Reviews: Luka Lozano and Mr Ho – Dripbox EP (Creme); Mod.086 – Back To Basics (Minimized Music)

Luka Lozano & Mr Ho – Dripbox Ep (Creme)

The ink has barely dried on my last Luca Lozano review before he comes shimmeying back with another record of collaborations, this time with his Klasse Records partner Mr Ho, on Creme. The influences are wider, and more contemporary, than on either of the Hands OF Doom EPs that he cut with Fett Burger, but it rolls with a similar kinked energy. Two solo pieces and two in partnership, the EP moves between minimalist skank, acidic Chicagoan bangers, and wiry electro burnt house.

None of it sounds like it’s there to make up the numbers, and every tune brings something to the deal. Sure, anyone looking for something akin to Hands Of Doom’s gleeful debauching of early breakbeat and rave are probably going to be a little disappointed. But they shouldn’t. Dripbox is a record that feels much more complete, the influences far more organic.

Stand outs here are the dark side jacker Hot Tracks, a hissing belter of a tune that feels like the missing link between ravey late 80’s acid and modern outsider house, the beats clattering away under the welt of thrumming bass, the chords crashing amongst the ricocheting hand claps. Even better is Lozano’s own Autonomika which draws together trace elements of IDM, acid and rudimentary breakbeats to create a sonic canvas that slowly burns with late night funk. It feels whimsical, almost gentle, but the warped pads and the growl of the bass add more than just a bit of uncertainty there; the playful punches to the shoulder are a little harder than they seem. Classy modern house with verve and plenty of twists.

Mod.086 – Back To Basics (Minimized Music)

We’ve talked about Spain and its techno a couple of time previously, and the way that the country seems to have created a great, and in some senses unrivalled, heritage of electronic music which filters itself through invention and experimentalism that has led to some very pure, very hard and very exciting music over the last few years.

While Mod.086’s EP, Back To Basics, is a little bit more of a straight shooter than some of the Spanish acts we’ve covered, it’s pretty apparent that he draws from a similar well. The opener, a dubby and Basic Channel influenced number, could have been yet another noodling and boderline exploratory nod to thrumming basslines, dub techno being an easy sound to copy but very, very hard to do correctly. He sidesteps the pitfalls, though, by simply kicking the whole thing up a gear and rendering into a deep, rolling piece of floor ready techno. I’m not a dub person, as you know, but this is very nice.

Elsewhere, it is a little bit mixed. The second track hits up a screaming, distorted 303 that is a bit too ‘Evening in Crusty-ville’ for my tastes, and it doesn’t really benefit from a weird key change right in the middle of it. There are ways to distort the 303 that make the little bleeder scream like a wounded angel, but this is just harsh. Likewise the last track is full of wild pitched howling electronics lashed down to a throbbing beat. It’s a nice idea but that brain trouncing lead just isn’t focussed enough to carry it to its proper conclusion. Brought out the bag at the right time of night, though, when damage is needing done and innocence is already damned, it might just work.

It picks up massively with the third track, the undisputed king of the hill here. A mammoth floor slaying slab of prime on the bone Detroit chargrilled excellence. It just pounces on you with an endlessly snarling, golden and funky riff that does stupid things to my head and my feet reminiscent of the utter mess The Martian, Claude Young and others used to reduce me too. Soulful in its twisting groove, this is proper techno the way I wish I heard more of. Play it in a dirty little basement and watch the heads explode.