Futureshock!

This month's techno wins, inc. the return of Aphrohead, Belgian thumping from Kill Frenzy, an anniversary for West Norwood Cassette Library, Detroit via Italy from Grienkho & more....

Futureshock!

This month's techno wins, inc. the return of Aphrohead, Belgian thumping from Kill Frenzy, an anniversary for West Norwood Cassette Library, Detroit via Italy from Grienkho & more....

Our new monthly round up of the world's finest techno. Get set. 

Felix the Housecatt is back with his Aphrohead guise, and more power to him. Grown Man Cryy first surfaced as a limited one sided 12" last year, now, thankfully it's back in circulation with a new Carl Craig remix to boot. The OG mix is everything you’d want from techno; not only does it bang and clunk and hammer your skull in with the best of em, it’s also offers a genuinely weird slice of electronic innovation. Around a tightly locked disco groove that’s little more than kicks and hats committing GBH, Felix croons and whispers like a merry vagrant, his often atonal whooping as far from autotuned perfection as you can get. “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?” he wonders, with little regard for rhythm or melody. Odd? Yes. Disconcerting? Hell yes. But always, always thrilling. Carl Craig pops up on the flip reigning things in with his Brainy Grimlin mix. He kicks off with the original’s lock groove, before heading off to an entirely different disco. One where they actually play basslines, and the nutters have been safely ushered off into the corners. In some ways the Craig mix, melodic and dark as it is, with a drawn out build that climbs and climbs but never blows, harks back to Felix’s electroclash past – it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to imagine Soulwax dropping this sometime in the mid 00s, no bad thing. I’d probably still rather the balls out madness of the A Side, even if it probably needs to be confined to more adventurous floors…

 

I’ve enjoyed how Waze & Odyssey have shifted beyond the haters. It’s easy (if predictable) to slag them off for their ubiquitous button pushing remix of Bump n Grind, but far harder to call them to task now they’ve jettisoned the MK bas lines and embraced the kind of warehouse grinders Belgium’s Kill Frenzy are producing. I can guarantee that some techno fans will be suspicious of the funk and swing in Answering Machine, but I can’t hear anything not to like; the track careens along like a punchdrunk boxer, all beefed up body mass and unpredictable lurches. It throws out garbled ringtone samples and bolshy answerphone messages and is as fun as it is thunderous. B side Freak draws to mind LFO’s fucked up splintery techno classic of the same name. The comparison doesn’t do it too many favours to be honest – where LFO’s Freak was an anarchic rave blitzkreig, Kill Frenzy’s is more a neatly controlled explosion – it’s effective and fun to watch, but isn’t giving up much in the way of surprises…

Italian based Detroit enthusiasts Pushmaster Discs have cropped up with a vinyl only EP from a kid called Grienkho. As far as I can tell (let’s get real; as far as Discogs tells me) this is only Grienkho’s second release, but over the 4 tracks of this EP, there’s a deft touch that suggests he’s easily worth a fistful of your hard earned. Whilst other releases on Pushmaster have tended towards the minimal, loopy side of Detroit, Grienkho injects a bit of soul into his impulsive, fizzy machine music. Opener Path of Exile has sweet vocal snippets playing against discordant shards of steely hits. All the levels are pushing the red, and the whole thing sounds so murky you’d be forgiven for thinking it was pressed by Trax on re-formed disco vinyl.  Next track, Accent Machines, takes a more melodic approach, with jazzy Drexciya-esque synths cascading over pumping 909s. Third comes the remix from analogue freaks Xenogears - probably the most immediate, with a driving single vowel sound hitting on the 2s and 4s before gospel organs come in to make everything Godly. However it’s the last cut, 777 Connection that is the most interesting – an acid bubbler that seems to have an instinctive understanding of Drexciya’s deep sea mythology. It’s a mysterious journey, full of red herrings and shadowy corners. If too much techno can be accused of being linear, this is the antidote, a writhing excursion through treacherous mechanical dreams.

Dadras is a New Yorker making stuff for the Bandcamp based Human Pitch label, a group dedicated to “creative innovation across sonic boundaries with an emphasis on live electronic and ambient music,” which sounds a bit like a pitch for an arts council grant, but there you go. His stuff’s deep and thoughtful, mixing live vocals, shuffling, collapsing percussion and haunted loops. Of the tracks online, the ringing, sinister creepshow of Yuppie Scum is my current favourite, although the yelping optimism of his new single Earth Don’t Stop Here makes an interesting counterpoint. Anyone who’s been checking out the RVNG INTL re-issues of Kerry Leimar’s strange, rhythmic 80s post punk will find plenty to love here.   

 

It’s been 5 years of West Norwood Cassette Library. How? How have we got from 2010 to here? That’s half a decade. Sheesh. Never mind, at least they’re celebrating with an excellent EP from Kevin McPhee. The lead cut is pure Chicago jack, bone dry drums, single note synth hits and kick drums tuned to bounce. For some reason anniversary records are almost always a disappointment – I can think of loads of labels who dropped the ball when a big date or catalogue number came up, from Metalheadz# 100 to Aus Music# 50, so it’s satisfying to see a label pull out a such a fine record to commemorate 5 years in the game. They’ve also given a nod to the lost art of DJing by sticking an acapella on the record.  The remixes are a bonkers sunshine hip hop reimagining from WNCL and some lethargic gabba from CEO. They raise a smile, but the smart money’s on the McPhee original…

Aaaandddd finally – coming in just before deadline dropped, SPE-C are a new UK label who’ve opened their account with a bolshy slice of corroded acid in the form of Decka’s Begyndelsen EP.  The EP offers three tracks of thuggish, no frills techno thump; loud and boshing and made to reverberate off the concrete walls of grotty warehouses. It’s a finely tuned aural attack for the 4am ravers out there, and suggests the label are gonna be worth keeping an eye on in the future…              

Header image courtesy of Laurence Bouchard

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