Review: Lurka – Stay Let’s Together (Wisdom Teeth)

Calculated, low swung swagger from Bristol don Lurka.

There’s been a changing of the guard in Bristol in recent years. Stalwarts like Pev, Hodge, and Kowton have now made way for a new wave of producers and collectives pushing a sound that still emanates the Bristolian sound, but with a fresh lick of paint.

Amongst the hive of activity and creativity of this re-burgeoning scene sits Ben Tragaskes AKA Lurka. Like most down in the South Western city, Tragaske’s inspirations stemmed from mid 2000’s dubstep, and in 2011 he released his first EP Return/Stabiliser on Black Box’s sister label Box Clever. Following years would see releases on Batu’s Timedance, Hotline Records plus, his very own, Fringe White. It’s 8 years down the line from his debut, and it’s with a style that’s now grown to fit the ‘broken techno’ glove, that we see Lurka readying a new weapon.

This latest outing comes almost a year on from 2018’s standout Heat Mover/Battery, and is a return to form for Tragaskes. Stay Let’s Together sees him debut on UK label Wisdom Teeth, the brainchild of Facta and K-Lone, renowned for pushing cutting edge techno from across the spectrum. The impressive Wisdom Teeth discography reads as a who’s who of leftfield dons rubbing shoulders with some of dance music’s most exciting prospects, and it’s easy to see why Lurka would be the next viable choice for release.

Stay Let’s Together‘s title track opens with an ambient whirl, and a vocal moan drenched in reverb. It tempts in arriving hats, and muted kicks, allowing a moment’s rest before getting stuck into the drop. It’s a lush intro for a track that hits so hard. Occupying somewhere in the dance between warm-up, and peak time, ‘Stay Let’s Together’ chugs along with mutating undertones and steady percussion, before breaking down. Warm pads ease things up, and boil down into a glitchy melee of electronics, along with a brief shrugging bassline to see in the home straight.

Where ‘Stay Let’s Together’ focuses on its own intricacies, ‘Plenty’ lends itself to a more sustained, and hypnotic approach. It’s centred around a paranoid chime, contorted throughout ‘Plenty’s narrative. You can hear Lurka’s fingers working the filter and effects knob as it unfolds, and this unpredictability sits aptly against the tight and unrelenting drum work. ‘Plenty’ is consistent and, apart from the odd snare roll here and there, withstands interference, making for a rolling UK techno affair.

‘Plenty’ soon becomes the filling in a broken techno sandwich, with ‘Bodied’ rounding off this thrilling excursion. I’ve learnt to never underestimate a B2, and this is no exception. The build up is short but tense, only leading the pure devastation that eventually unfolds. The kicks are hot and the sub bass fizzles – you’ll be checking your speakers to make sure they haven’t blown. Slight breaks in the percussion allow for Lurka to deploy some nifty effects too; the back-cuing vinyl detail around the 3 minute mark is a personal highlight. Like its name-sake suggests, and like a fine wine, the closing track on the EP is full-‘Bodied’ indeed.

Stays Lets Together, as a whole, carries on Lurka’s scintillating form and feels more than at home on Wisdom Teeth. It’s cautious, it’s calculated and it proves that broken techno doesn’t have to be flurried, and erratic to do damage on the dancefloor.

Stay Let’s Together is out now via Wisdom Teeth.

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