Who would have thought that Ben Klock would drop a set under 130 BPM? Repping the Resident Advisor booth at this year’s DGTL Amsterdam, the Berghain resident delivers a masterful ‘House Set’. DGTL has spread its wings to deliver finely curated festivals under its branding in places such as Barcelona, Madrid, Sao Paolo, Tel Aviv and as far west as Santiago, Chile. DGTL is known for its cutting-edge ability to blend Music with the Arts. This year’s installation collaboration with Ace & Tate is proof. Seeing as Klock himself is also renowned for his amalgamation of live production and music, as seen in his Photon parties, the set he provides here is one for the ages.
Though it’s been labelled as a ‘House’ set, it can be more accurately described as diluted Techno. Ringing up the curtain with a dark tense beginning, the magician DJ seems to lock a chastening groove over the dancefloor. Dropping Marco Shuttle’s ‘The Moon Chant‘, the Berliner follows up with cuts from the stellar New York label L.I.E.S., as well as Mandingos ‘Another Dub On Earth‘. Succeeding comes DJ Hell’s drum-focused 1998 classic ‘Jack The House’, a nasty malapert track that will send the most rigid of dancers into lunacy. Laying down full on breaks near the half way mark, things go full alien EBM on the Identified Patient’s ‘The Female Medical College Of Pennsylvania‘. Close to the wrap up Klock goes full Berghain mode with Biemsix’s ‘Clear‘ serving some sublime Dub Techno. The German veteran then finishes off with Kevin Yost’s irrepressible, time-transcending track ‘It’s Getting Bigger‘. For those familiar with the Techno titan, the set may feel more flaxen than his usual raucous sound. We see this is a testament to Klock’s savoir faire.
‘It’s not Hip Hop or House, its Hip House‘ proclaimed Fast Eddie in his 1989 classic ‘Hip House’. Almost thirty years later, the spirit of his track lives on. Newcastle-based DJ Meg Ward is fairly fresh to the inner-side of the underground scene, having been DJing in clubs for a year and a half or so. Holding a residency at Cosmic Ballroom’s weekly Tuesday night out “Ill Behaviour”, she’s also starting to cause a ruckus outside of the North, travelling to places around the country while playing feel-good groovers to the believers. This has given her the opportunity to support her heroes that include Bellaire, Folamour, Mark Blair and Kettama. ‘Chief’ is her most recent release on Genesis, reviving the convivial vibes that Eddie preached about.
Hitting with infectious ferociousness of Karizma‘s festival favourite ‘Work It Out‘, ‘Chief’ is a track that is mature in it’s opening. The track’s lifespan begins and ends with a heavy-injection of filtering. Not only making the transition easier for the DJ in charge, but also providing the track with a character of its own, especially when the intensity that perseveres is introduced. ‘Hip Hop and rap, yeah that’s where my heart’s at‘ Lords of Underground vocals taken from ‘Chief Rocka‘ chant with magnitude. The idea for the track came from Meg playing around with synths while listening to old school hip-hop, a genre she is particularly fond of. Accompanying it is a chopped-up collage of keyboard notes transported from back from a 1990s Thomas Bangalter set. Contagiously irresistible, it precedes the use of reversed snare reverb that hurdles the vocal into oblivion to inaugurate the breakdown. To complete the coronation, a DJ Pierre-inspired acid bassline melts what is left of the listener’s brain, making this a perfect weapon for peak-time set at a House-head festival. DJ Deeon would approve. Continue reading →
If you’re a Techno pilgrim walking down the annual path of brain-warpdom to each major festival, up near the peak of the list will be the Dutch Awakenings Festival. Based in a club that hosts parties, the event is located in Eindhoven, usually at the gloriously imposing and mammoth venue of Gashouder. If you come across tINI & The Gang videos that have featured Daniela La Luz, Bill Patrick or any others of the crew, where tINI made her name, you’ll discover a completely different setting. In this set, however, she delivers an enchanting warm-up set which is more gloopy lava than a forceful flamethrower.
