BRIGHTON'S UNDERGROUND TECHNO AND ELECTRONICA RECORD LABEL
"OUR HOUSE IS OPEN"
NELMAN - INDUSTRY
NELMAN - “Industry”
(release date - 15/05/20)
Nelman first featured on City Wall Records back in March 2011 with his Nukleon release. Label manager Ross Harper knew straight away that this quiet Hungarian producer had a rich talent. This was confirmed when his track Train Yard was picked up by Speedy J and Dave Clarke. The way Nelman caught that 90s techno trance spirit was just perfect for City Wall and now looking back at how Nelman’s production work has evolved is a true testament to what can be achieved with hard work and pure determination. And so here is “Industry”. These four tracks exemplify the sheer creative depth this man has quarried in his life. So deep dive with us again into minimal and gritty industrial techno.
Track 1: “Industry” – Industry is put simply, “real techno music”, there is no “formula” here, this is pure creative gold dust, the neat punchy ball of grit of a kick drum and the quality percussion all sit in the backdrop of noise and mechanical grind. Industry indeed.
Track 2: “Analog Surface” – Continuing the machine theme, repetitive driving percussive elements and heavy tonal compression. The thundering clatter of the deep kick, this all comes together to feel like a cross between the factory floor and an alien spacecraft control room.
Track 3: “Fusion” – Rude. This is rude techno. Unremitting, exploratory, fresh and fearless. Clicks, pops, amplitude incongruence, this just says “stuff it, lets play with noise and have some fun”. Perfect for the experimental DJs among us.
Track 4: “Unless” – The odd one out here, but it is also featured for a good reason. The slower tempo and tonal riff give a slightly minimal tech house feel, yet that strong 4/4 kick means we can’t really call it house, so let’s go with minimal techno. All in all, a genre bending track.
ROSS HARPER - OPEN HEART
ROSS HARPER - “Open Heart”...Release Date: 01/05/20...
“More and more I am sensing that the only thing that matters in my music is “feeling”, technical stuff, musical intelligence, power, strength, depth, quality, all of these are meaningless, the only thing that really matters is to convey a feeling”
Track 1: “Open Heart” - A bright uplifting thumper with a super attractive clap that just cuts through the mix. The simple but spell blindingly powerful percussion draw your attention in closer and closer to the beautiful, beautiful bubbly lead synth, and it is this lead, coupled with the signature Ross chimes that make “Open Heart” a slice of dance floor heaven.
Track 2: “The Sickle” - Inspired by his time at Glastonbury in 2019, Ross was dancing to some techno in field and he felt a deep yearning for the DJ to drop a constant sub bass drone, but it never came, and so the concept for “The Sickle” was born. And it is that feeling of freedom, of dancing in a field to a booming beat, that gave rise to the vocal snippet, “here we live forever”.
Track 3: “Identity Crisis” - Sooo deep, sooo dubby, sooo trippy. People have commented on Ross’s “twinkly sounding” works, saying they want more of it. Well, “Identity Crisis” has it in spades. It’s a sound and a feeling that simply cannot be put into words. It’s something like an alien desert landscape combined with a Neolithic standing stone. Unfamiliar yet somehow “meant to be”, completely separate yet somehow perfectly united.
Track 4: “Japanese Space Age” - All about feeling. A throw back to his time in 90s rave chill out zones but with an exotic oriental twist! “Japanese Space Age” speaks of the past, but is also a signpost to the future, expect more alternative electronica from Ross in the coming months with his new album on the way including artwork from the award winning Iva Troj. Ross’s last album “Homecoming” saw support from none other than Martin Gore of Depeche Mode.
ROSS HARPER - DIVINE
ROSS HARPER - “Divine”...Release Date: 03/04/20...After recent plays on Nemone’s Electric Ladyland on BBC Radio 6 Music and Rob Zile’s Brain Food on Kiss FM Australia, Ross returns with “Divine”. This 4 track EP offers an ethereal slice of deep electronic experimental beauty.
Track 1 – “Divine”...The perfect intro track for any deep house or techno set, uplifting ohhs and ahhs coupled with fairy lights of twinkling goodness. Slap over a tough 4/4 beat, shuffling percussion and a naughty acid line and the result is Divine!
Track 2 – “New Approach”...Wow! Just wow! Ross continues a common theme of his with the use of synthetic heavenly voices but this time the soaring strings and deep techy beats become the centre piece. This track is just soooo dreamy! Be carried away in the arms of the heavenly goddess.
Track 3 – “Come On”...Hard and dark, sinister and disturbing, commanding and pungent. The incessant vocal hook, “Come on”, reminiscent of the Jam and Spoon classic but missing all the love, this “Come on” is far more of a directive or maybe even a demand!
Track 4 – “Experiment”...Jump into Doctor Who’s “TARDIS” and come back with me to mid 90s, old skool trance vibes right here. Ross limited himself to 8 tracks to see what would happen, the result is pure magic!
