- "The music is super emotional," DJ Koze recently said about his favourite electronic music. "But nobody would say that it's because of the bass drum." He was right. Anyone can learn to programme a house or techno beat, but few have the creative nuance to craft a touching melody. And when you think about your favourite techno tracks, kicks, snares and claps probably don't come to mind. Barker seems to realise this as well. Debiasing, the UK artist's first solo release on Ostgut Ton, is a stellar techno record that forgoes the style's most crucial element: the kick drum. In doing so he delivers an exceptional EP.
Debiasing's four tracks might be without a kick drum but they are still ready for club play. The sound design is full-bodied and powerful, with plenty of low-end presence. A few tracks are even relatively easy to mix with other techno. Take "Look How Hard I've Tried," the EP's strongest tune. Its trance synths and strings, familiar like some '90s classic, tick at 135 BPM, the whoosh of analogue synth slamming on every downbeat. The intensity builds but the rhythm stays locked, dragging you closer to euphoria as the track soars with every bar.
"Cascade Effect" deals in a similar state of joy. There seem to be choral vocals hidden in the mix, fighting through a tangled mess of spluttering trance chords and zapping synths. "When Prophecy Fails" is the EP at its most reduced, free of the bass weight that anchors the other tracks. It's atmospheric, a delicate counterpoint to the rest of the EP. File this next to Ostgut Ton classics like Dettmann and Klock's Scenario and Shed's Shedding The Past. Like Debiasing, both broadened the possibilities of techno while staying loyal to its structure.
A1 Cascade Effect
A2 When Prophecy Fails
B1 Look How Hard I’ve Tried
B2 Filter Bubbles