Australian DJ/producer Adrian Nicholson aka Jug has only a few releases to his name, so it speaks volumes about his creative skills that he is already causing waves. Listening to the Slug EP however, it’s not hard to hear why he has made a name for himself in such a short space of time. “Hymn for Him” starts inauspiciously, its hollowed out, dubby drums promising at first a competent DJ tool – but that’s before Nicholson introduces a shimmering, deeply evocative chord sequence and sensuous strings. These elements provide the basis for a beautiful, soulful vocal that will melt the heart of even the hardest techno cynic.
By contrast, “Eeehh” offers a totally different approach: based on a bouncy acid bassline, it is more stripped back, but Nicholson ensures that it will not be consigned to the DJ tool bargain bin thanks to the inclusion of some cut up, quirky vocals and the prominent use of driving percussion. Finally, on the title track, Nicholson attempts to straddle his musical and dancefloor leanings. The beats are stripped back and the rhythm less direct as it alternates between straight 4/4s and more off-centre patterns, while the gradual introduction of atmospheric chords guarantee it and its author a high placing in the league of spine-tingling, ethereal techno.
Boutique London imprint Stuga Musik returns with this double dose of dancefloor moodiness from Brazilian producer Apoena. It’s a worthy follow up to Och’s epic “Stops Out” 12”, which was released to launch the fledgling Autoreply offshoot and drew plaudits from house music cognoscenti ala Âme and Gerd Janson. Hailing from Porto Alegre, capital of the Rio Grande Do Sul state in extreme south of Brazil, Apoena shows a knack for combining the deep sounds of house and techno with a Latin flair for rhythm and percussion.
“Nuvem” kicks things off with shuffling snares riding along tension filled chords. “Bosque Em Flor” comes as a digital exclusive and maintains the opening track’s Sunday BBQ vibe, with enough attention placed to the build ups and drops to maintain a rolling groove. But it’s the title track “Falando Serio” that takes the cake for us here, with warm chords and claps forming the backdrop to a killer drum pattern. It’s worth putting on repeat a few times to let it sink in: a hypnotising, subtle beast.
Review: Aaron Coultate
Stuga Musik, the new offshoot of London based label Autoreply, introduces the unknown artist Och with two tracks of atmospheric minimal techno that takes on more of a personal form than we are used to from the genre.
This release offers a response to the plethora of unimaginative, soulless and empty sounding minimal music that blew up out of all proportion in the mid 2000s. At a time when dance music is full of depth and feeling again, Och injects those sentiments into his minimal musings on this release. “Stops Out” provides the suspense, attitude, tension and overall musicality that minimal is often guilty of neglecting. The title track is engulfed in a wary tension created by deep bass and intense synth stabs. The atmosphere from the track rises up, seeping through the simple breaks and throbbing, deep techno. Cut up vocal edits that have an old school warehouse feel give the track even more personality but it is the affecting Hammond organ sample that really makes the centrepiece.
On the flip, “Stops In” falls into even deeper into atmospheric, almost sinister tensions. A skeletal afro-tech swing is set by shimmering hi-hats and low, murmuring sub bass that collides with chiming synths. As more of an orthodox techno beat picks up, the chilling pads stretch out over the track, giving it a totally enchanting and undiscovered feel. “Stops Out ” is a highly engaging, post-modern take on minimal music, or in other words, post-minimal minimal. By bringing more feeling to the disciplines of minimal Och is proving that there is still ingenuity in the genre. Top stuff.
Review: Tom Jones
London-based deep techno producer Confetti Bomb drops this three track EP on his own Autoreply imprint. The fledgling label has already released material from some heavy house/techno artillery – Baby Ford, Jerome Sydenham and Ed Davenport to name a few.
We’re not sure if title track “MDMemily” is more suited to a peak time floor or an after hours hide-out – which probably means it will do just fine at both. It’s dark and spooky, with a metallic thud that commands your attention. This is followed by “Fladdermus”, which some light internet sleuthing revealed is Swedish for ‘bat’. Coming in with a slightly more subdued beat than “MDMemily”, this fits snugly into the category marked ‘slow burner’. And just went you’ve been lulled into submission, in comes a cavernous, echoing drop.
“Panic in Room 2”, we are reliably informed, is written with the sound system of a certain London clubbing institution in mind. It’s deep, brooding, dark and clunky – in other words, exactly what one wants to hear at stupid o’clock in Farringdon.
Review: Aaron Coultate
Autoreply’s aptly named ‘After Hours’ edition sees Ben Rourke subtly create a sonic landscape in which every note matters, and reminds us that techno can indeed be a deeply emotional form of music.
This is the kind of EP you wish would magically start playing during the taxi ride home from Berghain or some other temple of techno; it’s music to soundtrack personal reflection; deeply introspective and atmospheric.
“Blue” features shuffling synths bouncing off delicate keys and deep scrapes that appear unannounced alongside ethereal vocal snippets.
Pier Bucci’s remix utilises the title track’s subtle instrumentation and takes it up a notch. It’s beautifully constructed and textured – just as we’ve come to expect from the Chilean producer – with the trademark hint of South American flavour.
The three-track EP is rounded off with Rourke’s “Squareb”, which is possibly even more introspective and thought-provoking than “Blue”.
Review: Aaron Coultate