Author Archives: M1KRONAUT

Diction – Silk Owl


Diction is a fast rising duo. With recent releases on labels like Funk’n Deep and Death Proof Recordings, they are becoming an unstoppable force in the scene. This is their third solo release for the latter label, and a massive one at that.


The EP opens with “Silk Owl.” the track slowly builds until the distinctive hook fades in, where it becomes big-room madness. The vocal sample adds an extra hypnotic touch, a proper display of their masterful production techniques. Part of the power of this track comes from the break where the hook, rides, and vocals cut out completely for a fleeting moment, freezing the pressure at the max.


Next comes my personal favorite, “The Back.” The pulsing bassline provides a solid foundation for the dark percussion and pad-like lead. Once again, this one sounds best when played very loudly though a PA system.


“The Ropes” is a slightly darker offering with a more minimal vibe. It’s all about the groove here. Short claps, stabs, and thin vocal samples demonstrate a more subtle approach to Diction’s sound, allowing the bass to take over. This track rounds the release off nicely, continuing the duo’s streak of exceptionally strong tracks.

“Silk Owl” is out now on Death Proof Recordings.

Barbuto – Arcana EP


Barbuto (yes, Christian Barbuto) follows up his last track for Octopus Records, “Major Arcana,” with a fittingly titled release. The release is dark and groovy at the same time, and fits the Octopus sound very well. In addition, this EP mark’s Barbuto’s first solo release and official debut for the label.


Starting off the EP is “Arcana,” a very clubby track with a driving percussion beat. The track features pads and noise that filter in and out, and plenty of subtle touches to make it a killer. Shadowed vocals and a metallic stab complete the effect, making this a model Octopus track, and one that will be remembered and played for a long time to come.


The B-Side is “Twilight Imperium,” which opens with a crunchy beat. This track is has more of a late-night vibe, featuring deep stabs and distorted synth effects. And, of course, there are more of Barbuto’s signature noise sweeps. One of the most memorable parts of the track is the main break, where the bass is filtered into a deep and growling synth line before folding back into the mix.

“Arcana EP” is out now on Octopus Recordings! You can read our interview with Barbuto here.

Harvey McKay – Glasgow Safari

“Glasgow Safari” marks Harvey McKay’s third Drumcode EP. This one has a high standard to live up to, following the heavy modern classics “Silk Road” and “Lost.” Harvey rises to the challenge and triumphs beautifully.


The EP opens with a light track that is similar in style to “Silk Road.” “The Cure” sees a melodic stab melody mingling with sensual vocals to hypnotize the listener. Added to the mix is the typical Harvey percussion and slicing ride cymbals. Though maybe not as powerful as either “Silk Road” or “Lost,” this track still has a chance to go down in history as one of Harvey’s prime dance-floor weapons.


The first track leads well into “Venom,” a massive chord-driven monster. The track is darker than most of Harvey’s productions, making it perfect for Drumcode. Harvey builds the energy very quickly by bringing in distorted stabs, then quickly following up with classic-style vocals.


A real powerhouse, “Trick Baby” uses a heavy beat to create a groove that cannot be matched. There is no lack of Harvey’s signature vocals in this track, which fill the mix quite nicely, acting as both pads and leads. Well-placed breaks allow the energy to build to the maximum before releasing in a mad flurry.


The closer, “Kill Switch,” is softer than most Drumcode tracks, with a wooden percussion pulse in the background. This one features no melody or pads; only the grating, sliding beat with heavily delayed and ghostly vocals over the top. The hat and drum rhythms are very intricate, and this track has plenty of subtle detail. Interestingly, this track first debuted in one of Harvey’s mixes way back in 2010, but has been reworked so that it only slightly resembles the older version.

Out on now on Drumcode.

Jay Lumen – You Know


These days it’s hard to talk about Sian’s Octopus Records without mentioning Jay Lumen. Over the past year, He has become one of the staple artists of the label, putting out some of the hardest, strongest tracks that the label has released. A couple of weeks ago, Jay’s fourth solo EP for the label was released to the world. “You Know” sees Jay expanding his horizons even further, with two tracks that are both a forward step.


