- There's a lingering misconception that electronic music is difficult to talk about in a meaningful way. Discerning specific emotions in a house or techno track can be tough, as their expression is often less obvious than, say, pop or rock. Are those pads meant to represent happiness or sadness? Does that chord signify hope or despair? But this ambiguity might be one of the best things about techno, especially in the genre's deeper strands.
I'm still trying to figure out the moods on June, Acronym's latest album for Northern Electronics. As of now, I think it's the most positive-sounding record I've heard in a long time, stacked with bright, highly affecting sounds from start to finish. It's an interesting twist—this brand of deep techno is generally considered darker than most other styles, and rightfully so. Thanks to labels like Prologue and Stroboscopic Artefacts, and a large crew of Italians spread out across a handful of other imprints, this is often the case (look to Todd L. Burns' Italians Do It Darker feature for some context), but not always.
I know next to nothing about Acronym, except that he resides in Stockholm and makes techno. Life in Sweden is pretty good, right? Could that explain June's cheery aesthetic? Probably not, as some of the records released by Acronym's Stockholm cohorts (Abdulla Rashim and Varg, in particular) are about as dark as it gets. Whatever the reason for its cheerfulness, though, June is exceptional. The album's flow is flawless, beginning with chilled ambient, moving into a downtempo drum track, and closing with full-blown dance floor techno.
Because of June's linear structure, its opening third is vital. Layers of soft, spacey samples and gentle melodies entwine for the first 15 minutes, pairing with a smoky background hiss that remains omnipresent throughout the album. The beatless section (comprising "Isolated From The Land," "In The Swamp" and "No Exit") features no breaks between tracks—even on the vinyl—making it a smooth ride from ambience to the more energetic material.
June's traditional techno section probably wouldn't sound as moving without the stellar opening segment. Each up-tempo cut is fairly straightforward, linking simple percussion with metallic club sounds. The approach is minimal and loopy, never jarring or particularly in-your-face—save for "Back To Understanding." June's most slamming cut comes complete with a jacking broken beat and plenty of reverb. On a separate 12-inch, it would likely sound completely different. In the context of the tracklist, it's a much-needed pick-me-up after a deluge of deep, contemplative material.
We'll probably never know if Acronym meant for June to be happy, sad or something else. I've spent a few weeks with it, and I've far from worked it out. This is the beauty of well-considered techno.
01. Isolated From The Land
02. In The Swamp
03. No Exit
04. Humid Zone
07. Back To Understanding
08. The Eye
09. Letting Go Of It All