Techno’s Outer Limits :: October 2017

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

Anthony Linell is back, Abdulla Rashim veil shed to go as nomenclatural nature intended on debut, Consolidate, with a 2 x 12″ ‘to depth charge vacant participants and lilting movers.’ Emerald Fluorescents has a steelier feel with scattered fractal stabs rotating round busy low-end thrum. Northern Electronics, natch, of which parish was Korridor, whose When Nothing Matters, a first outing since Taotast (NE, 2015), has just seen self-release. ‘One could ask him/herself why nothing came out since 2015,’ prompts inarticulate speech of the heart: ‘well sometimes in life shit just dosent work anymore.’ So true. Further Nordic Outer Limits activity can be found on engaging new-ish Swedish imprint, offworld colonies ltd., the eponymous artist making a murky pact with a darker Muse on Approaching Apex, three slabs of compelling stern pummelling, recorded live in Berlin and Dals härad.

Longtime Samurai artist Sam KDC‘s first solo foray on a re-launched HoroFeardom, follows on from his crucial   Psychic Dirt EP, which saw him co-construct the Grey Area sound with Auxiliary man, ASC, and Samurai Big Guy,  Presha. The title track follows EP keynote, “Templar,” with “Graven Image” setting the tone for a subtly hypnotic template tweak, “Pyramid” flipping the polyrhythmic switch with a stepping break, and “Burning Effigy” skewing and stretching the techno template’s flesh so it hangs flayed from its rhythm ribs. Also Horo-show is Ourea, Sam’s hook-up with kindred spirit in spatial 170 bpm depth-soundings, Lemna (Maiko Okimoto). A set of tribal-inflected technoid experiment, Ourea I ranges from malpractising machines to isolationist extremes, tracks like “From Chaos Came Erebus” venturing further into a Grey Area of of eerie dissonance, martial kicks, shuffling rhythmics and chain-rattle percussion. Never-sleeping Sam and ever-awake ASC bring new color to Auxiliary‘s Grey Area as Saturne (‘a non-specific genre approach to writing music’), whose Trace Elements ‘focuses on Grey Area compatible deep hypnotic techno cuts’ that ‘shows the pair’s intent to deliver intricate, atmospheric, genre-fusing tracks.’ Alone again, Sam’s Of Myth & Mercury ‘takes the listener on a deep and spiritual journey’ (natch) with ‘four intricate pieces that tell a ritualistic tale drenched in a mystical atmosphere.’ Lastly, ‘fusing Dub Techno, Ambient and half time Drum and Bass’ for Samurai since 2014, is Theme‘s Passages, a debut LP building on his ‘uniquely Berlin influenced take on 170 BPM’s post autonomic developing progression’ with nods to previous forms (Passages 6, 8, and 9) and extensive ambient tracts (Passages 1, 4, 7, and 10), though it’s the variously-BPM-ed genre-ranging/integrative percussive workouts (Passages 2, 3, and 5) that compound the album.

We lately heard from Andreas Tilliander/TM404 and NY-based South African Brendon Moeller/Echologist via the former’s Compuriddim LP (iDEAL) and the latter’s Arcadian Rhythms EP (Silent Season). Bass Desires for Kynant, for whom Moeller has previous with The Flame, sees the pair collude on a release whose dub techno take shucks off genre tropes: A-side, billed as direct and hard-hitting, has “Playground” let an acid line skip through a steely stepping groove-scape, with a more questing take on the d-t template on “Gateway,” all low end pressure, rattle and thrum breaking on through to the other side—where some ‘cavernous bass vibrations’ are unleashed, especially on a more exploratory “Odyssey,” moving seamlessly between drops and washed out modular twists.

