In our commentaries, we’ve rightly (or wrongly, depending on who you ask) proclaimed Drumcodeism to be the predominantly influential form in the world of Techno today. Candied, yet euphoric, it feeds the symbolism of what social media represents today. Fleeting yet memorable. 10 years ago though, that face was a different beast. Integral to the rise of the Berghain sound, Sandwell District was Techno’s tour de force. An international supergroup made up of Function, Female, Silent Servant and Regis. Needing no greater accolade, Billboard Magazine, of all places, give the underground heroes props where it is due stating ‘Sandwell District’s influence on underground techno can hardly be overstated’. Going on to say their style is ‘deep, dark, hypnotizing beats that kick up an introspective and brooding energy with minimal clutter’ it accurately describes this magnus opus of mixing. They gave all Resident Advisor fanboys a Holy Grail of a mix with this one.
Overall, the podcast carries an over arching droning yet epically cinematic feel to it. We know that the term ‘journey’ gets brandished about, but this is the definition. The deep space feel reaches a peak when Marcel Dettman’s edit of the crew’s ‘NA/VVARIENCE III‘ makes the listener feel like they’re on the dusty desert planes of a post apocalyptic moon that’s just been devastated by war. Bleak yet beautiful. The thing that makes this mix so great is it spans many eras of Techno. Kicking off what must be a top contender for greatest sequence of 6 tracks mixed. First, Choice’s iconic 1992 track ‘Acid Eiffel’. Second, Moritz Von Oswald’s rework of ‘Watamu Beach‘. Third, Peter Van Hoesen’s ‘Face of Smoke‘ which by this point you’re saying to yourself ‘Lord save me, this is so good my brain is melting’. Fourth, a track by Robert Hood released once again in 1992 ‘The Vision‘ before mixing in the fifth and sixth – DVS1’s ‘Running‘ with the acapella of Daniel Bell’s ‘Losing Control‘. Heavy Duty much? You betcha. Continue reading →
“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 →
iO Mulen is part of a cabal of producers that includes Janaret, Ion Ludwig & Lowris, who straddle the line between the Romanian interpretation of Minimal and Deep House. Bewitching as much as it is functional, the sound is a certified crowd pleaser at its best. iO also part of a faction of DJs like like Tommy Vicari Jnr, East End Dubs and Traumprinz who tend to release purchase-on-sight records coveted by Discogs fiends. Listening to any of these producers’ tracks makes it’s pretty easy to see why. Having previously featured on labels such as Apollonia and Diynamic to name a few, it comes as no surprise that the Ukrainian found his way to One Records. Introduced by the great John Dimas, it surely is a shrewd move by Adam Shelton and Subb-an. ‘Na Latnem’ had already been signed to another label, but it was so good that Shelton begged for it to be released on his own outlet. Coming out in 2015, though it served as a B side you’d be satisfied if it had a full A side to itself.
The track kicks off with energetic drums and hats that resemble a live feel. Bursts of whistled air plumes give it a light tone. However, it’s deceiving in form as what comes next is bone-rattling. Replicating many of his other tracks, the bass is punishing, bulldozing the ears opting to be held rather than staccato’d. It’s the definition of what one may refer to as a ‘dance floor roller’. “I love to work with samples for arrangements by adding Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and Roland TR-909″ the Ukrainian told Magazine Sixty. Utilising horned samples, Mulen then elevates the track with pads drenched in reverb that permeate the Ibizan sun at dusk. Yes it’s a tool, but an epizootic one at that. 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 →
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 →
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 →
Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts – Fair Is the Field
DJs such as Floating Points, Francesco Tristano and Oliver Coates reached the peaks of the Underground by transferring their formal musical training into the Electronic sphere. Another fine example is Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts. Montreal-born DJ and producer studied latin and classical percussion, and even played in a live funk band prior to undertaking the decks. Now a recognised name in the scene, his previous education has granted him an edge when it comes to his production. Unsurprisingly, his byzantine sound has seen him perform alongside Luciano, M.A.N.D.Y and Visionquest’s Cesar Merveille. His enticement for experimentation has been noticed by the DJs who share his enthusiasm. Released in 2018 on Musique Risquée as A2 of his ‘Shouts, Moans And Significance’ EP, ‘Fair Is The Field’ is a wizardous marvel that demonstrates the level of Guillaume’s savoir faire.
