- Effective dance floor tracks that blend techno and electro.
- Back in 2016, Onur Özer told RA that he'd found a more "grown up" sound. Few artists have had a career trajectory like Özer, who in the last decade turned away from the big-room minimal scene towards a more obscure group of DJs who play forgotten electro, tech house and techno in small clubs. Relentless digging for new (old) music seems to have left little time for the studio. Özer, who has an extensive discography from his minimal phase, hasn't released anything since 2016.
Casual listeners probably wouldn't consider the sound of Akmar more "grown up." If you put this record next to Ozer's 2007 LP, Kasmir, you might have suggested the opposite was true. Where his earlier productions were meticulous, muted and subtle, there's a youthful energy running through Akmar, which builds on the rough and raw approach heard on 2016's Frequent Forrest Turn EP and the Treatment collaboration with Binh. Despite its length, about as long as an album, Akmar is fittingly dubbed a double EP—there's little let up or variation in style, only wall-to-wall dance floor tracks.
Tracks like "Daydream" and "Winter Track" epitomise Özer's sound as a DJ, with dark, bassy techno and tech house. "Happy Verse" is the busiest and most outrageous track, driven by a fizzing, ravey bassline. There are bold choices with brilliant results, chaotic and emphatically un-minimal. The gulf between Özer's current productions and the clean, crafted sound of his earlier work has never been wider.
That's not to say there's no subtlety. On "Hugging Pain," Özer turns to the electro sound that lurked behind his work as Treatment. Carefully programmed bleeps and tasteful chords cut through, providing tenderness on an otherwise machine-like record. "Jumping Lesson," which appeared in Etienne's RA podcast from earlier this year, is a killer piece of heady, streamlined techno—hypnotic, but without compromising on energy.
For Özer, and many in the scene around him, moving away from the sound of the 2000s has involved rediscovering music from the decades before. If there's one criticism of this record, it's that Özer's recreation of '90s techno is more faithful and perfect than it was previously. Frequent Forrest Turn and the Treatment LP certainly paid homage to the past, but several tracks on Akmar sound like they could have been made 20 years ago. Still, it leaves us in no doubt about Özer ability as a producer. There are very few weak moments on Akmar, which includes some of his most direct and effective dance floor material to date.
B1 Winter Track
B2 Hiding Behind Swans
C1 Jumping Lesson
D1 Happy Verse
D2 Hugging Pain