Ellen Allien – Take Me Out
The sub-genre of Electro can be seen as a conundrum. Its wide-ranging spectrum includes the bass-heavy interpretations of Aux 88, aquatic tones found in Drexciya productions and the Electroclash renditions of The Hacker. In an article titled “A Not So Brief History of Electro, Part One” Steve Mizek claims “the genre is as lovable as it is difficult to pin down“. A mother figure for the techno idealists of Berlin, Ellen Allien has a solid number of Electro-associated releases traced in her discography, including ‘Augenblick‘ & ‘Magma‘. In the same fashion to Seth Troxler, Allien carries the triple threat of DJing, producing and at times providing the vocals to her own tracks. As her 2009 collaboration with Apparat ‘Way Out‘ demonstrated, Ellen is a competent vocalist. Her 2012 EP ‘Galactic Horse‘ released on her label BPitch Control featured “Take Me Out”. A track for the fans of Juan Atkins‘ style, it is a “bone-dry, crunching” revival of 1980s Electro.
The interpretation offered here by Allien is much more minimal and lower-tempo. Co-produced with fellow Berlinian duo Skinnerbox it aims to take the listener into the deeper state with its hypnotic lure. Characteristically for the collaborators’ production, the track’s low EQs elements bring a pulsating thump. The sequencing of the drums transgress the 4×4 beat structure, similarly to Carl A. Finlow’s ‘Anomaly‘. Here, the production does not share the “psychedelic end of the electro” associated with Helena Hauff. In that extent the fairly linear chord-arrangements might lead some to describe it as “electro-pop”. Drenched with reverb, capricious bursts of strident synth piercing. Allien’s seductive female vocals merge with a low pitched duplication. This evokes a sense of flirtation, perhaps reflected between a synergised dance between two dancers who’ve come across each other on the dancefloor. For the track’s conclusion, the triplet arpeggios lead the dissolving kick into oblivion. Despite a 122 BPM, ‘Take Me Out’ maintains a sense of magnetic suspense throughout its 7 minute playtime. Continue reading
DJ Hell – Anytime, Anywhere (FJAAK Remix)
Seeing FJAAK’s humorous Facebook profile picture, gives you the impression of why their music is so brash. It’s ironic that they would remix one of the most brash men in existence, just going by name alone, DJ Hell. A highly influential German institution, the International Deejay Gigolo label boss has a penchant for not giving a toss. Being sued by Arnold Schwarznegger for brandishing him in his techno label. Frequently using provocative risqué EP covers. Relationships with the High Fashion Elite, Karl Lagerfield and Donnatella Versace. Making tracks with Bryan Ferry and Puff Daddy. With such diversity of interests, and willingness to push the boundaries, Hell has helped bridge the gap between Electroclash scene and Techno. Way back in 2013, when asked by Housecult for their picks for artists to look out for, FJAAK quote Attu, Willie Burns and The Analogue Cops for their ‘Raw but powerful sound!’. Fast forward to 2018, and FJAAK’s sound would be described as more than that. Released this year, FJAAK turn the original into a belting Techno cut. So good, Nicole Modabeaur played it twice in her recent Awakenings ADE B2B with Dubfire.
Speaking with District Magazine, Felix, one of the techno trio members, comments that his biggest influence was Bone-Thugs-N-Harmnony. This affinity for booming bass has leaked into their sound. As seen on their remix of Missing Channel’s ‘Onslaught’, and their own original ‘Keep The Funk‘, the sub bass they produce rivals the best. The bass modulations heard in the track move with an inexorable propulsion. Very similar to ‘Ninex 9-C‘ by Maetrik. The original tracks sombre synth rails are dialed up 50 notches, bringing voluble buoyancy. Akin to Sleeparchive or S:VT’s. Emotional, the organ synths from the original have been put through a grinder causing catharsis to counterbalance the doughty nature of the track. Distorted noises and triple time drums complement the track, showing FJAAK’s full compliment of skills on analogue machines. Continue reading
André Lodemann – Where Are You Now
Released in 2009 on his Berlin-based Best Works Records, André Lodemann’s ‘Where Are You Now’ is a triumph for uncompromised artistry. The DJ and producer’s versatility has been evident over the years, ranging from the tailor cut deep house cuts like ‘Don’t Panic‘ to downtempo, tranquil Freerange release of ‘Together‘. Yet the mind boggles when you realise that the very same hands were behind the today’s featured track, which has entertained the crowds of some of the biggest clubs in the scene. Masterfully maintaining an equilibrium between that which moves the feet, and that which touches the soul, the track is yet another top-tier German export. The latest release from Lodemann ‘The Deeper You Go’ sounds a return to progressive house with a fresh perspective. To anyone that listens to ‘Where Are You Now’, it should make it clear that this is something to be excited about.
Core to the track is the clash of synth-heath topline that flirts with ambient pads, and the conventions of a bassline-heavy tech-house romper. These two unendingly interchange throughout the runtime. The dominance of trance-inspired progressive house mainstream artists such as Deadmau5 has leaked some of its influence onto the track. Sylenth 1 patch synths will be familiar to those producer out there who have flirted with the VST. The delayed release of the leading synth that infiltrates the lower EQs sporadically creates a sense of tension that is elevated by the breakdown. Then around the 5.50 mark the kooky riff drops leaving the listener in ecstasy. The previously bellicose synths now join in the dance providing an amicable conclusion to the track, with the ambient soundscapes completing the communion of the trinity. A YouTube commentator described it ‘Like a deep house cousin to nthng’s ‘Oralage‘. Lodemann’s refusal to play to the rules is rewarding for the listener. Continue reading
Münch – Note [VA002]
The artwork for the End Of Perception – ЛаBа EP features lava spill effluxing over frayed rocks. It takes crystals, volcanic glass & gases to form such molten rock. In similar vein, Raffaele Mezzanotte, known as Münch, amalgamates noise, atmospheric and ambient sounds to fossilise his creation. His contribution to the second compilation of the newly-formed Berlin label demonstrates the collectives potential to appeal to Giegling followers. Placed in-between Primal Code’s traumprianzian ‘Alhambra’ & Deepbass’ mesmeric ‘Separation Of The Present Moment’, ‘Note’ is a window to an alternative dimension of self-reflection.
The ambient pads used are reminiscent of Prince of Denmark’s ‘Darkspirit Cut‘, with its nihilistic acquiesce evoking somberness. Though it must be said that the Münch track carries a little more avidity. In the lineage of iconic atmospheric dub techno tracks, the runtime for ‘Note’ is extensive. This allows time for introversion that can provide therapy. Naturally for the subgenre, numb kicks amble along with humble conviction. Craven hi-hats hop on the this train of thought like a freighthopping rider wishing to go unnoticed. The midsection of the track introduces white noise that reminds one of a seashell resonance. This concept of the ocean colliding with magma can be taken to be a metaphor of the listeners worries soothed by the soundscapes of the track. Continue reading
Sascha Funke – Surumu
Back in 2001 Sascha Funke remixed the 1980s pop track Bros’ ‘When Will I Be Famous’. The electro take of the original can be interpreted as a modus vivendi for the Berliner’s own career. With a first release ‘Campus’ on the now revered, Cologned-based Kompakt Records, Funke has managed to stay rooted in the German scene ever since. His most highlighted track ‘Mango’, a 7 minutes journey fitting for a late-night drive, was featured in Paul Kalkbrenner’s 2009 movie ‘Berlin Calling’ & received a phenomenal remix from DJ Koze. ‘Surumu’, an indie-disco trinket premiered by Deep House Amsterdam, is a strong contender to eclipse the successes of its predecessors.