Artist: Hector Oaks

Release: As We Were Saying – Remixed

Label: Bassiani

Release date: June 26 2020

Giving life to an increasingly endangered breed of disc-jockeys is the ever-engaging and thoroughly enthralling Hector Oaks. The Berlin-based vinyl wizard has been hot property for years, culminating in his widely renowned album As We Were Saying, released on the legendary label Bassiani. The Tbilisi imprint — and club — is hailed as the epicentre of techno in Eastern Europe, with Oaks at the fore as their resident DJ. Nearly two years on from the album’s release, the man sometimes known as Cadency, has rebirthed the sizzling slice of wax — and this time he’s brought some close friends along. He’s selected five of the most captivating tracks and gotten his pals to give their interpretation: DJ Stingray, Somewhen, Voiski, Parrish Smith and Zesknel.

Kicking things off is the absolute icon: DJ Stingray. The Detroit assembly line of incredibly talented DJs and producers in the 80s has given us the ghetto infused, booty base techno/electro selector. His take on ‘Forwarded State of Evidence’ is a slowed electro current that stabs and shocks, driven by distorted cushioned percussions. Harrowing pads saunter listeners through the electrical field; distressing synths see-saw between noise; a daring voice teeters on ensnaring and manic. Not the usual booty bouncer, it’s a more sophisticated and a dense sound for the genre.

Next on the remixes is avant-garde Berlin DJ Somewhen. The Berghain resident juxtaposed approach to techno — merging futurism with nostalgia — is echoed in his re-production of ‘Is Imminent.’ A big room stomper with tinges of acid: it exudes rave energy and rhythmic abuse. The coldest hats create sizeable tension, while the assaulting bass is sure to leave dancefloors trembling. It will have you dreaming of underground parties from times gone by and to come. 

Voiski has hilariously renamed — and, of course, re-worked — ‘Improved Motto’ to ‘Re-Improved Motto.’ And who am I to argue with the Super 95 boss? The French producer has often favoured the more elegant side of the underground scene, and this wistful cut harbours between dark and light. The yearnful chords often discharge in euphoric, dystopian patterns, while engulfed in a sea of powerful bass and abrasive acid. The pads even seem nautical, floating between the deep and the surface. As the track progresses, bubbly keys flutter and dance among the elements; this is a playground, and the sounds are overjoyed children.

Dutch, atonal musical sorcerer Parrish Smith is next on the take-over duties, remixing ‘Afterall, She Had To Stay.’ The track is a nihilistic, omnipotent techno bomb. Initiated by hazardous synths, the hammer is dropped and the track delves into destructive patterns. Wallowing pads meander and flow with earnest vocals; the textures vary between crunchy and satiny.

Concluding things is Tbilisi local and Bassiani regular Zesknel. His take on ‘Horoom Reclusion’ is a cascading, decaying breakbeat slice with jungle excursions. Carried by substratum, ominous pads that swallow the listener into a rumbling cavern with hints of tribal percussions. Combined by acidic zips and rattling snares, the track envelopes ears in a treacherous soundscape.

Giving new life to a classic album, As We Were Saying Remixed captures the contemporary sound of techno.