Butch – The Spirit feat. Hohberg (Adriatique’s 7am Remix)
The concept of a remix dedicated to a specified hour is a recurring motif in the Underground scene. Some examples include Christian Smith & Wehbba’s 3am Mix of Laurent Garnier Techno classic ‘Flashback, as well as After Hours’ ‘Waterfalls‘ (4am Mix) and Subb-an’s 5am Dub of ‘Move‘ . The idea behind the approach suggests that a certain sound in production can be association with a particular time of the night. Swiss duo Adriatique have tackled such approach in their remake of Butch’s Watergate Records release ‘The Spirit’. Coming from Butch’s 2015 album ‘Songs About Unconsciousness‘, the Adriatique remix deconstructs the original’s Big Room approach into something more contemplative.
Titled ‘The Spirit’, the track was influenced by the idea of collective essence. However, while Butch’s version feels like a tribute to the soul of clubbing, the Adriatique take is more introspective. The track is characterised by gentleness throughout, whether its the timid kick or even the piano rolls that hesitantly enter the frame at the breakdown. Though percussive samples add lighter shade to the mood, they play a secondary part to the gracefully looped arp. Core to the overall atmosphere is the ghostly pads that pierce the inner depths of the mind with a sense of saudade. In such, the intensifying progression of the original is replaced with a meditative reflection. This is further amplified in the extended 15 minutes edit of the remix that lets the listeners mind simmer in its sombreness. Continue reading
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
Palms Trax – To Paradise
The Dekmantel official site describes Palms Trax as “the undisputed people’s champion” who brings the triad of “warmth, heart and a pinch of insouciance too“. Truly, it would be difficult to the imagine the festival’s 2019 line up without Jay Donaldson’s alias being placed near top. The vicious spirit of the annual event has been synonymous with the English DJ who’s energy and life-affirming approach to mixing has made him a fan-favourite. His 2019 Dekmantel release ‘To Paradise’ is the latest chapter of Palm’s varicoloured catalogue. Reflective of the festival’s main stage sound, there is no question of a doubt that the Dutch collective have fully adopted the Englishman into the family.
Boomkat calls the track a “deep Euro house-style jacker“. Resident Advisor options for a “throwback Italo-infused house record” description. The serotonin-pumping multi-layering of shrilling melodies accompany the meeker interpretation of the drum looping you’d expect from a Rush Hour release. Considering Donaldson’s father is a “fan of Maurice Fulton“, it comes as no surprise that his soon has a knack for the good vibes that carry soul. In interview with DJ Broadcast, Palms describes Talking Heads’ ‘Remain in Light’ as being one of his favourite albums of all time. Drawing influence from the band-associated decade, an archetypical 1980s bassline becomes the focal point of ‘To Paradise’. Its ever-changing levels of intensity and chord-progression breathes it life of its own. The producer’s blues & jazz upbringing trickles down in the continues evolution of the track. Though mastered with magnificence, the analogue elements are recognisable. You can almost imagine Palms performing it live on a vintage Casio keyboard. Although, such concept for the official video of the track can only bring a smile to your face. The outro of the song fades into a sun-kissed ambient outro that spellbinds the listener for almost two minutes. In such finesse conclusion, the seventh level of heaven is reached. Continue reading
Massimiliano Pagliara – Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen
Establishing an equilibrium between the downtempo and the groove is feat not easily attained. Maintaining intensity at the expense of a higher BPM requires high level of prowess. Young Marco, John Talabot & DJ Koze are just some of the producers we’ve covered who deserve accolade in this respect. Although the speed of the track can arbitrary (after all Marcel Dettmann savours playing Techno at a lower BPM), certain producers make the conscious choice to release their originals in such form. Massimilano Pagliara is another, with his 2009 Live At Robert Johnson release ‘Sometimes At Night‘ establishing him as a connoisseur of slower tempo production that maintains the vibes of a memorable party. ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ is a 2014 release coming from his ‘With One Another‘ LP. Paying ‘homage to the past while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of dance music into the future‘, it is a deserving introduction to a DJ who finds comfort in his own lane.
