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Slovak Techno Roundup 1

Who's Afraid of Linear Techno? Part 57...

Olga+Jozef - Olga+Jozef #10 - Signal

This is the latest in a highly respected series of releases from Olga + Jozef, a collective of the key figures on the Slovak techno scene, in this case Dalo a.k.a. Loktibrada. Olga + Jozef releases are infrequent and limited and though tracks are often under four minutes they always leave an impression, standing out from more routine techno. ‘Olga + Jozef’ is now as much a sound as an artist or a label. It represents the industrialised Slovak approach to techno; unashamedly functional, linear, and direct, but full of post-industrial mechanised detail. This latest dispatch is a little less stringent than previous releases but still at the dynamic edge of the hard minimal techno scene. The opening track has the immense euphoric industrial reverb so typical of Slovak tracks but its punitive rhythms and harsh details are offset by precision dance loops that create a brighter atmosphere than usual. A2 is (by the standards of the genre) even lighter, a more conventional club track with metallic details and an optimistic tone. B1 is a classic Olga + Jozef track – harsher and faster, but with sharp, bright details and a subtle tribal effect broken up by pauses. B2 combines an echoing metallic tube sound with squelchy bass, creating a simultaneously crisis-ridden and uplifting atmosphere. A tantalising fade suggests more to come…

Supagrupa Praga (UPA 03)

Emerging more recently than Olga + Jozef, Supagrupa is one of the other key Slovak producers. The sound is a little less austere or primitive than some O+J, but works from (and develops) the same strict Slovak techno template. A1 Moliere is a dark, medium-fast slice of scything techno. The looped mechanical details create a real sense of imminent (controlled) menace. A2 Praga contains even more explicitly industrial sounds. This is a relentless, clanking track, offset by warm bass and a smoother sequence towards the end. B1 Pozdrav doma is (relatively) brighter, its heavy percussion offset by higher pitched, bleepy tones. B2 Zimomriavky is slower but remains forceful and is the most unusual and impressive track here. Despite a classic Downwards style machine sequence lurking in the background and a seductive deadly edge, the track seems almost cheerful, perhaps inspired by further visions of industrialised techno progress.