“Lost Trax embody the idea of underground techno. The shadowy group, members unknown, began their music careers over 20 years ago. Output may be low, but quality is high; the style being no compromise techno brilliance.” (Quote from a record review)
Label: Emotions Electric
Catalogue number: EE0002
This latest 3 track EP “Reflections” comes courtesy of Barcelona based “Subwax” distribution crew, and sees them pursue their sonic mission – carving out a vision straight from the mould of Detroit’s classical techno influences, etched in acidic futurism and frosted by glacial electro.
Side A, titled “144 4096”, rises high from the depths of Lost Trax’s machine layered underworld as the driving tweak of a 303 flights high above a sombrely textured pad. With added Drexciyan tweaks echoing faded radio transmissions from a parallel age: the sonic palette of this lead track looms large as rattling percussion strikes a beat.
Steeped in a warmer glow, B1 “Reflections” moves to skippy 808 patterns and a shuffling bass end that evokes a lighter age as an over layed mono synth brings a certain lift to proceedings. Last but not least, B2 “Radiation 1.0” captures the essence of an early Derrick May jam, stuttering and repeating in forgotten 80s age computer language. Whilst it might be obsolete in the internet age, this sure does pack a punch and finishes off yet another gem destined for the collection.
Lost Trax – 144 4096
Lost Trax – Reflections
Lost Trax – Radiation 1.0
Catalogue number: SHIP038
Lost Trax embody the idea of underground techno. The shadowy group, members unknown, began their music careers over 20 years ago. Output may be low, but quality is high; the style being no compromise techno brilliance. And that’s what’s on show here. Kick drums and squirming acid bars are at the core of “Faith”, a track where soaring strings shift and reshape. The chiselled claps and barbed bass of “Flatliner” follows, taking its cue from the heyday of Detroit. A watery world of analogue abstraction greets the listener on the flip, “Lost” being an atmospheric journey into to the squelching swamps of the TB303. Sniping beats introduce the lush tones of “Renderer.” Blurring the lines of electro and techno the track is an elegant end to an EP of deep and dense layers.
Lost Trax – Flatliner EP
Catalogue number: TABR018
On the A-side, title track “Hidden Agenda” drops the often emotive sound palette and semi-ambient, spacey dynamics from previous releases and rallies in a more raw and stripped back techno vibe amidst subtle escalating drones. An assortment of rolling snares and big room room kicks drive the track whilst a clean acid line tethers the track together for comfortable club use. The track could almost be said to lend a similar likeness to Midland’s “Trace” yet with added acid goodness and a more busy set of percussion, which is why we see Hidden Agenda proving more popular with DJs than say certain other tracks in the Lost Trax back catalogue. Whilst Hidden Agenda may have these qualities it would however be quite hard pressed to call it the better track of the release. On the B-side, “Creatures” is the more likely esoteric contender to take that title. Returning to the melodic signature sound from past records, Lost Trax merge high grade electronic rhythms and deep space psychedelics whilst wandering through a beautiful arrangement of ear warming and mournful synthesis. However, whether it can stand the test of time as well as the “The Saturiun System” is something we’ll have to get back to you on in six years time.
Lost Trax – Hidden Agenda
Lost Trax – Creatures
Lost Trax – Hidden Agenda (I75 Southbound)
Catalogue number: TABR009
The mysterious producer / collective / whatever Lost Trax offer(s) up a couple of melodic techno tracks that pay respectful homage to Detroit with only the mildest aroma of pastiche. Confusingly, “B01” is actually A01, but it has that “anonymous first track on a B side” sound down pat; haunted pads, quasi-electro 808, squelch. Timeless, literally: this could have come out and sounded reasonably glorious at any time in the past twenty years; a gold star that could also be awarded to the inner-space explorations of “Dominion”, upping the electro quotient somewhat and rounding out the bass.
