Review: Gamma is the latest in a series of collaborations between Pfirter and Oliver Rosemann, and follows on from their recent joint EP on Stockholm LTD. Fans of pared back, hypnotic techno will find much to love here: "Gamma 01" pits Purposemaker funk against Ben Sims' loopy grooves to create a killer DJ tool, while on "Gamma 02", the pair serve up a more industrial sound, as steely riffs are fused with a driving rhythm. The third instalment sees Pfirter and Rosemann up the pace to drop a frenetic tribal workout, powered by razor shape hats, while "Gamma 04" is a deeper but still impactful slice of loopy techno.
Review: Label boss Pfirter hooks up with Artur Moreira aka N?rbak for this relentless release. "Life Happens Twice" is based on a frazzled, throbbing rhythm, but the pair also make space for ethereal vocals amid the firing percussion. There's a similar approach on "Truth of Existence", with Pfirter and N?rbak putting a focus on rough but direct grooves, and they up the intensity levels for "Questionable Concept of Freedom". While inspired by dub techno sound design, the militaristic, steely rhythm and relentless arranging mean it is especially impactful. Closing out the release is "Conquer Fear", where the MindTrip owner and N?rbak again harness the power of the cavernous aesthetic to drop a turbo-charged, linear banger.
Review: Par Grindvik and Juan Pablo Pfirter have enjoyed a long artistic relationship, with the MindTrip boss first releasing on Grindvik's Stockholm LTD over 12 years ago. Following on from their most recent collaboration, last year's El Fortin, they open their 2021 account with this powerful club EP. "Temon" resounds to surging, powerful chords, and captures the sense of excitement that will be felt when clubs eventually re-open. The title track meanwhile, is more linear and tracky, designed for the peak time thanks to its firing, sheet metal percussion. "Life" is also tailor made for maximum impact, thanks to its dense kicks, throbbing bass and razor-sharp hi hats. "Eye Glare" rounds off this fine collaboration, with thunderous drums providing the backdrop for a snaking, menacing bass.
Review: The twentieth release on Andre Kronert's label sees MindTrip boss Pfirter deliver a high-impact EP. "Through My Window" is a lean roller that resounds to swirling synths, while on "Last Breath", he strips out any semblance of melody to deliver a fuzzy, tribal affair. "Endless" has an accurate title, with churning chords looped to the back drop of a dense, rolling groove, the kind of hypnotic arrangement that sounds like it goes on forever. "Certain" meanwhile, sees Pfirter go deeper with its high-paced, steely rhythm shot through with atmospheric chords, while on "Release" he ups the ante to deliver an insistent, buzzing track.
Review: Kr!z follows his 2019 debut by teaming up with the like-minded Pfirter for this no-nonsense split release. Kr!z drops the pounding "Imperative Needs", where rattling chain mail percussion underpins relentless tonal bleep sequences. Meanwhile on "Malice", the Token boss delivers a galloping groove that acts as the basis for a series of droning electronic riffs - it sounds like an early 90s Plus 8 track on steroids. Pfirter goes harder and heavier with "Tomorrow", where pummelling kick drums underpin a firing steel-plated rhythm, while rounding off this peak-time EP are the dense claps and pulsating, dubbed out chords of "Purification".
Review: This year is going to see MindTrip boss Pfirter focus on collaborations, and Alpha is the first in a series of co-productions. It's a peak time EP and starts with the grainy kicks and noisy percussion of "Alpha 01", which calls to mind Jeff Mills at his most visceral. On "Alpha 02", Pfirter and Rosemann deploy insistent metallic stabs over pounding kick drums, while the third "Alpha" is more high-paced, with the pair spraying steely riffs and rolling snares over a pounding rhythm. Maintaining high intensity levels right till the end, "Alpha 04" is a multi-layered metallic banger that sounds like Joey Beltram on steroids.
When You Let Go (Steve Bicknell remix) - (7:25) 136 BPM
Isolation (Matrixxman remix) - (7:24) 132 BPM
New Physics (Oisel remix) - (4:12) 137 BPM
A Different Reality (Slam remix) - (6:55) 137 BPM
Review: The calibre of the remixers that have remixed tracks from The Empty Space album underlines the esteem with which Pfirter is held in the techno community. First up is Lost Recording's Steve Bicknell, who delivers an ambient sound scape version of "When You Let Go". It's an eerie piece, and is in stark contrast to Matrixxman's version of "Isolation", which revolves around gritty beats and grimy percussive licks. Meanwhile, Oisel's dense, heads-down loop techno version of "New Physics" gallops along close to 140bpm. Soma founders Slam have also been tapped for a remix and turn "A Different Reality" into a storming, percussive banger.
Review: For his debut album, Juan Pablo Pfirter tries something a bit different. The MindTrip founder is known for his bruising, no-nonsense techno, and this style is represented well here with peak-time burners like "New Physics", or "Dominant", a visceral industrial workout that sounds inspired by classic Synewave releases. However, the album format also gives Pfirter the scope and freedom to experiment with different approaches; there's the spaced out ambience of "When You Let Go" and "Truth Matters"; "A Different Reality" sees him drop a filtered grove and the title track resounds to rolling break beats. It's a brave body of work from this talented artist.
Review: Stockholm Ltd was one of the first labels to release the work of Juan Pablo Pfirter - and after a long absence, he returns to Par Grindvik's imprint. As befits an artist whose own platform is called MindTrip, "Defiance" is a psychedelic affair. Based on a stepping rhythm and clattering percussion, it features rainy day filters, growling vocals and a subtle sense of menace throughout. On "Coherence", the Argentinean producer heads down a more linear route; the kicks are straight, steely hi hats maintain the streamlined approach and snares roll beneath the surface, reminding us all of Pfirter's ability to go for the dance floor jugular.
