Track by Track: Adam X – ‘Recon Mission’

The New York icon and scene-pioneer’s latest album, Recon Mission on Sonic Groove, ends the wait for fresh material from the techno talisman.

Few can claim to have had the impact on their home scene as Adam Mitchell, a.k.a. Adam X, the warehouse veteran and producer-extraordinaire responsible for thrusting the Big Apple into the rave spotlight. Since firmly establishing himself as one of the premier underground DJs in his hometown of Brooklyn, Mitchell’s industrial-infused techno has seen over forty EP and albums on a globe-spanning list of labels. Imprints such as Big Break, Direct Drive and his own Sonic Groove have released Mitchell’s music over his near-thirty year career. Most recently, X’s Bedeviled EP demonstrates the technical capacity and spooky aesthetic emblematic of the NY veteran.

Recon Mission is a quality release of modern EBM, channeling a dark concoction of fearsome intensity, thunderous percussion and haunting melodies. Having dropped on the 1st November, we caught up with Mitchell to uncover the themes, techniques and inspirations behind his first album in four years.

Tales Of Mystery

The title of this song was inspired by the early 60’s sci fi Marvel comic book titles the “Tales Of Suspense” and “Tales To Astonish”. I’m a huge fan of Jack Kirby’s comic book artwork from this era and after watching a documentary on the mysteries of the Bermuda triangle I had a conceptual inspiration to write a sound track to the subject matter at hand.

Earth Base One

Continuing on from the opening song. I thought to stylistically combine a bit of my side project , Traversable Wormhole sound into the album. Sometimes the misconception from people that don’t follow my music in full is that my sound is more on the aggressive, abrasive side of techno. The fact is I love a more cerebral sound such as I portrayed with my Traversable Wormhole project. . Earth Base One kicks hard but it evokes a more psychedelic vibe then one of aggression.

Modular Bodies

This was a difficult track to finalise because it took me several times of testing the song out at parties to find the kick drum that I felt worked right with the bassline and snares on a big sound system. I always test drive my songs out before releasing them and this one needed several large sound system tests before I was 100% happy with the sound production.

I really love the vocal samples in this track. To finish the narrative of the vocal samples I decided to add a small whispered chorus of my own on top.

Bimini Wall

This is one of my favourites on the album for playing out in my DJ sets out. The sweeping synth pad that comes in at three different parts of the song, including the break in the middle is intended to transport or shall I say tranceport my listeners into other dimensions.

The Never Ending Quest

Initially the vocals on this track were for an ADMX-71 downtempo song that didn’t make the cut for LIES Records. I really liked the vocals and thought that it would fit nicely into this song. I love the strange harmonic drone sound that comes in midway. Then unexpectedly this big live drum sounding snare kicks in jacking things up a notch.

Recon Mission

With the current hype on EBM in Techno, I was inspired to step up my EBM game after so many years pushing this genre of sound in techno. So I set my bar high to make a killer EBM song with a conceptual vocal to boot. The vocal writing had me completely frustrated. It took me a month before I was completely happy with the verses and chorus. Then came writing the EBM bassline and making it all work together in unison. I had a different arrangement at first but then I played it for EBM maestro Rhys Fulber of Frontline Assembly fame and he felt some events in the song were happening way to late. So I went back and flipped a bunch of sections around, changed some note patterns and found the perfect fit to the puzzle. The video of this song puts the entire song into perspective if you not sure what the vocals and concept is about. It’s not your normal techno video. Check it!

Search & Retrieval

I was done writing the album and under pressure to have it mastered in time to meet the planned release date. When I started to finalise the running order for the album one song didn’t seem to fit in right with me. I felt really under pressure now to come up with something else but in all honesty at that point I needed a break from recording in the studio. A day later while in stress mode and feeling un-creative it occurred to me that in the very start of recording the album there was a song sketch that I liked a lot which I never went back to. I went and opened the project up and immediately I was like “this is it”. I found the missing link for the album. It only need an arrangement which was already partly done in the sketch stage.

Delusions Of Paranoia

I like broken beat infused industrial rhythms and I always have a bit of this on all my albums. The sub bass kick on this one is a complete speaker freaker. The vocal samples are in the front and back at times but if you listen closely you’ll hear it’s all related to the title of the song.

Mythological Creatures

When creating this I had visions of giant metallic creature mutating into different formations. I can get very visual in the head when creating sounds and songs. One day I would like to record music for a film. It would be kind of the opposite approach in writing where I’m given a visual instead of creating one in my mind.

Grab your copy of the album here.

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