The sub-genre of Electro can be seen as a conundrum. Its wide-ranging spectrum includes the bass-heavy interpretations of Aux 88, aquatic tones found in Drexciya productions and the Electroclash renditions of The Hacker. In an article titled “A Not So Brief History of Electro, Part One” Steve Mizek claims “the genre is as lovable as it is difficult to pin down“. A mother figure for the techno idealists of Berlin, Ellen Allien has a solid number of Electro-associated releases traced in her discography, including ‘Augenblick‘ & ‘Magma‘. In the same fashion to Seth Troxler, Allien carries the triple threat of DJing, producing and at times providing the vocals to her own tracks. As her 2009 collaboration with Apparat ‘Way Out‘ demonstrated, Ellen is a competent vocalist. Her 2012 EP ‘Galactic Horse‘ released on her label BPitch Control featured “Take Me Out”. A track for the fans of Juan Atkins‘ style, it is a “bone-dry, crunching” revival of 1980s Electro.
The interpretation offered here by Allien is much more minimal and lower-tempo. Co-produced with fellow Berlinian duo Skinnerbox it aims to take the listener into the deeper state with its hypnotic lure. Characteristically for the collaborators’ production, the track’s low EQs elements bring a pulsating thump. The sequencing of the drums transgress the 4×4 beat structure, similarly to Carl A. Finlow’s ‘Anomaly‘. Here, the production does not share the “psychedelic end of the electro” associated with Helena Hauff. In that extent the fairly linear chord-arrangements might lead some to describe it as “electro-pop”. Drenched with reverb, capricious bursts of strident synth piercing. Allien’s seductive female vocals merge with a low pitched duplication. This evokes a sense of flirtation, perhaps reflected between a synergised dance between two dancers who’ve come across each other on the dancefloor. For the track’s conclusion, the triplet arpeggios lead the dissolving kick into oblivion. Despite a 122 BPM, ‘Take Me Out’ maintains a sense of magnetic suspense throughout its 7 minute playtime.Continue reading →
Walt J – Reborn (DJ Qu’s Journey Towards Birth Remix)
XLR8R ran an editorial on DJ Qu back in 2011. The New Jersey native was quoted claiming ‘House and Techno used to be one thing. Now Derrick May is techno and Kerri Chandler is house, but I never saw a difference’. Such way of thinking is one that plays out in his productions. The Strength Music Recordings boss is perfectly adept at making Techno as he is Deep House. ‘Slinkily motorik drive’ Boomkat calls ‘Get Sum‘, which is his powerful delineation of a Oval Space peaktime heater. ‘Eden’ is a Deep House cut with tenebrous atmospherics, and a shamanic bounce that would be a Oxford Dictionary description for a forest rave like Gottwood Festival. ‘Party People Clap’ was probably his breakthrough track. With 2562 to Ellen AllIen bring it out of their crate, it blew up globally alongside the accompanying remixes found in the EP. And on this remix of Walt J’s ‘Reborn‘, he straddles the two tags with superiority. Released in 2010 on Curle Recordings, it’s a lean but heavy-duty version of the original.
Sampling Mr Fingers’ iconic ‘Can You Feel It’ hit, ‘Reborn’ is a carnivorous track. It’s enjoyed to this day, with Version 2 making this years Electronic Groove’s ‘Top 15 Tracks Played at Movement Torino‘. While the original bolsters the hats that are played with the vigour of Varg Vikernes taking the lead, DJ Qu’s subtle filtering of the hats let the rest of the track shine. The ticker tape sample with the echo synth give the track instant thrust, like a derailed train moving at a crushing pace. Adding layer upon layer of harmonisation makes it a symposium of staccato notes. All intricately laced together, the track is an amaroidal punch to the ear. Filtering the disparate notes, it really takes flight when the ticker notes are crammed in at double time. Once the listener is cruising at full pace like a Jet Stream, wooden kootz jink at will. Meanwhile, the phenomenal ‘Next To You’ vocal is suppressed to the max. The whispy nature helps carry the picture that one is flying to full effect. It is as though Nina Kraviz took some Nitros Oxide whilst doing Yoga. The go-to track to take the dancefloor sky high. Continue reading →