The Techno Kittens

Underground electronic music blog | Techno | House | Garage | Bass


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headphone review

We’ve been testing out the brand new in-ear headphones from Audio TechnicaWe passed them around the TTK team, here are our thoughts:

What B-me said…

Let me open this review with a little disclaimer: I am not a regular user of in-ear headphones. Personally, I find them a little uncomfortable and lacking in bass, I prefer over ear semi-closed back headphones for the wide outdoors, they are more comfortable, and almost always better for bass heavy electronic music. To this review is written from that perspective…

What you get

The ATH-CKX7iS inner ear headphones from Audio-Technica are a mid-range inner ear headset developed for use with smart phones, they feature a c-tip design that holds the headphones in your ear and a rotating eartip. There is a built in volume control, mic and call button for use with smart phones. They come with a variety of tip sizes and a carry case.

Comfort and build 

In terms of comfort, once you get used to them, the rotating eartip and c-tip work well, they hug your ears and for an inner ear design, are more comfortable than most. The spare tips provided include memory foam tips for blocking out noise.  The build seems rugged enough to last a fair while and the flattened cables seem tough and so far seem to have prevented the inevitable tangles that you get with inner ear headphones.

Sound 

I tested these headphones with a range of electronic music from jungle to IDM as well as some old Jazz records. The sound has a nice warmth to it, however this has resulted in a lack of separation between sounds and a slight muddiness. The high range frequencies are nice and bright but as you might expect, the bass was lacking.  Thanks to the solid build, they don’t leak much so your less likely to annoy others when blasting tunes on the bus or train.

Smartphone features 

It is a nice added bonus to have a hands free kit built into your headphones, and the ATH-CKX7iS’s features work a treat. However, the volume control is an analogue slider, so you need to set your phone at the desired max level for the slider to operate within the volume range you want. This does of course mean the volume control will work with any equipment you plug it into, so there is an upside to this.

Verdict 

Audio-Technica have not converted me to inner ear sets, while I was impressed with the sound, it didn’t get close to that of other, over ear sets of the same price. However, they are more comfortable than I expected, rugged, and full of useful features. If you prefer inner ear then check these out!

What the rest of us said…

“A pair of comfortable in-ear headphones with balanced sound but just slightly lacking on bass.  The 360 pivot is a cool idea but I don’t think it adds any benefit.” - Leigh

“Once I’d wiggled these to sit perfectly in my ears they delivered a lovely clear shot of sound. I really liked the way they stayed put and kept outside noise out. Perfect for using at work or on the tube.” - Nicola

You can grab the Audio Technica ATH-CKX’s from their online store here RRP £60.00


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FEEL MY BICEP 002 | ALBUM TRAILER

feel my bicep

Belfast tastemakers, Bicep, are back at in again with another entry into their love affair with pastiche house music. The boys released a preview for their new album out on their own label, Feel My Bicep. The album is a nod to everything that their blog curates, as well as deep cuts from years past. There is not much information on the EP with the exception of the preview video. The VHS inspired trailer is a nostalgic interpretation of 80s b-side films placed over the EP’s tracks.  From the video it looks as if there will be three original tracks on the album: Satisfy, The Final Trip, and Snackbar.

Take a gander at the video below. The 12″ is available for pre-order on Juno and Phonica. Get it while it’s hot, I have a feeling this album will sell out soon after the release date.

Stay up with Bicep on their Twitter, Soundcloud or Blog

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words | Cassidy


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EP REVIEW | NORTH LAKE | MOONWALKER

moonwalker

As an American vinyl junkie, I have the fantasy of one day walking into Phonica Records to go on a field day where I drop hundreds of pounds on wax that I could never find over here in the states. Their curation is so good that they’ve decided to start pressing their own albums. Their next release comes from an American from the remote upper peninsula of Michigan, North Lake. The Moonwalker EP combines diy analog synth nostalgia with club friendly grooves. Simply put, it does it for me. The synths are chunky, dusty, and evoke a future-classic feel. The album has it’s own identity, and isn’t too egotistical.

The lead track, Marlborol Noir, sounds like if Boards of Canada made a techno album. The bassline is reminiscent of the patch from ROYGBIV. The structure of the tune is dreamy and relaxed.  The most club accessible tracks come are on the b-side of the cut. The 909 drum grooves in Suomi Kutsuu are tasteful, and don’t overpower the synth’s daydreamy dialogue. Moonwalker is the dark chapter in the lot, and carries the most energy.

