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 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.
Review: The four track Menete EP sees shadowy Greek producer Sawf grace the Perc Trax label with his distinctive brand of rigid, broken beat driven, hard-hitting industrial sonics for a seventh time, and represents the third EP of a fruitful 2013 thus far! The title track sees Sawf break away his usual slamming techno un-rhythms, opting for Whitehouse-styled power electronics with flashes of Nitzer Ebb influences, while "Toolio" and "Diin" do see Sawf return to his accustomed sound, it also comes tinged with an early '90s EBM aesthetic. Perc Trax have also employed Japanese production behemoth and Semantica affiliated act Yuji Kondo - also known as Ducerey Ada Nexino and one half of the Steven Porter project - to give Sawf's "Menete" a typically ferocious reconstruction.
Review: The direction that Sawf takes on Skotos may surprise anyone who heard his work for Perc. The title track is positively upbeat as he drops lithe, skipping beats and a purring bass. However, as the track progresses, it becomes more intense, with the bassline getting gloomier and darker, and a dissected vocal, pitched down and indistinct, running through the arrangement. Milton Brdley's version meanwhile pushes the track into a minimal direction - the 90s variant - with yelping industrial riffs flying off the insistent rhythm track. If listeners are looking for something intense, then they should check the Henning Baer version, where distorted drums and a darker take on the vocal, prevail.
Review: It really seems like the Greeks are having their moment in electronic music at the moment. With imprints like PAN and Nous Disques being the more obvious ones leading the charge, Modal Analysis are definitely the crew representing the fiercer and brutalist shades of techno. That being said, the shadowy Sawf has been around quite a while now, releasing industrial edged techno a few years back on Perc Trax, but it's rather fitting that he finds a home on this emerging Athens label. Starting off with the harsh guitar feedback drone of "Sonic 1", he then provides us with the dark and haunting soundscape of "Sonic 2" that you could imagine playing on the revised soundtrack of Hellraiser; it's terrifying! "Sonic 3" finally gets things into full swing on this driving techno tool with an entrancing arpeggiated melody and a fuzzy and dangerous refrain from a megaphone, repeated intermittently. Finally "Sonic 4" pummels us once more with an industrial noise workout that sounds like it is emerging from the depths of hell itself. One for the real freaks!
Review: Between Perc Trax, M_Rec, Modal Analysis, and Code Is Law, among other labels, Greece's Saawf is riding the crest of an intense techno wave that is keeping him at the summit of the scene. His latest EP launches the new KAFTA imprint, with the raw, distorted bass tones of "Rolla" powering it though a plateau of harsh, minimal bangs, followed by the puristic techno bangs of the supremely stripped-back "High Zone". "Pleasure" is an all-out ride through hell and back, manifested by a simple yet electrifying bassline that cuts right through the core of the groove, leaving "Crikey" to deliver a nasty swarm of UK-reminiscent techno that's make the likes of Surgeon and Regis real proud...
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.