Review: The second release on Spandau20 is a family affair. Fadi Mohem, who has previously released on Klockworks, gets down to business with the steely, percussive techno of "Nine". Shifting gears and changing tact, Balas delivers the broken beats, clanging hats and jungliest bass of "Desdemona", while Fjaak return to straighter techno thanks to the big-room chord stabs and pounding kicks of "Transmission", which has echoes of Dave Clarke's Red series. The sound shifts once again for Claus Schoning's "Wizard". In stark contrast to what went before it, it's an abstract, break beat track full of otherworldly squelches and atmospheric textures.
Review: According to their label, Fjaak live and sleep in their studio, but whatever about their methodology, it is clear that they are doing something right. The title track is a monstrous affair, based on a gargantuan stepping rhythm and tough breeze block beats as the trio shoot out Landstrumm-esque grating noise. In stark contrast is "The Wind". Deeper and groovier, it centres on breezy chords but retains dance floor clout thanks to the shards of hissing percussion. "Curious" sees Fjaak back to the same kind of territory as "Attack"; the only difference is that this time, the groove is straighter, but the grainy drums are just as relentlessly unforgiving.
Review: Whilst the most recent Modeselektion compilation saw Berlin pair Modeselektor pick from a largely established (if very varied) pool of artists, the latest release on their 50 Weapons labels shows Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary have not lost any of their canny A&R skills for uncovering new talent. The uniquely named Fjaak are a Berlin trio with "futuristic minds but already nostalgic feelings" and as far as we can tell this two tracker is their debut release. Familiarise yourself with both cuts and you'll understand why Bronsert and Szary scooped Fjaak up, with a their rave ready productions executed on a mixture of hardware and software the sort of club focused music 50 Weapons has made it's name on. As immediate as the title track is, our pick is the tougher techno fix of "Plan A".
Review: Berlin wunderkind power trio Fjaak are back with the fifth installment on their eponymous imprint - strap yourself in for a wild ride on this one!. Features the furious and pummelling warehouse techno assault of "Phonox" reminiscent of '90s legends Devilfish, followed by the soulful hard jack of the 50 Weapons indebted "Midnight Take Out" (they are alumni of the label after all) and the industrial/dub techno experimental piece "They Can't Smell Us" - but unless they are hiding under a bar of soap we certainly can - this one's dirty!
I Could Never Live Without You By My Side - (3:53) 128 BPM
Martin (feat J.Manuel) - (4:42) 134 BPM
Apollo Tag 2 (feat Fadi Mohem & Tobi Neumann) - (4:16) 133 BPM
Arctic Warmth - (1:38) 126 BPM
**Smells Like Security** - (5:03) 129 BPM
Netto (Interlude) - (2:39) 133 BPM
All My Friends Are In The Bathroom (feat Koogan, Fadi Mohem & J.Manuel) - (4:08) 133 BPM
Anio' - (4:22) 125 BPM
Review: Following on from last year's debut album, techno trio Fjaak bounce back with another fine long player. Whether or not Havel is named after the former Czech dissident is unknown, but there is no doubt that it finds them in fine form. "Take Your Life", which features Koogan on paranoid vocals, could be an acid-soaked Prodigy during their heyday, while at the other end of the spectrum, "I Could Never Live Without You By My Side" and "Version 220.127.116.11" are atmospheric break beat pieces. Fjaak are also adept at creating tough techno - just check the banging sound of "Martin" - while they team up with Tobi Neumann for the deeper break beat house of "Apollo Tag 2". On the evidence of Havel, it seems Fjaak can do no wrong.
Review: Modeselektor's label provides a neat soundtrack for two sides of clubbing on its latest release. "Oben" (German for upper floor) is built for the kind of peak-time action its title suggests and sees Fjaak let loose with a slamming, relentless rhythm, heavy drums and a cut-up of the "Amen" break, while a detached vocal witters away in the background. By contrast, "Unten", which is German for 'bottom' - or, in this context, 'the basement' - is more considered. Cavernous, spacious kicks and heavy claps provide the basis for a chord sequence that flits and floats through the arrangement as randomly as conversations at an after party.
Review: Modeselektor's label has provided a platform for Berlin trio Fjaak's tough club techno and they rise again to the occasion on Gewerbe 15. The title track is a thumping, abrasive workout, brash and noisy, but also displaying evidence of some maturity through the use of a churning chord sequence. "Rush" is more nuanced, but could hardly be described as understated either. At its heart is a heavy, stomping kick drum and a distorted rhythm, but the manner in which they weave a vocal snatch over the arrangement is reminiscent of Rene 'Shed' Pawlowitz doing a house project like Wax or EQ'D.
Review: Both 50 Weapons and the Monkeytown massives would not be where they are if it weren't for the dedication and continuously high-calibre music of artists like Fjaak. The Berlin trio are total music junkies, preferring to spend their days with their heads in hardware manuals rather than in clubs or being seen at parties. We love that kind of dedication; it's what the underground community has always been about. Their new album, out on Monkeytown, of course, is self-titled and fully representative of their rugged, amorphous blends of bass and breakbeat science. In fact, there isn't a tune on here that could be categorized under one genre, and even heavy techno tunes like "Wolves" contain something new and curious, whether that be weird and wonderful melodies, or even a little injection of jungle juice. Techno viking Rodhad appears on the dark and mysterious glow of "Offline", but even that tune is drenched in enough experimentalism to render it utterly singular. Check and indulge.
Review: Fjaak are best known for their releases on 50 Weapons, but after Modeselektor shuttered their storied imprint, the Berlin trio went on to set up their own label. The third release on the label is everything that one would expect from them. On "Keep the Funk", a repetitive vocal sample intones the track's title as a pummelling drum track and rasping percussion play away in the background. It's tough, primal and highly effective dance floor techno. "XXL 14" is just as impactful: it also resounds to a pounding kick drum and searing hi hats, but on this occasion, the use of an insistent chord stab sets it and Fjaak 003 apart from all of the other white label techno releases in circulation.
Review: The penultimate 50 Weapons release pays tribute to the music of its home town, Berlin. Oddly enough, it plays host to the first release on the label by Rodhad. The Dystopian boss delivers "Oblivion", a raw and noisy analogue workout that calls to mind the sonic extremities of Landstrumm and Vogel, realised against a stepping rhythm. However, the real highlight comes from Fjaak. This Berlin trio, who received their break thanks to releases on 50 Weapons, drop "Super Smash". The track's wailing, diva vocal, techy chords and flowing groove may not be the most innovative, but it'll go a long way to ensuring that the future of Berlin techno is safe in Fjaak's hands.