The symphonies of Pagliara are often characterised by their Mediterranean flair. ‘Harmonize‘ is a prime example of his use of mellifluent strings that carry the legacy of Italo Dream House. His love for vintage drum machines is put on display here as the loops sounds unrefined by processing. The analogue bassline used looks to be revived in his recent release ‘Feel Like‘, coming from his latest LP. The DJ professes to becoming “addicted to machines” upon buying his ‘first analog synth, a Roland SH-101‘. Massimiliano’s track titles are often poetic in tone, with ‘Flying Away From You‘ & ‘As The Night Breathes’ being some of the names amongst a richly lyrical list. The elegiac melody of ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ reflects such undertone. The cadence and the contagious rhythm, however, prevents the track from being desolate. As the Juno main chord pads enter with relentless rhythm, the listener becomes fully immersed in the musical world of Massimiliano Pagliara. Continue reading
Eagles & Butterflies – SKETCH 7
“I just love emotion in music, I don’t really care what genre or style it comes under, to be honest” Eagles & Butterflies stated in his interview with Pulse Radio. The lush, abstract production that evokes emotion has received endorsement from labels which share his philosophy such as Noir Music, Bedrock & Southern Fried. Incorporating elements of Electronica and IBM, his sound connects the “sense of hearing… to other senses“. His latest EP release ‘Imitations of Life‘ is a return to Innervisions this year after his track ‘X‘ previously featured on Secret Weapons Part 8. With the cover featuring a plastic bag set against the background of molten lava, the statement of this being something unprecedented is clear. The leading track ‘SKETCH 7’ exemplifies his refined layering of a “complex sound world” that is ravished with grandeur .
With an opening drum arrangement that features a live instrumentation snare, an organic sound akin to Will Saul’s ‘Drama‘, leans towards the hallmark of House. The rolling bassline melts into the preceding streams of delight created by aggrandising sforzando. Having previously remixed the renowned Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Elements’, Barratt’s enthusiasm for complex chord-progression goes unchallenged. In such, he joins his contemporaries such as Tale of Us, Henrik Schwarz and Max Loderbauer who have offered their interpretations of Classical music releases. Such free-spirited note alignment is heard in ‘SKETCH 7’, as well as his Get Physical 2015 release ‘Sounds of Colours‘. The imperceptible phasing of topline synth drifts from one ear to the other. This adds to the already established kaleidoscopic dazement. Similarly to Patrice Bäumel’s remix of Khen’s ‘Land Of Goshen’, the track allures the listener to lose themselves in the moment with its Balearic euphony .
John Talabot – Voices
Oriol Riverola is a fascinating figure in the underground scene. Having entered the frame in 2009 with his afro-disco release My Old School EP, the Barcelona man is now best know under his John Talabot alias. His career includes releasing on the prized Indie label Young Turks, touring with The XX and establishing a well-respected label in Hivern Discs. Electronic Beats describe his production as “four/four electronic music [that is] emotional rather than [a] physical trigger”. More recently, his collaborative project Talaboman with Axel Boman has produced picturesque releases like ‘Loser’s Hymn‘ and ‘Dins el Llit‘. Talabot’s 2016 Permanent Vacation release ‘Voices’ encapsulates the Spaniard’s pursuit to make music that is about “creating an experience or recalling a [warm] memory“.
