Archive for the ‘Techno’ Category

Not a review, this, but a preview (ooh, get me) of Kick the Drum 003, on which KTD bossman and FAT Collective geezer Zoid comes loaded for bear with two absolute bangers. One of the most interesting producers around, Zoid’s always been something of a restless ideas man, and if on the downside that means his tracks can occasionally sound a tad overloaded – Positive Therapy, I’m looking at you – then when he gets it right, the results slap you upside the head. And on this release – for my money one of his best – they do. They really do.

Atmosphere would rock even if it was just about the drums. They boom and roll, like the distant sound of an approaching mek squadron. Never a man to shy away from a vocal sample, he’s used a film quote, but it’s buried inaudibly deep in the mix for a change, more for ghostly texture than to boss the track; while finally, a nightmarish carnival organ sound punches the tune into top gear. The result is, in a word, whoosh. In two, fucking whoosh.

Next Door’s Cat repeats Atmosphere’s trick of being funky, tribal and hard, with seemingly endless circular riffs repeated throughout a mix that’s busy but not crowded. I haven’t forgotten to mention the acid, by the way. There isn’t any. Yeah, that’s right, bitches, there isn’t any: this is pure techno. And the fact is, there aren’t many producers making it with this kind of funk and melody at this BPM, which is all the more reason to forget about the Diamond Jubilee and hang out your bunting for this instead. How good is it? How good? Ingrid good.

Get it from: 909 (eventually, release date not yet confirmed)

This, as they say, is Melbourne fucking Techno, four of Melbourne Acid’s leading lights on a cracking EP with nods to the old skool, plenty of bang for your buck, plus plenty of proper, what-the-hell-are-they-smoking weirdness.

Things kick off with Syndrome’s Lost in Transit (146 BPM), a woozy tune beamed in from a cracked-open, dying dimension. All the parts have made it through but in various states of malfunction and decay. Only the 303, solid little trooper that he is, seems unaffected by the carnage, holding things together as riffs and vocals explode like planets into echo and distortion around him. This is the music playing inside Grant Morrison’s head, and it’s ace.

Likewise, Gear by DTM (145 BPM)seems cut from a different sonic template, scuffing up an already muffled kick and distorted sound effects into a storm-blown live sound that’s at once hypnotic and distorientating. Up next, n3ocOrt3x’s New Realm (145 BPM) sounds like it’s about to fall to pieces in the middle then fires into a life with a doozy of a kick– a doozy – the whole thing sounding like a battle fought at the gates of a medieval castle.

Rabbits favourite dyLAB, meanwhile, does his dyLAB thing on EP closer Exhibit One (130 BPM). That thing being the precise, almost surgical application of 808 and 303. As usual, his is superior fare, and in this company he’s a mild-mannered professor, a welcome respite from the storm that came before.

Get it from: Beatport

Get it from: Amazon

With last year’s Tek Stream a killer release on Scythe Squadron, and 2424 on Scythe 09 none too shabby either, Ben Fraser’s been busy under his own name. But what of Sabretooth, his finely honed psytrance alias? The answer is the functionally named but totally superb Sabretooth 3, where the Sheffield dark destroyer brings out the big guns, displaying his well-earned reputation for exquisitely crafted, thrillingly hard tracks. A proper album in the good old-fashioned sense of the word, Sabretooth 3 is sequenced to build. If you’re plundering it for a mix there’s plenty of ammo here – with the exception of the punk track 20 Dollar Bill, there isn’t a track on the album that doesn’t flat-out rock – but it also rewards the complete run-through thanks to a constantly shifting palette of styles. Compared to what’s to come, the almost Goan opening of Mulu (145 BPM) is a gentle introduction; Confession Driver (143 BPM) uses a sample from American Psycho and tribal chants to add a creeping sense of dread then adds disorientating whirling, backwards sound effects, layering the lot into an epic, intense mid-album highlight. The rules change for Drive On (137 BPM), a tougher track with more emphasis on tribal drumming. 20 Dollar Bill is a punk track and – well, it is what it is, I suppose. It disrupts the mood – the mood being trippy, hard, banging psytrance – but it also acts as a palette cleanser for an outstanding run of three tracks: Manipulated Being (148 BPM), Hellfire (150 BPM) and Trak 2 (147 BPM). All of them shine but it’s Trak 2 that really brings the noise, layering riff upon riff towards a devastating breakdown that features a brilliantly placed sample of Withnail screaming, ‘My head’s gone numb!’. You and me both.

Some links:
Sabretooth Soundcloud
Sabretooth website

Cat no: Yolk 90902
Release date:

Chris Liberator & Sterling Moss – Pressure
BPM: 140
A Chris Lib/Moss collab is always a thing of great joy. And though our rapture is tempered somewhat by the lack of any 303, Pressure’s still an essential release as well as being a signpost to where these guys are currently at, which is, in a word: fastandhardfunkytribaltechno. Here, a well-fed kick and a simple sawing line is enough to sustain it to a series of brilliantly staged timebomb breaks after the halfway mark. And if it lacks some of the pyrotechnics of Sterling’s other new release on Keep on Techno, that doesn’t matter. It rocks like a beast.

