- We often turn to small dance labels not for the artists they're releasing but for the sound they're pushing. Ilian Tape is one of them, and as much as anyone in techno, they're offering something you won't find elsewhere. The tracks evoke the massive rooms you're likely to hear them in, with skyscraper-sized drums and a love of reverb. But they've also got a wonderfully tuneful side, working in melodies more delicately wrought than we're used to hearing in banging techno.
The latest from Marco Zenker, the younger brother in the partnership running the label, is a master class in that style, with four tracks showing off the range of Ilian Tape's sound. The lead cut, "Geezin," is the EP's most expansive. Its warm, downward-tripping melody could have been snipped from an organ or electric guitar progression, but it's actual origin is anyone's guess—laden with effects and maybe played backwards, it's been transformed into a gorgeous pillow for syncopated cymbals and snares to fall into. The three tunes that follow are considerably trackier. "Spliffer" hides a pumping loop behind a thin screen of ambience, which "Darai"'s mammoth kick seems to plow right through. Zenker twists up the rhythm on "Lubiana" Pearson Sound-style, but the shivers of melody that emerge bring it back into Ilian Tape territory. If you've rated this crew so far, you'll definitely dig this.