Techno’s Outer Limits :: July 2017

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


First up, Avian hosts 400ppm for Fit for Purpose, a set of neo-Industrial Techno sketches skulking around a kind of ‘floor functionalism flirting with something vaguely conceptual—‘works to capture the sense of unease and hysteria that fuelled, and continues to fuel the vital countercultural movements that have shaped club culture’ (blurb)—refracted through a peculiar lens—that of Shawn O’Sullivan, whose years scavenging round Noise and New Wave tips skirting Techno’s Outer Limits yield plenty of ref. points: pared back caustic drum-machine sequences hitched to pitch-bent leads and reverb chops and odd 4-to-floor workouts with ‘interludes for more complex structural depths and harsh textures,’ vocal detritus welling up amid metal percussion “Metabolic Grift”’s dank low-lights and “Sintered Bauxite”’s distended high-lights chafe (un)comfily against “Into The Heap”‘s psyched-out creep.

Drifting Over, launched by Avian maven Guy Brewer last year to provide a more immediate outlet to get his stuff shifted—er, make that get his Shifted stuff—puts out DRFT002. Floor functional, pared back and pragmatic, more abstract leanings eschewed, machine dreams feed a rhythm mesh with a thrifty reverb-driven precision to create subtle sonic kinetics. Brewer adds unknown tones to familiar greyscale settings, finding new skin for old ceremony. Avian too, Rhyw aka Alex Tsiridis refreshes his coupling of elastic floor fare with more off-kilter ambient reducts on Cave Walls (Part One), then hops over Arcing Seas to renew Cassegrain (+Hüseyin Evirgenwith ARCS-04.


Alessandro Stefanio aka Buck summons for Substrato‘s fifth EP, Truth Is Silence; pushing pulse’n’atmo peregrinations further out, they follow the finely crafted “Language Of An Inner World” with a fusion of wrecked synth tones and eerie sonics in “How We Learn Reality,” “Word As Sound, Sound As Word” and “Here And Now” cementing the spectral side of things. The Italian vets also line up with some usual suspects—Dorian Gray, Shaded Explorer, Astronomy Domine, and Hydrangea, inter alia—assembled by Ovunque for Deepwater Compilation Vol. 2‘featuring Europe’s finest in ambient, experimental and hypnotic techno […] Across the European Atlas of seas [sic] comes a tonic of wildness and the erratic force of nature; mysterious and unexplorable, unsurveyed and unfathomed. Deepwaters. A touch of warmth from the alpenglow eminates within. Peaks and valleys of this oblivion, desolate, cold and remote. At the base of the crevasse, hydrologic connection. Deepwaters.’ Blah. Anyway, having trailed Andaman aka Synthek here, the Turin imprint hosts his LP, Parallel Vision (with reworks from BLNDR, Refracted, and Astronomy Domine).

This Italian sojourn continues, as Sciahriar Tavakoli aka Sciahri follows Behind the Line with yet more sleek yet grainy etheric techno. The tone of Quiet Witness (Black Opal) is set by “Insanity,” [g]listening space streaked with particulate glassine tones, all action bleep’n’throb before “Unease” comes, shadowy coils of cosmic intent threatening to explode till the kick drops out, off-stepping against a soft riot of droney drama; then “Faith Healing” rolls in, a celestial minimal perc-driven dressed with aqueous effects and glacial synth sadness, evoking ‘Robert Hood jamming with William Basinski,’ for some, while sound seems to flood the final “Shambles.” Then Pier Giuseppe Mariconda aka Subion (+Nicola Virnicchi), whose Eliogabalo (Blackwater) pricked up ears, got with PRG/M‘s ‘darker and mental soul which express in dark ambient sounds, immersive pads and subdued and deconstructed rhythmic,’ on the Ninsei EP (Concrete) (check Bologna’s best dirty analog tech ’scape merchant Fabrizio Matrone aka Matter’s remix). He lines up in r²π, ‘the holistic fusion between, Ruhig and Prg/m,’ for the further-out Library Of Babel EP (Midgar), preceded by one on Wata Igarashi‘s Ciphers Remixes (TBH, it’s Nuel‘s rethink that nails it).


