2016 has been a huge year for Hamburg duo Rawtekk, and they clearly show no sign of slowing down anytime soon! Barely four months after their sophomore album “Here’s To Them”, where they explored the limits of sound design unconstrained by tempos and genres on a level previously only attained by Amon Tobin, they have decided to revisit their back catalogue going back almost 10 years and revamp it for 2016!
And the result is a fantastic collection of diverse tracks under the guise of razor-sharp production and ultra hefty mixdowns. While it can sometimes get a little fatiguing to the ears, due to the extreme emphasis on loudness and quite a lot of low-mid frequencies in the mixes, it mostly sounds amazing, very clear and detailed. However, judging from the duo’s prominent sound design and engineering skills, I think the sometimes-excessive low-mids are an aesthetic choice meant to make the listener feel like they are in space ship or a warehouse.
The album has a nice balance between heavy neurofunk smashers, old school techstep tunes and smoother, almost liquid funk numbers. Among the first category we have tracks like opener “Repulsion”, the video-game-soundtrack-like “Hunter”, “Respond” which sounds like it could well have influenced early Billain, and their collab with Phace “Life Goes On”, all of which have massive drums and sublimely contorted didgeridoo-like basses.
The tunes that sound closer to early 00’s techstep are “Seduce” with a driving 303 bassline and a vibe akin to older Ed Rush & Optical; the aptly titled “Silent Rave” although not very silent is propulsed by an engaging old school rave style riff; “Inside Tekk” which has some more terrific rave riffs and stabs.
The smoother songs are sequenced back to back and consist of “Soul Socket” and “Big Up”. The former is the only track on the album to feature Christine Westphal’s singing, which was more prominent on their 2nd LP, and has a nice contrast between the huge beats and her ethereal and soft voice. “Big Up” is an intense, filtered French-house affair that to me represents what liquid funk should be: it is like the direct decendent of J Majik’s remix of Hatiras’ “Spaced Invader”, which is the first liquid track I ever heard and still to this day, the best one.
We also have the oddity that is “D.N.A.” a weird hybrid between DnB, techno and hardtek, and the closing track “Hammerum”, which is a nice minimal techno tune with a lot of atmosphere and the perfect way to wind down after an intense hour of pummelling dancefloor action!
In retrospect, there is never the slightest hint of a dull moment on “Reloaded, Pt. 1”. It is fast paced and intense and every track on it is a bonafied smash! Verdict : this one is essential, folks!
Grab it here
Follow Rawtekk here: https://soundcloud.com/rawtekk
And Methlab Recordings here: https://soundcloud.com/methlab-recordings