New Plates – Hobo [Minus] / Ital [Planet Mu] / Ekoplekz [Public Information]

We’re only about a quarter of the way in but already it’s been a crazy good year for records. As soon as someone works out how to make the £9+ single 12” illegal we’ll be back in perfect stead.

Firstly, any guy making techno who calls himself Hobo is alright by me. That and the stunning artwork for Iron Triangle may have been a contributing factor in picking this up in the store to begin with. Not being a big Minus fan generally (Plastikman and Jake & Amber notably excluded) and vaguely recollecting unpurchased tunes from the artist a few years ago, I didn’t have high hopes for the sound on what I expected to be a minimal album. And though it was rubbish reason to pick up a record, the end result is that this 2LP album is currently top of the techno pile.

Hobo’s sound pulls off that incredibly difficult task of making slower-tempo techno that’s incredibly edgy; interesting and dark without unnecessary sample drops or bent electronics. First impressions are that it may even work on a summer’s day on a Croatian cliff-edge until you realise that the picturesque view ends with the bar owner attaching the American tourists’ bits to a battery. It’s sociable, disco-patterened in areas, perfect playout but crazily subtle and intricate in it’s overall message; an alter in the listening mood can take the record as a completely different offering. That said it’s not devoid of it’s UR influences, he’s delivered masterful techno that’s accessible coming from almost any electronic bearing.

Breaking it down there’s definite highlights, but it’s as an album that it goes next level. Evidently there was concepts of time and space between three prime locations between Canada and Detroit, but without any prior knowledge of what this is about it’s just refreshingly good electronic music. Came across the below ‘SMASH mix’ (who names these things?) from Meddlin Style – the whole album mixed in to about 12 minutes.


Over to the new Ital double-pack which is again a creative all-in, a melting pot of all Daniel Martin-McCormick’s styles and aliases. Not sure if this is a trend in quality production at the moment or something I’m just noticing, but similar to Hobo, Hive Mind the is embedded in experimentation from different sounds of the last few years. Layered and pieced together within the constraints of what’s called ‘house’, but distinctively trying to incorporate everything from juke to bass music to pitch-shifting, darker moods. The sort of crafting that goes in to a five-tracker like this makes a lot of the disco and house scene look lazy, and best of all makes for headphone listening and solid playout material in the same record. Hive Mind couldn’t have a better home than it does, as it seems to have been taking in a lot of elements from what’s made Planet Mu such a great label.


Yarp, new Ekoplekz, and as to be expected his reign over electronica continues with the Dromilly Vale EP on Public Information. The thing about Ekoplekz is that (as opposed to the two records above who’ve taken elements from what’s been hot recently) he’s defined his own style, and by watching his own sounds instead of other people’s is free to explore undefined musical territory.

The thing is that with Ekoplekz is With every plate he sounds more like a classical composer and less like a studio producer. His control and abilities with the machinery just get solidified with each release, as if spending so much time with his equipment has given him a real life techno-organic virus. It’s like he’s rapping, talking through the gear, and Dromilly Vale is so unique yet perfectly formed it sounds birthed straight from his brain.

Worth mentioning this one’s limited to 300 copies, and flying out, get on it quick.