Electronic music still beats in North Texas as artists create their own record labels
With the roller coaster of years of lockdowns and theatrical closures across North Texas, a handful of electronic producers and musicians from diverse backgrounds have retreated to their bedroom studios to build their discographies. Local independent artists continue to use Bandcamp to share releases, in many cases launching their own labels to bring their music to a wider audience.
Here are the North Texas email numbers you should be looking at this year.
Kerim Bey /[S|3L]
Label: Time loop
With releases on Science Cult and his own label, Temporal Loop, Kerim Bey has been a constant force in the darker fringes of North Texas techno for the past five years, holding his court at underground parties in warehouses in the wee hours of the night. In recent months, Bey has started performing on Bills with louder experimental acts with her live electronics alias, [S|3L], which defies categorization.
Bey says he’s “not really worried about genres.”
“Especially with some to come [S|3L] rejections, “he says.” They’re everywhere. ”
Between his two projects, Bey straddles the fine line between industrial grind, experimental power noise and metronomic techno without restricting his field of action to a single genre.
With nine releases on her own Temporal Loop imprint, which has released songs from artists such as Yin Yang Audio, Bey is a perfect case study of artists taking the business side of things into their own hands by focusing on artist relationships. -fan built. on Bandcamp, extract the best parts of the digital experience without all the fuss.
“Bandcamp is a really solid platform; it’s my favorite store to buy music, personally, ”says Bey. “Running a label can’t really make it any easier. The way they list supporters and the comments on the exit pages are my favorite. People can log in by musical taste and see other people’s libraries. J ‘wish it were that way. more people logged in. “
Declan James is another young talent who is making serious strides in hard techno, and by that we mean borderline speed metal. hard. With his collective and his label Voidware, James was a key figure in the rise of underground techno in Dallas. On the heels of his single “New Age Psychosis” on the Los Angeles-based Space Yacht label, James secured a seat at the famous EDC Festival in Las Vegas last October.
The experimental nature of its thrilling techno brand can be attributed to its musical diversity.
“I tend to avoid listening to a lot of techno music in my spare time,” says James. “I often worry that consuming too much of the same kind of music that I’m producing will make me make less exciting decisions when I’m producing. I take a lot of inspiration from avant-garde artists from the 60s and 70s like Residents, Magma and Aphrodite’s Child, to name a few. ”
The result is a deliciously blown sound, over-saturated with melodic sensibilities, and it is gaining ground among young fans of electronic music as the artist flirts with mainstream access.
“I think techno is really starting to come out of the underground and into the mainstream in the United States, and that will become more apparent in 2022,” James said. “The big question for me is not whether this is going to happen, but rather how we can ensure that the music continues to be represented correctly and does not turn into some sort of derision of it- same.”
Label: Codec Recordings
The word “prodigy” is often used, but every once in a while an artist comes out of nowhere and deservedly earns this accolade. Over the past year, Decoder has made tsunami-sized waves by producing brilliant techno that rings light years from his teenage years. In 2021, he marked the spirits with a host of EP and the Monolithic activity spectrum Subsist label album, as well as Dark form, an album released by techno legend Jeff Mills on his Axis label. Decoder also earned the public seal of approval from Richie Hawtin, who named him as an emerging tech talent to watch out for.
Decoder’s music draws directly from the minimalist heart of classical techno, drawing on the essentials of loopy synths and motorik beats reminiscent of Mills or Robert Hood’s early years. It’s a side of techno that’s revered but not so common in the modern electronic landscape; the fact that this music comes from a teenage boy in Texas is downright mind-boggling. Decoder’s next EP is slated for release on his own label, Codec Recordings.
For the past fifteen years, Cygnus has cultivated his own corner of the electro universe over nine albums and 19 EPs, most of them on vinyl. 2021 saw him return for his fourth outing, the 100% dope EP, on the famous British label Central Processing Unit. In addition to an already gigantic discography that eclipses just about any producer or band in town, the coming year will see Cygnus albums on Croatian label Barba Records as well as another LP on its own Biosoft imprint.
After plans for another trip over the pond to Europe were delayed for obvious pandemic reasons, Cygnus is focusing on finishing these next two big releases. Despite his mind-numbing production, Cygnus still managed to evolve his brand of electro with each release. How does he keep it fresh? Well, in his own words, “I allow myself to have a lot more fun in the studio, though, and I don’t take things very seriously,” Cygnus says. “Keeping a childish attitude lays the foundation for a lot of fun and the results are always great.”
Inhabiting a haunting melancholy driven by synths, Llora draws on the dark side of genres that end with the word “wave”, a fusion of retro influences reused in genuinely modern productions.
We only saw a few singles on Bandcamp and an outstanding video for the haunting single “Tired”, so we only get a glimpse of what a full Llora album has to offer. The artist already has a boxed album, and it should see the light of day sometime in 2022. Llora has already proven she has worthy material through amazing live performances further bolstered by the recent addition of the extraordinary percussionist. Stefan Gonzalez. The dynamic interaction between the two musicians gives post-punk / new wave / EBM fans a very good reason to go out to local clubs.
Subduction / M’Ress
Under her alias M’ress, Jessica Edeker explored dreamy ethereal landscapes on her brilliant 2020 album Poems. With her alias Subduction, she explores a darker path of eerie synth textures and hammered rhythms.
“I spent a lot of time exploring the EBM basslines and heavy arpeggiation on [the album] glamor and I exercised a lot of pent up feelings through this album, “Edeker says.” It was very therapeutic. ”
Both releases originated through his Endcom label, which Edeker co-founded with DJ and taste maker Rick Simpson.
“Ricky and I really want to build a label where we can feature artists who couldn’t release their music otherwise,” Edeker said.[Album] Endcom Compilation Vol. 1 was our first attempt to make this a reality “,
Visions of Glosters
Label: Cult of Science
Visions of Glosters is the production alias of Jimmy Freer and his partner Stefan Weise (aka Sirte), who have guided Science Cult to become the most powerful electronic label to come out of Dallas in decades. With a streak of over 30 releases over the past two years and a roster of top talent from around the world, the label’s notable artists include electro luminaries such as Tokyo-based Fleck ESC and Berlin-based Cyrk. Their commitment to local voices came through the 214 817 972 compilation featuring the crème de la crème of Dallas electronic artists: Aidin Hafezamini, Kerim Bey, TX Connect, Vectorvision, Red Eye and ill76.
With a focus on meticulously crafted vinyl releases, the label has earned its place on the international stage with an uncompromising take on techno, electro and IDM. The label’s commitment to vinyl releases is at the heart of its label concept.
“Sirte originally wanted a platform to tell a story written through a series of color-coded versions (Astra Specters) “says Freer.” The whole concept of integrating hidden messages was inspired by David Bowie’s latest album. We then developed this idea and, as vinyl collectors and DJs, we wanted all releases to have a narrative so that they were meaningful and timeless. ”