As 2002 approaches, the seemingly endless barrage of glitchy, click-laden techno and house music continues to inundate electronic music fans worldwide. With so many artists having already staked their claim in this area over the past three or four years, with release after release of quality sounds, how many new artists will be able to elbow their way into the hearts of tech-house lovers as another year approaches? I will make no predictions as to whether or not this style will generally remain popular, but there is one artist in particular that i predict is sure to further fan the flames of interest in the clicks-and-cuts school of dance music, and that is the artist known as Unai.
Erik Moller, a Swedish artist who has recorded singles for German labels like Sub-Static and Raum Musik, has just released his first Unai full-length, "Rebel Swing," for the label Nusond. It's an eight-track tour de force of funky, four-four tech-house with an iree touch of dub reggae.
"Rebel Swing" gets off to a strong start with two tracks whose rhythms are big and phat, and get funky from the first thunk of the kick drum. "Brave Star" and "We Leave In The Morning," while perhaps musically akin to the Chain Reaction or Mille Plateaux label sounds, steadfastly refuses to drag things along or turn each composition into long-winded tweakfest. Unai leans heavily on the dancefloor side of things for the most part, drawing out the mood of a song, as opposed to its construction.
When he reaches for his melodica or toasting vocal samples, and really plays up the bubbly, dub sound, things do tend to get a little bit heady and reflective. He nicely pieces together two tracks in the middle of the cd along these lines, allowing the transition of "Golden Day" and "Bushy Whiskers" to provide a moment of tension relief and calm before things get smokin again.
"Rebel Swing" is a sweet synthesis of au courant vibes and upbeat expression. The rhythm is the key player here and sounds more acoustic than the flat, digitized four-fours of the genre. The minimalism of the Unai sound lies within the sparse, but tight bass line. For those about to funk, Unai salutes you as well as soothes you with his nice combination of Jamaican melody and tech-house sensibility.