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The second edition of Dekmantel’s foray into the era-defining, trans-Atlantic, cult techno label that is Djax-Up-Beats, comes another re-issue of classic 90s cuts.

The label say "The Dutch label was responsible for releasing some of underground’s most foundational dance music, mixing together Chicago and European artists alike, and acting as the launchpad for some of today’s biggest producers. Featuring offerings from luminaries such as Felix Da Housecat, and Glenn Underground, alongside veterans such as Steve Poindexter, and DJ Skull, this second EP highlights the classic label’s old-school’s sound, while showcasing its diverse range, from dubbier, ambient moments, to wall-thumping, body crushing house force. Timeless music, repressed, and re-released for a new generation of DJs who covet the classic machine music.

The second re-issue EPs, offer a more introspective look at the label’s earlier releases. Leading Volume 2 is Terrace’s 'Bewitched', to which DJ Richard has described as being the defining track of the label’s beginnings with its "dreamy, Detroit-style techno mixed with the harder rave elements of Northern Europe”. Glenn Underground’s bass-roller 'Real Space' weaves together soulful passion and Chicago prime beats, while Felix Da Housecat’s Temptation — originally from 1993 — gets a well earned re-release, reminding us of the soulful, deep and lustful energy the producer once had. China White, whose name doesn’t get banded around as much as it should nowadays, see their ethereal hit 'Theme from the Underground' get another opportunity to bliss out the more upbeat rave community.

The energy turns darker with Frank de Groodt’s The Operator, breaking the outer-most barriers of electro-techno, with 'The Mind Strike'. Chicago and Dance Mania’s Steve Poindexter turns out rolling, dance-energy bomb 'Body Jam', while Mike Dearborn’s deliverance of unreal, dry techno in 'Deviant Behaviour' runs aplomb with classic drum-machine pulses, claps, and uncomfortable, yet punishing melodies. DJ Skull’s 'Don’t stop the beat' rides the EP with gushings of hand claps, and gentle, early 90s warm techno color, that transport you back to a time of more informed, and conscious electronic musings, a feeling that embodies Djax’s heyday.

Founded in Eindhoven at the turn of the 90s, Djax-Up-Beats quickly earned an international reputation for being a key source of Chicago house, acid techno, and floor-filling, heavy-hitting, straight up underground 12”s. It’s a sound that spawned the sonic aesthetics of today, and can be heard in the left field techno productions of the likes of Bjarki, Salon des Amateurs and other erstwhile analog junkies."

Enter a world of post-IDM, ambient and reggaeton, with a progression of deep synths, reverb, and percussion whose rhythms are born from the southern hemisphere. This is the world of DJ Python, aka New York based producer Brian Piñeyro, who also sometimes goes by DJ Wey, Deejay Xanax, and Luis. Here he Make his Dekmantel debut with an EP (read: mini album) of contemporary electronica, fashioned in his cult unique style - as a modern day poster boy for 'deep reggaeton',

With his first LP "Dulce Compañia", Python extended his cult status in the electronic music sphere with motives of ambient, and tropicale, all the time keeping his music deeply rooted in the subvertive Puerto Rican style. Along with a Breaking Through feature on Resident Advisor, an almost legendary appearance on Boiler Room, extensive touring, and a residency at New York’s Nowadays (healthy programmed by the team behind Mister Saturday Night), Python has dutifully snaked his way in today’s cult artist category. Making his next step with this six-tracker on Dekmantel, Python aggrandises his prestigious drum sequencing, merging the worlds of drone-driven electronica, cerebral synths, and steely, out-of-this-dimension-dancehall.

The EP’s pening track "Lampara'" snakes and twists, like a rugged 90s London broken-beat / electronic exploration; evoking nostalgic feelings a la Boards of Canada. The retro aesthetic flows through with second track "Tímbrame", where the tropical reggaeton percussion floats through wafty, deep synth melodies and chimes. "Cuando" steps up a gear, as the digital percussive rhythms go into overdrive, while "Espero" goes all Gaussian, by offering a transportive, meditative expression. "Be Si To" pulses into full Phython territory, chops-and-cuts-and-slices across a sleuth of warping, proto-drones. The record’s final track "Pq Cq" is a singular question mark about darkness, feeling, and trans-dimensional thinking, as the track shifts in-between kicks that feel one and the same between past, present, and the dub.


