Techno’s Outer Limits :: February 2018

Latest in a series of emissions from Techno’s Twilight Zone of EPs/12″s and LPs with notes in the margins.


Silent Season’s 10 Year Anniversary vinyl series resumes with TOL favourite, ASC, ranging out from grey area box into Eccentric Orbits; “Cerulean” sends micro-bleeps and texture bytes into the void with its off-kilter kicks ceding to “Dimension 1010″‘s doleful ambient swells and deliberative rhythm; the oblique light emissions from the pads of “Enchanted” reach vanishing point in “Molniya”‘s sonic black hole. Out of Cagliari comes Winter In June, rolling out draughts of coldwave/ambient techno, bleak reverb-drenched tundra-blown machine matter, heart monitor beeps and sad strings for Eternal Lovers. There’s Blackstone OWL, of Anekoic, Circular Ltd. and Planet Rhythm fame, with  a set of beat-driven ambience and quiet storms (“Fragment,” “Solar Wind”), rhythm shards and tender chords (“Blowing The Light,” “Innominate Horizon”). And Docetism‘s Potential Natural Vegetation, a roam through a realm of foggy pulses (“Dentario Enneaphyllidis – Fagetum I”) with glimpses of The Sight Below, haunted swells and billows (“… Fagetum II”), the majestic drone of “Querco – Pinetum I” and its beatless affiliate “…II”. Finally, Antenes, last heard on The Track of a Storm (L.I.E.S., 2015) with three trips into Shifting Zones, from crepuscular (“Dream Uncreates The Land”) through more delicate and stirring (“Take Me To The Birds (For A)”) to immersive fields and static (“Metra Train Chicago 1000x”).


Semantica svengali Svreca assembles a mix of previously released and exclusive tracks inspired by and dedicated to Garden Underground Club, Pereira, Colombia, where he plays annually. Celebrating a century of releases, among a raft of TOL faves compiled on Arquitectura Del Sueño are Acronym, Amandra, Artefakt, Blazej Malinowski, BLNDR, Claudio PRC, Hydrangea, Luigi Tozzi, Michal Wolski, Nuel, Polar Inertia, Svreca &, Svreca/Neel. Of the 31 sprawled over 2-cd/triple vinyl, among those on déjà view are Refracted‘s “Phasor”—from Nonnative 09 (with Cosmin TRG, Samuli Kemppi, and Opuswerk), and Pris‘ “Pulk”—off the Faith & Honour EP, while the 12 newies are laid end-to-end on Arquitectura del Sueño (Exclusives), stand out being Korridor, dissolver of ambient, dub and techno in the totally weird (and wonderful) “Rum.”


London’s Tales Collective launches with Sanumá, an Ossa Di Mare/Tapefeed split with Reggy Van Oers and I/Y rethinks. Ossa di Mare’s “Yanomami” floats haunting horns atop aether synth-tones, aiming higher than mere 4/4 floor fare. Tapefeed’s “Ye’Kuana” threshes with beats, distorted percussion, and vox fluttering through its corrosive churn. RVO, like some evil hypnotist, makes like Mesmer with “Yanomami,” while I/Y scrutinize the industrial credentials of “Ye’Kuana.” Also from Tapefeed, Dawn On The Eclipse treats no less than ‘the unfolding of both legend and reality, abstract and matter, sound and touch,’ says Metempsychosis. ‘A mythical trip into the Japanese tale of Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and Susanoo, god of chaos narrated through the literature of pulsing drum kicks, transcendental snares and atmospheric drones.’ Blimey! ‘We are invited to retrace the steps taken by the gods from the darkness, disorder and dismay created by Susanoo to the lucidity, light and ultimate return of order as the gleaming Amaterasu re-emerges from her cave.’ All this and a Vril remix too.


