Crate Digging with Andrew Wowk – 10 Must-Have Tracks From April

by | May 10, 2023 | Essay, Stories | 0 comments

The sheer volume of new music released on a daily basis means that some gems will invariably go unnoticed, even by the most dedicated enthusiasts. Crate Digging is a monthly roundup of top-tier tracks you might have missed from across the electronic music spectrum.

From obscurities uncovered during trips down Bandcamp rabbit holes to the latest releases from legendary artists, Crate Digging is here to keep your collection up to date.

1. Alex Tolstey & Gorovich – The Prophecy [Boshke Beats Records]

“The Prophecy” is psychedelic, moody techno comprised of modular sequences, mind-bending effects, and well-timed samples from Fidel Castro’s speech to the UN in 1979. Alex Tolstey and Gorovich channel the angst and uncertainty of the last couple of years and distill it into a hypnotic DJ tool.

2. Long Island Sound – Dusk (Mor Elian Remix) [Signs of Space]

Following on from their 2022 debut album, Long Island Sound get the remix treatment from techno rebel Mor Elian, who turns in a stellar rework of “Dusk.” She keeps the the originals’ tender, blissful pads and celestial choir sounds, but toughens up the groove with enormous low-end rumbles and syncopated percussion patterns.

3. Jon Hester – Sustain [ODD/EVEN]

Midwest techno mainstay Jon Hester combines pulsing, physical rhythms and adventurous programming on this deep techno cut that honors the region’s take on the genre. “Sustain” could very easily be a lost cut from the mid-’90s with its tight, shuffling drums and dusty dub chords.

4. Pete Cannon – Tek Riser [N4 Records]

Hardware-only jungle techno from Pete Cannon, who continues the traditions of the early pioneers by getting the most out of the limitations imposed by machines such as the Akai S1100. On “Tek Riser,” Cannon goes for maximum dankness with cyclic sub sequences, chopped-up breaks, and modular bleeps and bloops.

5. Drax – Adrenalin [Trope Recordings]

Dug out from Thomas P. Heckmann‘s extensive catalogue of unreleased material, “Adrenalin” is exactly what one would expect from his Drax alias: An arpeggiated, overdriven bass line that gets tweaked throughout the track’s runtime along with powerful kicks and metallic percussion loops.

6. Biocym – Eternal Burial [Agos]

Taken from a concept album that soundtracks the population of a desolate planet’s attempts to understand a mysterious mechanical flower, “Eternal Burial” is a biomechanical, ethereal, and mysterious trip that perfectly encapsulates the subject matter. Biocym balances organic percussion and sounds of nature with twisted effects and a growling bass line. The result is a unique, curious atmosphere.

7. Hunter Starkings – Feel The Weight [Holding Hands]

The student becomes the master: Hunter Starkings took part in some online production tutorials run by Holding Hands label owner Desert Sound Colony, later impressing him with a set of demos which included “Feel The Weight.” This is straight-up dance floor breakbeat business, combining classic “Think” break chops with wobbly bass stabs, cheeky vocal stabs, and gnarly synth sequences.

8. corsica one – Lonely [Noisy Meditation]

Beautiful ambient jungle from newcomer corsica one, who demonstrates an understanding of the genre usually reserved for the early pioneers and long-serving legends. “Lonely” harks back to the days when labels such as Creative Wax Recordings and Moving Shadow dominated soundsystems with lush pads, cheeky drum breaks, and soulful basslines.

9. Olympic Pool Maintenance League – Empathy (Head Front Panel Remix) [Diffuse Reality Records]

Sci-fi-flavored, dystopian techno that could very easily soundtrack an apocalyptic invasion by an advanced alien race. Head Front Panel turn the restrained, melancholic original of “Empathy” into a tense, densely-packed, and discordant thumper.

10. Terra Incognita – Alien Element (UK Mix) [Musique Pour La Danse]

Although relatively short-lived, the bleep techno movement at the turn of the ’90s is looked back upon fondly by anyone who experienced it, and spoken about with reverence by contemporary enthusiasts who dig for the rarest of rarities in second hand record bins. Terra Incognita‘s”Alien Element (UK Mix)” is one such rarity, given a loving remaster by Rob Gordon (co-founder of Warp Records) that adds some oomph to its heavy sub-bass and punchy drums while brightening up its catchy bleep lead.

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