They tell me that it’s a chore to try to stand out in techno today, or even get people to listen to what you’re doing. But Kuiper Noise, I think these guys are on to something. The Portuguese label launched by Holldën has a sense of humor that cuts against and even subverts the dreadfully serious tone and design language that techno brands lean on. Haunting artwork is given incomprehensible titles like “Return To From,” which forms a kind of mobius strip of madness when you stumble across it the first time. The artwork for “I’m Not In Berghain” features a costumed hipster in a cheesecake boudoir pose (actually, in bed with a plastic stork). Holldën’s last solo EP was tactfully titled Death to Holldën, which seems a bit extreme but promised “an EP forged in volcano-like temperament and one that is surely built to endure deep tear situations.”

What do we find at the end of the road, beyond “enduring a deep tear situation?” This Is Nothing. That’s the title of Kuiper Noise’s V/A series which launched earlier this year. With just three tracks, This Is Nothing Volume II promises quality over quantity — in the label’s term, “a compact nugget of techno bliss.” And it actually delivers on that — quality, and a compact nugget of techno bliss. I loved it to death, even if that means the death of Holldën.

R 417 is a producer that brings “Green Unicorn” with him from Uzbekistan — a track that feels like you’re jumping into a car already in motion at 60 mph and then you calmly dock your phone and fix your hair in the rear-view mirror as it speeds away. It doesn’t drive out of control because it was never under control. Big dramatic sweeps leak into the mix at 2:30 to kick it into another gear and now you’re going 80 and there’s no more road underneath you, only sky above and sky below. It’s a trip.

“Brightness” is the contribution from Yoikol and it’s all adrenaline and twitchy nerves, blinding hi hats and a voice that just doesn’t stop woofing at you and you don’t really want it to stop either. Empath’s “Broken Spectre” is a heavy electro track ground down into powdered wires and dead transistors, and then a really pretty track emerges from the steel dust, and then gets ground down to powder too. That’s all there is: three tracks, none from Holldën himself, and a clue that this whole endeavor is worth taking pretty fucking seriously after all.

⚪️ This Is Nothing Volume II Tracklisting

V/A: This Is Nothing Volume II (Kuiper Noise / Digital)
1. R 417 - Green Unicorn (Original Mix) (06:18)
2. Yoikol - Brightness (Original Mix) (04:47)
3. Empath - Broken Spectre (Original Mix) (05:40)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement

This record was submitted as a promo.


5 Mag Issue 210
Out November 2023

HOUSE MUSIC IS A SPIRITUAL THING: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #210 featuring Levon Vincent, Gehno Aviance aka One A, DJ Disciple, the breaking of Bandcamp and more. Help keep the vibe alive by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!

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