Berlin round-up: Ken Karter might be one of Berlin’s most influential techno-icians for his work as a mastering engineer (see e.g. m_rec ltd), but his own works went under the radar till his Monad series EP garnered some attention. Two years on, the DSX_ENV_00 EP for Escapism indulges his proclivity for mathematical formulae in a set of caustic sound design prowess fit to pique the ears of experimental and ‘floor buffs alike. Every Detail Counts ‘wishes to explore electronic music through different universes where spaces, noises and textures are central to the creative process’ in pursuit of which it hosts Endless, a first 12″ for eponymous E.D.C.. For More Cuts On Hurting Ressort Imprint gives The Plant Worker/Głós over to Cassegrain, Pfirter, label head Ekserd, and—one to watch—Blind Observatory, whose remix of “Cut Tongues” gives Głós a non-eponymous finish, rolling out a reverb fog for it/us to get totally lost in.


Ital-Berliners: A Sacred Geometry are already onto Chapter IV, vehicle for more meditative marching narratives in their widescreen reverberant Ambient Techno. And Nh‘s Nihil, a fifth EP for Dagdrom’s Sublunara selection of four heterogeneous tracks in terms of intensity and mood, and each one being singular for different reasons, but yet coherent by the “round-around-the-edges” production style they have been executed in their creator’s personal imagery and unorthodox approach to the techno genre.’ Frothy, maaan.

Berlin settler, Leiras, via his Ownlife label, claims dedication to the ‘mental and hypnotic side of techno,’ qualities in ample evidence on his debut A Prison Of Predictions LP, themed around free will and determinism, reading the runes of the blurb ( Mainly, though, it’s about taking on the techno torch: ‘Echoing the preterit [sic] sound of Sandwell District and renewed sound formulas from almost two decades of UK electronica. Ambient brush strokes outline soundscapes surrounded by analogue sounds that share space with more direct and snappy songs. A scape on the frenetic side of electronica with an IDM-leaning end closes the equation’ (here). Leiras ranges far and wide stylistic boundary-surfing from more abstract timbral experiment (“Albino Species”) to tunnelling mesmerism (“Orion Sentinel”), from more abrasive workouts (“Hands Gestuality”) to icy ambience (“Post Cognition”) and mentalist IDM-y fizz (“Balbeek”).


Italian catch-up: Rome’s Black Chrysalis Archives takes the blurb blather biscuit in some ripe tripe about how their ‘elaboration and exploration of sound is stucked in a transient membrane, the black chrysalis, that becomes an ancestral quiescent archive of a stilema, a genetic programming code that is the same through the various stages of sound metamorphosis.’ Getting to the heart of Matter, Fabrizio Matrone presents his Dangerous Vision, best of which is a remix of “The Preserving Machine” by last seen on Library Of Babel, r²π—that’s, Prg/M and Ruhig, who’s back solo on Midgar with the Sleeping Oracle EP, first in a release trilogy; while on Italian roll-call duty, lest we forget Synthek, who has a set of wildly oscillating cine-Techno, Failed Game, on Rome’s Attic, and The Exoplanets, eponymous discovery inspiring Rome’s Hoedus (aka OWL) to tranced out modular workouts for RVO‘s  Telemorph. Cognate, Nereid, looms out of a grey area of the technosphere with a trio of mystery-shrouded minimal stompers for neonate Warped CoreVolume One: “Umea,” an etiolated ethereal dub-scape replete with reverb and aleatory rhythmic patter; “Operator,” with a similar steely aesthetic prodded by suggestive bass; “Neptune” nagging with mid-range percussion and eerie bleeps from the deep.


Milan Maestro of neo-ritual techno, Elle, Annulled‘s resident musical seer, as seen on Yemaja and Omnia, brings light in Luce‘s suite of discreetly banging shamanics. Back a bit, no Italian but Annulled, Relic Radiation offered some dark night of the Russian soul stuff in Ambiguity (and more recently Breath of the Forbidden Wing EP, a set of ominous caustic bangers with sidekick Wunderblock for Planet Rhythm). Forthcoming on Annulled, Simone Bauer teams up with Formant Value for the Vedute d’Insieme LP, the soundclips promising much; Sig. Bauer solo already has the Quantum Vacuum EP in which he purveys soft ambient sonorities with a hard centre evocative of Norite, an igneous rock consisting of light and dark minerals, the eponymous label.