I look forward to hearing more from North Lake. In an era of Techno and House where the most niche sounds become quickly recycled, he has the ability to give a fresh perspective on what can be done in the structure, while still staying true to the long traditions of Detroit futurism.

pick up your copy at Phonica Records

be friends with North Lake on Facebook and Soundcloud

words | Cassidy


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ALBUM REVIEW: FULL BODY WORKOUT VOL.11

full body workout

Vol.11 of the Get Physical ‘Full Body Workout’ series comes from Swedish house biggie Tiger Stripes. There are 10 original tracks from the Get Physical extended family all with a bit of that cool sexy Get Physical sound. There’s a real mix of tracks on here from the dark and twisted to disco flavoured floor fillers to bouncy UK garage. It features some nice artist hook ups with a lot of ‘vs’ going on, kicking off with label owners M.A.N.D.Y. and their mate Julian Ganzer with ‘Japan’ a track which also features on ‘M.A.N.D.Y. Presents Get Physical On Ibiza’. In another great pairing Audiofly vs. Big Bully ‘I’ll Telll Ya (Coat Of Arms Remix)’ is deep, moody and atmospheric with a catchy bass line. Quite a few of the tracks are dark, twisted and warped and perfect for sweaty club corners like Julia Govor & Thierry Tomas ‘Nobody’ (creepy laughter and vocal samples), Ahmet Sisman & Nico Lahs ‘Whatever You Want’ (sexed up gyrating) and Balcazar & Sordo ‘Sacrifice’ (dangerous). Tigerskin & The Lazarusman score a dancefloor winner with ‘What is Real?’ a jumpin’ track with a big squelchy warping bass line and hip-hop and electro influences. JOHNWAYNES ‘Worth It’ features intergalactic warbling over a nice groove and really kicks in the middle to take you on a twinkly star filled space ride. Mark Deutsche & Musoé feat. Nick Maurer ‘Give Yourself’ takes a romantic turn with 80’s synthed-up vocals and an epic ballad feel where as penultimate track from Someone Else ‘Mr. Dance feat. Adeline’ turns on the funk for a disco inspired twirler. The best is saved for last though, UK boy James Silk ‘Please U’ has got a big helping of that UK garage sound we love and a big baddass booty shakin’ bassline, diiiirty.

So as you can see a bit of everything and lots of mighty fine production from a class label. It certainly has the potential to get you pretty sweaty and it’s pretty damn summery too. A good party mix!

out now – buy it here

Also check out: http://www.getphysicalmusic.com/


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IBIZA – PLAN BE RE-OPENS THIS SEASON

plan be

You may remember Ibiza venue Plan Be launched last season but was sadly shut down after its opening party. Well now it’s back and opening its doors for the entire season after the licensing issues from last year are sorted!

Plan B is an exciting addition to the island and somewhere we were hoping to visit last year as they promised to make it about the people and the music once again and not about commercialising the scene! We’re told that over the last 12 months as well as working with the authorities they’ve been working with architects and specialist sound engineers so their weekly events will be going off without a hitch.

From Friday 12th July, Plan B will open its doors weekly with the events running from 6pm until midnight and will feature some quality resident DJs as well as some very special unannounced guests – their opening party last year featured Russ Yallop, Wildkats, Infinity Ink and Alexis Raphael. Kicking off this Friday they have Bushwacka and a special secret guest from Hot Creations.

We’re excited to see what Plan Be brings to Ibiza this season – it’s gonna be huge. Viva Plan Be!!
Be sure to follow them on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/plan.be.ibiza


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BEN HOO REMIXED

run of sevens

We featured Ben Hoo’s excellent album ‘Collected’ on TTK a few weeks back (read our review here). One track from the album ‘Run of Sevens’ has now been given the remix treatment by four of Hoo’s friends, producing some nice results. Our favourite of the four comes from Vaal (below), a stripped back glitchy minimal version with playful percussion and a sultry jazz vibe. There’s nearly 8 minutes of epic build up and atmospheric piano here which we’d love to hear out at a festival this summer. We’re also enjoying the Stefan Cordery remix, a deeper, darker club ready version.

listen to all the remixes and buy here

buy ‘Collected’ here

We’ve got an exclusive FREE DL of Vaal’s remix below…grab it while it’s hot!


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PAUL WOOLFORD – UNTITLED

untitled

Paul Woolford has scored a big winner here. Out on Scuba’s label Hotflush today ‘untitled’ is a glorious house track filled with soulful vocals and catchy keyboard work giving it an old skool vibe. It’s already been making serious waves on the dancefloor and the crowds are going to go crazy when this one is dropped at festivals. Possibly the biggie of the summer 2013…what do you think?

buy it here