Monday, 29 March 2010
Deep Teknologi - T. Williams EP [Local Action]
I don't usually post my reviews from Sonic Router up here, but this record is so good it really does bear repeating. The music on Deep Teknologi's upcoming T. Williams EP is some of the most brutally functional and hypnotic funky to have emerged for ages. These ears are already seriously looking forward to whatever they do next.
As befits a nuum-generated music, funky seems to be undergoing a real creative expansion at the moment. It’s largely due to the magpie-like nature it shares with its closest cousins, reaching outward and grabbing any scrap of particularly shiny detritus to throw into the melting pot; from defiantly acoustic elements - traditional Middle Eastern melodies (Monkey Steak) and ritualistic drum-circle percussion (DVA) – to more typical electronic influences like first-wave Detroit (Roska) and Berlin (Cooly G, xxxy). Typically, the most interesting developments are happening at the bleeding edges, those regions that become increasingly difficult to define but ever harder to resist. The single most exciting aspect of these crossover points is that funky’s basic beat pattern remains an irresistibly danceable weapon, providing an unusually flexible backbone for experimentation. Recent tracks by Cooly G, DVA and this new release by Deep Teknologi’s T.Williams, pushes the sound in strange and often difficult directions, which taken separately from such an addictive dancefloor structure could well lose momentum. The best funky is aimed intensely and inseparably toward both body and mind in equal measure, crucially remaining tied to its origins as club music.
On the new T. Williams EP, Deep Teknologi place themselves firmly within that group of artists pushing the sound in unprecedented new directions. In terms of intent and pure sonics, these three tracks by co-founder T. Williams are probably closest to Cooly G’s recent Dub Organizer material – intrinsically related to house music in its purest form, but infused with London attitude. All share early grime’s sparseness – all synth stabs and trancelike repetition, 'Anthem' could be a cousin of Cooly’s ‘Narst,’ bristling with barely restrained aggression which is never released, simply building over the track’s length and leaving real tension in its wake.
Arriving immediately afterwards, ‘Flooring' makes a b-line for Berlin, underpinned by slowly rotating columns of white noise and static synth before tearing apart to reveal a beating heart hidden within. All three tracks are sparing in the extreme, each containing only what is necessary and nothing more. This could as easily have resulted in a set of decent and merely functional DJ tools, but proves far more effective, highlighting each individual element like a high-powered lens. ‘Afric’ is the best example of this: a simple organ figure pivoting above tightly locked percussion and bass, but brimming with such an excess of energy that it seems a wonder that there isn’t a set of musicians performing it live in front of you. Recalling Miles Davis and mnml (shhh) in equal measure, it’s one of the best dancefloor tunes I’ve heard in a long time, sending the mind out on a Sun Ra-style tangent towards the heart of the solar system.
Originally published at Sonic Router