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193 posts tagged techno

Baby Ford & The Ifach Collective: “Tea Party” (Sacred Machine, Klang 2001)

At the peak of my fascination with minimal techno, Baby Ford’s ultra reduced tracks eluded me — I preferred the nostalgia of his earlier stuff but couldn’t find my way into some of these more austere, minimal workouts. This particular track resides somewhere in the middle and was done with the Ifach Collective, a group of collaborators that included Eon, Mark Broom, and Thomas Melchior. Of all of the tracks on Sacred Machine, it’s perhaps the most irresistible.

Atom™: “Ich Bin Meine Maschine (Linear Remix)” (Ich Bin Meine Maschine, Raster-Noton)

One of three exclusive remixes of this cut from Uwe Schmidt’s outstanding album from last year, HD. Other remixes on the EP are from Function and Boys Noize and are both also quite good. But this one seems to be the best intersection of Schmidt’s original and the Raster-Noton aesthetic while still working as a cool track in itself.

Millie & Andrea: Drop the Vowels (Modern Love)
Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker once again don their female pseudonyms for this debut full-length, coming some years after a rather intriguing set of 12” singles on the Daphne imprint. While a couple of those tracks have also found their way onto the lineup here, most of the album is new, recorded in the last year or so, it would seem. The opening track, “GIF RIFF,” is more of a palate cleanser than delivering on expectations from anyone familiar with the duo’s other output; it begins with a curious sample of indigenous chanting before turning into a syncopated, spacious set of rhythmic sounds not unlike the more industrial side of Nurse With Wound. Miles Whittaker proclaimed in a recent FACT magazine interview (well worth a read), “Too many people are really too serious about what they’re doing. And in the end a lot of music’s just fun to make.” Strong words from one half of Demdike Stare, an outfit that’s made traditionally uncompromising and often difficult, sprawling music over the last several years. Andy Stott also is not an artist I’d associate with casual or flippant humor in his music. He’s been exploring curious terrain for several years now, shifting focus from the streamlined techno of his Unknown Exception compilation of previously released tracks and instead diving headlong into music that sounds like drum &  bass or dance music trends slowed down and turned sideways. His Luxury Problems release in 2012 remains one of the strongest leftfield dance albums of the past decade. What made those early Daphne 12”s most memorable is that they have a rather fun spirit about them, even if the music itself isn’t necessarily joyous or bright. The duo are clearly mining dance music’s checkered past, through references to breakbeat, jungle, rave culture, and more, though experienced through each artist’s rather particular musical lens. “Stay Ugly” is the first proper rhythmic track after the opener, living up to its name with an almost unnecessary layer of bass-heavy distortion. If not for that coarse surface treatment, the track otherwise is almost jaunty, with swelling pads and clattering mid-tempo breakbeat patterns.

In that sense, it’s perhaps perfect that the third track is “Temper Tantrum,” originally released in the first run of singles in 2009. Its jerky broken beat and donk bass, in combination with skittering fills, smooth pads, and tiny disembodied vocal samples, feels like a love letter to the dance music of the past while also being a fresh document of the here and now. Perhaps that is my favorite thing about their collaborations, that they make all sorts of inside references to the music of their youth and the past without it feeling cloying or overly ironic, or even fully necessary to notice in order to appreciate the tracks for what they are. In the end, good dance music stands on its own, and these tracks are no exception. “Spectral Source” follows as another previously released track, again flitting across several micro-genres without any allegiance to one in particular; there are tinges of burgeoning trends of bass music of the time (2009) with a genuine spirit of playfulness and curiosity. It shouldn’t be surprising that “Corrosive” is a newer track, with a sound that is a tad darker, picking up from its respective creators’ darker, more distorted, more recent lexicons. There are shades of Miles’ harsh and distorted works on his recent Faint Hearted album and its Unsecured companion EP, and the weird lo-fi slowdowns of Stott’s Luxury Problems finds its way into the mix here and there, but it is the homage to dance music’s past — in this case, late 90s sputtering hardstep — that provides the most entertaining element in this track. That stop/start sample triggering continues on the title cut, the most overtly rhythmic and least melodic cut on the album, with almost no supporting elements aside from an occasional stark pad sweep. “Back Down” combines the rough edges of “Stay Ugly” or Demdike Stare’s recent Test Pressings series with elements of old school techno and some of the swirling slow-motion sounds of Andy Stott’s recent album. The album doesn’t overstay its welcome at eight tracks, ending with the beatless, languid forms of “Quay.” The contrast of swooning, looped phrases and grimy digital surface noise is effective, reinforcing the sense of contrast that informs most of the album in a more serene way. Like the solo music of its creators, these tracks reveal their personality and appeal over time, making it an album that wasn’t an instant love affair for my ears. But several listens in, I can appreciate the magic in their collaborations. I applaud their respective successes (Miles and Demdike Stare on the one hand, Andy Stott on the other) but am glad the two were able to put their heads together with some new perspective to keep the project alive and better than ever.
Buy it: Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon

