Review: As far as contemporary techno is concerned, it doesn't get much harder and heavier than UK outfit AnD. "Fierce", which kick-starts this release on Perc Trax, demonstrates that they have taken inspiration from 90s minimalists like Space DJz and Bandulu, with screeching riffs unfolding over a 140 bpm track. That said, it runs the risk of sounding mellow when compared to "Detonate", which climbs to gabba peaks to rain down acid hellfire on the unsuspecting listener. "Illusions" is back at a less frenetic pace, but despite this, its distorted drums lend it just as much intensity. Closing the release is "Where Are You Going To Take Me"; clearly the answer is that AnD intends to bring the listener to a place where broken industrial beats underpin bursts of electronic noise.
Review: Following on from 2018's first Forever split release, Perc Trax delivers a blinding second instalment. The chilling strings and pounding kicks of "Morning Sesh" by AnD set a frenetic pace for the release, but it can't compare to the intensity levels on Tymon's "Woodman". While it is considerably slower, the rough drums, skewed percussion and driving rhythm all come together to make for an exhilarating piece. D.A.V.E. The Drummer from the veteran Stay Up Forever collective drops a similarly inclined banger in the shape of "133.33000000000001", while Mickey Nox's "Filtered Metal" is all about the pounding kicks and bursts of white noise. Maintaining the peak-time sound, Keepsakes' "I Breathe Slow & Watch With Gusto" weaves chopped up vocals into its ghetto techno backing.
Review: Perc Trax has commissioned some of techno's most respected artists to rework tracks from Ansome's debut album. First up is the titan tag team that is O/V/R. In James Ruskin and Regis' hands, "Snake Eyes" turns into a cavernous broken beat track laden down with haunted vocals. For his part, Perc keeps a straight focus for the heads-down techno version of "Bad Blood", while Randomer turns "Back Alley Sally" into a labyrinth of doubled up drums and shuffling rhythms. The last remix is left to the newest artist but Ossian doesn't disappoint and his take on "Blackwater" is a wild, analogue acid workout that recalls the wild sonic excesses of Woody McBride.
Review: For those who like their techno banging but springy, 2014 was the year of Ansome. The South London producer - real name Keiran Whitefield - followed up a decent debut on Mord with five more EPs during the year. While he's been a little less active in 2015, Whitefield has still found time to deliver material on Mindcut and PLS.UK. Here he makes his Perc Trax debut with a quartet of no-holds-barred techno smashers. For the most part, his sound is distorted and industrial-influenced, but with enough funk and spacey electronics to please those who prefer a more Motor City influenced sound. Of the four tracks on offer, it's the buzzing title track, intense "Dave The Rave", and slightly more cosmic "Hang Dawg" that impress most.
Review: Ansome is the enfant terrible of the UK techno scene. Real name Kieran Whitefield, his hardware-driven tracks are always noisy, energetic and irreverent. On British Steel, his latest venture for Ali Wells' label, all these characteristics are abundant. The title track is a pummelling, broken beat affair, while "Marching Powder" sees him opt for a straighter groove, as concrete kicks support droning, visceral textures. "Poison Your Body" is techno in sound but punk in nature as a vocal screeches and shrieks over a pounding industrial rhythm that replicates the sound of someone scraping their finger nails down a black board. Closing track "Granite & Mortar" is just as twisted, with Ansome returning to broken beats and spewing out electronic feedback and guttural rage.
Review: As one of industrial techno best ironisists, Ansome's Hounds Of Harbour album goes some way to express this. Say, " Heaviest Fucking Acid Trip In The Universe," a intro that sets up a sincere phone call from a possible techno devotee that goes on to explain the obvious...If this suggests that Ansome's music played a role into one's self realisation then that's the making for a hell of a soundtrack. For the industrial techno writer, Ansome's second LP for Perc Trax is relentless: unrelenting industrial techno! Everything is crunched, obliterated and destroyed, compressed, detuned and pumped up again into something crushing and new. Full of punk and distortion all the more, the album tails into deeper gothic realms with tracks like "Last Bottle", but for the good old fashioned stuff, choose your weapon: "Hunger".
