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.
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 provided the platform for one of Manni Dee's biggest breakthrough tracks, "London Isn't England", and he returns to the label to deliver another peak-time EP. "The Wolves" revolves around a bruising industrial rhythm that underpins aggro vocals and hardcore hoover riffs. On "Do As They Don't", Dee ups the pace and the pitch of his vocal samples, with a Pinky'n'Perky-style vocal loop set to pummelling, steely kicks. Maintaining this approach on "Exploit Me, I'm Yours", Dee keeps the intensity up by delivering a pulverising drum track that sees the levels pushed firmly into the red.
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: Breaking The Seal follows on from Ghost In The Machine's 2018 King Dead release for Perc Trax and consolidates Frank Nitzinsky and Nils van Lingen's reputation as purveyors of heavy-duty techno. The title track and "Cold Rush" are breakneck-speed industrial bangers, underpinned by concrete kicks and jackhammer percussion while featuring wild siren riffs. "Napalm Breath" sees the pair maintain the same intensity levels by deploying broken beats, but it's only a temporary reprieve and on "Combo Breaker" they impress with a wild combination of gabba kicks, splurging acid and noisy electronic riffs. It's a wild, roller-coaster ride through techno's harder spectrum.
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: 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: 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: Guillaume Labadie aka I Hate Models opens up his long award debut album with "The Beginnning of the End", a typically dramatic affair. Crashing break beats and soaring strings provide a backdrop for an ice queen vocal that soars and drops unexpectedly. What is not unexpected is Labadie's penchant for industrial bangers, which he delivers in style here in the form of "Impossible Love" and "You Are Not Alone". However, Labadie's take on slamming techno is still nuanced: "The Night Is Our Kingdom" deploys steely break beats effectively and on "Romantic Psycho", he uses a
dubbed out, cavernous groove that underpins noisy electronic squiggles.
Review: Tymon Balakirev is best known for his work on Lenny Dee's Industrial Strength imprint, and brings his experience to bear on this release for Perc Trax. The title track is a pounding workout that features spoken-word samples and an eerie sound scape throughout the arrangement, which is redolent of The Mover's early 90s work on Frankfurt Trax. "Rioted" is just as dark, with rough kicks combined with electronic feedback and a howling central riff. Tymon maintains the visceral pressure on closing track "Haunted Shipyard", where screeching analogue riffs and bursts of white noise unfold over a rough rhythm track.
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: What a year it's been for Perc Trax. The label's long-term championing of harder-edged techno has paid off, with the roster starting to get wider recognition. Manni Dee's contribution to this year in review compilation is the pounding techno of "Gulabi Gang", which comes close to 140bpm and features wild screeches and howls. Scalameriya, another artist championed by the label, drops three tracks that characterise this tough techno sound; "Crucible" is a straight up sheet metal banger, while on "Slobodna" he opts for a noisy industrial approach and "Hellzone Megapunk" is an ear bleed-inducing pounder. I Hate Models is the artist most likely to make the big break though, as the pile-driving acid of "Spreading Plague" and the break beat-led "Martial Order" demonstrate.
Review: Since his debut back in 2016, there has been a lot of hype surrounding I Hate Models
aka Guillaume Labadie. However, this is one of the rare occasions where it is deserved. Plotting a path that includes trance, industrial and even a touch of gabba, this French producer makes techno like no one else. This is audible on "Spreading Plague", where he fuses tortured vocals with frenetic drums and spiralling acid lines that recall that other great French maverick, Emmanuel Top. "Martial Order" is just as idiosyncratic, with splintered percussion supporting distorted techno drums. Tasked with a remix, Perc turns "Plague" into a heads down, banging affair, but even his frenetic claps and juggernaut rhythm will find it hard to match ILM's wild original.
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.
Review: Perc Trax launches a new split release series with a difference. All of the tracks on Forever 1 have been tested in clubs by label owner Ali 'Perc' Wells', and it shows. Manni Dee's "Gulabi Gang" is a ferocious stomper, led by concrete weight kicks and wild metallic riffs, while on Rebekah's "Diamond in the Rough", visceral drums, noisy percussion and white noise riffs prevail. The label has also tapped Scalameriya for a track and "Slobodna" resounds to broken percussion, noisy betas and a searing central riff that fades in and out, causing a sense of disorientation. Last but not least is John Heckle's Head Front Panel project with the aptly named "Furious", a malevolent slice of early Mills-influenced, dense techno.
Review: Originally issued in 2016, "Leather & Lace" now gets the remix treatment from two acts with quite different roots. Ghost In The Machine aka Frank Nitzinsky and Nils van Lingen were originally a DJ duo and made their debut on Perc Trax last year. The pair's stomping techno reshape sees them draw on a searing hardcore bass and hammering kicks, with vocals buried deep inside this full-on arrangement. Although best known for releases on Tectonic, Mumdance & Logos' version of "Leather.." appears to channel classic Frankfurt trance for its melodies, squat party Liberators material for its acid line and DJ Rush-style schranz for its distorted kicks - making for an unusual but inspired reshape.