Millie & Andrea: Drop the Vowels (Modern Love)

Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker once again don their female pseudonyms for this debut full-length, coming some years after a rather intriguing set of 12” singles on the Daphne imprint. While a couple of those tracks have also found their way onto the lineup here, most of the album is new, recorded in the last year or so, it would seem. The opening track, “GIF RIFF,” is more of a palate cleanser than delivering on expectations from anyone familiar with the duo’s other output; it begins with a curious sample of indigenous chanting before turning into a syncopated, spacious set of rhythmic sounds not unlike the more industrial side of Nurse With Wound. Miles Whittaker proclaimed in a recent FACT magazine interview (well worth a read), “Too many people are really too serious about what they’re doing. And in the end a lot of music’s just fun to make.” Strong words from one half of Demdike Stare, an outfit that’s made traditionally uncompromising and often difficult, sprawling music over the last several years. Andy Stott also is not an artist I’d associate with casual or flippant humor in his music. He’s been exploring curious terrain for several years now, shifting focus from the streamlined techno of his Unknown Exception compilation of previously released tracks and instead diving headlong into music that sounds like drum &  bass or dance music trends slowed down and turned sideways. His Luxury Problems release in 2012 remains one of the strongest leftfield dance albums of the past decade. What made those early Daphne 12”s most memorable is that they have a rather fun spirit about them, even if the music itself isn’t necessarily joyous or bright. The duo are clearly mining dance music’s checkered past, through references to breakbeat, jungle, rave culture, and more, though experienced through each artist’s rather particular musical lens. “Stay Ugly” is the first proper rhythmic track after the opener, living up to its name with an almost unnecessary layer of bass-heavy distortion. If not for that coarse surface treatment, the track otherwise is almost jaunty, with swelling pads and clattering mid-tempo breakbeat patterns.

In that sense, it’s perhaps perfect that the third track is “Temper Tantrum,” originally released in the first run of singles in 2009. Its jerky broken beat and donk bass, in combination with skittering fills, smooth pads, and tiny disembodied vocal samples, feels like a love letter to the dance music of the past while also being a fresh document of the here and now. Perhaps that is my favorite thing about their collaborations, that they make all sorts of inside references to the music of their youth and the past without it feeling cloying or overly ironic, or even fully necessary to notice in order to appreciate the tracks for what they are. In the end, good dance music stands on its own, and these tracks are no exception. “Spectral Source” follows as another previously released track, again flitting across several micro-genres without any allegiance to one in particular; there are tinges of burgeoning trends of bass music of the time (2009) with a genuine spirit of playfulness and curiosity. It shouldn’t be surprising that “Corrosive” is a newer track, with a sound that is a tad darker, picking up from its respective creators’ darker, more distorted, more recent lexicons. There are shades of Miles’ harsh and distorted works on his recent Faint Hearted album and its Unsecured companion EP, and the weird lo-fi slowdowns of Stott’s Luxury Problems finds its way into the mix here and there, but it is the homage to dance music’s past — in this case, late 90s sputtering hardstep — that provides the most entertaining element in this track. That stop/start sample triggering continues on the title cut, the most overtly rhythmic and least melodic cut on the album, with almost no supporting elements aside from an occasional stark pad sweep. “Back Down” combines the rough edges of “Stay Ugly” or Demdike Stare’s recent Test Pressings series with elements of old school techno and some of the swirling slow-motion sounds of Andy Stott’s recent album. The album doesn’t overstay its welcome at eight tracks, ending with the beatless, languid forms of “Quay.” The contrast of swooning, looped phrases and grimy digital surface noise is effective, reinforcing the sense of contrast that informs most of the album in a more serene way. Like the solo music of its creators, these tracks reveal their personality and appeal over time, making it an album that wasn’t an instant love affair for my ears. But several listens in, I can appreciate the magic in their collaborations. I applaud their respective successes (Miles and Demdike Stare on the one hand, Andy Stott on the other) but am glad the two were able to put their heads together with some new perspective to keep the project alive and better than ever.

