There is something pleasingly ballsy in a brand new label choosing to dive right into the deep end of the electro pool rather than hanging around in the shallows testing the water. We all know that launching an electro label, even more than with techno and house, and regardless of the genre’s rising kudos, is one that might still not be a particularly easy sell. But still, if anything has been proved by the likes of CPU, Shipwrec, and Brokntoys in particular over the last couple of years, it’s that there is a thirst needing slaked for some finely warped mutant funk.
Mechatronica’s first release hits up some of the bigger names on the scene just now, such as Luke Eargoggle, Sync 24 and the increasingly prolific Privacy, along side a couple up and coming underground producers in Etcher and -=UHU=-. In terms of ideology its similar to the sort of thing Brokntoys have been doing of late with the excellent series of split EPs. The difference here is that where the Brokntoys records feel like differing ideas sparking off from the same, universal concept, Mechatronica 1 feels wider ranging, bringing in more of a mix to the job and placing artists together without so much of a common theme. Neither is a bad approach.
I meant what I said about diving right in there; this is music for the real electro heads, and doesn’t really give much quarter. Even so, there is perhaps a slightly lighter take on the genre here and there, incorporating elements across the four tracks which range from the genre in its purest form to something bordering on industrialised electro-pop to something altogether wider in scope.
The Eargoggle/Sync 24 collaboration brings together the two biggest names for Broken Electronix, as straight up a blast of pure electro as you could ask for, and it’s as good as you would expect from these lads. Whiplash snares, hissed robo-vox, and crunching, bass riffs build up a seething, uncoiling dose of late night mayhem which doles out floor mashing grooves and deep hypnotica in equal amounts. it’s not revolutionary in any way, but it doesn’t have to be. Rather, it’s a perfectly formed dancefloor weapon, tight and prowling, which is unfettered by a need to do anything but deliver. And it does that for sure.
-=UHU=- takes a slightly different approach with Never See. While the tune’s roots in early period Dopplereffekt are there for all to see (particularly with the dispassionate female vocals) it scuffs the whole lot up. It seems heavy, and it should feel darker than it does, but all those little Heinrich Muller touches are chiselled down, leaving some nasty sharp edges on which hang a gleefully poppy energy which is strangely amplified by the quirky yet brutal fizz of worn down beats and rivulets of beeps which flutter off into the murk.
A lot of the fun in the EP in fact is to be found in that sort of messing up of expectations and conventions, even when it’s more subtly done, such as on Privacy’s Miss You. While on the surface the tune seems very much from the contemporary school of deepness, there is something underlying which revokes much of that sub-genre’s calming tendencies and fills the spaces left behind with something more abrasive and cold. The beats too, so often the first casualty in the deepness wars, remain frosty and sharp, ripples across a pool of ice.
But its Etcher track, Super Translations, that best sums up this attitude. It rides out on the ghost of vintage Anthony Rother before, quickly, turning it around on its head, warming it with a pulsing humour and glimmer of almost disco-esque glamour, neatly swapping electro’s abstract exploratory nature for a bubbly, house-y groove. It’s quite unexpected and perhaps all the better for it.