Bodyclock Volume 2 / Darker Than Wax

Darker Than Wax`s second installment in their Bodyclock series is not only a deft demonstration of the culturally connected world that we live in, but also how DJing and music-making continues to evolve at a considerable clip. I guess the fact that the compilation collects compositions by folks from Austria (B.Visible), Japan (RGL, and Akio Nagase), The Netherlands (LAZA), Pakistan (Tollcrane), and South Africa (tiro!), is no real biggie these days, but the thing that did take me by surprise – while researching and taking notes – was that pretty much all of those contributing have no Discogs dent or “footprint” – with the bulk of their output strictly in the digital domain. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the names involved are necessarily new to the dance music game, but instead they represent a generation of artists acting autonomously, outside of the established industry, dealing and interacting with their audience via online communities. DJs and producers who are contactable, bookable, directly via Instagram and Bandcamp. They’re hardly shock troops in a land without borders, on the frontiers of cyberspace, and I suppose this shouldn’t be a revelation, but I’m old. Please forgive me. 

The eight tracks on offer tackle a range of tempos – from Teo Mattress` chugging and bumping Church Of Water, a round midnight mover defined by the juxtaposition of jazz and the tribal, given a syncopated shake and a carnival whistle, to Tollcrane`s highly acidic Couch Dynamics, which pounds and pummels like Hood & Mills beating a path to Atlantis. UNOS` Find Your Groove is of a similarly low pH – though less techno, more electro. B.Visible`s 56k Modem while a whole lot gentler, also boasts Drexcyian aquatics – busy with circuitry, bleeps, whizzes, and whirrs, and an 808 boom. RGL and tiro! both borrow `80s drum machine patterns. Emoting, employing Fairlight “Aahs” and “Oohs”, and end-of-the-night synths, respectively. A big broken beat bashes LAZA`s WTBWH. Its heavy duty snares hammering out some soundsystem bass-bin blowing stop / start / stuttered funk – countered by calming ambient washes. 

The standout for me, however, is Akio Nagase`s Jack The Sax – making with some serious Osaka oscillations. A TB-303 free for all, with Roland`s little silver box bringing a big bottom-end throb, and also freestyling at higher frequencies. The soaring, titular, saxophone paying tribute to seminal Chicago sides by, say, Lil` Louis, and DJ Pierre’s Wild Pitch. 

Bodyclock Volume 2 – compiled by label co-founder, Dean Chew – is out now on / Darker Than Wax.

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