- Techno's biggest label hits its 200th release.
- Two decades and 200 releases in, Drumcode is the undisputed champion of big-room techno. Run by Adam Beyer, it was founded in Stockholm during Swedish dance music's mid-'90s golden years, a period in which labels and artists like Svek, Jesper Dahlbäck and Cari Lekebusch were releasing timeless tunes by the month, some of which are among the best house and techno tracks ever produced. Though there are gems scattered throughout its early catalogue, Drumcode's high-energy acid and percussive sounds never quite had the same charisma. Mass appeal, though, wasn't far away.
Drumcode's later years have seen it shed more personality, long ago elevating functionality above everything else. There's arguably no language simpler than Drumcode's current sound, perhaps the first label to merge tech house with the rumble of modern techno. The label's 200th release reflects its current aesthetic. Amelie Lens, a breakout Belgian artist and student of the Drumcode school, is a name worthy of the occasion—she's among techno's most popular acts, enlisted for a landmark release on its top label. But on her remixes of Adam Beyer's "Teach Me," an introspective ten-minute epic released in 2014, she takes a straightforward approach. Where some recent Drumcode hits—Enrico Sangiuliano's "Astral Projection," Wehbba's "Catarse"—have favoured melody and nuance, Lens utilises brute force. It's a more immediate sound that gives DJs guaranteed results, but requires less creativity.
Beefing up the original with two churning new versions, she steamrolls the original's best elements—strings, layers of atmosphere—with sub-bass and gurgling synths, removing the melody that made it a hit in the first place. Like the rest of Drumcode's recent catalogue, these tracks will light up the ice cannon-equiped stages Beyer and his associates soundtrack each weekend. But by exchanging nuance for sheer power, they sacrifice the charm that gives the best techno lasting appeal.
01. Adam Beyer - Teach Me (Amelie Lens Main Mix)
02. Adam Beyer - Teach Me (Amelie Lens Acid Mix)