It will come as no great surprise to our readers when I say that we here at ISM take the long view when it comes to ol Electronic Dance Music. It is still partly viewed as “new” and there has always been a certain obsession with innovation within its varied sub sections even though we are looking at what is now decades old genres and tropes. Maybe this just makes us come across a bit Dj History but we also try to avoid fetishising the past, or those generic retreads of past masters that are nothing but mere copyists. The older I get the less worried I am about innovation – character and heart are as important as anything in a world swamped with music that has neither, nevermind anything truly innovative. One can generally join the dots now between the old and the new, no matter how much someone will try and tell you something is totally original and this is no bad thing. True originators are rare and with many of the best artists you can tell how they have joined the dots in creating their own distinct sound – and they won’t try and hide it either. Ed DMX’s recent video with Boiler Room highlighted this well where he noted that the best producers are either extremely knowledgeable or don’t know anything about what they are approaching. Those who know just a bit of this and that are destined for not much of anything. The whole video is worth watching.
All this brings me to the latest release from Charlois – a side imprint from the always fun Pinkman operation run by Marsman out of Holland – featuring Dj Technician and long time ISM favorite, Dj Overdose. Overdose’s name always gets my attention but it was the sight of Dj Technician that really made me excited. He has not appeared on wax since his killer debut 2006 12″, My Beat is a Monster, on Bunker Records. What we have here is 4 straight up electro killers that are hugely indebted to what has come before but they don’t try and pretend to be from the past either.
Technician is the star of the show too, leading off the release with “Sync”, a stone cold party jam taking old school freestyle & electro rhythms and refrains and building up a song that manages to sound fresh and retro at the same time; its crisp high pace wrapped around a modern production sheen. You could imagine Shannon giving it her all over the top. Things get a bit moodier on DSS Part 2, but the funk is still there; we may need to wait another 10 years for Technician to rear his head again, but like his previous Bunker 12″ I won’t be getting bored of this any time soon.
At this stage there isn’t too much I can say about Dj Overdose. Referring back to my earlier comments, and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other reviews of his work, he builds his tracks around known genre staples of electro, synth wave / soundtracks and makes them sound like his own all the time. He’s certainly one of the stand out voices in modern electro, and a perfect example of how a producer carves out their own sound through deep, engrained knowledge of music. I can see the B2 cut “Why Does Nobody Answer The Door” being the one I will return to from this 12″. If you fancy a bit more Overdose check out his mix for us from back in 2010 (!)