Arian 911 – 7 Melodies
Tehran-born, Frankfurt-based DJ & producer Arian 911 supports a look that would qualify him for the role of Freddie Mercury’s right-hand man. Striking coal-black hair compliment a moustache from the 80s to complete a look that is effortlessly elegant. A fair definition of his music too. To understand the man behind the production, a work of investigation is required. Discogs claims Arian Beheshti was an Ibiza local all the way back in 1993, being a Cocoon Ibiza resident since its inception. This would explain ‘Dadap Dadap‘, his 2009 minimal release on Sven Väth’s label that will leave thirsting for water. Circa. 2013 you’ll find electro releases associated with his name. ‘7 Melodies’, the first of his two inclusions in the annual Innervisions’ Secret Weapons compilation in a row is yet another metamorphosis. A tender form of melodic techno, perhaps one Arian is most suited for.
‘7 Melodies’ states its ambition in the title of the track – to create a multilayered template of intersecting sound palettes. The challenge of such aspiration is the element of solidarity. Ensuring, that all of the sonically elements homogenize rather that compete for airtime. And, in this respect, Arian shows his maturity. The pads shine with phosphorescence like neon lights illuminating the dark. He creates a watercolour painting splashed in colour, a mesmerising experience of synesthesia. The official video is fittingly a mirage that is kaleidoscopic. Innervisions label itself has classified the track as a strain of Deep House, however, this would only be relevant if one is to take 2010s interpretation of the subgenre. More suitability, this is the sound of the self-effacing melodic strains of techno manufactured by such as Roman Flügel, Mano Le Tough & David August. Regardless, the end outcome is euphoric. Continue reading
Alex Smoke – Dire Need (Tale of Us Remix)
‘What you sew you shall reap’ as Jesus Christ states repeatedly in the bible. After recently attending their Afterlife party at Hi Ibiza it was amazing to see the fruit of Tale of Us’ hard graft. Incredible sets from Maceo Plex, Adriatque and KiNK alongside second to none production, it was a display of acute attention to detail. Wade through all the hip of Afterlife itself, and the root of it all is the Life and Death co-founders. As my friend claimed, they went from being the influenced to becoming the influencers. What a contrast they are from their break out druggy ‘ket house’ cuts like ‘Dark Song‘ and their remix of Who Made Who’s ‘Every Minute Alone‘. Fast forward to now and their at times beatless, ariose, brand of techno has sprouted new talents such as Mathame, breathed new life into old heads like Stephan Bodzin and drawn in purveyors of harder styles like Kevin de Vries. Trawl any profound music blog comments section, and you’ll quickly find this style has it’s detractors due to it’s perceived cannibalism of itself (similar to 2010-2012 tech-house craze). None the less, when it works, it is cataclysmic. Alex Smoke is renowned for his abstract brand of minimal techno mostly on Soma and Vakant Records. Here, as DJ Mag state, they recalibrate Smoke’s ever-morphing original into a ‘driving and hypnotic remix, complete with wonky synths.’ A 2016 release on R&S Records, it’s peak Tale of Us showing their production prowess at its best.
‘Dire Need’’s monotone drawls and rich moody soundscape is fertile land for Tale of Us build upon. It’s Depeche Mode or an EBM low-pitch style vocal that merges perfectly with it’s Ellen Alien lurked beat. Where the original is like a hulking mechgiant taking strident steps across a dystopian land, this remix is like a USS Starship Enterprise hurtling through space. A pulsating beat kicks the track off alongside a staple stringed pad causing stress to the senses. Like Joris Voorn, Smoke is a well know classical musical loving instrumentalist. And the brassy toned, railing synths that punish in the original are stretched to taking the remix to a more euphoric landing spot. There’s a sense of iciness to the track, with the cold knocks of the percussion. As the breakdown hits, the anarchy taking place in the vocals add to the solemn nature. ‘Why do they notice/Why do they listen’ he chants with it’s political undertones. It is extra pronounced during the breakdown daring to assimilate the dancers to freedom its seeking. The charge of the ravenous sonic palette as it ascends back in brings an air of cogency in its exhilaration. Continue reading
Agents of Time – Lost Dreams
The subconscious state of dreaming has never failed to titilate humanity. As Steven Kloves writes “In dreams we enter a world that’s entirely our own”. The state of lucidity, irregularity and incertitude has led some of the more avant-garde underground artists influence their production. Fittingly named Italian trio, Agents Of Time, take the concept of alternative dimensions even further in this track titled ‘Lost Dreams’. Andrea Di Ceglie, Fedele Ladisa & Luigi Tutolo come together in their debut track released by the New York label Stone Records in 2013 to create an experience that’s emerges the innermost self.
