John Shananigans – Charlie’s On The Dancefloor
“The mysterious Hugh Betcha who features on Pan-Pot‘s newest single most likely takes his name from Canada’s sketch comedy masterpiece SCTV” writes RA reviewer Todd. L. Burn. ‘Hugh Betcha’s Night Gallery’, [an episode from the show], is an apt name for the type of atmosphere that ‘Charly’ creates over its nine minutes’. ‘Charly‘, was the now Techno-Don Pan-Pot’s first mega-hit. Released in 2007 on Anja Schneider‘s Mobilee it encapsulated the underground scene in it’s inveterate and spiralling style. Who is Hugh Batcha you may ask? None other than Mike Shannon. The Montrealer has been one of the most prolific producers and even pioneers. His name stands strong alongside the likes of Luciano, Akufen, Steve Bug & Jay Haze of the super early breedle Minimal sound synonymous with the mid 2000s underground scene. As well as releasing on his own label ‘Cynosure‘, Shannon’s prowess has linked him up with fellow Canadian labels Plus 8 Records, Wagon Repair and Dumb Unit, alongside international labels such as Half Baked and Meander. His collaboration with the Berlinian duo, however, isn’t his first love letter to ‘Charlie’, with ‘Charlie’s On The Dancefloor’ being a powerful display on what made the Minimal style explode.
Released in 2003 under his John Shenanigans alias, the track embodies a cardinal sense of funk that accents no matter the rations of analogue and digital within his production. Like in the Pan-Pot version, his vocals on ‘COTD’ is cheekily cocksure, making it’s presence known brashly. The vocals utter the words of the title slimily in repetition. As it’s spoken over a simple 4/4 kickdrum, an organic distorted piano bassline ricochets over four notes. It’s an incubating sound, evoking the feeling of finding oneself in front of a cackling fire in a decadent castle dining hall. Speaking with Deep Transitions he name-checks Soft Cell and Thomas Dolby as early inspirations. Certainly such eccentricity found in these artists can be relayed in this track. The Jazziness of the bass can be effortlessly overlaid on a Theo Parrish or Moodymann cut. Whirrs and springs murmur in the background. As a double-time snapping kicks in, the bass then adds a top layer as it ascends into the higher octave. The breakdown provides a section where the sub-bass hits on and off the beat, introducing an element of unpredictability. During the final half of the track, Shannon filters the kicks and a delay is added. Alongside the potent vocal, it is a peach of a finish. 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
Will Ward – Space Bells
Asquith and Deadbeat aren’t names you’d usually put together. The nostalgic nature of the former is a stark contrast of the latter’s dread Dub Techno. What they both share in common is an innate knack to provide a bruising kick. Will Ward’s ‘Space Bell’ is another release that carries such bombast. Described on Leisure System’s Bandcamp as an artist whose tracks portray ‘windswept techno’. Its brash sound serves perfect curation for events like Jaded at Corsica Studios, as is seen in this recorded set of his. Mixing in Truncate, Jones Kopp and Alex Bau, Ward selects cuts for the dishevelled patrons. Releasing EPs on Joton’s New Rhythmic and Audio Doughnuts, Will’s tracks certainly evince that of a seasoned composer. On ‘Space Bells’, however Will provides a cut to to follow a peak-time bomb at a cacophonous party.
One third of Circle Traps, Will was the central character who brought it all together. Speaking with The Trailer TV, he mentions being influenced by Fachwerk Records boss Mike Dehnert. The Berliner is adept at delicately sculpting a track, knowing masterfully where to position each element of sound. His tracks also diligently contain a perfect weight to them. Such influence oozes into ‘Space Bells’. It incorporates a triple note drum programming that is comparable to Leon Vynehall’s ‘Butterflies‘. Interlacing with the forceful drive of the drum, it is gratifying enough to just play the two as a tool. A fuzzy aura surrounds the track. Filtered hats give scents of white noise, creating a galactic atmosphere. The emotive bell patterns provide a petrichor palette similar to the tracks found on John Robert’s seminal LP Glass Eights. Brassy chords clamber, shrieking with trepidation. These sounds all feel grounded by the bass and drums, retaining a permanent swing to the track. Continue reading
Ben Klock – DGTL Amsterdam
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.
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
tINI – Awakenings Easter Special
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
John Hopkins – Singularity (ANNA Remix)
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
Premiesku (live) at Neversea
Neversea, like Sunwaves is the annual mecca for all Minimal Techno aficionados. Neighbouring the Black Sea, both festivals are in the beating heart of the scene Romania. Mixmag chronicles “the compelling power of Romanian minimal, a lean and intricate style popularised by frequent Ricardo Villalobos-collaborators RPR Soundsystem (Petre Inspirescu, Raresh and Rhadoo)”. It comes as no surprise therefore that the country has become the “staple in the planet’s finest dance parties, placing the nation firmly on the dance music map‘. This Premiesku set, recorded live by the Mixmag team in 2018 is a mirror reflection of such grand depiction. Celebrating the scene, the mix is infectiously groovy.
