As we enter 2021, E-Talking looks to the past, the present and the future on a series of superb cuts that soundtrack an imagined video game played out in the deepest creative trenches of the sub conscious.
In many ways, listening to a lot of the music that swirled from Detroit during the mid 80s through to the end of the 90s felt like what the future would sound like, and now we find ourselves living very much within that future. The genres of Techno and Electro crafted soundscapes full of bombastic rhythms, hard edged technological sounds and emotionally charged synths, a wonderful harmony of melody and percussion that was crafted as a reflection of society, repression and context. It was one of many elements of African American expressionism through music, and when it first came about many the world over were enthralled by its message and its tone, eager to honour the generations of producers who continually flowed from the city. Today, Techno is very much a different landscape, particularly in Europe, where the fast paced rhythms of the second generation have taken root, but many are still caught in that infatuation for the music that proceeded it and remained indefinitely signifiant around it. The cosmic meanderings, the deepest dives, the saunters through the metropolis at dusk or dawn, the feelings of escapism through synths and drums - these iconic features remain a stable for some producers, who continue to delve into and work with the foundations that were set for them all those years ago, eager to tap into that future which was established by those who came before. Certainly the comparisons can be drawn between Detroit music makers and those from all over, but today many find the time to craft their own narrative, such was the scope that Detroit Techno made for itself, in that there was always room for new producers to hone their craft and find their space within its vast and complex mind map. A significant amount of records have been released in recent years that add something new to the genre and what it means today, a very much positive thing as the overall narrative has unfortunately moved further away from the City that birthed the genre, and with producers who embark on creating these kinds of sounds we still feel the link that maintained the axises between Detroit and major European cities alive and kickin'. We find ourselves continually searching for those concerned with crafting music that pushes the agenda forward, those who approach music with a fresh mind and a invested heart, keen to find a place they can call home in the dense musical landscape we reside within today. To move forwards, sometimes you have to look back, drawing power from genres who reaches undoubtedly goes beyond its original time frame and channelling that interpreted essence into something bold and daring, a sound forged by invention and inspiration. With these kinds of music makers, we see steps forward, we feel invigorated, we feel alive and well, ready and waiting to see what kind of form the next series of waves and morphing landscapes might manifest themselves into. The future, right now, never felt so good.
If you ever need a reference point for an artist who is certainly pointing into a near future, then Emmanuel Corre is going to tick all the right boxes for you. The French producer, alongside his creative partner Silvère Letellier, have jointly been responsible for some truly outstanding recent moments in electronica, with their brand of succinctly blended genre defying dance music one that remains infinitely listenable and completely immersive in its experiences. Their collected horizons seem to be limitless, with their music showcasing a real care and adoration for the usage of sonics and a intent focus on the relationship between keys and drums, something which continually transposes itself onto the listener, inviting us into a world that is meticulously constructed and filled to the brim with originality. They explore all facets of the permeable membrane between house and techno, and as a result continually come up with music that allows us to imprint ourselves into the worlds being constructed, one which never falters in providing elements to focus on and things to see and explore. Its the subtle touches that add the icing on the cake, crafting a connection with those who listen via the undulating synths, the rhythmic occurrences and wavelengths, and the depth in atmosphere that persists from all sides of the equation which really invite you in, an involvement in a soundscape that feels very wide indeed. There's certainly a narrative that plays out in front of us, a audial spectrum of colour and emotion that grows and expands around our peripheries which lifts our souls and helps us to soar higher and higher, an uplifting experience that warms us within the deepest depths of our known experiences and helps us connect that little bit more with the spaces we have yet to discover. And yet, rather than feeling conventional, the music is anything but, with plenty of leftfield features thrown in that give the music an undoubtedly unique feel, something that simply adds further to the intrigue we develop in their highly engaging sound. No matter what the feel is, Corre and Letellier have it covered via their three main aliases, Nummer, Detroit Syndrome and Nitejams, all of which revolve around their continued investment in providing the highest quality of dance music experiences. As a duo, they have already established a hefty back catalogue filled with quality, which we'll start off by highlighting both their LP releases under the Nummer