A choppy Choop
I admit – my appreciation of Dub Techno wasn’t ignited by the usual suspects like Basic Channel or Monolake. It happened a half dozen years later with a few releases that came from Sub Static and Raum…Musik. Guys like Mark Thibideau and Dub Taylor were adding what I was missing until then – some warmth and a more rounded groove, less brain, more body.
From there I did work my way backwards a little bit, Rhythm and Sound primarily, but what deepened the connection most was my first Echocord 12″. It was number 09, Rod Modell’s brilliant “Sacred Geometry” EP. And while Echocord kept coming up with one exceptional Dub Techno release after another, my early heroes sort of fell silent or drifted off.
But more and more these two lines are merging, and when I listened to El Choop’s latest release for the first time, I was immediately thrown back to the early 2000s and felt like this peculiar time when some discerning Minimal producers were edging closer to Dub Techno just received a very solid update.
The title track “Insane Sends” may have a lot more kick to it, but the first minute or so is like a seriously driving 2021 update of some early Dub Taylor work. It may sound a little corny, but I had wondered for quite some time whether Alex Krüger would ever return to his roots more than just occasionally – no need for that, El Choop comes to the rescue.
Or El Chop as you might want to call him based on the finely chopped stabs he lines up, backed up by elegant and discreetly driving percussion and a bit of synth warmth. This is as good as it gets and proves both the timelessness of the genre and the exceptional class of our favorite Danish Dub Tech label.
As dramatic as the title may suggest – “Some Fall Harder Than Others” is anything but stumbling, it’s an upbeat, almost jazzy exercise with slick work on the filters and effects that are applied to the chords. It’s an almost housy minimal affair that is so friendly that makes you wonder how anyone could be thinking of falling.
Not falling at all but standing tall is the guest of honor Sven Weisemann who applies his divine touch to the title track for “Sven’s Angelic Sends Mix”. As usual, he takes his time and delivers a twelve minute epic that fully deserves the “angelic” label.
What’s most striking about the way Weisemann is producing is that he is able to not only create an enormous amount of space – he also has a unique ability to use that space wisely (sorry, no word play intended). He doesn’t just blow things up, he seems to have a very precise idea about how much space each sound element would need, and then give it whatever is necessary – no more and no less.
His bouncy and elegantly soft kick keeps a steady but unobtrusive drive, and whenever Weisemann feels like it he adds some dry and functional claps, joining slightly metallic percussion and almost shy hi-hats. And whenever he throws in a chord it’s like someone is opening the doors to a cathedral, big and wide and spacious. It’s one of those tracks that you can’t just throw into the mix for a few minutes – the folks on the dance floor will relish every minute of it.
Harvey Bones a.k.a. El Choop has made a big step forward in his career – not just because he joined an elite selection of artists who got their music released on Echocord, but also because he measures up pretty well to a Dub Techno master like Sven Weisemann.
You know that you get really excellent stuff when you pick up an Echocord 12″ – but this is the best in a while.
Release for review:
EL CHOOP – INSANE SENDS EP – ECHOCORD – ECHOCORD 087