Paul Woolford and Psycatron, two powerhouses of contemporary techno, join forces with a collaboration of the highest order here, and the Scuba-owned imprint Hotflush Recordings must be struggling to hold back a smug grin that they’ve landed the responsibility of its release.
Woolford’s recent work for both Carl Craig’s legendary Detroit label Planet E Communications and the London-based Phonica is well known amongst techno heads, and his reputation as a scholar of the genre’s past and present has been firmly in place for years.
His partner(s) in crime here, the production duo of Paul Hamill and Dave Oost Lievense, are roommates of Woolford’s at Planet E Communications, and have under their belts a stonewall techno classic in the form of 2009’s ‘Deeper Shade of Black’ – an earlier example of the intense and ominous nature of production that they bring to ‘Stolen’.
So what of the track in question here? Well, put simply, ‘Stolen’ is a beast: 9 minutes of dark, brooding techno with an intricately designed build and drop arrangement, constantly twisting and turning as if trying to shake off the grounded kick drum thump. Samples are traded, fresh bass lines come and go, synth pads swirl, and rhythmical trade-offs between wooden percussion and leaden kicks underpin the lot.
While never outstaying its welcome, ‘Stolen’ does at times appear a little tentative, as if the chefs at work here are concentrating as much on trying not to step on each other’s toes in the kitchen as they are on cooking up original recipe productions. This is definitely classic stuff – a checklist of requisite elements completed to high standard – but there’s nothing here to challenge the senses. Two dub mixes of the track also feature on the single, only serving to emphasise this point: the first presenting a spacier take on things, with more emphasis on the phased synth work, while the second cranks up the intensity, wasting no time in pounding out the four-to-the-floor beat from the off.
‘Stolen’ is a strong collaboration, and definitely a necessary addition to the collections of fans of either artist, but its strengths lie in the tried-and-tested, and it may not be too unfair to hope that producers of this quality could be pushing a few more boundaries.
‘Stolen’ is released via Hotflush Recordings on October 24.