The EP opens with “You Know,” a worthy successor to masterful track “Rollin’.” The track features a pulsing melody and vocal pads that make it very dreamy, while the percussion constantly shifts to keep the groove moving. The final touch is the eerie, ghostly melody around halfway through that makes my spine tingle every time.


“Resurrection” is different than “You Know” in many ways, but the two are very complimentary, and “Resurrection” finishes of the EP with style. Over the tech-influenced beat is a huge delayed stab which, with the powerful snare drum, gives the track a big-room feel. At the break, the percussion drops out to make way for a liquid hook (with a sweep that may just be a water sample). With mad production skills like this, it’s no wonder Jay has been invited to display his talent on Octopus time and time again.

Out now on Octopus.

dubspeeka – Primary EP


dubspeeka has become very well known for his raw sound, with dark and minimal elements and heavy percussion. His label Skeleton Recordings releases music with the very high standard that is characteristic of dubspeeka. In addition, he has gained notoriety through his two EPs for Truesoul. He surprised everyone back in June of last year with his track “Bedlam,” a heavier tune that was released through Truesoul’s sister label, Drumcode. This track was a small taste of what was to come: a new four-track release for Drumcode, called “Primary,” with not a single weak track.


The EP opens with “Primary K272,” which itself opens with a chunky kick drum. The resonant, percussive ringing which carries the track along fades in, then makes way for the monstrous hook. Half way through, the track drops into a very emotional moment, with the hook filtering in and out, and mingling with the string section. And this doesn’t even come close the the melodic madness of the next track.


Following this groover is “Primary K293,” which is our favorite track from the release, and for a good reason. This track uses drums which are heavy enough for dancing, but won’t destroy the eardrums of someone who only wants to listen. The track is very hypnotic, building a pulsing groove from the beginning, then adding on with more melodic layers and an immediately recognizable delayed percussion stab. Finally, a faraway pad slowly fades in to bring the music to its peak. At the main break, he uses crisp sweeps that sound like shooting stars in audio form.


Like most Drumcode releases, this one has a track that would be considered to be a peak-time bomb, the type of track that you can drop suddenly and make the crowd go crazy. This track is “Primary K290,” which ties as the first track to be played in a live recording (in DCR217 with “Primary K293”). This one has a heavy-hitting percussive lead with lots of reverb. Half way through, claps and massive ambiance are used to build the energy to an absolute peak. To top it off, the breaks are simple and effective, cutting almost all elements besides the lead.


The closing track is as soft as would be expected. “Primary K256” uses lighter percussion (with the exception of its heavy, distorted kick) and reverberated vocal samples. Overall, the track is very minimal, but what little elements he uses are used as effectively as possible. Windy, sweeping synths are used at the breaks to make contrast heavily with the rest of the track.

“Primary” perfectly demonstrates dubspeeka’s versitility, and these masterful productions will be remembered for a long time to come.

Out now on Drumcode.

Luigi Madonna – Background


Luigi Madonna made his debut on Drumcode last year with a storm of an EP. ‘Primo’ was received extremely well by many major DJs, so it is no wonder that Luigi has written a second EP for the label. This one isn’t a bit weaker then the last one, if a little different.

To start off the release is ‘Back to School (Let’s Jack).’ This track carries a surprising amount of energy for how minimal it is. He uses a grooving bassline that doesn’t distract from the other elements, but keeps the sound moving. The track can be recognized from a mile away by its harsh stabs, but one of the most unique elements is the use of processed and chopped vocals, which give the track a very psychedelic feel.

The second track was the first to be played in Adam’s sets, only a couple of months after ‘Primo’ was released. ‘Unconditional Beauty’ is the only link to Luigi’s Drumcode past. It features a heavy kick drum and delayed percussive bass line. When the pads, stabs, and hats join the groove, the result is something a little bit reminiscent of ‘I Believe.’ Every bit of this track has a metallic ring, sounding like it was recorded in a steel warehouse.

‘Why Not’ is a high energy, fast paced rave-style track. Similarly to ‘Back to School,’ this one is very minimal, building on the low end with hats and delayed claps and vocals. After the first break, the reverberated oldskool synth finalizes the electric atmosphere. Then it drops out to allow the pressure to build once again.

