It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know these new tracks from Najel Monteiro, a great set of fast paced tracks from the forthcoming EP on the UK label Forte Techno. I hadn’t been familiar with his work before this promo came my way, but I’ve enjoyed more and more since. The Rotterdam based producer has been making music since he was 16 years old. He started out with using a DAW and was hooked on making music. But he felt that his productions didn’t sound how he wanted – especially the tightness of the sequencer was something he didn’t like. So he started buying hardware to feel more connected to his productions and wanted to do it how it was done in the early days of techno, because the groove is what’s most important to him. He started to love the analog equipment for the grittiness and the fact that a loop never sounded exactly the same. The imperfections made his productions feel more human. Now he makes all his beats live and records it into his daw where he puts the last finishing touches on. This EP is the result of that process.
Starting with a fully developed groove firmly aimed at the dancefloor, the ritual is composed of siren-like acid stabs and samples and loops, overlaid with a funked-up chattering hi-hat. There’s absolutely no nonsense here, effective use of claps, filters and overdrive providing the accentuation and interest. Layering up the hi-hats and sounds keeps the drama and tension going for the whole 7 minutes. This is solid-as-you-like, no messing late night techno, and also comes in a stripped back tool version with more emphasis on the bassline in the mix.
Escape from the self
The same high pace as the other tracks is set here, but now the focus is on a powerful wobbling bassline, which is perfectly set off by sweeping washes of high frequency static and a repetitive melodic loop. This is one for those stepping feet. The track is expertly constructed, subtle hints of percussion and melodies almost hidden away underneath the main sounds. Lush synth notes lead into the breakdown which winds things back just enough to let the stepping, stomping groove drop back in with full force and play out. This is my pick of the EP.
Lady of the Lake
This takes a deeper path, building slowly (out of the lake?) into a monster (lady?). Again the parts are expertly woven together in the mix, this time percussive high notes chiming out time, as a more complex melody emerges and powers through the first breakdown. The melody develops and distorts, growing in power and ferocity as the track continues, hissing percussion adding to the pace. Underneath, a driving, pumping bassline is heavier than you realise, becoming obvious by its absence during the breaks. The track plays out in euphoric style with some straight up percussion and all the elements playing together (hands in the air time) and fades with some good, muted use of effects.
Here we have the funkiest offering on the EP. Like the other tunes, the groove is set straight away – no long intros for Najel. Pounding kicks and sharp hats accompany a squelching, bitcrushed melodic loop, escorted further into the track by washing synth notes. These fade off and a hectic synth line crawls up from below, and persists through the first (frankly massive) breakdown. This is pure peak-time energy. Everything kicks back in for another round and you are left feeling like getting up (if you are sitting down), or jumping up (if you are standing), or… well you get the idea, a fantastically energetic track to round off the EP.
“Archaic Methods” by Najel on Forte Techno is available digitally only on Monday 24th July
Reviewed by Stringer