At its simplest terms, ‘Fair Is The Field’ is Ibiza‘s answer to John Coltrane. The sense of freedom exercised by the floating key notes that are with the skill of Bill Evans is only matched by the accompanying saxophone. Less than a minute in, the listener is introduced to a bass you’d expect from Serialism Records. Guillaume’s sophisticated percussion work landed him a release on Watergate Records with 2015’s ‘The Drums‘. What is heard on ‘Fair Is The Field Field’ come to be no exception. The samples of wild birds hooting evoke a tingling sense of finding oneself in a venue situated out in the jungles of Ecuador. ‘I love this music..and it’s 24 hours a day…You hear the same?‘ asks a husky narrator’s voice, the music fading out into oblivion. The returning amalgamation of components throws a ramshackling synth into the mix. With a potency that would take Alice back down the Rabbit Hole to the Wonderland, the track is intoxicating even at the most sober state. Continue reading →
Although we don’t like to emancipate in the underground, there are a still a few ‘trophies’ one can nod too. Closing at Time Warp. Playing at CircoLoco, DC10. And, of course, playing at Room One fabric. To get an even better nod, was to get a slot on their acclaimed Mix Series. Omar S, Shackleton, Ricardo Villalobos and Peter Inspires all had mixes that featured their own cuts. Mathew Jonson’s is different however. Not only did it feature exclusively his own production, it came from a recording of him playing live at fabric. His set was so good that the fabric team decided to put it on a mix cd. Being in awe of such a producer and DJ, the quality of his tracks made this decision easy. From the genre-defining ‘Decompression‘ (released on Minus), to ‘Dump Truck‘, a product of his collaboration with Danuel Tate and Tiger Dhula as Cobblestone Jazz, Jonson has many strings to his bow. And they all shine the brightest. His 2017 collaborations with The Martinez Brothers and Martin Buttrich were certainly an escapade in unadulterated dancefloor fun. What Jonson is most notable for, however, is his brand of emotive, bare-laden, minimal cuts. ‘Typerope‘, ‘Learning To Fly‘, and ‘New Identity‘ all summon such branding. None more than ‘Marionette’ though. Released in 2005 on his own Wagon Repair label, the track is the ultimate in chiaroscuro disposition.
Don’t get it twisted, Jonson is the major-domo of inculcated synth stabs and manipulation. Where others bearing such style may seem a tad ostentatious, knowing his background indicates he is one for for untrammelled experimentation. Beginning with a splurge of synth stabs, the melody is played with the subtlety of a classically-trained pianist. These notes are, however, performed with the sinisterness of Sergei Prokofiev. Syncopated in the highs, mids & lows they’re a reflection of Jonson’s freewheeling Jazz heritage. In conversation with Roland he remembers receiving his first piece of analogue back in 1986, a collection of MT-32 sound module, PR-100 sequencer and an HP-3000 electric piano. The SH-101, however, is the main weapon of choice for his music and was ‘used in combination with the JX for Marionette’. If you hold a preference for blippy minimal, I would steer clear. An ample kick then kicks in giving instant vivacity. Using an Ensoniq DP4+, ‘Marionette has a modulating distortion that slowly mixes between wet and dry signals’. It’s a momentously disorientating effect. Chopped hats with a touch of reverb flutter to add to the headiness. His tracks ‘Symphony for The Apocalypse’ and his remix of Joel Mull’s ‘Begun The End Has’ are moulded with similar mordant tones. Eery string synth pads warp in and out munificently, adding to the cinematic effect. To describe it as mystifying would be a criminal understatement, even sibylline one might say. Continue reading →
Our first introduction to Marcel Dettmann came in the form of his 2008 seminal mixtape, Berghain 02. A business card of sorts that presented a snapshot of Klubnacht, showing that whoever turns up will be left in a state of obsequiousness. Featuring an unreleased T++ cut as well as bangers like Risque Rhythm Team’s ‘The Jacking Zone‘, Shed’s ‘Warped Mind‘ and Tadeo’s ‘4‘, the mix rubber-stamped Dettmann’s fabled status in the underground scene. Not long after an album followed, released by Ogstut Ton. In conversation with The Quietus Dettmann mentions his love for EBM and all styles of electronic music, which is seeped into his debut LP. On the remix package, however, were 4 tracks, paying homage to originals that never reached the record store shelves. Two coming from his good friend Norman Nodge, two by the mysterious Wincent Kunth. With his bio on the MDR Records webpage being just a photo, you won’t find much else about him apart from learning that the producer hails Switzerland, and is a close associate of Dettmann. Being more elusive than a post-Communist era Yugoslavian leader wanted for war crimes, Kunth’s remix of ‘Vertigo’ let’s the music speak on his behalf.
