- Max_M has been one of my favourite techno artists for a long time. I can't remember how or when I first found out about his music, but it was probably through M_REC LTD, the label he founded in 2009. Some of the most popular work on this great label has been Max_M's joint releases with fellow Italians. Almost all were part of a 10-inch series, the most recent of which was released last year and featured a collaboration with the young Milan producer Wrong Assessment. The pair produced together as Overall Severity, and their output was generally more musical than Max_M's stripped-back solo productions. It seemed like a chance for Max to detour from his more serious side, working with more melodic and, arguably, more expressive sounds.
This Overall Severity 12-inch, Helene, was the last of Max's work released before his untimely passing at the end of May. It features two tool-like club tracks and a dreamy broken-beat finale called "Emotional Harm." This closing cut could be the most overtly emotional track Max_M ever had a hand in. It has an ambiguous mood that will likely change depending on how you're feeling. On first listen, the distorted synth stabs and harsh feedback seem melancholic, but a few days later they might sound breezy and hopeful. This is typical of Max_M's wider catalogue: smart and never obvious.
That Max's most affecting track appeared on the final EP before his death is strangely poignant. If you need a pick-me-up, though, put the needle on the banging "Vario 7288" or "Unable To Assess." I don't think you'll have to wait too long for fresh bangers, either. Max was one of the hardest working label owners in techno, with a release schedule planned and organised long in advance. As such, something tells me this won't be the last we'll be hearing from Max_M.
A1 Vario 7288
B1 Unable to Assess
B2 Emotional Harm