LA Synthesis :: Agraphobia Relapse (De:Tuned)

There was a remix 12” released in ’95 but the De:Tuned gang have decided to go one better. Agraphobia Relapse collects a spread of artists active when the track was first released for something very special.

LA Synthesis :: Agraphobia Relapse (De:Tuned)

At any gig, with a few drinks in me and a sounding wall, I’ll happily espouse the virtues of 90s UK techno. This happened recently. Mick Wills was DJ’ing in Madrid and someone was talking to me about deep house. As you can guess the conversation was turned to B12, Likemind and the heyday of Warp Records. I’ve had the fingers crossed now for over a decade that there would be a resurgence in that warm and textured sound, but alas it hasn’t come. While synth wave and house reissues are bulging from record store bins 90s techno has remained in the wings. But, as of late, there are some labels that are willing to put that timeless sound center stage once more.

I’ve mentioned De:Tuned a number of times and the support I have for their project of reviving and renewing the analogue past. The Belgian imprint is at it again, this time digging out a favorite from a lesser known British act.

LA Synthesis. Heard of ‘em? Maybe. I’ve been listening the two man group of Anthony Gallagher and Carl Grant for well over a ten years, a dial up connection and a penchant for second hand record sites leading me to them. But the truth is that their most productive period was two decades ago. On labels like A13 they released some wonderfully complex and soulful music, but perhaps their most celebrated triumph was on Plink Plonk.

Now at the tender age of twenty one “Agraphobia” is simply light years ahead of its time and would shame most producers of today. Swirling synths are set in motion, bending and curving around layers of subtle percussion. Strings are tweaked and reset as the track builds to heights of brilliance rarely seen nowadays.

There was a remix 12” released in ’95 but the De:Tuned gang have decided to go one better. Agraphobia Relapse collects a spread of artists active when the track was first released for something very special.

Plaid are up first. You’re never too sure what Handley and Turner might do, but here they stick to the techno roots of Gallagher and Grant; of course with a bit of playful whimsy thrown in for good effect. Ian O Brien steps in next and keep s the 90s feel going. His incredibly deep remix is wonderfully sympathetic to the ’94 track, some acid undertones to give an extra layer being included for good measure. Terrace, aka Stefan Robbers (former head of Eveo Lute) , keeps the old school fires burning with his rework. The track starts out in colder form, snares with just a little wiggle room keeping time. But soon the thaw comes, warm bass lines and echoes of the original melody for an immense re-interpretation.

I want to say that the last two remixes belong to more contemporary men, and there’s some truth in that statement. ADJ has been dishing up his brand of electronics since the 2000s while Carl A. Finlow for almost twenty years. They’re far from newcomers but it’s fair to say they haven’t the same CVs as the above three artists. But let’s not get bogged down in that. ADJ, aka Andy David Jaggers, toughens up the drum but maintains those lilting harmonies, a touch of distorted squawk and break down being introduced for extra muscle. Mr Finlow’s take is perhaps the harshest of all. Drums are sharpened to a point as an electro coldness looms. The chords laid down on Plink Plonk are adopted but frosted, 303 coils bending and twisting.

LA Synthesis are an underrated group from the formative years of British electronics. Their contribution has been somewhat lost, but theirs is plain to here, and it’s fantastic to see their contribution recognized and celebrated here. “Agraphobia Relapse” is an absolutely gem, a track that sits proudly amongst the greats of UK techno. And I think the remixers on here would agree. I fear De:Tuned might have won their way into my favorite releases of the year, again!

Agraphobia Relapse is available on De:Tuned.

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