James Demon, alias of Matthew Pentycofe, is a Berlin-based DJ and producer hailing from Las Vegas. He is the owner of Occultists label and one of the artists in its roster. After his first work Alessa and Padded Cell, the latter followed by a remix companion, he returns now with the EP Cult of Cthulhu. Aspect a dark techno sound not linked to EBM or industrial, choosing instead acid vibes and oldschool motifs with hypnotizing grim soundscapes and horror-like ambiances. The Title Track starts with pounding bass sounds and swift snare drums, growing into a serpentine crescendo ready to burst into a Satanic mantra made techno. The author intention is to build a game of atmospheres and rhythmic obsessions, using the many tools of 90’s techno tradition. Hex Her is another example of dark club tracks with lysergic undertones and groovy moments. It starts with a basic bass, then it develops a classy movements enriched by claps and sampled vocals. Here there is no explosion, instead a droning sound guides us through the track. Esther is maybe the most minimal styled affair on the EP, an episode using slow rhythmic passages as a mean to craft an eerie ambiance upon which pulsating effects are layered. The vision of Demon is clear: techno with subtle dark atmospheres , but not the usual elements many would associate with the current techno-industrial scene. In that he finds an identity of his own.
London-based Polish artist Fairground of Tears is a newcomer bounded to do great in the very near future. One of the participants (together with Ireen Amnes) in the V.A Nothing To Declare from Medieval Heresies, he debuts on English label Theory Of Yesterday with his 6-track cassette Pain is God. The work is a robust and very convincing example of techno/EBM hybrid with grim sounds and very well developed structure. Cinematic soundscapes and a mature sound-design grace this release staring from the first track, named after the EP itself. Here EBM bass-lines and obsessive kicks give us a militant feeling ready to climax with dark attacks and sci-fi vocal samples. A ride for underground clubs with grim atmospheres and steady rhythmic patterns. But the producer is no one trick pony: instead of repeating the same formula on any track, he experiments a lot – like with Meet Me At Dawn and the use of reverbs he employs here in order to conjure a dark but captivating soundscape where well orchestrated diaphanous melodies. Roar is maybe the most classic track in the techno/EBM recent tradition, starting with a hypnotizing line reached by metallic kick drums and cymbals in an industrial crescendo climaxing into distorted effects. Pain is God is a very fine debut which left us with a very clear idea about the craft of Fairground of Tears and big expectations for the future.
Italian producer Nino Pedone aka Shapednoise is one of the recent protagonists of the noisier side of industrial-tinged techno music. Starting from his debut on Hospital Production called The Day Of Revenge he has been the author of grinding music informed by rhythmic noise as well as abstract collage sounds and dark soundscapes with an ominous nature. Now he presents his fourth full-length called Aesthesis on the label Numbers., a work in which he further explores is niche of music. Broken sounds, glimpses of noise, even female voices are the tools of the trade – an example is given in the opening pastiche Intriguing (In The End) with Mhysa on vocals. Think of sounds as ghosts moving in and out of focus, but in a slow way and with vibrating horroscape elements. Blaze follows suit employing the help of Justin K Broadrick of JK Flesh and Godflesh fame (among the many other projects) in conceiving micro-noise passages with dub undertones and irregular rhythms. The result is an alienating yet enthralling experience made of restraints and releases. The Foolishness of Human Endeavour is a sort of orchestration built on very distorted elements and obscure scenarios full of grim atmospheres. One thing is clear: this is no place for easy listening or mildly noise-tinged techno for the clubs. Moby Dick ends our journey in madness with the help of Drew McDowall of Coil fame and Rabit; grinding movements and sudden heavily modified sounds and samples give us an alien atmosphere. Aesthesis is a work made of noise-sculptures born from an immaculate production and savvy sound-deisgn skills. If you are ready for an adventure, give it a go.
Søulless is the moniker of Francesco Presotto, an Italian producer who has been active in the techno scene since ten years. He has produced a series of EP and singles moving from acid techno to noise to electro-influenced never resting on one style, exploring many facets of the genre. He now debuts on Occultist with his EP Anarchy In Hell, an 8-track release (six originals plus two remixes by James Demon) following the modus operandi previously cited. So, if the first track Achrome is a mix of fast bass-lines and steel like kicks used in club contest, the following Hard Bastards is a throbbing affair with acid undertones and obsessive rhythmic repetitions. During the second half of the track some noise elements introduce a sci-fi turn of events reached by hardcore-inspired distortions. Hybrid Punk plays with ethnic elements and bombastic bass attacks, in an episode that seems to mix the afro roots of techno with modern elements. James Demon reworks the track soon after as deep bass affair with eerie soundscapes and militant snare drums, giving an evil and caustic feeling to it. Broken Transmission is the experimental moment with noise elements and grim ambiances, a dark ambient-inspired track adding straighter techno moments during its second half, developing a mechanical rhythm, while Inner Space plays with broken rhythms and majestic melodic keys in a pastiche made of different sources and sounds, sampled guitar riffs too. Montauk ends the EP with its electro motifs placed upon looped ambiances and minimal takes on rhythms, and James Demon remixes it in the form of a straighter dark techno number with fat bass sounds and robust kicks. Anarchy In Hell is another chapter in a sound which can’t be exactly classified, as not as techno music in the broader sense of the term.