Debut LP from Maelstrom, Her Empty Eyes (RAAR), is billed by French producer, Joan-Mael Péneau, as ‘both an evolution of the producer’s rich history and an intellectual departure from everything preceding.’ It continues RAAR’s cross-media mission—‘not a metaphor nor an essay, this is the outline of a story,’ the characters a photo-reporter, famous writers and anonymous heroes, the context a civil war, the music its OST. Deploying a radically changed recording method under influence of experiment with Ericksonian self-hypnosis techniques, he apparently went from over-thinking the recording process ‘to a state where thinking wasn’t part of the equation,’ doing one-takes with no urge to refine or rework. End result: ‘uncanny, challenging and meditative.’


Lewis Fautzi’s third LP is out on PoleGroup. The Ascension of Mind‘s mysterious tone is set by “Psychopath,” melding granular timbre, drone and ambience, continued with variations by “Entering,” pulsating sub-bass, sinoidal sequence, and prickly pads, then “Subconscious,” a stripped back, minimal groove laden down with opaque kick, hi-hats, eerie atmospheres and monotone sequences. “Diffracted” flanges and twists, “Rentless” veers down tunnelling, acid-tinged paths, while “Seasick” is darker and more droning, humid and liquid, with sharp beat prog and spatial sounds. “Furrow” ploughs an intelligent ’floor, bleeps, noise and sub-woofer action, “Cyclic Human” blends bell-like sequences, digital clicks, and abstract progression, and “Optic Chiasm” takes an obscure drum workout and fills it with relentless high pitch sequences before “The Brain Revolution” closes, beatless but retaining tension and kinesis. The Portuguese is a savvy compiler too, as head of Faut Section, making Three Years of Faut Sectionlike its 2-year predecessorcongruent with label vision (‘hypnotic techno at its most pure and raw’), notwithstanding a few dark ambient and shiny IDM cuts among the 6 a.m. stompers, acid throbbers and sculpted dub techno workouts.


Deepbass exhibits his Multiverse, (sing.) via Germany’s Kontrafaktum, and (pl.) via his label comp, Formation 1, trailed with a personal development spin on Informa’s techno: ‘a series of psychedelic, dystopian and otherworldly tools for escape might actually be a proposition for improvement, a route to self-discovery, a reflection on the true nature of our surroundings.’ Blimey, and you thought it was about getting out of it! No, be it the harmonized colorfields of Claudio PRC, the deep diving of Alfredo Mazzilli, Hironori Takahashi‘s submerged electro-shockwaves or nAX_Acid’s paranoid technoid, Ness‘s post-trance imaginings, Takaaki Itoh‘s circular motion and tension, or Reggy Van Oers‘ chthonic echoes, it’s ‘a collision of 8 wormholes into different worlds and times, into which the listener is immersed and propelled, and from which he can gather new perspectives, renewed thought, clearness of mind.’ 

So there you go: veritable life-coaches of techno, two of whom are brought in by Affin head, Joachim Spieth, for Affinity 2: RVO’s subtle greyscale tract, “Place Of Connect,” is offset by Deepbass’s dubbed-out chugger, “Tempest,” awash with bleep’n’boosted sonics, a deal clinched by Spieth’s “Shadows,” a pared down pumper shot through with aether-tones. Now enigmatic CHPTR, sighted on TOL last year, follow up CHPTR004 with—yep, you guessed it—CHPTR005. No further word other than that ‘The anonymous entity CHPTR derived from undefined controlled sequences progressing into endless alienated narratives, all live recorded and captured on the eponymous label, CHPTR.’ Could it be Deepbass again? (moonlighting with Ness?)


Spazio Disponibile make their tenth release special assigning it to co-founder, Neel. Known to most for his supple techno in Voices From the Lake with Donato Dozzy (and as masterer of virtually every other Italian techno EP), he gets out from behind his console and out of from Dozzy’s shadow to fly solo with The Vancori Complex. Giuseppe Tilleci—as he’s known to Mamma—also teams up with Filippo Scorcucchi as LF58 for Vol. 2 in Auxiliary‘s Late Night Innominate, three long-form modular synth pieces wrought with his studio sidekick that find a perfect balance of affect and technique; not techno, but Outer Limitsspace continuing to be the place for his Muse—similar coordinates, in fact, to Trans-Neptunian Objects, ASC‘s first ambient release on his imprint in a while. Seemingly never sleeping, the Auxiliary capo is back at the techno face for Dissolve, two tracks (+ Orphx retool) via Fracture, and gets Konstrukt to do the honors with Konstrukt 006, a split with AmandraThere is, literally, no stopping him, it seems—not that you’d want to on this form.