Review: The third volume of Mutable Minds boasts established names lining out alongside emerging producers. One of those newer artists is Astronomical Telegram, whose "Pride" is a multi-layered dub techno affair. Another newcomer, James Bong, opts for a harder route with the acid-led "13", while Craig Mcwhinney aka Vohkinne drops the tough kicks and rave stabs of "Dead Orchard". Not to be outdone, the veterans also impress; both Pfirter's "Falling Bridges" and Patrick Carrera's "Valamar Conflict" are pounding tracks that unravel to the sound of pummelling kicks and grainy industrial riffs, while on "Intruder", Dimi Angelis delivers a blistering analogue techno banger that centres on firing percussion and grainy tones.
Review: The second split Mutable Minds release continues in the same mind-melting vein as the first instalment. Label owner Pfirter sets the tone with the distorted acid, pile-driving percussion and distorted kicks of "Anti Routine". On "Sleepwalker", newcomer Fixeer recalls the most visceral moments of early Planetary Assault Systems, as gained drums and busy layers of metallic percussion come together for an intense arrangement. Kuf & Dold's "Mint" ups the pace with a pounding rhythm track that resounds to doubled up claps, pounding 4/4s and gnarly riffs, while the most reserved contribution comes in the form of Jonas Kopp's dubbed out "Biorritmo".
Review: The latest release on Pfirter's label features the coming together of some like-minded artists as well as the occasional surprise. The MindTrip boss teams up with Par Grindvik for "Leave One", which fuses the South American's love of fluid, enveloping textures with the Scandinavian's knack of crafting precise, functional rhythms. Diego Amura takes the intensity levels up a few notches with the wild bleeps and sirens of "Flow", while Savas Pascalidis makes an unexpected appearance. Best known perhaps for his electronic, disco-infused tracks, "Silhouettes" is a heavier, austere affair. Fanon Flowers completes this steely, moody release with the outer space blips and driving minimalism of "Tejat Posterior".
Review: As "Rise of the White Dwarf", the opening track on Pfirter's latest release shows, the Argentinean artist isn't solely focused on the club environment. It's a neo-classical piece, led by stirring strings. By contrast, "Double Existence" sees Pfirter back on the dance floor, albeit in left of centre mode. The track's stepping rhythm, wooden percussion and understated bleeps makes for an unusual arrangement. In stark contrast, "They Want to Fool Us" is a tough, rolling groove that is led by tribal beats and layered chants. Completing this varied release is Stanislav Tolkachev's high-octane, insistent take on "Fool Us".
Review: Oscar Mulero's Polegroup label closes the year with a mammoth compilation that defines the current state of the techno nation. As Unknown Landscapes shows, it is a diverse place. There's droning ambience from Daphne RXX, while Reeko, Reggy Van Oers and Mike Parker deliver bleep-heavy, hypnotic groove that draw on the influence of F.U.S.E and Sandwell District. Heads-down loopy fare is also catered for - with the spiky percussion and bleak filters of Jonas Koop's "Fu Factor" standing out - and the form also revisits the rough, analogue sound of the 90s thanks to Karl Bult and American scene veteran DJ Hyperactive's contributions.
Stefan Rein - "Amorphous Material" - (6:03) 129 BPM
Review: To date, the Crossing label has been an exclusive platform for Avion, but for this seventh instalment, the mysterious producer gives over the reins and welcomes some like-minds into the fold. Pfirter kick-starts the release with a more laid-back, house sound than usual with "Sut", while Avion's "Thrill" resounds to raw drums and breaks, accompanied by the occasional burst of white noise. The release even strays into experimental mode as Doka messes about with tonal bleeps and abstract rhythmic twists on "Mural". However, the last contribution will leave the listener in no doubt that Crossing is still a techno label, as Stefan Rein drops the firing minimal techno of "Amorphous Material".
Review: Juan Pfirter drops another impressive release on his own MindTrip label. The release is bookended by two pieces of mesmerizing mood music - the gentle ambience of "La Sombra Del Objeto Recae Sobre El Yo" at the start and the frazzled sonics of 'You' at the end . More importantly though it showcases the Argentinean's ability to create peerless dance floor techno. From the tough percussive rhythms of "Octubre" to the tropical warbles and rolling clubby groove of "F Method" into the jacking gritty "Death of Mu" F Method is further proof that Pfirter is one of modern techno's finest talents.
Review: The latest release on Tommy Four Seven's label features tracks from the guests who performed at his night in Arena, Berlin back in February. It's a mixed bag. Amotik's "Sau" is a proper, 90s-influenced peak time affair - redolent of Luke Slater's infamous remix of "Forklift" its shrieking sirens unfolding over relentless kicks. Shlomo's "Golem" also plays out on the dance floor, although its sleek pulses and steely percussion are less intense than Amotik's contribution. The two other tracks, from the label owner and Pfirter, revolve around broken beats. Tommy's "Funf" is a dark, layered workout, while "Homeostasis" is less intense thanks to its subsonic bleeps, but those clanging drums lend it some serious weight.
Review: Oscar Mulero's Pole Group closes out the year with a collection from some of techno's most respected producers. While the overall tone on Unknown Landscapes is dark and at times unsettling, it never strays into the plodding furrowed-brow seriousness that often besets contemporary techno. DVS1's "Strobe" sees the US DJ deliver churning chords over a grinding, metallic rhythm, while Reeko's "Enlightenment Process" shifts from pounding broken beats into a spacey, filtered segue. That's not to suggest that the label or its owner have gone soft either; the squelchy acid and stinging riffs of Jonas Kopp's "M31" is as intense as it gets, but at the same time, contributions from Adam X and Forward Strategy Group tingle and pulse in a dubby, fuzzy afterglow.