A smart drug for enhancement of metabolism of brain cells/cognitive abilities and a spiritual belief/scientific speculation that everything in the universe is fated to spiral to a final point of “divine” unification. The link? Hydergine and The Omega Point, Roberto Corizzo’s techno project (cf. deep dub-inflected back catalog on Phorma, Modelisme, Knotweed, Ranges), and his latest for Kaelan‘s Subosc, respectively. Two ambient techno tracks (+ quality re-versions by Artefakt and 2030) with a foot on the ‘floor and a bum-cheek on the couch, pulsating synths and wistful melodies ‘which journey narrates about cosmic energies, self healing and mental stimulation,’ (snooze) that ‘puts emphasis on the eternal and bright light of wisdom, which allows to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom leads a person to overcome feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, anger or aggression by non-understanding of external elements and internal acknowledgement.’ No sh1t, Sherlock. Note prior Subosc from aptly dubbed unclear, shadowy entity whose SBC012 EP is speaks in veiled textural tongues and appealingly teched-up beats.


To France, and some ‘Excellent, dense, stomping, dreamy big room Techno cuts’ (Hard Wax) on Paris’s Blocaus in the shape of the Bloomingville EP from AWB, of the Taapion collective, one of the Blocaus crew Resident DJs (with Anetha & EXAL, BLNDR & ABSL). Peter Van Hoesen has the remix fix, shearing “Photosynthesis” of its ambience and filling it with alien motifs, synth-y droning and harmony shards. Taapion copain Shlømo‘s In Absentia: Tome 2, a recent Delsin release, is still warm, title track letting brooding synths cascade airily over a nagging rhythm with low-slung drums and slithering hi hats atop; “Tbilisian Cure” changing tack, upping the tempo for a more abrasive affair with blistered synth lines and serpentine sounds; “Lali” flipping the script to navigate a path traversing oneiric ambient and Asian motifs; and Tommy Four Seven‘s remix the most striking, with weightless broken beats and sweeping chords.

Following their Dysphoria I Euphoria project, Ka One and St-Sene step out on Parisian Concrete to re-couple for Movement of Thought. As Kas:st they wrap new sonic ceremony in the old skin of ‘incredible sound waves and deep melodic vibrations, this release truly is an emotional journey from beginning to end,’ and Claudio PRC lobs in an ace remix of “Hidden Memory.” There’s also Voyage Of Time on Flyance, on which the pair retrace trance in the dubby space and nervy arpeggii of “The Eternal Why”; “Base 4” gets into more spaced out dystopian vapor-noise, and “Amnesia” brings more urgency with snaking trails of leads, before “The Reveries Of The Solitary Walker” drifts out there with a range of hi-res tone, drone and pulse. A blas:st!


Spain now, where Reeko retails a distinctive sound, vectors of uncouth noise and ambiguous ambience corralled into a Techno template; aether pads, filtered noise, FX and low-end pressure make him a shoe-in for Avian, which hosts La Mala Educación. Leaning towards his noisier more industrial side, caustic ’floor cuts rub up against more questing atmospherica, elements well fused through steely drones and machine hiss. Snr. Rico is also hooked up by Oscar Mulero to his PoleGroup for Humans or Animals, the Hispanic Connection also bringing Kwartz with Control is an Illusion (psst! And Granulart with Compilation #04); the PoleGroup adept also offers his order & devotion to Hertz Collision and the All Going EP; the Italo duo, fresh from a Frozen Border outing, slings a nice slice of 4/4 oneiromancy; on the B, and Capitan Kwartz assumes the remix position, ramping up FX and beats to maximum interstellar overdrive. As for Mulero, his other day-job, Warm Up, celebrates 50 releases with 2 EPs of reworks of his Contents EP on ltd. vinyl-only Pattern Series: Silent Servant, Kangding Ray and Cassegrain deliver Part 1, Shlømo, Dozzy and Chevel Part 2. The Pattern Series Compilation is now in handy digital form for vinyl nay-sayers who want in.


