M.A.D.A. & Plankton: Antiz EP
Deepak Sharma + Dieter Krause: The Great Lawn
These EPs from Hidden Recordings, the New York City-based label Deepak Sharma and Dieter Krause have operated since 2006, are alike in significant ways. Both are similarly structured, with each release accompanying a single original techno track with a generous number of remix versions, and both stretch far beyond a standard EP's running time, with Antiz and The Great Lawn checking in at fifty-six and sixty-seven minutes, respectively. As such, each release is more like a curious amalgam of single and full-length, rather than EP as it's generally considered. Put most simply, there's lots to dig into and a broad range of producers' styles showcased on the releases, and one comes away from the material (the M.A.D.A. & Plankton in particular) hearing Hidden Recordings as somewhat reminiscent of foundsound and Microcosm in the labels' shared focus on micro-samples and overall quirkiness.
Leading the charge, M.A.D.A. & Plankton's hard-grooving “Antiz” original rolls out a bar-by-bar parade of voice effects, wind-ups, and percussive touches, with a thumping bass line bringing the thunder throughout, and their set-ending “Cold” version roils just as determinedly. M.A.D.A. & Plankton's detail-heavy track gives the remixers lots to work with, and Sasha Carassi, Mike Wall, and Michael Schwarz, to name three, make the most of the opportunity. Wall twists the original into a mechano-industrial shape while jacking up its pumping groove in a way that suggests some trace of John Tejada's spirit has somehow infiltrated the track. Carassi drops techno bombs throughout his stripped-down overhaul by punctuating the track's charging groove with detonations, while Schwarz goes maximal with a thunderous peak-time treatment in contrast to Felix Bernhardt, who opts for a more restrained, minimal attack. Also appearing are Sharma and Krause, who bring a housier feel to the tune and pare the original's voice elements down to micro-edits.
Though The Great Lawn is actually a late-2010 release that predates Sharma and Krause's more recent Wolkenreise, the earlier EP is still worthy of attention, especially when none of the eight remixers, among them Ambivalent, Alexi Delano, and Alland Byallo, is formerly affiliated with the label. The duo's “The Great Lawn” original bolts from the gate with a gallop before a grooving bass pulse kicks in, grounding the track in a flurry of handclaps and cosmic fever and sending it on its way with a breezy swing as a rollicking guide. The remixes come thick and fast, with one producer after another rolling out his own take on the Sharma-Krause cut. Ambivalent gives the track a muscular makeover in the best Minus tradition, sharpening its jacking pulse with crisp beat flourishes while peppering it with trippy gyrations; in a hot-wired and nocturnal rendering, Cadenza and Mobilee artist Argenis Brito strafes the tune's loping, dub-spiked groove with metallic shards; and Delano undergirds the track with a driving, bass-throbbing strut and then showers it with an ear-catching melodic treatment. Andrea Ferlin (Sleep is Commercial) takes his percolating remake in an unexpected direction by bringing a classical clarinet sample in from left field, and in one of the release's slinkier treatments, Franklin de Costa recasts the original as a glimmering, dub-techno serenade while also keeping its skipping rhythms firmly pointed in Detroit's direction. Echoing de Costa's dubby attack, Byallo's summery treatment oozes trance-and-deep house splendour in its blissed-out vibe, while Barraca Music head Andrew Grant gets deep and funky in a clubby, backbeat-heavy throwdown. Closing the set, Detroit producer DJ Seoul reduces the track to a rubbery, analog-styled techno skeleton where bass gurgle and hatchet snares are almost the only sounds remaining. In comparison to the Antiz release, one comes away from The Great Lawn with a slightly less focused take on the Hidden Recordings sound, given that the release is almost entirely the work of non-label contributors. Even so, diversity's the word that most naturally springs to mind when the release is finished.