Techno’s Outer Limits :: July 2016

Latest emission from Techno’s Twilight Zone of EPs, 12″s & LPs with notes in the margins. 

First Italy, where Dino Sabatini has launched the Outis Opera sub-series with a first album since Shaman’s Paths (‘view here), from which Omonimo notably departs; as much on a downtempo and trip-hop tip as on an Italian deep techno template of the type co-designed inter alii with Donato Dozzy (cf. below), it’s also the source for the Concentrica 12″, on which DS blends his atmos with ‘tasteful’ piano flourishes in a genre-cidal merger of style and narrative. Howie B‘s variant on “Sometimes Back” lures you into dense foliage for an FX-mauling. DS‘s retool drapes translucent strings and tom-tom rolls over “If”‘s ambience, ASC‘s refix of “The Unexpected,” timbrally rich and inventive, “And it All Ends Here” ending with music box and field capture plus more string-y melodrama, piano stabs and time-reversed ephemera. All very nicely done, but, frankly, well… I do give a damn: can we have our Dino (this one) back, please? He’s also on board Dreiklang‘s triangulated concept, begun with First Contact, with a dreamy glowing broken-beat piece on Loop Continue, while another compagno, Claudio PRC, dials in more propulsive fare, blurring serene chords in and out of focus; honorary Italian, Edit Select, makes three, folding a dusky loop into glistening drone lushness in a deep sub-aquatic track.

And Edit Select it is who was behind the release of Uncertain Future Forms on April 1, and you’re a July fool if you’re still sleeping on it. ‘Pulsing techno hydraulix in pure, pensile Italian style …expansive atmospheres and hammering kicks suspended in an illusive mix diffusion […] from the submerged Form 0 to the oxygen-depleted climes of Form 1 and killer, rolling sound design in Form 2, plus the miasmic tone and kicking heft of Form 3.’ (boom) from young buck, Antonio Ruscito.

Another Buck is Alessandro Stefanio, whose second Substrato record, Subterranean Explorations, is ‘a sonic meditation on natural living environments,’ a mix of tectonic pulse and ambient atmo ‘taking us from the archaic mystery of the underground to the rapture of the open skies above.’ Blimey! Tracks like “Ambient Progression” and “Atmo” go for A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating sound that Rules from the Centre of the Cosmos, where you’re nought but a minute speck in a vast void, etc, etc. Artefakt ply their signature re-tweak trade to unearth new findings from the sonic depths. Buck’s been busy for Simone Gatto‘s Out Electronic Recordings (Out-er) too with Nuove Sessioni, a fine feast of ambient techno with a remix by Brit Berliner Ed Davenport aka Inland, owner of Counterchange and co-owner with Function of Infrastructure New York (see below for Facticity).

Sciahri (Opal Tapes/Ilian Tape) and Emanuele Porcinai (on Contort as WSR) pursue inquiries via their Unknot series, latest of which, Unknot 03, yields dense textures and knotty rhythms (“Strain,” “Vapor”) and warped propulsions (“Lockt,” “Corrosion”); aligned with previous Unknots (cf. 01 & 02) a sound palette of raw synthetic sequences is deployed to shape grooves and melodic lines in forging alienating artificial ‘scapes.

Donato Dozzy has his own Spazio Disponibile, a new label run with Voices From The Lake chum, Neel, after their eponymous Rome party. It finds them putting out music by themselves and guests, Dozzy’s sneaky solo EP, That Fab, here following the first VFTL release, Secondo Tempo. Elsewhere Dozzy descendants, Claudio PRC and Ness) aka The Gods Planet, present bold dance credentials: ‘I would only believe in a God who could dance,’ said Nietzsche. Probably apocryphal, but that they think nothing of invoking the German supremacist philosopher in their pitch for LP2 is indicative of ambition as much as pretention—and it pays off in an involving set made for live presentation at the Concrete club, ‘applying a willingness for inner and outer discovery, and a more human outlook to the brand of thoughtful, detailed, yet emotional and powerful productions,’ (it says here). I’d settle for it being direct, yet subtle, overtly danceable, while exploratory. Elsewhere again, Ness goes on A Personal Voyage with Mental Modern, indulging in some abyssal reverberant big room pleasure principles.