The Connection Machine supply a complementary flavour, though perhaps with added dynamics. “Klute” recalls yearning Smackos nostalgia, but with a vaguely menacing plod, and “After” is altogether lighter, as what might be heavily treated vocals float over the trickiest rhythm so far with regular drop-outs to semi-ambience. Boiling it down, you may already realise that this is something you’ll be searching for years from now: so buy it.
Lost Trax – B01
Lost Trax – Dominion
Catalogue number: TABR007
Lost Trax, not to be mistaken with the multitude of similar appellations out there, is a veteran of Daz Quayle’s SCSI-AV label. Their Tabernacle account is opened with “The Eye.” The track immediately transports back to 1992 and the classic techno of Applied Rhythmic Technology. Deep space chords are punctuated by beats, snares echoing some early Metroplex material. This aural odyssey continues with “Pulp.” The former sanctity is besmirched with heavy warbling panels of sound laced with machine beats. Calm is restored in the form of “The Forrest,” a track giving a final, and firm, nod to the former fledglings of techno.
Flip over for The Connection Machine, the twosome of Jeroen Brandjes and Natasja Hagemeier. The duo haven’t released under their TCM moniker since 2004, used for the Painless album on $tinkworx’s Down Low Music. Whereas Lost Trax blurs the lines of past and present, TCM’s “Evil Earth” is instantly more modern. The chords have a analogue richness with crisp beats slicing through. The peculiar, almost fairground, organ keys that form the piece’s spine allows TCM to explore a number of plots in this curious piece. “Speel” is beat driven techno abstraction. The track has a nice dream-like quality, hazy notes shimmering through 4/4. The slightly Ace of Base titled “Keen (On Life)” brings this splitter to a close. The track sees arches of techno buttressed by a web of 303 tweaks… a great piece to end on.
Lost Trax – The Eye
Lost Trax – Pulp
Lost Trax – The Forest
Catalogue number: ID026
The Scsi-Av label has been dormant for what seems like an eternity, their self-imposed silence at long last broken by this gorgeous 2-track follow-up to the excellent ‘Lost Trax’ Ep released back in 2007. Penned by an unknown technician described only as “a highly respected master…” ‘Lost Trax 2’ slots into that lush terrain where classic Detroit Techno and electro come together, the kind of material produced by Carl Craig in the early 1990’s and more recently beloved of Convextion’s ERP side project. The first of the two tracks here “The Sequel” really does play out like a long lost Detroit classic, all emotive strings and crisp percussion that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on any of the legendary Buzz/Transmat compilations. Second track “Birth” is even better – a more rugged sounding number that eschews electro structures for more clipped 4/4 styles, still retaining an uber-lush sound palette just with a weightier deployment. Its impossibly lovely material – very highly recommended to followers of classic Carl Craig, the Connection Machine or Convextion.
Lost Trax – The Sequel
Lost Trax – Birth
Catalogue number: ID022
Hiding behind the curtain like an electro Wizard of Oz, the artist responsible for this 12″ is “a highly respected master of electro music” – with ‘The Saturnian Sun’ an archive plundering exercise that resurrects some early 90’s class. Beamed direct from a time where obscure plates dropped onto pirate radio with little fanfare, the opening end of the 1990’s saw a collision of styles that took fistfuls of acid, rave and electro then rallied them into cohabitation that somehow seemed inherently natural. Drenched in 808, ‘The Saturnian Sun’ kicks off with an oven-ready batch of sunset strings that have strayed in from UR, before the epic spirit is made all the more piquant through snare-etched rhythms and an acid riff that throbs long and hard… Turn it over and you’ll discover the ribald roughness of ‘Self Destruct System’ wherein gurgling electronics make merry with Planet E’s ‘The Connection Machine’ to forge a new and lithe beast. Unearthed classic.
Lost Trax – Saturnian Sun
Lost Trax – Self Destruct Sequence
November 4 2017: London UK at SCAND.
December 31 2017: St Petersburg Russia at Mosaique.
January 13 2018: Berlin Germany at Tresor.
June 7 2018: Rotterdam Netherlands on Operator Radio.
* The music in the videos is ours, visuals are done by others.