Central brings a pair of brief but incredible 12″ vinyls that explore the deep, weird ends of techno and house in a way that few artists in 2016 are even attempting. The density of quality here is breathtaking, and sets a high bar for any eventual full-length. Together, this hour of music is some of the freshest sounds I’ve heard all year.
The Danish producer, real name Natal Zaks, was a complete unknown to me before last week. A longtime music friend tipped me off to Political Dance #1 on Spotify with the message that tracks one and two were particularly incredible. As it turns out, I loved the whole thing and was excited to find Political Dance #2 immediately afterward.
This particular friend has been my go-to expert on all things techno for a while now. He’s the one who always knows about anything I discover before I do, no matter how seemingly obscure. Suffice it to say that I always take his recommendations seriously. Every music geek deserves a friend like that.
Over the course of each of these roughly 30 minute releases, Central folds a broad range of styles into a cohesive march. His kaleidoscopic take on techno comes as the result of his longterm involvement in various music scenes in his native Netherlands. This is deep techno that’s unafraid of going to frankly emotional spaces, exploring beatless realms, and even getting straight up jazzy when it feels natural. By the second set, the sound evolves into more of an expansive house workout, drifting over synth pads and bubbling with sharp samples and restrained drum programming.
I’m failing at adequately describing why this music grips me so tightly, so I’ll share what the artist had to say.
Zaks himself says it perfectly: “I’d describe my sound as curious and fun club music, because it’s based on curiosity and yes, having fun. I’m fascinated with many genres, styles and movements of danceable music. … The general idea is to make tunes that simultaneously look back- and forward in time.”
I’ll also share a pair of perfect examples, one from each release. Here’s the first track in the set, Keep Love On Me:
As a contrast, I present the title track, appearing right in the center of the second release. Instead of tightly coiled techno moves, it floats on buoyant house clouds, occasionally punctured by vocal clips as it builds toward an understated crescendo:
The Political Dance #1 12″ is available direct from the Dekmantel imprint and you can listen right now on Spotify too. Same goes for Political Dance #2 on both Dekmantel and Spotify. I highly suggest you listen to them back to back for full immersion.