Italians abound this episode, and here’s another, Synthek, a man whose freestyle Techno M.O., spanning bleeping offbeats to more stomping and melodic tracks, has made him something of a TOL ritornello. Verse III concludes a trilogy on his STK, with “Distress Mode” a slow and solemn intro strafed with bleeps and broken beats, escalated to abandon; “Diverse” finds some funk, albeit wayward, reforming with hi-hat escort into slick syncopation. The flip is more on a club foot, as it were, “Reflection” bringing heavy beats and haunted melody, building momentum to “The End”‘s kinetic finale. Our Man is also among a roll-call of TOL-types, incl. Korridor, Fjäder, Dorian Gray, Shaded Explorer, on the Deepwater Compilation for Turin’s Somewhere & Ovunqve.

Askance Discs, run by DeepNoize DJs, Alessandro Moretti and Matteo Rovatti, recently celebrated its first year with Askance Discs One Year Collection. It seeks to bring the ‘true underground product of current Dub Techno / Techno / Electronic / Space Dub scene.’ And unknown—apart from a previous split EPAle Dat does just that, compellingly, on a febrile debut album, ASK018 – Collection of Sound, in a manner that sets him apart from the scene/seen and he(a)rd, drawing on a plethora of genres for a sui generis sound partly a product of direct recording all tracks with all analog instrumentation. While we’re on it, there’s ASK019, a wilfully ungeneric dub techno EP by E110, who has the fine “Empty” on soundscape versions 02 too, and a reissue of Diametric, once a freebie on Simphonic. Ciao! Oh wait, one more: ASK020-Frequencies Verse 2 EP by Mechanist & I.Conik.

Roman producer Mirko Peschiaroli aka OWL has a very nice EP, Cloned, out on Anekoic (label founded with amico, Livai). He also has the Zero Farhenheit EP on Spain’s Circular Ltd, ‘creating a unique world of depth and spacial and transparent sound architectures.’ Finally, nipping from Italy over to nearby Malta, we find Sonitus Eco, and Her Hands Were Cold, a first mist-shrouded outing on his Haar (Haar = a coastal fog along certain lands bordering the North Sea), with a Ness remix, also featuring on Haar’s first compilation, Precipitation.

Back in the Grey’n’Green UK, second comp in the series launched last year by Weekend Circuit, ‘continues to celebrate all that’s raucus (sic) and right,’ (says owner, Michael Wells) over the 2-LP Ground Fault Interrupt Volume 2. WC returners Jeff Rushin, P.E.A.R.L., Developer, Alderaan, I/Y, Stanislav Tolkachev, and Antonio De Angelis join debutant Pär Grindvik. Grindvik’s “The Act” sets the tone with  a dusky blend of church atmo and perc, yielding the floor to Rushin for “Graphite”‘s heavy percussive freight. P.E.A.R.L.’s “Azul & Oro”—exposed hyper- kick drum, swingeing hi-hats keeping ever-elastic momentum, Developer’s “Lost Moments”—an echo-drenched workout, Alderaan’s “Sequel”—drenched in industrial-leaning ambient decay, I/Y’s “Nara”—a nightmare trip-out, Tolkachev’s “Framing”—a drone of leaden wooze for only the brave, and De Angelis’ “Anomaly”—mixing tradition and experiment. Pulsing, bottom-heavy, heady.

London’s Pris brings his This Heavy Heart to Shifted’s Avian. Some scary stuff here as “Intervention” resounds to screeches, howls and white noise walls. “Ivory Tower,” more complex and visceral, adds increasingly volatile droning sound layers. “Whatever’s Left To Say” is a tribal lurcher, while “Domestic” is a bass-heavy roller riding filtered waves to an epic climax. Since Pris’s breakout record, Unbeknown To Us, he and Resin have gained momentum, and now a new white-label series named after that release has arrived: Unbeknown 01‘s A-side is robust and familiar, “Draconian” a prime exhibit of his neo-industrial updates—a bit scuzzy but with a sheen and a swing. Then there’s “Hunger,” a growling groover with a bad attitude, “A Sense Of Purpose” a mad rattler, “Margaux” a grubby drone-swell on a Downwards spiral, as is “Sinking,” albeit less sullen, more soundtracky.

