There are hard workers, and then there is Dax J. The Berlin-based techno powerhouse has essentially turned the genre on its head, and has quickly risen to elite status with his mix of industrial and jungle influences, packaged together in 134+ bpm techno. As for working hard, spending up to 20+ hours in the studio is something he's become quite familiar with. This has translated into massive success, two albums, and countless EPs and remixes on the top labels in underground techno. Speaking of which, his latest album, Offending Public Morality, was only released this past April, and he's already back with a 9 track EP on his Monnom Black label. That's literally almost another entire album. How's that for not resting on your laurels?
The EP starts with No Redemption, a standard Dax tune with its doofy kick, thundering low end, and eerie metallic pads. Aggressive acids and strange detuned vocal samples complete the track and perfectly set the tone for the rest of the release.
Next up, Sin and Salvation takes a completely different route, going in an almost psychedelic trancey direction. The pads are similar in tone to No Redemption, but when combined with the melodic arp and other pads, creates a much different atmosphere. Upon first listen, this was my favorite tune from this EP.
On the B-side, returning from the album in a dub mix is Offending Public Morality. One of my favorites from the LP. Again, just freight train techno right into your cerebellum. No holds barred.
For B2, Dax collaborated with Cressidia, and killer techno producer, to create a less intense, but equally as driving tune called Two Foot Shallow. It's more of a tool than anything, but fitting well for quick transitions when taking your set to the next level. Would also work well as a layer.
The more I listened, the more C1, Voltaire, became my favorite track on this record. While there's nothing that stands out in particular, ie no big memorable pads or something of the sort, the brooding and gritty-as-fuck bassline and minimal percussion instantly teleports me into a dark warehouse at 7am. Definitely going to be a big one in my sets.
The flipside, The Tyranny, is similar in that it's not over the top, but it's definitely much more aggressive. The tribal snare/perc sound adds an extra rhythm that keeps the track moving.
Kicking off the D-side, Condition the Masses seems like it might have been cut from the album, and carries a similar feel to Offending Public Morality. Back are the eerie pads and a grimy offbeat acid line. Plenty of chunky percussion in there to tie it all together.
Perhaps the most subdued of all the tracks on the release, D2's Russian Bloodlines is much more stripped back and atmospheric, but with an extremely brooding bassline. When the break comes, you're expecting the filter to open up and the bass to smash your face in, but instead, it continues deep and brooding.
The final track on No Redemption, is Acid Ascention, another track that returned from the LP. This time, the ambient and experimental track comes in the form of a Club Mix and is laid nicely over pounding drums. This is absolutely an early morning track. It would also work as a perfect way to end your set, and it certainly works as a way to close out the entire EP.
Redemption is available now in digital and vinyl format. Get it here.