Review: It seems as though Dutch producer Bas Mooy is attracting a lot of attention from the UK of late, which may be due to a strand of British industrialism and EBM rearing it's head in a recent and brutal resurgence. This time Bas Mooy releases his The Room At The End ep for industrialist flag bearers Perc Trax. "Fasad" dispenses with broken beats, hollow synths and broken radio transmission vocals, while "Loaded" initially takes a similar shape to the sparked delays of Roman Lindau's "Borne", only to morph into a brooding dynamism similar in sound to early Stroboscopic Artefacts releases. "Pose" is a slab of functional club techno, teetering on the edge of dub techno with it's filtered saw wave gestures. The sinister alien synth line of "Kneel" is the perfect cue for a nightclub to dim it's lights to a dark shade of crimson - ideal Berghain fodder.
Review: Perc Trax continues with their busy release schedule pushing up and coming Scottish producers BCR Boys into the frontline. Having already graced labels such as Synewave and Steve Stoll's now legendary Proper NYC, the boys get the chance to hit hard on one of the UK's finest. "The Myth" opens the release utilising the bare essentials of techno, pulsating and grinding as it goes. It's not so memorable but definitely a strong tool to hold up the floor. "Hybrid" is slightly sharper in production with a peak time edge, whilst "Flammable" jacks things up yet another level replacing the straight techno patterns with a shuffling percussion swing. Finally "Dalek" blasts the EP into orbit. As you'd expect from Perc, this is the epitome of solid techno.
Review: The Perc Trax Ltd label comes up trumps again as one of Perc's secret DJ weapons is opened up to a new generation of techno selectors via some stellar remixes. As Drax, Thomas Heckmann first issued "Phosphene" via his own Trope Recordings label back in 1993, with the pummelling acid number later used by Carl Cox on his classic 1995 mix CD F.A.C.T. Like the Matt Whitehead release that kicked off Perc Trax Ltd, the original is not present though it's spirit very much lives on the remixes here from Perc & Truss, AnD and The Exaltics. All three are naturally pretty bracing affairs, though it's nice to see Mancunian duo AnD add a dash of punk funk swagger into the mix.
Review: Ali Wells has a knack of cultivating new talent and this release from US producer Mick Finesse showcases the Perc Trax owner's A&R skills. "Meltdown" kick-starts the release with a morunful death march that seeps into "Evacuation Route". Midway through this second track however, Finesse brings the arrangement up several notches, veering onto the dance floor with heavy claps, slamming kick drums and whiplash percussion. When the pummelling broken beats drop, the mayhem only becomes more intense. "Hatch 2A9"sees Finesse follow a more understated approach, with a mysterious, minimal rhythm prevailing, but soon enough, he's back in his comfort zone, with the juggernaut groove and shredded percussion of "Jettison". Pinion's version of "Movement", replete with screeching vocals and broken beats, completes this exemplary release.
Review: Patrick Walker and Al Mathews may have made their name as FSG with the intense drum loops of Applied Generics, but they're clearly keen to expand their range. The title track is built on metal drums that drop like lead weights on the arrangement and are supported by enormous claps. The pace is slower but the intensity is not lost, and the same can be said about "Mandate". There, grungy industrial riffs slither in and out of dead paced broken beats before FSG welcome spooky ambient textures on "A Greyed Out Life". Perc Trax have managed to attract Factory Floor as remixers and their take on "Nihil Novi" fuses mellow synth lines with rigid beats and drums while Nik Void's solo take is all dark pulsing low ends and hissing hats.
Review: Labour Division takes inspiration from industrial culture is evident in both its title - surely a contender for a great, missing Swans LP - and on detached, fuzzy synth tracks like "Ident" and the menacing tones of "TTH", or the eerie textures and understated percussive hiss of the Regis-in-experimental-mode that is "Metal Image". But what is more interesting about this album is not its re-activation and presentation of existing narratives as they were, but its wholesale attempt to redefine their own vision for techno. It's a mightily ambitious objective and whether intentional or not, Walker and Matthews achieve this in places. "Mandate" is a relatively standard broken beat track, but is delivered with a rubbery bass and layers of grungy upbuilds, the sonic equivalent of a sack of soot and grime emptied over a glass table. Of more importance however is the fact that Labour Division proves that Forward Strategy Group don't preach sonic austerity because they have nothing else to say. "Nihil Novi" is a stripped back, crackling metallic groove combining the accessibility of Factory Floor with Ben Klock's rhythmic dexterity, "TTH" fuses the atmospheric textures that were audible on "Metal Image" with lithe back beats and "Cultivar", though set against a darker sonic backdrop, relies on similarly agile rhythms. At a time when all around them are marching to the death paced drums of Gothno, Labour Division sees FSG tease new ghosts and fresh horrors from their machines - as the eerie soundscapes and clinking chains on the supernatural "Fading Centres" so ably demonstrates.
