Surface Tension.003 - Saturday, May 3rd
PERC (Perc Trax)
SHAWN O'SULLIVAN (Avian, L.I.E.S)
PERC (Perc Trax)
UK techno has always occupied an odd space. It has little relation to the Hardcore Continuum—that line of distinctly British club music that encompasses Hardcore, Drum and Bass, and UK Garage—instead taking its cues from the rougher areas of Detroit and Berlin, minus the former's futurist escapism and the latter's hedonism. It's a style that's seen a resurgence in recent years, beginning in part with Karl O'Connor (Regis)'s involvement in Sandwell District and Berlin's return to harsher clubbing realms.
Ali Wells has been operating at this forefront of this innovative techno for years under the moniker Perc, both as a DJ and as labelrunner of the renowned Perc Trax. His Perc Trax label has been a breeding ground for young producers like Truss and Forward Strategy Group, serving as an inspiration to upstart labels like Avian, just as O'Connor's Downwards served to Perc Trax.
Wells' debut album, 2011's Wicker and Steel, crystallized this trend, leading the Guardian to compare Wells' bleak soundscapes to contemporary Britain's flailing socio-political climate. Because of all of this, Wells' second album, The Power and the Glory, is not just another industrial techno record, but a totem release on which this style of music can lean. Like Surgeon before him, Wells understands an album requires a defter touch than a standard 12". It's less strict and formalist—and better—than Wicker and Steel, making room for tracks like "Speek", an eerie, thrumming soundscape featuring Factory Floor's Nik Colk Void. DJ set promises to be similarly intense, with a relentless driving energy polished on the decks of seminal clubs such as Berghain, Fabric, and Tresor.
SHAWN O'SULLIVAN (Avian, L.I.E.S, The Corner)
NYC (Live PA)
Shawn O’Sullivan adopted the new 400PPM moniker for what’s described as “stark, rattling techno,” fitting in snugly on Avian, who have developed a defined aesthetic since the label launched thanks to material from SHXCXCHCXSH, MPIA3 and Shifted under his various monikers. The New York-based producer is the first Stateside Avian addition thus far, and although surprising brings with him a deep knowledge of techno developed over a broad range of musical projects.
Most recently seen working with Beau Wanzer, O’Sullivan has also featured on L.I.E.S. as Vapauteen and recorded perhaps our favourite WT Records release with last year’s Free Flight 12″. He also has a more storied history as part of prolific new wave trio Led Er Est and is set to release material on Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax later this year as Further Reductions, a project O’Sullivan shares with Katie Rose.
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