Jeff Derringer, Tarantula

[Perc Trax]

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New York’s role in techno has always been overshadowed by the rich heritage of Detroit and Berlin, and some of its long-standing producers like Function and Adam X have only enjoyed wider acclaim in recent years. While it would be possible to speculate endlessly as to why New York was always the bridesmaid and never the bride, there is no doubt the city and its artists no longer play second fiddle. Apart from the aforementioned artists, the city’s house scene has also gained international acclaim — which has partly to do with the fact that producers like Levon Vincent and DJ Qu imbue their releases with a raw, steely sensibility — and parties like Oktave and The Bunker are flying the flag for underground techno in the Big Apple. Following Derek Plaslaiko’s debut proper for Perc Trax last year, it was only a matter of time before one of the new wave of New York techno DJ/producers would follow. Although Oktave founder/resident Jeff Derringer has relocated to Chicago, Tarantula serves as a reminder of New York’s contributions since the early ’90s.

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The rough acid line at the center of “Tarantula” reminds the listener of the grungy 303 techno Synewave used to release; the doubled-up, reverberating claps are reminiscent of Function’s more recent releases on Sandwell District; and the panning riff that gradually dominates the track is a well-weighted blend of the old and new, equal parts classic Plastikman and contemporary O/V/R and Blueprint. That Derringer manages to seamlessly integrate all of these elements says a lot about his production skills. Like the make-up of the title track, the remixes are also a fusion of the past and the contemporary. In the experienced corner is Mark Stewart aka Claro Intelecto. The UK producer may be keeping a low profile lately, but his version of “Tarantula” shows he is still a force to be reckoned with. Basing his version on dubby beats that sound inspired by classic Noo York garage — as opposed to UK “garridge” — Stewart skews the sound design towards a European sensibility. The end results are grainy, almost distorted beats underpinning firing percussion and the kind of gentle chords that prevailed on Metanarrative. Iori’s dub version also deploys dubby beats, but the overall sound is more contemporary, rooted in the panning, grungy riffing and bassy menace that has become European techno’s dominant narrative. These words can only capture some of the release’s feelings: like the city that birthed this release, you need to experience it yourselves to hear the many stories bubbling beneath the surface.

tampopo  on March 17, 2011 at 9:47 AM


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