Last year, Dekmental got together with The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s RE:VIVE initiative for the second time, inviting four local artists to breathe new life into four archival films from the Sound and Vision and EYE Filmmuseum archives. Jordan GCZ, Suzanne Kraft, Parrish Smith and Upsammy were all assigned short animated films dating back to 1921. The films and their new scores debuted at EYE on August 2nd as part of Dekmantel Festival 2018. Unsurprisingly, each artist imparted their unique styles onto the films that they previously had no relation with. From Suzanne Kraft's sparse atmospherics that have become more apparent in his new SK U KNO project to Jordan GCZ’s free flowing hardware jams. Parrish Smith showed his contemplative side and sparse orchestrations that he demonstrated on his RE:VIVE release, "Genesis Black", a sonic departure from his bombastic releases and DJ-sets while upsammy showed yet again her deft hand for melody and texture, a style that dominates all her releases to date.

These four scores can live apart from their films, fitting seamlessly into each artists' growing catalogs of work. But when combined, it’s as if the films and music were made simultaneously with the artist and filmmaker together in the same room. It shows off a more contemplative, dare-I-say-it, artistic side to the label that could be misunderstood as just a young person's dance music brand and festival. Dekmantel seem eager to add to the creative forces existing in dance music, reinventing and improving on areas and preventing themselves becoming tried and stale. They should be celebrated as solid baton bearers of the scene, even as they achieve more commercial success. 


Bufiman

Peace Moves - Inc. DJ Normal 4 Remix

    Piccadilly favourite, video game fanatic and former breakdance champ Jan Schulte makes his Dekmantel debut with "Peace Moves", an EP of percussive soul, that captures the Salon Des Amateurs resident in full, tribal swing. Blasting out the A-side with tough body moving breaks, rasping vocal idents and skewed synth riffery, the main mix of "Peace Moves" harnesses the 5 a.m. insanity of a mushroom fuelled romp, deploying a Tri Atma style 12 string riff to totally trip the hippie dancers out. Breakbeat king and previous collaborator DJ Normal drops by on the A2, taking the intensity up a notch with a 'back to the oldschool', 'carpark in North Manchester', 'pocket full of pingers' 'ardcore mix complete with nagging bass, synth strings and more energy than a whizzed up all nighter at R&S HQ, 1993. Over on the flip, Bufi brings the euphoria with a medicated, manipulated dream-house flip on "Peace Moves", infusing the OG with doped up sequences and sultry incense tinged pads. Saving my personal favourite til last, Jan hits us with "Graffiti Moves", a kaleidoscopic vision of cut up funk breaks, tribal percussion, ring modulated leadlines and well wonky fx abuse. Expect to hear this on the Talking Drums dancefloor very soon.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: 1 COPY FOUND!

    Now for a trip into an impossible land, generated on a hacked copy of Populous, wrought out of melting circuitry and bootlegged YMO LPs, projected on early green screen and filled with failed CGI from the Waterworld era. Panagiotis Melidis and Stathis Kalatzis are Territroy, the newest member of the Dekmantel family, and the creative insanity behind the newest UFO release, "Skulls & Plants". Now, I don't recall taking a massive dose of 4-AcO this morning with my cornflakes, but that may well have happened, as this is one trippy listen. At various points EBM, tropical house, machine voodoo and shamanic breaks are twisted, warped and frazzled, all achieving the demented sound signature of this lunatic Grecian duo. Rhythms collapse, stutter skip and slur, crispy distortion coats otherwise healthy melodies and oddly exotic idents flutter across the landscape, though you could never be certain they were there. Highly psychoactive electronics and primal rhythms for fans of Helena Hauff, Detlef, Lena Willikens and the Silk Road.


