Techno has had a pretty checkered history since its inception. The 90s are considered by many as its heyday: when the music was at its rawest and most challenging; when it was closer to its roots, before commercialisation really had the opportunity to set in. After that, the scene seemingly fragmented as minimalism divided the audience and many proper techno enthusiasts spent much of the 00s in a state of frazzled disappointment.
While others were homogenising the sound, Dave Clarke was digging in. He maintained his prominence as a DJ by being vehemently idiosyncratic in his practice, refusing to ever compromise on sound and quality. His studio output may have frittered out but his radio career strengthened. His White Noise radio show - which is now syndicated across the world - has proven itself as an outpost for the more robust and underground forms of techno and electro. Curated away from the influence of promo lists, White Noise is a place where underground really means underground. To get on the show, artists have to deal with Clarke direct and it’s through this grass roots mechanism that Clarke met his new studio partner, Mr. Jones and it’s also the type of personal communication process from which they take their name, _Unsubscribe_.
Following a string of remixes over the last 18 months, Houndstooth is ready to present the Netherlands based duo’s debut original release this May. A work that was sent exclusively to the label, ‘Spek Hondje’ encompasses the uncompromising sound you’d expect from the pairing: built on a growling groove the track nods to Birmingham’s industrial heritage as much as it does to Chicago’s muscular jacking style. The vocals are provided by American vocalist, Bear Who?, with whom Clarke and Jones chose to work independently, using his contributions more like an instrument: holding the emissions back in bursts, entwining them with and building them alongside the groove. The B side version removes the vocals entirely allowing the other elements of the track to take on their own forms and strengths.
Available only as a digital bonus, the ‘Bassapella’ version offers an even more reductive take on ‘Spek Hondje’, dropping many of the track’s elements to arrange and contort the vocals amongst blasts of tightly honed white noise and acidic stabs, highlighting the finer elements of _Unsubscribe_’s engineering. Having these considered explorations of the one idea on this record is ultimately done in homage to the confidence in the quality of it. After a long wait from Clarke fans and the backing of his equally talented studio companion, ‘Spek Hondje’ finds _Unsubscribe_ delivering on their initial promise of honest and proper roots techno.
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