The future is here with a mind bending musical essence from two of the very best to ever do.
Electronic music can be hard to explain, sometimes. It comes in many forms, sometimes you move, dance and flicker; sometimes you think, smile and gracefully move; another time you might feel, cry and feel lost; and others, its simply an excursion through brilliance, an approach that became very apparent through the mid 80s and into the 1990s. Electronic music graced a side perhaps not seen before, where producers aimed at enveloping both the mind, the soul and the body, creating scapes that simply bound the listener into them. An experience that has graced many other genres, but this became almost part and parcel with the new generation of US and European producers that were the babies of chicago house and Detroit Techno. Arguably, techno had more of an influence on this side of dance music, where the music graced new technologies, contexts and environments, swimming within a sea of opportunities, textures and colours. Deepness and feel, coupled with experience, became the new norm, and did it produce some timeless results.
Move D and Namlook fall very much within this category of musicians. Their explorations of sound is akin to many of the greats of IDM, 90s deep house, and dub techno, and its as if they combine the ingredients of this genres into something blended, seamless and epic. This record feels and opens up like a morphing being, slowly revealing itself to the listener through its subtle use of condensed pads and swirling key lines. Always daring, always caring, these two have created many enjoyable and varied releases over the year, there will definitely be more reviews of their music, but we focus today on their 2001 release, ‘Wired’. Strap in, its gunna be a bumpy ride.
The opener, ‘Softwired’, almost combines the extraordinary with the absurd, mainly in relation to its length. At 27 minutes long, this is a colossal song, with one comparable epic in regards to experimentation is Pink Floyd’s ‘Echos’. It takes balls to embark on something like this, but nothing seems to hold this duo back in the slightest. Starting off from a small little world filled with pads, the song builds in low end intensity with little key lines filling the gaps, as the pads swell from the deep then plunge right back down there. The almost calming nature of these sounds lull the listener, drifting back and forth through every neurone. The song instantly evokes a feeling of warmth, soft to the touch. Around 12 minutes in, a breather, with some chords jumping in and around, building on that slow burning vibe from before and injecting it with an overload of electronic soul. A benchmark, a reference if you will, in this tunes upward trajectory, as if its moving through sequences, the beat allowing the chords to move from one plane to the next. This feels like the dance bit, taking elements from rave and up tempo techno stylings, before the real bit of magic comes in. A fucking guitar solo, a jazz guitar solo. What on earth? As the low ends come back in, the high octane takes a back seat to George Benson-esq grooves. Delicate, light, fluffy, crispy, this is as bold a move as any, and one that still surprises and delights this reviewer immensely. This seems like the scene of beauty, where we engage with a mountain in the evening light. The other elements move around a bit before bringing themselves back into line to feel along with this most marvellous of sounds. Guitar?! on a dub techno song?! sheer and unrivalled genius. And then, fades to black, and the song builds itself up one more time, as if we know it was over yet. This part of the song brings back in the dub pads, swirling once again, with more familiar techno drums and bass lines coming into play. It descends into this low fi journey, taking the elements through yet another shake up, to a point where the song has completed itself. Jesus, take me now.
Up next comes ‘Hardwired – Tagent’. This is real real shit right here. The instrumentation of second wave Detroit techno turned on its head entirely, with the effects in full here. The harsh and reverbarating top line smacks you right in the head, with the drums turned way way down, so far down below this. This is what glorious techno is all about, creating that middle ground for the listener between the instrumentation and the drums. Then, as if to contradict that theory, deep as hell pads come gliding through and land themselves right in the middle, occupying that space effortlessly. The drums kick up a notch here, with other noises and sounds coming way in. This feels like an experiment in sound, in atmosphere, the tune evolving so naturally but managing to combine the heartfelt with the industrial so intelligently. If the opener was a journey through a stretched out techno paradise, this is the condensed edition, grabbing you hard and just taking you along. Little breakbeat feels combine in as if they aren’t even having to try anymore, the synths and low ends building and building in both ears to mind bending levels now. Up next comes the second part in this trilogy, ‘Hardwired – Hypotenuse’. Corrrr, ya beauty. This one introduces itself straight off the bat, the transition less smooth but no less effective. A pure belter, with strong hi hats and cymbals combining with deadly consequences over harrowing and moody synths. Maintaining that weird element to maximum effect, the duo keep throwing in those left field sounds that add that little bit of extra onto an already perfect techno track. Finally, comes ‘Hardwired – Asymptote’. The comedown, an excursion through a world of synths, the digital age. A fitting end to three tracks that just contrasted so well with the ambitious opener. Two sides of the same coin, showing that techno can feel, its a living being with arms, legs, and a heart.
‘Wear your love out’ brings us towards the tail end of the record. A deep and hazy trip that worms its way around the mind, the pads take centre stage here, along with their signature use of sounds and feels. This is an emotive one right here, a song that captivates in its contained little world, not needing to stretch out or move too fast, just content to show its colours as something that bleeds affection and late night window gazing. Whatever your mood, this one will probably reflect that and help you comprehend a bit more. This is certainly techno at its fullest, not showing that energy is all that is needed, but that the more intricate, well considered and almost quirky factors of it is what created this genre in the first place. An interpretation, yes, but simply a connection to its roots, its core, as a genre. With some German thrown in there for good measure. ‘1969’ completes this chapter, and moves us way over across the spectrum towards what feels like the unknown. A window into pure imagination, where the two seemed to have allowed their minds just go with the flow, feeling the energy of their creativeness and the equipment at their disposal just go for it. A rampant and heavy beat gives way for a ray of light at the end, with keys coming in towards the end. A final thought, the last page. And to have both these elements come into play during the final minutes is the best ending imaginable.
If techno had a side to it that embraced everything that ran through it, this album is surely it. Displaying all the elements we have familiarised ourselves with, and not just combining them, as that has been done before, but churning out something new. Now that is something. And to do this over an album that embraced the concept side of album making, makes it even more remarkable. The journey reads like a road running through places that we know, but we close our eyes just when it all seems a little bit unknown, and we end up in a place of new delights and experiences. Rarely does a record do this, let alone a techno record, that creates a world where atmospheres are crafted so beautifully, its just enough to sit and simply breathe. An album that can be rightly called a masterpiece. A landmark electronic album, and one that will stand the test of time, no matter where or when it is placed.
listen here (recommended to listen to the whole thing the entire way through):