The output of Teknotika Records seems strangely forgotten these days. Even back then, they never seemed to have enjoyed the same level of fame as others around them, although people who knew to look in the right places always had an eye on them. Nowadays, if Discogs is anything to go by, Interview With An Alien, Gigi Galaxy’s 1996 oddball B-movie jacker, is the one people remember – rightly so – but there are plenty of other releases under the Teknotika flag that are worthy of much closer examination.
I always seem to remember Glasgow having some sort of particular affection for Teknotika. Looking back, though, I’m not sure that is true of the wider scene within the city. I expect it was Club 69 in Paisley that first played them, with the word spreading out to other, distant punters and DJs. Certainly by the time out own night was going, the Teknotika sound was as much a part of the fabric as Underground Resistance or Drexciya.
I think I first heard Universal Love via one of the residents of our night. Although Adam was a few years younger than the rest of us, he had a knack for picking tunes and that almost insatiable lust for music that marks a great DJ out from a decent one. He frequently surprised us with the depth of his musical knowledge, and our group was rife with characters who knew their shit inside out when it came to House and Techno. Although a Techno and House bod at heart, like the rest of us, there was an eclecticism to his mixing and his picks that would serve him well when he eventually went on to DJ as part of the Numbers collective. I don’t know whether this was played much at their parties, but at Mystec, especially in the early days, it garnered a reputation as a bit of an anthem. Or, to be accurate, it was an anthem for Adam. I don’t know about anyone else, but I played it only once and never again. It didn’t feel right coming from me.
Just like my writing, It takes an eternity to get to the point. The first two minutes sound like the plateau of a tune cut from the middle and pasted to the front, and there is virtually nothing to give away what’s coming next. The verbed out, spacey snares and the thrum of elastic bass dance around that meat cleaver of a synth stab, the edges ground away and then sharpened. In comes the breakdown, the cosmic wurtlitzer organs hanging in orbit above the suddenly rising tension…
And then the whole thing explodes into life, a crazy and gloriously uplifting piece of space House; wonky and yet so slick; part free party in a muddy field on the edge of the eighties, part discotheque on Europa. It’s the vocals that do it. House vocals are famously anodyne, gleefully stupid and full of pat little phrases that would fit well into a self-help guide. They aren’t really different here but, tied to a tune as recklessly fun as Universal Love well, how the hell can you not agree whole heartedly with the dippy hippy sentiments? Pursuing the glumness of the existential philosophies is rather difficult when you’ve a grin spread across your face and your arms are so high in the air only spy-sats can see your fingers. Gigi Galaxy sets the stage but it’s Simone Star who works the magic, her vocals ducking and dodging and diving. It’s fun, it’s life affirming and its everything a good night out should be. I might not know why Teknotika never got quite the recognition the deserved, but I do know it was a crime. lets rectify that, and lets start right here with this twisted, glittery, good time banger.