Walk Along The Bottom
Label: Semantica Cat: SEMANTICA76
Release date: 18/01/2016
There’s no techno act who unites opinion like Stanislav Tolkachev. The Ukraine-based artist has been a firm favourite of DJs and producers for years now, winning them over with a crunchy, inimitable style that suggests a man at one with his machines. Built from jagged synths and puzzling drum patterns, this atonal music is far from accessible—only the very best selectors have the chops to make it work in a club setting. That such challenging sounds remain loved by DJs and producers alike is testament to Tolkachev’s talent. Walk Along The Bottom, his latest EP for Semantica Records, is another affirmation of the producer’s status as a supremely captivating techno figure.
Tolkachev’s best records have come through labels run by great DJs. These selectors curate packages that showcase a large chunk of his sound, which ranges from minimal and loopy to full-bodied and dynamic. This is precisely the case with Tolkachev’s latest for Svreca’s label. Comprising three dance floor cuts and one ambient track, Walk Along The Bottom is a trip further down the Tolkachev rabbit hole, which, despite being abrasive, is pleasantly diverse. If you’re buying this 12-inch with prospects of playing it out, the bellowing “Song About My Neighbours” is the cut to go for. It’s the most maximalist track on the plate, with chugging, complex percussion and a face-melting synth. “Unknown And Untitled” is more stripped-back and subtle, perhaps the closest thing to a DJ tool Tolkachev is ever going to release. Even so, you won’t find the usual techno hallmarks like obvious cues, breakdowns or an easy-to-mix intro.
Like some of his past few releases, Walk Along The Bottom contains a poignant beatless track. However, unlike many techno records featuring ambient excursions, “In The Rays Of The Artificial Sun” feels like a vital piece of the picture. It’s bright and positive, with an unknown number of utterly unrecognisable synth sounds dancing around each other. It’s hard to beat the raw emotion of Tolkachev’s more DJ-friendly material, but this six-minute track exudes feeling in a way his dance floor cuts simply can’t match. The EP concludes with the dark and disorienting “Dig Them Later,” a disturbing production that could clear a dance floor if not used carefully.
Zeroing in on the overall appeal of Tolkachev’s music is tough. At a basic level, he may be universally admired because he reminds people of techno’s early days, long before bursts of white noise, drum rolls and big breakdowns became commonplace. In doing so, Tolkachev bucks techno’s oldest cliché: he doesn’t sound like the future, but rather embodies an electrifying past.TEXT BY RA