is the way the LP continues compressing the bass, distorting the frequencies.  An avantgardist educating us to a new sound.

The final release for Planet Of Drums is number 8 from DJ Hyperactive with a wicked, minimal, tribal percussion track.  The last in this incredible series- which has to be bought if you have all the previous P.O.D releases.  Complete the collection.
But not to worry, as a shuffle round is made, a new label created whose name is yet to be disclosed and will cater to the more experimental material- such as the Chancellor release that came out as Missile #21, leaving Missile with the dancefloor Techno.

The next out in September are #28 from Lester Fitzpatrick ‘Danger Room’ and #30 will be another Timeblind (Chris Sattinger) EP ‘I Was No Mind’

This month also saw the Missile camp jump-starting Freddie Fresh’s label Sockett in the UK.  The first release comes from Freddie himself with his son (taking up the pseudonym the Invisible Man).  It’s a cut master’s dream with snippets to play around with as well as full length Trip Hop, Electro, and minimal Techno cuts.

So, as you can see, this crew has been very busy- which is why I felt this issue we should dedicate such a large portion to such an assemblage.

The debut Missile compilation will be out this Winter with a tour throughout Europe and the US supported by Tim Taylor, DJ Hyperactive, and DJ Slip.  So harass your local promoter and lets get these innovators innovating your eardrums.

District 1

The Gathering

You may recognize this producer from AUK Recordings.  Their first release for Tortured is a deep, dark, Techno/Trance stomper which filters eerie effects.  The title track is sure to send you to Arkham.  ‘Leave Your Mark’ on the flip is my personal favorite here with a tribal feel, clean analog sounds and trancey drum session.
‘Earth Shaker’ is a warped funky groove.  Generally a sick 12″, not for beginners.
3 and a half party sausages.

Millstart/Jeff Mills 'Innerlife (5 to 9) / Medusa


On this limited record are the unreleased mixes taken from Jeff’s recent CD album ‘The Other Day’.  Both the usual high standard.
4 party sausages


Spirit Of Relaxation

“A bit of a break from the norm.”  A triple CD album, each with a different concept for relaxing ambient sounds stimulated from natures best stress relieving effects.  The first is ‘The Rain Forest’.  If you have ever picked up a rain-stick, turned it upside down, and listened to the noise, then that is a very general description.  Imagine sitting in the deepest forest in South America, a hot day in the shade after a gentle cool rain shower, lying on the ground just listening – there it is.  The next is ‘Dolphins and Whales’: Sub-aquatic echolocation is the best therapy for tension.  Finally ‘The Ocean’.  Sounds of the surf crashing gently onto the shore.  An excellent collection for everybody.  Perfect after a hard day working or partying, difficult times, or just rolling a Phillies and chilling.
5 party sausages

Frank Trax

Main Vein

A new label based out of London.  A great banging Hard Trancer that will please any Time Unlimited or Noom Records fan.  It even includes mixes from the proficient Commander Tom, and Tony Verdi..  You can’t go wrong with this.  Sure to be a hit with the likes of Gonzo (NY), so if you are reading this, watch out.
4 party sausages.

The Groove Tribe

Multiply EP

I’ll have to make sure I get this right now… Jay Denham, the chief behind Black Nation.  This new label just keeps getting better.  Hard Techno funk as the press release describes it and I can’t think of a better description.  ‘Bad Dreams’ is fairly abstract yet will resonant through your speakers to shake the walls and make you shake your thang.  Innovative and another in the Fragmented series not to miss.
5 party sausages.

Killer Loop & DJ Sneak

The End

I’m not really into the Sneak mix- a bit too commercial sounding with the mellow Disco sound.  The Killer Loop mix is a solid trancey House groove with a continuous vocal sample of ‘Yeah, the beat’ which later breaks into a slow breakbeat.
2 and a half party sausages.


Aphrohead 10

Felix Da Housecat’s first LP on his label and a double.  Excellent Chicago House, with each track as diverse as the next.  Favorites are ‘Blindmanwilly’ which has a Country square dance feel with harmonica but certainly not influenced from any cowboy I could see ‘ye hah’ing or swinging his partner.  The other is ‘While They Watch’.  Swirling open to come diving in with a thumping  bass line then exposing the ‘highs’ to maximum dancefloor effect.  The other four cuts are deeper Chicago grooves reminiscent of Radical Fear.  “There are no boundaries – Welcome to Thee light”.
5 party sausages.


Experience Grooves

A great pumping club anthem Techno/Trancer more on the progressive tip.  A funky organ riff accompanied with melodic overtones and a solid bass kick.
3 party sausages.

