Cologne based dub-techno’ duo Salz have been making music since the tail end of ‘97, yet have remained relatively overlooked in comparison to fellow countrymen and dub enthusiasts Basic Channel, something that could be set to change with their latest and most definitive release so far, _Stainless Dub _on their label Telrae.
As the title suggests, the music on this four track vinyl (consisting of two original cuts & two remixes) is metallic, refined and seamless; the crisp hi-hats are interwoven with the underlying thrust of the plodding bassline, creating a bed for the subdued pads to fluctuate in timbre painting an uncluttered ethereal soundscape. There are all the hallmarks of dub-techno here, arpeggio pads sidechained to the swells of the bass, meandering rhythms and the stoically monotonous beat. However what lifts this record above its peers is what Salz do with these genre motifs, crafting a moving record of fluidity and space. The sonic architecture is lustrous and brilliant, allowing the pads to develop gradually and shift from one pattern to the next, formulating a brooding yet clear palette of sound.
Perhaps the centrepiece of the release is the Van Bonn remix of the title track, offsetting the moody ambivalence of the EP perfectly, by imbuing the track with the vigour and visceral energy of a peak time stomper. The pads are reworked into a staccato rhythm and moulded into the rolling groove of the track while the compressed drums and builds of static capture the initial adrenalin rush of a club in motion. As it stands, Van Bonn’s edit is exemplary at tension/release letting the track simmer up to a boiling peak without exploding, and by doing so manages to add a distinct layer into the EP while remaining in harmony with the overarching dub aesthetic of the release.
Indeed, with the recent proliferation of warehouse techno, it’s refreshing to hear an intricately crafted sonic journey into the deeper, atmospheric recesses of dance music. Although the EP doesn’t match the experimental peripheries of Basic Channel or the incorporation of different musical styles as on Deepchord’s latest offering _Sommer, _it’s in fact the uniformity of sound that is the record’s strength, creating a dynamic statement of vision that doesn’t get dragged down by endless delay trails, like so many of Salz’s contemporaries.