name, 'Live At The Waiting Room' (a live set recorded direct in 2015), and the outstanding 'Second Sight' LP that landed in 2017 are both well worth a listen to get insight into their long play antics and explorations. EP wise, some selected favourites include their in depth and highly impressive debut EP, 'Beyond Time - Interpretations', that showcased a hefty blend of house and techno through a hazy euphoric lens, with the record arriving in 2014; the gorgeous electro rollercoaster that is the 'Reach' EP, that also arrived in 2014; the chuggy and indefinitely deep experience that is the 'Life Path III' record, which landed in 2015; the superb emotive burner that is the 'Tribal Trouble' record, which landed in 2017; the hypnotic and highly engaging 'Space Oddities (Vol 1)', that arrived in 2019; and the utterly gorgeous and transfixing experience that is the 'Night Confidence' release, that came out last year. As Detroit Syndrome, the thought provoking galaxy orientated sounds that reverberate from the exquisite 'Count 02' record, which arrived in 2017, is well worth checking out. And finally, the hazy hazy hazy techno orientated cuts that abound from the 'Nitejams 01' record, that was recorded under the Nitejam name, which landed in 2015. As a solo outing, Corre has release one record under the E-Talking name, the cut 'Telephone Rose' which featured on the 2018 Whities release with Laska, 'Blue 04', and is a deep techno laden experience filled with the same kind of technical application as his works with Letellier. In all, the duo have showcased to the world a strength in depth and understanding of their own creative visions, highlighting their abilities in the studio in crafting tracks that live on long in the memory after the needle has stopped playing, building a sound that remains inherently original and utterly compelling. Their works are something we cannot recommend enough to anyone, so for sure go and check it all out, you won't be disappointed.
And now we arrive at Corre's debut LP under the E-Talking Name, 'Techno Man's Land', that arrives in CD format on his home away from home, Going Good. Described as a soundtrack to an imagined game taking place somewhere deep in the mind, the sounds on display point deeply to the past and in particular the sonics of Detroit Techno's various generations, with all manner of facets and feels on display throughout. Recorded between 2018-2019, Its a hefty 15 tracker, but Corre spends a significant amount of time providing differing feels and textures in each cut, creating a sequence of experience that really does mimic the progressions we might make in an old school computer game. An ode to the technological styles of the past, combined with new age aesthetics and concepts, all flow into a sound that is incredibly well balance and put together, the kind of techno we need in today's musical landscape. One that honours the previous foundations and via passions and acknowledgement comes through as something which remains forward thinking, a reminder of the future we now live in. So, without further delay, lets get our first contemporary review of 2021 under way......
Up first comes 'Open Up Your Psyche', and as intros go you couldn't ask for anything sweeter. The deep swelling chords crest at the top with a chiming presence, a delicate cascade of keys and notes that hit the sweet spot, whilst continual swells move in from the left to add into the melange, and as the kicks point to a new direction we are greeted with a thick and heavy set drumming pattern that moves from the right inwards to dominate the view we now have before us. Melodic features are sparse but the LFO infused key line that moves through the hazy maze of percussion adds an extra sense of dynamism into the fold, enticing us to follow its every move as it meanders around the excellent percussive structures. It would appear we have entered into the most exciting game yet. Up next comes 'Insider', and this one begins with some delightfully placed aquatic sounding drums to get us going. The misty melodics that reside within the drumming structures add to the increasing intrigue, as with each passing second we start to sense changes are afoot, as drone like chords emerge from the left and pass over the cut with its impending sense of shifts and changes. The track is content for now to maintain its current sense of progression, as little variations from deep within the machine provide a somewhat tense atmosphere, akin to moving through darkened alleyways or streets in a game where everyone is out to get you. The hustle and bustle remains but you look over your shoulder, fearful of everything and everyone, yet find comfort in the regularity of the soundtrack that plays out, the knowledge that change remains small and subtle rather than bold and surprising. A gorgeous cut. 'The Vaults' come next, and it feels like we have truly gone underground with this one. The rhythm is set with two key lines, one an arpeggio that resides down low before rising up, and the other a swirling tornado of sorts that whips around the other's foundation and uses its upwards motion as a means to get above and take in some sunlight. The drums, initially keeping themselves to just the hats, then move into a solid as hell foundation where the flickers develop into a brilliantly grooving rhythm. The dip in energy when the drums kick out before building and then building some more makes for impulsive listening, inviting us further into a world populated with so much excellence and depth, an utterly captivating listen that we will be returning to time and time again.
