Sawlin & Subjected – Foreign Awake Pt.1 [EDLX]

Amsterdam reflection

The elusive and quietly reserved duo Sawlin & Subjected present us their latest offering. Dropping today (October 28th) the Foreign Awake EP lifts us firmly into Autumn, the Summer season already smearing into a blurred backdrop, drifting into distant memories. I really love Autumn, I feel it provides the perfect canvas for techno – the days get shorter, colder, darker; you can get lost in your thoughts, a time for searching and inward reflection.

TheEP, titled Foreign Awake Pt.1, consists of three avant garde-esque titles: Texture 2, Texture 3, and Texture 4. On the A-side we have the thoughtful Texture 3. Beautiful contours of shimmering pads warm up the punching kick, while rumbling undercurrents provide the stage for riding hats and spacious percussion. Rhythmic clicks and reverberating cracks spill into empty space while we chase our thoughts deeper into the void, increasingly we are further wrapped and encased in silk-soft light. Sawlin & Subjected utilise the 9 and a half minutes to their full potential with the breakdown, bringing us back in via digital waterfall, breathing in new life for the second section. A truly wonderful piece of techno.


Both Texture 4 and Texture 2 invite allusions to the Amazon, with their tribal beats and forest callings. Texture 4 dives straight in with a focused 4×4 and layered undulations of electronic loops. A certain suspense is created, not dissimilar to the anticipation of looming storm clouds over a cliff-top rainforest, with intermittent off-beat snaps and echoing water drops, coupled with distant cries and delayed shakers. Texture 2 offers a more relaxed kick, with its off-keel fourth beat, while minor rippling beeps sound rhythmically to keep movement in the track. The engineered focus on beat one allows for more consolidated sonic movement and provides a nice contrast to the slightly more restless Texture 4. A detailed and well-crafted high end allows for dynamic, spacious textures; we still quite clearly have elements of that classic analogue sound, yet it isn’t a dominating feature of the music.

There is little, if any, press media material regarding both Sawlin and Subjected and this act of silence really is exemplary of their ethos. In a highly dressed industry with millions being spent annually on marketing, branding and promo by music labels, there are few and far between who can stand on their music alone. The pair have been quietly putting out un-hyped, unadulterated, quality techno for a few years now and seem to be amassing a loyal following off the back of their music alone. The Foreign Awake Pt.1 EP relinquishes the industrial, nihilistic mantle of previous Vault Series releases and presents to us a refreshing take on techno, illustrating the versatility of the Berlin-based duo.

There’s no need for marketing ploys and cheap frills, these guys can release in complete confidence and enjoy a growing global recognition. The EP is released on the formidable Electric Deluxeimprint, based in Holland. Headed by native Dutchman Speedy J, the label is also home to the likes of Giorgio Gigli, Brendon Moeller, Perc (as one half of Endless), and Gary Beck (expect a feature on this label in the future). The Dutch outfit holds techno parties across Holland of envious acclaim (having hosted a session at the revered Amsterdam Dance Event just a couple of weeks ago) and also features an illustrious and adventurous podcast series, worth checking out.

A strong EP from Sawlin & Subjected invites us to wonder what they’ve got in store for us in Part 2, we will surely be waiting with eager ears…

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[ images : mrabanal ]
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