NELMAN - IN THE JUNGLE
Nelman - In The Jungle... City Wall presents this 4 track single where @gabor.nelman gifts us a variety of leftfield experimental minimal techno tracks all of which would work nicely as DJ tools. Mix 1 plays with distorted kick drums and splattered intermittent percussions, it’s like there is a message but it’s lost in the jungle. Mix 2 starts to pronounce things a little more clearly with a stab riff from the outset, some tonal jabs throughout and some more of those splaying percussive motifs. Mix 3 - now this one I love! Nelman sticks with the jilted juddery percussive minimal techno beats and now throws in this stilted bleep noise riff, truly the message is starting to emerge from the jungle. Mix 4 - things get even more distorted! Where’s that message gone! And that bleep noise riff has mutated into something gritty and screeching, reach for your ear protection!!! Keep the love, words by Ross at City Wall.
UVEN - BLACK MAGIC
Uven – Black Magic (EP)…Out today via most online streaming and download platforms. This release is simply beautiful music! I remember when I first heard the tracks at Uven’s studio, I just had to sit down, close my eyes and remember to breathe. Uven’s background as a drummer, coupled with his studio experience of programming synths just shines through here. The first track on the EP, “The Sad Life of Yours Truly” seems to tell a story which is somewhere between sad and uplifting, a story which is full of mystery from beginning to end. With track 2, “Ugglan” the deep mystery continues with a feeling that is like walking through a misty moorland, sinister yet also comforted. Track 3, “Plotzensee”, ironically, juxtapositioned against the name, this track feels fresh, alive and even zesty! So was it named after the lake or the prison? And finally, track 4, the title track, “Black Magic”, this one is just so sublime! The creeping rising pad, the tantalising arp mini riff, all masterfully conducted with Uven’s subtle variations on pitch, filters and stereo movement, bravo! This one is bound to leave any audience entranced and gently blown away by the sheer grace of the emotive power. Loads of DJ / radio / magazine support already coming in, the list is endless, but I’ll try and name a few… @erickmorillo , @jamiejonesmusic , @richie.fingers , @the_thrillseekers …And below are some of my favourite comments… ...
“Wow! These tracks are so atmospheric and deep, they stop you doing anything else so you can just immerse yourself”
Simon Boulind (Barcelona City FM) ...
“In love with this release!”
Jay Hill (Hot Creations) ...
“A totally fantastic package”
Peter Borg (Mi Soul Radio) ...
“LOVE IT ALL”
Bryant Littlejohn (Global Vibes Mixshow) ...
“Such a great EP!!”
Xaric (Cosmos Radio)
CITY WALL RETROSPECTIVE (PART 1)
I established City Wall Records back in 2008 as I wanted to create a space where artists could release quality original music. Fast forward 12 years and music on City Wall has been played by just about every underground A-list DJ. So in celebration of these many successes I decided it was about time I brought together some of our most well received tracks to present a showcase, hence “City Wall Retrospective” came to be (released today at all good streaming and download platforms). Here’s a few of the headlines about the notable tracks, Tuomas Rantanen’s “Cyprok” – featured as first track after the intro in SNTS’s infamous 2019 Kompass Boiler Room set which is currently sitting at almost 300k views and widely regarded as one of the standout techno sets of recent times. Akkya’s “Enuma Elish” – featured in Ancient Methods 2015 Berlin Boiler Room set, also now at almost 300k views. Ross Harper’s “Pink Boots” – played by Depeche Mode founding member Martin Gore in his pre-record warm up set for the Delta Machine Tour. Nelman’s “Train Yard” – lead track in Dave Clarke’s White Noise Radio Show in September 2012. Ross Harper’s “Walking in the Clouds (South Side remix)” – hammered by Laurent Garnier back in 2008. Tuomas Rantanen’s “Nanyangosaurus” – featured by Charlotte de Witte in her Spotify All Night Playlist October 2019. The compilation also features some of the labels beautiful downtempo and electronica releases, like Dorian Gray’s “Approach” which was used by Sandrien on SLAM radio back in 2014. All in all this Retrospective will give you a wonderful feeling of what City Wall is about. Peace and techno, Ross Harper (Founder, City Wall Records). ...
ROSS HARPER - EMBARGO
Ross Harper - Embargo... Hard industrial tones, rolling rides, a relentless thumping kick encircled by a twisting acidic riff, it feels like it will never rest. Then the breakdown arrives with angel wings, heavenly voices lift the scene and welcome back the industrial madness, this is all love hidden in the techno. But really this is a smashing double A-side with Breathtaking following up where Embargo left off. And SLAM! there it is, like being on a mad horse roller coaster but this ride never stops, rolling, rolling, rolling, the organic home made loops and rhythms are something wild, and coupled with the rising falling rising falling rising falling organ like musical beauty, things get way out of hand. But it is the the cosmic energy of what is delivered in the breakdown that takes this track to another super deep level, this is musica. And yes, there is a B-side for those that want something very deep and very raw, try Ultimate Creation, slap goes the kick bass drop, this energy is cold and cool, like coming out of a sauna into a plunge pool, minimal baby, minimal. And then there is this eerie acid spiral that is like something of the fruit of Genesis, does it ruin it or does it make it better, you decide? Much love, Ross (The Caretaker, City Wall Records).