Artist: Various Artists
Title: Science Fiction EP
Label: Perc Trax
By: Illya Zubaryev | 22 August 2006
  • A1: Lazy Fat People - Science Fiction
  • B1: Perc - Science Fiction
  • B2: Kilzer & Ashken - Science Fiction

"Science Fiction EP"

Out Now on Perc Trax

The latest release from Perc Trax, entitled 'Science Fiction', is not your typical EP that comes from a single artist with his/her own personal material. Instead, showcased are the skills of three different artists; Lazy Fat People, Perc and Kilzer & Ashken, as they all project their own ideas for all to hear through the production of individual cover versions of a classic minimal tune (the title of which is the same as the EP) from 1994 by Daniel ‘dbx’ Bell. Worthy of note is the fact that Daniel himself has given his blessing for this release and with that and the reputation of the label in mind, expectations are undoubtedly high.

Personally, my biggest curiosity was over the originality and quality level of the productions. Covers are extremely prominent in the electronic music world in the form of (re)mixes. Most producers show some originality and differences are evident, but genius work is rare and full reconstructions and unique, special interpretations are hard to come by. Nevertheless, when something special does surface, an instant popularity and signature sound can be given birth to and a wonderful example of this is illustrated through the works of both Robag Wruhme and James Holden. But I digress... Let's move on to the music and dissest each track.

Switzerland's 'Lazy Fat People' have recently gained much popularity and admiration as their stunning 'Dark Water/Big City' EP saw release on Border Community and label owner, James Holden, has also DJ'd alongside the LFP boys at The Loft Club and includes their productions in his mixes on a regular basis. Combining many techno elements, their interpretation is a magnificent journey into sound, expressing originality, attention to detail and a freaky pallette of samples while maintaining a good level of accessibility for different people. On first listen, this track may leave you feeling a little uncomfortable or slightly displeased; with a barrage of detailed noises, queer synths, repetitive clicks and the absence of an uplifting melody or climax. However, as with all great music that pushes boundaries, it takes time, patience, understanding and an open mind for full enjoyment to come about. It would be arrogant and dishonest not to admit that a previous interest in techno music, the right mood, and an acute ear is helpful in the hope of fully appreciating this song and in fact, the whole release. I didn't give up hope whatsoever at the beginning and this song grew on me with each second of every replay afterward. Paying attention and really "listening" is important and all of the interesting details, sounds and noises come to the foreground one by one, complimenting one another in a very eerie and bizzare manner. The song really makes me think of 'science fiction' and puts images of a scary movie in my head with menace, mystery, surprise and creepy feelings abound. That sort of description is certainly special and uncommon and even if not appealing to everyone, the duo of Lazy Fat People delivers a techno monster that can act as a drug for someone at 3am in the comfort of their living space, but also tear up the dance floors at raves and deliver a shock to the easily disturbed in the middle of a late night closing set in any club.

Picking up where the Lazy Fat People left off, Perc Trax leader Ali Wells provides an even harder, stronger, building and rising production. Full of electronic and machine-like noises, the track does build to crescendo and reaches a pseudo-climax that pauses for a moment as if to let the listener take a breath and then dives back into a frenzy with the heavy, driving drum beat and menacing synth lines and loud rhythmic glitches, squeaks and clicks. If the Lazy Fat People's version contained more atmosphere building, space and eeriness, Perc's interpretation is a full-blown horror chase sequence that starts out innocently enough for a driving techno track, but blasts into oblivion like the sprint of a terrified person in the woods who encounters some creature and runs forward seeing only pitch black and never wanting to look back or stop. The point of my detailed descriptions should be coming in loud and clear to the reader; this release is a roller-coaster that is not for the faint of heart.

Last but certainly not least, the duo of Andrew Kilzer and Marc Ashken (aptly Kilzer & Ashken) presents us with their vision of what a modern version of the 1994 production by Bell sounds like. Marc has recorded for many prominent labels such as Leftroom and Safari while his good friend Andrew is a very popular DJ on the after-party scene in London, England. Slowing things down for a brief period of time, the track starts off with a minimal drum track that fades into a calm sample atmosphere with reverberating noises that hint at a big move. Then as the echoing space and alien sound pallette continues changing shape and form, a largely bass-driven drum beat comes in for a little over 30 seconds (this kick surprisingly reminding me of a classic hip-hop bass drum) before yet another change of pace arrives. We are now introduced to the unsaturated, clear, hard beat and synth combination that this track is sure to become known for and the action continues as you are caught up in the track not knowing what to expect next. One more pause arrives and after 4 minutes, we are hit with the uppercut. Like the Perc version, this becomes the frenzy, climax-like part of the track, with the most samples and sounds coming together now to briefly bring the heart to its highest pace yet. The conclusion and minimal ending comes next, with all of the different sound scenes and hardcore action now behind us. Just as an epic motion picture would have numerous pauses in between different action scenes, this music piece does so in parallel.

The only possible flaw with this release is the fact that it's almost too risque. That however is simply surpassed by the originality of the EP idea and each track in its own way is what makes this such a special offering. This has to be some of the freshest, most interesting, moving and mind-bending electronic music to have surfaced this year that I have had the pleasure of listening to. Innovative and unique in so many ways, this is an essential, must-have release. The material's dangerous and supernatural nature is the most precious and moving quality at the core of a release that truly lives up to the name, 'Science Fiction'. The equivalent of slipping LSD into a techno sound cocktail. Highly recommended.

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