2012 saw the “glorious death” of Sandwell District after its ten-year lifespan as an imprint of renowned Birmingham techno label Downwards Records. On April 23rd – nearly another decade later – cofounder Regis delivered three previously unreleased tracks from its archives.
A Hollow Moment EP encapsulates the slow-burning, industrial-tinged style of minimal techno Sandwell District helped popularize. The title track’s skittering percussion and diffused textures are stripped down to a handful of core elements in the dub, offering a more danceable incarnation of the source material. “The Empty Centre,” meanwhile, pairs an eerie atmosphere with static-like drum hits in regular intervals.
Sandwell District Revisited
Regis (real name Karl O’Conner) founded Downwards Records alongside Female in 1993, helping develop the “Birmingham sound.” They launched Sandwell District as a sublabel in 2002, furthering their track record as techno innovators.
“From my initial discovery of Sandwell District at local record shops in Berlin, their consistency has had a visceral effect on my appreciation of techno,” Nigerian DJ Jerome Sydenham told Billboard in 2013. “Hearing this fresh sound at the Berghain club really took me back to early moments at the Paradise Garage in NYC, and hearing a Marshall Jefferson or Fingers Inc. production for the first time against the other sounds of the day.”