- Timeless techno, reissued and remastered.
- Takaaki Itoh is a Japanese techno artist who never quite generated the attention his music deserves. His purist, loopy sound has appeared on dozens of EPs, most of which received ample club play. But no record was played more than Killing All Anarchists, a sought-after 2004 EP that's been reissued and remastered by Oaks. Functional and hard-hitting, it's an excellent example of the Birmingham techno sound Itoh has spent most of his career emulating, delivering three churning techno tunes grounded in that timeless aesthetic.
Most of the attention will be on "Killing," which this reissue promotes to the A-side (it was previously the B1). At around 135 BPM, it was too intense for many DJs throughout the late '00s—the famous "Berghain sound" was substantially slower—but now that tempos have risen there should be room for Itoh's hammering kicks. It's easy to hear Regis's influence on its rattling percussion, which brings tracks like "Rites" and "Purification" to mind, but there's also plenty of Itoh inside. The choral-like vocal, buried in the mix, give the track an ethereal slant, while a mini-breakdown into silence is hard to imagine in an original Birmingham production. Best of all is the groove, a whirlpool of sub-bass and kick drums.
"All" is the EP's deepest track, but it's also percussive. There's more going on in the midrange, with bleeps and whirs that glide between the drums. Snares go haywire, and the energy building up and down as Itoh toys with the equaliser. His heroes, Regis and Surgeon, might scoff at these tricks. But because the music is so slick, they work. The groove on "Anarchists" tumbles, the beats moving around the grid in jagged patterns. Where the other tracks roll, this one sways, a welcome change of pace on an EP loaded with energy. Killing All Anarchists is a timely reissue, arriving as techno only seems to be getting harder. Let's hope DJs enjoy it as much as they did 15 years go.