‘Singer One’ finishes the release. It begins as usual by adding layers of lows. After that the entire track transforms into a deep groove machine as the vocals and pads come in. The track progresses to the middle section, which feels like a breath of air before continuing the plunge into the depths.

‘Background’ is out now on Drumcode.

 

Alan Fitzpatrick & Drumcode Over the Years – The Top 10


Alan Fitzpatrick rose to prominence in the techno scene over five years ago, and since then he has proven his almost supernatural abilities as a producer. In 2008, he released his track ‘9 Hours Later,’ which became an immediate hit. Soon afterwards, Adam Beyer found Alan’s music, and immediately signed an EP to his label, Drumcode Records. Since then, Alan has released an incredible 9 more solo EPs for the label. This article is a celebration of this, and we have selected the 10 tracks that we think are the best from all of Alan’s solo Drumcode EPs. And now the countdown begins…

10. Prometheus (From ‘Life Through Different Eyes’)

This track takes its time to build up to the lovely melodic pad progression in the middle. It’s droning bassline makes it feel hot and sweaty, which is always what we look for in a techno track!

9. Rubix (From ‘Static / Rubix’)

‘Rubix’ has made the top 10 at number 9 for its sheer energy. The bouncing bass, along with the distant percussion and synths make this track perfect for the club, and it has proven playable even today, a fact demonstrated by the reaction when Adam dropped the track in one of his recent sets.

8. Face of Rejection (From ‘Face of Rejection EP’)

This track is very memorable. At the beginning, the pulsing, constant synth line has already begun, and the delayed percussion stab fades in. The track progresses relentlessly, bringing pads and spooky ambiance, making the song feel like a long and haunting train ride.

7. Gridlock (From ‘Paranoize’)

‘Gridlock’ is pure darkness, with subtle pads and percussion. It almost sounds like a follow up to ‘Face of Rejection,’ as it has a similar relentless feel, but this one uses clever breaks and rising pads to apply constant pressure to the groove. The result is an effect that only the best producers can achieve.

6. Turn Down the Lights (From ‘Turn Down the Lights’)

‘Turn Down the Lights’ is deeper. It is similar to some of the stuff he’s been releasing lately on his own record label. The most interesting thing about this track is the definite a-b structure, with one part consisting of piano stabs, while the other has a deeper bass melody.

5. Always Something For Nothing (From ‘Life Through Different Eyes’)

This track paved the way for all of Alan’s more recent Drumcode releases. It features the heavy kick and bass that is prominent now, which, for some, defines his sound. It was also one of his first tracks to experiment with vocals.

4. Skeksis (From ‘Skeksis’)

This is easily Alan’s most recognizable track, and is already a modern techno classic. It showcases a wide range of abilities, including vocal production and effects, a superb bassline, and smooth, subtle pads.

3. The Catalyst (From ‘Turn Down the Lights’)

We are now down to the top 3, starting with ‘The Catalyst,’ off Alan’s most recent EP. This track was designed to be played loudly. At first the track seems very minimal, but since we are talking about Alan, there is more to the song than meets the ear. The melody line is constantly pulsing and jumping over octaves. The bass is unique, completely stopping during the second and fourth beats.

2. We Are Forever Young (From ‘The Tetra’)

Before ‘We Are Forever Young’ was released, I spent the longest time looking for a good quality recording, because I knew it was special. As usual, Alan managed to make this one stand out from his other songs with multiple layered pads and soulful vocals. In addition, everything but the pads drop off during the break to show the listener just how complex they really are. The other thing that gets me about this track is the bass: it sounds impossibly heavy without distorting anything or causing deafness.

1. In the Beginning (From ‘In the Beginning’)

We have reached the number 1 track, which is (drumroll, please) ‘In the Beginning!’ Alan pulled out all the stops for this one, using all of the knowledge he gained from producing the hit track ‘Skeksis,’ and then applying and expanding it. The reverberated pad and metallic chords that build up in the middle just might cause the dance floor to literally explode on a good day. And, being the lover of raves that he is, Alan included an oldskool rave beat during the break. In my opinion, this track is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Alan Fitzpatrick’s newest EP, ‘Turn Down the Lights,’ is out now on Drumcode. You can read our recent review of the EP here.