Topdown Dialectic is a mysterious project from unidentified individuals, dedicated to dense and heavy dub-techno with an experimental edge and influences from ambient, drum’n’bass, abstract textures. After some cassette and digital only releases, they saw their self-titled debut album on Californian label Peak Oil in 2018, and now they return on the same label with Vol.2. This new work is a further step in their evolution which doesn’t change their nature, but redefines their style into a stronger and elegant art-techno sound with a laid-back and intriguing atmosphere. Passages like A1 or A4 showcase glimpses of melodies and slow broken rhythms underlined by eerie synths and sparse stronger beats and vocal samples, giving us a sort of post-human chill-out ambiances – closer to ambient and modern house then current techno. A2 and A3 are characterized by busier moments with looping rhythmic patterns and suave voices, the latter featuring broken chords and chopped and screwed effects. The B side offers more of this with placid mantras like B1 and B4 enriched by downtempo movements and heavily modified vocals in the first case, mutated tribal-house with r’n’b innuendos the latter, B2 and B3 are faster pieces with ambient-techno elements and droning sounds, as well as old-school dub moments with different sources. This is not a club-oriented work for sure, instead we have here an experience meant to be listened while relaxing and meditating.
UVB is the moniker of French producer Sébastien Michel, active since 2014 in the field of contemporary techno with hard sounds and industrial elements. He has a plethora of release under his belt, from the albums Life and Testosterone to EPs like What I’ve Learned, A Lie’s Glory, Remembering The Heat – all with some variations but always characterized by hypnotizing rhythms and punishing electronics. All Or Nothing is his last offering published on his label Body Theory, a 4-track vinyl with captivating techno-industrial bangers made for underground clubs and sweaty dancing nights. The first track Destroy The Wicked is a declaration of intent: after grim atmospheres and heavily distorted effects, a pounding motif underlined by a grinding riff takes its place dominating the ride. Hard kicks and cutting snares complete the scene while the sonic tension grows into a powerful attack taking no prisoner. So We Might Live is an earthquake in the making, a number destroying everything in its path thanks to distorted kick drums robotic synths with noisy qualities and obsessive movements. The track climaxes in a club-oriented voyage not for the faint of heart, a collection of walls of sound and rhythmic aggression. The title track is a fast ride on a pounding bass sounds, a groovy assault with riffing industrial distortions, while Resurrected ends the EP with a snare-drum-driven moment with looping sounds and monolithic onslaughts.
New York based artist Maedon a.k.a Maeghan Donovan is a new player in the field of techno-industrial music. Previously active as techno/minimal synth producer pulsewidthmod, she now explores under the new moniker harder territories with EBM bass-lines and factory-like kick drums. The fact she has been chosen by Adam X for the release of her debut Against His Will on Sonic Groove speaks volumes about the quality of music here presented. Illusion opens the EP with a throbbing lines enriched by sampled vocals and shrilling effects. A combative bass sounds united with cybernetic electronics is the main theme of a futuristic chase in space. Old-school synths and obsessive rhythms complete the scene. Limited Hangout follows suit with its droning bass-line and sci-fi soundscapes, a thrilling mantra with minimal melodies and exciting atmospheres. Special Report dwells well into frantic techno/EBM territories, a compulsive episode with a growing energy which sees the adding of elements in a laser-tinged scenario. 4/4 kick-drums and perfectly placed vocal samples project us in an 80’s movie full of battleships and neon lights. Alchemy ends the journey with an ecstatic dance for robots made of minimal synth sounds and steady beats. Modular sounds and hypnotizing loops move amidst technicolor atmospheres and electro-industrial innuendos. A great debut that we hope will be followed by other great works. A very welcome addition to the scene.
Crystal Geometry – State Of Play
After a series of successful EPs on Sonic Groove French producer Maxime Fabre returns with his moniker Crystal Geometry for a new venture in the world of propulsive techno/EBM with fast rhythms and robust kicks. He debuts on the prestigious German label Hands with State Of Play, a 4-track vinyl and digital release informed by EBM, hard techno, noise, electro-industrial and featuring male and female vocals for a more vocal-driven experience than in the recent past. The result is a very strong effort further cementing is name and role in current techno-industrial music. Political themes reincarnate in his music, techno with a mission and a message: revolt against the system that is killing you. Totale Aliénation is perfect opener, a mix of old-school techno and abrasive bass-lines of EBM’s lineage devoted to dark atmospheres and destructive rhythmic patterns. Chanting vocals enrich the tension ready to explode in bombastic mantras. Deathcare USA starts with ominous sounds and noise-tinged effects while a dominating voice declaims its statement. Hardcore elements and cyberpunk bass-lines guide us toward female vocals and motifs full of suspense. Torches In The Streets inflames the floor with unforgiving kick-drums and distorted arpeggios, opening itself to old-school techno synths and grooves. Snares and electro-industrial moments have their say too, giving us a mutant track with a lysergic atmosphere. Enslaved welcomes us with broken rhythms and eerie lines before exploding with sawing bass sounds and stomping rhythms. The episode sees nice melodic touches in an evolving roller-coaster made of grandiose crescendo, a very effective and emotional take on the genre recalling 90’s dark electro. Crystal Geometry confirms his status as an A player in his field and a reference for any future artists working with techno, EBM and industrial.