To Elle and back via Hypnus, whose two go-tos, Luigi Tozzi and BLNDR, collude in subdued bongo fury towards a distant Thule. Ultima! And Ex-Hypnus and Annulled stalwart Elle gets the call from Lounge Squatt, Berlin for the inaugural Induzione, fluffed as a ‘masterwork’ that ‘takes you on a journey of hypnotic and atmospheric techno much like a shamanic ritual, which indoctrinates and defines the label’s sound and direction.’ Alas, this waffle’s cod-spiritual flavor is de rigueur in this Outer Limits zone—get over it and there#s some mind-altering goodness ‘between tight and percussive breaks, articulated soundscapes with dark and deep approach’ (DaDub Studio mastering). Also Elle-shaped is Le calende di Marte, again blurb-attended: ‘The unknown unfolds to us, between percussion and esoteric sounds, in a dilated space […] Elle goes deep into the dark waters of our universe, […] where the only lines to follow are the percussive structures on which everything evolves and deforms.’ More music less blah, ta!

‘Too horizontal and empty for drum & bass and too rhythmically advanced for techno’ is DB1‘s set of ‘stunningly pulsating Ambient Techno/Drum & Bass stepper hybrids in Electronic Dub explorer mode’ (HardWax). Dubiously Techno but definitely Outer Limits, Zwischenwelt ‘serves as a capstone to the label’s considerable development since 2014. […] has its roots in original dub science and Chain Reaction.’ (RA). That’s Hidden Hawaii, seen as ‘something of a spiritual successor to the genre-defining dub techno label.’ (RA again)—and note CR‘s Mark Ernestus, head honcho of Hard Wax, is a long-time HH patron. DB1 deploys Euclidean rhythms—an algorithm dividing 1s and 0s into criss-cross patterns found in both subatomic particles and Sub-Saharan drumming—shifting the notion of single tempo/time sig on its axis by positing a parallel life for mathematically-related bpms and rhythm divisions. Pinning down beat structure is like figuring an Escher in motion or trying to stand still in a tectonic shift—see, e.g., “Jona,” “Qube Part 2,” “Drft Part 1” and “Zukr.” Also via HH, partner in genre-revisionist crime and ‘leading light in explorative Techno minimalism & Drum & Bass revivalism at the same time,’ Forest Drive West, brings Persistence of Memory with regards from RA.

Another -Techno/+Outer Limits candidate, Litüus, is back with a second lot of crypto-minimalist synthesis for Avian  to follow the primitivist hyp-gnosis of 19805. -_ 19905,. 2236 s Wentworth ave ‘feels out space between Black Mecha and SAW II-era AFX,’ booms da ‘kat, ‘from charred rhythmic electronics to passages of exquisite, nerve-dancing dissonance, impish folk-techno and the sort of mechanical melodies you’d hear at a fairground run by the Chapman brothers,’ (mo ‘kat chat). The Chicago mysterion’s ‘unravelling or “de-composition” of musical or architectural spaces through musical forms imagined as inverted contours and negative spaces’ is stripped back to its vitals, as if a skeletal mimesis of more fleshly figures, something ‘…neither towards home listening nor the dance floor, but that exists somewhere in between—quite where exactly remains part of the the artist’s undeniable allure.’ (blurb)

After getting Parachute’s CW/A in to remix his Tor, South London Ordnance comes with the payback for the label via three deep-end strategies plus a Sigha remix. Parallel Window sets out with sullen atmo and low end rumble on “Parallel Window,” adding muscular EBM-broiled throb on “Disintegration Loop,” then getting stealthier for “Solder.” Award for services to the exploratory, though, goes to Sigha for a bold re-think, ramping up the tempo and squeezing the top end to an amphetamine rush surging to finishing tape delirium.

Dubbed out, reverberating, grinding, third release from Archivist, of Seattle-based collective, secondnature. The Star In A Circle EP is four febrile tracks of ‘intricate, subtle musical landscapes and undertones,’ which ‘explores the power of anxiety, loneliness and melancholia to compel movement, delving into the tension between internal struggle and dance floor liberation.’ Clearly can’t get enough of that liberation stuff, as he proceeds to shack up with sn sidekick, Fugal, for Undertow (incl. remix from TOL type, Acronym), on BleeD, aired by Volte-Face on The Bunker Podcast 150. VF minds his own BleeDing biz with four steely tracks backed up with a Wata Igarishi retweak; the Murmuration EP is the Londoner’s first solo outing of the year takes in the bumpy hydraulics and strafing drones of the title track, dank stepper, “Lethalogica,” a creaky drone-fest, “No Flags Wave Me Home” and sawtooth grind, “Blatchington Mill.” BleeDing edge.

