Emerging as a golden nugget from the digital era of internet-based techno that took hold in the mid-2000s, Pfirter’s own MindTrip has established itself out of Argentina as a formidable imprint for heavyset techno. Giving rise to Pfirter’s own sound following a hot streak of releases with Stroboscopic Artefacts, Stockholm LTD and CLR at the turn of the last decade, MindTrip has become an equally reputable hub for industrial beats and brooding soundscapes. Helping shape the creative arcs of producers like Shapednoise, Simon Haydo and Jonas Kopp to more recently Norbak, PTTRN and Kr!z, warehouse techno doesn’t get any bigger than this.
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: Pfirter's label welcomes Twr72 for this futuristic EP. The title track revolves around a dense, sinewy bass, delivered at a high octane, while on "Fibre", insistent percussive ticks and chilling string stabs prevail, making Twr72 sound like a modern version of The Memory Foundation. In contrast, "Assemble" is positioned at the more stripped back end of the spectrum, with clanging metallic beats, militaristic hi hats and searing tone signals calling to mind Space DJz at their most abrasive. Changing tact once again, the Dutch producer delivers "Lavish", where static hiss and a looped, dubbed out groove demonstrate that there are many dimensions to Twr72's sound.
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: With releases on Gnosis and CLR to his credit, Operator is fast becoming one of modern techno's most respected names. This release on Pfirter's MindTrip won't harm his reputation. "Sense" is a dense, layered techno stepper, while on "Branching", he drops a sinister, pulsating rhythm track that could double as the soundtrack to a cyber-punk thriller. "Facade Crush" is harder and more industrial, with rough, loose drums and skipping percussion tethered to an insistent, rolling rhythm. "Unknown to All" sees Operator up the tempo for a breakneck workout that replicates the sound of hissing steam pistons, while the release culminates on the buzzing, bass-heavy "Mycelium".
Review: Following on from their contribution to the Mutable Minds IV split release on MindTrip earlier this year, the label has given Translate & Pulso free reign to do a full solo EP. Varying in sound and intensity all of the "Particles" tracks show that the pair are a creative powerhouse. From the warbling, snaking groove of the first track, through the dense, layered "Particle II" and the third "Particle", where the duo venture down a path often explored by Mike Parker's subsonic sounds, it's a mesmerising, contemporary release. But as the grinding minimalism of "Particle IV" and the pounding finale both show, the pair are also well aware of techno's 90s heritage.
Review: Up next on Pfirter's label is Divide, who is part of the Syntaxism act, with an excellent purist techno release. "Atmosfera" starts the release with doubled up beats and acidic belches, while on "Troposfera", Divide raises the tempo and drops a tough, linear rhythm track that has echoes of Mike Parker's tonal intensity. "Esosfera" represents a harder side to the producer's canon, with visceral filters and firing percussion prevailing, while on "Termosfera", the Italian producer drops a drum-heavy track that is bolstered by heavy kicks and powerful bursts of percussion. "Mesosfera" sees Divide take the tempo and intensity down a few notches, with layered textures and bleeps unfolding over a steely rhythm.
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: Norbak aka Artur Moreira has already released on sister label Warm Up, and he makes his debut on MindTrip with a fittingly dark and alluring EP. It opens with the skeletal, stepping "Frente", which is engulfed in eerie textures, before picking up the pace for the snaking, club-friendly groove of "Occino". On "Parasite", he further ups the ante with a tough, driving techno groove that's underpinned by razor-sharp percussion and deliciously hypnotic drones. Rounding off this darkly hypnotic affair is the title track, a peak time banger, with visceral kicks underpinning noisy electronic swirls and bursts of militaristic percussion.
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.
Review: The fourth instalment in MindTrip's Mutable Minds series gets off to a hypnotic start as cold tones unravel over a sleek metallic rhythm on Translate & Pulso's "Moriarty". Kike Pravda's "Heat" is much more visceral, with wave upon wave of noisy electronics paired up with a barrelling, murky groove. Changing tact and shifting tempo again is Norbak's "Avadhuta"; while spacey filters lend the arrangement a cavernous feeling, there is no mistaking the power of its driving, steely drums and percussion. Vohkinne's "Active Radio" is in many ways, the most conventional track, but its rolling, loopy groove benefits from the type of tripped out hypnotic layers that have become MindTrip's stock in trade.
Review: Clearly influenced by late 90s techno, Leipzig based DJ/producer (and one half of the techno duo Dualit) Oliver Rosemann shares his debut four track EP on Argentinian label MindTrip. Intermediate World introduces us to Rosemann's world: the mentalist title track is sure to work for those heads down moments on the dancefloor, referencing both legends Mike Parker and Sterac, this is followed by the hypnotic and cyclical tool "Tengo", the austere and pounding warehouse mayhem of "Sines & Squares" and the early morning tunnel vision of "Kansas City Shuffle" which is pure psychedelia of the most twisted kind. Killer release!
Review: James Bong is the latest artist to feature on MindTrip and based on the quality of Konduktor, he looks set to be a very valuable addition to the roster. "Hose" sees him deliver a stunning slice of bleepy techno, its razor sharp percussive bursts and shifting tones calling to mind Mike Parker or Sleeparchive. "Triple" by contrast is more stripped back, with Bong focusing his efforts on eerie riffs and a hammering, peak time rhythm. The title track is rough and visceral as he drops cavernous kicks and a rough filter, while "Duffer" sees him reach gabba tempos but still infuse the track with an abstract, electronic undercurrent.
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: 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: Dold is the latest artist to appear on Pfirter's label, and judging by the quality of Shutdown, it is certain that this is not the last we have heard from him. Inspired by Jeff Mills, the young Swedish producer lays down a hypnotic, looped metallic techno track on "Pushing", before moving into more bleak and austere territory with dense percussion and nocturnal riffing of "There". The title track is even more intense, its percussion dense and dark, surrounding a repetitive bleep sequence. However, it's not all intense techno, and "Confusion" is a slower, atmospheric track that recalls Mills' Something in the Sky series.
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: 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.