Wincent so far has only released a four tracker on MDR named MDR 08. The beautiful ‘Relove (Edit)‘ one of four gems distilling a crystalline synth stab over a dubby bassline. Apart from that, Kunth’s catalogue comprises of unreleased tracks for Dettmann and Ben Klock’s Fabric mixes, as well as a collaboration with Dettmann for his DJ Kicks mix. Tense and atmospheric, they all diverge with no two tracks sounding alike. Boomkat describes Vertigo being ‘driven by lushly hypnotic bass sequences and etched with alleviated Detroit synthlines’. That word hypnotic most adequately describes all of Wincent’s cuts to date. His ‘Vertigo’ interpretation kicks off with a thudding sub bass glittered with assuage, rasping percussion over the top. Crafted with precision for for a mix in. Morbid and defiant, the rhythm of the added bassline to put simply is engrossing. It perfectly reflects the sullen glum nature of the EPs picture of the moon’s surface. Synthlines that billow like laboratory steam preluding the emergence of bio-hacked creature, limber ever so slowly. The end result is grim stuff. With the runtime being shy of 6 minutes, yes the track is a tool at best, but certainly one that’s abstruse. Continue reading →
‘To influence a person is to give him one’s own soul’ proclaimed Oscar Wilde in his bookThe Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Stories. That can certainly be said of the indomitable Perlon Records. With a propensity to release experimental and obscure cuts, it’s possibly the most influential Minimal label of them all. Releases such as The Mole’s ‘Lockdown Party (DJ Sprinkles’ Crossfaderama)‘, Minimal Man’s ‘The Chicken Store‘, and Binh’s ‘Noah’s Day‘ are just drops in the ocean of the many far-fetched bombs released. A lot of their cuts like Margaret Dygas’ ‘Even 11‘ are purely for after-hours or headphone listening only. Many of these have been release on their Superlongevity series. Seeing label stalwart Sammy Dee drop cuts by Egoexpress and Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts at The Egg last summer was a reminder why their acclaimed Get Perlonized parties receive such high fanfare. Their more conventional 4/4 releases certainly get equally as much praise. Israeli by birth, a Berliner via New York and Amsterdam, Maayan Nidam is a producer synonymous with trippy drugged out releases. Having previously released albums on Candeza, and Powershovel Audio, her most recent third LP ‘Sea of Thee‘ landed on Perlon. ‘Don’t Know Why’ was her first of four releases on Perlon. A groggy affair, it is quintessential for DJs looking to calm things down on the dance floor whilst keeping a stomp.
The track chugs at a 120 BPM, much like how Clive Henry plays his sets. Woody drums tap away giving a makeshift off the cuff jamming production. Feel-good tambourine claps jingle with brightness. It displays power in its raw simplicity, much like Motown tracks like Marvin Gaye’s ‘How Sweet It Is‘ or Bill Wither’s ‘Kissing My Love‘. Alongside this is the powerfully floppy electro-tinged bass. It’ll ensure not one body stands stiff in the building. Basslines like this make tracks skittish. Audion’s fine catalogue as well as Tommy Vicari Jnr’s phenomenal ‘Moy Lally In D‘ bring a similar rubbery dance. Due to the slower BPM, the cut makes it the nifty DJ tool to transition out of an Electro or Nu Disco cut. The longer the track goes, the louder the womps get. It’s a jolting experience. Rickety pianos tinkle in, bringing a countenance to the shindiggery. Being an odd incision, it’s one normally heard in the overcast weather soaked music of Christopher Rau, Moon or Benjamin Brunn. This works, however, and you can see a Ricardo Villalobos’ type figure playing along whilst on the dancefloor. Or in this case, singing along to the drawling ‘Don’t Know Why’ Vocals. An intoxicating affair.
Maayan’s Boiler Room sets are well stocked in similarly funkadelic tracks. Unfortunately the cameraman doesn’t give the crowd much attention, because they’d surely be locked in Alice’s Wonderland. Nidam has stated that her music is inspired by the phenomenon of dreams. Whatever dream breathed life into this track was certainly one of untroubled spirit.