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19.09.2016 | Words by: Tammo Hesselink.

Numerous jokes have been made about the homogeneity of techno fashion, but without caution this fate might just as well be in for the music. The minimalistic, short loop based nature of techno can easily trap people into an overly formulaic approach. Take a slightly consonant half bar loop of staccato notes or some reverb-drenched minor chords laid over a rhythm foundation played on one of the classic Roland drum machines and with some finishing touches you can have a decent techno track in no time. Fortunately there are still a lot of people pushing the boundaries of techno, for example Avalon Emerson's EP for London based label Whities is filled with refreshingly bright melodies and Bruce’s “The Trouble With The Wilderness” saw almost alien sounds combine with heartbroken melodies, both while still ticking all the boxes to be categorized as techno. Amongst the musicians pushing the boundaries of techno we can also find Objekt and Call Super.

TJ Hertz first emerged in 2011 under the Objekt moniker with a series of white label records whilst holding a fairly low profile. These records bridged the dubstep scene - which was at a strange point back then, being drawn into a more abrasive direction most of the originators did not feel connected with - and techno, standing out by intricate sound design and strangely syncopated rhythms without failing to preserve club functionality. Since then he has quickly gained fame in both producing and playing music, outshining Dopplereffekt on a split 12" as well as becoming a favourite of highly regarded festival Freerotation.

Objekt's style of productions draws many parallels to the IDM scene which started in the early 90s and tried to take techno further. A lot of idm evolved in a way where the experimental side felt overshadowing the musical side, Objekt's music perfectly balances both without letting go of the thirst for transcending. This can both be heard in his album on the erratic PAN records in 2014 and a recently released official mix cd for the long-standing German label Tresor: Kern Vol. 3. The former being a masterclass in sound design of which several club-ready edits featured in a couple of his inner circle DJ's' sets the months before the album dropped. The Stitch Up is one of these, which features a dreamy almost trance four to the floor foundation juxtaposing with boisterous sound effects which could make certain clubs seem like collapsing buildings. Kern Vol. 3 combines Mono Junk’s dark 90s electro, blissful sounds from Shanti Celeste, Call Super's jazz under the Ondo Fudd moniker and a handful of more linear but definitely not filler techno and house records into a surprisingly coherent five quarters showing there is definitely a way out of the trap of techno’s minimalism.

Joe Seaton, who has released most of his records under the alias Call Super, has also spoken about his worries for functional techno, whilst stressing he wants his debut be considered a techno album. Aside from the odd four-to-the-floor track on the album it would not necessarily sound as techno to every ear, but a closer look shows Seaton’s claim is not as absurd as it might seem. If Dovetail would have a four-to-the-floor bass drum pattern it could probably pass as a 90s Detroit record and Carl Craig playing with jazz musicians was never a problem. So would Seaton's dad playing oboe on the album be any different? Was looking forward not one of the mainsprings for the futurophiles who originated techno?

While being said about most DJ’s these days, Seaton’s DJ sets really feature the whole spectrum of dance music. At Dekmantel Festival he played everything from Grace Jones’ perfect pop to Shed’s Detroit infused techno to NB Funky’s UK Funky anthem Riddim Box. While Seaton's DJ sets mostly feature lower tempos than Hertz' (though he did turn Trouw's basement inside out with some high tempo electro), both frequently dare to switch up a room with a section of interludes before go on into different territories.

Hertz and Seaton both are skeptical of more linear, club ready techno, however they do not deny its necessity. Their own music seems to differ a lot at first sight but knowing their motives and friendship, the similar way they seem to see music is reflected in the detailed and well-thought-of manner of production. They have done a couple of nights playing back-to-back all night long, so they will probably know how to complement each other on a Sunday night masterclass of taking techno forward.
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