Ten Trax Records drops in with a killer EP showcasing six artists from the Memphis area. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight takes a listen to what Street Justice sounds like, with Volume One of the series.
America’s southern states may not immediately spring to mind when anyone mentions underground electronic music – you’re more likely to be heading right up north to Michigan or over to Chi-Town – but listening to the first installment of Ten Trax‘ Street Justice series it would appear that Memphis is more than capable of serving some insanely jacked-up techno vibes that give your speakers the workout they deserve. The aim of the series is to shine a light on the talents that are coming out of America’s south, and we can safely say that they’ve set the bar high with the first crack of the whip.
Tanglewood Boyz start proceedings with a blistering opener. Focus gives the electro sound a run for its money, bringing in influences from Memphis’ crunk scene, resulting in a track that sounds not altogether dissimilar to Booty Bass. Whatever it sounds like, this is prime example of top-drawer club music, which is undoubtedly sending bodies into a collective spasmodic frenzy as asses pop and necks snap. Bawlin’ yo!
Next up Will Azada goes Balls Deep, with some dubby acid techno. The Proper Trax head man has been pushing the techno scene in America’s southern states since he released his first EP on his imprint back in 2011. Since then he has clearly be honing his craft, delivering a track that remains faithful to the sound of the little silver box and delivers some monumental drops of pH0 that dance around Will‘s pitched-down vocals.
The techno continues with NRVVS, whose track Scream does just that. Synths growl and jostle for the centre stage, while acidic tones cut huge swathes through the rest of the track’s elements, eliciting high pitched shrieks from the hardware that evoke the laboured wails of hell’s tortured souls. All this while we are inundated by a barrage of baltering percussion that doesn’t let up for the tracks entirety.
It is plain to see where Ben Bauermeister‘s influences lie. The producer’s track, and the fourth on the EP, Alepurr, could have quite easily been cherry-picked from the Planet Mu back catalogue, with Aaron Funk-like drum programming taking us into glistening synth work and haunting pads. A great track for fans of the braindance and breakcore scenes, and this writer’s favourite from the package (not least because it made me sick wonderful nostalgia all down my t-shirt).
z72.52 manages to mangle together the sounds of jungle, juke, footwork, and seemingly whatever else could be thrown into the sonic soup, culminating a wonderfully mellifluous sound collage that will blow the roof off any dance club. Chopped up vocal snippets clatter about the gritty, top-end percussion, while a shuddering bassline dominates the low-end freqs. Absolute bangerz.
The closing track definitely has a touch of the Stinson-Donalds about it, as Michael Kuntzman drops a heavy slab of Memphis electro that wouldn’t be out of place on one of the pair’s afrofuturist productions. This is how electro should sound – siren-swell basslines, sopping-wet snares, vocodered vocal samples, and twinkling pads that all come together in one dystopian production.
All that remains to be said is, if this is the quality of the compositions we’re going to be hearing from the Street Justice series, then get then next one over to us fucking fast. The first volume has put six artists on our radar that we likely would never have heard otherwise. ALL HAIL THE UNDERGROUND!
You can grab your copy of this killer EP, right here. We can safely say that it will be the most sensible $5 you’ll spend in your entire life, so go and do it now.