Positive Centre launches the new In Silent Series (after his debut album) with Reassembly, selected tracks from his Our Circula Sound back catalog ‘reimagined’—featuring a SHXCXCHCXSH remix. Berlin-based Mike Jefford also lines up the Myths EP from Dadub‘s Daniele Antezza aka Inner8, along with a mini-comp featuring, along with himself, OCS boss Sigha, Dadub and SNTS. Talk of the devil, Samurai sub-label, Horo, ever alert for brooding techno derivatives, welcomes the Hooded One for a follow-up to experimental-flirting Losing Sight, channeling an update of the headf**k techno school (cf. Prologue, Zooloft). Across Another Dimension sets out all corrosive ambient shimmer with “Origin Of Light,” ushering in more familiar ‘floor ritual, “Ancestral Reflection” and “Figures In The Mist”—a must to a void, before “Resurgence,” a bru[i]t-ish body basher, nudges up the narcosis to close with a caustic heave. Horo also curates another revisiting of Pact Infernal‘s The DescentThe Descent, The Descent Chapter II Reincarnated—three outsider retools, Svreca, Pris and Nastika, and one insider, Ancestral Voices. And the Pact’s full Infernality is forthcoming.

Still on matters Infernal, a veritable stream of releases from Colombia’s deeply Out There Mephyst, ‘specially dedicated to Dark Techno and Post Industrial, one the most bizarre dark side of the city scene,’ (sic) among which some of the darkest materials come from curator Manuel Mucua’s own Modular Phaze, e.g. the recent Spiritual Path To Fight Deception album and Cuckold Skull EP. Then Acclaim To The Gods on affiliate O.V.N.I. with Light Of Divinities And Ancient Knowledge off the back of Natural Mechanisms Of The Universe., for whom there are no known coordinates, but look out for him/them (her?)


Silent Season celebrates its 10th year with special edition EP series, Silent Season 10 Year Collection 2007-2017 [SSX10], showcasing elemental textures in the natural environment of its Vancouver Island base. SF-based Jacob Long’s Earthen Sea’s mix of atmospheric heft and techno submersion, previously on Ital’s Lovers Rock label, is well situated here: A Relentless Gaze [SSX01] ranges between Earthen weight and Ambient Sea—“The Sky Is A Sea Of Darkness,” letting loose looming pads and timbres, to the greater delicacy of “The Time Past.”And not a kick drum in earshot. Differently configured Dub techno from Hypnus regular BLNDR’s Phased [SSX02], “Abstraction” snaking sonic slivers between off-kilter kicks, and “Partial” slow-creep beat buffeting vaporous chords, subtle kinesis in its chthonic pulse and chordal atmo. Melbournian Mosam Howieson’s Untitled [SSX03] is an EP of ambient techno experiment, low-end pressure and filmic grabs from opener “I”‘s submerged acid throb to “II”‘s beatless suspension.

Brendon Moeller blows out dub-smoke with Arcadian Rhythms [SSX04] aligned nicely with SS’s dusky avant-techno template—from the warm melancholic throb of “Glow” to the stern sub pulse of “Abandon,” the more abstract “The Hike,” and “Yearning” rounding off on an oblique swing tip. And emergent French producers PVNV and Amandra commune as Odes Of The Kabatians with Varsovie [SSX05], a different mood from SS’s carpeted ambient-dub in-house style. “Varsovie I” is all crisp clear cycling sequences, “II” throws shades of light and dark into the mix for an arresting techno workout, and “III” takes a murkier turn towards micro-textures and rhythms before “IV” blows things open with broken beat, tender chords and tough finish.


