Props to Energy Flash and cohort for digging out a fine long read on the early ’90s Roman techno scene, (I would never have found that myself). All the heads quoted seem to keep it humble and being a fan of that sound/era it’s refreshing to read a historic appraisal that doesn’t ultimately veer into hyperbole and making the balanced conclusion that there was no legacy (and why should there always be one after all?) – it was just the time and place, “a style generated by a specific period, by a limited number of people.”
Inspired by the above, I pulled out a 1997 (maybe ’98?) issue of the French techno ‘zine L’ultime Atome from my archives and scanned up two long(ish) interviews here with lynchpins Marco Passarani and the brothers Fabrizio & Marco D’Arcangelo. For French speakers only (and Discogs nerds), sorry people.
(Note aside: Lory D’s new album….don’t even go there).
Passarani P1 / Passarani P2 / Passarani P3
D’Arcangelo P1 / D’Arcangelo P2
I’ve always thought there’s a touch of Just William (as opposed to Action’s ‘Kids Rule OK’ – showing my age here heh) about these Perth lads. Nothing particularly burly (as some have said) or threatening at all, but more like opening the back door and finding two scruffy urchins standing on your step covered in mud with big grins on their faces, looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards; they tell you they’ve made something for you and from behind their backs they bring out…a mud pie! (or a 12″ even!) Cheeky chappies, always getting up to mischief, that sort of thing.
Their output gets filed as techno, but a lot of it plainly isn’t by a long shot. With the amount of mucky breakbeats and broken beats they toss around on each release it’s almost, dare I say it, often more breakcore-ish (in its freestylishness) if not a nod even to the days of Jungle Tekno? (check out last year’s ‘An Outrageous Fate Type’ and ‘DJ Ultra Greatsword’ EPs and make up your own minds).
There’s also an almost couldn’t-care-less, smeared-out, bleary veneer to their productions which also feeds this particular image of mine, not entirely pleasantly sometimes either. A bit like the stale fart fug coming from a teenage playstation/wank pit den; you just want to open all the windows and let some fresh air in. It’s as if they have their outputs set permanently through some low-pass filter? or maybe they’re just up all night and bombed off their heads on strong weed?
But that’s their style I guess – bass murk and rumblings a plenty and a kind of artful, semi-chaotic, looseness rather than the crisp, often sterile, punch and sheen of other genres/producers – and it definitely sets them apart from the rest of the techno massive.
It’s a no brainer really but ‘Fallout’ is the obvious stand out banger for me with its old school break/rave hoover and air raid sirens.
One of those tunes where I was casually listening to the radio (Verity Sharp/”Late Junction” BBC Radio 3, cooking mi dinner, as you do heh) but had to stop and listen with full concentration when this came on. It grabbed me by the scruff of my neck! Had me thinking of Unit Moebius/Den Haag “dirge” techno but with heavier production.
A fine builder that could go on and on, but ultimately leaves you hanging for more when it cuts dead at the peak (as the best often do). Damn it all.
A faultless 4 tracker of gritty, sweeping, panoramic, industrial electro that somehow manages to successfully combine ultra warm, low end fuzz with frigid, Carpenteresque, dystopian rave shiver – like sweating and tripping hard on a warehouse dance floor in your bomber jacket, watching your own breath exhale, not sure if your fingers are going numb or if it’s the drugs? ‘Density 3’ is my personal fave – a claustrophobically hard-jacking acidic dirge with cold siren calls of toxic melody that strafe the metronomic beatbox pulse and glide. Dance into oblivion my friends! (His ‘Days of Dissent’ LP from last year is also definitely worth checking too).
Slow tempo, paranoid, metallic rave, pressure builders on the ever solid Athens label, Modal Analysis. Manages to hold the line with minimal fuss and few elements but with an unforgiving, tidal, bleak intensity. Mass #3 / Mass #4
Speaking of that Italian broken beat techno sound, Guillaume ‘Dr Macabre’ Leroux has just dusted off his old hard drive archives and revealed some very tasty cuts in this vein – mournful, radioactive sunrise dirges over piston juddering, industrial beats. I’ve cherry picked them, although there aren’t any Soundcloud/Youtube uploads (as yet). Check them on Juno? :
7. ‘Before Dawn’/ 10. ‘Crying For HELP’ / 13. ‘Sunday Caramel’ / 18. ‘Late at Night’ / 19. ‘Today is a Good Day to Die’ (my personal favourite)