- Here's a situation that'll be familiar to almost anyone with an interest in techno. You're on a dance floor a few hours into a set. You barely recognise any of the tracks playing, but that doesn't stop you repeatedly thinking to yourself, "What is this?" Mostly—for me at least—those tracks don't sound like much more than a kick drum, bassline, hi-hats and a flew bleeps, which makes tracking them down almost impossible. But these are the records many great techno sets are built on. Whether it's Marcel Dettmann or DVS1, Robert Hood or Rødhåd, quality tools form the basis of a master DJ's arsenal. Few people can pick out these tools like Max_M. Through his label M_REC LTD, the Italian has released a trove of these understated weapons, and the imprint's latest batch, Dissertation, comes from the studio of the founder himself.
Compared to most dance music, very little happens in each of Dissertation's three cuts. The two standouts are "Exceeding Brightness" and "Architectural Lie." The former is all bleepy keys, hats and a subdued snare, but somehow these elements combine to create true hypnotism. Throughout its six minutes, the beat only gives way for two short moments, making it a smooth ride from start to finish. "Architectural Lie" is a touch more energetic, with bigger sounds but a similar palette. Stabs swirl around each other while percussion ticks along underneath, again creating a disorienting but strangely pleasant mood. "Scape Sequences," another premium cut, caps the vinyl off, and, though comprising similar parts, is less colourful.
I believe Dissertation is a timeless record, but not in an obvious sense. It probably won't appear in any end-of-year lists, and there certainly won't be many people humming "Architectural Lie" in a decade's time. But as long as techno is being played in nightclubs, there'll be a place for Dissertation.
A1 Exceeding Brightness
B1 Architectural Lie
B2 Scape Sequences