Only a few years ago, Other Heights was drifting silently about dub techno’s sparse and vapoury soundscapes, with Alteria Percepsyne, Herbstlaub and Ohrwert its ethereal beings. But in recent times Other Heights has made out-roads from ambient and echo space dub to a sound catering for the club environment, and their introductory CD pressings now fetch collector’s prices on the internet. The Belgian label’s affection toward the various artist release continues apace on their tenth vinyl offering which is in fact spread across three separate 12″ and features some twelve artists. Label head Jorn Kerschot opted for a simultaneous discharge of all three EPs – deciding against a staggered release schedule or bundle package.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that 2010 has been Jonas Kopp and Stroboscopic Artefacts’ year. In the case of the Argentinean producer, the inclusion of his “Michigan Lake” track on Ben Klock’s mix for Ostgut/Berghain raised his profile internationally, while the Berlin-based label, which was launched just a year ago, has been at the forefront of the compressed dub sound, releasing music by Pfirter, Xhin and label owner Lucy. Certainly, this release will not harm either party’s reputation. Kopp’s “Alkitran” is a peak time techno track, its heavy beats and slamming rhythms inspired by 90s hard techno acts like The Advent. When, at three minutes, Kopp finally lets loose with the cold percussive claps, ‘Alkitran’ moves up a notch in the intensity stakes without losing its sense of groove.
Suckut’s “Vary” on the other hand is typical of the Stroboscopic sound: layered and textured, its filters and heavy snares nonetheless mean that while its arrangement is dense, it is not shy of the dancefloor. Lucy also offers a version of each track. The label owner’s take on “Vary” is much straighter and more stripped back; its use of filtered riffs and dubbed out drums provide a highly effective DJ tool for the first part but after breaking down mid-way through, offers an experimental sound tapestry on the second part. This offbeat approach is also evident throughout Lucy’s take on “Alkitran”, with churning chords underpinned by a clanging, abstract rhythm. It’s exactly this kind of adventurous approach that has made Lucy’s label such an intriguing outlet.
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