Jaime Read

The End Of The Beginning

Just four releases into this label and they hit us with a double album.  A Jazz influenced Detroit sound crossed with a Deep House groove.  ‘After The Rain’ starts the album off with chimes with delicate tom-toms and abstract soothing chords.  It continues in this vein with ‘Timewave’ taking up a Japanese touch and onto ‘On The Surface Of The 9th Moon’  gliding into a lunar eclipses.  It picks up on a Tech-Funk Daliesque mission with ‘Swans and Elephants’.  His influences are evident on the album with tracks being dedicated to Armando with ‘Tribute To Gallop’ and Jaime’s pseudonym L.H.A.S (Larry Heard Appreciation Society) with ‘L.H.A.S Pt.1’.  So perhaps we should not be crediting Detroit for this masterpiece, but Chicago.
4 party sausages.

Oliver Dodd


A brand new label and they hit us with this gem.  Every track is unique and I have played out at some point.  Extremely dancefloor effective monstrous Techno that will have you screaming for more.  It’s just damn good and hard to find so ask your local record store owner to order this in because you’ll be pissed if you miss it.  An honest review.  What more can I say?
5 party sausages for each track.

Massimo Vivona

Chronicles Of Sound

Part owner and main Artist on the Headzone label Massimo puts out his first LP.  A steady fusion of analog Deep Acid Trance.  But there is variation with a more Housey groove on ‘Control Freak’, and the melodic, Ambient, Dub selection of ‘Airtight’.  Overall a profound Trance album.
3 and a half party sausages.

Dave Hedger

Live To XS
Cut N’ Boost

The main man behind InnerSphere continues with his mad quest to mess with your mind and introduce you to new soundscapes.  His latest is a strong pumping psychedelic deep Techno monster with an old skool feel, melodic strings, and the groovy bass line will have you gyrating your funky stuff.
3 and a half party sausages.

Two Basement Boys

Crazy Shite
Trainspotters Nightmare

A straight up stomper with an Armani Chicago edge to it.  The open hi-hat and solid snare accompanying a thumping bass kick.  Nothing outstanding but will work on the dancefloor.
3 and a half party sausages.


Planet Rhythm

A limited 10″ the first of special concept releases for P-Rhythm.  The debut cut comes from a Slovenian duo tearing out this twist of minimal Techno funk, proving that  electronic music is truly a global language.  Look forward to hearing more from these two.
3 party sausages

The last issues snack Of The Month was The Cause, which I incorrectly credited as Jay Denham.  Scott Braithwaite and Craig Walsh are actually behind this pseudonym, Jay Denham had a mix.  Sorry guys.

Speedy J

Pannik/Patterns Remix

Yo this shit is da bomb.  If you are a fan of the Circuit Breaker ‘Track X’ then this is for you.  The opening track ‘Patterns Remix’ has a melodic intro before ripping into to a crazy mind twist of electronic mayhem, which continues to educate you with how far sounds that these instruments create can be pushed.  An epic orchestrated by a master.  ‘Pannik’  is a slower builder from a distorted low drum pattern accompanied by thunder cracking effects filtered in and out, until booming open with insane bells, and pounding bass to tear apart any dancefloor I could imagine.  Finally ‘Punnick’ is a heavy breakbeat pattern in a grated thunderstorm from hell.  Overall an absolutely incredible release that should go down in history.  Speedy J is the man with the masterplan.  Pure genius.
Priceless !!!!!

Robert Armani

Dance Mania

“What the fuck is this?” to quote my brethren from Philly.  Another breakthrough from the Chicago madman taking a stand.  I don’t even enough how to describe this one- unique that’s for sure.  Starting out immediately with a serious kick drum accompanied by some effects that sound like they come from chimes off a Grandfather clock.  A bass rumble break, crashing in with raw filtering, later to go into a wavy Chinese mandolin sound, but constantly driving you with the drums.  Robert is a prodigy.
5 barbecued party sausages.

Goes to Demetrius from Local 13 – no just kidding YA SUCKA!
The real villain here is John DeNoia of Dr. Rock Star Productions who directed people away from the event ‘Abracadabra’ in Asbury Park, New Jersey for some stupid reason, and falling out with the promoter of Digital Domain.  Whatever the excuse, that sort of behavior is not what the scene should support.  What happened to the unity?  A stunt like that can ruin someone and is pathetic.  If you’ve got a gripe with someone, confront them with it, don’t be a pussy and act spiteful.  This is obviously not a man who should be involved with our scene – so BEAT IT!!

Props go out to Alan Sax.  Also thanks to Anthony Munday and Jen Williams @ Oncet for a great Digital Domain party: The Realm at Club Expo in Manhattan.  I’d like to see more dancers like that.