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: 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: Rarely appearing away from their own Genosha Basic imprint, The Netherlands' Ghost In The Machine are next up on Perc Trax and carry on with the label's MO for abrasive/no holds barred techno. This EP hits as hard as anything on the label in recent years. Industrial strength grinder "The Holy Grill" leads the charge with its darkly austere elements and one of the meanest Reese basslines you've ever heard. Gnarly body basher "Hold My Drink" pushes the threshold once more, with its overdriven bass drums like a kick to the head, while its metallic textures slice away at you with pure wrath. Ending the sonic torment is "PSKDT" (What Does It Mean?), a cyclical warehouse techno stomper that's perfect for the peak time slot.
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.
London Isn't England (feat Ewa Justka) - (6:57) 145 BPM
Mephi - (5:01) 142 BPM
Adorable Disorder - (4:55) 148 BPM
Review: There have been some attempts to re-imagine the foot-stomping anger of gabba in recent years, but few have come close to emulating the raw form energy that Manni Dee's productions spew forth. Not that Dee is a fan of Dutch skinhead music. If anything, his work takes its cues from techno and its attendant free party circuit as well as a sense of disillusionment with ordered society. In Perc, he has found an ally, and this release is timely. As the UK stands on the brink of breaking away from Europe, the pounding, juggernaut rhythms of "Mephi" and the brilliant "London Isn't England" (featuring Ewa Justika) sound all the more prescient. Completing this excellent, socially aware release is the gloomy, beatless throb of "Adorable Disorder".
Review: Serbian industrial noise terror Nikola Grebovic aka Scalameriya returns on the home of modern body bashing abrasion Perc Trax, taking a break from recording with usual partner in crime VSK with the Kepslok EP. The title track's pounding rapid fire snare attacks attack you head on, while its tough kicks hit you mercilessly in the head and those screeching analog synth wails show no mercy whatsoever! It's then the rise of the machines in post-apocalyptic fashion on the furious junkyard beats of "Annex No 3" followed by the thrashing warehouse techno jack of "Geargrind". Handle with care, this stuff certainly isn't for the faint of heart!
Review: The lines dividing industrial techno and bass become ever more blurred on this collaboration between Perc and Randomer. The former, whose label Igneous appears on, brings his insanely heavy, sledgehammer drums to the title track, which serve to support Randomer's swung rhythm. On "Breezeblock", the sound is just as intense and even more complex; the drums swing in with the precision of production line robots; the bass is gnarled and twisted and is encased in fizzling, hissing percussive bursts. On "Flooring", it seems like Perc's approach prevails, with the stepping element gone and a focus on distorted kicks and wailing sirens that skate up and down the frequency spectrum like a deranged banshee
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: Passarella Death Squad is best well-known as a clothes designer. The crew also numbers a former member of The Micronauts among its line-up. So how do they fare when they pair up with UK techno producer Perc? Pretty well it seems. Fusing the post-punk vocals and rhythmic strut of PDS with Perc's nickel-plated techno rhythms, the title track resonates to a pulsing disco groove, supported by gut-busting bass and ice maiden chants. "Temperate Dub" is more dance floor-focused and linear, but it's still far removed from the world that Perc usually inhabits. Hopefully there will be more of these genre-hopping releases.
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: 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: Following on from their joint release on Power Vacuum, VSK from Italy and Scalameriya from Serbia join forces again for this release on Perc's label. The title track is an intense affair; based on a groove that rolls relentlessly, it features screeching riffs that are so powerful they could strip paint at 20 metres. Perc has drafted the fast-rising Bas Mooy in to remix "Haka" and he doesn't disappoint; centred on a straighter arrangement, the Dutch producer rains down bone-crushing kicks and a relentless industrial rhythm. There is no letup in the intensity levels and the closing track, "Cydonia", is a pulsing, cyber-punk style workout, supported by panel-beating drums.
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: 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.
Review: UK techno kingpin Truss returns to Perc Trax - a natural home to his relentless mass of beats and squelches - with "Kymin Lea", a sort of AFXian chunk of brain dynamite, an irregular mass of distorted bass, furious steely drums and dreamy background melodies. On the flip, "Clawdd Du" drones and laments its way across a steady four-to-the-floor kicks and hissing percussion shots, while "Wyefield" gargles in a familiar 303 twist, its beat structure being swallowed whole by the cavernous layer of hardware processing circling around it.
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 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: Kondo is the latest signing to Ali Wells' label and as Radiate shows, his sound is every bit as idiosyncratic as the label's other signings. Throughout the release, there is a noisy, distorted sound, mixed with muffled vocals and found sounds. "Lose The Ability To Understand Existence" revolves around a limber, stepping rhythm and a repetitive vocal sample as creaky noises grind away in the background. The title track is more direct, with distorted, slamming beats underpinning pitch-bent vocals, while "Unvanquishable Number" is a more reduced, stepping workout, albeit one full of half-heard vocal samples. However, Kondo never strays too far away from his love of discordance and "Something For Those Who Wait" is a killer, droning workout.