Sterling Moss – Uppercut **
BPM: 142
I can see why this is on the flip but it’s probably the more interesting track, and so gets the double asterisk of delight. Full-on bad-tempered drums trade blows with various bad-trip noises. It sounds faster than it actually is, but in a hard and nasty acid techno set this would be welcomed like a long-lost brother.

Get it from: 909 London

Cat no: KOT 046-X
Release date:

Streaker **
BPM: 140
London’s finest on Fer BR’s Croatian Keep on Techno label and the result is as big, funky and tribal as you could wish for – with a bit of Hackney sleaze thrown in for good measure. The standout is this one. You hear the drums first and then a hellish misfit marching band shimmies, struts and staggers into town. A band of witch doctors, revenants and soothsayers; of fallen women, disgraced nobility, drug addicts and Jesus freaks. All of them consumed by rhythm: hard, driving drums, bandstand percussion and insistent chanting that grips hard for nigh-on eight minutes and will not let go. It’s hard and hypnotic; it sticks two fingers up to minimal; it puts the lotion on its skin.

Long Player
BPM: 140
Like the rest of the EP this is tough, house-referencing techno that finds its groove and stays there, snarling at anybody foolhardy enough to get too close, even Pippa Middleton – even if she was wearing ‘that dress’. Blake Baxter used to make tracks likes this, ones that talked Chicago, walked Detroit. He probably still does for all I know.

BPM: 140
Remember how on Game Form and Ten Four Joey Beltram took house and threw it to the techno pit, where it got mauled and mutilated and reshaped into something crunchy and hard but funky as all fuck? Sterling Moss does. Try not to nod your head to this. It’d be like eating a doughnut without licking your lips.

Get it from: Juno

Cat no: Hydro 043
Release date:

Shadow of my Former Self
BPM: 131
Majestic. A dark and tightly wound exercise in echo-chamber melancholy, resounding with malign atmospherics that build to a fidgety but devastating climax – the sort of thing you could imagine in a Dave Clarke set.

Speak and Spell **
BPM: 130
A very clean kick and crisp percussion kicks things off, then at 2.58 an electronic scream ushers in the darkness. I didn’t really get this on the Soundcloud clips, but loud or on headphones, it sounds utterly phenomenal and supremely creepy, and it builds to a break that sounds like an apocalypse of the undead. A brilliant track, although I wish I could work out what the speak-and-spell guy is actually saying.

Speak and Spell (Hydraulix Mix)
BPM: 130
Er… okay. Doesn’t really bring a great deal to the party, if I’m honest. The horrorshow intensity of the original is missing, and it doesn’t have the pile-driving power of the Warehouse Mix.

Speak and Spell (Warehouse Mix)
BPM: 130
An awesome, space-filling monster with a filthy, juddering kick. Even so, it’s the original mix for me; that break must be one of the best of the year so far. Incidentally, if you’re into downloading, the whole EP is (currently) an absolute steal for £1.39 on Junodownload. However, tracks are normally £1.39 a pop, so it could be a clerical error.


Cat no: SWP 04
Release date:

The Box **
BPM: 144
If it sounds dismissive to designate a track as a bridge or as filler, well it’s not, and certainly not when you get tunes as good as this, from the ever-present and ever-dependable Ganez. Food for sure, but gourmet French food: kickdrum from start, sirens from 1.00 in; a cracking, banging track, full of event, that sounds frankly phenomenal from inside the vortex. Imagine the truck chase from The Dark Knight set to music – with extra sirens.

BPM: 138
A slightly less interesting version of Bogota (below). Well, not ‘version of’, as such, except that Bogota deos everything this does, but while wearing more colourful trousers.

BPM: 140
Get you, hiding at the back of the EP and being hard and funky and pleasingly riffy from start to finish. Bogota doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything, but the central riff, which remains pretty unchanging from start to finish is chunky and cool and ensures the EP has a life beyond the title track.

Cat Number:  elek109
Release Date:  28/04/11

The Prayer (Original mix)
BPM: 132
With a low, space-filling kick – a real ribcage-rattler straight out of the Surgeon book of Common Prayer ­– this hits a solid, attacking groove right from the off and there it stays, essential nutrients for DJs, techno baked the way we’ve always liked it.

The Prayer (D.A.V.E. the Drummer mix) **
BPM: 132
Still operating in can’t-put-a-foot-wrong mode, Cullen calms down the warehouse drums but goes tonto on the bassline, introducing all manner of weirdy noises and slowly ramping up tension to supply the build-and-release dynamics we simple-minded acid heads enjoy. At about 4.00 it gets head-messingly horror carnival and trippy-dark, sealing the track’s utter magnificence.

The Prayer (Simone Barbieri Viale remix)
BPM: 128
Slower, slightly more polite version, lacking either the locked-down brutality of the Original mix or the dark psychedelia of Cullen’s mix.

True Spirit
BPM: 133
Finally a more explicit nod to Tresor that rearranges parts of The Prayer into a slightly smoother whole.

Get it from: Junodownload