Next, up to Glasgow where Informa issues Deepbass‘s Campello, all in Darren Roberts’ signature sound, albeit more restrained and expressive—album-y, to coin a word; full of rolling and tumbling techno, plenty pulse’n’atmo with ‘moments of electronic tribalism consistently layered with waves of delicate sonics and textures, taking you deep into the abyss creating strong imagery in a near cinematic style.’ He also has a split with Reggie Van Oers,  Symbosis (sic); a Techno Venn Diagram, respective signature styles overlapping and contrasting: RVO’s “Tunnel Dweller,” the evil twin ‘with a sinister constant flow, seductive escalating atmosphere and subtle creative effects,’ Deepbass’s “Symbiont,” ‘an ever evolving progression that lures you from the outset growing continuously before reaching a climatic peak staying within the hypnosis throughout.’

Samurai Horo have got some pet producers to revisit Ancestral Voices‘ memorable Night Of Visions. Northern supremo Abdulla Rashim turns “Invocations” Female and towards Central Africa in a cerebral remix—a pellucid loop and swingeing percussion with subtle kick drum stabs. Sam KDC and ASC‘s signature 2-tempos-in-1 Grey Area re-tune transports “Feathered Serpent” to the deepest ends of the ‘floor. Samuel Kerridge goes for his own 2-in-1, with “Sleepless Night, First Light” and “Ritual Terre” dissected, reversed and spectrally coiled round a host of off-kilter drum hits, murmurations and FX. Pact Infernal turns “Vine Of The Soul” into a rattling ritual wig-out, dread of tenor with a ghoulish operatic air. Industrio-tribal illbient!

Transatlanticist and Infrastructure NY co-owner, Function, reckons the label’s Facticity was compiled like an album, involving not only the core group of artists but connecting dots between the label’s past, his Berghain 07 mix (Ostgut Ton), the legendary Sandwell District days and the respective artists’ history. The boxset spans ‘a narrative ranging from lush, ambient electronics and post-club diversions, to contemporary club techno and back again.’ Musical highlights, among a bunch of largely decent ‘floor-pleasers, are subtler pleasures like Vatican Shadow‘s BOC-gone-goth brooder, “Swords Over Paradise,” and Rrose‘s mesmeric “Cephalon.”

Holland now, and Speedy J’s Electric Deluxe gives Arad (Dara Smith of Lakker) head to for a new ltd ed series with a debut album, Particles And Waves, to follow last year’s debut 12” (special mix for the occasion via ED podcast—a project born from the audio-visual intersection with his own artwork in symbiosis with the music). A busy period for ED sees Glasgow’s Clouds with their rowdy blend of techno, jungle, and off-the-back-of-a-lorry sonics, returning to update Timeslip Roadmender with Outrageous Fate Type via metallic mayhem, corrosive textures and ear-withering beats. And if that’s noisy and unkempt enough, industrial-sludge-doomgaze legend, Justin Broadrick aka JK Flesh issues Rise Above. ED resumes sleeker more floor-functional service with DJ Red, who, after Duality, goes Underwater, and gets more experimental remixes from Zeitgeber and Ukraine maverick Stanislav Tolkachev.

Delsin gives first dibs in a new 12″ series to Shlømo, who’s had a stream of cerebral techno since his Taapion debut. In Absentia:Tome 1 sees the Frenchman conduct mile-high chorales over pummeling kicks for opener “In Absentia,” offset by the plasmic hush and thump of “Escape From The Void.” Dub technoid tropes take a bumpy ride on “Poison River,” with a dreamy sense of narrative, fine-toned deep space transmissions—classic yet fresh fluid, floating pads, and rolling bass, with a more hustling, slow-burn remix by usual suspects, Artefakt. Delsin also offers deep Detroit and UK-inflected techno via Tom Dicicco with his Shadows & Tears EP, opening with “Extracting The Error”‘s glowing mope-house, while the rest is darker, quasi-industrial: “Morph Cycle”—more shadowy, percussively intense, “A Prayer For Jupiter”—warp’n’wooze cymbal-hiss analog distorto-drum thrum, “Fallen Spaces”—abstract interstellar overdriven; last up, “Escape From The Poison River (Artefakt Collage),” on which busy-boys Artefakt cut’n’shut two tracks to create something else.

