Friday 28 May 2021

Techy Turn

Another return this time - back to basics with a slightly thematic rundown of 'things that came up on shuffle' like I used to do. Focusing on one of my favourite niches in the electronic music world, that brief period in the early 2000's where everything got a bit techy, with stuff like the minimal glitch of microhouse becoming fairly popular. It's not isolated to that one genre though, a lot of stuff around the time was moving in a heavily synthetic direction - by far the biggest target there is Electroclash, which long time readers will know is one of my I wouldn't say any of these tunes are of the genre directly but they almost certainly flirt with it heavily. Let's take a look.

Arne Quinze - My Secret Garden, Valencia (2018)

What is there to say about Rippin Kittin that I haven't already? I'll probably bring it up every so often for as long as I remain in the electronic music space. The original was a bit of a hit on the dance charts, but it doesn't exactly sound like what you'd expect of the time, in an era where feel good 4/4 house and friends were still king. Rippin Kittin is still in that House fashion, though with this sweetly done distinct melancholy atmosphere running throughout, one helped out by Kittin's delivery of those deceptively dark lyrics. The original is a gorgeous slice of electronic music from the time, one that I adore the sound of to this day even after almost 20 years(!) of listening.

There's a boatload of remixes, covers and all sorts of the original and I love them all in their own ways - but there are a few that consistently fight for the top spot are: Glove's Radio Mix thanks to the reintroduction of the chorus that puzzlingly isn't present on the original, Alexander Polzin's mix that strips the original down to a skeletal fragile version of itself.

But what's holding pole position for me at the minute is the Golden Boy with Turner's Strings mix, Golden Boy's own revisit to the tune and what could be considered the 'Director's Cut' of mixes. It combines all the elements of my favourite mixes and versions pretty much (though the chorus is yet again missing here), truth be told it's not all that different from the original - but the little tweaks here and there, all topped off with a little bit of vocoding on the existing vocal make the mix fell as if it was almost catered directly to me.

Swayzak now, they've made a couple of appearances before on here, normally for their earlier techy deep house outings like Speedboat. I've only gone a few albums deeper than the debut that one was from (Snowboarding In Argentina) but starting from the follow up Himawari things start moving in all kinds of directions and are no longer clearly defined as their debut. And that's not a critique - the later albums massivley benefit from this blend of sounds and the introduction of vocals on some tracks too, State Of Grace with Kirsty Hawkshaw being a real highlight.

But we're not talking about Himawari here - I've chosen a track from Dirty Dancing from 2002, an album that goes in a much more poppy direction. It was very much in fashion at the time (as is the theme of this post), and Swayzak's attempt at it is fairly decent, albeit with some questionable vocals at times. But by far and away the best result of this experiment is I Dance Alone - the album has more than a hint of Adult.'s sound to it which comes to a head here as we have Nicola Kuperus from Adult. actually featuring on the vocal front too. Her contributions to Adult. tracks really complete that electro punky feel that they have and that's on full show here. I can see why if you were super into the tech house output of the two you'd be disappointed (and some of the album is super dated for sure) but I can't help but love this one, the combo of electro and Kuperus' shout-out loud vocals are just great, but as I've admitted before I have a real soft spot for this era of sound.

And finally, one I've held off on putting up hoping it would come on some other decent streaming services but that's looking increasingly rare. So rather than a Spotify player I went with YT instead - doesn't look as nice but hey ho. Another find from the surprisingly solid 'This is Tech-Pop' compilation from Ministry Of Sound, Naked, Drunk & Horny wouldn't sound too out of place in the slightly seedy world of electroclash from it's title, but the actual tune errs much more on the pop side than your usual suspects that were labelled elctroclash at the time.

Allegedly a remake of a tune called 'Starecase' from Pukka that I cannot find any information about on the internet - it's very much of that early 2000's era with it's nonsensical lyrics and sultry female vocal, but like so many songs like it I can't help but like it. It toes the line between tongue in cheek parody and out and out cheese to the point where I can't make up my mind if it's earnest or not - a feeling not helped by tracks like She Gets Me High coming out sounding like a proto-vaporwave track, one that's trying to create some kind of faux-exotic European sound.

A slightly eclectic mix this time - these are all tunes that kinda came to mind one after another though, and sort of share that early aughts electronic theme so I suppose they are at least slightly themed! Got a little long in the tooth  Here's hoping you found some interesting stuff off the heels of this post, if you like slightly obscure (and let's be honest generally 'average') electronic of this era like I do, then the rest of the Yellow Note album is a good port of call - as an interesting curio if nothing else.

And as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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