Livio, Roby & George G comprise Priemesku and bring an avant-garde perspective when it comes to the ‘Live’ performance DJs. Speaking with Electronic Groove they asserted to ‘really believe that a live act should be based on live jamming and using real instruments‘. Well these fellas take it to the supreme by designing three distinctive, custom-made hardware consoles. Each consists of parts from various machines that have been completely rewired, modified and re-patched. The recording first starts out with some intricate filtered synths and a muddied rolling bass. After some Chicago House influenced jams, at 16th minute comes their own release ‘And Other‘. It opens up with fluttering delayed horn stabs with echoed sonar sounds to create an epic soundscape. Continue reading
Igor Vicente – Mystericordia (Ryan Crosson Remix)
Being part of a collective that was once referred to as “House music’s most lucrative supergroup“ is some feat. Such was the title given to Visionquest in the early 2010s. Part of the renowned ensemble alongside Lee Curtiss & Shaun Reeves (as well as formerly Seth Troxler), Ryan Crosser has always shared his crews ambition to push the boundaries of textures, while retaining an enthralling rhythm. His own production can be best described as a liquefaction of Techno, Tech-House and Minimal. None is more evident than in his 2014 remix of Igor Vicente’s ‘Mystericordia’, an unapologetic revelry of the mind-expanding sounds.
Igor Vicente’s original takes a more subtle approach, maintaining alluring mellowness throughout. Crosson’s interpretation on the other hand awakens the spirit of modern Detroit, elevating the intensity into benumbing levels.Conjuring up his contribution to Visionquest Records Bricolage EP, Crosson claims to source sound samples from the mundane, everyday life. “I used field recordings from the street, sometimes people would be doing construction on my building” he explained to Vice back in 2014. Nonetheless, the DJ’s processing in the studio interprets the banal in a aphotic fashion. The first half of the track is an amalgamation of white noise, isolated grand piano notes and comatosed vocal echoes. A misty, aquatic atmosphere often associated with his longtime collaborator and friend Cesar Merveille has clearly rubbed off on Crosson. Meanwhile, the spaced-out thumping of a kick repeatedly increases in tempo. This is almost a reflection of the dancer’s heartbeat, about to enter a delirious state. Once the standard 4/4 looping of the drumming percussion clangours into the mix, its impact is thunderous. The heavy sidechaining of the choleric bassline dynamites the listener into the extrasolar. Continue reading
Upsammy – Another Place
You’ve got to hand it to those YouTubers who are the heroes we need but do not deserve. A vehicle for upcoming artists to get their music promoted, it certainly has its uses on the other side of the spectrum. Frontleft365 covered some of these in their fantastic feature that included interviews with Houseum, Slav and CMYK. Growing in number, such channels have offered not only exposure for those looking to get their name out, but also serving as inspiration to fellow producers. These have been in particular rich in genres of early 90’s IDM, ambient, breaks, jungle, techno and trance. Thessa Torsing aka Upsammy’s 2018 Dekmantel set was a beautiful, meandering sound safari covering the aforementioned genres with a retro tint. Hailing from the Netherlands, her ascendency has been no short of paramount, rapidly moving from playing in local clubs to nights at Panorama Bar. Her productions have been cherished and treasured, bringing a mix of breaks, Techno, IDM, ambient and Trance. Releases on Whities & Die Orakel gathered great attention, called upon by Mr Fingers for a remix alongside Joey Anderson and Kode9. ‘Another Place’, the titular cut on her 2018 debut EP on Rotterdam Label Nous’Klaer, is a mutative beast that is utterly mesmeric.
In conversation with DeSchool, Upsammy recalled her father having “loads of electronic mix CD’s, like Tiësto’s Forbidden Paradise, so [Torsing] listened to those.. growing up. Another major influence was MTV Lounge Vol. 3, with artists like Moby and The Future Sound Of London‘. ‘Another Place’ is an emotion-led, retro futuristic track, cut with a different cloth that uses the same blueprint. Pick any track from the nostalgic YouTube Channel, 2trancentral and you’ll find the same esoteric tropes written all over. Indulged in delay from the off, chimes and a bleep knock echo and streak through both ear canals. An drum pattern that goes into double-time on the second 4/4 beat keeps things off kilter. This all happens before a razoring dubstep & techno hybrid bassline, akin to one found in A Made Up Sound‘s (aka 2562) ‘Crisis’ enters. It also carries the same urgency as of Shed’s ‘Wax 1001B‘ acid lick. Blissful and alien synth-lines supersaw and oscillate, sounding straight out of a Roland J-8000 or Access Virus A/B textbook. Droplet sounds play out in assorted patterns in the background, before a minute long breakdown set ups the most euphoric of atmospheres. The bass then drops combined with the precision of the cymbals to truly transport the listener to a place far distant. Continue reading