Killawatt – Fazed EP (inc. Sergie Rezza, Ossia remixes) [Derelicht]
Derelict are back for their fifth release. The label’s remit is one of bold yet intricately crafted music, teasing the boundaries between experimental and techno. The label’s sound-world is dark and intriguing, gliding across seemingly disparate spheres (from techno, to alternative indie, to deep house and UK Bass), yet all threaded together with an impressive proficiency. This has yielded releases that at times draw on the gnarled and driving tendencies of labels such as MORD and Drumcode (respectively), while at others are evocative of the kinds of chilling atmospheres found on Samurai Horo. Derelicht isn’t an imprint of imitation though, and somehow amongst this stylistic plethora, they manage to curate music that’s original and engaging.
Killawatt appeared on the label’s debut release last year with the track ‘Aeolis Mons’, a glimpse of Mathew Watt’s hazed, experimental visions. A coveted slot on Boiler Room Berlin quickly followed, giving a global platform for Watt to share his refreshing take on a tiring yet currently re-generating music form: techno.
Watt returns to Derelicht with a solo EP that breathes a gravitational focus and glistens with a continuous refinement. The label have also recruited the recently formed French duo Sergie Rezza (a culmination of the mentorship between DJ Deep and the younger Roman Poncet) and Ossia (releases on Blackest Ever Black and Berceuse Heroique) for remix duties.
Title track ‘Fazed’ opens with quiet rattlings as a subdued kick creeps in. The foliage stirs while the track’s natural rhythm assumes a more complete structure, though continues to add layers in the proceeding minutes, with moody acid licks and monochromatic percussion hits. The textures are delicate in their construction and expertly balanced, subtleties that often are the final decider to a work’s elevation. Subterranean beats for the darkest of rooms.
‘Livewire’ takes a more experimental approach, ebbing with fuzzy artifacts and misty field-recordings. Upon acclimatising to the darkness, the senses adjusted, the piece lumbers on slowly and steadily into the deep. Over a bed of quiet distortion and humming low-end, synth murmurings litter the space alongside hollowed out percussion hits and metallic clangs. Counter-balancing is the following track – ‘Okinawa’ – which takes on more of a techno framework, yet still features Watt’s imaginative and meticulous percussion work. Some might feign a resistance to the somewhat clinical nature of his arrangements, yet this is partly what makes Killawatt such an effective producer, and it has to be said, he simply makes killer beats.
Sergie Rezza take on ‘Livewire’ with great skill, subtly mutating the original by drawing out different shades and moods. The original is dusky and has an element of restraint to it that keeps the contour fairly constant throughout. In the remix though, Sergie Rezza capitalise on the breakdown, integrating it as a wider feature within the piece, while rhythmic figures are given more prominence and appear more vividly in the textures. In this sense, the ‘Livewire’ remix distills the original in way that makes it more dramatic and assertive.
Ossia’s remix of ‘Livewire’ shows the track in yet another light. He decides to keep the paranoid, murky undertones, and notches the BPM up ever so slightly to give it a little more urgency. Drum samples are arranged in quicker succession, quickening the breath toward the latter half.
A bonus track is included in the digital release of ‘Fazed’ with another excellent remix from Sergie Rezza. Again, a smart reworking of the original, their remix of ‘Okinawa’ is as tense and as it is finely crafted. They lose the ghetto-house vibe with the repeated voice sample and chunky drum formations, turning the track more inward. Pointillist textures and a more dominant strong beat make it less of a roller, yet the pair still give the track enough weight to cause some quakes beneath.
‘Fazed’ may require more concentration than your run-of-the-mill techno release, and this is a good thing. Proceeding from the fearless approach labels such as Stroboscopic Artefacts have take in recent years, Derelicht deliver here something different, but also relevant. One now must wait patiently for the next Killawatt long-play to surface…