ITEMS & THINGS (IT07, 12” + digital)
A few weeks ago, Magda, Marc Houle and Troy Pierce decided to abandon the home of their long-time mentor Richie Hawtin and start a new adventure. They left behind the security net of M_nus, a trustworthy brand with loyal fans and a good distribution network, in order to start their own label (almost) from scratch – they founded it years ago but they had so far only released six records. This is the seventh, and it's not just any 12”: it's the declaration of independence of three producers who so far hadn't been judged for who they were but for who they were with. They were Hawtin's shadow, his team at festivals and club nights where the weight was always carried by the label boss, where they seemed to be the support acts. It's a bold move for Magda and her two partners, but a necessary one. “Down & Out Vol. 1” is their opportunity to be the headliners. Any change is risky, but they took the step without a security net. We'll see where it takes them.
For starters, they're not going to places we don't know. The first track is by Troy Pierce: “Majikal” is his usual, apparently simple and repetitive techno, but brilliantly mastered so that all the layers of sound stand out; powerful basses, gut-blowing bass drums, an almost three-dimensional feeling for a kind of techno that is direct and plain (it has to be said, however, that the drum set is audacious; the kick always seems well-constructed instead of monotonous). Magda & Suade deliver “Fixation”, on which nothing much seems to happen until the track speeds up and some simple but effective embellishments appear (an undulating synth, a breakbeat, some unnecessary voices repeating the word “fixation”), which make it sound more luxurious, like the difference between fir tree in the woods and a Christmas tree. Houle closes the vinyl with “Slowpe”, true to himself when mixing techno with humour (the gimmick on the entire track, is that a trumpet?) and some hypnotic sequences. All in all, nothing has changed formally, but psychologically you can see the three have overcome their Oedipus complex and have dared to kill the father. We'll see where they'll go without him.