Noticeably, the introduction of the track features an electric guitar strumming over a Cliff Martinez-inspired ambient prologue that’s underlined by a satiny kick loop. The resulting sound parallels the outro track of an action melodrama from the late 2000s. The delayed lower ends tabs are reminiscent of their fellow countrymen Tale of Us label Afterlife‘s soundscapes with their molded asymmetry. Plagued with contorted chord progression, the freeroam of the leading synth is kept in line by the insomnolent bassline that dances in reversal. The breakdown, absent of a kick, does eventually enter the picture around the midpoint. It is more more sonically expansive, tampering with an element of elixiring cosmos. Refusing to dwell upon the outer space for too long, the primary baseline kicks back-in, returning the capering groove that zeniths the track to its destiny. Continue reading
Benjamin Damage – Up
The benefit of a Trance-tinged techno cut is that it can give a monumental lift to a set. In the same way that a Balearic soulful track melody does to a house set. Pig&Dan are probably the best in the game at making Techno-Trance hybrids that often grace fiery dancefloors. Such envisioning conceived by Benjamin Damage certainly helps thrust the clubs skywards to the highest levels of Paradise. A 2014 release on the now defunct 50 Weapons label, it motorcades enough bass to puncture readying chests. No wonder it featured on Illusive’s ‘Best of 2014’ list.
Lifting off from the start, the track is assembled with complete nuance. Due to Damage’s beginnings in the UK Bass scene, everything is programmed to a T. The drums are tightly knit. It ensures a small club can make the most of its impact as much as the Tomorrowland Festival main stage could. That UK Bass experience comes in handy with the low ends pounding. As though he’s just testing you, dribbles of the synth chords patter in. Getting more panoramic by the count, the track reaches full lift off. Like a NASA rocket ship taking off from Earth, the track then strips down the drums and bass for a exhilarating shower of synths. Clustered and twisted like the Greek mythology’s monster Hydra it displays its arms at full rage. It certainly will get you ‘Up’ should you even be sober. 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
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
Pawas – The Way Out (feat. Solly)
The heady strains of deep house really can be used as a form of escapism. Cuts released by Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay’s ‘All Day I Dream‘ make the mind wander, designed for sitting in the park, surrounding your thoughts and ambience with impeccable wistful synths and emotive rhythms. ‘The Way Out’, a 2009 track by German Producer Pawas was release on a fittingly titled EP ‘Music for Lazy People’. A track that focuses the mind not to worry on what’s ahead, but enjoy the journey here and now.
Relaxed and graceful, the filtered and echoed chords really are as serene as possible painting a picture that the listener is located at 9pm at on a secluded Thai beach with the stars shining bright. This is enforced with the crickets humming away, and what sounds like field recordings of a crashing wave. Continue reading
Dense & Pika – Amber
Just like Rakim is often quoted to be your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper, the electronic underground scene has a few nominees for the producers category. Names including Terrance Dixon, Tin Man & Blawan are sure to make the shortlist. Likewise Dense & Pika are likely to get a shoutout, with their consistent releases striving to push the scene forward. Even Mathew Dear has previously asked the pair for their production secrets. What characterises the duo’s career is their diversity in production. Want to hear a deep house album released through Crosstown Rebels? Then checkout the 2010 release ‘Runner’ under their Glimpse alias. In need of a warehouse anthem? Their remix of Tiga’s ‘Planet E’ has you covered. And of course, ‘Amber’, a fitting tribute to the 1990s progressive techno scene interpreted through the lens of 2018.
Nostalgia Ultra ’90
Right from the get-go symphonic synths akin to Faithless’ monster-hit ‘Insomia’ lead the direction of the track. In support, tonic hi-hats bring a buoyant tone. Booka Shade influenced bassline manoeuvres around in the background teasingly. Once the mix-in section establishes itself, Ambstep genre female vocals glide in. The primitive cry of emotion almost feels like a throwback to God Within’s ‘Raincry’. Around the 2:38 mark comes an unforeseen turn – suddenly the track restructures itself into a tech-house banger. With a thumping energy, its a section worthy of a Bicep’s Essential Mix set. No better way to demonstrate Dense & Pika’s vigour to innovate.
Marco Tegui & Manos – You (Silkast Remix)
With the Ibiza season coming into force, we’re paying homage to a real summer essential. Marco Tegui & Manos bridge the gap between the euphonious and a bass-heavy sound. For such reason we can easily imagine it enrapturing the hearts and feet of Amnesia Terrace dancers. A rooftop party set at sunset feels like the most pertinent setting for this Silkast remix released in 2013. Miami-based MLP record label unearthed a real gemstone with this banger.
This interpretation of the track amplifies the potency of the original which is much more confined. At the same time its less psychadelic than the Wonderklubb Remix. The bassline thumps like a Haka dance from the get-go. In such, you can imagine this lifting the atmosphere as its delicately mixed into the set. Amorous synths swim around playfully like Maui dolphins chasing the trail of a yacht. All is done with a charmed touch. Continue reading