Techno's biggest label hits its 200th release.
Drumcode's later years have seen it shed more personality, long ago elevating functionality above everything else. There's arguably no language simpler than Drumcode's current sound, perhaps the first label to merge tech house with the rumble of modern techno. The label's 200th release reflects its current aesthetic. Amelie Lens, a breakout Belgian artist and student of the Drumcode school, is a name worthy of the occasion—she's among techno's most popular acts, enlisted for a landmark release on its top label. But on her remixes of Adam Beyer's "Teach Me," an introspective ten-minute epic released in 2014, she takes a straightforward approach. Where some recent Drumcode hits—Enrico Sangiuliano's "Astral Projection," Wehbba's "Catarse"—have favoured melody and nuance, Lens utilises brute force. It's a more immediate sound that gives DJs guaranteed results, but requires less creativity.
Beefing up the original with two churning new versions, she steamrolls the original's best elements—strings, layers of atmosphere—with sub-bass and gurgling synths, removing the melody that made it a hit in the first place. Like the rest of Drumcode's recent catalogue, these tracks will light up the ice cannon-equiped stages Beyer and his associates soundtrack each weekend. But by exchanging nuance for sheer power, they sacrifice the charm that gives the best techno lasting appeal.