Review: Perc's Tracks Of... has become the unofficial annual state of the hard techno nation synopsis, and 2020 is no different. It features label favourites such as AnD, Manni Dee and Scalameriya, who contribute linear, driving tracks (Dee's "The Wolves" and "Exploit Me, I'm Yours"), crunchy industrial bangers ( Scalameriya's intense "Plothole") and searing acid workouts (AnD's "Morning Sesh").
But this year's edition also welcomes newer names to the stable such as Ghost in the Machine and Tymon, who impress with the visceral "Breaking the Seal" and the broken beat "Woodman" respectively. The compilation also collects tracks that veteran producer The Advent's released this year on the label, with the lean rhythm of "Scorched" and the jacking "Planting Seeds" - a follow-up to the 1997 track "House Seed" - really standing out.
Perc - "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me" (I Hate Models Primitive remix) - (8:28) 142 BPM
Review: The eighth series in Perc Trax's remix series sees some of techno's biggest names rework the label's back catalogue. It opens with Amelie Lens delivering a thumping, big-room take on Perc's own "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me". DJ Boss goes down a linear but visceral route for his Schranz take on RVDE's "90s Hammer", while Ghost In The Machine turns Perc & Truss' "Leather & Lace" into a juggernaut banger, led by screeching riffs, looped vocal samples and a pounding kick. For a more streamlined take on peak-time techno, take a listen to Perc's own VIP take on "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me" ,while for those lovers of layered, noisy bangers, look no further than Ansome's remix of Manni Dee's "London Isn't England".
Review: With industrial techno brandishing its other cheek these days with a burgeoning cast of new producers on the scene, it's the likes of Ansome and I Hate Models that this sound is looking to. Add some heavier Italian wares and harder Australian stuff from Rvde and Tymon, and you have the summation of Perc Trax in 2019. With Ali Wells' dropping in himself with the tongue in cheek Three Tracks To Send To Your Ghost Producer EP, this compilation lifts a visceral selection of music to feature across the label this year. All menacing and with a story to tell, Perc Trax in 2019 presented a fresh and hazardous form of ballistic techno in its approach to crunching drums and new school industrial aggression. Check it here.
Review: Featuring vocals from UK electronic artist Gazelle Twin, Perc's ''Look What Your Love Has Done To Me" has gone from a vocal experiment to a certified classic and the biggest selling track in the history of his label. Originally released as part of the Bitish artist's 'Bitter Music' LP in 2017, the track has grown in support organically, allowing it time to take on a life of its own. Now in 2019 the track lives on with these killer reworks by some of the scene's biggest names. Ascendant Belgian Amelie Lens delivers a barrelling peak time perspective that lunges straight for the jugular, label regular I Hate Models delivers a typically frantic and hyperware rework sure to throw you against the wall and the man himself Perc reloads the track directly off the factory floor in pitch black and austere fashion.
Review: Ali Wells aka Perc delivers a defiant come back release that is designed to call out those famous names who have made career as recording artists despite never venturing into the studio. "Toxic NRG" is 100% Perc, with a central riff that spits out acid fury over murderous kicks and an industrial rhythm. "Driller" is even more intense, with Wells fusing gabba drums with volleys of coruscating percussion to achieve a track that's the sonic equivalent of being hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Rounding off the release is the loopy builds and drops of "Pivot", another visceral, peak-time roller that will also expose the frauds and chancers.
Review: This second set of remixes from Perc's recent album begins in stark contrast to the first series. EP02 gets under way with the frenetic, tribal groove and trance stabs of Dax J's take on "Unelected". The tempo drops again for Lucy's take on "Wax Apple". In the Italian producer's hands, it turns into a stepping rhythm shot through with mysterious textures and drones. Changing course once again is Matrixxman with his interpretation of "Rat Run". While the US producer doesn't take away any of Perc's grit and grime, he does use a nickel-plated, percussive backing track to make his remix sound like it was recorded in a Chicago warehouse.
