30drop has mysteriously arrived from Detroit Underground (aka “detund”), those purveyors of strange and wonderful techno and experimental music.
You may think you’ve heard of 30drop, but apart from the release last week, you almost certainly haven’t. Oh, sure, there have been releases — a second EP showed up in December — but for the most part, this act has flown under the radar. As per usual, detund are digging up precisely what isn’t on trend or rising in popularity, an unknown artist making cooly-weird noises.
But the pace is picking up – and this looks to be one of a couple of releases early this year.
And that unknown artist might well have arrived from another planet. Just read the record notes for the release, titled “Tools For The Dimensional Step LP”:
This album is the conclusion of research conducted on theories arguing for us living in a holographic universe. The songs included are parts of a whole that moves the listener towards the idea of understanding music as a universal language that hides within a dimensional leap leading to other universes.
Each beat is a part of a primary equation and each song a piece of a second-level puzzle. The complete set is the key that defines the geometry applied to music as the binary expression of geometric mathematics that shapes the vacuum in a space confined by the laws of physics. Taking Detroit Techno as the primary basis for 30drop; this LP intends to develop this type of sound where repetition generates undefined mental structures and pads are the large dimensional containers for vacuum and space.
A trip from Detroit’s minimalist, hard, and concise techno that cuts into predefined patterns and creates new boundaries to warm musical spaces in order to accommodate this new way of thinking; those are tools brought here from a future that’s already past to define a LP that’s a place halfway between Detroit and Berlin and has been influenced by masters like Mills, Dixon, Surgeon and German minimalism of the 90s.
Okay, that last paragraph finally gives away the game. This is music that’s old-fashioned in that it is so boldly futuristic: this is what the future used to sound like. Synthesizers hum away raw, instead of drenched in bleak gothic distortion and reverb. Drum machines cheerily tick away, unironic extreme panning bouncing across your earphones. This is the future of Omni magazine and Star Trek: The Next Generation and AMIGA Video Toaster special effects.
Keep listening, too, as for me, at least, some of my favorite tracks are the spacier ones further through the list – this is a sprawling LP that was pieced together properly, rather than sorting all the good stuff at the beginning and filling out the rest.
It’s abstract but feel-good techno. It’s hard not to smile listening to it. And yet every synthesized timbre sits gladly in its place, a perfectly-balanced chamber ensemble of electrified sound. Patterns aren’t trying to be too clever, or clever at all: this is just happy dance music to open your new space station to.
So, of course it’s on cassette, because this music is made so it sounds like you probably still own your cassette Walkman and that cassette player in your car, and you’ll want the tape so you can listen to this. It’s not ironic or retro: it’s just happy to bring that vision of tomorrow back to you, today.
You can get this from Bandcamp, which has quickly become My Favorite Record Store. (And sorry, stores with Actual Records, but that’s partly because you can acquire the sort of stuff that often doesn’t have the money behind it for vinyl pressings.)
You can also keep track of Detroit Underground with their Drip – a subscription service that dumps lots of lovely stuff in your inbox (and, which together with Bandcamp, is my other favorite way to get music these days, if any Drip labels want to make sure I get a subscription – cough).
(Heh, I actually fully expect some people to really hate this, but … hey, that’s exactly the sort of music coverage the world needs. I still don’t know who 30drop actually is, so thank you, Detroit!)