hiss and murmur

Sometimes, it feels like us in the US are more than a bit separated from much of the activity surrounding the current techno scene. This is not to denigrate the many great records put out by US producers, but rather to acknowledge that Europe's robust techno culture beats ours by many miles (or kilometres)-- why else would DJs like Sean O'Neal (aka Flowchart) be moving to Germany in droves?

Despite these obstacles, it's still possible to get a taste of what is being spun (or Abletoned out of its mind) at the clubs we only wish we had. Here are two recently released gems from the other side of the pond (or in it!), both of which are almost guaranteed to hit dance-floors quite a bit in the coming months.

First, we have a noisy, bang-up number from Tupperwear, a group hailing from the gorgeous Canary isle of Tenerife. On Klitekture, "Kleen" begins with feedback hisses, clicks, and a pulsating bass that is massive from the beginning. It slowly builds into a floor-shaking track, the feedback hisses, echoing and layering making for quite a "lushly minimal" sound. However, almost as soon as it erupts, "Kleen" backs off a bit, descending into low-level atmospherics, with the addition of marimbula-like samples providing some nice bits of melody. Then, like a nuee ardente, the track explodes again, and everything is brought to the fore. The aforementioned marimbula-like samples become high in the mix, and the track is transformed into something bordering on tribal. The sound of "Kleen" ends up being incredibly organic, a surprising quality given its hissy beginnings and face-pounding minimal techno beat.

This is the A-side of the first single from Tupperwear's new album (also on Klitekture), which is among the most fantastic experimental techno albums to be released this year, along with Luciano's new double-LP.

Tupperwear- Kleen

Our next track is from two well-known masters of minimal, Quenum & Lee Van Dowski. On the fledgling 60 Sec. label from Switzerland, the tracks from this newest EP follow the sound that Quenum and Van Dowski have given us before, but... they're more minimal?

Yes, they are. No lush synths riding above the 'bom bom bom' here, only little mid-range clicks, murmurs and high-pitched, spacey, acidic lines. What really makes this track is the funky bass & perscussion progression-- it lends the track a bounce that slowly reveals itself, so that as the track moves along, the desire to get down increases. Secondary percussion sounds are often distorted, delayed or otherwise tweaked, giving the track a slightly hallucinatory feel: "What WAS that SOUND?" I think you'll feel the same, and will certainly want to hear this on a truly big club system as much as I do. (I have a feeling that one Mr. Villalobos is certainly going to incorporate it into his sets, so if you get a chance...)

By the way, 60 Sec. released one of my favorite singles of last year, Agnes' Girls on Drums. It is a label to watch out for-- for a young label, the track record has been astoundingly stellar.

Quenum & Lee Van Dowski- The Moon Above Mario's Blast (Original Mix)

Next time, the focus will be on the disco/beardo house faves, Idjut Boys-- two great tracks!

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