Photo by Simone Steenberg
I don’t think anyone expected the new wave of club music to sound like it does. Fuelled by the Janus parties and Bill Kouligas’ PAN imprint, today’s club climate is a bubbling cauldron of emerging styles. It offers a refreshing break from the dogmatic insistence of 4X4 and the machismo of modern techno. Alternatively, we find sound effects, trance and a newfound queerness. Much of the uneasiness of the genre seems to be born out of the seeming never-ending clamp-down of nightclubs and parties. Techno and house no longer express the felt antagonisms surrounding modern clubbing. Thus, this as-yet unnamed genre has emerged in its stead.
Although Lotic, M.E.S.H and Kablam are recognised as pioneers of the sound, it is far from developmental completion. Toxe in particular has surfaced as an emerging talent in the last 12 months. Last year, she released Muscle Memory: an EP drawing from abstract grime melodies and mechanical shudders of rhythm. She also gained considerable attention earlier in the year for her contorted remixes of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ and Slipknot’s ‘Psychosocial’. This month sees the return of Toxe to nascent Swedish label Staycore alongside Berlin producer Timu Tokdemir, aka Mechatok.
The opening section of Still Life sounds at once computerised and antiquated. It’s as if MIDI software were playing an ancient Greek funeral song. The marriage between the past and future seems to be a recurrent theme. Look, for example, at the artwork for this release: sci-fi word art inscribed on a time-worn Roman column. Toxe’s grime influence is especially present here, the opening fugue could even work as a Ruff Sqwad instrumental. But the serenity is soon lost as the track zooms into blaring trance-hall and rave synths. It’s important to remember with this lot that no matter how far they stray into abstract territory, the dance floor is never out of sight.