Skarn (Remixes Part 2)

by Federico Amoroso

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    Hot on the heels of Skarn Division's successful launch in December of 2016 and its inaugural, well-received four-tracker Skarn which featured an original track and 3 remixes from Positive Centre, Plukkk and Yuuki Sakai, Italy-based label founder and author of the original work Federico Amoroso has made an indisputably wise decision and commissioned 5 more remixes to be produced by the stellar representatives of high quality techno discipline. Needless to say, when you bring together the heavy-hitting and well-established Takaaki Itoh, Stingrays, Lucindo and Paul Birken who have it for a principle to bar no holds when it comes to production, you can expect a rather strong output, but even DJ Surgeles, who is normally known for contemplative, leisurely-paced deep space vibes has turned quite mean and put forth a kind of stomper that has the potential to wreck some serious havoc on the dancefloor full of action-ready technoheads.

    Takaaki Itoh dives into the past days of his production and starts off the affair with a 135 BPM rework - thudding, deeply-rooted kicks that hit 5 times per 4 bars, panning arrays of short, speeding bell stabs, sandy and metallic bars at 16/16, chirping waves of acid and atonal pads that finish every 4 bars with singular drips and drops of synthesized substance being poured into a glass of amassing colorful fluid. DJ Surgeles raises the tempo 2 BPM points up and unleashes hefty, widely reverberated, syncopated kicks, washes of soft noise, two layers of panning 16/16 bands, open, but terse 4/4 hats, dry claps that run in pairs, series of distressing alarming bleeping signals that come in multiple layers and shapes, and a subtly gating, cold cosmic ambiance that occupies the background and adds an ingeniously sinister touch to the piece. While Lucindo's moody remix is paced at 134 BPM, its rapid, closely-running kicks that unevenly hit 8 times per 4 bars can give a sense of much higher tempo, whose subjective perception is increased even further with slightly distorted, sandy 16/16 bars, scattered, dry militaristic stabs and samples of whip strikes, all of which run against a melancholic, oscillating acid bassline which sets back to hard times of past centuries. Stingrays' trudging 130 BPM monstrosity verges on the hard edge of rhythmic noise and, as is often the case with his style, gives an impression of being a visitor in an infernal industrial factory; instead of exclusively assisting low-range bass, its clangorous 2/4 kicks are affecting high and low range in equal measure, while the abrasive, distortion-laden textures revolve and roar, creating a dense, impenetrable thicket of power electronics. What Paul Birken has conjured up in his rearrangement could be best described as an audio incantation - the property of 148 BPM paced kicks whose gain gets slightly modified in a revolving manner every tact doesn't really make a hardtechno track out of it, but rather a tribalistic, highly original (aboriginal?) IDM composition; expect a few blows of flute, arrays of clonking bars, oddly bellowing synths and open hats that flirt with shifting sweeps of cymbals.

    Much as the first record, the result turned out to be a triumphant celebration of knockout-and-drop-dead techno that gradually morphs into imaginative IDM - a quality product, which really isn't a surprise considering this sort of high-grade line-up.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Skarn (Remixes Part 2) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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released May 3, 2017

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