- I Hate Models, Chafik Chennouf and more feature on this ferocious techno EP.
- Amsterdam's Leyla Records has emerged as a key label in the sphere of darker techno. Where the first EP in its Unwitch series offered moments of respite and ambience, there are no breathers on The Presence, which features four different takes on scary techno.
The first two tracks stand out. "Beloved & Damned" contains all the hallmarks of an I Hate Models track, with added aggression, beeps and disorienting vocal snippets. About five minutes in, the French producer drops his calling card: a glorious, emotional breakdown, with chords layered over a gut-punch kick. It lacks subtlety, which might be what you love or hate about I Hate Models. On "Inception," VSK offers something more groovy and hypnotic. He manages to be at least as terrifying, especially in the breakdown that replaces emotion with throbbing and screaming electronic noise.
Label founder Chafik Chennouf and Manni Dee collaborate on the punchy "Hostage To Hope," which features demonic vocals by Dave Foster of Teste. There's a little too much going on in Parrish Smith's "Moshpit," which is an otherwise interesting take on old gabber and hardcore, slowed down, distorted and delivered with menace.
A1 I Hate Models - Beloved & Damned
A2 VSK - Inception
B2 Chafik Chennouf & Manni Dee - Hostage to Hope feat. HUREN
B2 Parrish Smith - Moshpit