    It's a Piccadilly debut for Dutch production Lamellen here, who join the ever swelling ranks of the Dekmantel family with a five tracker of atmospheric, emotive and groovy Balearic house. Keeping true to the original island ideal, the duo barely break a sweat over 100bpm, keeping it easy and breezy as they provide the perfect soundtrack for sundowners the globe over. 
    A tranquil and trippy opener, "Horse Massage" calls to mind the cosmic explorations of Farbror Resande Mac, all space port idents, sparkling sequences and slow moving bass tones. "Spider" ups the tempo to a comparitive sprint (though still in reality glacial), injecting a little 80s Italo funk into the bassline, toughening the percussion up a bit and adding some glassy mallet tones for a nu disco-tinged heater. "Oyster" takes the intensity back down, savouring the same nebulous vibrations as the opener, but with a fresh Oceanic twist - think A Vision Of Panorama and you won't be too far away. 
    So far so 4/4, and the duo throw us a curious curveball with the skipping rhythm, tropical bubble and chiming chords of proggy pearl "Railrunner". We're back in the deep to close as the duo deliver "Pippo Denemarken" a downbeat shuffler decorated with insistent organ tones and bright and glassy synths. Luscious stuff from the Dekmantal debutants.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: The eagle eared selectors at Dekmantel introduce us to more fresh talent, namely Dutch duo Lamellen, who drop the tempo and up the groove for a quintet of synth heavy Balearic jams. Cocktail killers folks.

    Moving on from their time holed up in a leisure resort relic, the Dutch retrogressive, analogue synth machine obsessives and tape fanatics Betonkust & Palmbomen II have teamed up together once more for a new EP.

    An immediate follow up to their debut LP "Center Parcs", the new EP pays fictional homage to a now deceased famous TV star, who instead on working on the screen, took up a new direction in making music. More replete with esoteric experimentalism, analogue jams, drums machines, synths, and a healthy dose of acid basslines, the production duo advance upon their aesthetic with a new extended EP of nostalgic, melancholic electro.

    With Palmbomen II aka Kai Hugo, based out and working in Los Angeles, collaborations with Dutch-based partner Betonkust happen less frequently than they should - especially when you acknowledge that they do not use, or record to computers. When they do happen though, their distinctive sonic palette of saturated distortion and warm melodic waves shine through. This time recorded in a bungle somewhere in the Dutch countryside, the two producers have created a concept record about Bart, a local hero and his imagined life in a parallel universe. In this reality, instead of making it in TV, Bart is a successful music producer, the track titles detailing his journey through this new and imagined life. "Bart Is Alone Again" kicks off the record with its wistful melodies, and harmonic leads, before "Underground Dance Floor" kicks in with its predominate bassline, and squelching deep-rooted, undercurrents of hardcore. Along Bart’s odyssey there are moments for "Bart's Jam", an early days Warp Records / Detroit belter; "Rejected Demo Tape" a downbeat moment of anguish; ending with "A Series of Bad Decisions," in which the EP plays out to somber, yet harmonious conclusion.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Lo-fi tape sizzlers from this creative pairing who impart a level of evocative narrative through the six track journey. A must for fans of Legowelt, Person Of Interest & Ed DMX, fans of the recent RAMZi are also gonna enjoy this.

    Randomer

    Slicing

      UK DJ and producer Rohan Walder, aka Randomer furthers his exploration into deep, spatial techno on Dekmantel’s UFO imprint. Fusing together two-step rhythms, cavernous beats, distortion, layered kicks, and an attentive detail to sound design, Randomer delivers an uncompromising array of abstract and destructive techno tracks.

      Randomer’s approach to techno has always maintained a bassier, obtuse approach to sound, with polyrhythmic beats that have helped set his sonic identity apart from his peers. Having released the "Running Dry EP" on DKMNTL UFO in 2016, Randomer is firmly establishing himself as one of the label’s favourite artists, with a resounding appearance at the Dekmantel festival in São Paulo, and a prime slot awaiting for him in the UFO tent at this year’s festival in Amsterdam (happenin' this very weekend! - ed)

      Kicking off with "Van Pelt", which skips along at just over 130bmp and textured with kicks that sound like two robust, metal dumpsters being hit together. Littered in the background are gongs, random percussive sounds, and something very alien, making it the perfect track for the UFO tent. "Shadow Harp" is quintessential UK techno, with yet more thudding, dark-kicks layered against a syncopated plucked and jarring bass. Birmingham would be proud! "Dissolve" drips and oozes with a sunken undercurrent of dystopic-melancholy, driving in ruptured reverb with a tribal percussive foundation. Final track "Slicing" dares to take things a little further, as the rounded-hollow kicks punctuate against more metallic, and analogue sounds - like a war of machines, set to a rhythm of abstract, free-flowing gust of techno cuts. Throughout the four-tracks, Randomer showcases his innate ability to excite and surprise with dynamism, and cutting sounds, with a technique that has been well-honed throughout the years. As he stated in an interview with Resident Advisor in 2016; 'Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.'