The Thought That Counts (Head Front Panel remix) - (7:26) 133 BPM
Chatter (Hodge remix) - (5:56) 129 BPM
Exit (Pessimist remix) - (7:30) 86 BPM
I Just Can't Win (Dale Cornish remix) - (6:17) 120 BPM
Review: In this first volume of remixes, Ali Wells gathers an impressive cast to rework tracks from his Bitter Music album. First up is John Heckle's Head Front Panel project, which turns Perc's "The Thought That Counts" into an intense, dense techno groover, led by intricate riffs and tones. By contrast, Hodge's take on "Chatter" is loose and free-flowing, underpinned by massive, dubbed out drums and a rhythm that sways and swerves in all the right places. Pessimist's take on "Exit" pushes the release back towards the opaque and, in this instance, mysterious, thanks to its shadowy drones. Last but certainly not least is Dale Cornish with a superb, stuttering minimal house take on "I Just Can't Win".
Review: Bitter Music is Ali Wells's third studio album and manages the rare feat of combining experimentation with a focus on the dance floor. It means that the husky, breathy vocals and found sound ambience of "Exit" and the spooky tones of "Wax Apple" both sit next to the panel-beating techno of "Unelected" - possibly another one of Wells' political references - the eerie, rumbling drums of "Chatter" and the low slung menace of "I Just Can't Win". On other occasions, Wells articulates his ability to straddle both worlds in one arrangement, audible on the deeply disturbing shrieks of Aja Ireland over the gnarly rhythm of "Spit" or the tape dub cut up groove of "Rat Run". Ali Wells has matured as an artist but as Bitter Music shows, in the process he has lost none of his bile-laced anger.
Review: This is Perc and Truss' first collaborative release in two years, but it does not feel like they have been absent at all. "Subox" hits the listener straight between the eyes with its pounding industrial beats, shrill tones and acrid acid lines. "Badman" is less direct and shows that the pair are not afraid to experiment as a menacing bass underscores deranged tones and mysterious, dissected vocals. However, probably the biggest surprise is the title track. Couched in a standard Perc/Truss backing track is a pumping, throbbing bass that sounds like E-Dancer transposed to a European techno setting. The last time this was attempted with such a degree of success was Laurent Garnie's Sound of the Big Babou, but Perc and Truss have gone even further because listen carefully and it sounds like they have sampled the vocal from Saunderson's remake of Esser's "Forces".
Review: Oscar Mulero's other label celebrates its fifth anniversary with this mammoth compendium. For fans of the Spanish imprint's club techno there is no shortage of material to get excited about; the Lewis Fautzi remix of Exium's "Nucleoid" is a hypnotic groove par excellence, its confluence of acid and droning pulses arcing to a tantalising climax, while Christian Wunsch and Exium once again represent the tough industrial and dub-meets-noise sound of the label on "Emission Lines" and "Biolag" respectively. However, there is also a more musical, reflective side to Poelgroup's sound. In this regard, 5 Years delivers most impressively with the chilling strings of the Architectural project from Reeko as well as the Spanish producer's cinematic, break beat-led reshape of Jonas Kopp's "M31".
Review: Native New Yorker Adam "X" Mitchell has long been a fan of collaboration, with a long list previous sparring partners including Ancient Methods, Navario Suaro and, of course, his brother Frankie Bones. For Mutiny & Disorder, he's joined forces again with fellow techno veteran Alistair "Perc" Wells. The duo begin in typically retro-futurist fashion on "Mutiny", whose rising and falling synth lines, dense beats and clanking hits recall the early days of Roman techno. The "back-to-the-future" feel continues with the warped riffs, spacey electronics, apocalyptic textures, surging sub-bass and thunderous rhythms of flipside workout "Disorder".
Review: There's something more than a little unsettling about the cover image for Perc's latest release which finds the producer's face covered in what looks like porridge. In some ways, it's rather fitting, because the EP itself - like much of Alistair Wells' output - is similarly hard to handle. The single's final track, "Change To" - a cacophonous fusion of distortion, scattergun hits and garbled voices - sounds like his vision of the end of days. Of course, few are quite as accomplished when it comes to creating raw, bleak, intense techno, and its' these moments - particularly the industrial motifs, aggressive electronics and thumping beats of "Gruel" - that make Gob a must-have.
