- A big-room techno record suited to ice cannons and festival stages.
- There are dozens of male house and techno producers using female names as pseudonyms. For a few years, Charlotte de Witte did the opposite, using a male name to colour people's preconceptions of her music. She made twisting, sticky techno as Raving George but in 2015 she swapped the alias for her own name. "Eventually I just thought, 'Fuck it!'" she told Mixmag. "I've been DJing for six years. Everyone knows I'm a woman—why do I need a male name?" Her music also evolved. Weltschmerz, the first release as Charlotte de Witte, was fast and functional with a punchy kick and a melodic touch that set the tone for later productions.
Three years later de Witte is fully in her stride, having released five EPs in 2017 alone. Her straightforward techno tracks have catapulted her to worldwide acclaim. Her music is intense in a home setting, but that's not its intended purpose. It thrives when delivered from a stage in front of thousands of people, with a huge system amplifying each booming kick. Her sets and mixes act as production showcases by placing her tracks in their intended context. Her tracks come alive when she DJs, her calm and composed presence contrasted by monstrous big-room techno.
But it's not all rolling kicks and piercing hi-hats. "Making music really gives me a chance to tap into the more emotional side of electronic music that I love," she has said. "Music that has that melancholic side to it, I just find it so much more interesting." She calls the tracks that express this "Melodic Themes." On her newest record, The Healer, "Song Of The Wood Nymphs" is the Melodic Theme, where heart-wrenching strings drift as a droning pulse provides the track's heartbeat. These slower, more melodic tracks give listeners a chance to come up for air.
The other tunes are four-on-the-floor bangers that follow the linear path that de Witte has travelled many times before. "Kuda" could be a hit, with drowsy vocals, a swirling acid line and colossal kicks and claps that lead to a scintillating breakdown. A drowsy hypnosis also floats across "The Healer" and "Silence," adding a stranger element to the functional template. de Witte's previous record, Heart Of Mine, lacked the emotion and melancholy she finds so interesting, so even the trippy vocal on "This" felt lacklustre. The Healer has more melancholy, and de Witte's growing confidence shines through.
A1 The Healer
B2 Song Of The Wood Nymphs