Urban Connections: The Fourth Phase

The 4th chapter in the "Urban Connections" series, self-entitled after the netlabel's name, is finally here, and with a very nice roster of artists. If you didn't know, Urban Connections is an effort of Spanish artist Amper Clap, along with the worldwide collaboration of the great artists we have in our scene, that offers you a great display of the kind of talent we have around...all for free! 


This time around, the label has enlisted French-via-Japan Electro wizard Fleck E.S.C., along with Commuter, whom you may remember from his Bass Agenda release. We also see a nice collection of Spanish artists like Nikka, Robertiano Filigrano, MIDI K84, Negocious Man, Van-Shan, Replicante Norman, as well as some up and coming, and even fairly seasoned artists of the past several years. 


Starting off is Nikka, who signs his first song to the label with 'La Influenza", a deep atmospheric with complex layers of abstract creepy melodies, and mind-bending drones that swallow you whole from the get go. A great introduction! Following next, Commuter, hot on the heels from his Bass Agenda releases, signs "Optical Modulator" to the compilation with a funky Techno Bass jam reminding me a bit of Dopplereffekt, as the powerful cybernetic bassline and intriguing arpeggiator drive forward with fury. Punishing tune!


Up next we have Dusko Janevski, who increases the pressure with "The Warning", as the distorted beats pound the floor with precision, met by frantic and relentless sequencing that gallops like a robotic horse heading into battle. If the Hip Hop flavor of Negocious Man's "Pandemia"; a fierce and bizarre theme to make you move with a bit of minimalism, doesn't get you bobin' your head, then perhaps Replicante Norman's "Paradizo Tenebroso"; a radiant and spellbinding tune full of ingenuity, will do it for you as the intelligent programming takes you down the rabbit hole into a mysterious underworld where only he can guide you. Great work! Loving this tune.


Cybereign's "Tokyo On Mars" is where we begin to find a space around us that fills with marvel as the sonic frequencies dialed in here rain down on us like stardust. An amazing opus of gentle pads that bend with charm as the playfulness of the song unravels into a beautiful, sentimental atmospheric decorated delicately with Japanese vibes. 


Vaimler, recently also out on his new "Zephyr" release on Supreme.ja Music, offers "Monolith" to the compilation, which bumps everything back into warp speed as the ferocious Electro beats knock down everything in their path. Its like being in the middle of a major battle in the stars, as the rebellious maneouvers of this cold and highly calculated tune strike with uncanny precision at mercenary forces. 


MIDI K84, coming up next, is here remixed by label mastermind Amper Clap, who re-introduces "Malenkonia" as an elegant downtempo, almost "Trip Hop" like tune, full of emotive synths, deep growling basses, and complex percussion, making this so far the most beautiful song on the record in my opinion. Composed and produced with absolute class and mastery. 


Coherer's extended mix of "Neurologic" gets back to the funk as the tempos increase, meeting you with glitched out vocal samples, unruly drones, vibrant arpeggios, and this overall apocalyptic sense of melancholy that sneaks in as the merciless beats carry forward with full determination. Like the last stand of humanity against its enemy, unwilling to back down knowing that we may fall regardless of whether we fight or not. Wicked track, very inspiring!


French Japan based wizard Fleck ESC sweeps the rug out from under our feet with his quirky, slightly mischevious computations that get us back to the rebellious space funk that is Detroit Techno Bass. Bleeps and glitches fire from side to side as the song seems to self-destruct before our very ears. Always fun and energetic  to listen to Fleck's tunes! The gloomy synths you will find here later in the song are very warm and classic, a bit like some of Mandroid's work.


Van Shan once again takes the energy level down a bit, and hops on the Breaks bandwagon led by a warm, tight 303 sequence that gets carried along by mid-tempo breakbeats. The drones alone in this song pierce right through you, but in general this song offers great complexity, and goes back to the golden years of the Rave era with a bit of innovation.


Robertiano Filigrano begins to lead us towards the final chapter of this compilation, with an amazing downtempo Hip Hop tune, reminding me a bit of DJE's absolute classic "Defiler" from Global Surveypr Phase 3 on Dominance Electricity some years back. Punchy beats, brooding pads, and mysterious gleaming stabs create a suspenseful, intriguing tune. Very intelligent, and elegant in its own way. 


Lastly, Cybereign signs another treat to the compilation, this time a wonderful Electronica gem reminding me a bit of Dagobert's works, powered by classy broken beats with carefully reverberated elements, as the alluring synths elevate us to another level right before taken aback by the melancholic vocoders and keys that come in a bit later. Absolutely beautiful song!


You gottta get all of these compilations if you are looking to see just how much the Electro scene is evolving as we not only continue to innovate, but also retain a close connection to the roots. All of these 4 are free, and available on the Urban Connections Bandcamp page, and feature such a wide range of styles, all with the upmost quality of composure and production, that you may find this is all you'll listen to for a while...and you won't be unhappy about that! Support the underground!





Written by: Santino Fernandez

March 2016