Yuji Kondo - "Radiate The Ocean From My Back" - (6:23) 128 BPM
Review: It may not be the most fashionable label, but there's no doubt that Perc Trax has been instrumental in championing some truly uncompromising music over the past decade. Here, owner Ali Wells continues on his mission to ignore trends with a typically abrasive selection. Truss' "Brockweir" is a hard and heavy techno banger with a grungy bass and jagged, screeching riffs blaring in constantly while Sawf's "Goves" sounds like a broken beat variant on this approach. Perc's own "Forever Your Girl" and "Dumpster" see him mine the 90s to deliver rave-sampling, stab-heavy tools - in particular, "Forever Your Girl" sounds like it sampled T99's "Anasthasia" - while Spanish imports Oscar Mulero and Exium provide the compilation with some fractured rhythmic finesse.
Review: The tenth anniversary of Perc Trax has provided its owner Ali 'Perc' Wells with the opportunity to release his first ever commercial mix. Using a lot of his own material as well as some smart selections from the label, including Factory Floor's remix of Forward Strategy Group, Wells acquits himself skillfully. However, it's this collection of unreleased material that really stands out. Veering from Happa and Truss' stomping, distorted techno and the Magnetic North-style kicks of Perc's "Hyperlink" to the frazzled broken beats of Forward Strategy Group and Mick Finesse & Pinion's tracks, it also features the cavernous acid of Drvg Cvltvre's "(I Don't Want To Die In) James Franco's House" and the shock-horror rave stabs of Sawf's "Goves". There's no doubt about it - Perc Trax is celebrating its first decade in typically raucous style.
Review: The latest release from the excellent Public Information sees them return to the works of early electronic pioneer F.C. Judd with a selection of remixes from some well chosen contemporary artists. Originally the subject of a retrospective release from Public Information early in 2012 entitled Electronics Without Tears, F.C. Judd was an under-appreciated figure of early electronic music who experimented with oscillators, filters and amplifiers, alongside his own self-built electro-mechanical drum machine and experimental synthesiser, primarily during the 1950s and 60s. Interpretations On F.C. Judd is the result of the label haven given all artists involved access to Judd's entire archive of sounds, tone experiments, field recordings and lectures, and left them to "produce an audio artefact befitting of Judd himself". RVNG artist Holly Herndon, techno veteran Perc, Bandshell, Karen Gwyer, Ekoplekz and Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter all contribute to an engaging collection of works.
Review: These remixes of tracks from Ali Wells' second album are fittingly intense. Tessela's take on "Take Your Body Off" sounds like it is crashing through the speakers. Coruscating riffs screech and howl over broken beats and death rattle drums are intertwined with unidentifiable squals and shrieks. Untold's take on "Bleeding Colours" is meaner and faster. At its centre is a buzzing bass, one that infiltrates and gradually takes over the slamming, high-paced techno rhythm. It feels like being strapped to the bonnet of a Formula One car as it whizzes through lap upon lap. Finally, there's Clouds' take on "Dumpster". Slower and more teased out than the other remixes, its murky bass and panel beating dums are nonetheless laden with a sense of dread that Perc's own work also contains.
Review: As the man behind the long-running Perc Trax label, Ali Wells has had a considerable part to play in shaping the landscape of UK techno. His debut album Wicker & Steel, released in 2011, was only his first full-length in a decade of producing, but the influence both it and the curation of his label had was wide ranging, prefiguring the revival for a harder, more industrial aesthetic in techno which emerged in the following years. The Power & The Glory is Wells' second album, and is a significantly more ambitious statement than its predecessor, combining his obvious appreciation of the experimental noise sound coming from the US underground with the pounding floor-focused rave bangers he's well known for. Quite simply, Wells has raised the techno bar once again.
Review: The only question that arises from this collaborative release is: why did it take so long? As this split release shows, Perc's label and Oscar Mulero's Pole Group share a lot of common ground, but the key difference is that the UK operation has an underlying grittiness. This is evident on the sweeping chords and grinding rhythms of Sawf's "Trivoli" and Perc's "405", the latter a stomping, slamming affair led by distorted kicks and a ferocious, militaristic rhythm. By contrast, the Pole Group material is more considered. Reeko's "Recharger" is a drummy affair led by a tapestry of hissing percussion, while Christian Wunsch's "Alpha Particle" is a deep space serving of alien, acid-led techno.