Techno music has a certain freedom to it that allows the music to zone out, expand, and elaborate on a single rhythm for as long as it needs. It works some kind of sonic voodoo on the listener, putting us in a state of suspended animation. I’ve grown to appreciate the genre over the years, not really locking in till I became much older. Autechre, Aphex Twin, and the late Andrew Weatherall are a few artists I locked into over the years. I also really dug the work of Thug Entrancer(now just Entrancer.)
Another laying waste to the techno landscape is Glasgow producer John McLaren, aka Urgula. McLaren also makes no- nonsense, dance floor orientated techno as Kill Them With Noise, but with Urgula McLaren takes are more nuanced approach to electronic music, focusing more on sound design and the retro-futuristic concepts of techno and electronic music.
Urgula’s newest release, titled Frequency Wars, is three tracks plus two remixes of mind-expanding techno and electronic music, showing McLaren using sound and sonic manipulation to create a heady shot of mind-expanding noise.
“Use of Weapons” opens the EP with an aggressive rhythm and a menacing buzz of synth. There’s this feeling of some Dystopian battle going on as the song rolls along. McLaren effortlessly works his ideas into this nearly five minute shot of almost avante techno. “Battle For The Magnetic Fields” slinks and slides on a slippery rhythm with intricate sound design and a steady, carefully crafted patience in the song’s sonic palate. “Scavengers at Station 11” goes full-on film score vibes. You can almost see space pirates making their way thru some abandoned spacecraft as this slinky, hypnotic track plays on. Textural sound that you can almost feel, there’s a gritty quality to the music that makes Urgula’s brand of techno very organic.
There’s two remixes of “Battle For The Magnetic Fields” also included, one by Yasda and the other by Doxil, that expand on Urgula’s ideas. Yasda goes more hazy and even psychedelic, while Doxil opens the song up into a seven-minute dance floor banger. A most intriguing way to close up shop on Frequency Wars.
Urgula’s Frequency Wars is an engaging dive into dance floor flirtations and sound design aesthetics, opening the door to both intellectual explorations and just letting go and losing yourself just a bit.
Frequency Wars is available now thru Bricolage. Buy it here.