Developer’s “Heated” is a satisfying march through hell. Overdriven kicks and eroded high hats form the framework for this six minute chugger, accented by pitched down vocal grunts and low-pass filtered, almost indistinguishable percussive elements. A track that Hard Wax will likely describe as “DJ tool techno,” I think this track can be most appreciated on the dancefloor. I’m confident that it will translate well on enormous soundsystems, and I look forward to getting the chance to play it soon. However, Developer’s personality shines through more clearly on the “Dirty Drive” tracks. Droning yet driving, these two tracks fit in well with the overall aesthetic of the Modularz label; cold, echoing gray sounds hovering over controlled classicist techno. Newcomer Shifted offers an excellent remix of the Dirty Drive tracks, with a slightly more in-your-face style. This version offers all of the atmosphere of the originals, but with hard-hitting percussion that would allow this track to work well when energy levels have escalated.
In anticipation of the upcoming Truncate show being put on by the Blank Code folks (Detroit), I was very curious to hear “Diffraction” and its accompanying remixes. The track comes in with sliding chords, panning around the listener’s head and building anticipation. An off-center hit hats spins itself out into madness, giving the impression that this track might fall off its hinges. And then, in the holiest of moments, the track drops into a thickly textured bass canyon. In the normal Truncate style, elements disappear out of this track without warning, giving an essential rawness that can only be described as “so techno.” Jonas Kopp’s remix stays of the track true to the Kopp style, with a sort of Klock-esque, clap-loving bounce; excellent peak-hour material. The Markus Suckut remix takes us a bit deeper, with a dubbed out atmosphere over simple (but heavy) percussion. I could see this version functioning well as a “calm before the storm” moment in a late night set.
Sneaking in under the radar is a drone-y piece from Stanislav Tolkachev, a Ukranian artist who released material on Modularz earlier this year. While the style of his track “Building Peaks” doesn’t entirely blend with the other tracks on this release, it deserves respect as a stand-alone track. I perceive it to be cerebral, minimal track very appropriate for thoughtful moments at home.
Overall I was very pleased with this release from Modularz. It’s timeless, functional techno with no gimmicks or other distractions. Simple put, it’s both tasteful and useful.