Paste Magazine discussed in 2018 how the Modern Rock genre has been left soul-searching whilst Post-Punk is thriving. The fractured nature of Post-Punk lead to the formation of many sub-genres. Synth-Pop, EBM, New Wave being just some that preserved its parent genre tropes, whilst interloping with electronic unorthodox sounds. These in turn gave birth to a wide variety of sounds including Italo, Bass, Techno, Cold, Dark and Minimal Wave, all of which edify each other. Listening to Peggy Gou, and even Jamie Jone’s recent remix of Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Life Is A Song Worth Singing’, demonstrates that the style has hit the upper echelons of the underground dance scene. Desert Sound Colony, aka Liam Wachs, seems to be as fluid as any in carrying such sound. The Londoner seemed to be an ideal fit with his first releases being manufactured for Scissor & Thread. With hints of Indie & more angular Rock, they shared similarities with Bob Moses and Clockwork releases on the label. Black Light Smoke’s ‘Firefly‘ showed more ambition, however, and certainly Desert Sound Colony seems to have hit a power-boost upon hearing. ‘Lose My Rhythm’ is a track by a man at the peak of his powers. It unmistakably stands heads and shoulders, if not above, the rest.
Liam has also released under the moniker of DSC. ‘The Sorcerer‘, his 2017 release on Holding Hands Records was one that showcased his more experimental side. It had an abstractness, but minimal leaning of a Roman Flügel project. ‘Coming Round‘, released just a year later, was a return to his regular Post-Punk productions. A dance-floor belter, ‘Lose My Rhythm’ sounds like a product coming from the same studio sessions. A voluminous kick drum starts the track off before a warbling bassline kicks in. Vocals hum chorally. Sounding like a lovechild of Roland 909 and KORG MS-20, the gyrating melody is mesmeric. As one YouTube comment points out, the track sounds like an updated version of Belgian New Beat producer Richard H Kirk’s ‘Never Lose Your Shadow’. Guitar is plucked, before the main vocal enters. ‘When I Lose My Rhythm I Feel Alive’ it echoes with revelry. Naturally this paints a picture of a dancefloor bedlam. The punk influence kicks back in from the simple guitar picks heard in the breakdown. It all hits the nail on the head as it picks back up with crystallising splintered synth stabs kicking in. Hectic stuff. Continue reading →
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.
The contribution by the Netherlands to music created with a computer cannot be underestimated. The three royalties of trance who ruled the airwaves of the scene were all Dutch. The current posterboy of EDM proudly wears his country’s orange colours when performing mainstage. However, the nation’s influence on the underground scene is equally as impressive. Dekmantel and ADE festivals bring thousands of pilgrims who gather to pay their dues at its annual gatherings. Renowned Amsterdam-based Red Light Radio radio hosts global trailblazing DJs ranging from John Talabot to Danny Daze. The range of the local DJs hailing from the Low Lands comprise of veterans such as Boris Werner & Legowelt, respected crate-diggers like Antal and emerging talent including Job Jobse, Benny Rodrigues and of course, Young Marco. Marco Sterk, the face behind the last alias on the list, has been slowly turning up the heat on the production cooker over the years. Released on Greco-Roman in 2017, his remix of Roosevelt’s breakthrough track ‘Sea’ is the culmination of his halcyonic interpretation of Deep House.
Marco’s signature sound combines soft percussion work akin to Nu-disco and Italo Disco cuts, with euphonious melodies. His Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House 89-93) Vol. 1 compilation is a retrospective, shoegaze house melodies that are a perfect fit for a hazy afternoon. It’s also a fair reflection of his production. With an infectious chord-progression dancing along to the rhythm conducted by a gentle kick, his ‘Sea’ remix incorporates the leading synth from the original with ease. While the elements separately lack modular sophistication, their effortless coherence is sonically rewarding. Tints of melancholia colour the 1980s palette that paints a landscape of Arpeggios. Young Marco portrays a tranquil scenery with the mastery of Wes Anderson’s direction.
Back in 2001 Sascha Funke remixed the 1980s pop track Bros’ ‘When Will I Be Famous’. The electro take of the original can be interpreted as a modus vivendi for the Berliner’s own career. With a first release ‘Campus’ on the now revered, Cologned-based Kompakt Records, Funke has managed to stay rooted in the German scene ever since. His most highlighted track ‘Mango’, a 7 minutes journey fitting for a late-night drive, was featured in Paul Kalkbrenner’s 2009 movie ‘Berlin Calling’ & received a phenomenal remix from DJ Koze. ‘Surumu’, an indie-disco trinket premiered by Deep House Amsterdam, is a strong contender to eclipse the successes of its predecessors.
Darmstadt local Benedikt Frey will not be requiring Elon Musk’s assistance for reaching Mars. His range of releases coming from such labels including Ethereal Sound, Mule Electronics and Live at Robert Johnson demonstrate one trait in common – they equally sound extragalactic. The DJs discography consists of alternative soundtracks for ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, Plutonic acid party weapons and themes accompanying launches of Space X. His bachelor thesis alone feels like an exhibit of a dystopian experiment created by the Fourth Kind. ‘Out of Here’ feels downtempo in comparison, yet retains the viscid quiddity of xenomorph.
Filtered, timid kick drums drop you a clue within the intro that the track is likely to fall under the nu-disco category. Martian frequencies approach you like a UFO-investigator at an vacated Area 51site. Vintage Italo-disco snares begin to shiver. It reminds you of calibre attested by one of the finest exports from Naples. Brass synth stamps its authority with magnitude that rivals the Behemoth creature from ‘The Mist‘. It dances with a water pot clanging hi-hats substitute in an offbeat unison. As the track draws to its conclusion, hauntingly mellow siren lingers on the fringes of the soundwaves. It serves as a reminder of the producer’s intention to create an extraterresteral atmosphere.