Hardfloor's Latest Leads New Electronic-Music Releases

Mix discs by John Kelley, Taylor and Jimmy Van M round out week.

Veteran German techno duo Hardfloor release their fifth album Tuesday, leading a week of new electronic-music releases that also includes two mix-CDs by top American trance and techno DJs, as well as the second U.S. release by longtime French techno outfit Pills.fr.

Hardfloor, the Dusseldorf duo of Oliver Bendizio and Ramon Zenker, are among the most popular techno acts, having helped pioneer the intense German acid-house sound of the early '90s (fueled by the squiggly sounds of the Roland TR-303 bass synthesizer). So What?! is the pair's fifth full-length, and it refines their acid sound by adding bass-heavy rumblings, complex drum programming and warm textures on tracks such as "Communication" (RealAudio excerpt) and the title song.

Tuesday marks the first Stateside release by legendary UK club Ministry of Sound's record label, a double mix-CD called Trance Nation America, released by Ultra Records in the United States. The collection's two discs — one is mixed by Los Angeles trance DJ Taylor, the other by New York's Jimmy Van M — feature a Rabbit in the Moon remix of Garbage's "Milk" (RealAudio excerpt) and a Timo Maas mix of Kee Mo's "Madness" (RealAudio excerpt), and span trance's many forms, from mellow ambient stretches to soaring builds and releases.

Also on Tuesday, trance DJ John Kelley releases High Desert Soundsystem Volume 2, his fifth mix-CD on Moonshine Music.

The album explores progressive-house styles with Kelley's trademark tribal vibe and features music from Maas, Novy vs. Eniac and Trancesetters. Maas also shows up as a remixer on the Southside Spinners' "Luvstruck."

Kelley is a longtime resident DJ at the Full Moon Gatherings, long-running outdoor dance parties held in remote deserts east of Los Angeles. In his six-year career, Kelley has built a strong reputation, particularly on the West Coast, for his mix albums, which include the two popular volumes of the FunkyDesertBreaks series.

French electronic-music crew Pills.fr release Musicsoldia this week, the follow-up to their U.S. debut from last year, Electrocaine. The new album includes the single "I Preach to Party" (RealAudio excerpt), a dynamic hybrid of hip-hop and acid house, while the dub-reggae opener, "The Way of the Music Soldia" (RealAudio excerpt), features Jamaican legend Lee "Scratch" Perry on vocals.

Pills.fr, founded in the late '80s by Anthony Sandor and Ludo, are considered one of the first rave acts, along with 808 State and the Orb. The group has sold more than 100,000 records in Europe and scored a successful single with "Rock Me," a top-five hit in France.