Clark – Unfurla
“Music is like sculpture. It’s like trying to capture a moment of ultimate momentum, and distill it forever“. These are the words that accompany Chris Clark’s track ‘Unfurla’, released under his Clark alias. If such perspective is to be adopted, then the producer is the Auguste Rodin of his respective field. Drowned In Sound describes him as ‘a cut above most of his peers when it [comes] to sheer technical and compositional wizardry‘. After all it is no easy feat to land an album on Warp Records, an outlet that has released the works of dexterous artists such as Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin & Oneohtrix Point Never. ‘Unfurla’ is his 2014 release on the label, coming from his self-titled album. The Progressive Techno whopper has been adequately described as “a near perfect distillation of his oeuvre“.
What characterises ‘ Unfurla’ the most is the pulsating momentum that breathes with a continuous sense of unpredictability. The introduction combines a wet kick with a heavily-distorted bassline, reminding of Laurent Garnier’s 1997 classic ‘Crispy Bacon‘. Yet one minute in you are introduced to an extract of a grand piano being played through a hallway reverb-filter. The two concepts should not possibly co-exist in theory, and Clark’s ability to combine these is therefore impressive. Such elements manifest the spirit of Electronica and IDM genres, with the influence of Amon Tobin particularly noticeable. The ease at which the tone of the track shifts from Bastinov’s ‘Prisma‘-like leading synth to woodwind instrumentation breakdown is tantalizing. The final third of the track resists the temptation to return to its prior state, opting for a cello-leading outro that is more sombre in its tenor. Despite a runtime that falls below the six minute mark, the listener is left with a three-part story that satisfies the senses akin to a blockbuster flick. Continue reading
Schneider & Galluzzi feat. Florian Schirmacher – Too Late To Land
In Maceo Plex’s recent Time Warp mix, the American DJ played a track dedicated to the festival’s 25 Year Birthday. He’s certainly not the first to have dedicated a track for such special occasion. Think Da Hool’s ‘Meet You at the Love Parade‘ or Mike Huckaby’s ‘The Tresor Track‘. Heck, type in Berghain into any streaming platform and you’ll come across hundreds of tracks titled after the notorious club. Already having the maestro Moritz Von Oswald dedicate the track of the year to their label, Cocoon really outdid themselves by dedicating a whole LP to the concept, Cocoon Morphs Tokyo. Hosting three parties at Japanese venue Womb, it featured exclusive bangers by Ricardo Villalobos, Tiefscharz and Guy Gerber. The highlight of these cuts, is Galluzzi and Schneider’s weapon of mass Minimal Techno destruction, ‘Too Late To Land’. Hearing the two collaborate for Minimal heads equals the creation of a DC vs Marvel movie for comic book fans.
The LP is also a celebration of the world-renowned German photographer and artist Andreas Gursky and Sven Väth. Andreas has been responsible for the design of Cocoon Club in Frankfurt, as well a many of the set designs featured at the Cocoon Parties. The cover art features a shot of the crowd below a poker-dots laced silver sheened curtain that draps over the dancefloor. The aesthetic is sonically replicated in the track. It starts with an ascending filtered chopper noise that harmonises with the modulation. Clever. Any producer wanting to learn more about the art of subtle glockenspiel percussion needs to rampantly study this track. The two so effortlessly displayed here click perfectly to give it soul. The muddied bass line bobs up and down in toe. Capping the track off though is the metallic, wonky, robotic synth stabs that darkens the tone. Similar to Schneider’s collaboration with Jay Haze ‘Acai‘, these are dialled up fifty notches to give the listener a jolting experience. Coupled with the drawled vocal saying ‘It’s too late to land‘ it leaves you in agreeance that you’ve gone way too far to stop the trip into outer space. 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.
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
Quenum – Vault Element
As one half of the formidable Production/DJ duo Azimute, Quenum is a well known name within the Minimal appreciation circles. Co-producing one of the greatest Minimal tracks of all time in 2003’s collaboration with Luciano, ‘Funky Orange‘, as well as seminal collaborations with other Swiss collaborators Daschund & Lee Van Dowski. Quenum’s cuts tend to be as inventive as a Russian Sports Chief’s denial claims during a doping probe. We first heard ‘Vault Element’ in 2008 on a Sven Väth’s Ninth Season CD, and it was a track rather unconventional even for the conceptive genre of Minimal. Ever since, it has been one of our go-to tracks when introducing a novice to Minimal Techno.
‘Vault Element’ makes one feel like they’re encased within a vault which in this context is the dancefloor. In the majority of his tracks Quenum lashes the mix with a plethora of percussion and it’s no different here, with the melody carried by a noise created through a hollow but aluminous object hitting a desk. Chopped up mutant voices belch ‘time’, adding a real sense of eeriness to compliment the off kilt piano stabs. As soon as your ears start to gauge what’s going down is when the the track truly unravels. Piercing the cerebral like a vengeful mob hitman are the strident laser stabs. Sounding like they’re meant for a hard trance track, slowed down these have the force of a plasma beam intentionally placed to send the dancer into a galactic trance. Continue reading
Check Your Buddha(Original Mix) – Sunpeople
Everyone needs that perfect Monday track. Minimal legend Peter Ford aka Baby Ford and his good mate Thomas Melchoir are absolute masters at making them. Baby Ford released this cut in 1998 on his own Trelik Records it is a timeless track however, and sounds straight outta 2005. Even veering on the cusp of Microhouse from the early 00’s, with it’s snippets of sound synthesising to telescope your mind to another time & place.