Edit Select & Teste – The Wipe (Re-edit) / Sabatini & Rrose – Rewipes pt.1 [ES]
Twenty years ago Hawtin‘s seminal Plus 8 imprint released (under its sub-label Probe) a minimal 12″ that became an instant classic. A truly memorable moment from the pre-digital canon, Teste‘s ‘The Wipe’ still grips dance-floors today with its hypnotic efficacy and mechanical execution. It is most notable to see that ‘The Wipe’ indeed fuelled a techno movement that has swept steadily across Europe, experiencing peaks and troughs in proliferation and appreciation, but never entirely lost or forgotten. So the story goes, a “shitty cassette tape” was handed to Richie Hawtin at a gig in Toronto, Canada, where after he played it during the drive back to Windsor, Ontario. Hawtin himself recalls: “I remember rewinding the tape multiple times: just listening over and over to this track that I knew instantly was going to be a very important record for us… (was it a classic by then already?)”.
Teste was formed during the early 90s and consisted of three musicians residing in Canada: Dave Foster (alias HUREN), Thomas S. Browning (alias SørenB) and Himadri Ghosh. The Wipe EP included two different mixes of the eponymous track, of which the ‘Synapson 5am’ remix is most renowned. However the ‘Sonik Dub’ should also be considered for its progressive nature and, along with the other B-side track ‘Spatialk’, their experimental inquiries; a prime example of the post-acid zeitgeist: new, innovative production techniques, increasingly diverse and separate musical factions, and a perpetually restless and almost amorphous period of evolution. Despite the multifaceted success of the Teste project, the group disbanded as swiftly as they had appeared, leaving behind less than a handful of records at the onset of their twenty-two year absence.
‘The Wipe’ and its legacy however, was quietly resurrected by Tony Scott when he edited his own version of the track to use in his sets as Edit Select. After Scott had contacted Dave Foster and Thomas S. Browning, the possibility of an official release of the edit became apparent. In this unlikely come-back, Teste returns to the stage alongside Edit Select. Signed to Scott’s own label Edit Select, ‘The Wipe’ EP comes with Scott’s remastered edit of the original along with brand new material from Teste (now just consisting of Foster and Browning). Released last month, the EP marks the end of a twenty year hiatus from the studio, and also sees the return of a live set.
The 2014 edit relives the incredible original with such finesse and marked quality. More deliberate and considered, Scott transmutates the original’s hypnotic drive into something more restrained, yet soothing. Clocking in at around 127bpm, the re-edit is quite a touch slower than the original 140, and this striking difference is very much noticeable if you compare one after the other. The slackened pace highlights finer details in the sound programming of the percussion particularly, like the nuanced pitch of the rapid hats and the wispy, saturated military rhythm pattern, and invites the listener to feel the music differently; moreover the re-edit runs for almost double the amount of time as the original, of which the latter was arguably far too short to begin with. At 140bpm, the four-to-the-floor dominates as the driving force behind everything, melding the mix into one beautiful, colourful smear – almost like looking through the window of a speeding train while the outside world blurs into meaningless oblivion; on the other hand, in the re-edit the skipping bass-line is illuminated, now able to dance over the cross-rhythms of the hissing hat figures and drum interjections. Without the adrenaline rush, the harsh, granulated yawn of the synth rises above the mix in grander gesture, insistent on breaking dawn before the sun can. The rumbling drum figure just after the three minute mark is also accentuated, rattling below like light thunder. One particular element that is lost in the re-edit is the fantastic musical nuances that Teste created in the original – namely the call and response figure that appears at three minutes in, a magical moment that is rendered defective when everything has been slowed down.
On the flip we have a wonderful collaboration between Teste and Edit Select, hopefully the beginnings of a long and fruitful partnership. A glistening six minute journey of inward exploration, the pair bring to life the 90s vintage minimal with great style. The music relies on a simple, reductive formula, yet few are able to create magic of this sort. The track opens with repeated flurries of rising fifths, suspended between a ticking hat figure and distant pads. After the loop has been established, the pair bring in another element to add colour to the neutral back-drop. A delayed synth line probes inside with minor tonality, working in counterpoint to the rising movement of the opening motif. At the half-way mark the kick drops out of the mix momentarily, and upon return resumes our hypnotic psychosis.
Scott’s efforts to fully resurrect Teste’s iconic piece do not stop here, however. Two more remixes have surfaced in an EP entitled ‘The Rewipes pt.1’ that paint the original once again in a different yet impressive style. The first comes from the enigmatic Rrose, a key exponent to the Stroboscopic Artefacts contingent. Typically ominous, though not in a brash or tactless way, Rrose exercises her distinctive style: patient, self-assured, and fatal. Rrose grounds the original’s abrasive synth cracks by spreading them out onto the first beat of each bar, morphing more gradually, rising in frequency with each strike. Compounded with the steady kick and empty canvas, Rrose creates this space and focus in the mix, allowing for hissing static and other sound treatments to flank from the sides. The noise quickly subsides to make way for a crisp clap that appears to be in dialogue with the rising synth lead. As we head into the next phase, tensions rise and a subsidiary bass-line comes in to support. The clap enters into ecstatic reverberation as we head through the peak and into the following section, meanwhile the kick and lead motif continue their interplay. Rrose’s cyclical style is perfectly formed, it contains a constancy that lasts forever, rolling forward in heedless self-interest, generative, enduring.
Similarly, Dino Sabatini‘s offering is just as amazing. Quietly ominous in a different way, this version hangs on the falling semi-tone motif, from which everything proceeds. Lifted by the gulping kick drum, pounding on the off-beat while hats patter to the left and right, the track edges forward, while silken chords breathe sullenly in the background. The underpinning semi-tone motif adds an urgency to the piece, while suspension chords underneath provide the unsettled suspense, mysterious and anticipating. Six minutes of magic; six minutes of utter quality.
The Rewipes contribute to a pivotal point in Edit Select’s career. Having moved through a number of different aliases, Scott has found his home in Edit Select, a project which he began in 2007. The years following have not been easy, while finally settling on a workflow and creative space that he truly enjoys, setting up his eponymous label has been long and hard work. Despite this, it appears the Scotsman is now finding his feet, with a few more exciting prospects already lined up. Here here successfully revives the 1992 classic in glorious form, pulling together some of the brightest lights in techno today. The Rewipe remixes are an incredibly accomplished set of works that undoubtedly do the original track justice. It wouldn’t be too unrealistic to hope for an Edit Select – Teste LP at some time in the distant future…