An artist who needs no introduction, Surgeon has been a techno powerhouse for over 20 years. With a host of significant records on iconic imprints such as Tresor and Downwards, his work has proved massively influential on both the UK and global scene. His output has been remarkably varied, moving effortlessly from pounding club heavy hitters, to more leftfield and experimental pieces.
In 1997 Surgeon launched Dynamic Tension, a platform to showcase only his own work. Still going strong, the label has been home to much of his most acclaimed material. We’ll be going back to 1998, to the labels fourth release. A blistering four track EP of classic, drum-focused techno workouts.
Diving straight into the deep end, A1 is a brutal, distorted track with a distinctive broken beat. The shuffling percussion lurches forward, giving everything an off kilter flavour. Whip crack claps maintain the powerful sonic onslaught, and there are unmistakeable tribal influences in the relentless pounding of the drums.
A2 is more of a standard offering than its predecessor, an irresistible melodic motif is present for the duration, and makes the piece instantly danceable. As the percussion slowly dissipates and gives way to a dread-inducing pad, much like an air raid siren, the track is chilled with a particularly dystopian feel. The pressure builds as we hear the percussion creeping back in, and eventually return with redoubled ferocity.
The first track on the flip side is the most interesting piece on the record. It opens with sharply panned hats and a faint stab, which fades out as the percussion increases in intensity. Instead of introducing a kick, which seems maddeningly imminent, we are instead met with an engulfing, twisted bassline. Subtle percussive variation, combined with the extensive panning, gives the track a tremendous sense of movement and gifts it with as much presence as any peak time banger, a remarkable feat without a kick.
The final track, much like the second, is more suited to the dance floor. Very minimal in terms of composition, with a snapping clap pattern similar to that in the previous track being the most discernable feature. However, it’s the simple rising and falling of the muted stab that give the track its seductive looping quality, and quick breaks and drops ensure that the inclusion of only the barest of elements never gets worn out.
For more info on Surgeon, contact Dynamix Djs