Technique’s Summer LP Is Big And Bursting At The Seams
Posted by Ben on 22nd June 2017
Reviewing Technique’s Summer Slammers album last year was a lot of fun, partly because I listened through it at the pub but also because the music was, to put it gently: fucking summery. What does ‘summery’ mean? Music that’s full of life, bright, vibrant and completely set on making you dance; music that works perfectly at festivals or on the beach.
2016’s compilation was a ‘mere’ 39 tracks, a walk in the park compared to 2017’s gargantuan 51, not including the two studio mixes than accompany the album. I think this is probably a little bit too long and you do start to notice it around tracks 30 to 40, but then again who’s ever complained about too much drum n bass? Not us.
There’s a whole range of artists present and correct here, but Tapolsky and Vovking’s 3 contributions really stand out to me. Primitive Jazz especially, its undeniably fresh rhythmic structure acting as a base for happy-go-lucky synth stabs and double bass flicks, all imparting that summer feel with a heady dose of character. The trend of characterful music continues with 88 and Needle, both relying on wonky percussion to set themselves apart from the others, and it’s great stuff from the new, Ukrainian duo.
Another name I’m not so familiar with but who is responsible for one of my favourites tunes is Casey Jones, and False Truths arguably deserves the label ‘summery’ more than any other track on the album. A groovy hip-hop introduction sets the tone perfectly and the jump up to 170 is as smooth as the samples which accompany it, as well as tinkering Rhodes pianos, dusty strings and a wobbly but subtle bassline that compliments not compensates. Another funky roller comes from Danny Wheeler in the form of Walking Away, which is more stripped back but still oozes soul, courtesy of featherweight piano riffs and an earthy low end.
It wouldn’t be a Technique album without bangers from Document One and Tantrum Desire, probably my two favourites from the roster who have seriously delivered here. I love Gravitate by Tantrum Desire simply because it treads the line between funk and heaviness with expert precision, the metallic, grating quality of its synths cancelled out by an arrangement that forces you to move your feet. Uh – Uh doesn’t drop any hints to its future madness in the introduction, but that familiar Document One bass construction doesn’t really need it, the pair this time opting for the murky not the brash. They’ve really got their style nailed down, and Uh – Uh gives this album some slightly needed technicality.
There’s so much music here that I obviously can’t talk about all of them, but some of the other highlights are T-Phonic and Deadman’s The Sound Of Now, which builds tension through background ambience before dropping it away amidst a mash of percussion. Roller Forever from Salaryman smacks of Run The Block by Document One, the ropey double bass contrasting with hooting flutes under a perfectly suited rap line. Through The Night via T-Base wins the prize for nicest synth and pad combination, bubbling lines flickering in and out of each other against a backdrop of crashing wave and wispy soundscapes.
Overall, this isn’t the best compilation out there and I think there are too many mediocre tracks amongst the excellent ones, so perhaps cutting those and trimming the chaff a little could be an improvement next year. The other tunes are seriously good though, and whilst something like the Critical album had a higher standard, their tunes all came from much bigger artists and a bigger budget to boot.
Technique, then, are investing in the long-term with some strong younger talent and it really shines at times. Also, for the price 53 tracks is an absolute steal, so go and pick it up now.