Review: Formed in 2008, Al Matthews and Patrick Walker's Forward Strategy Group project have become a central element of Ali Wells' Perc Trax label. Following their Labour Division LP, The New Formal EP represents the pair's first material since that album, and builds on their Perc Trax output by combining the emotive content of album with the harder hitting industrial sounds of their previous EPs. The title track sees Forward Strategy Group apply processional organ sounds and tremolo-effected keys on top of compounded beats, while the swung and broken-beat rhythms of "Clean Neckline" strike with bullish force amidst a seething flurry of distortion and overdrive. The New Formal also retains lineage with the pair's Perc Trax debut, with "Code#3" a continuation of the sounds of "Code#1" and "Code#2", a track vividly described as brandishing "a snare that could floor a toddler from 50 paces".
Nihil Novi (Michael Cliffe House remix by Dom Factory Floor) - (9:53) 123 BPM
Elegant Mistakes - (6:47) 164 BPM
Ident - (4:11) 123 BPM
Nihil Novi - (6:52) 123 BPM
Metal Image - (8:04) 119 BPM
Review: This EP of tracks taken from the recent full length "Labour Division" sums up the various stylistic approaches FSG take to the industrial sound on the album perfectly, with "Elegant Mistakes" a flailing, fractured rhythm shot through with the solder iron percussive stomp of Perc or Surgeon. Throughout there's a barely controlled sense of edginess that threatens to take control and unleash chaos without ever getting to that point. "Ident" meanwhile is a hazy melange of fuzzed out synths that provides some calm before the Factory Floor meets Ben Klock stripped back metallics of "Nihil Novi" appears. A radio mix of "Metal Image" completes the originals and doesn't remove one iota of the original's eerie textures and understated percussive hiss of Regis-in-experimental-mode. Exclusive to this digital release are remixes from Factory Floor's Dom, who turns in a mix of "Nihil Novi" packed with flailing 808 cowbells and industrial textures, and Sawf, who provides a dusty, lo-fi, dread-filled revision of "Mandate".
Review: Perc has clearly found a soulmate in Oscar Mulero, and here the duo present another collaboration between their two tough, heads-down techno imprints. Mulero's gnarled-but-futuristic "Blackstar" is arguably the best thing here. It's as hypnotic as you'd expect, but there's a whisper of melody and soul amongst the intensity. The same can be said about Manni Dee's "Serenity", which breaks up the beats a little to add a little more fluidity to an otherwise pulsating, metronomic techno groove. Those looking for more straightforward, no-holds bared after-hours techno should check Formula Strategy Group's "Rundoled", and the ricocheting atmospherics of Exium's "Raw Visions".
Review: It's true that techno music is distinctly lacking as far as political satire is concerned, but it looks like Furfriend are about to change that. "September" is a stomping slice of industrial techno, led by distorted kicks and nasty electronic riffs, but easily the best thing about are the vocals, which document a homosexual encounter between the narrator and Russian president Vladimir Putin. The danger with such satire is that the music assumes secondary importance, but this is not the case here; label owner Perc delivers two hard-edged versions, while Vapauteen drops two remixes full of broken beat and the kind of tortured screams that provide some markedly darker music than his music for L.I.E.S. and Avian.
Review: The Hague based duo Frank Nitzinsky & Nils van Lingen aka Ghost In The Machine appear next for Perc's outlet for no-holds-barred industrial music. They follow up their break out One Louder EP that came out on the label last summer, plus remixing Perc & Truss' "Leather & Lace". They turned the track 'into a peak-time festival wrecking face-melter.' according to Perc - what a compliment! From the blistering and textural abrasions of "King Dead", functional warehouse techno as heard on "Pile Driver" or the brutalist factory floor stomp of "The Powder Of Love" - this one certainly is not for the faint of heart. The duo continue to head up the Genosha Basic label and touring to great acclaim around Europe.