Skudge may no longer be a duo – Elias Landberg has been using the alias for his solo productions for a few years now – but the long-serving act’s sound remains as inspired, club-ready and far-sighted as ever. That much is proved by Soundworks, the first Skudge album in two years. Rooted in machine soul, it boasts tracks that variously doff a cap to Motor City futurism, the organ-tinged throb of Rob and Lyric Hood’s 21st century Floorplan productions, the sparse and dubby vibes of vintage UK bleep techno, late ’90s tech-house, and the woozy, life-affirming lusciousness of deep techno. In other words, it’s full of “proper techno” produced by a true master of his craft.
The first remix series on Proletarijat brings together 3 Techno Proletarians. Nihad Tule, Skudge and Stanislav Tolkachev recreated the sound of Sev Dah on this release to push the struggle for resistance further and created the fundament for the future remix series on Proletarijat.
Ten years ago, Acid Test began with a simple concept – each track the label released would make use of the Roland TB-303. Like a producer purposefully paring down their studio setup, or the continuous imperative within underground electronic music to reduce, this concept engendered creativity with the introduction of what seemed to be an aesthetic limit. However, the decade that followed, which now culminates in the triple-LP compilation Ten Years Of Acid Test, proves acid is limitless. That the Berlin-via-LA label would expand upon the classical conception of acid house and techno is no surprise considering the cast of characters that have come in fold over the past decade. Ten Years Of Acid Test gathers key material from the label’s extended family of acid acolytes. There’s that Vienna-via-LA maestro of sad, elegant acid Tin Man (Johannes Auvinen), whose “Afters Acid” is both a highlight within his prolific catalogue and a distillation of his symphonic approach to the 303. Detroit giants Erika and Marcellus Pittman, both of whom have released remixes on Acid Test, present their respective and singular Bass Line visions. Erika, the Interdimensional Transmissions lynchpin, crafts a dark, delicate take on broken techno on “Violet Fungus” while Pittman continues his cubist house explorations on “Unknown Species,” both tracks straying from typical acid lines in favor of the intricate textures achievable on the 303. This variation in approach applies to tempo as well. Irish-based master Lerosa, as well as Delsin affiliate VC-118A, delve into downtempo atmospherics. Meanwhile, Japanese deep techno virtuoso Wata Igarashi, SUED co-founder SW. (a regular on Acid Test’s leftfield sub-label Avenue 66) and Patricia (one-half of Acid Test act Ociya) use acid as a creative jumping-off point for complex melodic concepts. Wata layers an orchestra of synth-bliss drone overtop a squelchy bassline on “Ephemeral.” SW.’s “ChaIAnJAzzz” cycles through an array of dusted chords eventually landing in skewed, fuzzy rave nostalgia, anthemic chords held aloft by a wicked UK-flavour bass line. Patricia’s “Higher Still” explores dreamy, IDM-flavoured acid, cinematic synthlines counterbalanced by propulsive, squelching acid. Acid Test devotees will be thrilled at the return of various luminaries from the catalogue, including Achterbahn D’Amour, Skudge, AAAA, John Tejada and Donato Dozzy, whose memorable remix of Tin Man’s “Nonneo” from Acid Test 01 served as a kind of proof of concept for the label. There’s new blood too. San Francisco up-and-comer Sepehr makes his label debut with the excellent “Persian Acid Prince,” as does Andreas Tilliander’s beloved hardware techno project, TM404. Ten Years Of Acid Test is a valuable portrait of a group of artists linked by a dedication to innovation within acid, in line with the genre’s storied roots. Over ten years, Acid Test has gracefully made a case for the 303’s past, present and future, the story of acid continuing to unfurl in unpredictable, addictive patterns.
Three different takes from two different periods of time meet up in this acid focused 12”. The record features two Skudge originals from 2009, optimized into today’s standards. And also a classically trained Splice track, where a fierce drum patterngoes in parallel with the acidic bass line. A current take on a very classic machine.
