Wax Runoff: Tolga Fidan [TFR002]
The wonderful smell of dance music stew. It’s always satisfying to come across records that create a melting pot for different sounds to coalesce around one another and touch on many different tastes. Such is the case for TFR 002 which arrived mid-February to the anticipation of in-the-know techno goons and house heads. Berlin-based producer and sole proprietor Tolga Fidan’s second EP on the TFR imprint rounds the bases of stylistic influence but there is a tangible nod to excellent electro throughout the entire record.
With a white paper sleeve and black and white image of an old youthful cosmonaut on the center label, this tasty slab wasn’t easy to miss while flipping through the stacks. Recognizing the producer’s name from the bill for the recent third anniversary party at Berliner favorite spot Hoppetosse prompted me to bring it to the listening station, though, and I’m quite happy I did.
The first cut “Gertu” left an impression with it’s energetic house drum arrangement and simple bounce between sharp C and F string pads. The loops roll out in perfect layers accompanied by the gated pitters of mid 2000s electro. I haven’t seen many highly acclaimed records with this sort of sound recently and it’s really quite refreshing, so I ventured further down the grooves.
“ZUNBS341” on A2 bestowed more of the same electro circuit blips on my hungry ears. A very similar chord back-and-forth to the first track appeared again, but the huge difference was the house drums having been ditched for a more breakbeat style kick and snare arrangement. There is killer bassline that relentlessly slinks up and down for the entirety on the tune leaving it with a thematically matched vibe to the first but ready to take on a different time and place on the dance floor.
I had to see what awaited on the B-side. The first drum beats of “Hoofe” let me know we would be dealing with a high-energy techno number. The fact that the almost identical two chord call and response structure was beginning to feel a tad stale was totally overruled by the acid skronks dancing around the electro machine spittle and incredibly slamming hi-hat clap layers dipping in and out of the arrangement. More spacey and expertly crafted to subtle perfection, B1 was designed to be the music in a calisthenics class for the robots that will one day kill the last human and take over the world.
Perhaps the deepest cut on the record, “Grand” finishes things up with the breaks rhythm arrangement popping in once more. There’s plenty of filter and resonance modulation in the pads to propel the composition through more noisy electro arps and one shots, but most noticeably hot acid stabs cause a very demanding urge to jack one’s body. This final tune nicely pulls together a record that is consistent and complete.
It’s the goal of any crate-digging mastermind to pull records from the bin that less people own and more people ask about when played. The trend of breaks with varied influence in minimal and techno styles has been a big one, and the commitment to solid electro synth sequences here is a refreshing move. I almost want to criticize the seemingly duplicate chord arrangements in each track, but the masterful control of machine and design leave the listener completely satisfied.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a local shop with the knowledge to stock this vinyl-only gem, it can be found at various online outlets; my preferred spot is Juno due to lightning fast shipping, and stocks are dwindling but it’s still available over at Decks for slightly more than you’ll pay on Discogs. I would not be surprised to hear these cuts slip into the sets of tastemakers in the techno, minimal, and even house realms during the coming months. Enjoy the wonderful congregation of styles, and as always, keep digging my friends.
Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Nick States, of Boston, bought his first vinyl record in 2010 and has been hooked ever since. The record shop tends to be his first stop in an any city he visits.