Like a fine wine, Berlin-based Canadian Aquarian’s music is only improving with time. While his early ‘10s productions for UNO were nothing to sniff at, as time has gone on the Hanger Management boss has come into his own as a true breakbeat scientist. His excellent 2018 album ‘The Snake That Eats Itself’ was a flag in the ground — all ominous soundscapes pierced by splintered breaks — while this year’s ‘Mutations’ two-part EP for Dekmantel UFO was an easy choice for Staff Pick of the month in DJ Mag’s April edition: densely layered tracks dismantling drum & bass, hardcore, techno and electro into their constituent parts and reassembling them into dangerously jagged or cosmic new forms without ever losing sight of the dancefloor.
Aquarian’s Selections are similarly inclined, ranging through mutant strains of broken techno, fluorescent rave, electro, juke and beyond.
‘Mutations II’ was released this week. Buy it here.
“There have been hundreds of Pulse X refixes in the past and there will be hundreds more to come, but this is one of my current favourites. It captures the skeletal feel of the original and injects it with some hard-AF electro energy.”
“Bassy, gnarled, screwfaced electro bangers fundraising for Ukraine, on a follow-up record to IMOGEN and Ben Pest’s fantastic debut record on Earwiggle, plus an absolutely gorgeous A1.”
“One of my fave producers at the moment, currently making mutant technoid techno-not- techno. Heavy on trippy, immaculate sound design and ever-evolving grooves.”
“Absolutely stunning, heavy-as-hell neuro-techno hybrids. The precursor to their incredible forthcoming album, also on YUKU. Must listen, especially if you’re a fan of ‘Mutations II’.”
“Gorgeous, ethereal, IDM-inflected electro, from the mysterious Dataplan. My fave is ‘Shrunk’, but the whole EP is fantastic.”
“Hypnotic, weighty, 100bpm mutant rollers — these have such an incredible sense of groove on the dubbed-out half-time and double-time axes.”
“Kindergarten is one of my favourite, forward- thinking labels in the last few years, run by Ma Sha from Sha Ru. This V/A embodies a lot of the things that I love about the label’s sound — upfront, funky percussion, fluorescent rave energy and futuristic sound design that feels like scorched digital rubber being stretched and contorted into different shapes. Still rinsing ‘Nia’ by Stolen Velour and ‘Form In Foam’.”
“Probably my favourite techno EP of the year so far. Broken, funky, explosive and full of personality.”
“DJ Earl bringing the juke and footwork heat to a full-length on Moveltraxx. So many hits on here.”
“The Finnish drumfunk/breakbeat legend! Fave track on this EP for Straight Up Breakbeat. Exceptional drum programming as usual, with a slight bit of classic Photek edge and some real nice ethereal, dubbed-out melodies.”