In her recent interview with RA Exchange, the Munich-born DJ states ‘I don’t do sub genre’s, just House and Techno‘. Clinging to the fundamentals, her style transcends all labels and is sedative, if not immersive, at times. Weaving through the dub techno leanings of Moreon and Baffa’s ‘Cloud 15th‘, Terekke’s ‘Bank 3‘ brings a lo-fi filtered Deep House to bring comfort to the ears. An ID-less track on 26 mins brings a East End Dubs like buoyancy that operates with a sensuality due to it’s nonchalant vocal sample. Looking by the amount of ‘Track ID’ comments on Soundcloud, it’s a track which some may sell a liver for. Going a bit left-field on the 40 minute mark is the classic Underground Resistance mix of Maurizio’s ‘Ploy‘. The second half of the mix get’s a bit more jacking and viscous on the drums with bangers by EMG, Mr Tophat & Art Alfie and Paul Jackson. Scattering flakes of trippyness on top, tINI finishes with Josh Wink’s classic ‘Don’t Laugh‘, a track that ironically features a vocal of a guy laughing his head off. Continue reading →
Jon Hopkins’ ‘Singularity‘ album featured sounds as dense as Beijing’s pollution during peak-hour traffic. Leading from the front, the title track ‘Singularity‘ announces itself more grandly than the UEFA Champions League final. Exploding into the oblivion and giving semblance to its title, the track leaves the listener begging for more. Step forth Brazilian-born artist ANNA. Though the DJ Awards carry less weight than a Trump speech on Russian collusion, her 2016 Breakthrough Artist of the Year award was fully deserved. It was almost impossible to have avoided hearing her Kompakt backed track ‘Hidden Beauties‘ feature in any of the headlining Techno sets of that year. With fine releases supported by labels such as Terminal M, Tronic and Toolroom being delivered since 2012, it was only a matter of time before ANNA reached peakdom. Some can let the pressure of a massive hit get to them – not for ANNA it seems. Continuing her hot streak form, her ‘Singularity’ remix keeps her unequivocally in the limelight.
According to Resident Advisor, the original track utilised field recordings of thunder. ‘The track is supposed to have a dangerous, foreboding sound to it‘ explained Hopkins in his ‘Machine Love’ feature. It’s a thing of uncanny beauty in the way the elements drone. On her remix, ANNA decides to paint a picture of the entire world encountering an apocalyptic thunderstorm at once. The track starts with the use of the original’s swelling drones. While Hopkin’s version unravels in swelling, the bass of the remix drops harder that Thor’s hammer in Ragnarok. It’s a ditto of the ‘Hidden Beauties’ bassline, played in a clockwork rhythm. In conversation with Ask Audio, ANNA recalls that her take was made using the Furthrrrr Generator module. Describing it as mightily powerful is an understatement of titanic proportions. Dropping in a hulking kick and swelling cymbals, the original’s classical organ line simmers over the top. It is a brooding end of the world sound native to a movie such as The Day Earth Stood Still. Stabs of the modulated bassline kick in louder and louder before being held in distortion. It’s heinous, akin to Leatherface obliterating your face with a shotgun. The breakdown retains the instrumentation of the original waiting for the kick to usher back in the remaining elements of the track. This leaves the listener picking up the pieces back together. The end result? Dancefloor destroyed. Continue reading →
‘If Techno has a gateway drug, it’s probably Drumcode’ states DJ Mag. ‘If you hear it, and dig it, you’re probably hooked; no turning back.’ The label, whether people admit it or not, is certainly the port of entry into the genre for those transitioning from more commercial styles or wishing to understand what functional Techno is. From its humble beginnings in 1996, it is now a juggernaut of a label, criticised by some as being too commercial. Whilst the label’s releases have attracted millions of listeners, you cannot deny the ear for Adam’s talent spotting with Amelie Lens, Bart Skills and Sam Paganini’s incredulous releases. Pig&Dan have without a doubt played their part in solidifying the its status as Techno’s premier label.. Meeting back in 1999 on a flight back from Mallorca, their music stretches from Balearic downtempo to minimal techno releases on Cocoon. The tracks that’ve brought most acclaim, however, have been their banging Techno rompers. Magnetic Mag proclaimed ‘Growler’ their release on Diynamic as being ‘rightfully hammered at nearly every single night at every single club in every major city across the globe’. You could claim their Drumcode output to be even better. Tour de force releases ‘Mexico‘ and ‘Devotion‘ were an incredible run up to their smash hit collaboration with Adam Beyer, ‘We Are E‘. Returning now with a freshly-baked in 2019 ‘Plex’, Pig&Dan seem to hit Pluto heights of out-there-ness.
