Alex Cortex, Non-Rigid Designator


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With a discography dating back to 1996, Alex Cortex already has several tremendous records to his name on Out To Lunch, Ann Aimee, and Platzhirsch Schallplatten. Though probably a favorite of several of your own favorite artists, this discretely prolific Heidelberg resident’s name isn’t one that gets bandied about much. His latest, lane-shifting EP for Pomelo probably won’t change that, but that’s no reason for you not to get familiar.

The ten-minute a-side, taken from a live performance at one of Cologne’s regular Platzhirsch showcases, is hard-line, abrasive techno. No concessions to melody here, the only distractions from the pounding percussion are a layer of unnerving beeps that sound like nothing so much as a neglected car alarm. It’s impressive in its single-mindedness, but I confess to being much more inclined toward the record’s less aggro B side. The bass line worming through “Doxa” is all sultry funk. The “Safety Dance” blips transmitted throughout the track give it a mock-futuristic sheen, but the tense, slo-mo groove creates a sleazy humidity that, at least to my ears, summons the Digital Underground’s “Freaks of the Industry.” This set’s finest track, though, takes yet another direction, this time turning to the deep, melodic, and atmospheric. Classic Detroit, “Deon” tips its hat to Skynet-era Infiniti, but its strongest similarities are to Drexciya (along the line’s of 1996’s “You Don’t Know”). In the past, Cortex has dismissed the term “old school” as a loaded name for something quite simple: good music. The distinction applies here. If I’ve resorted to comparisons to canonized classics, it’s just because there’s nobody else making moody electro of this caliber these days.

chrisdisco  on May 6, 2009 at 4:01 AM

glad to see cortex getting some airtime – his eps over the last year or so have been seriously good.

tibal  on May 6, 2009 at 1:53 PM

The a side is really something.Strangely I found the B side boring.A matter of taste.Good EP! Cortex has been making music for a long long time, and he ‘s well known in the techno underground scene.I’ m surprised you describe him as someone that is unknown.He’ s one of my fav producer.

Chris Burkhalter  on May 6, 2009 at 2:43 PM

I hadn’t meant to characterize him as “unknown.” What I meant was that, for a producer who boasts both a deep back catalog and new material that’s engaging all sorts of new trends, his name doesn’t carry the kind of cachet of say a Move D. Not that he’s an unknown, just that he’s pretty underrated and undercharted these days. Maybe I should’ve just put it that way.

hutlock  on May 6, 2009 at 4:08 PM

So more “low profile” than “unknown”? That sounds about right.

Chris Burkhalter  on May 6, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Yeah, that’s what I was getting at.

Paul  on May 7, 2009 at 10:38 AM

This is a really beautiful track from this ep. The melody reminds me of Drexciya. Cortex is an awesome producer and Pomelo has put outgreat records over the years, The Private Lightning Six release (a Patrick Pulsinger collaboration) is one of my faourite releases. Paul

daniel  on May 12, 2009 at 3:01 PM

the best is yet to come! watch out!! 😉

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