Concealed Project – Untitled B2
Inspired to be the best by the death of his father at aged 13, it’s not surprising to see Adam Beyer as a Commander of the world’s Techno Army. Label boss of the indomitable Drumcode , as well as sub-label Truesoul, he’s never shied from releasing blistering and impactful music. He’s responsible for assembling The Avengers of Techno, consisting of names such as Amelie Lens, Joseph Capriati, Alan Fitzpatrick, Layton Giordano, Pleasurekraft, Bart Skils and Tiger Stripes. All the trailblazing DJs regularly release under his label. Though it may appear that he only brings function to the table with many of his releases, some such as those produced under his Concealed Project alias, as well as his remix of Mathew Jonson’s ‘Marionette‘ bring an edge. Deep and percussive, it is a hark back to his old days before his mammoth hits ‘Your Mind‘, ‘Teach Me ‘and ‘Stone Flower‘ conquered the festival scene. Debuting with ‘Drum Codes 1’ on Planet Rhythm, he brought a cutting-edge stuff with precision drum programming being pushed by Jeff Mills. It’s a common theme throughout all of his releases, including those under the 17th, Midas, Told Impression, Mr Sliff and Tall Guy aliases. Under this Concealed Project release however, ‘Untitled B2’ is a slice of sublime, eerie Techno.
Dropping in the year 2000 on the Swedish record label Svek, it came as part of the ‘Definition of D‘ EP. Speaking with Elektro Daily he recalls starting ‘Drumcode in ’96 [with the] idea to not release anything I wouldn’t play out. It began as a label for techno DJs and not so much for people to just listen to. But back then it was a lot more loopy and it was a bit harder and faster’. ‘Untitled B2’ is certainly as loopy, but due to the pads feels more melodic. Warping and gloopy, the bass is reminiscent of Claro Intelecto’s remix of Hardfloor’s ‘T2DAC‘. It sounds like a Nord Modular was used in the production, being morphed with delays, basic hats, field recordings of traffic. On every half-beat an aquatic siren plays, alongside a choppy, popping percussion. Though it’s a track that is consistent with many of Beyer’s early tracks being DJ tools, here the flip is switched. A brooding pad line kicks in, hauntingly and melancholically it tugs on more heart strings than most ‘melodic techno’ cuts. It’s the same line taken off his first release ‘Pattern 1’. As the energy is amped, it’s the perfect striking juxtaposition to Adam’s unyielding style. Continue reading
Pig & Dan – Plex
‘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
Dubspeeka – Mod1 (Original Mix)
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
Rico Puestel – Equity
Even though he’s been releasing music since 2005, not much can be found on the German producer Rico Puestel. Being the face behind one of the tracks of Summer 17 ‘Caravel‘ however ensured that it was a name Techno Heads couldn’t forget. An absolute monster of a track boasting a huge expansive bass that capers playful with melody over the top. In staying fun, it is also a gateway track to introduce punters to techno. This year Rico has maintained his grizzled yet innovative style with ‘Astrayed Reshaped‘ and now this recently released EP on Cocoon. It reflects the wonkiness of ‘Caravel’ with the added white noise used to keep that big room sound.
A key theme of this track is clustering of the synths. Whether that be highs or mids they all seems to sprout in their own directions at blistering pace. One sounding like a broken accordion, another reminding of a flute. Gigantic big room hats appear alongside the sub bass to match. Clinking percussion is peppered in the background before the whole batch is mixed. Overall it sounds like a scrambled transmission from an ecstatic robot, which is then regurgitated back into proceedings. As Cocoon puts it, ‘The mini breaks and prolonged dramatic pauses are all pieces in the puzzle of Puestel’s arrangement’. And it’s this that makes the dancer go on a wild ride. The following breakdown features a brief rising harp arpeggio. This element is then bred with the scrambling of the synths, filtered with fervent recklessness of a madman.Glum and echoed chords are dolloped making allowing your mind to breath just a bit.It’s an intoxicating effect guaranteed to liquify any bystanders on the dancefloor. What a ride. Continue reading
Pional – XME
Madrid-hailed Miguel Barrios possesses a rare singer-producer combo that has enriched both sides of the coin. Working under his Pional moniker, he has spent the last decade featuring on a number of respectable underground labels. Most recognised from his fellow Spaniard John Talabot’s ‘Destiny‘ track, his vocals hold an empyrean quality that would grace the lead of an indie band. The chameleon-like approach to production, likely owed to his multi-instrumentalism, ensures his production is forever on a mission to reinvent itself.
Young Turks associate’s latest release ‘XME’ is his first on Phonica Records, a label that holds a special place in our hearts. Displaying his signature sound that fuses morose with rhythm, its comes as A1 track of the EP. In the spirit of releases from his fellow Hivern Discs compatriots, tracks from Pional tend to brandish drum patterns that sound greatly agrestic. The tribal drum used in substitute of a snare on the track gives it a verve that feels Mother Natured. Warping, low cutoff bassline cambers in rhythm, giving guidance to the synthlines that dazzle the show. Continue reading
Aoud – SE MKII (Original Mix)
If you managed to see Blade Runner 2049 last year then you’d agree that the film had the perfect scenery for a techno-curated playlist. The harsh metropolitan setting for the future world setting would have been a perfect fit for the genre. Hans Zimmer’s official soundtrack even hinted at incorporation of such lustreware sounds. Had we selected the title tracks for the blockbuster, Aoud – SE MKII would have without a doubt been a headliner on that OST.