The duo’s ‘Pick Me Up‘ on John Digweed’s Bedrock was one of our 2018 Tracks of the Year. Being unashamedly a trance track, it was complemented with a customary hefty kick. Their run that year was continued with the brash ‘Reset Your Bassline‘. Pig&Dan love to use a Moog for their basslines. ”Brutally punishing” can only describe the one in ‘Plex’ as it pounds alone in sync with the sub bass and shuffling percussion, reverberating panoramically. Off-key, two note celestial radar samples bleep creating an exigency that demands one to listen. Using a Roland System1 for most of their synths, their productions sound so much greater than the cost of their parts. Most-coveted Trance tracks like Nalin and Kane’s ‘Beach Ball‘ or Energy 52’s ‘Cafe Del Mar‘ have a nonchalant, positive connotation that uplifts the crowd. Sven Vath’s ‘Harlequin‘, however, has more darker tone that is also represented in ‘Plex’. Metallic and gnarling, the mesmeric, multi-layered synth lines instantly evoke euphoria, seesawing down the octave in a staggering manner. The tracks elements then dissolve, leaving behind a whipped synth that’s revved back and forth, teasing with what’s to come. As a delicate kick enters back in the whipped synth throbs feebly, before a cosmic percussion lands with thunderous roar. It gradually progresses to amalgamate all the remaining elements for a sublime and electrifying finale. Continue reading →
One Reddit user crowned Pan-Pot as the ‘Nickelback of Techno’. Though, it is true that the duo from Berlin have enjoyed recognition worldwide, I don’t believe the Redditor in question has ever heard of their timeless, ground-breaking releases such as ‘Charly‘. Pan-Pot’s Second State Audio is a label like Drumcode and ARTS releasing Techno-flavoured cut curated for festivals like Dimensions or club venues like The Steelyard. The unit can claim responsibility for helping catapult Amelie Lens’ career into the stratosphere by releasing her first 3 EPs. Impressed by the SUM 2 compilation featuring slamming cuts by Wigbert, Marco Resmann and Tobi Neumann we waited with keen anticipation for the next compilation. Appearing at track 3, DEAS’ ‘Friday Rain‘ instantly made us froth at the mouth. Perfect for building a set just like the SCI+TEC release ‘Revenge‘ by Rosper, it conveys the same savageness. Here again on this 2018 release DEAS provides a vehemence in his production. Best served for the Techno festival masses of ADE, as well as technical soundsystems belonging to such as London’s 93 Feet East. Red Bull label’s DEAS production style is deep and melancholic. You certainly get a bit of that, plus more on this remix.
Pan-Pot’s original track features a stomping bass, alongside random percussive bits and a veil of 303 drum soundscapes. Zaps that come like bolts from the Greek god Zeus help pickle the brain. DEAS instantly ramps up the feeling by expanding the bass. This creates a wall to wall of atmospheric dread. A tribal drum pattern will help mix out of something not so greyscale such as Artbat’s ‘Prometheus‘. Ironically or not, the EP cover is that of a space helmet. Squelching echoed modulations help the track shoot the abyss. Alien-sounding, it’s a striking sound when paddled alongside the stringed arps. The track can be deemed as being drenched in a maximum amount of reverb. By the time the claps kick in, the pulses that reverberate around entrap the senses. Those bolts mentioned before? They then spurt back in at will, causing an absolute carnage. It’s a fireball of menace, only to further throttle the dancefloor once the tunnelling pulses fire again. Continue reading →
Darren Beale, better know by his stage name Dubspeeka, is a producer hailing from the dynamic Bristolian scene. Beale’s signature sound carries a shade of duskiness. In his interview Change Underground he claims that his releases tend to have a ‘solid foundation, plenty of low end and a dark raw angle on the production‘. This hue of Techno has seen hims cuts released on big-player labels like Oliver Huntemann‘s Ideal Audio, John Digweed’s Bedrock Records & Drumcode. Since dropping his previously elusive persona, he has been involved in shenanigan inducing gigs in Johannesburg to parties in Poland with Crosstown Rebels. Released on his own imprint Skeleton in 2017, ‘Mod1’ is a meld of modulated techno with progressive & UK bass influence. Finding a place in Joey Anderson’s majestic Dekmantel set earlier this year, the track is an apex of a memorable mix.
