Wax Runoff: Radio Slave [REKIDS100]
Accomplishing 100 releases is no small feat. Many great record labels have barely made it to 25 and often times less. Yet Matt Edward’s Rekids imprint has stood the test of time and output, recently celebrating 10 years of existence and adding a second zero onto that figure for the release count with last week’s entry Another Club / Feel The Same hitting store shelves and internet pages.
The hundredth release comes courtesy of Edwards himself via his Radio Slave alias. Having had a reputation over the years for putting out hard hitting techno, house fusion with a touch of disco occasionally dashed in, it was fabulous to see Rekids’ big milestone be a true iteration of their classic form. Telling of the tracks within, the artwork contains no bells or whistles. Just timeless, oversized Fonzie-cool black and white lettering – straight to the point and sure to catch the eye of anyone flipping through the crates.
The lead off number “Another Club” sets in with a deep and powerful techno kick drum. Saturated, full to the point of having a tonal hum, and unrelenting. The ubiquitous half step 8th note hi-hat cut into the mix while a tape delayed vocal sample marks the phrase every 32 beats. A sharp decay stab works it’s way in, along with an eventual ride cymbal. Yes, the track is extremely predictable, incredibly formulaic, and not quite innovative by any means. But what is so satisfying about the tune is that it does what we know to be the tried and true in a remarkably solid fashion. There are no gimmicks here; no reverb attempts to glue the mix together, and no pads attempt to cover up shoddy drum work. The track is instead an extremely raw eight and a half minute dance floor stomper aimed at propelling the already charged club goers ever onward into peak hour bliss. This is by no means the type of track to get skeptics into the house and techno sound, but it is, however, a tune that quenches the thirst within hardened veterans for pure unabridged drum machine sound offs.
On the flip, “Feel The Same” accomplishes much of the same goals and as far as I can tell uses the same drum machine and synthesizer. There’s more swing here in the hi-hats though, and the synth stabs play more of a present and varied role. Weird squeak and siren sounds are also found on constant loop along with a hypnotizing vocal repeat. Overall the track is more exploratory, but still resolves itself to be a floor shaking selection for when there are shoulders from wall to wall. As noted by others, this track feels markedly like heyday Detroit tunes, and very likely was made with less than 12 channels in the recording.
It’s easy to love records like this. They don’t need to be interesting or exciting to create those warm and pleasant feelings the best kind of dance music leaves us with. I very affectionately refer to these types of tunes as “traxxx” – numbers whose excellent simplicity and cutting edge engineering make very grand gestures through the most modest and stripped means. They are humble reminders that limitation can be a wonderful tool in producing some of the most phenomenal compositions.
REKIDS100 is floating around all the usual points of interest. It’s sold out on deejay.de but still available on Juno and Decks. My local shop had two copies left as of this past weekend. Some goon has already posted it on Discogs for $14.77 in anticipation of the hype, so be sure to grab it now while it’s still available for the price intended. Support the label if these sorts of tunes are your cup of tea, and I’ll see you at another club with no sleep, and another club, and another, and another…
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.