The next release on the Northern powerhouse that is Forte Techno is a 3 track digital EP from New York resident Chainsmoker (PJ Allen). Having influences as diverse as classic 80s & 90s Chicago, hardcore punk (as a bassist) and hip-hop (as an MC), he cut his production & DJ teeth on the US Midwest circuit during the 90s. He now focuses on no-nonsense techno, and all his previous influences can be heard in his music with a good ear.
Chainsmoker runs his own imprint ‘Drone Groove Records’ and has previously also released material on UKR, Chicago Jaxx and Backspin. The forthcoming EP of Forte is out on 1 Dec and can be purchased via the Forte Techno bandcamp page here: https://fortetechno.bandcamp.
‘Speedball’The first offering has a deeper, more rolling vibe than the others, the kick is slightly flattened and sharpened in comparison. This is the sound of an artist exploring ideas – inventive panning noises bring to mind an African plain at night, and energy is slowly added through the signature toms and claps, the pattern varying up to and through a long break with some subtle filter work going on, very nice. Off beat toms mess with the listeners head slightly, hinting at different stories in a single track. This is an absorbing listen.‘Jager’I wonder where the inspiration for this came from! An unusual and funky percussive start leads the way into truly heavy and frantic kick drums, definite echos of classic 90s here. The track is a minimalist stomper, and as we go on a beautiful, floating synth loop winds ever tighter around the ear. Great use of a number of simple elements give the tune a clean, direct feel. A long breakdown starts with the just the toms again and an understated high note, bringing in snares and the synth loop and mangling it gently to make the drop. The track plays out powerfully, reinforcing the spacey, edgy vibe. My pick of the three.‘Widowmaker’This starts with a solid kick/bass combo underneath, but it’s the chopped, squelching synth that demands attention, running as it does through the whole tune, peppered with fills, echos and delays. The energy and groove is kept high using tribal-influenced toms, claps and hissing hi-hats to mark out progression between the breakdowns, which come thick and fast in a variety of formats. Claps and snares accentuate the highs, and a measured, ticking hi-hat provides an anchor in the considerable drama. Peak time tackle.