Lux Rec have been steadily gaining more and more attention. Shout outs in Resident Advisor labels of the year, interviews and featured mixes as well as growing audiences of appreciative fans. Sounds like a good time to start a sub-label, no? Yes!
MRT has been established as the “darker” wing of the Swiss imprint. Now dark can have an infinite number of meanings in electronic music, probably because there’s a wonderful D.H. Lawrence wooliness to it. But Cosmo Daniele added that “MRT will keep a keen ear on dark club numbers.” So what are the first offerings like?
Benedikt Frey is opening the MRT doors. With releases on Live at Robert Johnson and Mule Electronic, Frey is no stranger to the world of techno. The smooth and soulful “Portal” opens. Rumbling rhythms are draped in heavy chords, an underlying threat stalking the supposed tranquillity. That menace leaps from the canopy, attacking with cutting 303 claws. “Telamon” is a more familiar outing. 4/4 thud runs parallel to acrid bass lines and soaring synth. Snares snap as cascading loops deliver an edgey dancefloor groove. There’s quite a 90s feel to the record, a club undercurrent and energy. “Stereobate” keeps the body bounce going to the very end. Notes bend and warp under percussive pressures for a fine finale.
An aged, and quite different, act follows a modern musician. Tuning Circuit surfaced in 1990 with two tapes before submerging once again. Somehow René Bakker has been unearthed for a mean spirited foul mouthed 12” of machine music. Bleep and distortion rain down on bruised beats and almost indecipherable vocals. There’s a touch of wave to the track, a Jamal Moss aggression with Front 242. “No Compassion” keeps the fires of discontent burning. The track is pared back, drums, searing sounds and gurgling vocals in this sweat stained song. The last burst of hate comes in the form of “I Am A Non-Believer.” The starkness of Bakker’s tracks only accentuates their anger. Rage boils. Sonic shards slam against skeletal bars in a tear smeared close.
Lux will undoubtedly have a decent amount of attention lavished on them, with said attention sometimes being froth with no caffeine. In an attempt to cut through any aerated milk, MRT has made an excellent start. I was afraid that the sublabel might be a thump thump techno tag-label, far from it. Two diverse EPs to inaugurate what will undoubtedly be a very interesting project.