Graphic by Eno Henze
It’s hard to say why specific sounds and genres ebb and flow in and out of the collective dance music conscience, but that motion itself is readily mirrored in our own listening habits. Some of us yin (dark and driving techno) while others yang (butt house): enjoying everything, but preferring certain sounds over others at any given moment. 2011 was, personally, a real house year, from vocal to acid and all that lies in between, and yet charts, DJs, and fellow aficionados suggest there was plenty of good techno around as well. So while I checked out and bought a solid amount of techno, as a whole the darker stuff just wasn’t cutting it for me. Leave it to wunderkind (minus the “kind”) DVS1 and the inaugural release for his new label, Hush, to pull me out of my downward spiral of chasing 707 claps and Robert Owens vocals.
Truly, from the first bar of “Evolve” I fell back in love (head over heels, really) with techno. Zak Khutoretsky kicks off his in-house label with no frills, dropping us in medias res into the exceptional A-side wherein a hypnotic, Dan Bell-esque synth line is endlessly tweaked. Simple bass stabs, unabating percussion, and the slightest hint of strings all aid in inducing a sort of delirium that only the best can pull of with so few elements. “Submerge” on the flip is, as its title might imply, aquatic and waterlogged. It’s content to stand still and observe, where “Evolve” buzzes around in its own private k-hole. Rather than attempting to break any molds, Hush’s first release sees DVS1 take that most elemental model of minimalist, Midwest techno and execute as best he can. Lucky for us, his best is something quite extraordinary.