TECHNO TECHNO TECHNO TECHNO, to quote Slijngaard. Here’s this month’s special pilots from tomorrow:
Low Tape is a Russian kid I came across after hours of dragging my ears through the bland avenues of soundcloud's technocity. After listening to countless well-meaning chumps building pristine tedium from Vengence sample packs, Low Tape’s crusty snares and echoing pads were a treat; as pleasing to hear as a rust patch naturally forming in the shape of the Detroit skyline would be to see. It sounds like he’s got a bit of depth going on – on a couple of numbers, such as recent tracks Detroit Drugs Don’t Work and Numb, he’s into a Mr Fingers-ish world of dreamy chords and tough drums. Elsewhere he’s not shy of dropping some proper head slapping gear – check out his latest cut Invitation which samples 3 6 Mafia, teams them with shitty hi hats and chucks in some ‘orrible acid goonery. No idea whether he’s had any records out. Someone sign him.
From Russia to Australia we stumble, sticking with the grimey bangers all the way. Next up is DJ Phlowgod, a new producer who is, I believe, living the dream over in Melbourne. OK, so tbh I’ve no idea if he’s living the dream or not, but he’s in Melbourne, which means it’s not dank and freezing and his government haven’t just voted to pointlessly bomb some strangers; as far as I’m concerned, my man is living the dream. I’ve got low requirements. I’ve heard two things from Phlowgod over the last month and I’ve liked them both – one is an EP on the Athens based Echovolt Records. Extra shouts to Echovolt btw – somehow they’ve got hold of a flipping unreleased ’84 vintage Colonel ‘electro funk’ Abrams track. Raaaa! Musically, it’s a bit too classic boogie to fall under the remit of this column, but that doesn’t make it any less sick, so listen to it here. Anyway, Echovolt are releasing the Mantha EP from Phlowgod, 6 tracks of smothered electronic rhythms that traverse from t’umping kick drums to melody patterns not a million miles from a John Carpenter creeper. All of it is good, but I’d hazard none of the tracks are as good as Summer, which has surfaced on a debut release from new Melbourne label Salt Mines. Summer sounds like summer, which is always a good start – it’s funky and shimmery and has pretty stabs and hissy hi hats. I guess it’s veering over into the house side of things, but we always take an inclusive view of techno round these parts. Coming out on 12” sometime this month, email Salt Mines for more info on firstname.lastname@example.org
Juxta Position – Mistress 7/ Volume 2
Only snippets for sound clips for this EP, so this is going to be like the olden days of music journalism when some hapless shmuck would try and make you buy a record with the power of words. Mistress 7/ Volume 2 is a new EP from Marquis Hawkes’ techno project Juxta Position (terrible name btw Marquis). As you’d expect from someone who’s been releasing stuff for so long (since 2000 or so), the production is accomplished, crisp and slapping without being fussy. Opener Speaking in Tongues makes a virtue of using each element to its fullest –the track opens with nothing but a rolling kick, subtly discordant tremolo strings given space to rise above. There’s an air of early 80s synth soundtrack tension as a chord builds the menace, then it all goes off with a flurry of blips and rolling snares. Hawkes pulls this all back to leave snares and kicks before ratcheting up the power with a clap like a back hander from Thor. It’s simple dancefloor techno done well, and based on his previous work is probably going to be finding its way into sets from back rooms to big rooms. Second track Pacemaker is a bit moore bompty – there’s a shuffle in them tharr hi hats, and a bass line that has a bit of a bum wiggle as it sashays across the beat. Sweatbox is heads down acid minimalism, designed, prosaically enough, to play in a dutty sweatbox of a club when it’s all getting a bit taps arff. Finally, Reincarnate sees Hawkes feel up his inner Drexciyan for some bibbly aquatic electro-techno. 4 tracks, and there all winners. Well done that man.
ANNND FINALLY Mamman Sali Abdoulaye.
Something a little different, but I need to get it in somewhere – Sahel Sounds are a label dealing with folk obscurities – they’ve just knocked out a compilation of unheard music from Mamman Sali Abdoulaye. Recorded from 81-84 in the Sahara, this is some of the most enchanting drone and ambience I’ve ever heard. It may have been made a couple of years before Juan Atkins started experimenting with the term, but this is still, to my ears, true to the spirit of techno – it’s electronic, it’s shot through with soul, and it’s captivated by the desire to build a bridge between what has come before and what could possibly be. If nothing else, it’s beautiful. Just image you rocked up to a Saharan Kasbah in 1981 to discover a guy on the organ playing these jams? My brain can’t cope with the amazing.
As ever, our header image comes courtesy of the excellent photographer Laurence Bouchard. He's on Instagram over here, show some love.