Scalameriya & VSK Haka

[Perc Trax; 2016]

Styles: techno, hardcore, gabber, industrial
Others: Perc, Drax, Bas Mooy, Rabit, Objekt

Did you know that when you hear your neighbors playing bass music through the walls, you are actually hearing the resonant vibration of the walls themselves, rather than the sound emanating from the speaker? Bass warps when it translates, across walls, across oceans, across time.

Perc Trax Ltd is a dance imprint, yeah, curated by a DJ called Perc, from London, yeah? The label’s trademark hardcore techno gristle is reminiscent of the late-1990s Dutch rave scene that birthed pan-European dance music’s evil, forgotten stepchild: gabber. Most of Perc’s catalogue isn’t that fast, as gabber tracks blazed past even jungle and d&b into downright stupid territory of 180 and 190 BPM, but the sense of gleefully overdriven and repetitious bass still translates presciently into present-day bass music’s polylocal context. If transatlantic dancefloors at the close of the 20th century witnessed frequent oscillations between the hedonistic anhedonia of harcore techno, hardstyle, and jungle, and the utopic collectivization of house, vocal trance, and happy hardcore, contemporary boutique bass labels like Perc Trax traverse this dialectic within the music itself, digesting the deterritorialization of localized styles into a more cautious, considerate hybrid of dystopian vision and creative surplus.

Haka, the label’s latest offering, is a collaboration between Bulgarian and Italian techno artists Scalameriya & VSK, their second joint release in a year following 2015’s Codex 12-inch on the UK Power Vacuum label. Their work: a fricative, telescopic Möbius band, slicing a cross-section from the oxidized lockjaw of industry and exposing its gummy, mucous-lined numerical core. Haka’s onomatopoeic title track kicks off bouncing in the spastic potential energy, dormant sinew suspended in a full-body nod. Sinusoidal waves clip into squares at an overdriven amplitude, sustain and distortion conspiring to wring a debased melodic tonal aftertaste from the drum hit; the normally imperceptible throat-croon of atavistic four-on-the-floor rhythm comes into clear focus as the modal resonance of the track.

This kick translates the platonic ideal of the Rave into the interminable syncopated raving of the restless mind; trifurcated rave stabs and post-dubstep sawtooth wobbles mingle compound time with the sturdy flesh of 128 BPM. “Haka” then reprises, reframed in a metallic underground chasm courtesy Bas Mooy, pulling the serried modulations of the original into a claustrophobic focus that further elucidates the dystopic irreverence, the solipsistic ego death at the heart of the production.

Bass translates away from the weekend war of the dancefloor and into the 24/7 workday, destined to overspread the timeline, taking on an almost solitary vibe; you become aware of your measured body movements as you put one foot in front of the other as you board the subway train on your way to work as a digital strategist at a startup job in 2016, while in your mental awareness you are alone in the Thunderdome in 1997, surrounded by gangly Dutch kids with shaved domes and braided ponytails, gacked out on bathtub speed, bouncing in place and gnawing gum like stylish jackals, tachycardic spasms in their dilated eyes, not quite yet jaded, throwing down flurries of hardstyle kicks. The potential for you to have lived another life, either fully debased or fully enlightened, seems palpably close at hand, yet your feet continue to fall one in front of the other.

Links: Scalameriya & VSK - Perc Trax

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