Anthony Child, aka Surgeon, exploded onto the scene in 1995 with the now classic Surgeon EP and since has become one of the leading figures of the UK techno movement. His debut EP is regarded by the wider community as seminal, as it launched him straight into the spotlight where he has remained to this very day. In fact, to gauge how big the Birmingham techno maestro is, FACT magazine dubbed him as ‘arguably the finest techno DJ in the World’ just over ten years ago and to this day the tag arguably remains. Child’s unique sound is that of tough techno immersed within an industrial murk whilst incorporating plenty of sophisticated dub space and tech funk.
Contemporary Surgeon sets are infamous for experimentation with new DJ technologies, embracing cutting edge hardware and software solutions that increasingly blur the boundaries between a DJ set and a live performance. Using techno as a platform to showcase his artistic skills, he is able to mix up everything from contemporary bass music, all the way to Rephlex-esque electronica to produce a coherent yet intense and righteously banging whole. In fact, over the past few years Childs has began to incorporate modular synthesis into his sets to provide a raw sound with an unpredictability that sends listeners into a frenzy. Surgeon is a certified selector and is one of the most inventive and intuitive DJs/ live performers in the game.
In terms of records, Surgeon has been releasing music for over twenty years and one of his first came in the form of Magneze, released on Karl O’Connor’s Downwards label in 1994. This caused an excitement within the techno sphere at the time and led to more exposure via remix work for Dave Clarke and inclusion on Jeff Mills seminal ‘Live At the Liquid Rooms CD’. These early works were credited for their raw energy and harsh edge, leading to a first Tresor album release called Basictonvocabulary, a record full of depth. Since, Surgeon has been prolific with three albums on Tresor, Counterbalance and Dynamic Tension EPs, as well as his Breaking The Frame, From Farthest Known Objects and Luminosity Device LPs. An extensive catalogue full of techno gems which have essentially influenced the whole wider techno scene including the popular Ostgut Ton/ Berghain soundtrack.
Recently, Surgeon released an album in 2018 called Luminosity Device, recognised for its slamming dancefloor qualities which have been finely tuned for the systematic connections between club speakers and dancers. Perhaps a new approach from Surgeon, this has been followed up by Europa Code released just a month ago on Munich’s Ilian Tape. Featuring some of Surgeon’s most deadly gear to date, the four tracks find him fully at-one with his modular set-up as he toys with deep Detroit-style chord progressions and subtle chords. Comparing this with the rest of his works, it’s clear to see the huge amount of versatility that Surgeon possesses.
The past two decades have enabled Surgeon to cement himself as the best around. He has played at every relevant club, event and festival the scene has to offer, whether that be solo or as his collaborative project with Regis, The British Murder Boys. Surgeon continues to push the outermost boundaries and there is still so much more to come.
1. Laksa – Fire Kit EP
Bristol-born bass explorer Laksa is one of the most intriguing and talented producer-come-DJs that has contributed to the contemporary dance scene. Usually channeling murky and bass-heavy techno that is so popular down in the South West, Laksa constantly puts out music that ranges from soothing ambience all the way to head-spinning dancefloor focussed tracks. His high-quality output has received a huge amount of attention, and having first released on Beneath’s Ministry label back in 2015, Laksa has since racked up records on titan labels such as TImedance, Whities and Ilian Tape. For his most recent release, Laksa has worked closely with Hessle Audio in creating a three-track EP packed with forward thinking and rowdy dance music. The A-side showcases dancehall infused percussion with layers of sub-bass warmth, whilst the B-side ups tempo with broken rhythmic energy that 2020 so desperately needs.
Tracklist: A1. Fire Kit A2. Belly Brocka B1. T’s Tent [Released: 06.11.20 on Hessle Audio]
2. Henry Greenleaf – Caught
Henry Greenleaf is another Bristol-based producer who has been fashioning his own individual sound over the past few years. The young artist essentially draws upon elements of a whole host of genres including jungle, footwork, dubstep and techno in order to create an end product that possesses an intricate energy capable of withstanding a wide selection of dance floors. Recently, Greenleaf released a record called Fold Together on his very own label Par Avion, consisting of four growling soundtracks built for the afterhours. However, it is his most recent release on ARTS which has taken centre stage. His four-track EP called Caught showcases some mesmerizing percussion samples intertwined with zig-zagging synths to create something of a sound design masterclass. Greenleaf is here to stay. Watch out.
Tracklist: A1. Caught A2. Pass Up B1. Sign Replacement B2. Formula [Released: 14.10.20 on ARTS]
3. Bakongo – 3 x 2 EP
Bakongo is the well known moniker of UK legend Roska, an artist who works across UK funk, house and various mutated strains of bass-heavy club music. Over the years Roska has continued to push the boundaries of sound through a series of successful releases on established labels such as Numbers, Tectonic and Hotflush, on top of two albums for Rinse Recordings in 2012. On top of this, he has his very own imprint called Roska Kicks & Snares (RKS) which has catalogued over fifty releases from the likes of MA1, Champion and Doc Daneeka since its birth in 2009. Having been a stalwart of the underground London sound for well over a decade, Roska continues to help define the UK Funky genre with his unique production techniques and most recently through his Bakongo monker. Bringing his special brand of UK rhythm tracks to Livity Sound, Bakongo offers a sound on 3 x 2 that is raw, dark and precise, fusing house music with a raw sound system focus. Enjoy this one.
Tracklist: A1. Oww A2. Grainy B1. Tribal Warrior B2. 3 x 2 [Released: 30.10.20 on Livity Sound]
4. LCM – Signal Quest
Orange Milk Records started as a small business with self-preservation and self promotion in mind with a relatively small vision. As an experimental label from Ohio, they mainly specialise in electronica, vaporwave and minimalism which has taken off over the past few years. Marking their most recent release is LCM, a Minneapolis/ Oakland-based project between the trio of Lynn Avery, Cole Pulice and Mitch Stahlmann. The group focuses on playable networks structured in hardware, software and electro-acoustic processing that are intended to connect, record and react as one whole organism. Their record Signal Quest is a final rendering of fantastical planes that spontaneously emerged through summer practice in 2019. The result is for the listener to immerse oneself within; perhaps as an avatar, or as a sprite floating through interconnected portals and viewpoints.
Tracklist: A1. Lense Phase A2. Starfield B1. Hologram Chamber B2. Palace Of Chimes [Released: 30.10.19 on Orange Milk]
5. Magic Oneohtrix Point Never – Oneohtrix Point Never
Daniel Lopatin is best known by the recording alias Oneohtrix Point Never, a Brooklyn-based American musician working within the electronic and ambient music scene. In the mid-2000’s, he began to release synth-based recordings and received critical acclaim for his compilation Rifts in 2009. Over the years, the American has essentially become one of the most frequently discussed experimental artists in the world and is responsible for multiple big name soundtracks including the recent Adam Sandler film Uncut Gems. His music has always tended to warp sounds together from the past and present, creating weirdly wonderful pop hooks and thrilling rhythms which make his music accessible to everyone. For his latest album Magic, Lopatin offers an expansive, yet experimental tribute to radio culture and how it cossets us in our lives, especially in this time of crisis. A direct record, delivered in his trademark, glitchy and ghostly way.
Tracklist: A1. Cross Talk I A2. Auto & Allo B1. Long Road Home B2. Cross Talk II + more… [Released: 30.10.20 on Warp]