- Is the new EP on Amelie Lens's label really so different from supposedly more tasteful techno?
- Anyone dismissing LENSKE on sight because of Amelie Lens's popularity may be missing a trick. There's no denying that the tight group of artists connected to the label—Airod, Farrago, Milo Spykers, Lens herself—make music with big stages and functionality firmly in mind. But there's plenty here that makes the divide between purist Berghain techno and the so-called big-room or "business" stuff seem pretty arbitrary. Put it this way: I'd challenge anyone to pick tracks like "Man Over Machine," "Hidden Power" or "Risin'" out of a supposedly more tasteful techno set. That said, the label's ninth release won't be the one to convince people of LENSKE's scope. It comes from the Belgian artist Ahl Iver, a new addition to the group, who revels in the label's love of scale.
Iver's "Cry For Redemption," his debut track, which appeared on Lens's recent fabric presents mix, showed a taste for trance-influenced drama that also surfaces on Haunted Patterns. It's there in the arpeggiated lead line of "7AM," and the choral keys of the title track. Indeed, in the same way it'd be tough to pick out some of LENSKE's other tracks in a techno identity parade, "7AM" and "Haunted Patterns" would blend seamlessly into a trance or hard dance set.
Milo Spykers' remix of "7AM" is also high impact but pulls that inverse drop move—build, kick drum enters, arrangement strips back—that Lens is such a fan of. "Rave Simulator" is big, dumb and pretty fun. It's the type of rave-techno hybrid that's been done plenty of times before, but that won't stop it moving a dance floor. The same is basically true of the EP. Everything here is completely serviceable, but the aim seems to be to fall in line with prevailing sounds rather than challenge them.
A2 7AM (Milo Spykers Remix)
B1 Haunted Patterns
B2 Rave Simulator