Review: J Velez – Intramuros (Skudge White)

Jorge Velez has hit up a number of on point house and techno labels like L.I.E.S, Creme and Rush Hour over the last couple of years, usually under his own name or his Professor Genius guise, and his music continues to evolve without departing too much from the joyous eclectic brilliance of his earlier MMT Tapes releases, where techno, loose house and experimentalism collided to such great effect.

Alighting now on Skudge White – a label that has increasingly become one to keep an eye on – Velez delivers 4 slabs of heavy-duty warehouse techno that feel a major departure from much of his previous work. Anyone looking for the deep exploratory grooves of Professor Genius should probably keep on walking. This is a very different beast, and one that simply batters at the listener with abandon.

OK, not entirely with abandon, but the general direction is OOMPH and it takes a little bit of digging to get beneath the weighty surface and explore beyond. As far as first listens go, it certainly feels like solid route one techno of a very contemporary sort: Shards of white noise that glide across the volcanic glass of the drone, beats that are fat dollops of heat and percussion that crawls insect like through the mix to create an overarching sense of dread that presses only downwards.

Everything changes when extra elements are added in, like the subtlest ache of an electro-static riff on Tunnel, which claws at the noise, lightening the feel and allowing something more emotive to come to the fore. The pick though is Les Méandres, where the high timbre, discordant wail of the melody lends it the feel of Suburban Knight’s genuinely darkwards leaning funk and the stuttering, hollowed out percussion gives the groove a swerve not always present everywhere else.

It’s these moments that save the record from being too much like everything else, like the massive other amount of big room techno that’s filling wax just now. Velez is one of a select group of producers who have made their name with some genuinely good music that dips and delves into a smorgasbord of genres from hip hop to italo to Detroit-ish techno. Yes, this is another addition to his canon of genres but it’s a bit of shame that he doesn’t bring as much of his absurdly wide ranging taste to bear on Intramuros as we would like.

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2 thoughts on “Review: J Velez – Intramuros (Skudge White)

  1. Thanks for listening! also please know I am releasing much more new music via my Bandcamp than vinyl these coming months – check templo.bandcamp.com — many releases are also Pay What You Wish thru December. All the best! Jorge V

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