Individually, CTRLS and Solid Blake have been causing a stir in underground techno and electro spheres for some time now. Danish DJ/producer CTRLS has become known on the Copenhagen circuit for his hectic, fearsome sets and equally ripping productions, the techniques behind which he recently showcased in a Beatport Studio Session.
Steve Bicknell has been immersed in techno for close to three decades now. Having launched the legendary LOST parties in 1991 with Sheree Rashit – which, if you don’t know, gave Jeff Mill’s his UK debut – as well as launching the influential Cosmic Records label a few short years later, he has been one of the most understated, vital figures in the UK’s underground, dark techno spheres since some of the scene’s biggest contemporary players were just kids. Though LOST may have finished up some years ago, that influence has gone nowhere.
His most recent EP on 6dimensions ‘Mind Patterns’ is arguably Bicknell’s most ferocious, relentless work. ‘Vein Injection’ is a distorted, brutal sonic assault while ‘Present Minds’ is a dark, euphoric trip that you could only hope to crawl your way out of, or just get lost in.
As natural as a process as those compositions may be, there is evidently a lot of personal and psychological projection in the music that Bicknell creates. Given that, and that Bicknell has previously shared interest mindfulness in the past, one can’t but wonder if he considers himself to be a philosophically inclined artist…
“I think someone who knows me would better answer that question,” he admits. “I would say I follow feeling over thought as much as possible.”
One such artist discovery for Bicknell to release on 6dimensions was Jing, the Taiwanese conceptual artist and producer whose vivid, experimental electronic sound designs soundtrack short stories with cinematic, cerebral mastery. Bicknell released her remarkable ‘Adularescence’ on 6dimensions in February this year.
DJ Stingray and Mumdance have dropped a next level electro playlist on Spotify.
The 19-strong selection includes workouts from names like Kyle Hall (under his KMFH alias), French rave activist Umwelt, dnb pioneer Doc Scott and Birmingham techno deity Regis.
LA-4A drops his ‘Slackline’ EP on Sheffield’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) next month (8th June). We’ve got the exclusive premiere of the title track below.
Initially an anonymous production handle, LA-4A is the alter ego of Berlin-based expat Kevin McHugh (aka Ambivalent) – a past affiliate of Richie Hawtin‘s Minus label.
McHugh launched his own Delft imprint in 2013, which has released a number of his own productions – with standouts including ‘Invader’ and ‘Triad’ – as well as material from Mor Elian, Alden Tyrell and Physical Therapy.
96 Back is the pseudonym of Sheffield-born, Leeds based DJ/producer Evan Majumdar-Swift. at At just 18, he is quickly becoming one of the most talked about names in the UK electro and bleep scenes and beyond given his rapid, infectious mixes and, particularly, given the anticipation surrounding his new release on legendary Sheffield label CPU Records.
Few artists have been as pivotal in Ireland’s electronic evolution of the past decade as DeFeKT. A formidable producer and live artist, the modular electro dedicant – real name Matt Flanagan – has, along with the likes of Sunil Sharpe, Jamie Behan, John Daly and Donnacha Costello, risen in recent years from the once covert but bustling techno underground into the thriving mainstream of the scene.
“I've had modular since I started to get better at production in college,” he explains of his production background. “I was introduced to it about 12 years ago by my teacher Ken. In terms of getting more into electro, my journey started by collecting techno records and I’d hear some electro B-sides. At that time I’d be blown away by the beats. My love affair with electro grew and grew as I got into Kraftwerk, Anthony Rother and The Advent to name a few.”
“Acts from here don’t get so much coverage. But we wanted to make a statement. And we will make more statements”
Amid the incendiary percussion, volatile acid lines and buzz saw bass grooves, ‘On A Roll’ is embellished with spoken snippets and found sounds that ground the release in the Irish landscape and community, giving a keen sense when listening to the album that it exists proudly within this pivotal time for Irish electronics where this music exists more in the “mainstream” than ever before. ‘Intro’ finds two young midlands accents discussing “patterns” before the ferocious ‘Caravan Life’ kicks off.
Dallas, Texas is a buzzing hub of raw, hard-hitting electro music, with DJs like Helena Hauff, Maceo Plex and R9 all avid followers of the sound.
The small city has been pumping out essential electro cuts since the mid-’90s, which have drawn influence from hip-hop, Krautrock, industrial, and the sounds of the Motor City.
“My fave Dallas electro track is probably E.R.P. ‘Lament Subrosa’. Just a perfectly deep electro tune. His music is simultaneously romantic and dripping in melancholy. He pulls that off while still being funky.”
(Down Low Music)
“I would say ‘Cybernetic Properties’ by Plastic Sleeves. If you look at the video on YouTube, you get the idea. He puts on this mannequin mask obviously influenced by Dopplereffekt in its own way. It’s the same kind of energy that Tense, who’s also from Dallas, would have.”
‘The Modern Mind’
“The name sums it up pretty nicely.”
“Gerard and I are some of the older geezers of the Dallas electro scene, meeting in the early ’90s. He’s a constant inspiration and the one person I trust most musically, as I often ask his opinion of my own music. This track contains all the elements I love in his music; delicate crystalline melodies, icy strings, and a tough bassline that jumps out of the speaker and wiggles your body.”
Minto George picks...
Jensen Interceptor & Assembler Code drop their collaborative ‘Hyper Reality’ EP on Cultivated Electronics next week (23rd April).
Identified Patient is part of a new wave of artists questioning the boundaries of what techno can be, at a time when the mainstream is awash with increasingly linear sounds.
“Patrick [Marsman] is really doing important work for the industry,” Veerman tells DJ Mag of the Pinkman label boss over Skype from his home in Amsterdam. “After that EP, there was more movement and my DJ sets got more exposed. The label gives trust and believes in young artists,” something he says is key for pushing electronic music forward.
For well over a decade, Sunil Sharpe and DeFeKt (Matt Flanagan) have been two of the most pivotal artists in Ireland’s clubbing landscape. With DeFeKt being best known for his ferocious modular cuts and masterful live sets, and Sharpe for his inimitable all-vinyl DJ sets, between them, the pair have a deserved reputation as Ireland’s premier techno and electro acts.