Michal Wolski, it seems, ‘is looking for a balance between the corporeal and the contemplative aspects of music,’ in quest of which he alights on The New World, a set of murky thrum’n’bass pulse for Boddika’s Nonplus. Title track rumbles down below with vaguely harmonic smears enmired in a teeming substrate; “Moment by Moment” keeps it chthonic for an amphibious post-rave, “Polar Day” has icy film form over undercurrents in dark water, “Unfinished Transaction” firming up EBM-phatically with spectral melody traces. ‘Sound induced by him can be described as something between techno, deep techno and dub techno, under a deep impact of broadly although not always explicitly understood ambient,’ blahs; see Caleidoscope for Marco Shuttle‘s Eerie, which, like previous  Unthinkable Otherwiseness, is further evidence of the ‘balance between corporeal and contemplative’ proposed on the multi-strata title track with its bass pulse, perc-y synth and sinewave modulations, backed up by “Waterfall”’s cascades and crescendo of eponymous reverbed leads over acidic bass, and cemented by “Generator”‘s cosmic tribal mantra awash with percussive detritus.

Antigone has a fourth for Belgium’s Token, which gave him his breakthrough with Cantor Dust (2015). Ostinato  (a motif persistently repeating in the same musical voice) adheres to its eponymous theme, playing with layering to build a spectrum of sound around its two tracks’ respective motifs. Antonin Jeanson shifts the insistent base forms, foregrounding them before masking within a blend of processed and organic-sounding detail: “Ostinato 1” milder, with strings verging on unnatural in their high pitch, “Ostinato 2” more conventionally dramatic, the space filled with keys following the theme, building to grandstanding trance-throwback crescendo. Still checking le pulse, Adrien Garin aka PVNV is back on his Taapion label with Save.Reset, a second EP of ‘dubbed out, puristic, dreamy Techno trips’ (Hard Wax). Keeping it in the family, Taapion co-founder with PVNV and AWB, mate of Antigone, Shlømo (Shaun Baron-Carvais), has the Hardwave EP forthcoming for Emmanuel’s ARTS.

Berlin-based Ukrainian Etapp Kyle gains promotion from Klockworks and Unterton to the premier league with Ostgut Ton debut, Alpha, four tracks of sleek synthed-up sci-fi minimalism. Opener “Alpha” establishes a cosmic keynote, sleek chord swells and electroid flutter with whirring phasing panning across the soundfield. “Quantum” strips down to a bleep techno blend of  arpeggiated synth line, with twisted, high-pitched bells and 909-esque snare updates. The deep bleep minimalism continues as “Source” ramps up the tension with off-kilter kicks and vaportrail chords, morphing hats and an interlocking array of rhythms, condensing into the more brooding weight of “Ritual,” with dirge-like drone resounding across a vast expanse.

Dutch designer, Conforce, updates his Delsin collection with a fifth, Autonomous, inspired by his hometown, Rotterdam. Poly-aliased sounder of the depths of dub, techno, house and electro, Boris Bunnik, channels the harbour city, its automated industry evoked from the outset: “Tidal Gateway” taps into a remote waterworld of ambient bustle, reflecting light and churning undercurrents, prelude to a set of dark syntheses, spatial sound design and percolating drums. “Fauna of Estuaries”‘s icy blend of percussion and glassine sound underpinned by industrial-tinged rumble cedes to “Inland Current,” a-fizz with electricity and synth spray; “ECCV Quay,” awash with harbour effluvia; “Harnessed Life In Programmed Form,” unsettled, trouble brewing, segues to “Autonomously Surpassed,” with its trance pads and hi hat slither; “Meuse-Plain”’s crunchy textures, hardware malfunction and bass quease emits Sturm, if not Drang, before “Stimulation & Emulation” ends in crepuscular currents redolent of night-time shutdown and nocturnal emissions.

