Paul Ritch ‘Spoke’

Paul Ritch / ‘Spoke’

Vinyl / Digital

Drumcode / Released January 2011

One of the most consistent labels on the face of the planet kick-starts the year with a release that defines its sound, hopefully promising another 12 months of quality tunes at the same time. Because, while the rest of us spend January tucked up with cocoa and cookies, Quartz label boss, and the man behind an acclaimed live performance at Drumcode’s recent warehouse party, delivers three tracks of take no prisoners techno.

It’s difficult to contain a knowing smile after more than a minute or so of the somewhat eerie title track, such is the emphasis on repetitive percussion, and the fifth gear groove that drives the rhythm. There’s also a hook so in tune with space-age industry it almost eclipses the melancholic keys that add a touch of house funk to the whole affair, in case the steam engine sounds and overall locomotive feel aren’t enough on their own.

On top of that legal downloaders and record shop investors get a further two offerings included in the package. Of these Blue Light is unquestionably the most intense from start to finish, as the track belies its mildly abstract, ambient sounding title by opening with a barrage of drums and alarm bells, before continuing down the same route, throwing in a few pitched-drill crescendos for good measure, invoking countless memories of Don Beyer in full effect. And once you’ve done with that, Wonderland takes things down deeper, darker alleyways, as distorted vocal samples nod toward a proggy main room, while panned whistles and juggled loops ensure things never move away from the Swedish blueprint. Right now it’s cold outside, but no doubt very sweaty wherever this little package makes an appearance.