Buy it: Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon

V/A: 100DSR (Delsin)
Delsin Records has been operating on the sly for a long while now, and with their 100th release they are celebrating with a five-part series of 12” vinyl releases, collected here digitally as one impressive opus. For those buying digitally, the full comp is the way to go, including a few other tracks from the catalogue as well as costing significantly less (especially factoring in digital retailers’ tendency to treat tracks over 10 minutes long as “album only,” jacking the price). Delsin’s aesthetic has always been varied enough to be interesting but with high enough quality control to be consistently reliable. The artists and tracks culled together for 100DSR are no exception, calling on some of the label’s brighter successes as well as dark horses to make a pretty vibrant collection of deep and minimal grooves. The full compilation plays back in mostly the same running order as the vinyl (I had actually purchased some of the singles separately before resorting to the full comp to get a few bonus tracks for the same inflated price of the missing installments flagged as “albums”) with only a few exceptions, and I think it’s smart for the label to keep that order in tact. Just as Delsin tends to often walk the line between techno, house, and “other” with its releases, this collection takes twists and turns along the way. Gerry Read’s “Granny Bag” is a welcome surprise, not sharing the same dusty lo-fi edge of his album and EPs but instead feeling a tad brighter and synthier. There are some pleasantly more downtempo tracks, like the melodic classic IDM of CiM’s “Way Station,” the half-speed plod of Ross 154’s “Moon FM Desire,” or the hazy ambient interlude that comes courtesy of Bnjmn. Several artists flex their techno muscle with some no nonsense dancefloor techno tracks, including Mike Denhert’s banging “Passenger,” the Warehouse Mix of Claro Intelecto’s “Heart,” Area Forty_One’s “Supervoid.” A clean feeling of Detroit nostalgia comes through on Convextion’s “Verna” or D 5’s “Stem Cell.” My personal favorite is toward the front; Unbroken Dub’s “Spacing” is spacious and aspirational, soaring over an even pulse with distant bells and shimmering pads. Another real personal highlight is Delta Funktionen’s “Petrol,” a booming distorted electro-bass track that takes its time working up to an ominous stride. A Made Up Sound’s remix of “Rear Window” is the jerkiest track here, landing slightly out of bounds of most of the rest of the comp (which makes sense given that it’s one of the few previously released tracks here), sounding closer to Delsin’s “-e” series of 12”s more than some other cuts here, but paired well with Herva’s “Radio’s Mutterings” as a one-two punch in the middle of the tracklist. Wisely, the compilation ends with John Beltran’s “Return to Nightfall,” a track that’s far more dancefloor friendly than most of his last outing for the label but which also synthesizes so many of the disparate, strong sides of the label’s aesthetic, combining elements of techno, house, IDM, and that elusive “other” with his signature panache.

