Some thoughts about dub-techno, PCM, and Atheus
80% of what people call “dub-techno” today is not dub-techno. It’s not because you have a kind of static dark bass-line and/or two chords running through a delay FX, that your track is dub-techno. Generally this type of music is more or less a part of what I call electronic wallpaper music (the soundtrack you hear in some bars and clubs). Sometimes it’s ok music, sometimes it’s shit (but never super deep shit). Most of the time it’s like lounge music, it’s not disturbing you at all, you can drink a pint of beer with your friends with that mood in the background, it’s pretty gentle. No offence to the ones who make that kind of sound, but it’s generic and doesn’t captivate me at all.
The same mistakes are made when saying that PCM is a dub-techno label, especially because of some specific tracks on PCM02, PCM003, and PCM05. But it’s not true.
There is only one dub-techno track, and it’s No solution by Roger 23 on PCM02 :
Terra incognita is also not dub-techno at all, it’s pure (minimal) deep-techno closer to Swayzak / Theorem than DeepChord. Nothing dark, no reference to Jamaica, to Basic Channel, nothing grey or brown, it’s big blue :
And finally Tim Dornsbusch‘s Spaceperiode on PCM05. It’s sci-fi, greyish Orwellian techno, call it how do you want (for me it’s the dark side of Roger 23’s Elemental 7), but there is definitely no dub-techno genre in here :
That said, I wanted to talk about something from the real dub-techno sphere, the “new” Basic Channel record entitled Q-Loop. I wasn’t expecting anything, BC is at the top of the mountain of the electronic music History. Carl Craig told me once that Phylyps Trak was one of the most essential tracks he has listened, and which changed in a very strong way his definition of experimentation, and beyond, experimentation of techno produced by artists at that time. The limits were pushed far ahead in a new sonic territory that it was urgent to explore.
Basic Channel is a legend, a true mythology, nothing can’t even scratch the surface of their reputation (think about Moritz Von Oswald, Mark Ernestus, Dj Pete, Hard Wax, Dubplates & Mastering…). So, I’ve listened the tracks of Q-Loop on Youtube.
Hum, what to say… It’s hypnotic and subtle, but please don’t fall into the trend ala Villalobos’ fans with all of his boring tracks only ostensibly loved by stupid hipsters or cocaine addicts. Of course it’s BC, but just turning a loop into a full track, and add two other tracks previously released brings nothing new under the sun. Although I have to admit the charm of seeing a new sleeve with the Basic Channel logo is cool. I’m apparently not the only one, it’s already in the top sales of most of the online shops.
But I’ve not grown up with BC, I was too young. I’ve grown up with the dub-techno generation of the 2000’s. There are still names / tracks which float in my mind, but I would like to focus on a very special artist who represents for me la crème de la crème, the direct son of BC without ripping them off (like too many suckers did very badly), with his own original “darker than deep” style : Atheus.
Ouhh brothers and sisters, what this name creates in my mind and body… a lot of great associations of sensations and feelings. Serge Collin is a “cousin”. We had some correspondence during the golden age of Myspace, in French because he’s Canadian, more precisely from Quebec.
I strongly recommend his music if you want to listen to true timeless dub-techno. Just with a handful of records between 2007 and 2012, he has created his own legend. Take a look at his discography on Discogs.
Sadly he has stopped releasing music (his last Ep entitled Das Ende in 2012). A cd-compilation has been made by the excellent Canadian label Silent Season, putting his best works previously released (for most of them) on vinyl only.
A T H E U S is the man. Check his Youtube channel, you can hear great dark ambient tracks / experimentations with synths / modular (Pittsburgh’s Foundation ! :-) and effects (he has also released in 2009 Soundscapes & Drones, a great album in this vein). I really like this jam, with a superb video matching perfectly the mood :
A last one for the road :
Fucking great tracks for eternity in the dark deepness of your mind lost in the infinity of the universe.