Darren Emerson ‘Hot Dog’

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Title: Hot Dog
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Although a well established legend of British dance music, this is Darren Emerson’s first time teaming up with John Digweed’s Bedrock Records, a label that has been delivering club tones for the best part of 15 years. Gaining national attention in the band Underworld, not least with the 90’s classic Born Slippy, since then the producer-DJ has gone on to prove himself time and again as an indispensable figure in the techno-house scene, which he curates via bossman duties at both DETONE and Underwater Records, making this meeting of minds a rather long time coming.

The result, Hot Dog, certainly proves that after more than 20 years spent making you sweat into the early hours of the morning Emerson still has the passion and talent to create outstandingly rave-worthy material. As a big room techno track it’s a welcome break from all those predictable heavy drops and that lack of imagination, with its deep reverberating low-end slowly taking over, inducing a subtle form of hypnosis.

Stylistically it would be close to industrial techno if it didn’t have a certain playfulness in there too; those siren-like samples that pierce through the bassy darkness. While it might not blow the roof off the club, a-bomb style that’s not necessarily a bad thing, with the tune letting you know it’s time to get down and dance, hard. The release comes with a B-side rework by Florian Meindl, a genre-jumping interpretation that strips away the sample noise of Emerson’s original, amplifying the funk and adding some extra flourishes in the bassline. This creates a very different mood, simpler yet more aggressive, with the groove topped by a distinctly Berliner wobble-scratch, suggesting (correctly) that we’re in for a heavy ride. The result makes Hot Dog his own, and confirms that both tracks here are brilliant in their own rights.