‘Techno is a poor attempt to substitute robot sounds for what was once actual instrumental and artistic human expression’ stated Ryan Walsh in 2012, writing for the Daily Collegian, ‘It’s not as pure nor as genuine a music experience’. It’s a damn shame that he’s never listened to this track in question, ‘The Vox Attitude’. As described by Juno, the cut is ‘swung heavy with booming warehouse rhythms and nerve jangling cut up vocals’. Collectively, it is these two elements that keep it pure, released at a time when techno lost its way slightly. Magda realised the power of this, and seeing it rollick in after a Drexciya cut during her Boiler Room mix was a memory I will never forget. Released on the Swedish label Färden Records in 2010, it received its own re-release on Eerie Records. Sounding like no other, it is just as brutal now, as Sonja Moonear showcases in her Replay Madrid mix.
Another weapon of mass destruction released in the same year was the era-defining ‘Convolution‘ by Stockholm duo Skudge. Dubby with hints of deep house, it paraded an incredible fierce diva vocal demanding ‘Give it all up’. A similar vocal takes the forefront of Shuttle’s track, chopped up to say ‘YOU’ with a spectred gaze which then echos. A low-end sub bass stomps the track, with shuffling hats flickering over the top. Hypnotic bongos enter the background, played in double time. It extrapolates a steamy Brixton Electric night with Luciano at the helm. Supremely acidy, fettered modulations of a protist nature infiltrate the fray, rising up and down with the tide. With the reverb on overload, infectious lower mids sound like underwater pulses emanating from a submarine. The spherical nature of the track adds substance to Marco’s claim in his interview with Inverted Audio that ‘Producing tracks is a cinematic experience’. The apodosis of this entire concoction is a dancefloor losing itself. Continue reading →
In his recent Resident Advisor Exchange podcast interview, Blawan stated that the post-dubstep releases of the late 00s and early 2010s sound dated if listened to today. A fresh rewind does in many cases explain why a pioneer of the genre like Skream progressively adopted tech-house scene as his home. However, ‘Void 23’ the collaboration between Bristol’s Appleblim & Ramadanman is one of a few surprising exceptions to the rule. Released in 2010 on Will Saul’s and Ninja Tune’s Fink Aus Music label, it’s a collage of house, techno, electro and dub that stands the test of time where many have failed.
The intro gives the listener a hint that this is not your standard track, the first 30 seconds substituting a 4/4 drum beat loop with an extract of an airport background noise. The soundscapes that simmer into the picture are eldritch yet atmospheric. The eerie ambience invoked is reminiscent of Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill soundtrack. Slowly but surely the drums affix unto the energy created. Once the aura is brewed, a zesty bassline fizzes under the surface, never taking claim of the protagonists role. The breakdown that dissolves the existing elements into oblivion is crafted in a way that was ahead of its time. The use of indigenous percussion reminds you of an Innervisions release coming from the last few years. Rampa mixed with ÂME and a tint of Marcus Worgull. Yet the ‘drop’ which turns the track on its head dispels such direction. It rumbles with a rolling lick that funnily enough reminds of Benny Bennassi’s ‘Satisfaction’. However, the sound here is unapologetically underground, the second half of the track being a gift sent down by the tech-house gods.
Normally reserved for any of the main strands of the underground electronic genres, sampling a Soul/RnB vocal is a frequent as expecting to see Kanye West tweet something controversial. Except for a Techno artist that is. The genius of Berlin based, Barnsley born Blawan however is contrary to this finding the nous to be able to twist hit track I Wanna Be Down by Brandy into this scrumptious techno floor killer released in 2012.
The main part of the track is certainly the pitched up vocal, fastened to the melody as fittingly as the embroidery on a Versace. It’s oozing the poise of Usain Bolt – it just knows it’s sitting on a win. Underneath this is a snaking, nasty and rasping electro-tinged lower mids and jaunty sub bass. Petite and palatable, the percussion on this cut is similar to the experimental experience delivered by John Roberts. Continue reading →