Up next comes 'A Sinuous Dream', and this one takes the energy down just a little bit. The waves lap at our feet as continual synth lines and chords pulse and flicker over the warm sands, an energy defined by its density and its swell, eagerly opening up a soundscape to us that expands with every wavelength variation. Textures find themselves cropping up on a regular basis, adding to the audial narrative that unravels before us, speaking softly to us as we speak back with ideas and concepts of what these keys mean to us. Sublime stuff. 'Clinic - Hole' arrives next, and we had to come back down from the clouds at some point. The drums are expertly conceived, their bold and brash nature counteracted by their textural quality, setting the foundation for a series of melodic notions to occur brilliantly on top. The keys remain very much in the backdrop, guided by the rhythm and its desire to move us, and as the arrangement flows onwards the cymbals and hi hats build in intensity, along with the introduction of a bass line that powers through the bottom end with meaning and fever. The track keeps shifting with the times, moving through the gears with seamless transitions that climax with the introduction of a semi-broken beat/jungle drum riff that couples onto additional melodic touches that really elevate the senses to new places. One of those tracks you could return to endlessly, such is the depth and presence of all its elements. Beautiful stuff. 'Experimental Psychosis' arrives next, and this one begins with the bass line leading the way as far distant noises set the scene. Additional keys sweep over and join up at junctions with the bass line, colliding and smashing into one other as they abound to the furtherest boundaries of the track's sonics, crafting perhaps the most expansive and complete sound we have heard yet on this already brilliant record. The drums pick up to craft a choppy sense of rhythm that grows and grows before falling away, as the ever present bass line keeps us steady as our eyes wizz around the room in order to pick up all that is being introduced to us. There's still time for one final introduction, and that occurs when the big old chord line emerges, sweeping over the city below as our heart starts racing with the possibilities of what might transpire next. The build up is flawless, the sonics outstanding, this is a track to remember. 'Blood & Tears' arrives next, and we are greeted with a solid electro beat to kick things off. This is quickly joined by a wide selection of chords that eerily play out in the background, but it becomes clear what the main melodic driver of this cut is - the powerful bass line, that keeps on rising and receding like the tides. The way in which the bass line moves away into the sub sections provides spaces on top for the melodic sequences to really shine, as they keep on moving and shifting in and out of view with a charmful energy that hard to not be infatuated with. This one has such a groove, a track that invites you in to get involved and become one with its expansive nature. Pure bliss.