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      12" Info: One copy available

      Recorded in an ageing holiday park during off-season, "Center Parcs" is the debut LP by Dutch artists Betonkust & Palmbomen II; a conceptual, musical-tristesse full of lo-fi harmony and fanciful, psychedelic-coloured modulations. With an undercurrent of in-vogue saturation - beats, vintage synths and the omnipresent gnarl of the Roland 303 - all recorded to tape. the duo have crafted an LP of esoteric-electronic-pop, reflective of the time the two spent holed-up in isolation, in the out-of-time Center Parcs setting.

      'It’s a weird environment, but we like it,' Palmbomen II says about "Center Parcs", where the album was recorded. Originally built in the 70s, Center Parcs De Eemhof in Zeewolde provides a pseudo-tropical environment for vacationing families, with an ageing, ersatz jungle; its faux decor gradually fading to grey. Recorded during the winter, the two Dutch men took-up home in one the park’s chalets with select hardware - predominately synths and drum machines - and recorded all of their progress to tape. Being the only occupants in the melancholic, somber settings, the duo made an LP that was reflective of the unpretentious surroundings. 'Some people think it’s ironic, but this is not a tongue-in-cheek joke,' Hugo says about the record. 'There’s sadness here that people try not to hide.'

      Everything on "Center Parcs" was recorded on hardware, in the moment; 'real jams' as the guys describe them. No computers. It was through this in-the-present-process that led to the recondite, lo-fi shoegaze record, reflective of their shared influences - from the likes of I-F. through to Cocteau Twins.

      Opener "24x33", has a reverberated VHS aesthetic; "De rust die je zocht"('The peace you were looking for') sounds like an angelic score to a forgotten family game show; "Nintendo Pantera" a solemn, upbeat Detroit-retroffited-vapourware melody. The album is a follow up to the "Center Parcs EP" - the producer’s debut cassette release on Canadian label 1080p in 2016. This will be the first time that these tracks have been made widely available, and on vinyl release, and is seen by both artists as a chance to expand on the moment that they captured together - to share the beautiful-tristesse with all.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Proper feelin' this concept me. If anyone wants to rent a chalet in Southport Pontins this winter and make some lo-fi gabber with me - you know where to find me... x

      Following celebrated compilations from Motor City Drum Ensemble and Young Marco and with the second edition of its limited-capacity festival in Croatia right around the corner, Dekmantel’s Selectors series now continues with an edition curated by Marcel Dettmann. Although he’s now known as one of the world’s most celebrated techno artists, even Marcel Dettmann had to start somewhere. Long before he ever held court at Berghain (or its predecessor, Ostgut), he was just another young boy in Eastern Germany, one whose earliest encounters with capitalism involved spending every penny he could scrape together down at the local record shop. In those days, it wasn’t techno that got him excited, but new wave, post-punk, industrial and EBM acts like Front 242 and Depeche Mode. That inspiration can be heard across this edition of the Selectors series, as Dettmann has put together what he describes as a 'pre-techno compilation'. Much like the previous Selectors editions, the compilation is not a mix CD, but a collection of tracks hand picked by Dettmann from his own vinyl archives. Freshly remastered and occasionally reworked or re-edited by Dettmann himself, the songs here are undoubtedly vintage gems, but they also represent a very personal journey into Dettmann’s past. Perfectly timed to coincide with Jamal Moss' reissues of his seminal 'Medusa Edits' series - inspired by his 'pre-house' days spent in Chicago's all ages rock club (where a lot of similar influences and sounds to this comp would be heard); it seems like we're on the brink of a proto-techno / industrial revolution folks! (and not a cotton mill in sight!). Don some black eye-liner, crack out that trench coat and get down to the sounds of the underground.
      .


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