Still Spain (just!), Barcelona’s Seeking The Velvet is hip to Clip‘s trip on Magnetic Reconnection, all haunting analog techno/UK house hybrid ‘scapes with a shadowy tone emblematic of the cities of its recording, Berlin and Barca. And the same city’s Hidden Traffic reveals Depth Structure I, trailed as: ‘the sound of voices that speak from deep beneath the undertow, clearer than reason, twice as loud, and just as never-ending. It suggests the light and beckons us to it, all while swallowing us like darkness. Gradually, with repeated trips down the path, we have internalized the map. It has become part of us. We know the way. On the Earth and in the Mind. The common ground travelled is perceptible in the music created for this release.’ Yeah, baby. Mind the blah, come on in, the music’s fine—from RVO‘s “Encircling Persistence,” suggestive of bird of prey motions, to PVNV‘s “Antic Hands,” rhythmic drive cemented by creaking resonance and a twinkling ascent; Repart‘s “Paradigm” with its creeping rattling beats and kinetic synth to label head Massa‘s “Terra,” channeling the Earth’s pulse via a deliberative beat base graced by glistening crystalline pads.


Belgium now, and Token hits us with a heavy slab of retools from Sigha‘s Metabolism Remixes. Double whammy from Wata Igarashi for “Black Massing,” the “Dusk Falls” version featuring dynamic interplay of bass pulse and eerie textured chords, “Daylight Breaks” take opening up the high-end and harnessing the original’s delicate harmonics via upward arpeggios into mesmeric melodies over bleep’n’bang.”Morning Star,” opened out by Marco Shuttle‘s brooding subtractive tweak, focuses on its melodic asides and midnight squalls.”Down” is turned into droning ‘floor jam by Function, toying with its contemplative nature, enhancing its percussive kinesis while retaining poesis. Good to find Token indulging Giuseppe Tillieci aka Neel; for him to have eluded you, you’d need to have been a latter-day Rip Van Winkle, what with the raft of post-production credits trailed, but, mastering mastery apart, though his role as half of Voices from the Lake may be on your radar, he’s less likely to have registered as a producer in his own right. Good, then, to find Calcata, a set of vibrant pulsations including an eerie cavernous title track resounding to hefty slow-mo drums and eerie FX, the wiry percussivity of “Re Vox,” the chiming bells and the serpentine mesmerism of “Bassiani,” and the steely Detroit-esque minimalism of “Treja.”


To Amsterdam, and Konstrukt, whence Primal Code brings a set of storied ambience with techno-inclined beats in Konstrukt 008. Previously on Hypnus, the Milanese twosome target a sort of mesmeric solace, rendered thus: ‘Their sound blooms violet across fields; swaying, conscious of its place in the wind. Each song stands as an analysis of deep, diverse and detail driven biota. Slow melodies and eerie atmospheres…’ (poetics here). Still warm, Konstrukt 007 from gender-abolitionist entity, Serena Butler, of which we learn: ‘Where the moon meets the broken shadow, I have to be blue to not be seen. The masquerade of the daylight while no dawn approached.’ Sorted, then.


Some less beaten tracks just on our radar: Colombia, and Aleja Sanchez‘s Northallsen sees her Ephemeral Visions with Echologist and Ricardo Garduno remixes, preceding which was Røtter’s Second Chance, with DJ Saint Pierre retool, and succeeding, Jan 1 releases—Dorian Gray’s Proxima B EP and Subsoil Memories Vol. I compilation, assembling all the above plus Annie Hall, Fixon, A Thousand Details, Dinamite, Inslavement, VCI., et al. Portugal next, and Reog, launched late in the year with various—mainly Astronomy Domine and Enkō—gracing Volume I, CD1 assigned to AD’s “Bruxa” with Shaded Explorer, Drafted, and Osse remixes, CD2 to Enkō’s “C-Value Paradox” with retools from r²π, Clotur, Eyth and MMLM.