'Angstrom' arrives next, and here we are greeted once more by the swells and the dips and dives in sonics and melodies. The keys are arranged with thought and care, providing us with a moment to rest and rejuvenate, as light sporadic drumming elements move in and around the sea of keys. Beautiful stuff. 'Slow Antimatter Surgery' arrives next, and this one keeps the rhythms following. Abounding from left to right, the tonal drumming patterns are interlaced with a gorgeous bass line that acts as a central pivot to the percussion and the keys that revolve around it, acting as an anchor that points to all manner of flows that occur around it. It has a sense of direction and energy about it, showing us the way in navigating through a sea of sound that remains intensely emotive and engaging, finding spaces for us to grow into the track and find our little area in which to inhabit. The changes in keys and dynamics provide a wondrous sense of progression, with the track never having to really up the ante in the drumming department but simply adding in new and exciting things to look at. A real winner. 'Anulpha Pass' comes next, and here we find the first time of a straight up beat on the record, and it is a real triumph. The beat is powerful, the keys on top add in a sense of emotional connectivity, and the acid and bass lines are the icing on top, with the varying features adding in a real sense of dynamism and forward momentum. Its easy to get completely locked into the flows that occur, as rising key lines move in from the left and right, with the movement into the segment where the additional hats align themselves within the cut a particularly effective one. The arrangement of the melodic features is superb, providing space for the crunchy textures on top of the rhythm to really shine, as we are transported away to an imagined metropolis somewhere in the other regions of space. Breathtaking! 'Flash Of Resurgence' comes next, and the tempos remain somewhat on par with the previous cut. Here the chordal line is front and centre, as the choppy techno style beat resides underneath, providing a basis for all manner of exquisite touches and tones to abound on top. The densities remain continually in motion, providing a sense of depth that has defined this record throughout, with all manner of sonically engaging elements taking the time to make themselves known to us. Grand! 'Self - Annihilation' comes next, and the tempo comes down quite significantly with this one. The drums swing and groove along with a reserved swagger, retaining all of their depth in tone and feel but providing more space than ever for melodic features to let themselves be known, and that is exactly what occurs on this one. Beautiful deep swelling chords lie down within the spaces set by the drums, as huge bass lines move up from the depths and push forward the cut into very exciting spaces indeed. The movement between fullness and sparseness and back to fullness is inventive and beautiful to listen to, crafting an engagement between the listener and the music that draws you further and further into the world being painted before our eyes, a expertly creative track that represents the subterranean rhythms that pound our feet as we walk the mean streets at night.
'Rush' comes next, and this one is a high octane electro affair. The immediacy of the beat then opens out with the melodic sequence, that jumps from side to side with a manic energy, as the acid line pounds through the mid section, completing a highly effective ensemble of sounds that works so very well indeed. Its a jolt of energy right into the arm and the mind, telling us to get on our feet and loose ourselves in the totality of the sound, an experience that is like no other as the night keeps on churning over. Stellar. ''Hyperawareness' arrives next, and the energy takes it down a notch or two during the intro of this one. The chordal line creates an open plain, one that invites further elements to come and revel in its scope and scale, which occurs as further chordal lines join in on the fun along with solo key lines that operate on the higher ends. The track is a impeccable example of a tonal and textural exercise, as the feel and character of each melodic line is expertly placed, conceived and designed, with each element allowed the space to shine individually but really move beyond as part of a collective. The overall picture just takes the breath away with its feel and inventiveness, hypnotically taking us away to a place where colour reigns supreme in fields of sonic majesty. Stunning. To wrap things up, we have 'A New Language', which begins in similar territories to the previous cut, abet with slightly more rhythmic qualities. The opening salvo is delicately textured, with crisp key lines moving on either side of chordal arrangement, but this is all blown out of the water once the brilliant jungle break comes in, carrying the melodic arrangement up higher and higher in true Good Looking Records fashion. The melodic features move away to give some breathing room to the drums, but it all comes back together for a series of euphoria driven brilliance, as the keys rise high then low then high again, and its fucking brilliant. What a way to end a record filled with such excellence, such thought, such diversity and such wonderment.
The intention of this record was to soundtrack an imagined video game in our minds, and in many ways E-Talking achieves this and then some. You have the energised segments, the eerie calm sombre times, the busy interactivity, the emotional moments for big decisions, and the triumphant ending that means all your efforts have not gone unnoticed. As a body of tracks, its honestly outstanding, with E-Talking showcasing the depth of his interest in the genres on show here and as ever spending a significant amount of time imprinting his own unique take on them. Its blended and expertly produced, with transitions that take the breath away, its a techno laden experience that takes you right back to the Motor City, and along the way helps you play out the best video game of your life, just so you can match the quality of the music soundtracking it. What a way to start the year.
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