Flying in the face of dance music tradition, Tony Scott takes The Bridge to it! It, in this case, being hometown label, Soma, with Edit Select rather than Percy X hat on; title track sits twixt stepping and straight-up doof-ism stretching into a vast ethereal undulating ’scape space; there’s a more mechanical edged twisted synth path through glassine pad drift on “Flux,” and sweeping textural collusion with intense percussives for a more dubbed out atmo-feel on “Tonalist.” While we’re at it, via his Edit Select label, Scott advances the cause of what sounds like a protégé, Italy’s Alfredo Mazzilli, with a dreamily reverberant Ambient Techno EP, Broken Spectre.

Antonio Giova and Valerio Gomez De Ayala aka natural/electronic.system.‘s deep and dubby first full vinyl, Sicut Erat, has been out for a while, bumped back up now by the Berlin-based Italians’ mesmeric mix of tracks from releasing label, Tikita—an ideal fit for its ‘body and mind’ ethos. The title track opens with a wave of harmonic resonance reminiscent of gongs, cymbals, bells and other instruments of mediation, creating a mind-cleanser moment before ‘floor pulses enter, providing a dub-wised up techno platform. The “Rimodulazione” version is moodier with sub-bass throb and a tense crescendo, “Terrae Nullius” deep and groovy with billowing pads and a whole other squawk’n’croak dimension, closure in “Megàride”‘s sublimated frenzy of drum and swirl; mastered by Neel (Giuseppe Tillieci) at Enisslab Studio, Rome, pretext for heads up to always interesting Aquaplano man, Nuel, whose newie, Tecnica (Semantica), is similarly well turned out.

Germany calling, touching bass with three labels: Alexander Kowalski aka d_func. returns to Konsequent a decade on, Where The Waves Break a pair of vast beaten tracts with added French polish from KVD and UVB. There’s Konflkt hosting Mario Berger‘s Field Dominance, a hefty Berlin delivery of dense dance-scapes cued for floor tension-resolution, with Lag blending grabs for an off-kilter rejig. And Christian Gerlach‘s Lanthan Audio, which offers LalaLanders, Motionen (Carlos Matamoros aka Altrd Being and Matt Salamone), despite the recent founding of their own Ascetic Limited label, a forum for Balance TheoryClaudio PRC supporting with a spectral “Erudito” rework and Gerlach a ramped up version.

Close encounters of a Circular (Limited) kind from Spain continue to provoke TOL’s interest: Orbital Penetration is effected by UK tech-naut, Andrew Kater aka Tekra (and also Desecration via Portugal’s RCR Black Limited). All together: Aaaw, Tekra! Then, out of a dark d(a)ub(b)ed Barca-base, Jaume Muntsant aka Droneghost comes with Ouija, a more questing quadrant of technoid introversions. Latest Circulation is To Orion by Vinz Exe, whose tracks ‘are marked by sound techno/dub/enviromental with electronic nuances,’ his sound defined as ’emotional space techno.’ Boohoo – ooeeoo – doof-doof?!

Last ups: Simon Maverick‘s uplifting Ω (Bief‘makes you close your eyes in the warehouse and feel the music with your soul.’—Carphone, I presume? Purl (Ludvig Cimbrelius) and Deflektion (Olle Hallqvist) update Rest in You (2013) and Growing (2012) Dewtones with heaven scent Celestial Bodies (Eternell). Bleak (Santiago Naura) brings a set of mood-disorder kickers, his Rebirth (Cabrera) a pleasing evolution from hard-handbag Skudge-alike nearer to semiotic eponymy. All the way from León, Joton delivers Folka EP to Seoul’s More Than Less, “Frontier”‘s analog jam getting nagging hooks into you for the Newrhythmic bossman to ram home with “Sendice”‘s tongue and groove—respectively remixed by Japan’s DJ Nobu in cahoots with MTL boss, Soolee. Subversive Remixes finds Raiz and Subversive expanding their VRV roster with likeminds, DJ Hyperactive, Santiago Salazar and Voiski. Finally, Routine from Spain’s Carlos Native‘s Subtraum on Deep Division.

Selections from this Outer Limits emission are in the Soundcloud set below and latest albient mix, Dalliance #20.

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