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I’ve always been a firm advocate for techno preferring the harder unyielding form to some of the techno that seems to be flavour of the month these days which seems to be closer to the feel of deep house than the hard hitting German and Detroit techno that I’ve always loved. Of course there are lots of artists producing the harder edge but not many fans of it in this country where we have never really taken it to heart – apart from the subculture of tekno but personally I prefer to leave that to those who love it. Maybe it’s too cold and stern for us, maybe there’s not enough hooks or, dare I say it, singing but play techno anywhere but a techno club and you’ll have a dance floor emptied quicker than a lift from a fart -and with the same amount of distain. So in steps Taro Records to try and rectify this. To the uninitiated this EP by the Argentinian Pablo Guarino may sound unrelentingly hard but give it some space and really listen and you’ll hear the funk and all of a sudden techno isn’t the scary black clothed humourless juggernaut you thought it was – it has become a thing of beauty and light. At least that’s what I say but I’m probably not the best judge of light and dark as I think Nick Cave sings songs of happiness and joy.
The first track Paranoia clocking in at a very reasonable 130 bpm seems at first listen to be an unforgiving banging techno riot with a hard drumbeat and distorted percussion but about one and a half minutes in there starts a lighter refrain hovering in the background. This builds and the relenting beat takes a back seat as the drums become more friendly and the synth sounds take on an ethereal quality and all of sudden all is right with the world.
A remix of Paranoia follows by Unit Shifter that lives up to the tracks’ title more. The beat is faster and the percussion more insistent. There are voices somewhere deep down in the mix but you can’t quite place where. The whole piece is somewhat disconcerting but I can hear the groove in there.
The pin sharp percussion on the next track VK 9V comes as a pleasant relief from the intensity of the previous track and the syncopation of the rhythms gives an uplifting lilt to the track. The hook, although obviously not in the same bracket as a Justin Bieber one, still makes me nod my head and although it is repeated throughout the track it doesn’t pall or make me want to cave his head in – unlike Justin Bieber.
Next up are 2 versions of Voodoo. The first original one is to me the most danceable track on the EP with it’s almost rave like feel. The bass is more a rumble and a caress than a bash over the head. Long time Taro contributors Conka remix the track for the final track on the EP giving it an almost dub house feel with its synth stabs (this is relative to what’s been before you understand). The beat is more in your face but the whole track is positive in its feel – to me anyway – you may feel otherwise.
This all adds up to quite a release for Taro Records and one that should be supported so that they can release more.
Music to buy – out May 11th 2017 (probably not in Woolies)