‘Blurred Image’ is Sheffield based producer Chro-Mag’s fifth release, and first under the
Sub-Label Recordings banner.

The first track ‘Warped Heart’ starts with ethereal, emotive atmosphere and quickly develops into an aggressive 4/4 beat, with evolving and somewhat Dub inspired synth stabs and vocals. The contagious drum grooves slowly develop throughout the track while Chro-Mag subtly and effectively removes and introduces new elements into the music, keeping the listener fully engaged throughout.

‘Slipstream’ has a completely different feel from the previous track, with a brooding drone and intense percussion leading into a solid drum rhythm followed by more vocal stabs, the main synthline dominates the main vibe of the track while it travels from ear to ear leading the track to new progressions and making room for the arpeggiated lead which distorts and mutates before releasing back into a solid 4/4 Techno groove.

‘Blurred Image’ is the title track of the EP and it does exactly that, it creates a blurred mixture of ‘Warped Heart’ and ‘Slipstream’, using the dark drones the listener has just experienced in this previous track with the melodic and Dub influences heard in the opening track. ‘Blurred Image’ really sets the pace for the whole EP and glues in together to make a cohesive piece of music. Listening to each track individually will create a very unique experience whilst just putting on the EP and letting it run its course will leave the listener envisioning a late night Techno basement club gradually progressing with each track.

Overall the ‘Blurred Image’ EP is a solid and experimental Techno EP which successfully pulls off the risks that Chro-Mag has taken. These three tracks will make an impact in the Techno world.

With his ‘Don’t Hide’ EP, Chemitoe brings us ‘Don’t Hide Tonight’. Coming from Buffalo, NY, this is a development of house and pop styles that works brilliantly well with the infectious vocal line that is cleverly manipulated throughout the track.

The synth arpeggiated riff is created using a techno or trance style lead which gives a really nice contrast against the rounded bass and smooth vocals. The development of the riff through the breakdown is really nice toilets to and give real depth to the performance of the part.

The drums sounds great, with a strong progression and development throughout the track that holds the structure and drives the arrangement, building energy as the track rises.

The rest of the EP is also worth checking out, I really liked the piano part in ‘Where’s Luna’ as a contrast to the pumping and breathing elements in the rest of the track.

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The track Boom by Jecin George is an upbeat future house styled piece that really has some brilliant musical elements in that are great to listen to. The track has you reaching for the volume dial to increase the energy that shifts throughout the track. I really enjoy upbeat music and this is perfect for the summer DJ sets that are upon us.

The drums are punchy and crisp which is a must in this style, there is a lovely reverberant space around the drums that really add to the atmospheric value of the track. With clever vocal and synth manipulation throughout, this track keeps you on your toes while listening, and if you haven’t started to move to this, i’m really not sure what will get you out of your seat! There are many different house and trance elements that come through the track and it is clear the Jecin George isn’t locked in to one style of music, for his productions and also for their influences.

The motif over the top of the track played on a slightly metallic marimba , is fun to listen to and happy by nature. A cool phrase that sticks in your mind and you almost want more of, even though it is well placed in the track. Overall, this is a great showcase of music production talent.

Starting with a lush pad and atmospheric birds, Twelve Step Program bring us this smooth liquid drum and bass number which does not disappoint. There is such grace and soul in this track, that it makes you feel warm and alive while listening to it.

The mix is not aggressive at all and I would say that this is a testament to the producer’s mindset and love of organic sounds. There is a floating character in this track that is continually evolving and pushing the music forward. In more musical ideas, the arpeggiated riff washed in reverb is this floating presence, but knowing where this mood comes from doesn’t alter the tone or the feel of the track.

The drums are smooth and well structured and support the track brilliantly allowing the focus to be left on the impressive musicality within this track. I really look forward to hearing more from Twelve Step Program.

With the release of his latest album, Payan, the Austrian electronic music producer shows us his desire to create music that inspires and puts a smile to the face of the listener. The first track of the most recent release, ‘Tropical Mind’ does this perfectly. With a blend of instruments that would be at home in a dance floor house track, but with more spacing and deliberateness to the development of the track due to the slightly slower tempo.

The tropical sense in the track comes from the higher percussive melodic parts that really have some lovely moments within the performances. There is a beautifully chopped vocal part that dances around giving depth to the track and a personable element that draws you in again.

The mix of the track is great to listen to, with natural dynamics and a really well thought out progression. This leads on to the rest of the album which does not disappoint, drawing on many influences that impact on Payan’s musical direction.