Hivern Discs releases are often characterised by their pitched percussion layers. Tracks such as JMII’s ‘Bailar‘ give the patterns their own identities. Similarly to Round’s “Glass“, at the core of ‘Voices’ stands its cadence. The modulation of the female voice samples pulsate at various tempos and sequences of notes. Halfway in, the breakdown of the track removes all but the visceral chantment which echoes with its accompanying reverb into the listener’s soul. The feeling is mutually chilling as it is stirring. Though the drum loop return to retain its position within the framework, it is the subtle bass stabs permeating around the 5 minute mark that give the ultimate climax of euphoria. Gerd Janson’s Version Conga edit adds more groove, arguably at the expense of the original’s emotion. Continue reading
Skatebård – The Bells of Mist
Norwegian DJ and producer Bård Aasen Lødemel has had a long-lasting career that traces back to 2002. Deep House Amsterdam have defined his sounds as a combination of “Emotional techno, neo-italo, electro from an alternative future and a Scando-cosmic reinterpretation of pure Detroitian house“.The online community has noted that his strong facial hair draws comparison to Hip Hop artist Action Bronson. He’s also been described as being Santa Claus who brings tunes instead of presents, or Gimli on his day off. While often DJs carry a persona that feels detached of emotion while mixing, Bård’s body language emits bliss. Something that also this emanates in his production. Associated with a sound that’s ethereal yet groove-inducing, His 2016 Boiler Room set brought spaced-out electro grooves. The track that kicked-off the vibes was The Bells of Mist, his own production that epitomises his gossamer sound. Skatebård certainly brings a gift in this track
Bård’s sound transformed over the years, losing its tints of techno along the way. His first EP ‘Skateboarding Was A Crime (In 1989)’ featured zealous tracks like ‘Sgnelkab‘. However, since the late 2000s, he has pushed a sound that is an amalgamation of Norsk Disco & Italo Disco. The Bells of Mist incorporates a distinct ambience that communions with the late 1970’s producer Cerrone’s arp bassline. For a man who hails from the land of the viciously conquering Vikings, the concave pads used bring a sense of harmony. As the track title suggests, the heavy use of reverb creates an atmosphere of brume. A 111BPM contributes to the overall feelingness of haze akin to a mellow dream, in which the dancer loses themselves in. Speaking to Ransom Note the DJ claimed to ‘see a lot of the colour red, meaning I try to make music that is “warm” in a way‘. Here, the warmness comes from the echoing bells that oscillate, substituting for a topline synth. Synths are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the presiding ambience at the breakdown of the track, before the bassline and the drums join the jamboree. The tracks unique selling point is the ability to throw a party at a leisurely pace. Continue reading
Younger Rebinds – Tim’s Symphony
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.
Roosevelt – Sea (Young Marco Remix)
The contribution by the Netherlands to music created with a computer cannot be underestimated. The three royalties of trance who ruled the airwaves of the scene were all Dutch. The current posterboy of EDM proudly wears his country’s orange colours when performing mainstage. However, the nation’s influence on the underground scene is equally as impressive. Dekmantel and ADE festivals bring thousands of pilgrims who gather to pay their dues at its annual gatherings. Renowned Amsterdam-based Red Light Radio radio hosts global trailblazing DJs ranging from John Talabot to Danny Daze. The range of the local DJs hailing from the Low Lands comprise of veterans such as Boris Werner & Legowelt, respected crate-diggers like Antal and emerging talent including Job Jobse, Benny Rodrigues and of course, Young Marco. Marco Sterk, the face behind the last alias on the list, has been slowly turning up the heat on the production cooker over the years. Released on Greco-Roman in 2017, his remix of Roosevelt’s breakthrough track ‘Sea’ is the culmination of his halcyonic interpretation of Deep House.
Marco’s signature sound combines soft percussion work akin to Nu-disco and Italo Disco cuts, with euphonious melodies. His Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House 89-93) Vol. 1 compilation is a retrospective, shoegaze house melodies that are a perfect fit for a hazy afternoon. It’s also a fair reflection of his production. With an infectious chord-progression dancing along to the rhythm conducted by a gentle kick, his ‘Sea’ remix incorporates the leading synth from the original with ease. While the elements separately lack modular sophistication, their effortless coherence is sonically rewarding. Tints of melancholia colour the 1980s palette that paints a landscape of Arpeggios. Young Marco portrays a tranquil scenery with the mastery of Wes Anderson’s direction.