Joachim Spieth’s first full length, Irradiance, ‘reflects a cycle of realignment in a carefully realized emotional journey. A constant motion through the layers of the tracks shape the sonic landscape, while evolving atmospheres provide a cohesive feel with shimmers of optimism.’ There’s also Decennium 1.2, a second 12” in celebration of Affin‘s 10 years with contribs from RVO, Massa, and Nørbak, set off by some Markus Guentner ambience. In a similar spirit, 10 Years Affin gathers Arnaud Le Texier, Claudio PRC, Cliche Morphd_func., Deepbass, Ness, Nørbak, Svarog, RVO (again), and, naturally, AffinMeister, Joachim Spieth.


Anthony Linell’s move away from his established Abdulla Rashim alias, first seen on the brooding Consolidate, followed by the bracing Emerald Fluorescents, an album signalling a new order of technoid hypnosis, is further reinforced in the articulations of the Layers of Reality EP in a greater sophistication of means and ends. ‘Tersely fluctuating and resoundingly austere, the EP has its moments of breezy volatility that punctuates the mesmeric cycles to sweeping effect,’ says Northern Electronics HQ.


Lately from Auxiliary came Unknown Path with Pathfinder, Volume One, four claustrophobic tracts sounding as if recorded to tape and left to decompose, then dug up and re-recorded (simile cortesy of the label blurb). A trace of label head ASC’s influence peeks through, e.g. in the use of 3/4 cum 6/8 time sigs, established on “Path 0.1” and a revenant leitmotif. “Path 0.2” and “Path 0.3” add a more upbeat feel to proceedings, beats scattered around like brownian motion before the final “Path 0.4” brings the tempo back down, while maintaining a patina of gunge and aura of murk. ‘Seriously unique underwater disintegrated dubbed out sparseness,’ says someone here.


Perhaps the most involving dub techno album in an age is from Sraunus, Lithuanian EchoMeister, Paulius Markutis, last heard here when Asperatus Clouds wowed (and fluttered) some years ago (2013 reissue on Darren Bergstein’s late lamented Anodize). He’s back with Panavision, more ‘billowing clouds of foggy reverb and interstitial pulsations set adrift in Venusian atmospheres of flickering light.’ A style that tends to exist in a somewhat hermetic world of its own—one of rubbery skeins of bass, deep echo & sundry reverbs, expansively deployed to create off-world atmospheric conditions. Much is now fossilized, but Sraunus has a way that manages to freshen up tropes and foreground finer forms. Space is the place, natch, with various beats and pulses, often arriving late in the day to earth/anchor. On the way, texture is fiendishly bent, dimensional space rendered blurry, chronostatic.


Last orders: Krypt, no salesman he, says his first EP, Unknown Frequency, on his new Rezonal label, ‘defines the limited nature of human perception, which is unable to experience the full universe of the sound.’ Sounds all right over here. Canada’s Solar Phenomena follows Echoplex‘s Solar Experience with the Roman gnosis of Antonio Ruscito, who moves from Who Whom? and Edit Select for his Seclusion Of The Human Being, with surprise IDM-y refix from Rephlex-affiliate, Aleksi PeräläDynamic Reflection offers Stefan Vincent The Spaces Between Time, with TOL fave Artefakt remixing, and Midnight Poison from Vertical Spectrum, whose Strategic Preservation is also out on TsunamiCircular Ltd ‘s latest updates: H II EP from Rome’s InherentAssioma from Turin’s Condensed Utopia, and Byqtzal Myth from Porto’s A Thousand DetailsRrose brings The Ends of Weather to Eaux, Samuli Kemppi Third After Last EP to Power Of Voltages, and Alex Randal his Unearthed ep to Edit SelectDeepbass‘s digitized version of previously vinyled Gateway To Hyperspace EP on Informa. Finally, Volte-Face via his London BleeD gives Secondnature‘s Archivist and Fugal an outlet for their Undertow.

Selections from this Outer Limits emission are in the soundcloud set below and latest albient mix, Dalliance #21.

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