Staying low, Deep Sound Channel traffic with Cliche Morph (see Feb’s TOL) to bring Liquid Materia all the way from Belarus. Melody streams and chord currents dissolve over steady kicks the title track, whose sonorities Claudio PRC reforms into a deeper dream state; “Impulse Inside Mechanism” gets harmony spectres ghosting through the percussive patter and “Alternative Solution” gives more girth to rhythm, more prod to bass, more soar to strings. Berlin-Napoletan Ascion (Pasquale Ascione), co-owner of Repitch, Cosmo Rhythmatic and 3TH Records, is hosted by DSC for Channel #9—5 free-flow techno tracks offsetting floor frenzy with warm washes and colder echoes. The lulling “Anhatolia” harks back to a dream-like ambience, with “Illusorium” cool-going-on-frosty in the twilight; more caustic arctic currents in “Doubledpang”‘s jagged acid thump, with “Fraxtile” and “Cybbar” dredged from a similar murk, digging into a throbbing mulch to unearth melodic resonance.

NL’s Konstrukt, launched last year, has so far issued music from SHLTR and a Cassegrain/Sendai split, and keeps the momentum with Konstrukt 003, a Dutch-Swedish pact, Artefakt and Evigt Mörker (see previous on Appian Sounds and Reclaim Your City), splitting two sides with ‘the sound of thousands of machines and a thousand different noises, combining them according to our imagination.’ I hear you!—news too of another from head boy, Doka.

Swift Spanish interlude for a look at the latest in Semantica‘s Exhibition Design CD-R album series, Jose Cabrera aka J.C. (previously on Deeply Rooted, Symbolism and Tresor) with Mugako. The series has featured Go Hiyama, Mod21, Imugen Orihasam and Material Object, who felicitously has the lovely Shimmers slated for late summer, a version of which sneaked on to Stealth, which brings us back to the lowlands below…

Stealth Epilogue is a final episode of Peter Van Hoesen‘s heady Stealth series on Time To Express. Starting in Nov. 2015 with the Stealth mix album, the following months saw three separate vinyls, featuring six tracks from the album, featuring a diverse range of artists, incl. Wata Igarashi, Yves De Mey, Yotam Avni, Mike Parker, Eric Cloutier, Imaginary Softwoods and our previous guest, Material Object.

Going Dutch again, Dekmantel’s gives an episode of its UFO series over to Voiski, who presents a quirky mélange in I’ll Be Your Maple Pecan Tonight. It spans beatless ambient synth jam (“Go To A Mountain & Cry for a Vision”), pulsating game-core (“Happy Piece”), dark bass-fuelled visions (“Seriously No”), future-basing techno (“Come Back”) and Hi-Tech breakbeat (“Drama In the Futuristic Cabinet”). Still in Amsterdam, Insula follows up the inaugural Amnesia (seen in Feb’s TOL) with a fine 4-track tripper by Argentine Alderaan, whose Continuous Limit makes with the hyp-gnostics via a mesh of syncopating basslines, spacious textures and heavy kicks. Amsterdam again, as Taped Artifact clocks up a fourth EP with Psycho Hub from Matthew Oh, who ‘knowingly blends dub, techno and house into sensuous sonic landscapes.’ Title track is a spacious roller with dubbed out drums and pads and incendiary hi hats; “Shroud,” slick spacious deep techno with liquid synths and clacking hits, finished with “Get in the Fridge,” a more downtempo room-y roller with widescreen pads, smeared synths and aqueous sonics. Hot ‘Dam, it’s Leyla, launched last year with Brighton-based Manni Dee‘s Human Image, followed by EPs from JoeFarr & Martyn Hare and Positive Centre (see April’s TOL), going back to Dee for an update. His Counterculture EP, put out with the questing Fear of the Imagination EP from Shadows (experimental wing of Manc mavericks, AnD), has a hard and fast Birmingham school Surgeon/Female dynamic. Noisy rattler alert!

Over to Rotterdam where Planet Rhythm indulges Ukranian Yan Cook for XX, an album shifting stylistic paradigms in an effective set of Tech-mechanix with strong builds and ace FX. It also hosts fellow-Dutchie Dubiosity, who has maintained a steady stream of releases, individually and with Pjotr G, via e.g. Hypnotic Room, Translucent and Gynoid Audio. For deep, dark, dubby, moody beats, Pjotr G & Dubiosity are your men! Dubiosity goes solo with Arcanum, an eclectic 12″ offsetting stylistic shift and coherent flow-drift. PR also hosts Colombia’s Modular Phaze and his Visual EP—‘four raw techno workouts, exploring a darker side of the dancefloor,’ though more intriguing from a TOL perspective is Mörk Omloppsbana, a fabulous dark-ambient-soundscape-techno crossover (co-credited to Primär Förekomst) on his Mephyst, which also promises a new album, Tronum Krigeres.

