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ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Gordian (50 Weapons)
We still remember Cosmin TRG’s ‘Broken Heart’ being played for the first time, way back when Rinse FM was still a pirate. In the years since it became the first release on Hessle Audio much has changed, but Cosmin’s music remains all his own. ‘Gordian’ is the Romanian’s second album, and like 2011’s ‘Simulat’ it’s focused on techno taken into the ‘TRG Zone’ – ie far from formulaic. There’s a fuzzy, gravelly feel to the album with shuffling drum patterns, off-beat bleeps and crunchy percussion throughout. Nothing is as simple as it may sound; Cosmin’s unorthodox approach keeps things interesting, there’s darkness and light, drama, melancholy and an otherworldly feel to many of the tracks, as though you’ve crash-landed in an arcane cyborg utopia. It’s another master stroke from Cosmin. Faultless.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Bye Bye Macadam (Juan Atkins remix) InFiné
A new InFiné release is always worth checking, particularly when it involves one of the god-fathers of techno. As you’d expect, Juan Atkins’ rerub of ‘Bye Bye Macadam’ by label protégé Rone offers a glimpse into the future via Juan’s disco ball. It kicks in with warped synth lines, a thunderous bassline and powerful beats. Midway in there’s a pretty epic breakdown, before it continues with tough, propulsive energy and high-pitched, stirring melodies. Juan’s still got it.
Moonlight City (Black Nation)
Maya Mayhem tragically passed away four years ago, so this release has extra resonance – particularly as one of the tracks is called ‘Rebirth’. Black Nation has put the record out as a testament to the late producer’s abilites: “In 2009, a tragic accident took Maya’s life. But, as this release attests, it could not silence her soul”, they say. A poignant statement, and one which rings true: ‘Moonlight City’ is dark, gritty techno with soul. It’s menacing, with an unrelenting energy and twisted vocals. There’s no room for a breather, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tactics (Teng records)
Mias Void is the new alias of Matthias Voigt, better known for producing house than techno. But on this new EP for Teng he delves into the technoid realm and comes up with a decent effort. Standout number ‘Tactics’ is a dubby workout full of subtle sounds, the bass drawing you into its hypnotic web while various percussive elements work away in the background and pads sweep over the top to give it a infectious warmth. Elsewhere on the EP he goes all bleepy on us with ‘Believer’ while Barking Dogs turn in a remix of ‘Tactics’. Decent.
Any Which Way (Blackflag Records)
Detroit maestro Stacey Pullen steps up to the plate with a fresh release on his very own Blackflag imprint. This single is remixed four times over: two deep house mixes (Green and Red) from Martin Buttrich, the Dirt Mug mix and the Dub Mug mix. But it’s the original that stands out as the strongest. Crunching, steppy beats judder over a sub-bass while a siren-like subdued organ repeats over and over for the first part of the track, a vocal snippet popping in from time to time. As the track progresses, the dramatic siren fades away and the meat of the track really comes to the fore in a triumphant finish.
Spoock (Lucy remix) (KILLEKILL)
The name of the label will tell you a lot about this EP:
dark and imposing, almost claustrophobic in places and utterly mesmerising. This is the kind of music that would worry your parents if they heard you playing it. EOMAC hails from Dublin, and his speciality is this shadowy, atmospheric kind of techno, some of it on the slightly lighter side – like ‘No Name’ from this EP. ‘Spoock’, though, is pure darkness, and Lucy takes its best elements to create a slovenly beast of a track.
John Kronk (Argot)
Elizabeth Merrick-Jefferson’s name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but she may well be the talk of the town in a year or so, judging by this debut three-tracker on Argot Records. Elizabeth hails from Detroit, so she has techno running through her veins. On this EP she showcases her talents with three different takes on the sound that was born in her home town. The pick of the bunch is the oddly titled ‘John Kronk’, a piano-
infused, jackin’ piece of techno with high strings and a healthy portion of analogue percussion to take us back to the late 80s. Very nicely done it is too.
November (Out-Er Recordings)
Italian producer Simone Gatto turns to his own label Out-Er for his latest EP release. He unites house and techno over four tracks which all evoke an industrial feel – in particular the murky landscapes of ‘They Are Watching Us’ and the excellent ‘November’, which just edges it for us; there’s a laid-back feel despite the pumping beats, as occasional hi-hats and claps work off the kick drum, smooth pads fill the background and rising synth lines add to the depth of the track. Just our kind of dubbed-out, atmospheric techno.
Max Cooper Feat Kathrin DeBoer
Falling Into Recursive Space (FIELDS)
Live show master, maths lover and general ‘thinking man’s techno producer’, Max Cooper’s new effort on Fields was apparently inspired by Max’s observations of the human condition; his belief is that we’re at the mercy of biology, and either happy or unhappy with that fact. And the music has just as much depth as the thinking behind it, DeBoer’s dulcet tones slinking over a glitchy, stepping beat and a big, bad growling bassline on lead track ‘Numb’. ‘Falling Into Recursive Space’, though, is a lush trip into the ambient side of techno, tinkling keys and almost bird-like bleeps and fizzes popping up throughout. Once again DeBoer’s vocals give the track a very human and emotional element. Beautiful.
Project 05 (Ostgut Ton)
Fred P’s ‘Project 05’ is an exclusive taken from Steffi’s excellent ‘Panorama Bar 005’ mix for Ostgut Ton. Luckily for us, the Berlin-based label has put it out on a three-track sampler and not just kept it
as one of those never-to-be-released tracks that haunt us forever. With ‘Project 05’,
the man behind Black Jazz Consortium works some of that old-skool techno flavour into Steffi’s mix with a sturdy analogue bassline, lush pads and chords and throwback percussion, including the occasional snare roll. It’s classic stuff that captures the feeling of early techno perfectly.