The whole collection is well worth a listen, traversing a fairly broad amount of terrain relatively swiftly and offering plenty of quality tracks to support its already reputable line-up.
Buy it: Delsin | Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon

V/A: 100DSR (Delsin)

Delsin Records has been operating on the sly for a long while now, and with their 100th release they are celebrating with a five-part series of 12” vinyl releases, collected here digitally as one impressive opus. For those buying digitally, the full comp is the way to go, including a few other tracks from the catalogue as well as costing significantly less (especially factoring in digital retailers’ tendency to treat tracks over 10 minutes long as “album only,” jacking the price). Delsin’s aesthetic has always been varied enough to be interesting but with high enough quality control to be consistently reliable. The artists and tracks culled together for 100DSR are no exception, calling on some of the label’s brighter successes as well as dark horses to make a pretty vibrant collection of deep and minimal grooves. The full compilation plays back in mostly the same running order as the vinyl (I had actually purchased some of the singles separately before resorting to the full comp to get a few bonus tracks for the same inflated price of the missing installments flagged as “albums”) with only a few exceptions, and I think it’s smart for the label to keep that order in tact. Just as Delsin tends to often walk the line between techno, house, and “other” with its releases, this collection takes twists and turns along the way. Gerry Read’s “Granny Bag” is a welcome surprise, not sharing the same dusty lo-fi edge of his album and EPs but instead feeling a tad brighter and synthier. There are some pleasantly more downtempo tracks, like the melodic classic IDM of CiM’s “Way Station,” the half-speed plod of Ross 154’s “Moon FM Desire,” or the hazy ambient interlude that comes courtesy of Bnjmn. Several artists flex their techno muscle with some no nonsense dancefloor techno tracks, including Mike Denhert’s banging “Passenger,” the Warehouse Mix of Claro Intelecto’s “Heart,” Area Forty_One’s “Supervoid.” A clean feeling of Detroit nostalgia comes through on Convextion’s “Verna” or D 5’s “Stem Cell.” My personal favorite is toward the front; Unbroken Dub’s “Spacing” is spacious and aspirational, soaring over an even pulse with distant bells and shimmering pads. Another real personal highlight is Delta Funktionen’s “Petrol,” a booming distorted electro-bass track that takes its time working up to an ominous stride. A Made Up Sound’s remix of “Rear Window” is the jerkiest track here, landing slightly out of bounds of most of the rest of the comp (which makes sense given that it’s one of the few previously released tracks here), sounding closer to Delsin’s “-e” series of 12”s more than some other cuts here, but paired well with Herva’s “Radio’s Mutterings” as a one-two punch in the middle of the tracklist. Wisely, the compilation ends with John Beltran’s “Return to Nightfall,” a track that’s far more dancefloor friendly than most of his last outing for the label but which also synthesizes so many of the disparate, strong sides of the label’s aesthetic, combining elements of techno, house, IDM, and that elusive “other” with his signature panache.

The whole collection is well worth a listen, traversing a fairly broad amount of terrain relatively swiftly and offering plenty of quality tracks to support its already reputable line-up.

Buy it: Delsin | Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon

Ellen Allien: “Data Romance (TokTok Remix)” (BPitch Control 2001)

In combing through my old vinyl I’m falling in love with early Ellen Allien tracks and remixes like this one. There really was an odd magic to the convergence of techno, electroclash (or whatever you want to call it), electro, pop, italo, and IDM in really interesting and fresh ways. BPitch Control was really on the vanguard of that as far as I heard it, with nearly every single record being reliably great for years.

Nooncat: “Take a Deep Breath” (Treibstoff, 2004)

Plumbing through my stacks of vinyl to rediscover some of these early 00s tracks — it’s the period when I was buying up the most wax by far, so my collection is weighted heavily on minimal techno and tech house from this time period. I’m still a firm believer that good music doesn’t expire, so enjoy this rather nice track from Alex Meshkov.

Raudive: “Cone” (Chamber Music, Macro 2010)

Infectious minimal grooves from Oliver Ho’s more experimental minimal techno project Raudive. I like this album for its free spirited explorations of how chamber arrangements sound up against more syncopated, cut up electronics and minimal grooves. It’s right at home on Stefan Goldmann’s Macro imprint, a label I’ve always admired for its willingness to veer into the outskirts of dance music.