Brussels-Paris duo Ligovskoï return to Dement3d, host of their Dilip (igloo-‘view here), with the Mana EP: five tech-inflected ambient-drone ’scapes of diffusive loops and detuned micro-arpeggios with a quartet of remixes. Abdulla Rashim reprises his re-take of the previous EP with a Kosmische synth-infused treatment of “Mana,” Peder Mannerfelt instils a kind of dubby energy into “Aures,” label co-founder HBT cooks up a somewhat gruzzy acid-drone jam rethink of “Cross,” and Polar Inertia go for their customary extended minimal trance epic built from reheats of “Lethe”’s sequences and pads. 

The Polar duo leads us to Semantica, to initiate the latest in the series, SEMANTICA 10.IX, with mainman curator Svreca hooking up with Neel, still warm from cosying up with Ownlife boss, Leirasfor The Bridges I Burn, a 4-tracker in this series’ deep recursive vein. One-time Semantica contributor and Stroboscopic Artefacts early adoptee, Xhin, has a techie 4-tracker, Shift LTD 001, on Singaporean Midnight Shift, launching a new 3-part EP series, and 002, a second self-release as NIHX. Also Semantica-released, Von Grall brings his dark materials to ModularzSeeking Loyalty sets a mean tone, compounded by “Distinction,” a hefty roller stripped back to pad smear and bleep sequence, “Next Form”‘s dinning flurry, and “Obtain It”‘s bass pulse flutter over a spread of crepuscular sonics.


Evigt Mörker delivers the resonantly titled follow-up to nomenclature-tastic 1, 2, and 3. 4! A suggestive byline accompanies the Stockholmer’s sonics: ‘Someone has discovered that in Närke lays a dead snake encircled in a wreath of stars. Hence this is the fourth release in the Evigt Mörker series.’ “Närke,” “Krans Av Stjärnor,” “Död Orm,” “Vem.” Evigt Mörker-tastic! And the Swede’s stellar remix gives a more sedate, subtly Kosmische, tweak to “Nuvole,” from Alfredo Mazzilli’s second Weekend Circuit, Logical Strength. Mazzilli’s title track is a throbbing pouch of worm-holing heavy with arpeggiation and drum-thrum, while his “Nuvole” has a more eerie feel with celestial pads and synth swells draped across tribal-inflected drums before ending in the beatless synth’n’atmo wash of “Parhelion.” 


Last ups: Diverse, decidedly Out There, Drottning Omma returns to Sweden’s offworldcolonies ltd. for För alltid, is‘Ambient, Drone, Techno recorded in, on and between Berlin, Dals härad, Stockholm, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Prague, Bundesautobahn 20, Dálnice 8, and FS Saßnitz 2015-2016.’ Juan Rico (Reeko) aka Architectural has Heaven Can Wait via Maceo Plex‘s Ellum Audio—dubbier shades of hypno-Tech with “Dream Driver”‘s droney trance induction, lush atmospherics on the subdued “Hidden,” and “Surreal Restaurant”‘s cavernous resonance. Italy’s Elle, familiar from good works for Annulled and Hypnus (which hosts its poster boy, Luigi Tozzi, for Binary Sunset EP), is back with Nel Silenzio, a trademark mix of  deep dark(de rigueur epithets) neo-tribal ’scapes and percussive hyp-gnosis for Malta’s Systolic, with Thulewerk’s Nuclear Sellafield and Droneghost’s Vimana in the back catalog. And you’ll find Mod21 Still Breathing on Mental Modern

Methodical puts out Methodical 001, first in a split concept—‘every release a split vinyl between 2 artists, where every artist can express himself in the best way, with no particular restrictions,’ coupling capo MTD and Wrong Assessment. A split that keeps on giving is ACCENTAPE002 (Accentsthanks to Josef Gaard, who ‘places each otherworldly sound in a dignified and intentional fashion, traversing many different genres while emerging with a sensibility that is entirely his own.’ More deep stuff of Italian provenance (Anekoic) on Livai‘s Il Cervo Adirato, while DJ Saint Pierre floats by on Clouds courtesy of Mexican Ricardo Garduno‘s Illegal Alien, Nørbak dials in Macula to Tunisia’s Warok, and Jeff Derringer heads up to Scots Soma for False Flags. Last, a radar re-entry for Attaché’s Edinburgh—no reissue, but courtesy of a youtube ‘bump’ of Blazej Malinowski’s remix of “Atoll” (see above). 

Selections from this Outer Limits emission are in the Soundcloud below and latest albient mix, Dalliance #19.

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