CELO brings his unique dnb influences to the fore front with his release. A two track EP including this track “Warm Up” and “Tow 67”, both spectacular tracks that would light up the dance floor in most venues. CELO has a fantastic drum production and the variations and alterations to the patterns keep the track interesting from the first beat through the break and in to the driving second half. The break down has some really nice reverse sounds swirling in a cold reverb that sweeps off into the distance. All before the heavy bass and saw tooth synths scrape in the extremes of the stereo image.

Hearing the progression and inspired development within the track is the type of music that really is enjoying to listen to and be able to focus on the different ideas that must have been floating around the producers mind at the time of writing. “Tow 67” is much the same, filled with crisp drums, interesting variations and smooth synths. This is a real pair of tracks, that are clearly from the same mindset and are both amazing to listen to.

CELO is a passionate music producer, this is obvious just from listening to any of his work. Whenever I see a release from him, I know it is going to be big.

A Million Dreams released their first single of the year with ‘Sorcerer’, a beautiful track built around a luscious chord progression and fantastic set of electronic instruments. There is a real soul to this piece of music, which of course comes from the emotion behind the chords, but the mix is sympathetic to the ear, inviting the listener to focus on the other elements within the track that build up the melodic instrument layer.

The drums are not overbearing, sat in the back of the track allowing for the rich synths to take the focus, but present enough to allow the kick to give the track a heartbeat, an extra level to the depth. In reality, this is a very simple track, but more often than not, these are the best tracks because the complexity is able to come through because we can hear everything in the song. There is a subtle arpeggiated part that sparkles under the chord which I really enjoyed.

You can check out A Million Dreams on Spotify.

Jack Bacon drops his ‘Dark Matter EP’ on Sub-Label Recordings and the track ‘Icarus’ is an absolute blinder. A near 7 minute exploration of the atmospheric sides of techno and deeper music.

The track starts with a progressive beat with beautiful evolving pads that swell and move around the stereo field allowing the smaller details to jump through the mix. All of the synth work that follows and develops throughout the track is brilliant and really enjoyable to listen to. The bell like sounds that flutter over the top of the track give so much expression, and this is all before the arpeggiated pad riff floats in from the background before propelling the track forward.

The glitchy percussion exaggerates the beat and gives a sense of urgency to the track that really brings it to life, complimenting the smooth pads and rolling reverbs.

As a debut release on the label, this is a really strong collection of tracks and if you dive in further and listen to Aeris and Orbis as well, you will be well and truly satisfied with you 20 minutes spent floating through the atmospheric techno that Jack Bacon really has down to a fine art.

Liquithority drops another huge track unto the world with ‘War Lord’, a more intense and slightly darker piece of music, that still captures the unique sound and style that is the Manchester producer to a t.

The drums are crisp and punchy, driving the track forward and providing structure to the brilliantly spaced instrumentation and mix of synths that dance around the stereo field. The snare drum rolls and ticks along with such a groove that really adds the feel of a human player to the part. The drums, bass and synth sound design in this track is really spot on and listening in headphones only exaggerates the space that has been produced in this track.

As always, I am very impressed with the musicality and production from Liquithority, seeing a new track released by him always brings a smile to my face. This track doesn’t fail to do that either, my favourite sound in the track is the distant bass that introduces a key change towards the second half of the track showing the depth of musical knowledge and mixing technique. This is brilliant, check it out now.

FERG release their incredibly creative track “123” on Stripes Records, this is a masterful piece of music that needs to be experienced, not just listened to. The instrumentation is interesting and somewhat unusual, although, each sound is perfectly crafted and given it’s own space within the mix. The width in the stereo imaging is incredible, with some of the high synth sounds seemingly jumping out of the speakers horizontally.

The reverb on the vocal stab and the cavernous space that this creates rolling away in to the background is unreal. I couldn’t help but smile listening to this. The introduction of the mallet type instruments to almost give more stimulus to the listener perfectly compensates the lack of words with in the vocal part. It is really very well put together and I am particularly inspired listening to this.

This track, in my opinion, borrows from so many genres that it almost shouldn’t work, but then again, thats probably why it does. The selection of instruments is really well thought out with each sound able to contradict and compliment the other parts of the arrangement. The dynamics in the mix rise and fall and build a really interesting energy as the track progresses. Brilliant piece of music that I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to listen to.