You have to check out the latest release from Montreal’s Intr_version label called Entropy by Tomas Jirku. You may remember Jirku from his amazing releases on the Force Inc. and Substractif labels. Now the TO artist returns with 11 tracks of dubbed-out minimal tech madness. Take the dubbiness of the Chain Reaction label and the click hop shuffle of SND and then turn the lights waaaay down low and you’re halfway there. Perfect for decompressing during that post–6:00 AM comedown, Entropy will surely cement Intr_version’s place as one of the strongest experimental labels around.
David Kristian has been a staple in the Montreal experimental techno scene for over a decade. He’s produced some of the most innovative and beautiful music for labels like Leaf, Schematic, Alien8, Lo Recordings, Law and Auder, and Tigerbeat6. His latest disc, My Three Suns (Piehead), moves away from the abstract sound-design sound of his previous Cricklewood and Room Tone albums and brings in a more concrete, accessible, beat-driven, and subtly sci-fi sound à la Sawdust, Sinedust, Squaredust. His melodies are understated, delicate, and haunting (the creepiest moment being the guest vocals by fellow Montreal experimental artist [sic] on tracks 10 and 12). Limited to 311 copies, make sure to check pieheadrecords.com for details.
Of course you can’t mention the words Canadian techno without talking about Halifax’s Andrew Duke. With his Cognition record label and website and his In The Mix radio show, Duke has been a major player on the techno, house, and IDM scenes since Aerosmith smashed through Run DMC’s wall and performed the worst choreography in the history of MTV. Now Duke is flipping the script and making the switch from journalist to artist with his first full-length album on France’s Bip-Hop label. Sprung kicks off by putting a dark twist to old-skool electro. What follows are 10 tracks of loopy minimal techno that progresses from the watery audio of “Pharmakoi” to the dense, gritty ambience of “Chromosome 20” and the pulsating abstract wash of closer “Ut Ut”—heady electronica that’s not afraid to keep it moving. Make sure to check out his other very different-sounding releases, Physical and Mental Health on Dial (San Francisco;dialrecords.com) and More Destructive Than Organized on Staalplaat (The Netherlands; staalplaat.com), which are limited-edition releases available only through those websites.
Years back, bored with conventional instruments, many indie rockers discovered the world of electronics and traded in their Fender Jaguars and Marshall stacks for a G3 laptop and a cracked copy of the latest audio-processing software. Now a lot of those IDM/indie rockers are rediscovering their roots and re-introducing live instruments and textures to their music. One of those artists is New Zealand’s Signer, whose latest effort Low Light Dreams is a masterful balance between the complex organic harmonics of guitars, bass, and voice and the calculated rhythms and frequencies of processed drum machines and synths. While clicky beats and shuffles slowly chug each track along, intangible melodies and melodic drones churn on the surface. An album so heavily dubbed-out, the next pressings should be marked with a “Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to this album” sticker. Chicago meets Kingston and Berlin in a dub meltdown. Brilliant. For fans of the Substractif and Kranky labels.
Turning up the “rock” knob on the indie-rock vs. electronic- wank equation comes Austin trio The Octopus Project. Their self- produced debut album Identification Parade on Peek-A-Boo Records shifts from heady incidental guitar manipulations and melodies to a pounding four-on-the-floor workout. Think a cheap Stereolab who don’t mind getting drunk and dancing their asses off. The opposite qualities of rock and techno may seem slammed together in a sort of half-assed way, but the rawness and energy that result are definitely part of the charm. This album seems to scream, “Indie kids rebel! Dance like no one’s looking!”