An excellent primer on Copenhagen's fast techno scene.
Trance's influence on Copenhagen techno is particularly obvious on the tracks that Salomonsen (AKA Repro) and Ibon contribute to Kulør 001, the first release on a new label from that scene's best-known DJ, Courtesy. The way these producers and their peers play with the genre is part of why the Danish capital is now home to some of the freshest techno out there.
These artists' method is often an exploration of opposites, and for this trance's rich melodies are an ideal tool. As rough and tough as the beats get, they're often paired with smooth and evocative synths. Without the melodies, Repro's "Det Går Dårligt" could be one of those percussive techno jams that were popular 20 years ago; with them, the track works as both a rump-shaker and a tear-jerker. Schacke blends dark and light on "Automated Lover." A crunchy breakbeat is made a little friendlier by a dazzling melody, making for one of the compilation's strongest tracks. Rune Bagge's "This Could Be Us" uses similar themes on a four-on-the-floor template and is just as good.
Some of the artists here boldly contribute straight trance tracks. At a time when artists ranging from Lorenzo Senni to Nina Kraviz have reintroduced trance into the club music conversation, this isn't as daring as it would have seemed a couple years ago, but it's still striking. You could imagine IBON's "Forest Car" and "No Sleep" and Funeral Future's "Heute Nicht" making glowsticks weave at Gatecrasher circa 2000. But, wisely, we don't get the excessive breakdowns and drum rolls that defined the trance of that era.
Macdonald's piece mentioned that the raves in Copenhagen tend to be less serious than the average techno event, something that could stem from the speed of the music (we get close to 150 BPM here), but that's just a theory. To be sure, nothing screams "fun" in Sugar's "Same But Different," with its piercing synths, or "Designer Of Worlds," with its wonky LFOs. But maybe this is symbolic of the perspective from which this scene approaches techno generally. Kulør 001 highlights a group of artists who were inspired by their history and environment and did things a little differently. If you're new to this scene, start here.
Sat / 3 Nov 2018
01. Schacke - Automated Lover
02. Sugar - Drowner
03. IBON - Forest Car
04. Repro - Det Går Dårligt
05. Sugar - Same But Different
06. IBON - No Sleep
07. Repro - Hot Lead Payoff
08. Schacke - Designer Of Worlds
09. Rune Bagge - This Could Be Us
10. Funeral Future - Heute Nicht