Forty-two years ago, when I achieved the first successful wireless transmission in Pontecchio, I already anticipated the possibility of transmitting electric waves over large distances, but in spite of that I could not hope for the great satisfaction I am enjoying today. For in those days a major shortcoming was ascribed to my invention: the possible interception of transmissions. This defect preoccupied so much that, for many years, my principal research was focused on its elimination.
Thirty years later, however, precisely this defect was exploited and turned into radio—into that medium of reception that now reaches more than 40 million listeners every day.
Ooooh, been excited for this one since being sent the sampler at the end of the summer by Alex over at Detuned (whose ace One.Seventy show also provides a solid intro the ever-expanding umbrella that is ‘deep dnb’). Books is a promising young producer making 170bpm jams at the fringes of the genre and the album preview of his upcoming Station album is a hair-raising introduction to a staticky sound that skirts any easy categorization. The three tracks featured here go hard on the abstracted soundscape vibe, flickers of halftime beat patterns shivering in the background.
Forest Drive West is a funny one for me. I adored his first twelve on Ytivil Dnuos and then failed to connect with his subsequent Livity output. Though at this point, it seems that the failure to connect is on me as upon revisiting both those records whilst taking a midnight walk over the weekend, I was struck by how Joe Baker manages to create smartly semi-streamlined versions of the labyrinthine dance sounds emerging out of London, Bristol, and beyond. Over the summer, I was playing a coworker a number of the recent UK artists I’ve covered in the For A Song section of this site and was humorously rebuffed at my more “sound design-y” selections. But alas you can’t store all your firepower in the low end, right? To each their own, indeed. And while Baker’s idea box can at times feel of an ilk with safer mnml styles—and indeed, the big room crowd seems to be what propelled him into the RA-approved echelon—his debut album Apparitions released last Friday on Livity is also a testament to the influence techno titans like Villalobos and imprints like Perlon have had over this generation of British producers. And while I’m more partial to the knotted rhythms found on tracks like “Cut and Run” and Vertigo, the whole thing makes for both excellent background/club music and attentive home listening. Album closer “Cannibal” is in league of its own, slowing D’n’B breaks down to a house-friendly tempo and letting the cathartic party vibes rip. Sometimes you can believe the hype.
Despite scoping the magisterial Burial remix of Mønic like everyone else, I only just made my way over to the considerable back catalog of Simon Shreeve’s Overlook Music. Repping UK techno’s many shades of dubstep-indebted body music since 2006, the label’s post-genre purview is neatly summarized by Overlook’s savvy synthesis of techno-friendly soundscapes and lower-BPM D’n’B jump-ups. The Never Understand four-tracker neatly traverses soporific jungle inflections—as seen on the atmospheric rumblings of the opener “Down The Rabbit Hole”—skipping kicks, and tribal percussion as dour gray clouds move patiently above head. I’m particularly partial to the sonic ephemera scattered across the craven, sunken husk of its title track and the circling patterns found on “Residual.” B2 track “Crisis” closes things out on an appropriately downcast and cinematic note. Huh, guess today is heavy on the ‘deep dnb’-adjacent tip. The sleepy junglist, heh.
Oh, and be sure to check out Overlook’s three EPs he’s released on the fantastic UVB-76 label. Belters, the lot of them. Also gotta throw in the slamming track he contributed to this Osiris Music comp released last month, which features heaters from Pessimist, Mønic, and Grebenstein as well.
Semtek’s Don’t Be Afraid imprint is an oft reliable source for some of the more exciting artists making music at the intersection of house and techno. The label’s new six-track affair from Apron vet Brassfoot—his first since 2016—is an especially engrossing fringe dispatch. Seeing how dance music only just embraced distortion wholesale, it can be a bit fatiguing at times to find artists who grasp the nuances of making a banging track beneath the noise or outside the narrow confines of techno. Brassfoot flaunts his house credentials throughout the Indentured Servitude EP, marrying the weirder side of Chicago house with an industrial sound palette alongside bodyjacking b-lines and rhythms. Positively delightful<3
And let’s close out with today’s installment of “Steve Gurley is the shit.”