As a DJ, he’s not afraid to incorporate House into his sound, as shown in his Rinse FM mix with Shadow Child. This translates into his productions as more often than not have a flamboyancy about them. Coming under a strain of versatility his releases straddle along the lines of techno & tech-house. No wonder he was tapped by Get Physical for a mix of a Miami 2018 comp. Mod1 starts with a hollowed kick drum rendered from a dancehall cut you’d see on a Wizkid or Konshenz track. Raining arps collide to form a parade of refined consonance within itself. ’Mod1′ shares the staccato synth seen in his 2016 release ‘K377 Unfriended‘. The fitful melody that forefronts the midpoint of the track, sprays its frequencies with celerity of Rambo’s machine gun. It is a complimenting polarity to what is an Alan Fitzpatrick inspired, reverb-heavy kick and bass combo. In such, more canorous leaning DJs like Mind Against featured it in their Junction 2 launch Tobacco Dock set. Atmospheric yet hulking, ‘Mod1’ commands the dancefloor with its heavy dosage of electricity. Continue reading →
Nearing the end of this summer season, videos of scene-shaping DJs playing a certain track began to surface. Dixon played it at Sonus Festival while ÂME made sure it was part of his Lowlands set. Being underground connoisseurs, hearing it triggered a scramble to find it. Eventually, we were informed that craftsman behind this beauty was Benny Rodrigues, working under his indie-dance guise Younger Rebinds. Sven Väth approved, it made the cut onto Cocoon boss’ annual mix, The Sound Of The 19th Season. Freshly released on Gerd Janson’s Running Back label, the Frankfurt DJ is the lucky suitor for this jewel.
The track shares strong resemblances with synthpop bands that a have lenience towards Kraftwerkian elements. Most obvious comparison is New Order’s 1983 hit ‘Blue Monday’. In both instances, the underlining lower-end arpeggio serves as a bassline, injecting the crowd with a tingling sense of ecstasy. Those with affinity for MGMT’s ‘Kids’, Sascha Funke’s ‘Surumu‘ or Oliver Koletzki’s ‘Planetarium‘ will be enchanted. Key to the track’s potency is the evolving filtering and modulation that dictates the ardour, and the build up of the track.The midpoint breakdown is a bonzer opportunity for an acappella edit to fit the atmosphere of the environment the track is played at. Phased synths that surface give the track a sense of nirvana, further elevated by gliding leads.
After releasing Krystal Klear’s ‘Neutron Dance‘ earlier this year, Running Back records has struck gold once again when it comes to nonchalant nu-disco cuts.’Tim’s Symphony’ features on the The Sound of Benny EP, a project that is an exhibition of Rodrigues’ four aliases. Younger Rebinds embraces the 1980s spirit of electronic music, metamorphosing it into a 2018 supernova. Resident Advisor crowned the Rotterdam DJ as “Holland’s hardest-working DJ”, and with the extent of diversity displayed in his catalogue, that label might extend to his production.
At times, you come across track are shaped with a clear vision in mind. ‘Invitation To Love’ is a prime example of such, being crafted perfectly as a track to be played within the first 30 mins of a summer festival. Taking influence from Moby’s ‘Go‘, the track sounds like a 2013 remix from the Italian DJ duo Tale of Us. The original sample comes from Twin Peaks OST’s “Laura Palmer’s Theme”. The sense of TV’s mystique is combined with tints of acid and 808 drums. Channeling the ambient synths, the track maintains its core purpose throughout.
Released in 2012 as part of Hiverned # 2, it serves as a more expansive partner to Marc Piñol’s claustrophobic ‘Arrebato‘ cut. Mastered by Andreas, supported by such as Guy Gerber at his Chicago rooftop Rumor parties. The track maintains a consistent downtempo rhythm of around 110 BPM, aiming to hypnotize you into waltz. It offers a less kaleidoscopic vibe than contemporary Hivern Disc releases from producers such as Pional or Alejandro Mosso for example. Yet this elevates the essence of the track’s enticing scent. Continue reading →
Red Axes are finally getting their due having just come off a gig at Printworks recently. The quality of the Israeli DJs’ output cannot be undermined. This Red Axes remix the Moscoman original is almost a condensed set in one track. A drums-focused, marching band opening is followed by a Dixonian synth-loop which symbolises a hypnotic peak period of the mix. Finally, a trumpet-flowing outro completes the track taking it to the early morning hours of sunrise. This techno track is a perfect case for the existence of 9 minute long track in dance music.
However, the listening experience never feels repetitive or drawn out. In fact, I would happily see a 15 minute edit if it ever came to existence. Truly a track that only electronic underground music lovers know can exist.