Alright, I have been kind of slacking off a bit lately, so here is a massive post to make up for it. I have a lot to get through so I will spare everyone from reading the long-winded intros that I have become prone to. Here we go...
First things first, I got around to listening to the Azari & III Essential mix and I have to say it was really good. I wasn't a fan of their album from last year, but their take on the vintage electro sound is definitely well executed. I just feel like their productions don't hit hard enough for me. This mix on the other hand, has quite beefy. The only thing that bothers me is the lack of tracklist. I don't know when the BBC started okaying the absence of tracklists, but Azari & III have followed suit and decided to forego a list of the bangers they dropped. Of course with the collective force of the internet, most of the list has been unearthed. However, the best songs are still unknown on every site I checked, including an absolute banging remix of "Reckless (With Your Love)". I advise you to check it out here.
Azari & III Essential Mix
Second up, is it just me or is it suddenly the "cool thing to do" for drum and bass producers to make electro/ techno? Instra:mental did a full length of it last year, Commix have hinted at a similar direction for this year's album, and now ASC has fallen onto the techno track as well. He released an EP for Perc Trax entitled "Boundary Scan". The three track EP features two tracks that could very well be Instra:mental cuts. There are pseudo break-beats, 808s and sparse hints of brooding and squelchy synths; basically the Detroit via UK sound that is trending right now. The most interesting, as well as the best track on here is the third, "Capsule". This features a more steady rhythm and intricate melody, although not to be considered "catchy". The beat while simplistic at first, offers up enough subtle variation throughout to hold the attention of a home listener. On a dance floor however, it will certainly evoke sweaty riots.
ASC - Boundary Scan EP (Perc Trax)
Next order of business, the first serious heavy hitter of the year was released today. John Talabot's "Fin" came out on permanent vacation, and just from the samples I quickly scanned on beatport, it sounds good. Really good. The first track "Depak Ine" will certainly be one of the best tracks of the year, however I could not find it. Instead, he has another gem up on his soundcloud, in full I might add. Take a listen to this.
John Talabot - So Will Be Now feat. Pional (Permanent Vacation)
Last, but certainly not least, another beauty of a full length came out on Modeselektor's 50 Weapons imprint. Benjamin Damage and Doc Daneeka teamed up last year to deliver an epic track (it just barely didn't make my top 100 cut) called "Creeper". Though don't expect to hear a whole album of similarly styled maximal-bass-&-grime-infused-techno. The first third of the album is surprisingly sparse. "No One" is a deep house/ techno tune, while "Battleships" borrows aesthetics from future-garage while still sounding original at the same time. "Deaf Siren" however, is pure classic jackin' house. Indeed, this is the most compelling section on the LP.
There is also an album edit of "Creeper", which is a good inclusion, as it is not so old and so played out to have worn out it's welcome. "Charlottenburg" and "Juggernaut" are variations upon the Creeper theme, while "Halo" is a surprisingly mellow footwork track. Here are some samples for your ears.
Doc Daneeka & Benjamin Damage - They!Live Album Preview (50 Weapons)