Carl A, Finlow – Anomaly
Originally released in 2002, ‘Anomoly’ is a low-slung Electro banger that you certainly wouldn’t play at a funeral. Yet is caries the dreariness of a ‘we’ve been partying for a week straight’ after-party scene in an arthouse film. Reissued in 2016 with a remastered version on Maceo Plex’s Lone Romantic, 2020 Vision co-founder Carl A. Finlow’s cut is Hoover Dam water tight on production with the engineering second to none (Okay, Efdemin and Blawan aren’t too bad either). Made at the time when Drexciya claimed their laurels, fellow Electro artists like DHS, Atom TM, B12 and Claro Intelecto certainly would’ve vibed to this.
‘Anomoly’ has a melancholic aura to it in the same vain as DJ Richards Grind LP. Electro can often be interlaced with neighbouring genres such as indie rock. In this instance, the rhythm of the kick is so similar you’d think you were about to listen to a new French-duo Justice track. Bulging lower note synths are panned across your ear cavern like a mist spreading across a barren lake. Moog like dubs thud away, before a brooding and bubbling electro bass enters the fray. Continue reading
Matt Whitehead – We’re Bombing
Matt Whitehead fooled us all. If you play ‘We’re Bombing’ with an absence of context, you’ll most like guess the release year to be situated in the early 1980s. Roland TR 808 drum patterns. Check. Miami Vice soundtrack inspired synths. Check. Toms akin to Nairobi’s 1982 release ‘Funky Soul Makossa‘ are also to be found. Above all, closest similarities can be drawn to the New York-raised DJ Hashim’s production. The computerised use of processed robotic vocals played a major part in the Electro scene, justifying the name of the subgenre. Collectively, this Super Rhythm Trax release just like the label aims to bring back the old school sound while ironing out the unpolished lapses of its predecessors.
Coming from his Bombing EP, the track brings the raw thud kindred to the distant cousin genre of Miami Bass. Drum loops intervene in rotation like breakbeats. The slaphappy snare drums are given room to exercise their drive. Yet, just as important to the track’s identity are the neon atmosphere created by the soundscapes. Deep analogue strings & an arpeggio that sounds like it comes from PPG Wave synthesiser, unite together to give the track its soul. In such, ‘We’re Bombing’ avoids falling into the trap of sounding like a bootleg of a rejected Robocop soundtrack compilation. Music Radar has published a breakdown of tips for creating a electro banger. It demonstrates the amount of detail is required behind the scenes. Blawan has placed his stamp of approval on Matt Whitehead’s production before, and that’s an endorsement to treasure. Continue reading
Aux 88 – Direct Drive (Original Mix)
Detroit Electro is a scene deserving of an academic module itself. An offshoot of the iconic city’s techno second wave, the subgenre offers some of the rawest pulsating bangers. Aux 88, a fellowship of Tom Tom (Tommy Hamilton) and Keith Tucker (DJ K1) hold a strong claim to its crown. Search ‘Detroit Electro’ on Google and you’ll find that the first result is Tucker’s essentials guide to the genre. Released by the criminally underrated Direct Beat label, ‘Direct Drive’ is a historic artefact of the duo’s legacy.
Original released in 1995, the track is an alchemy of Miami Bass and Detroit techno. With a BPM close to 140, oscillating energy pounds to the core of the inner bone. One of the first things you come to notice is the combination of the thrumming hi-hats and Southern Rap influenced claps. Sinister soundscapes reminiscent of an Italian giallo movie synergise with a thumping bassline deserving of a Need For Speed track-listing. ‘Trans Europe Express‘ is undeniably a direct influence here, however, Aux 88 add an element of inner city grittiness. Its no wonder that the resulting track is highly sought after by DJs old and new. Continue reading
Timothy J. Fairplay – Pure Hex (Original Mix)
Timothy J. Fairplay has always considered himself to be an outsider. In the 2013 interview with FACT magazine, Fairplay claimed to be a contrarian. Such a left field approach is none more evident than in his musical output, which plated in eccentricity and outré. Pure Hex retains such signature caprice while offering a bangers that’s a universal floor-filler. Released last year on the Nocta Numerica label, its unashamedly extraterrestrial. Like other label’s contemporary releases, the ambience created by the track is akin to a Nicolas Winding Refn OST. All the while maintaining an energy that is enticing in vein similar to Smith N Hack’s track ‘Falling Stars‘
The artwork featuring a 1980s television set up is a perfect embodiment of the track’s substance. Immediately you’re introduced to synths that sound similar to a martian raygun. The production is a love letter to the decade’s now infamous B-side sci-fi flicks. Continue reading