Skudge levitates into 2017 with tracks from a well-known place… Infectious groove and stabs reflects our most fond warehouse memories. For starters, ‘Circles’ reminds us of the first three releases, but in a updated shape – the beats are as tight as ever, with the accompanying melodies fitting right into their place. The A-side track has that special Skudge vibe that managed to establish them as a force to reckon with. As proven with the LP from last year, things are sounding and looking as exciting as ever! In stark contrast to the straight to the floor A-side, ‘Tundra’ on the flip resembles the calmer and on the edge of careful sound that Skudge has been running in parallel of their club oriented material. Sure, this one works well in that environment too, but it’s more minded approach might require some extra attention on the floor – however, this first EP of the new year facilitates what was promised with the LP: this is exciting times for Skudge.
Amsterdam label Indigo Aera, the brainchild of Jasper Wolff & Maarten Mittendorff, celebrates five years with Lost Archives Special compilation. The five-vinyl box set features 18 tracks from the likes of Skudge, Makam, Don Williams, San Proper & Antal, Ø [Phase], Deniro, Louis Haiman, Antigone, Sterac, Stephen Brown, Joris Voorn and label heads Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff.
When the duo Skudge started out in late 2009 with their first release on Alphahouse, followed by a string of underground hits on their own label Skudge Records, little did they know that they would be in the forefront of the Stockholm sound of the dawning 2010’s. The complex rhythm textures combined by a echoing audial lightness that still runs unparalleled, paired with sub intense quick basslines and swirling percussion has been the trademark. This updated take on the techno and house crossover of today got appreciated and caught the attention of a full spectrum of artists. With a tight release schedule, 2010 alone saw 6 releases from the Skudge hub. Culminating in 2011 with the release of ‘Phantom’, the full length album release on the home imprint, followed by the sub labels that releases other artists as well. Five years from that era, Skudge has reshaped into the solo work from one of the original artists. This change of production and artistry launches into the crates with the release of the limited full length ‘Balancing Point’ LP. During this time, the sound has shifted into new territory, where the entire A-side acts as the beginning of this grooving whirlpool of a record: quick and immense. The UK influences that was formed in the 90’s, gets picked up and infused through the B-side, ending off in a almost orchestral piece. The delicate subtleness of the second 12′ showcases a familiar coming-of-light type of style that we so much appreciate, firmly ending the long player and leave us sure of the future.
Solid mainstay Skudge has been pushing their unique mixture of house and techno for over half a decade now. In a new direction of becoming a sole producer for now, Skudge 009 is the first mark of this new direction.
The intertwined beat structures of ’Waveless’ on the A-side takes us to charted Skudge territory. The small modulations and the pushing groove has become a trademark. Flipping over to ’Motion’, a colder and haunting atmosphere binds this two tracker together, with a lot of focus and ambition for the future.
Acid house curmudgeons Killekill have unveiled Hyperfocus, Alex Cortex’s fifth EP for the Berlin label-conglomerate since he launched it in 2011 as one half of Bad Cop Bad Cop. Hyperfocus’ two originals blend acid house and gritty techno with Killekill’s ironic rave aesthetic, while a sleek-yet-beat-down Skudge remix muscles up the B-side for some extra eye candy.
Collaboration vinyl only release between Skudge Records and Kontra-Musik. It came to us some time ago that what Kontra-Musik and Skudge stood for had a lot in common, which is the reason for this SKUM entry. Uniting to showcase the Swedish techno underground is an act of faith in these times of extreme self focus. We want to tell the world that we believe not only in ourselves but also in this new wave of local artists, a pledge for the future. In the immemorial words of ABBA, when all is said and done, you still get epic throbbing stabby techno from Skudge, deep hectic madness from MRSK, classy lush slow mo acid from TM404 and cavernous acid house from the Frak camp, a testimony to the scene we so believe in!
Skudge surface once again with a double tracker containing some of their deepest joints yet. With Irie finally available on wax after the Nonplus 5th year celebration, the band plays with contrast, crafting a warm and yet sinister mental floor killer, while Faux ventures into more abstract melodies with one of their hardest drive ever.