To Germany to get Scorched with Stärker, Frédéric Arbour & Martin Dumais on a Berlin-Montreal shuttle for Kapitän of post-Industry, Kareem‘s Zhark Recordings. Canadian dark-ambient mavens turned Techno flirters, Arbour (Cyclic Law) and Dumais (AUN) deliver brooding pulse’n’atmo, drawn from an austere palette of sonorities. Says Kareem, they have ‘crafted an aura of uniqueness in their compositions,’ and ‘it is rare to find such denseness and well crafted sound design.’ These French-Canadian doom-mongers peddle four pitch-black hell-fire pieces primed for cavernous warehouse observances and chthonic rave rites. Sequenced throbbers threaded with drone-tones and static swathes into crushingly bleak post-Techno rollers. Carpeted kicks and spectral rimshots ricochet into a grubby aether on “Windswept,” “Scorched” is all insurgent white noise apparitions over booming kicks, while “Arid” stalks undead zones between Milton Bradley and Italian techno tenebrae, saving best for last with “Dismal”‘s Stygian hydraulics.

Redux German IDM gem, Arovane, refinds a deep-rooted love of Basic Channel‘s classic Berlin dub techno templates with Modul, a 12″ that has the late-90s electronica legend indulged by Denmark’s Echocord to good gritty effect. Nods to DIN kin-spirit T++ (then Dynamo) in the functional textured apertures of “Modul 1,” with the vaporized motion of “Modul 9,” and “Modul 3″‘s abraded chord nebulae, while “Module 4” and “Modul 5″‘s ring-modulating polar timbres bear clearer echoes of Maurizio and Fluxion.

Berlin ciphers, CHPTR, self describe as an ‘anonymous entity […] derived from undefined controlled sequences progressing into endless alienated narratives, all live recorded and captured on the eponymous label, CHPTR,’ Pretentious, nous? (but hey, we’ll allow it, cos the music’s sound). A series of faceless releases characterized by a pleasing ethereality of texture offset by light white noise grain and pulsing kicks, originally on vinyl, CHPTR001, CHPTR002, and latest, CHPTR003 are now up on bandcamp. They venture in interview: ‘CHPTR performs several (objectives and inspirations) with regards to writing the music. Natural recordings, illusion and timing are the principles on which each piece has been created. Experimenting with sequences in an unconventional way inspires to make guiding decisions that has developed into a recognizable sound in an organic way.’

Brief border-hop to France, where Marcelus, after a string of singles on Tresor drops a debut album, Vibrations. Described as ‘a personal journey through his proficiency in techno-related genres, travelling from techno to house inspired dub techno to futuristic and experimental.’ To calculate the dark, yet melancholic energy of the record, we’re told, ‘mathematical datas of Pi and Phi were deliberately measured into some parts of the composition of each track. The result is an ever-evolving web of rhythms that redefines pre-established structures.’ Fair enough, what matters is Cédric Bros’ emergence as a proper Outer Limits exponent, tracks like “Transient” draping deep-rolling, hard-kicking beats under flickering dubby textures; or “Fear Is Gone,” strata serially contorting, ripples reverberating to a thrum of drums over a Stygian synth river.

Miscellaneous round-up: Patrick Siech & Sebastian Mullaert with The Rivers Will Turn EP on Swedish Drumcode displays a mix of talents and influences in twin takes on a moody dark techno groove with gritty reverbs and deep kicks, slow deep crescendos effecting intense mesmerism. Modularz maven, Developer, has Conrad Van Orton & VSK create something special—six hefty recursive warehouse-tailored slabs tooled for Quantum Entanglement. Lastly Svarog was in our TOL-April 2016 and the prolific Ukrainian makes the cut again with a fine Mechanical Work for Mexico’s Illegal Alien.

Selections from this Outer Limits episode are in the Soundcloud below and latest albient mix, Dalliance #15.

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