Portuguese duo Photonz' latest track "1551", is described by Unknown To The Unknown as "Anti Illuminati Egyptian Trance House". It's somewhat apt as a description, as the track's tumbling tropical rhythms are joined by the kind of hypnotic melodic arrangement that gets right under your skin alongside some piano chords that make the whole thing sound like Chicago house as invented by Giorgio Moroder. As ever with UTTU, high calibre remixes are on the table also; Capracara turns in a surprisingly UK funky-inspired revision, Walter Ego turns it into a bass-heavy broken garage banger, and HALP smashes it into tiny pieces and rearranges it into a weird hybrid of IDM, footstep and dubstep. Essential!
With over 20 releases in less than two years UTTU have managed to uphold their credibility, so often lost with labels who spit out song after song like copy machines (to quote Lil' Louis' French Kiss), and this release from Portugeuse pairing Photonz is another killer. Balearic, beatdown and busy electro with hints of a 80s Hollywood action soundtrack make up the ten-minute title "Hurt Me Hurt Me". Piqued melodies and synthesised pan pips are treated to 707 workouts in "Veracruz", remixed by Boy s Noize Records stalwarts Shadow Dancer who up the BPM and exercise their Warp Records influences.
In recent times Photonz have been on fire, establishing their own One Eyed Jacks imprint, which delivered the humongous chunk of Fulton style dancefloor terror known as Lamborghini Funk last year. They've already emerged with one of our favourite releases so far this year in the unhinged WEO for new Lisbon based label Principe, and here now they grace the Don't Be Afraid imprint with the equally excellent The Love Spectre EP. The curious chiming melodies and hallow percussion on opening jam "Spectre" contain just the slightest nod towards classic Chicago House yet retains a wholly singular - and immensely beguiling - feel throughout. "Wall" sounds like it was recorded in one take in a sweaty Lisbon basement and is all the better for it; this is followed by the brilliant spacey electro of "Dokos" and frankly mad "Prometheus" (we suggest pitching this down for sleazy/hypnotic results!). Highly recommended.
Plague Of The New Age (Maetrik remix) - (8:25) 124 BPM
The plague in the title could easily refer to the glut of samey Chicago-inspired tracks. Thankfully, Photonz don't suffer from this malaise. Instead, they do a fantastic job of pushing acid-led electronic music into new directions. The title track sees a woozy bassline and wood block beats as well as lithe drums cosy up to a gurgling 303 line. It's the bassline's mencing tones that dominate however, as they skip over the lithe drums that appear later on. Maetrik favours a straighter bass-heavy approach on his remix, with tight drums and sharp percussion prevailing. Meanwhile, Photonz deliver more surprises in the shape of "Bach Beetle", whose robust bassline and coruscating drums imbue it with an inherent intensity, despite the mid-tempo it grooves at. Highly recommended.